The TV I watch 2016

We’re a few months into the 2016 seson, and a few shows have already been cancelled. It’s time to list the shows I still watch weekly.

 

In no particular order

The Daily Show with Trevor noah
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
@Midnight (occasional)
TMZ (occasional)
Dragons’ Den (occasional
Drunk History (occasional)
Tosh.0
22 Minutes
Rick Mercer
Jimmy Kimmel Live (occasional)
InnerSPACE (occasional)
Still Standing
Saturday Night Liv
Supernatural
The Great Indoors

The Big Bang Theory
Rosewood
South Park
Lethal Weapon
Survivor
Brooklynn 99
Timeless
Conviction
Travelers
Murdoch Mysteries
Lucifer
Elementary
Rizzoli & Isles
Class
Doctor Who
MacGyver
Notorious
Simpsons
Family Guy
The Good Place
Good Witch
Conviction
Four in the Morning
12 Monkeys
Dark Matter
The Librarians
Angie Tribeca
Border Security Canada
Braindead (if it returns)
Four in the Morning
Houdini & Doyle (if it returns)
IZombie
Killjoys
Last Comic Standing
Lucifer
Private Eyes (if it returns)
Saving Hope (if it returns)
Sunnyside
Timeless
Whose Line is it anyway?
Penn & Teller Fool Us
Wizard Wars

The Emergency Room

There are a few places in life people need to wait. Some lines you can avoid, or do without. Some lines you can schedule and return at less busy times.

It’s hard to avoid the waiting room at a hospital. I suppose the rich can pay for better treatment in some cases, but I like to believe we’re all fairly equal in the emergency room.

That’s nor to say people are treated in priority, giving aid to the bleeding or unconscious first, but in the room I find myself in today, we’re all just sitting here watching the time pass by, each dealing with the hours in our own way.

The family with an impatient child is to my right. He either cries, runs around, or screams in joy but he never stays quiet. His parents react as if this is clearly the norm for him. They’ve gotten over the embarrassing stage and the need to apologize. It’s just the way it is.

Another man to my left is asleep. He hasn’t moved much for a while, but I’m confident he’s still alive. Up until recently I thought he was just resting with closed eyes trying to block out everything else. I myself have trued that technique for as long as I could. Recently however he’s transitioned to the new phase of sleep where his chair sprawl has gone more wide. I hope he doesn’t miss his name when they finally call.

Two separate people are playing games with the sound on, although low. The older boy beeps with a schedule that makes me think it’s a match game, but not Candy Crush. I know those tones and tines well. The younger boy is playing some farm game. His phone makes oink oink, cluck cluck barn sounds with irregular frequency.

The mother, daughter duo to my immediate left are discussing how theur life will change if she’s told she can’t eat junk food anymore. She asks her. Mother if she’s ever even tried Kale. Apparently everyone is talking about kale now.

For an emergency room, nobody seems to have any visible emergencies. We all sit together and wait our turn. The names are called out slowly. In the two or more hours I’ve been here, only a few have moved.

I suspect there are different areas for different levels of emergency. I’m in the O Zone waiting area, sponsored by John Vince bulk foods. Clearly a lower priority emergency room waiting area.

Finally, after just over 2 hours, I get to go sit and wait in my own room. I don’t know if it’ll be another hour, or a shirt wait, but it’s certainly less fun to be alone. This place is new… But not like my diction office. There are no gruesome pictures of lungs or intestinal tracts on the walls. It’s just me, a chair and a bed… And a basket of soiled linen next to the chair which might have a slight odour.

I wait.

My visit today is one of the irritating ones both for me and the staff. I’ve got one of these mystery ailments that wasn’t in the text books. That means more tests and guesses. I made the mistake earlier of comparing the doctors diagnosis with my own work with computers.

“I know it’s not the same”, I started, “but I know the frustration of these cases when you have to use experience to figure out what’s wrong. I have similar issues when I am diagnosing computer problems. There is always that case that doesn’t quite match your training.”

It seemed like I may have upset him comparing his years of dedicated schooling about the human body, to my experiences troubleshooting Windows 98 crash issues.

“nobody dies when I get it wrong. ”

I went to far with that one. We didn’t speak again. He sent me here, to the hospital. I don’t have that luxury I thought. If I can’t figure out why you’re getting a blue screen of death, then you keep getting it. If I send you to somebody else, they’ll reformat your machine and start over.

