Tag Archives: oprah

The Week That Was: A Round-Up

What a week. I’m just finishing up some coffee, then I’m dragging my tired ass into work.

My seat in the arena might've been the nosebleeds, but it was fun to be above everything. Loved it. Great view.

A lot of changes coming for me. I’ll share one day. Not today. But life is settling down. It feels like the end of a long road. Not quite there yet, but getting there.

I got to see the Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals in hockey. The Canucks smoked the San Jose Sharks. It was one of the most enthralling sports experiences I’ve ever been present for.

17 years to the day that Greg Adams scored a double-overtime sudden-death game-winning goal, sending Vancouver’s Canucks to the Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers, our Kevin Bieksa scored his double-overtime sudden-death game-winning goal. Now Vancouver’s waiting on word of our next meal, in the Stanley Cup Finals: Boston or Tampa.

17 years. Wow.

I just made a mental list of the world of experiences I’ve gone through in those years. It’s an interesting week to take stock of where I am and where I’ve been. Where I’d like to go.

It’s an exciting time, both for me and for my city.

The Queen Is Retired, Long Live the Queen

And Oprah’s over. A lifetime of learning from her show — mock me if you will. I think there’s a few Oprahs, given the variety of topics she’s handled over the years, but I think Oprah’s social efforts make her one of the greatest people of modern times.

Whether it’s the thousands of scholarships she’s given out, the work she’s done to protect kids from sexual abuse, her advancement of gay rights, celebration of the arts, her involvement with education on all levels… well, there’s not many people in this world who’ve truly put their money where their mouth is, but Oprah has.

Oprah has meant a lot to me over the years. There have been times when I’ve been home in the afternoon, lost or sad or pensive, and just happened to turn on Oprah and there she was, talking about something that I could use to have more insight into my own predicaments.

So many times have I watched her show and had something to write about, whether it was Oprah-centric or some six-degrees topic that’s inspired by some aspect of a conversation she’s had.

I’ll miss her wealth of fodder for writing. I really will.

And I will miss the constant of that show being in my life.

Judge me if you like, but I’m an Oprah fan and I don’t apologize for it. This week, I’m sad to see her leave.

Rant-Be-Gone: Social Media

I wrote a rant about Twitter last week, under the guise of it being social media tips. I stand by a lot of it, but some was over-the-top. I’ve taken it down. I’ll rework it sometime.

I’m getting a little burned out on social media. I began what I do so I could have a voice. I like the portal. There gets to be a time when one feels like others think they’re entitled to a piece of you. Replying feels like work. Engaging feels like just another strain on a day.

It reflects the extent to which I feel like life demands my attention right now. It’s been a long and tiresome road, not just for myself but for others this year. Social media’s sort of that outlet place where we get to “say” things… but the larger our audience, the more inclination there is for us to be held to task by someone who perceives X situation in Y light.

The balance gets difficult. Maybe I don’t want that debate with you. Maybe I get to choose what absorbs my time. People forget there’s two sides to social media. What we say, and what we don’t.

Unfortunately, you’re mostly judged via what you said in the last 5 minutes.

Man, there are days when giving everything up to take that remote home on the coast, that I’d love to live in within five years, seems like it can’t come soon enough.

There are days when having an outlet doesn’t seem to be enough of a reward to deal with what that social media produces in response.

Fortunately, there are better days, too, when it all makes sense.

Right now, I’m not getting a lot out of being on social media. Instead, I feel like a rat on the wheel of life. It’s work, working out, hockey, work, working out, hockey. Even social media feels like work.

These days, saying less online means having fewer replies, which means it’s less work, which means I’ll recharge sooner.

This is how the thinking goes.

When Being A Couch Potato is an Improvement

I’ve sat on my sofa two days in a row. Last Monday was the first time I’d sat on my sofa in two months, thanks to that horrible back injury I had back in March.

This means things are improving.

It’ll be a while yet before I get the pacing of life under control, but I think I’m on the verge of having a less scattered lifescape before me. May has been far better than April. April was better than March. I believe June will be far better than May.

When it comes to writing, et al, I have things to say, but I don’t have the time, or energy, for saying them.

I may be tired, bone-tired, but I like life’s trajectory. Working hard is better when it’s getting you somewhere.

___________________________

And that, friends, is the week that was.

Have a fantastic weekend.

Of Trappings and Traps

So, I was watching Oprah for the first time in a long while, which is nice, and the Big O had Dave Chappelle on. I suspect it’s a re-run, so I’m probably behind the times, but ask me if I care.

For those who’ve been on a desert island, Chappelle baffled the world at large when, just after signing a contract for $50 million and two years more of his show, he up and disappeared, just fucked off to Africa for a sojourn, and didn’t tell anyone but a family member where he’d gone.

To hear him talk of it, there were dozens of reasons, but most of all, it was simply that even $50 million wasn’t worth the hassle he was facing or the pressure he was under. Some people out there probably think it’s clear he’s a fucking nutbag for walking from a steaming pile of cash like that, but I applaud it.

In order to protect my rep and all, I won’t tell you about the situation that occurred when I was 15 that left me thinking often about the phrase “Money isn’t at the end of the rainbow.”

