Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Following of Wil Wheaton

My newest & latest addiction is hanging out over on Twitter. It's been fun, great networking and of course given me a chance to chat with some awesome peeps all over. And in my adventures with Twitter I managed to stumble upon the twitter account of one Wil Wheaton.

That's right, that Wil Wheaton. Since he was one of my first childhood movie star crushes, I immediately had to follow him. I waited for a follow back. Nothing. So I began my own little quest to get Wil Wheaton to follow me back (something, judging by his 21,000 some odd followers and his 70-some odd followings that would not be easy). He has yet to follow me back and has even threatened to block people who continued to send follow requests. So far, I've yet to be blocked so there may still be hope.

All joking aside, I have actually been reading his blog and really enjoying it. He even wrote a piece for the LA Weekly about music, that for anyone who has ever read my posts over at JamsBio knows is vital to my very well-being. So it seems Wil & I have some stuff in common.

What's funny is that it was his LA Weekly piece that got me thinking about being a kid, all the things I loved as a kid and how those things have stayed with me into my adult life. Things like certain songs, certain books and of course certain movies like Stand By Me.

It reminded me of the summer that Stand By Me came out, and it reminded me of my best friend during that time. I wrote about it on JamsBio last November, and decided that I would re post it here to give some insight as to why the movie means so much to me.

The other day I was looking through my bookshelf and came across one of my favorite short stories, The Body by Stephen King. This of course the story that one of my all time favorite movies was based on, Stand By Me. I hadn't read the book, or even watched the movie in ages. In fact, I'm not sure when the last time I even thought of them was.

The great thing about a favorite book, much like a favorite song, is how quickly it can take you away. An author like Stephen King or a song like Stand By Me, has a tendency to be so perfect that you somehow feel like you're in another time and another place a million light years from where you reside in reality. I opened up the book, turned on the soundtrack and let the familiar words flow over me, like hearing an old friends voice on the phone after a million years. The strange thing was the place I started picturing in my mind was not the summer of 1959 in a town called Castle Rock, but the summer of 1986 in another small town. My small town, Livermore.

Suddenly the pictures of my mind weren't of the train tracks that I watched River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton hike down that summer a million times at the Vine Theater, but the train tracks that ran behind my house. The ones where Mikey Perry lost his life a couple summers later. The tracks I would later cross every day of my high school career at least twice, until I got my license anyway. Those tracks, that old hardcover version of Different Seasons (the book that the story The Body was in), my sister, a certain movie soundtrack, and of course my best friend and next door neighbor, Laura. Hiking down the tracks as far as we could without actually ending up in the hills of the Altamont Pass.

I remember my dad putting our old green army tent in our front yard and the three of us would camp out in the front yard. I remember the hum of the air conditioner, the dreaded countdown for school to start, and the soundtrack to Stand By Me ALWAYS playing. Pictures of River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton pasted all over me and my sister's room. That summer of '86. All of these things came across my mind like a flash as I read those first pages of The Body. Tears slowly started to well beneath the surface. I quickly, without thinking about it, flipped the pages of the book until I came to the part where Gordie describes reading about Chris's death.

Laura died in October of 2005 from cancer. I hadn't spoken to her since right after Patrick was born, and even then it was only via email. I heard through myspace & my sister actually, that she had passed away. I guess her getting sick, getting diagnosed and passing away, all happened very quickly. My daughter was only 7 months old, I was busy chasing around 2 year old son, and it was the Day after Thanksgiving that they had her memorial service in Modesto. I didn't go. It's strange how the little decisions you make on a whim sometimes haunt you forever. I should have gone.

To this day whenever I hear that oh so familiar opening to Stand By Me I think of this line from the movie, "Although I hadn't seen him in more than ten years I know I'll miss him forever. I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anybody?"

So as we all celebrate Thanksgiving, I can't help but be thankful for my childhood. My warm sweet memories and the good friends that have touched my life.

I guess my following of Wil Wheaton has less to do with "Wil Wheaton" himself, and more to do with all the great memories he represents for me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Dentist & Flu Shots

The Dentist

All weekend I have had a small knot in the pit of my stomach, and though I tried to deny it, the big bold writing on my ical would not let me forget it. Today was Dentist Appt. day! Not for me, but for the kids. Patrick has been a trooper at every dentist appointment he's ever been to, while Cheyanne on the other hand, well Cheyanne not so much. Last year she cried and threw such an incredible fearful fit, that they ended up not giving her an exam at all!

