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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Distance is our greatest barricade, and the diligence to meet and succeed that distance length for length, and hour for hour, is our most successful plan of attack. Without persistence in this plan, there is little, if any, hope in containing the threat of distance, and the enemy will have formed a barricade as imposing — but also as penetrable — as Hitler’s Atlantic Wall.

Just the other day, I was hanging out with Jimi and Alison at Abebe’s house. The driving conditions were abysmal, and, even though I am 19 and can assert my independence from the guardians, my parents shouldn’t have let me out. It took me four attempts to back out of the driveway, but in my defense: 1) My side mirrors weren’t any help. 2) I kept turning early because my side mirrors were useless.

Despite the driving conditions and horrible experience in the driveway, I made it safely to Abebe’s house, and Jimi and I proceeded to watch the end of Star Wars Episode 1. We watched and hoped Qui-Gon wouldn’t die, I realized Darth Maul’s light saber doesn’t break until he fights Obi-Wan, and Jimi recited some of the lines moments before they were uttered on screen. Then we went to the mall — despite the abysmal conditions. Then we came back with Alison and we watched a movie until 2 AM.

Was that foolish? In hindsight, no. I wasn’t snowed in, but I did have tons of snow to shovel back home. This was the first sloth, the first barricade. He was beckoning me back to the warmth of my parent’s house, and into my bed. At this point I was rather energized from seeing two good friends, and I acted on impulse. I didn’t want to sleep so I took out my light saber (color to be determined, but I guess technically you have to find the rare crystals that will determine the color of your saber, so it won’t be I who determines the color), and drew a nice line laterally along the sloth. Then I started to shovel as the sloth lay on his side, bleeding his mucus-greenishyellow interiors onto the driveway as it seeped into the wet and heavy snow.

Ours is a circle driveway. Often, if you read my 100 Things, I pretend I am shoveling for Hitler, and if I don’t shovel fast enough, Hitler will step out of his car as he arrives and give me a case of lead infection in the cranial area (#87). I finished shoveling the drive that we use the most. Then I started the secondary, the circle part of the circle driveway. It was tough — so tough that I broke our oldest shovel, but in my defense, this was going to be its last winter anyway. I returned to our arsenal of shovels, ceremoniously placed the former shovel to rest, and then picked up a smaller shovel so I could toss the snow further, and proceeded with that strategy on the secondary drive. Then, as my Michael Jackson playlist had exhausted itself, I thought to myself, “What the heck? I can do this tomorrow.” Sloth number two.

I began to multitask, shoveling and staring this sloth down. This one was a female, and she was seductive. I have never ever laid with a sloth, but — this one, man — this one was enticing. She lazily drew closer, her body dragging her extremities, and her extremities dragging her body. I squinted the sexiest squint I am capable of, and drew closer as well, albeit more cautiously and upright. As she raised her right arm and curved hoof to draw me in — in order to, I am supposing, give me a sloppy kiss — I threw the shovel to the ground between us, and dictated, “That’s enough!” and proceeded to draw my light saber to slay this one in the fashion that she would no longer have a head. It was a clean incision, and she stood there motionless, a very common characteristic in this species. Then her head slid off to the left, as I had made the incision at an angle from the upper right down to the lower left of the neck. I gave my eyes a dramatic roll, and then proceeded to boot the head across the street into the neighbors yard. I let the body rot in the driveway, as I hastily finished the secondary drive.

The point of this entry is rather simple: Slay the sloths. The thing that keeps us from achievement is the sloths. They encourage us to put the shoveling off until tomorrow, and then tomorrow the sloths will catch us and turn us into one of them. Then we will do to others as the sloths did to us. There is, however, the story of when I did become a sloth, and how I came out of that dreary spell. I should save that one for later, though. In the meantime, you should simply seek to slay them. May the force be with you.

