Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Road Which Leads to Oscar

Last week the nominees were announced for the 79 Academy Awards. And I have to painstakenly admit I do not take notice as I did before the birth of Scooter. I think there is something about having a kid and only seeing the films in the 'animated feature' category that truly takes the zing out of the Oscars.

The Oscars resonnate a past life when I was part of the adult culutre. I would have seen all the films in all the categories. I would understand all the in jokes about the various films broadcast over the live feed. I would have been part of the Oscar club. I would have my bets on who should win and who would win.I would stay upuntilthe last category was won.

But now, I find, I turn on the television the day of the event. I still watch the parade of glamourous stars wearing their beautiful designer dresses, who have hired sylists to ensure that they do not make a fashion faux pas for the glorious day. There is not a hair clip out of place and all dresses could be swapped for the next there are no mistakes or true mishaps to be had.And their PR people can get them the best seats in the house, as well as the best commentary from Joan Rivers and her daughter. I do not have a vested interest. And I feel as though the event as been orchestrated so perfectly ; the drama and entrensic theatre have been drawn out of the Oscar experience.

So when the nominations were announced, they went unnoticed by myself in my tattered blue jeans and black turtleneck sweater with silver hooped earings.

That is, until my husband called upstairs as I was putting Scooter to bed. He called up with urgency and with a great deal of excitement in his voice... He called up to say our friend had been nominated for an Oscar.

Now, when you hear that your friend has been nominated for this prestigious award you can become giddy. You get all excited. You get to where your heart grows a moment, it swells in your chest, you palpatate with pride and then you go down memory lane ... You go down the road to when you first knew your friend and the incredible voyage which leads to an Academy Award Nomination.

I met my gal pal Oscarina, (how can you tell I make up all my friends names to protect them) through my husband. She worked with him and while WonderBoy and I were dating, we all hung out together. We went to films, we shot pool, we ate at 3am, we worked across the hall from each other so when the deadlines were long we would quickly share take-out in our perspective boardrooms and work to the wee hours of the morning often sharing cabs.

Oscarina was married. And she was putting her husband Chris through Chiropractic college. He 'studied' hard and was never home. He was always working on that degree. That is until Oscarina went looking for her extra wool socks one particularly cold day and found a whole pile of explicit, spine tingling letters to Chris from one of his classmates. As luck would have it Oscarina found these letters two days before Chris' graduation from Chiropractic college. His gift to her was the knowledge that he did not love her anymore and was going to his graduation with the author of the letters she had found.

Now Oscarina is a very noble woman. She is not prone to sentimental claptrap. She is more of the 'jaded European type'. A Garbo in our midst not wearing emotions on her sleeve, not standing on a soapbox announcing how her man did her wrong... Not talking about 'how could this happen?' Would she have changed herself? Could she have changed the course? Would she have changed her faith in herself because of someone elses' deceit? Her head held high she moved on, as what else was there to do?

About a year later, Oscarina developed a love interest with an old friend of hers. They quickly developed into a long distance love affair. But Oscarina was not happy. Oscarina's new love interest, Fred suggested that maybe they should take there relationship to a new level by her moving to his city and starting anew. She agreed and so our young heroine took her architectural degree to another city in hopes of happiness with her new love.

Oscarina was happy in her new city, happy with her new love. But terribly unhappy in her chosen career. She had a degree and felt chained to it. She did not like the work and was terribly, unhappy.

Fred, being a smart man, a learned man, suggested maybe another path. A Path not taken. He suggested that she should think about what would truly make her happy and go for it. She was smart, she was keen and she had not financial restraints. He had a good paying job and could support her. Take her time and find her true path.

And with that, Oscarina dared to put her head out into the skies and dared to dream of what she really wanted to be but was too fearful that it would be ridiculed. But she knew she could not live with regret. So, she dared. She dared to take on something new. To take a chance and not be bound by a past but to see a true future for herself.

Oscarina had a vision, she knew what she wanted to be when she grewup. And with the persistance and willingness to learn she worked towards her new goal. A goal that would sustain her into the future. She went back to school. She went back at an older age. She went back in her late thirties. She went back to start a new career of her choice.

And I could fill in the middle with all the challenges that faced our heroine. And there were many. But none that were not met with a a degree of discouragement as she truly could see her path. The blocks we just obstacles which took her on many various tours to her fate. Her true calling.

