Heal the World, Make it a better place, For you and for me And the entire human race.
Like so many people in the world, I was completely shocked and saddened at the news of Michael Jackson's death. Not since the death of the People's Princess, Diana, has the whole world be so stunned by one single person's passing. I have always been a huge MJ fan. I remember bringing my red tape player to kindergarten every day and making the entire class dance around to Michael Jackson songs. He will always be the King of Pop. There will never be another Michael Jackson.
But I'm not writing today about him. I am writing about the world's reactions to his death.
When I saw the headline that he was rushed to the hospital I thought there was no way he would pass away - especially on the same day as another celebrity (Farrah Fawcet). But then I clicked back only minutes later and tmz.com had announced he was dead. I gasped out loud and sat in disbelief. I was hoping they were wrong. I started googling and checking other sources just to prove that the celebrity gossip site had the wrong information. When I realized it was true, my voice cracked and tears came to my eyes as I tried to tell my co-workers what had just happened. Another human being with a family and friends had passed away. Being a normal person with a heart, I felt sad for their loss and sad for the music/entertainment industry's loss.
Apparently not everyone has a heart.
I was filled with absolute disgust when I looked on facebook and saw so many messages of hate. People were rejoicing in the death of another person. They were happy because they believed he is going to hell. They were making jokes about little boys and pedophiles. My blood began to boil almost immediately. Rather than waste my time with these so-called "friends", I just decided to "hide" them so I don't have to see their blatant disrespect for another human's life. It just sickens me to think that during a time when a lot of us are grieving in our own way, there are people out there that flat out say we are stupid for even posting our sadness and shock about Michael Jackson's death. I did find it interesting that ALL of the hate spreaders were males in their 30s. What is it about this demographic that they feel so insecure that they have to make jokes over some one's death? All of my female friends were sympathetic, saddened, shocked. Not one single female on my list of 199 friends expressed any happiness over the passing of a Legend. Dudes - you need to suck it up and stop being such douche bags.... and don't expect to be hearing from this "friend" of yours any time soon. I am far too disgusted to even bother to waste my time on hate-filled people.
Michael seemed to be a tormented soul that was just trying to find inner happiness. I truly believe he only had the best intentions for the people in his life. I believe he is a misunderstood person that was never given the chance to have a real childhood or learn regular interpersonal communication skills. For that he became an easy target, and that is truly a shame. He will always remain in my memory the loving, talented, musical icon known as the King of Pop. Captain EO will live on forever in this Michael Jackson fan!
During the summer of 1998, when I was a young thing of 19 years and about to get my braces removed, I was fortunate enough to go on TWO vacations to fabulous Las Vegas! The first with my dad and Gloria (we saw Howie Mandel at Caesars!!), the second with my grandparents. Taking my grandparents to my favorite city was a trip I will always cherish!
Grandma really wanted to go back to Vegas, so Grandpa and I took her on the condition that she let us push her around in a wheel chair. She was terrified when I was in the "driver's seat". I realized quickly that I just had to take charge and push through the crowds because the Strip isn't too accommodating to those in wheel chairs. I soon knew where the elevators and ramps were, so we made our way through casinos pretty well. Our only difficulty was on the public bus. Nobody wanted to move our of our way or help in any more. Right before we got on the bus a pick-pocket had just been arrested, so that was something for the our trio of innocent people from Oregon!
The main point of this blog is something that was said at the MGM Grand. We were there multiple times - at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant for yummy garlic mashed potatoes and Rainforest Cafe for the most exotic grilled cheese ever - with yummy pineapple as a garnish. It was at the Rainforest Cafe that my grandpa said something I will never forget.
Being in college about to turn 20 years old - Vegas is a hard place!! I had tons of fun, but at the same time I was seeing all the things I wasn't old enough to legally do. The object of my longing that year was Studio 54 (inside the MGM Grand). All I wanted to do was go in and dance! I wasn't wanting to gamble or drink, I just wanted to dance. Every time we'd pass the big "54" outside the entrance I would gaze at it and comment on how I couldn't wait to be old enough to go in. From our seat at the Rainforest Cafe I had a perfect view of Studio 54. I stared at it in a daze and said, "I really really want to go in there." Grandpa looked at me and said, "Now Ronnie, don't go wishing your life away!"