So for the last year I have been dreading & putting off bringing her back. But it was finally time. We pulled in to the parking lot (running late as usual) and I took a deep breath, waiting for the inevitable freak-out. We made our way across the parking lot and still, no freak-out. I figured she must be waiting until we get in the door. S we ride the elevator and make our way to Dr. Josh's office (the best pediatric dentist ever) and go in. Still nothing.

Patrick was off & running the minute we came in because since his last visit he has lost his first tooth, had the adult tooth begin to come in, and now has another loose one, so he was all primed and ready to show his new grill off to anyone and everyone.

Cheyanne got called in and laid down on the table. I waited. All she did was lay down and watch Bee movie on the big TV screen that was hanging over the chair, and let the lady hygienist do her thing. I sat in shocked amazement as my daughter simply allowed a dental cleaning to happen. Then the dentist came in, and still she laid happily while Dr. Josh checked her teeth.

Isn't it amazing when your child suddenly just overcomes something on their own? Wow. Plus they got good reports across the board. Perfect teeth. That's right, my babies got some beautiful teeth.

The Flu Shot

After the very awesome trip to the dentist, I had to push my luck with flu shots. You know with school, work, and all the other crap we always have going on we only have so many free mornings to do these kind of errand and so I had to cram them into one morning. My kids made me go first, and though they both gave a cry while the shit was given, they recovered quickly, thanks in part to the suckers in my purse. So much for the healthy teeth! HA HA

As it turns out, I'm the big wimp. I've been whining about my sore arm ALL DAY. It feels all bruised and sore, and I finally took something. But I'm still achy. The kids haven't complained once. Go figure.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22, 1963

As I started to write this, I decided to look at some YouTube stuff to see if I could find some footage of newcasts reporting the death of President John F Kennedy. Today is the 45th anniversary of his death.

But it was all just so chilling and so sad. Kennedy signified hope to so many people, and then in an instant he was gone. And now we, as a country, are riding high on the wave of hope once again and I just wanted to find something that simply reminded us of Kennedy & the hope he projected on to this country instead.

He personified hope. Hope & Imagination. He imagined.
He imagined a world where black & white lived together in harmony.
He imagined a world without war.
He imagined a man on the moon.

He imagined all that we could ever hope to be, and all we could actually become today.

John F. Kennedy May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How McCain Lost

Everywhere we have been reading about all the amazing things we can learn from the genius of Obama’s campaign. I agree whole-heartedly.

But I also think that some things can be learned from John McCain’s campaign as well. Really it’s just one lesson. One that I learned when I was a kid, but can always be reminded of.

In 2001 George W. Bush raged a dirty war against McCain that ended up costing McCain the Republican primary. McCain, in an act of great dignity, chose publicly not to fight dirty back. It was choosing to take the high road to the White House instead of the low one that made him respected and beloved by members of both parties.

Many of the conservative members of the GOP were not very fond of McCain’s views, which often differed from that of the party. But McCain didn’t care. He stuck to his guns with every things that came his way while in the Senate. Many times choosing to work with senate democrats in spite of the message it sometimes sent to the GOP. McCain made choices based on what was right for the country, not the party.

So much so that in 2004 he was asked by John Kerry to be his running mate. It was at that moment John McCain became making the wrong choices. Instead of switching parties and teaming up with Kerry (could you imagine how different things could have turned out had he said yes?) or possibly taking a gamble at running as an Independent without either party’s support he, as some of his former supporters put it, sold his soul to the GOP.

McCain, in a move that was as epic as Luke deciding to join forces with Darth Vader, ended his long-standing disdain for President Bush and began campaigning for him. Knowing that giving his whole support to Bush & the most conservative members of his party was the only way to ensure a place on the ticket in 2008.

In the years following, he strayed further and further from the ideals and principles that made him such a “Maverick” in the first place. Until finally he made the call that clenched his imminent loss, the call to fight dirty against Obama. So dirty that a McCain rallies the chant of “Kill Him” could be heard.

And this is where the lesson comes into play. It’s a lesson McCain should have learned long ago. It’s the lesson my grandpa taught me when I was just a kid. Stay true to who you are, and the rest will just come to you.

McCain cared about things like dignity, honor, and standing for what you believe in. But in his quest for the White House, he somehow lost sight of those things. And that’s what was playing “politics as usual.” Something he didn’t realize we really truly were tired of.

Staying true to yourself is never easy in this world. Especially in the ever compromising situations that can be found in the Government where people are constantly asked to bend this way or that way “for the greater good”.