And I will not tell you what she is nominated for, as she can be emblematic for all those faceless beings in the theatre. The ones who have made the journey, the voyage of a dream. Where no camera will focus on her arrival, none will be focussed on her expectant face in the theatre but a heart will be pounding just the same. Just as my faceless being will be rivetted to my television set, just to hear my friend's name and I can scream 'YES, for she is happy whether she takes home Oscar or not, as she is still on a journey, a voyage and I am so glad that I have been taken along for a true Oscar ride. The path does not stop there.It continues as does life. But for a moment, a brief moment, we stop and hear our hearts pounding in anticipation for a name being called out in a theatre and celebrate the voyage to getting there.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Santa is Alive and Well and Lives In California?

I am going to share with you my Dearbloggerfriend my great life reaffirming holiday story.

My daughter has become a great Beatles fan. She absolutely loves them. It started innocently enough when she was about three years of age when she first saw The Yellow Submarine. She loved it. And through her nine years on this earth, she has been continually inundated with music from the Beatles.

And last year something really hit a chord with my dear Scooter as she sat and watched A Hard Days Night. She sat mesmerized by these young boys from Liverpool, with their charming smiles, cute hairdos and close fraternity of the band that the film displayed. She loved the humour and the quirkiness of each band member. We have since followed it up with Help! and my daughter's love of Mr. Ringo Starr has been sealed. Sealed so solidly that I have been told that her first born son will be named Richard Starkey. I had always wondered what my first born grandson would be named and now I know.

She has also declared that she knows that someday she will meet Mr. Starr. She just knows she will. All of her friends are given wee antidotes about the Beatles and know how great of a drummer Ringo was. She knows of all the folklore and can pinpoint who is singing what. She can tell you all of the Beatle wives as well. All of her stuffed animals are given names of the Beatles and their crew.

So, for Christmas, when I saw on Ebay the Ringo Starr 'classic', Caveman, I knew I had a perfect stocking stuffer for my wee lass. I placed my bid and awaited the news of my winning the product.

And lo and behold I won!

I do not know if any of you have ever made a purchase through e-bay. It is pretty straight forward, you place your bid, you win or you lose and then you arrange for shipment costs and normally you pay for all through Paypal... Absolutely brilliant! No fuss, no muss and you did not have to leave your home for your purchase, it comes home to you.

Well, my dear seller, does not want his payment through the easy 'no fuss no muss' method of Paypal. He wants his payment through money order. It may seem simple enough for some, but in my neighbourhood, at Christmastime, proves to be a big hassle. A big hassle as people in my neighbourhood are from the olde country. People from my neighbourhood, live, live, for line-ups as it brings them back to the ways of the olde country. It brings them back to their beloved Poland. They are true vetrans of the waiting in line-ups. They bring sustenance.They have thermos' filled with tea and they have sausages. They know of a full day commitment when it comes to government and they expect it. They do not come to the post office for a small piddly package. They come to the post office with bundle buggies full of packages. And they pay for all these packages with bags of coins. Not rolled, as what are they paying the goverment for?

And of course, the post office employee takes all of this in good stride. She is a government employee. She will not be intimidated by huffy people in line. In fact, if there seems to be any rebellion in the ranks, it causes her to work at an even slower pace, seeming to crawl along in her tasks of the day. And all the while she speaks in Polish and moves in such a way, that her breathing causes irritation to a woman, who has to pick up her kid from school in two hours and a half and fears that she has not allowed enough time for this adventure.

Now, I am a perfectly reasonable person. I am a person who is patient and kind. But my neighbourhood post office truly sends me over the deep end. And the fact that I am there five weeks before Christmas and dealing with the crowds displays a love that is indeed great for my daughter. And to be told when I get to the front of the line that they do not take interact, to be told after waiting a lifetime, watching endless pennies being counted at the counter, to hearing all the gossip of various rhumnetoid remedies, to be told when I get to the front of the line that they do not take interact, can cause a perfectly reasonable person to go insane. Or dare I use the phrase 'POSTAL??"

But why do you not take interact? You took it two weeks ago?


What do you mean Nih? You did!

Nih Panyha. Zat was den, dis is now. Too buzy for dis interaaaact?

But you are not too busy to count out pennies? I am such a novice when it comes to line ups, such an upstart, such a whippersnapper.And with her 'Nih, and Nexxct!!!!" supended in the air she dismisses me and looks to the next prepared customer, Miss Fussy Pants, or Miss Pissy Pants aka me, turns and leaves, grumbling my displeasure for all the rest of my 'line up buddies' proletariat amusement.