That simple sentence has stuck with me. We all wish to be somewhere else. When we're at work we wish we were at home. When we're at home we wish we were on vacation. I eventually did turn 21 ... and even then it took NINE years before I ever went into Studio 54. I survived. It didn't kill me to wait. I made it inside! Grandpa was right though - I didn't need to wish my life away. I should live in the NOW! I should have just stopped gazing at the big, glitzy 54, and instead savored my pineapple spear a little longer.
So from now on, I will continue to hear Grandpa's wise words, and do my best to stop wishing my life away. Whatever I want to happen, I can just be proactive and make it happen. All good things to those who wait. I'm going to be in Las Vegas again in less than a month. I won't spend my time wishing I was there. I will be there all in good time. So now I will enjoy where I am. Even when I am at work I will find things to be thankful for and just enjoy life while I am still here to live it!
Hannibal Lecter: "All good comes to those who wait. I've waited, Clarice. How long can you and ol' Jackie boy wait?
Andrew Lloyd Webber: "There's a light at the end of the tunnel. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. The inside might be as black as the night, but at the end of the tunnel there's a light."
Jimmy Buffett: "When life gives you limes, make margaritas!"
Bohidharma: "Still other commit all sorts of evil deeds, claiming karma doesn't exist. They erroneously maintain that since everything is empty, committing evil isn't wrong. Such persons fall into a hell of endless darkness with no hope of release. Those who are wise hold no such conception."
Plato: "Ignorance, the root and stem of every evil."
Anne Frank: "It's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
The Rolling Stones: "You can't always get what you want; but if you try sometime you might find you get what you need."
I think Hannibal says it best! All good things to those who wait ...... I feel the wait is almost over!! Good WILL prevail and I WILL have margaritas!
Graduation. It happens every year in every town in America. June - the time stores are covered in lame cardboard decorations that say "ConGRADulations". Most of us graduate. I did. Three times - kindergarten, high school, university. If you're reading this I bet you did, too. Now that we've established that fact, can we do this one little thing?? Shut up About the Damn Graduation!!
I am so over hearing everyone talking about graduation like it is THE social event of the year that only "they" are special enough to go to; like it is the only thing going on; like I am supposed to care about it. This goes hand in hand with high school sports. Everywhere you go around here people talk about the high school teams like we are all supposed to really care and be as interested as the soccer moms are. I used to care ... when I was IN high school. After June 2, 1996 I stopped caring.
News Flash: There are much more important things going on that aren't associated with school functions. So please, keep your lame conversations between yourself and your nail technician. I don't think there is a single nail gal in town that doesn't care about everything related to the Roseburg Public Schools or latest white trash events at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. I am not a nail person. Don't tell me anymore about graduation. You're not special, you're kid isn't special, you're neighbor isn't special.... and the majority of us just don't care!! Thanks.
In anticipation of my upcoming Disney World vacation with Jessica, today I'm writing about the Top 7 Must Sees in Walt Disney World. Anyone that's stayed in a Disney resort in Florida should be familiar with this "show". It plays on repeat all day, all night. You turn on your tv and there it is. Hosted by Stacey, you learn about the Top 7 things to do, as well as other tips for having the vacation of a lifetime. So, here they are, the (2008) Top 7 Must Sees:
Cirque du Soleil - La Nuba at Downtown Disney. We all know of the Cirque du Soleil shows - there are tons of them in Las Vegas, too. I've never seen any of them. I wouldn't mind watching "LOVE" - the Beatles themed show, or "Zumanity" (the 18+ naughtier Cirque) at New York New York Hotel & Casino, but for me, personally ... I'm not rushing to see the others.
Kilimanjaro Safaris in Disney's Animal Kingdom. My first time through in 1998 I must confess I was not impressed. I had seen more animals, and animals much closer driving through Winston, Oregon's Wildlife Safari. But after going through a couple more times I realized it is pretty cool! I think it just depends on the weather, time of day, and the driver. Some trips can be a dud. Some can have moments of excitement. Some drivers can make or break the experience. Still, its a little over-rated, but I love any opportunity to see big beautiful African animals. I always get excited over a glimpse of a warthog or baby elephant! When leaving the Safaris, be sure to visit the Pangani Exploration Trail for some up close encounters with impressive gorillas!
