Monday, May 22, 2006

We Interrupt our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

At 10:21 life was very normal. At 10:22, life - and death - took on a new meaning.

In that minute, my phone rang and I was told that my nephew was dead. Killed in a car crash. As I was to find out later, he was killed because he had been in an argument and left in anger. And then, I can only hope, was just driving in anger and lost control of his car, hit an abutment head on and had his car burst into flames.

At 10:21 I was making some dessert for my wife and I. At 10:23 that dessert was looked at in a totally different light.

Unfortunately, I can't say that this ending to my nephew's life was wholy unexpected. It was part of the sad story that made up his life, including his stormy relationship with my sybling, and the story of my sybling itself which is so unreal that it couldn't be sold as fiction. No one would believe it. Heck, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is more believable as fiction or real life.

It's not to say that my nephew won't be missed. He will be. Honestly, my wife and I were dazed. He was our favorite nephew. He was the one we all thought was the sweetest, had the most natural charm. He had a great sense of humor and was gentle. But, alas, with everything that happened around him, most people didn't know that about him. Unfortunately including my sybling - his parent.

My nephew's life had become a roller coaster. In therapy, stealing, lighting things on fire. Off to a special school for 6-9 months, back again, admitted to a pysch hospital, then, drugged so that I almost didn't recognize the bright mind with the sharp wit that I had come to know. A couple of years of that, moved to a state and back again in a week with his parent, then sent to a school that you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy. Let's just say it is safe to assume he had no role models there.

Finally, it all cumulated in a tragic argument and reaction that ended his life. All that flashed through my mind in a minute. Hello 10:23.

Of course, there's still my sybling. This was not their sole responsibility. Did they play a part? Sure, just as parents we all play a part. No, this decision was that of my nephew. His alone. As for my sybling, now they have to deal with the guilt of loosing a child with which they never knew peace. It's not that they didn't try, but alas, their vision to deal with the issues, their capcity to even recognize them was always compromised in some way or another. It wasn't a lack of love, but it was love that, for whatever reason, just never made it through. And now, they will never have the chance again to try and fix it. I hope for my sybling, they will find peace. I know that God waits for them and promises to give them that peace if they only ask. I hope my sybling can get past any and all of the issues they are dealing with and see they can ask. It's never too late. God's arm is never to short. He is there ready and willing to enfold them in his love.

Ah, it's 11:00 now. For me, what remains is sadness. I'm sad that my nephew never got to be what he could have been. He would have been brilliant. I'm sad that my sybling is dealing with what they have to deal with, in regards to my nephew and just their life in general. It's sad because they do have so much to offer as well.

But for now, weeping is for the evening, but joy comes in the morning. No, I don't think my sybling will be filled with joy in the morning. They have to much to do this week to deal with this tragedy. But joy can come. Assuredly, it can. Grace and mercy are there to meet them and help them on the road.

And so, for me, it's off to sleep. Good night nephew. A last good night. I hope that in the moments before you crashed, I pray, that you called out to the God that loved you, the one you knew in your youth, and now you rest in his arms - away from this turmoil, in perfect love and perfect peace, at rest finally in his presence. If that is so, then I know that someday when I at last say my last good night to this present world that you will be there, with the Lord, to greet me. I know that would bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart (yes, I think it would be the frosting on the cake I guess - as if being in the presence of the Lord won't be enough!) You are special, and you will always be in my heart. Good night.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Burbank Chronicles - Part Tres

Hola! Como esta usted? Yo? Muy bien, gracis. :-) No, I'm not trying to scare you with my fish head mug shot done with my Sanyo 8300 mobile phone - but this is a picture of me in the office I was squatting at while at Disney. :-D Hi!

The third day in LA metro brought more of the same weather (you'll see in the pics, hang on) and more of the same meetings. The fun part was that I got to visit Hollywood! Not that Hollywood is any great shakes mind you.

Oh, here's the office with the trusty PowerBook.

It seems like it is about 200 yards of the Walk of Fame starting at Hollywood and Highland, then the Kodak Theater (which has frontage of about, oh maybe 40 feet?) then Grauman's Chinese theater (Gosh is it small!) I saw all the hand prints and foot prints, read the names. Then we went over to the Roosevelt Hotel. Lunch was nice (thank you Mickey!), I got to see the Hollywood sign and all. The company on the lunch was the most fun - Krista and Paul, you both Rock!

My view from the afore mentioned office.

So, again, I ended up at the office late - like 7:00pm. Though not as late as my host who ended up there until 10:30 and then had to be in at E3 at 6:30 the next morning! Owww! The bummer part about this was that I had set up to meet with Ed Melendez of Five Shock design ( and hopefully do a bit of podcasting with him. He's getting ready to release his own podcast - and let me tell you - it's going to rock! Alas, I was too beat to think about getting back to the hotel, getting changed, getting food then driving out to his place which was about an hour away.