But at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how far you bend, as long as feet remain firmly planted in the roots of what’s right.

And in the end Obama’s were the ones deeply rooted in the heart of America.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Letter to the President-Elect

Dear Mr. President-Elect Obama,

First, allow me to say congratulations a well-fought campaign. You worked hard, chose wisely in the people you kept around you, and believed in yourself and your country. You deserve the title of President. You have thanked the many of us that supported you in this campaign, and we are appreciative of those thanks. But none are necessary.

Mr. Preseident-Elect, I do not envy the job you are about to begin. An entire population of people has laid their hopes and dreams at your feet. Your name will forever be the name that comes at the end of every textbook that tells the tale of Civil Rights. You have had more expectations and responsibilities placed on your shoulders than any one man ever should. How you carry that weight is up to you.

I can only imagine what George Washington must have felt the day after he became the first President of our great country. Looking out his window saying to himself, "God, please help me get this right." If I may be so bold, I imagine a part of you is quietly saying the same thing.

I hope you are saying that, in fact. Because if you are, then it means you can feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you can feel it, then for as long as you reside in the White House, you will remember that it's there.

I believe that you will do great things. I believe that you may not be able to accomplish all that you set out to do, but only because of the limitations that Washington can create.

I also believe that, though so much of what people attribute to your historic status is he color of your skin, you being where you are has nothing to do with the color of your skin, and more to do with destiny. I think that you were destined to be here, no matter what the color of your skin may be.

I also believe that my children, who are white, will be the most color-blind generation ever to grace the streets of our nation. I believe they will suffer from less ignorance than any generation that has come before them.

And I believe they will judge people on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin.

I believe that they will be that way because for them, you will not be the first "African-American" President. For them and the entire generation of school-age children across the land, you will simply be their First President.

And that, Mr. President-Elect, is what will make this country suddenly leap forward and achieve great things while you are in office.

That is why I voted for you. That is why I pledge my support and good wishes to you and your family on this journey that we are all about to begin together.

Go ahead and begin, because we are ready. We are ready.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One Last Try to Educate on Prop 8

As I write this I can see the street in front of my house. What I see are these ugly yellow signs, that all say the same thing Yes on Prop 8. I was born and raised here in the bay area. Gay marriage has been legal for a while now, and trust me, the world has not fallen into ruin. Unless you count the influence of the current White House administration, but I digress.

I'm not sure exactly how much publicity Prop 8 is receiving in the rest of the country, but here it is everywhere. And it makes me sad. You see I believe that everyone has the right to his or her own opinion on gay marriage. But personal opinions should not be the basis for removing a law that is not really hurting anybody anyway. The only ones hurt by Prop 8 will be the people who will no longer be able to marry the person they love.

You know else will be hurt if Prop 8 passes? The 52,000 kids here in California being raised by gay and lesbian couples, whose dignity and rights will be stripped from them if Prop 8 passes. 52,000 kids who are not even old enough to vote. Who’s taking into account their opinion? Who’s protecting their rights?
It upsets me that this campaign in favor of Prop 8 is taking advantage of peoples fears and ignorance and running a campaign based on lies. And people who don’t even live in California are running it. And these people don’t intend on moving here no matter what the outcome of tomorrow’s election. Why do they have a say at all?

Here's a few facts for you.

1. Being raised in the school system here and having a child in it now, I can promise that gay marriage is not going to be taught in schools. I am not saying that based on what commercials say. I am saying that as an active PTA parent AND an early childhood educator who is well aware of the curriculum here.

2. I was not allowed to marry in the Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic, but my husband was not. Instead I was married by an officiate in the mountains of Northern California. The Catholic Church still does not recognize MY marriage. And they will continue to not recognize it whether prop 8 passes or not. Because churches have rules about whom they will and will not marry. These rules won’t change. Again, I do not say this because of commercials, I say it as a Catholic girl who could not be married in the church, so I know. But the state of California recognizes my marriage. That also won’t change whether Prop 8 passes or not.

3. Nothing will change if people vote no on prop 8. There will only be changes if Prop 8 passes. Can I say that again?

NO Vote- Nothing Changes

Yes Vote-Many Things Change.

I say that as someone capable of reading English. I read Prop 8. You should too.

If you are a California resident you have the power to Vote NO tomorrow on Prop 8. Say no Hate. Say no to ignorance. Say no to Prop 8.

People have the power, use it!