Crush 'n' Gusher at Typhoon Lagoon water park. As with Cirque du Soleil, I have yet to experience Crush 'n' Gusher. I can say that Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach is awesome, and Typhoon Lagoon in general is a very cool setting for an afternoon of water park fun. For those of you not in the know, Crush 'n' Gusher is a sort of water slide roller coaster. It looks pretty cool! Its rather new, hence why I have yet to experience it. Looks like the odds of keeping your swimming suit in tact are pretty high!
Triple Mountain Whammy!Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain all in the Magic Kingdom. What is there to say about 3 of the most popular Disney rides ever??? What I can say is this -- Jessica, don't get your hopes up for Space Mountain - its being refurbished and most likely won't be open when we are there. Bummer. My old roommate Bethany taught me a way to make Big Thunder Mountain Railroad even more fun --- sit backwards! WHAT? Yes, you just twist your body around, and woo wee what fun! Splash Mountain - possibly my all time favorite Disney ride of all time. I never get sick of it!
Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I have to admit it - I actually really enjoy the stunt show! Normally I hate shows, but this one is pretty darn cool. I imagine guys would enjoy it more, since its like watching a movie action sequence live right before your eyes! My advice .... sit up high and near one of the fans!
Soarin' and Mission: Space in Epcot. Two very awesome attractions. Polar opposites of each other. Mission: Space - I went on it during Cast previews a few times, and never miss it on my annual visits to Florida. There's nothing like the take-off at the very beginning. Plus I love getting to push buttons during the ride and feel like I'm actually doing something! Soarin' is just so peaceful and cool. I am sure I'll never go hang-gliding, especially over an entire state, so this attraction for me is one to not miss!
Expedition Everest in Disney's Animal Kingdom. And finally, the best for last .... and finally Asia gets its due praise! If you don't ride Everest you are really missing out. I won't say anything about it. I don't want to ruin it for Jessica! Going on it during a HUGE rain storm last year made it a singular roller coaster ride I will NEVER forget!!
These are Disney's Top 7 Must Sees, but I would like to add my own to the list.
Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Something we were really big on in Disney World were "Magical Moments." A little something special we'd do for guests to make their trip more special and memorable. In my time in Disney's Animal Kingdom Magical Moments would range from going on a ride with the guests and showing them small details that they might otherwise not notice, to bringing children up on stage to compete in a math competition against a talking bird.
Magical Moments don't just apply to guests - at least not in my mind. I've had a handful of things that happened during my stints working for the Mouse that to me were my own Magic Moments. Here is one now!
The year was 1997. The place was Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom. I was on my 4 month internship during the Fall term of my Sophomore year of college. During my internship I rotated throughout the various Frontierland food areas; Mile Long Bar, Pecos Bill Cafe, the infamous turkey leg wagon, and two hot dog carts. My favorite job of all was the hot dog cart. My friend Ryan would cook the hot dogs and I would be the one to handle the money (all without a calculator, too!) .... 2.25, 4.50, 6.75, 8.00 .... The most hot dogs sold to one family was 18! It was at this spot that my first Magical Moment occurred.
It was Christmas break and the daily crowds were increasing tremendously. I was at the hot dog cart right on the parade route (where Santa Claus said hi to me once!) and across from Pecos Bill Cafe and Splash Mountain. As I was selling a hot dog to a gentleman he paused to take a look at me. He said, "I remember you! You helped me out last time I was here back in September - but you were in a red dress and inside the restaurant!"
This might seem little and insignificant. I helped 1000s of people a day with directions, drinks, condiments, advice ..... But to have a guest come back 3 months later and remember me specifically, things kind of came full circle for me.
Growing up we went to Disneyland quite often. I'd always recognize our same Jungle Cruise skipper or people working in stores. I knew they wouldn't recognize me since they had seen so many guests in a given day, but I always recognized them. It was so strange yet cool to be on the receiving end of the recognition after all those years. So as small as it was, that was my first Magical Moment ... I even wrote about it in my journal that night.