I am so discouraged, well, that truly is not the word, I am so angry , yes, angry, furious even, that to go to my bank, and then go back to the post office takes more energy than I can expend. And since my gasket in brimming to explosion I decide to avoid my rage and storm home sputting and spewing about the injustice of it all.

A week passes and my mind has been preoccupied with all the other holiday festivities that have taken up my mind and brain limited activity. So much so, that I had utterly and completely forgotten about my purchase, my lack of payment or and the postal payment. That is until I get the phone call from my Ebay Buddy.

Ohhh my Gawd.i am so sorry... And I explain my mental obstacle problem with the post. And that I am truly embaressed for my tardiness/forgetfulness. I tell him all about my post office experience, and promise to battle it head on the following day.

I then tell him about my daughter and how much this is going to make her Christmas. I then go into the history of my daughter's love. How often does a kid sit through the entire Beatles Anthology. My daughter can imitate the way George versus John hold their perspective guitars, this poor man was given the whole 'Why Scooter loves the Beatles Speech' and all he was calling for was payment.

I get to the post office, I make my payment, I request Prioity Post and e-mail my E-Bay buddy the particulars. A week and a half later my payment arrives.Nothing like Priority Post! And with that he informs me that the package has been sent.

I write him a thank you note and another sincere apology for my tardiness. And to my surprise he writes me back.
He writes me back with a great story. He, too, loves the Beatles. He, too, can not get enough of them. He understands my family's love of the Beatles. He goes on in his story to tell me about a good friend of his and how she was given the opportunity to play on Sir Paul's latest album. He tells a story of how his good friend was read the riot act through the record label and told that she may not address SirPaul, may not talk about the Beatles or anything for that matter. He tells me how he made his dear friend feels rotten. As he tried guilting her into allowing him to at least drive her to the recording studio for this may be his only opportunity to get a glimpse of one of the fab four.She tells him no, but it huants her. It haunts her all the way through the drive to the studio and up to the kitchen where all the other musicians are making their tea. She then tells all the musician how over wrought with guilt she it and that her friend is such a huge fan and she let him down.
She then decides to prove her point by calling his answering machine and making the various musicians listen to his out going message which is The Beatles and Paul's voice screaming ONE TWO THREE FOOAAHHH!!!

And with that Sir Paul enters the room.The musicians point beyond this young woman's shoulders and she turns... And there she is with Sir Paul. There she is with the man she is supposed to not address, not allowed to talk to, and definitely not allowed to mention The Beatles with.

And it is more than she can bare, she screams' Sir Paul, Sir Paul, I know we are not allowed to talk about The Beatles, I know we are not allowed to talk to you, But Sir Paul, Sir Paul, I would be a horrible, horrible, friend if I did not ask you to listen to my friend's answering machine message!!!Please!!!'

And with that he took the phone from the young woman and pressed redial. He listened to my EBay buddy's outgoing message and left one of his very own Sir Paul greeting on my Ebay Buddy's machine.

Now, this story certainly warmed my heart at Christmas.It was such a sweet story. A story of friendship and it really did make me feel all warm and cozy inside. So, I wrote my e-bay buddy to tell him just that...I also let him know that the Caveman movie arrived and it was perfect.(In truth I forgot how truly bad it was but we fast forwarded the questionable parts.)

Well, My Ebay Buddy then emails me back saying that he has something special for my family. And with that he sent the message from SirPaul as well as bloopers of Beatles recording sessions from around the world. It should receive arrive for Christmas. And Merry Christmas to you and yours.

The CD arrived and I placed it in my husband's stocking along with the new CD called LOVE... But the CD of the Bloopers is what was the coveted gift over the holidays. It was played non stop. John trying to get Paul to laugh, Paul screaming 'Bloody Hell,' and George making up words to a song... Endless moments for the fans in my home.

I wrote my dear Ebay Buddy another thank you note to let him know how truly appreciated his gift was.... How utterly selfless and I will remember him always for it. As through a simple ebay purchase I got a bit of Christmas back. For Santa is alive and well and lives in California.

And you know....
When he opened my e-mail. He felt so very special. He did feel like Santa Claus. But he also added that he felt very surreal for as he opened his blackberry to my e-mail he was in Ringo Starr's home. He was asked to help his friend with a contract of decorating his home. He was in Ringo's house...

And Mr. Starr was on the phone in front of him and on the coffee table there was a Variety Book with Icons of the 21st century with the Beatles on the cover. And through his email he gave me wee tastes of what the home looked like for me to tell my daughter so that she may relive his moment.

