Guardians of the Galaxy – Memories of Mom

I didn’t get to see Guardians of the Galaxy when it came out in the theatres

As is often the case these days, I just missed out.  I didn’t invite anybody, or join any others events.  I was out of sync with the crowd. I’m too old to stay up for the late shows and to grumpy, or to wait in line for hours anymore.

I do enjoy movies, and there are some I’ll still pay to see opening night. Star Wars and Star Trek for sure.

Guardians probably was one worth seeing on the movie screen.

During its release, my mother’s health was on the decline,  and she died.  I was given some advance notice,  which oddly,  I chose to ignore. Almost as if in my mind I was denying it,  and imagining this was just another example of my sister crying wolf. My mother had been close to death a few times over the past few years.  I assumed this was another time like that.

I actually didn’t know what paliative care was when my sister told me about it. I didn’t realize my sister was telling me the end was near, for real.  She was giving me the opportunity to be there,  or at least to Facetime or Skype, and see her again.

000_0005Like every family, mine has its own story.  I loved my mother to be sure, but I’ve had trouble comparing what we had, to what I considered the norm. As with everything, I over obsessed over the kinds of things others might call emotions.  Oddly, I’d describe us as a close family that really didn’t know anything about each other. We spent time together, but didn’t really discuss anything personal. I knew little about my parents history.

As they began to lose their memories, they moved away to BC when they needed more attention and supervision than I was able to provide with weekend visits.  I made it out to see them a few times, and was happy to visit them both of them just before my father’s passing. This was when they still knew who I was.  I came back home,  and never saw either of them again.  We talked on the phone at Christmas and birthdays until it was clear they didn’t know they had a son at all.

As they deteriorated, both my sisters cared for them for a turn, but towards the end , became a major part of my older sister life. She was the caretaker of my parents till the end. I will always be grateful to her for that task. It was a chore I could not manage.

mom christmas 2013Two or do weeks after my mother’s passing,  I started to occasionally wrestle with guilt, not so much concerning my mother, but more about how I might be judged for the way I handled her end of life time.  When I was the one in Ontario, and visiting them as their son once a week, I thought about it as a chore.  As their memories started to fade, they needed me even more, and I was unhappy to do it. It was hard. I watched new anger in my father as he transitioned from the cool,  smart minded solver of any problem, to angry at his new status as useless Dad.  I never liked seeing my father angry.  Anger in people upsets me so deeply,  I feel the need to run away from it.

As they got worse, I bailed,  and shipped them off to the other side of the country. My sisters would have the reasonability.

I continued to live my life, free of my parents judgmental eyes.  I will admit;  life without parents was easier for me.  It provided one less stress to deal with inside my depressed,  obsessive,  low self esteem brain.

When given the opportunity to do more for them, I declined. When given the opportunity to visit, I stalled. When given the opportunity to say goodbye,  I was dismissive. I gave it no priority, and we’re it not for my sister, would not have tried.  

My sister called me a few times, and finally reached me as she held the phone up to my mother’s ear. I was able to say hello.  She didn’t talk back, and probably had to be told she had a son,  and that his voice was on the phone.  She was obviously older and more unhealthy than the last time we spoke, perhaps last Christmas, but I did not full comprehend this was goodbye. 

To be honest,  I had said goodbye when she knew me,  and I’d moved on. I didn’t think much about it.  As far as any relationship was concerned, for me my parents had died long before. I had successfully dealt with my father’s death with minimal emotion or guilt. 

I retained pretty happy memories of my mother,  who was happy till the end,  at least as far as I knew.  She wore her big hats and costume jewelry every day,  and when she didn’t know her own memories,  she freely created her own stories of fiction, delivered with enthusiasm and charm.  I remember she had lunch with the prime minister one week. My father didn’t do as well.  He was much more angry or sad, and often talked about death and suicide. Although he was capable of showing some moments of happiness in the moment, it was clear he wasn’t happy.

My mother’s finality effected me more. I didn’t set aside time to cry,  but I did get weepy spontaneously a few times.  Having to tell people the story over and over keeps it fresh, and it triggers memories each time.  In my everyday life, I have missed both of them often. I have sadness we won’t get to make new memories,  and so I cherish the ones I’ve retained. Whenever I complete something I feel some pride in, I’m sad they didn’t get to see or share that. I think my mother would have loved to follow me on Facebook. 

Death of your parents however does transition your thinking.  Like Thanksgiving weekend is the time when a lot of people start thinking about Christmas,  death of a loved one is the trigger to start thinking about your mortality.  It is weird to think that I am older than the memories I have of my parents being. Everything we did together, we did when they were younger than I am now.  That’s a weird realization. My parents died having lived longer than my grandparents. All my memories or Grandpa and Gramdma seem so long ago, but they always seemed so very old. I never got to spend time with my old parents.

My mother was an old grandmother to her only granddaughter, but to her,  my mom was the old loose skinned lady that didn’t always know who she was. She never had the stories of great vacations or stay-overs with her Grandmother.