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The Tribute (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCV7IuRaCBY)

  • The costume consists of the fedora, white glove, loafers, socks, and black pants. I decided to wear a designed t-shirt because I wanted to try and capture some of Michael’s element from the Victory tour. He wore a blue t-shirt under his sequined jacket in that tour, and I thought that looked very cool. My parents bought the jacket, and it’s special because it’s a replica of the jacket he wore during his 30th Anniversary Concerts. Usually he wore the jacket without the stripe, but those September concerts — the concerts that made me a fan — were ones where he wore the arm band. I was most disappointed with the pants. They weren’t short enough and they didn’t have a stripe down the sides.
  • The audio is also borrowed from the 30th Anniversary Concerts. I like his Billie Jean performance from those concerts because they’re full of excitement. Billie Jean at Motown 25 launched Michael into stardom — Billie Jean was iconic, synonymous, with Michael Jackson. Then at the 30th Anniversary Concerts, the audience in Madison Square Garden were lucky to see Michael Jackson — to my knowledge — perform Billie Jean for the first time in years, but the last time in his life. This was Michael’s song. At points you can hear the excitement emanating from his voice. This song made Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson, and he was sharing it with the world again.
  • The camera angles were all courtesy of my friends who helped film it: Kyle, Angie, Ana, Zhennan, Isaac, Vince, Caitlin, and Tegan. I have to thank them for helping me film this tribute. It means so much to me, and it wouldn’t have been possible without them. Isaac also provided the lights, microphone, and experience in reserving the stage.
  • The tribute was filmed in Marquette University’s Weasler Auditorium. It is a compilation of 4 run-throughs. This is a testament to Michael’s mastery. In what took him one show, it took me four — and even with four, it’s not up to par — not that I would ever be — with his show.

That’s something I didn’t expect from filming this tribute: Therapy. I wasn’t sad at all. It was like when I watched “This Is It”. When some facet of Michael is on stage, you have to smile. It’s not sad at all. You saw this man doing what he loved to do, what he had been doing since the age of five, what he was proudest and best at. When you see someone in love with something that they truly and genuinely love, you have to smile. It’s compulsory.

Had Michael not passed, I probably would have never filmed this. And that’s exactly my intent: I don’t want to bring adulation on myself because my purpose was to pay final respects to a man and entertainer I’ll always remain fond of. This video is for Michael as an expression of gratitude and love.

Michael Jackson

I’m glad that, for the most part, Michael has been represented in a positive light in the media. His This Is It tour was supposed to be, in a sense, redemptive for him from the public scrutiny. It was supposed to remind us that Michael Jackson wasn’t just the man with the oddities, but that he was a genius with music and an artist with dance. This Is It was supposed to remind the world that Michael Jackson entertained, and he was a master of entertainment.

Yet, in light of all the positivity, I think we must be rash and remember that he died because of unhealthy drug use (in addition to poor care, I’m guessing), and that Michael Jackson was and is not a god. Not everything about him before his passing was perfect, and like any one of us, Michael was fallible. Sometimes I feel like I make him my idol, and that worries me. But it would be foolish to try and reduce my obsession or interest. First, because it would be nearly impossible. Secondly, because in order to reduce something, you have to increase something else. ((In my case, I don’t want Michael Jackson to come before God. Therefore, I increase my focus on God, but can still healthily enjoy Michael.)) In the end, I’m elated that his enduring legacy will be positive. He didn’t get it for most of his life, but he deserved it.

Only twice in my life have I ever craved a really good blog entry. Once was last night, and the first was the beginning of this past Fall 2009 semester. In addition to blogs, I crave a spectrum of other items. This past semester is a list in itself: Ramen noodles of the beef flavor variety and of the spicy flavor at the campus Walgreens (the miracles of a dollar and some hot water), chocolate manifest as Twix bars and Cookies ‘n’ Creme Crunch bars, Chinese food in the form of fried dumplings and spicy beef lo mein (with vegetables), buffalo wings in BW3’s spicy garlic and blazin’, Taco Bell after four hours in organic chemistry laboratory, and romantic comedies like Just Friends and Love Actually.

I think these cravings are my way of escapism. That’s explicitly what I wanted last night: To escape. That’s something we all want, right? Is that wrong? Is that disloyal and dishonest to ourselves? I was sick of my life for a little while last night: School, my friends, my taste in music, my wardrobe, the way I think about things. It sounds morbid and ungrateful.

Last night, just for a little while, I didn’t want to live — I just wanted to exist. I wanted to ditch my responsibility as the prima donna and the protagonist. Let the spotlight fall on someone else and immerse me in your life: Your joy and sorrow, your thoughts and fantasies, frustrations and pride, wishes and goals. Just for a little while — at least until life beckons me back onstage.