Every time my life gets out of control, every time I start working too much or forgetting about myself, I step back and remind myself that it’s not about money. It’s never, ever about money.

Recently I was in the situation where I went from possibly losing my apartment because I was about two weeks away from running out of money as I needed to get a job ASAP (one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever been through, and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone) to suddenly being so in demand it hurt. I had the opportunity to work full-time at my new job, part-time at my old job, plus do some private work on the side, WHILE trying to keep this blog and my other blog afloat, WHILE trying to learn podcasting, WHILE trying to come up with a new website, WHILE trying to stay present with friends and family.

Is it any fucking wonder then I went off my nut?

It was early last week when I just snapped. I lost it. Totally without question mentally AWOL, or the closest I’ve ever come. Then and there, I cancelled all extra work. Forty hours a week is all the soul I can offer to the gods of social productivity.

Money’s nice. God I wish I had more of it. I’d be an exemplary rich person. My taste in the aesthetic dance of life is hard to beat, and I understand what’s worth a mighty dollar and what is not. Funny thing is, I’m not sure I ever want to be rich. I’d be happy with a hundred grand a year. That’s all I ever need. I kind of want to be famous, but only if it’s the “Yo, Steff, you rock!” kind of fame and not the stalker “Oh-My-GOD-it’s-STEFF!” kind of fame. That’d be fucking whack. Thank god I’m just a chick with a blog, man.

If you were ever in my apartment and I wasn’t around and you wanted to play Det. Snoop, you’d sooner or later find this small pewter book charm on my bookshelves, hidden away, on which a Virginia Woolf quote can be read that says, “If you are losing your leisure, look out, for it may be that you are losing your soul.”

In the battle between my self, my soul, and my leisure, money will always, always come last. A couple years back, I read this book called “In Praise of Slow” by Carl Honore, all about the Slow food, Slow sex, Slow life movement in which people deliberately choose to take a different path in order to slow down the speed of life and enjoy the moment. Then and there, I chopped just 3.5 hours off my work week, worked one hour extra a day, and managed to have three-day weekends every week. Smartest thing I ever did. Too bad that job started to slowly kill me, ‘cos now I’m stuck in the 9-5 M-F hell that most of the rest of the world lives in.

We live by the clock and we live in the age of irony.

For a century or more now we’ve been fed the lie that technology would make our lives easier. Maybe it did, once. It doesn’t now. Now we have no time. We have no silence. We’re constantly in a race against time because we’ve bought the myth of the sands slipping through the hourglass and we stupidly believe that the more we work, the more we live. I don’t subscribe to that, but sometimes I forget just how much I disagree with it. With palm devices, laptops, cellphones, DVD players in cars, and more, we’re so wrapped up in the digital age that we forget there’s organic life around us.

Life’s crazier than ever before. Makes me remember the line from that brilliant philosopher Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Ever ridden on one of those bullet trains? I haven’t. I probably will, for the novelty of it one day, but then I’ll never do it again. What’s the point of going anywhere if you can’t see where the fuck you’re leaving?

You know something? I don’t own a microwave. Every year someone offers me a free one. Every time, I say no. You know why? Because I figure that if my life ever gets so fucking maddening that I don’t have ten minutes to make a meal or reheat leftovers, that I’m gonna use my third-floor balcony as a springboard to the afterlife, all right? Fuck, man. Life’s short and I wanna be present for every goddamned minute of it, come grief or come glee.

I want nothing more than to be able to make a living off my writing and my spoken word. A living. Not a killing. What comes with the killing is a loss of self, most times. You see it all the time, celebs who reach the pinnacle in their professions and then come toppling down from the heights. They have breakdowns, they collapse into drug abuse.

It’s strange how high the price can be for success.

I have nothing but admiration for a man like Chappelle who decides that he can’t play by the rules of those in power, and doesn’t want himself to become just another commodity traded by those with little or no respect for the price he’s paying.

Yeah, I like money. I like the trappings of success, but I’m wary of the trap. I’m staying the fuck away from the trap, man.

RANT: The Dumbing-Down of the Modern Femme

I can’t help it, I like Oprah. I even have the 20-hour 20th Anniversary DVD set, but I blame GayBoy for that, since he picked it up as an Xmas gift for me.

So, there I was, watching it, and who should she have on? Pink. The chanteuse who belts out that anti-mainstream track, Stupid Girls. Oprah invited her onto the show based on the brilliance of that track’s video, (you can play it here) which mocks the mainstream perception of what the complete woman is these days.

The gist of it is this, we live in a most ludicrously plastic time. This cult-of-celebrity shit goin’ round just pisses me the hell off. I could go and pepper this fucking rant with a hundred celebrities’ names and get myself some major hittage, but I won’t stoop that low.

God forbid I should piss off the power-bloggers (IE: Pink is the New Blog, Go Fug Yourself, Gawker, and more), but who gives a shit? How can people today care even remotely as much as they do about what Mr. Fucking Britney Spears is doing with his life? Does it matter?

The answer to that is an unequivocal NO.