I’m happy my memories of my parents are of the good times. Despite some troubles, I have mostly good memories from my childhood, and my parents did a fine job raising me to be a son worthy of their pride, even when they didn’t remember me.

 I journalize some thoughts about my mom tonight,  tearing slightly but smiling mostly.

All of this happened because I sat down to watch Guardians of the Galaxy at home,  and the opening scene is all about a son being bedside his ill and deathbed mother.  I turned it off,  and wrote all this. I am glad I didn’t see this in the theatre. It would have been worse to feel like this in a theatre with friends.

The universe provides.

P.S. Mom… I promise, even after death, I won’t tell anybody what the G stands for. Your secret will die with me.

Scripted improv

(A silly play about live improve, for 5 players.  Two players come out onto a blank stage in casual wear. Any background is acceptable.)

A: Hello Cleveland!  We are Robin and Chris and we are the opaque players. At this time Wed like to take a few suggestions from the audience, so that we can come up with some unscripted improv sketch comedy for you all tonight.

B: yeah yeah yeah… It’s kind of like live action Mad Lib’s.

A: What? What the heck is Mad Libs?

madlibsB: you know, Mad Libs. That party game.

 A: Why would you need to say that? Everybody knows how improve works. Nobody knows what Mad Libs is. If you’re going to use an analogy it shouldn’t be more obscure than what’s it’s being used to describe. That’s just stupid.

B: That’s mean. Don’t call me stupid. In improving, there are no wrong lines.

A: That’s stupid too. Improv is frequently bad. Horrid! Some people are just bad at it. They play a game of Mad Libs and suddenly they think that they’re Colin Mochrie all of a sudden. Hell, I’ve seen Colin Mochrie do bad improve.

B: Nobody knows who that is.

A: Well, I bet more people in the audience know my reference than yours. They did actually decide to come to a comedy improv show after all. If they’re Canadian, they probably know him. Canada only have 27 celebrities.

B: I disagree. Mad Libs is a best selling party game.

A: First off, I don’t think we needed a simile to begin with. We came out and basically said what we are here to do. We take suggestions and turn them into skits, live without scripts or rehearsals.

B: Right — like mad Libs.

A: Shut up

B: Just curious. Who here has heard of Mad Libs, show of hands?
     And who has held if Colin Mochrie? Show of hands.

(neither actor gives reaction either way)

A: So – Moving on. We’d like a suggestion for a place ok I heard the back studio of a movie lot where there filming a buddy cop movie. (no timing break)

B: And I’d like a suggestion for an occupation? (pause) ok… I heard Amateur Taxidermist.

A: Ok now I need a colour… Kelly Green… Good one!

B: And an opening line?

A: (Pointing to audience) “But I can’t afford a taxi my mother needs a new kidney.”
Ok that’s good.

B: I now present you with our play; “good cop, cancer cop”.  The set is the backdrop behind a movie studio. Kelly and Francis are buddy cops.

A: Action

(A third man comes out from behind the curtain)

C: … but I can’t afford a taxi. My mother needs a new kidney.

B: ok fine. Here ya go. (He gives the man some cash, and C walks off)

A: What was that about?

B: Nothing. Nevermind. Now, about this case…

A: yeah yeah yeah… The Kelly green killer. We almost had her but –

D: (person stands up from audience.) Stop! Just stop.

A: you can’t do that!

B: remember. There are no wrong lines in improv.

A&d: shut up

A: There are rules. Improv rules. I’m pretty sure it’s a show, not a free for all. It’s not audience participation. You can’t join in from the audience.

B: I bet you’d let Colin Mochrie join in, if he was in the audience.

A: Honestly. You drive me crazy. I don’t know why I ever married to you.

B: Ha! for immigration you keep telling me.

(moment if silence) a&b: (awkward look, then, with fanfare and flourush) Improv!

A: …anyway, the audience cut participate. Sorry sir.

D: …and… cut!  (A&B look confused)

B: What just happened?

D:  I am Jules. The director of this cop movie. I yelled cut. Go back to the beginning. This time, do it with funny accents.

A: You see, there is bad improv.

D: ok. From the top.

B: But we can’t. It’s improv. We don’t have a script.

D: Are you telling me you don’t remember what you did 2 minutes ago. I believe your opening line was; nothing, Nevermind.

C: (comes out again, but dressed in a costume. He says his line in a funny accent)   … but I can’t afford a taxi. My mother needs a new kidney.

D: cut. No, no, no… Do it again, but like it’s a romantic comedy. Action.

B: You’re missing the point, improv isn’t supposed to be repeatable. It’s like a magic trick. You only perform it once.

A: Still a horrible analogy, but closer.

B: shut up.

A: Oooooh

B: We can’t do it over and over and just change the accents or styles.

A: Colin Mochrie does it all the time. It’s the directors bit.

E: (a loud voice from the back of theatre)  Cut! I think you’re losing the audience. It’s to confusing. They don’t believe any of it. The suggestions were so stupid it’s obvious to anyone they were prearranged. You’re out here acting from scripts. It’s not working.