Thank you, Mr. Frontierland Food Fan, for giving me my moment!
With 100 posts successfully under my belt, what do I blog about now?
I've decided to add a new blog 'label' to my repertoire: Memoirs
So now maybe once in a while I'll just write down random little stories of various things I've experienced or witnessed in my life. Funny, sad, short, long, serious, wacky --- its all fair game at this point!
Wow! In just a few short months I've done a lot of writing. Weekly American Idol blogs; weekend recaps; plans for the future; babble about what I see happening around me at work. I guess I just have a lot of "nothing" to say!
Today I'd like to say this: GO SEE THE HANGOVER!! I went to see it on opening night and it was worth the wait! We've been seeing tons of previews all through the Stanley Cup playoffs and were positive it would be a laugh riot. It really was! I haven't laughed so hard during a movie since we saw Weekend at Bernie's at the theater back in grade school. I think I nearly snorted even. Once it was over we wanted to turn around and watch it again. When you go, because you WILL, watch the credits! Best credits ever! We spent all weekend quoting the movie and laughing about our favorite scenes. I'm laughing right now just thinking about it!
My baby cousin is now old. I just watched him graduate from high school yesterday afternoon. My mom got teary when we saw him come walking onto the football field with Pomp & Circumstance playing. How I wish we had texting back when I graduated 13 years ago. Alex and I kept busy texting each other during the boring parts while he was "roasting" in his dress clothes and black gown. There were technical issues that caused at 20 minute delay mid-way through the diploma bit. This, coupled with my desire to NOT suffer through another painfully awkward and boring speech by the principal, caused us to bail a little early .... but not before getting tons of photos of Alex sweating his graduate ass off!
We had an impromptu karaoke party last night at my mom's house after our post-graduation BBQ. When I say party I mean my mom, Michael and I singing for Grandpa, his girlfriend and Jim. I did a show stopping performance of My Heart Will Go On. My step-dad thought I sucked. I was awesome. This just shows whiskey and wine create a terrible critic! Michael was hysterical! I don't even know how to describe a couple of his performances. He had the entire room laughing! We quit at 9:45 pm only 'cause we had to work in the morning, otherwise we'd probably still be hanging out and singing!
Vegas is officially on like Donkey Kong! I booked our 3-day weekend trip on Friday. Michael and I will be in Vegas for nearly 3 full days - July 18-20. We're staying at Excalibur and have no plans to see any shows or to even make plans! We just want to go, relax, have fun, see what we can see, drink what we can drink, eat what we can eat, and try to not waste too much precious time sleeping! This will be Michael's first visit, so I'm extra excited to be there while he gets to see all the lights and razzle dazzle of The Strip!
Michael and I have been busy painting my house. We are so close to being done. We've run out of free weekends to do the painting, so now its going to be my after work project. Once its done I'll upload some before, during and after pics. Thank heaven for 7-11, or rather, thank goodness for backyard swimming pools! I HAD to buy one because I just knew it was going to be pretty hot during our painting. I was right. The pool is freaking awesome and the house is looking Great!
And that's all for now -- blog #100 is coming to an end. Here's to 100 more!
I wrote this blog on May 29, 2009. I never actually typed it up. But now, looking back at yesterday, looking at today when I book tickets, and looking at next month when I'm on vacation, I feel like maybe I really meant what I wrote!
I seem to have an action packed summer ahead:
Painting my house
Date night at the casino with 3 other couples
Arwyn and Tonia's wedding at the beach
Abby's golf weekend at the Country Club
Summer Art Festival
Music in the Park
4th of July festivities
Huey Lewis & the News at the fair ... with special guest, Jessica!!
OSU Women's Football camp
"It's 5 o'clock Somewhere" Jimmy Buffett party
This leads into the fall:
OSU football games
Orlando with Jessica
I guess its good to have a lot of things going on, but I am getting burn out. BAD. I need a mini-holiday. I'm not sure when I could fit it in. Everybody at work has snatched up nearly any day that might be feasible. I don't even know where I would go. Ideally I'd go back to Vegas - but I can't make Michael miss work. I just know I NEED to get out of the Burg, away from my work area .... just away!!