Lucky doctor I thought.

Not really. I would certainly have preferred he knew the answer. Now I sit and wait for hour 3, fully aware that these new eyes may be equally stumped and need to hand me off yet again to another line in another building.

At least I’m away from the screaming baby.

The new face arrived shortly after and proceeded with some of the same basic tests I’d been subjected to twice already, but that was to be expected. I was happy he agreed with me more than the first doctor. I probably didn’t have a stroke.

As a computer service guy, I made it a personal policy of mine, and those I had working for me not to badmouth those who came before. I never trash talked whatever the previous support person dud, whether it be a friend, another IT specialist, or a blue shirt at Best Buy.

It was nice to see this doctor had the same policy although his face told a slightly different story. Almost a discust for whatever doctor had come before having told me I might have a mild stroke.

First if all, he said, if this was a stroke, it would have been a full on stroke, nothing mini. If you can’t move your arm, that’s not mini – – and you certainly would have at least one symptom.

I had full strength in both arms and all my faculties. They asked of I knew my name, and the date and a few other questions. I was hoping they’d ask who the president was, like on TV. I wanted to answer; Donald Trump… Oh no. I have lost my mind.

I didn’t get the chance, especially since this is Canada, but I had to make the joke anyway. It was funny to me, so I said it anyway, but with a laugh to make it clear I wasn’t delusional.

After we established it was probably just a normal shoulder injury, most likely created by sleeping position, weather, and my old shoulder injury, I was walked to the MRI machine for the confirmation.

The nice technician helping me on this portion of my journey was surprised to hear I was looking forward to this procedure. “I don’t hear that very often” she said. I explained that it’s a new story. Lots of people see these things on TV but few get to experience it.

I made a few traditional jokes about metal and the terrors of TV episodes, and emptied my pockets like at the airport.

“Luckily my teeth are all plastic now. They used to contain a lot of metal.”

She reacted professionally with a smile, despite probably having heard most of the same jokes a hundred times before.

Following this, I walked down to the next room and got the x rays. No. Lines or waiting at either of these stations. Then, back to station one for some blood letting and then full circle back to the waiting room.

I’m not sure what comes next. I assume I’m waiting for results to be examined, and then one of the four doctors or nurses, or perhaps a new one will consult with me and send me on my way with some instructions.

Hour 4… I’m not certain why I have to wait just for them to tell me I can leave.

Maybe if I was rich.

Waiting….

One last unneeded test and one more sit in the waiting room, but I’m told it’s all ok. Some physiology therapy and I should heal.

Only 5 hours.

 

Fame Adjacent

I have a very social relationship with many of my clients, having served them often for over 20 years now. One client of mine that I consider a friend, has a 19 year old son with amazing talent, and has recently started down the path of a singing career.

As is the industry’s way, they’ve been told he’ll be a star. He has talent, and a great look. he writes, mixes and records his own music with skill.  A lot of big names have participated in his growth.  people are excited. It’s a slow process to become an overnight success however and much of the past few years has all been preparation work.

When I visit, I hear a lot of stories, but nobody really has any solid way of knowing whether he’ll hit big, or be one of the many close, but no success stories. Does he have the “IT” factor the girls will love?  As a 51 year old straight male, I can’t say with any experience, but the moment that inspired this blog was his appearance on the Canadian MMVA show I’m currently watching. The MMVA show is a huge live concert and awards event held on the streets of downtown Toronto, broadcast around the world. It’s a huge deal in Canada, much like the MTV movie awards.

290x240_FrancescoYatesHe wasn’t one of the performing artists yet, because he’s still to new a name, but he did get to come out and be an award presenter.  To me, he seemed a little more awkward than the other guest presenters.  HE just didn’t have the same smoothness that the other presenters did, although this may be somewhat related to me seeing him and being more critical because I know him. I know he’s been on all the radio and TV morning shows across Canada recently, as his first release hit the radio, but for most Canadians, this may be the first time they’ve seen him.

I’m not sure he nailed it. He does have a cool hairdo though, and maybe that less smooth awkwardness is part of the appeal they’ll be marketing. He’s more real.

It’s weird having such a close, yet far connection to celebrity – or near celebrity.  I have met him a number of times when I came to his house to install a printer or fix the network. He was the one to nickname me Frogman. In reality however, I don’t have any real connection, and I doubt he could pick me out of a line up. If I said Hi to him walking by on the street, he’s most likely wave Hi back, but not know who I was.