D: we could try it in funny accents…

C: shut up, in same funny accent.

A: ooooh

A: who the hell are you?

B: maybe it’s Colin Mochrie, come from the audience to reprise his finest role.

trexD: Actually I think his T-Rex is his finest role.

E: I am the director of this show.

B: (makes a mind blown gesture with hands.)

D: What wall are we breaking now?

E: Get off the stage.

C: what?

E: get off the stage… The show is about to start.

B: ok fine. Be that way.

(Everyone returns to seats in the audience)

A: Sorry about that everyone.  I don’t know who these people are. The real show will begin in a moment.

Announcer announces the actual show. Sponsored by Mad Libs. The improv home game for people who are not creative.


Your next new phone.

Apple does a few things really well, but one of the biggest impacts on the cell phone world, is the way they’ve managed to make getting the newest iPhone an obligation of your status.

Of course, not every iPhone user lines up to be first, and many don’t even bother with the new release at all, but we’re all still aware of the concept. New iPhone day is a big deal. It gets more news coverage than almost anything happening outside America.

Even if you don’t own the new iPhone, you’re aware of that fact, and many of you may even talk about it with a hint of shame. I constantly hear people say things like; “its not the newest model or anything, but it gets the job done”.

People who don’t own the newest iPhone still would, if they could afford it without issue. Nobody actually chooses to want the old one… And in time, those iPhone users will upgrade. Not because they have to, but because… Well, because it’s the new iPhone.

Well done Apple.

Now they’ve even made the new ones have a different shape, so you can judge people from a far, without even meeting them.

In the other world of Android, we don’t have that. Android users have a different kind of arrogance, founded by a belief that they have a superior product that the masses just don’t understand. Proud underdogs. The inner battle between iPhone and Android isn’t as pronounced as it once was. As the Android system grows up, it’s polish and style approaches Apple, and each new version of iPhone catches up on features. They each do my things better than the other.

This article isn’t to compare Apples to Lollypops. It is simply an observation that Samsung, HTC and Motorola (among other brands) all have new models each year, but Android masses don’t really know when, and we don’t seem to have the need to care and upgrade.

The article that inspired this blog, was talking about how Samsung was surprised and sad that their S5 flagship sold only 40% as many units as their S4 last year.

I am not surprised at all. The S4 was a great phone and there is no real reason to upgrade. There is no peer pressure to have the newest Samsung. A Samsung phone is to be used more than it is to be seen with. Most people don’t know what is the new model anyway.

Because multiple companies make phones under the Android OS system, we have a bit if an identity crisis to begin with. If you SK me what phone I have, do I say Android or do I say Samsung. For many people, all I need to say is; Not an iPhone. They tune out.
I remember the days when my phone was still a wow factor. I had one before you. I had a smaller one than you did. I owned the first Motorola StarTac and I paid $2000 for that private when everyone else had a 2 pound brick. People would want to see it and touch it.

Those days are gone. He new iPhone have retained a little of that feeling, but only for the few who still bother to be current in release week. Everyone else doesn’t care anymore. Nobody asks me what phone I have. Nobody wants to touch it.

Hey! Have you seen my cool new Smart Watch?

Pauseandblog: Survivor

Pauseandblog: Survivor
Pauseandblog. A word I made up for when I pause, and blog about the TV show I am watching, before I see how it turns out. I just paused on Survivor because on player in the minority said something smart and creative and whether or not he follows through, it’s still genius that deserves some attention.

Whether you follow the show or not, you can understand that voting aliances form, and when you don’t have the numbers, you often get to look forward to being picked off one by one. It may not be tonight, but it will probably be soon. Some players do well in this environment, and mingle and make plans, and flip the game to stay. Others get depressed and give up.

Yesterday, one player had a great idea. He has a hidden immunity idol, and unlike most players, he hasn’t told anyone. Not even his son. His strategy was to give up. Tell everyone he’s done, and ask them all to vote for him. Then he plays his idol, and wham… A shocker blindside out of nowhere with only one or two votes, if his son votes with him.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such a brilliant plan on Survivor. It ranks up with the first time I’ve seen a fake idol used.

I unpause, and wait and see if it works. A lot can change in 45 minutes.

Shared from Google Keep

Doctor Clara

I had a theory last week, that the reason doctor who always arrives in a time and place that needs him, it’s because his mere presence is breaking time and space.

Wherever he goes, he break the timeline and something evil happens.

We’ve seen the precedent more clearly when Rose broke the timeline to meet her father and save his life, huge freaky bats appeared in the church.

Its like that, except every time every place. If the doctor arrives something goes wrong. No matter where he arrives, there are aliens or other strange happenings, and he always seems surprised, despite knowing all time and space.

Recently, we’ve met Clara, who also traveled in time and broke it.

The last two episodes have taken place in her timeline, and things have gone wrong in present day. Perhaps Clara is breaking time and space like the doctor.