The valley in Burbank. You can't even see the hills...

So, instead I went back to the hotel, had the WORST cajun shrimp (the shrimp was waaaaay to fishey!) and watched the results show of Idol. OMG Chris! I was stunned. I would have thought Cathrine (though she is my favorite - and I will learn to spell her name!) because she had a tough night. Still, I thought Chris would be in the final. Yet, as I mentioned before, these guys are all getting albums. Count on it.

OK. That's it for the day. Soon to come, day four of the Burbank Chronicles. See you then!

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Burbank Chronicles - Part Deux

Hmmm. Being that I'm out here on the southern part of the left coast, I guess I should probably be using Spanish not French in the title, but... oh well for now.

So, day two dawns slightly brighter than day one. Yippie! Thankfully, I've got some sleep now and I'm almost fully functional, which is good because I've got a bunch of meetings set for today. This phase of the trip is all about meetings. Doing interviews and the like. It can be fun in some ways, and in other ways PAINFULLY boring. Thankfully, I've got so much information that I need to get it will be more engaging than not. I just have to make sure I don't totally crash around 3:00 or so when my body still thinks it's 6:00 or so.

I've found this incredible breakfast on the Hilton menu. Bircher Museli. Whole oats soaked in milk with raisins and nuts built in, then the fresh fruit of the day. Today was strawberries and banana's. It varied over the week, blueberries, granny smith apples, raspberries. Marvelously wonderful. And chock full of fiber! Important to the diet after all!

Lunch yesterday was good, we hit a local Mexican place. Lunch today was a Chinese Chicken salad from the heath food place around the corner. The chicken was good, the lettuce (the kind for Cesar salads) was fresh and crisp and the dressing was OUT of this WORLD! Yummy. Really it was a oil based with some great seasonings - but that is perfect on this essentially South Beach diet I'm working.

So, I was supposed to be heading out to my friend Seth's house, but I was in the office till 6:30, so no-go. It would have taken me at least an hour, probably 1 1/2 hours to get to Ventura where he is. So, I missed catching up with him and getting to go to the Bible study at his house. The good news is that I got to watch American Idol without having to wait till I got home and watch it on Tivo. Elvis night, very tough for Katherine, but I've got the MacFever and I'm a MacFan. You go girl! At the same time, Taylor was absolutely perfect. These tunes were right in his wheelhouse - including and wonderfully - In the Ghetto. For those who say Taylor is only about the SHOW, you need to hear his voice and his passion on a song like that. Brilliant. Chris - eh, 50/50. The second song didn't work for me at all. The first song was good except for the glasses. Elliot? Dude. What a voice. Absolutely 2 for 2. Really, I want all 4 of them to win this competition and as long as they don't put out absolute crap, I'll probably buy all of their albums - because they all will get record deals.

Anyway, then I watch some odd shows. Veronica Mars (because I skipped House - couldn't deal with the whole infant baby theme!) - which I caught about 1/2 way in. Believe it or not, I couldn't find much else to watch. And her dad is the guy that played Elliot from Just Shoot Me! How funny is that? After that, the Dead Zone with the kid (well, guy now) from 16 Candles and The Breakfast Club - Jon Michael Hall I think? Interesting concept, good mystery. I like how they let him be "psychic" without all the goofy hocus pocus. He touches stuff, BOOM, vision. It's more like he has this great device he can just turn on. Anyway, it was interesting enough for sure - especially considering the topic (illegal immigration) and my location!

That's it for now, time to pass out!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

My First Full Day In LA (actually Burbank)

So, I wake up in the land of granola for the first time. Nice hotel, but no internet in the room. If you're booked into the Universal Hilton in Universal City, CA - make sure you're not in 1771!

Anyway. I'm expecting sun and palm trees. What do I get? here's a hint. I thought I was in Britan. FOG. Where the heck is the fabled Cali sun? As it turns out, it's been put away until at least 4:00 or so in the afternoon. It's lovely spring weather in SoCal. Yuck. Of course, back home it's raining (and it will all week to), but as of that moment, I just know that it was nicer for the past week in Boston than it was in the fabled land of Hollywood.

End of the day? Niiiccce. Sunny, not quite 70. And, I stopped at a handy Trader Joe's (yes they have them in MA - 2 I think - I drove past more than that in a 15 minute radius from the hotel) and picked up some great healthy stuff for dinner and snacks at work for the next few days.

After that, crash and burn. Jet lag caught up for sure. And now, off to bed as I try to adjust from jet lag again. More on the Burbank Chronicles soon!

Hello LA

So, I land at LAX after 6 1/2 hours in a center seat. This is it, I'm finally in LA. Finally after YEARS of wanting to get out here, I'm on the sacred soil of the City of Angels. What's my first impression?

Great, it's warm, people are in bad short sleeve shirts, over weight AND in the alleged capital of narcissism - I've got more second hand smoke coming in from outside the airport doors than you get outside an AA meeting.