Still, I was close enough to the story of his rise to feel excitement and some odd form of pride for him. I got to hear back stage stories, and photos, and early unreleased music.  It was a cool feeling. I dreamed of being a part of the entourage. I tried to convince his mother I should be his onsite technical support, and go on tour with him in the bus. That was a silly fantasy, but I imagined it.  Sadly, musicians use Macs anyway, so I’d have been useless as tech support.

In any case, I wish him well, and if he does ever get to be a household name like Avril Lavine or other Canadian music stars, I’ll always be able to say; I knew that guy.

 

Jeff Goebel: My Origin Story – Chapter One.

Memory Master _35__0001In this moment, I have decided to blog my life story, with the possibility of adding a second chapter any time before I die. In other words, I write as the mood strikes me, and I’ve had little success with organized structured writing.

My memories of portions of my life are scarce, but I can still tell my story. I was born John Jeffrey Harry Goebel.  My mother’s father was Harry Francis, so as bad as Harry was to a kid of the 60’s it wasn’t Francis.  My father’s name was John, and although that is my official first name, they chose to call me Jeffrey, or Jeff as my norm.  I was Jeff Goebel, and only a very select few ever found out the full name. I was born October 19th, 1963 and was told my entire life, I was one of the very first children ever born in the Georgetown Hospital’s new wing that allowed them to perform paternity care.

Later, in my 50’s I celebrated this fact in a Georgetown forum online, and was contradicted by people born a year ahead of me in the same hospital. A bubble burst inside my head, and I felt actual sadness at having lost a point of pride.

I was the third child of John and Mary Goebel, and arrived 7 and 9 years after my sisters.

I have a surprising number of visual memories from my life from birth to age 7, when I moved away. I can remember the names of my two neighbourhood best friends at the time, but was never able to find them on Facebook. I remember preschool a little. This was true mostly because there were some strong stories from that time that have been retold over the decades.  My mother was the Nursery school teacher. I remember a girl I may have had a crush on, Kathy Toast, who I re-met again in High School, just to say Hi.

Ijefftux remember the school and two of my teachers, although some of that memory has been boosted every few years by the school photos I have of Kindergarten and Grade 1.

I remember the places I played, and a few stores. I remembered the hairdresser, presumably because I may have had to wait at it for hours some days.

I remember Golden Fish and Chips and Scott’s Chicken Villa.

Oddly, I seem to have a talent for remembering floor plans of everywhere I’ve spent much time. I remember the floor plan of this house. I remember some of the furniture, and I remember eating cereal at the kitchen table. Scattered memories, many of which are not of the originals, but of the stories my family told. Like the History of our nation, the stories replace the truths.

I have memories of several very specific stories, as my parents would retell them for years. One of the most common, was the group of stories retelling four of my personal life accidents and injuries.  Apparently, early Jeff Goebel was a klutz.

#1. The exploding Canada Dry Bottle.

Sometime before age 5, I allegedly dropped a 750ml (26 fluid ounces at the time.) bottle of Canada Dry Ginger Ale from the counter to the floor, and it “exploded” on me. I do not know the full extend of the damage, but to this day, I have three strong deep life lasting scars on my left hand, which I occasionally use as a starter to this list of baby injuries.

#2. The Pipe Incident

pegsThis story contains two visual memories you need to possess, in order to fully visualize this injury. A 1960s era swing set, and a wooden hammer and pegs construction set. Already you may being imagining what may have happened to me within this scenario.  I was Popeye father, and the kid sitting on the swing, was my child.  The wooden hammer from that toy, by luck, happened to fashion a rather perfect Popeye pipe, at least to the imaginations of two five year olds.

When you are a kid with undiagnosed A.D.D using a gigantic oversized mallet as a hammer, and you stand next to another child gleefully swinging up and down on a swing – you may have a better understanding on how I damaged my throat and almost lost my larynx – or some similar, but equally important component to human speech. Apparently the hospital stay was extended. There is no cast for the inside of your throat.

#3. The infield eye ball

I have a visual memory of this injury, although I’m certain I am remembering the story, rather than the incident – but for this one, I have a bit of shame. I can’t quite believe I would have been so stupid. I am sitting on the single wooden step outside my home, that leads to the front door we seldom used. I can picture it in my head clearly.