He wrote me a wonderful note back saying that he would find a way to get a fan letter from my Scooter to Mr. Starr.

Now, Dear-BloggerFriend , it does not end there, as I have told this story of goodwill to all who were willing to listen. And I told this story to my friends at a big party I had over the holidays...

And one of the dad's at my party, gives me this mischievious smile and says that 'we are all elves.... And not only does Santa live in California but he can live in Canada too... 'And with that he has my attention...

His sister's best friend is married to Zachary Starkey. Ringo's son.

And so the beat goes on... Now, if only I could get my daughter into Thom Yorke!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Elvis Presley - Baby What You Want Me To Do ('68 Comeback)

They the powers that be at You Tube took off 'One Night' from their line up...and you really need the true Elvis Visual for the post... As I do not want you to thinkof anything other than the man clad in leather, jammin'!
So It may not be' One Night' But it is at least a pretty distant second but I gotta do what I gotta do!
So please read the next this is just a quick wee eye candy visual and/or the music as a backdrop to the following post... My husband loves me me very much....

Thursday, January 11, 2007

One Night

My husband loves me very much. My husband adores me. He would go to the sun and moon and back again for me... or at least he would take me to Graceland.

He loves me so much that he knew what I felt for Elvis since I was a young girl. He knew I experienced the King's magic in the 68 Comeback special. He knew what an out of body experience it was like for me. He knew the King could make me swoon. And my Beloved was okay with it.

So when we were courting he knew that he 'had' me when he suggested that we go on a road trip. He knew that I was in love. For who else could or would, want to share the true Elvis Experience with me?

We went to Graceland,Memphis, Tennessee. The home of the King. We went singing a Blue Christmas and Heartbreak Hotel at the top of our lungs while eating peanut butter sandwiches. We went to Graceland saying'Tank ya, Tank ya very muuuuch'

I loved the camp of Elvis. And as fate would have it we descended upon Graceland on Elvis' Birthday, January 8th, in 1991. There were Elvis impersonators everywhere. There were young Elvis' old Elvis', there were Chinese Elvis' there were Rasta Elvis'. There were women with their best Pricilla bee hive hairdo's , there were old and young alike. They were coming to pay their respects to the King. And me not even knowing it was the King's Birthday...

We stayed across the street from the home of Elvis in the Memory Lane Inn and our room came equipped with the twenty four hour Elvis channel. The swimming pool was in the shape of a guitar and the 'art' on the walls were old album covers that were nailed into the veneer. Our 'consierge' at the front desk looked as though he were Elvis had he lived to age 65 with jet black hair still greased back, weighing a modest three hundred pounds, with gold rings on each finger and a sneer that followed. He walked with his head held on a slant, wearing black high heeled boots coupled with black polyester pants, a ELVIS belt buckle and a shirt unbuttoned to show off his lightening bolt TCB gold necklace. I was living the moment.

'Will you be staying for the continental breakfast?' he asks in the great Tennesee drawl looking at me through his eyebrows.
What is in the continental breakfast? I ask politely.
'Ahhh, doughnuts popcorn, coke and a coffee...'
'Sounds like a breakfast fit for a king! Count us in!'

And with that we checked in and hankered down to watch the Elvis station, where we learned from Elvis' cousin twice removed that Elvis was/is not dead, He informed us at 1 am that "He knows Elvis and that was not Elvis in the coffin that he saw.' We watched bad films, other relatives with various speculations on where Elvis may be living but there was no 68 Comeback Special to be had.

I do not know what I had expected about Elvis' home, collection of Cadillacs, airplane or bus. I do not know if I wanted some sense of connection to this man who reached me over the televison and through records. I do not know if I thought if I perused his home I may have that tingly sensation of his presence.

But Graceland does not give you this. It is just a home, a suburban home that has tour guides who give out scripted antitdotes about Elvis, through an ex-wife's voice. The furniture has all been covered in plastic just as his afterlife seemed to be. The feeling of Elvis had indeed left this building. There was no sense of Elvis ever being in da' building. But I suppose his house does not really have a soul or for that matter his sweat. The sweat has already been tweeked out of all his clothing and has been sold in the officially sanctioned Elvis store across the way.