I can’t understand the obsession. Can anyone explain this to me? Probably not. People are becoming so vacuous and vapid and shallow that it’s a wonder the world has any future, seriously. Cure for cancer? Not fucking likely! A better world? Fuck no! A better cellphone? You betcha!

But I’m getting off-track. What pisses me off most of all is what’s happening to the chicks of today’s generation.

I’m a fierce feminist, baby, in my own way. I don’t resent men a bit. I don’t want to see masculinity erode as the price of my attaining a stronger position in the world. I think I can have my cake and eat it, too. (And I do, it’s chocolate and caramel. Tasty.) I’m smart, I’m sexy in my cute little way, and I live my life with my integrity on my sleeve. I capitulate to no one, yet understand compromise is a way of life. I know how to get what I want, how to say what I mean, and how to behave in a non-threatening, yet intelligent manner.

Too bad the same can’t be said for the younger chicks coming up behind me. What the FUCK is going on? I blame Britney Spears, Madonna, and anyone else who’s put their fucking beauty before their brains in the last couple decades.

Like Pink said, “Sexy and smart aren’t oil and water.” You do NOT need to dumb yourself down to sex yourself up.

As long as men have a choice between a non-threatening chick who’s gonna laugh at their jokes and a smart chick who can bring some edumacatin’ to the table, there’s going to be a dichotomy of choice. The guy who chooses the latter’s always going to be the better choice for you, and don’t forget it.

Now, I don’t run around flexing my big IQ all the day long, but I can flex it when I need it, and I never, ever abandon it in favour of making a less-threatening impression.

I could have, back when I was the Queen of First Dates. I know I intimidated more than a few guys, but they got what they deserved. I said I wanted an intelligent guy who wasn’t threatened by my intelligence, yet THEY showed up on the fucking date. What, did I stutter? You wanted smart, so long as she isn’t smarter than you? Keep going, bub, this ain’t your stop.

We have a generation of Bubblegum Girls on our heels. The ones who think cleavage speaks louder than creativity, that breast size matters more than brains, that plastic surgery is the path to perfection.

Got news for you: There is no perfection.

The Guy’s not one of these losers who can’t handle smarts. But then, he’s pretty darned smart himself. Put us in a hat store and they’re gonna have some trouble sizin’ us up, I bets. He referred to me as “flawed” when listing all the things he liked about me. I furrowed my brow and quizzed him, “Flawed?” I think he was worried I was taking it the wrong way, but I was somewhat amused, since I’ve no illusion on my shortcomings. Still, he explained his thinking and introduced me to something that has previously eluded me: The concept of Wabi Sabi.

No, no, not the green stuff you mix with soy sauce for sushi, that’s wasabi. This is the Japanese principle of imperfection being the definition of beauty. That is, it’s in our uniqueness, our flaws, our subtle imperfections that our true beauty lies. The guy cited Sophia Loren as an example – weird eyes, large nose, strange jaw, dominant cheeks, but you throw it into a bowl and give it a good mix, and you have one of the most stunning beauties of this past century.

But tell that to our vapid Western society. Tell that to they who wield the airbrushes of the world. Tell that to Gawker, to Vogue, to the music video industry. Tell them that the scar on my right nostril gives me character or uniqueness. To them, it’s a reason to go under the knife and be “healed.” Tell them my intellect makes as large an impression as my big green eyes or my smiling lips or my verging-on-ghetto bootay. Today, it just don’t work that way.

While other girls wanted to be Madonna, I wanted to be Janeane Garofalo. I nearly died laughing last week when the Guy and I were talking about the “Allowed To Fuck” monogamy exlusion — that one person we can fuck outside the relationship, if the opportunity arises. His choice? Janeane Garofalo. My response? “Shit, I’ll join you.” (I haven’t decided who I’d choose yet. Hmm. So many choices, so little time. My answers were not finite, Guy!)

Garofalo’s cute, smart, sexy, funny as hell, and she doesn’t take shit from no one. Did I mention the killer smarts? And, like me, she wears glasses instead of contacts. She’s flown in the face of a Hollywood that demanded she conform, yet she’s held her own. Sure, she’s thin now, but she wasn’t always, and she did it for herself, not for the industry.

It’s bad enough that the media’s perpetuating these stereotypes – and even escalating them, but to have today’s young women participating in these negative trends usurping them of their righteous feminine powers is a fucking travesty.

Respect yourself. Be who you really are. Use your brains. Speak in your own voice. Don’t dumb shit down for a guy who doesn’t deserve what you have to offer.

And men, if you’re tired of the vapid beauties, fucking well SAY something about it. You may enjoy looking at the images, but are you enjoying the lack of brains that come with?

Can we, for once, return to the long-ago fantasties of sexy librarians and teachers with yardsticks? Chicks with brains who knew what they were doing when they dropped their drawers? Is it really such a terrible thing, self-knowledge and the ability to express one’s self? Must I and my peers continue feeling like some sort of carbon-dated example of what women once were?

‘Cause, shit, honey, I’ll tell you one thing: I go under the knife for no one. I am what I am, it is what it is, and you’d better get accustomed.