I was spectating a sporting event happening in the front yard. While not quite a full baseball diamond, my two sisters were pitching and batting a game. My Grandfather Harry was the first in my experience, as “one of those people” that somehow seem to be good at everything they try. In his time, he had been minor leagues in baseball, fantastic at Golf, and other sports.  I was too young to participate, and this was the beginning of me watching sports, and not trying to participate. I sat and watched.

The stupid part was from where I was watching. If you understand the way batting works, you hit a ball, and it goes up and forward. They certainly couldn’t bat towards the house, so naturally, my Grandfather was standing directly in front of me swinging away. At some point, I like to believe I got excited and ran towards him, but apparently I was just sitting on the step, and his back swing cracked me in the head.

Not as powerful as a front swing would have been, but enough for a black eye, stitches and a scar that has lasted to today. The facial scar, as it happens isn’t as bad as it could have been cosmetically, but it does slice my left eyebrow nearly down the middle. It is a slash through it showing my white skin.

#4. Catch and Release

By this point in my life, it was clear there was a pattern. I got hurt more than my two girl sisters. As I understand it, there were other examples, not as story worthy. I don’t have any specific memories of being beaten up or abused… just real sincere OOPS moments.

For one summer, probably in the final year of the 60s, my mother was scared to let me outside alone. As she tells the story, I wasn’t allowed to go out where I could get in trouble. I remember this was the beginning of my life struggling with boredom. I had energy and liked to be active.

One day, she agreed to let me enjoy at least the sunshine of outdoors and sit on that step. The same step I had previously failed as a spectator. The bad memory step.  As the story goes, a random act of God’s wrath, a neighbourhood teenager walked by, and his fish hook swung all the way to my face on that step, and looped through my nose. I was caught, and nearly lost my nose. We were able to stop the boy and remove the hook without a slice.

Year later at my mother’s funeral the story was re-told by my oldest sister as having happened somewhere else, a little more logical. At Acton Fairy Lake campground beach, which was a regular place we took the trailer in the summer.  I accepted the correction, and forgave my mother for changing the venue to close an anthology story. It worked better as a story in front of the home.

This was one of the earliest examples of the story replacing the truth. Parents are masters.

These four events are often used as part of my mother’s story about why we packed up and moved from that house, to farm country. We moved 20 minutes away to a suburb village of the small town of Georgetown. I had to change schools and be bused.

For the first three grades at the end of the 60s, my commute to school was crossing the street. Our home was on the corner opposite the school yards. It was my playground.

For my Mother, we decided to  move to the country because I was getting to hurt as a town boy. I would be safer with no friends, and no access to concrete or traffic. Although I was too young at the time, I suspect we moved because my Great Grandmother Gertie had died. It was her house, and we just lived in it. My guess is we had enough money for a new home better suited for a family of five, and they were much cheaper in the country, we could afford something really nice.

I remember a single visual memory of her in the hospital, probably the last time I saw her. She was blind and frail and I don’t know that I ever had much of a relationship with her.

We packed up the family, and moved to Balinafad.

 

 

 

SNL Layers

I just finished watching this week’s 2014 Christmas edition of Saturday Night Live. It’s odd to feel cheated that hardly any celebrities showed up this year. The only cameos were three former SNL Characters – so far anyway.

The demographically perfect boy band One Direction is actually growing on me. They were not bad, as I expected, given that I’m over 40. It’s supposed to annoy me. I’m nearly grandpa age.

The sketch that made me stop the playback and blog, as the one set in the past, with three “dames” in a bar who seem quite bat-shit crazy. The conclusion actually had a way to explain it for a quality ending, at least to me. It made me smile. I won’t are it’s rare that I enjoy an SNL sketch through to the end, but it’s not unheard of. 

However, the part that most impressed me, was how hard the sketch must have been. This entire show has really had a lot of hard song and dance numbers. It always amazes me how well these talented people are able to pull a song and dance routine in 4 days, and still pull it off with precision.  In my head, from my history with community theatre, the first few weeks are still horrible… but I suppose 3 days is easier than 1 day every week for three weeks – in some ways.