That is until we walked downstairs into his costume area. And there were all his famous outfits. There it was the leather suit. There is was, and I felt 'tingly'. It brought me right back to being a girl and watching his Comeback Special as a rerun. It brought me back to my parents wreckroom,me lying on the floor,for I certainly could not get up. With the song 'One Night' I thought, this is the man, this man with that voice, the man with the sneer that belts his guitar on his chest, this man in clad in leather,this IS the man I am going to marry. And as I stared gleaming I just kept hearing 'One Night' in my head...

And when we came to his wedding tuxedo. Ohhhh how I just stared.
I remember turning to the Man Who Brought me to Graceland and saying' A brown paisley tux... How utterly cool is that??? Brown Paisley!!! And he just nodded in agreement.
'Did I ever tell you, I thought I was going to marry Elvis?' I inquire, not really to him, but more to the manequin that sported the brown paisley tuxedo behind the bullet proof sheilding.

I should have stayed in that section and not meandered over to the Las Vegas suits but that was also part of his being. And part of his style. And if anything, Elvis had his own type of style. I preferred to remember him always in the 68 Special but acknowledge that the movies and the Vegas years did happen.

But the tour did not seem right, even with all the camp all around us.

I had a good laugh at the King size bed in the Lisa Marie Airplane with the seat belt across the middle for when Elvis had long flights. Sure I had a giggle seeing the eternal flame right beside the swimming pool. And I had a good laugh knowing that Elvis' great Aunt was still living upstairs while we toured her nephew's home. But it left me feeling pretty void. How everyone was cashing in on Elvis. How they were cashing in on his being instead of his music. In Graceland there is no music to be had.

But we decided to get off the tour and explore Memphis ourselves. And in the rain we came upon Sun Studios.
We found Elvis and he was in the building. It was just a small recording studio where Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis first got their start.

The recording engineers who purchased the studio had a real love of music, a real love for the sound that came out of Memphis. They saved the studio as it had been made into a autobody repair shop. They painstakenly brought back the tiles and refurbished the studio back to its grandeur of when Sam Phillips had a vision. These sound engineers brought the Elvis and the other hometown boys home for the tourists and they knew we were all looking for them.

We were given an audio tour. We stood transfixed in the centre of the studio as they played the tapes they had recovered. We heard all of the good takes and the bad. We heard the banter, and we heard them jam with each other. We heard them. We heard them while they were still struggling, or in some cases rising up. There was laughter and artistry in those walls. We heard Elvis come in and interrupt Carl Perkins recording to show off his new Cadillac, we also hear him leave as he curses the kids who were playing on the hood of his new car. We heard Johnny Cash enter from Christmas shopping and wanted to wish Elvis a Merry Christmas as he just saw the Cadillac parked out front.We heard Jerry Lee, enter to find out where his song was on the charts and was startled to meet Mr. Presley. It would known later as the Million Dollar recording session. And we get to hear how these men heard music in the Delta and re-interpretate it for the masses. We heard them jam. And we heard an interpretation of rock and roll history and the sounds of some of the bars in the South. We heard a part of America.

And at the end of the audio there was a sense of satisfaction with all in the room. We took in all that the walls had witnessed and produced with the Memphis rains pouring in the back ground.

And as we stood in the centre of the room, the engineers pointed as an afterthought to the various instruments and props around the studio ' Dat dere is de piano dat Jerry Lee Lewis recorded Great Balls of Fire, and dat dere is the guitar of Mr. Johnny Cash And over dere, dat dere is the microphone dat Elvis is holding in dat dere photograph.'

And to my utter amazement as the sound engineers let us have our moment, a group of elderly women who were with us on the audio tour, the ones with their white hair held high in their bee hive lids, these respectable grannies, these women, these women, looked around to make certain that no one was looking and then they grabbed the microphone and licked it.... I could not believe my eyes... But indeed Elvis was in the building and maybe they could just taste a bit of his saliva.

My Graceland companion gasped and I howled.

And through the years I have met various people who knew Elvis.I have met people that have jammed with Elvis and were given the Elvis trademark TCB lightning bolt necklace instead of the Cadillac. And they could bring Elvis into the building with their stories and their songs.

And in 1994 when I wore a giant merrangue dress, with a veil. for the man I truly love, I found that he, my soul mate, my road companion for life, had worn a brown paisley suit.

And all I could do as I swooned at the alter was to say "Oh baby, for me?'

And I know I am a bit late... with all due respect, Baby,may I call you Baby? Mr. Elvis Aaron Presley... Thank ya Thank ya very much...And Happy Birthday... From your adoring fan # 15,675,393.