And One More Thing…

As everyone’s heard, Steve Jobs passed away today.  On the astronomical odds that anyone is hearing it from me for the first time, go to a real website.  Steve Jobs was many things to many people.  It cannot be disputed that he was a visionary, and unlike any other CEO the world had ever seen.  Equal parts Jim Henson and Thomas Edison, he was one-of-a-kind and the loss of that vision and philosophy lessens the world.  Still we should count ourselves lucky and thankful that a man like Steve Jobs not only existed, but was allowed the opportunity, talent, vision, and plain old luck to accomplish all that he did.  While his death is tragic, try not to mourn for him.  Instead give thanks that he was here to do the amazing things he did to begin with.

If you’re a computer geek, remember how many “One More Things” he gave us.  Chuckle about the ubiquitous Cheering Sections at press conferences.  Remember Toy Story, and all the fantastic Pixar films that may not have been if not for him.  Watch Toy Story, and Up, and WALL-E, and let yourself cry for god’s sake, because life is equally beautiful in the sweetness and the sorrow.

I’d urge anyone reading this to donate to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer has a mere five percent survival rate, and has robbed the world of far too many people.  Steve Jobs gave us technology that shames Star Trek, this is the 21st century, don’t tell me we can’t do anything to improve that.

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Hate to bring you down more, but…

I’d just like to echo something a good friend of mine had to say about the recent passing of Heath Ledger.

For all the people who are going on about it being a great tragedy, you’re half-right, by my reckoning.  It’s sad, and it is a great cultural loss, to be certain.  Think about the world, though.  Millions dead or displaced in Iraq.  Genocide in Darfur, Kenya in civil war, Somalia on the brink of regional war in the horn of Africa.  Pakistan is crumbling, Afghanistan is falling into anarchy.  The world is in a state of tragedy right now.  We have already lost countless minds and talents to indiscriminate violence all over the planet.  If the death of a celebrity, albeit a talented one is what it takes to realign your views on mortality, that’s fine.

You better make sure those views are wide enough to make a difference, though.

Heath Ledger 1979-2008

I woke up this morning to talk with a friend about a big project I’m going to be contributing to, when my dad tells me the news.

Heath Ledger died.

For someone normally full of grandiose terms I’m at a loss.  I’ve always thought that Heath Ledger was to be one of the great talents of our time, an actor whose work would be revered long after his death, which I’m sure will still be true.  To die at such a young age, with such a career, such a talent, and such possibilities in front of you, is beyond tragic.

It would seem, perhaps, that his final role will be that of The Joker, in The Dark Knight.  I knew from the start he’d be perfect for the role, but the role is not perfect for his last.  Great actors are supposed to have their grand final shows, defining points in cinema that close the cover on massive tomes of accomplishment.  Like so many artists lost before their time, River Phoenix, Jeff Buckley, and so on, all I can feel is an emptiness in the future.  A void where this man wins oscars, moves audiences to tears, transforms into every shape and flavor of man before our eyes.  Perhaps I’m making too much of it, but the world has lost a talent today.

No, a talent was stolen from the world today.

Stolen.   And there’s no way we can steal it back.

Fear and Loathing in the Nation’s Capital (Again)

So I went into DC today to meet a friend, one who I haven’t seen in quite some time.  She’s a cool gal with a good sense of humor, we were going to get our pictures taken with President Stephen Colbert’s portrait at the National Gallery.

Things went awry.

I arrive roughly 2 PM, when suddenly I realize I am in very, very  inappropriate attire for the protest du jour on the Mall.

I emerge from the Metro wearing a bright red jacket with “CCCP” and the hammer and sickle on it, along with arm patches featuring Soviet iconography.  I am suddenly focused on with laser-kill-vision by a significant number of Pro-life demonstrators who look rather unhappy with me, and that the sanctity of my life may be something they’ll compromise on very soon.

I call my friend as I rush, hurriedly to somewhere that I won’t be curb-stomped by a horde of angry social conservatives, that the meeting place must change, she agrees with my assessment and we decide to meet in Chinatown.

Hours pass.

She never shows.

I’ve been up 28 hours or so at this point and she calls to say she can’t make it.  I handle it gracefully, proceed to have a fucking conniption in the middle of a Starbucks after hanging up, and trudge defeated back to the metro station.

I board the Orange Line, that which will ferry me back to my suburbian hell-hole of a neighborhood, when suddenly, disaster strikes!

The Pro-life rally seems to have let out, and many of them board en-masse, two stops later.

Panic sets in.

I turn to an attractive goth girl two seats behind me and say with the sincerity of Gandhi that she must sit in the seat next to me “RIGHT FUCKING NOW” otherwise I was about to be vivisected by a number of increasingly irate and confrontational activists.  She kindly obliges, and I make it back to my home with only a backache, severe exhaustion, and a bruised ego.

But I did get my picture taken with Stephen Colbert’s portrait.

You never quite realize

I’ve been in this odd place for a while now. I call it the Cryogenically Unfrozen Effect, where I’m relatively unchanged, and the group of people I’ve known since childhood have undergone any number of cataclysmic shitstorms while I’ve been dark, so to speak.

Every now and then I check up on the miscreants I grew up with just to see what they’ve done.

The cute irish girl who slugged me after I asked her out in the seventh grade is pregnant. And she’s not the only former-friend with pod. Three others are as well.

The guy who I’d goof on in ninth grade looks like he’s fifty years old, completely bald.

My best friend from youth is married, as is my best friend of junior high.

Several friends from ninth grade are betrothed.

About ten people I know are dead, seven of those to Iraq and the rest to suicide.

My first girlfriend married thee walking embodiment of “puss”, who manages to retain that title despite being a Marine, apparently.

Untold numbers are completely debauched, unemployed, thrown out of college.

Most notably, the girl who made a bombing run on my ego in high school lost her porn job by getting knocked up. Ah, sweet justice.

You never quite realize how quickly the world moves until you slow down to watch it. It is oddly comforting in a way, to know that while many of my contemporaries have shot themselves out of the gun of youth straight into the supple flesh of world-ending cataclysm, I’ve only gotten better with age.

It’s good to be the King.