 

The part that impressed me, was a swinging song sung by two of the women, and Ammie Adams. Although not dancing, the lyrics were jibber jabber read from cue cards and yet they sang all three together without error.  I want to believe it was a live take, because it’s Saturday Night Live, but back stage shows have implied some times they play the dress rehearsal versions.

In any case – they did it – twice. Well. It made me smile on two levels. Giving respect to the dedication and practice, or the amazing talent of people doing things I tell myself I could never do.

That kind of live comedy show with minimal rehearsal is an amazing skill. Saturday Night Live is a success because it’s done live. I hope that never changes.  All other sketch shows are comedy. Saturday Night Live is theatre.

It was always my dream. I never wanted Second City. I wanted to be on, or write for Saturday Night Live.

Since I can remember, I’ve liked scripts. I think it stemmed from my two first editions of the Holy Grail first draft and movie script, and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which I first read as the original radio show scripts.

With undiagnosed attention deficit disorder, I grew a fondness to sketch comedy rather than long form scripts. I wrote sketches. As a kid, I watched every single sketch comedy and variety shows on TV, and in the 70s, there were a lot.  Everyone had a variety show, and I watched them all, from Any Wiliams to Jim Stafford to Shields and Yarnell to Avery and Shriver and even the singers and Bobby Vinton too…

Saturday Night Live wasn’t just sketch comedy. It was theatre like my Mom did, up on a stage with fake sets and an audience. Plus, it was restricted to late night, so you had to be older that me to stay up late and see it.  I missed season 1 live, but starting with season 2, I don’t know that I ever missed an episode. Our early VCR was Beta, so I sometimes missed the the last 30 minutes, because they only recorded one our.  I fast forwarded past 70% of the musical acts I think. I love music, but live music on TV doesn’t’t hold my A.D.D interest past the first few bars when I see the set furnishing.

Number one on my buckers list has been Saturday Night Live for 30 years. I literally have dreams of being there, and have every year since I was 15. Usually something horrible happens… I had nightmares about giant lobsters that night.

I may have given up more than half the things I used to watch on TV. I’m watching less, and my PVR was filling, but I always like to watch Saturday Night Live each week I can, usually on Sunday.  Live-ish. I have never given up on them, and their Doctor Who-like cast changes. I’ve never complained about one cast over another.  I love the concept.

It’s similar to South Park, in turnaround. Each is about this week’s funny… and yet, they stand up in time.. at least a few a season make the highlight DVD for future generations.

Thank you Saturday Night Live,m for being a part of my life story, and tonight’s Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Artist Thirds

I go to a lot of places where artists show their work. Not so much official art galleries, but smaller marketplaces and shows. Festivals and public displays where artists rent small booths and try to sell their paintings or jewelry or other hand made work. I enjoy these events and like the idea that I often get to talk directly to the artist creators in person. I almost never have the money to spare to buy this kind of artwork, and in many cases, even if I did, I probably would not. I don’t wear jewelry, and I don’t use pottery or trinkets much, but I still enjoy the conversation, and respect the artist skills.

One of the things I like to say to an artists, is that I believe they have 50% talent and 50% patience, and I don’t have enough of either to be like them. I offer respect to not only their skill, but the incredible time and dedication it takes to do what they do. I like to let them know I understand the time they put into their art is appreciated. I tell them when their work made me smile, and I understand it’s not all about the cash. I can’t give them money for whatever reason, but I can give them the gift of knowing their work made someone happy, and they are appreciated for the effort spent.

2014-12-14 14.12.01This past weekend, I was at event called; “The bizarre of the bizarre” and it showcased a more unusual or odd side of art. Lots of skulls, and twisted designs with weird styles. Stuffed plush Zombies and other sculptures and paintings that fit the description bizarre. Even if I didn’t like the content, I still wanted the artists to know I respected the work. I tried to compliment everyone on their skill, even if I didn’t especially like the blood and gore of the piece.  For the works that had obvious time consuming obsession, I used my line; “I always say an artist has 50% patience and 50% skill”. I certainly couldn’t sit still long enough to do this sort of thing.”  It often opens them up to talk a bit about how long it did take them.  More often than not, the effort is shocking, and you begin to realize artists need to do it. It is their expression and their passion and their release.  60 hours of work may only sell for $30.

I try to respect the craft, even when a small part of me sees artwork I consider easier. Things the back of my mind says; “I could do that” or even has the nerve to think; “I could do that better”. I know myself well enough to know the truth. Even if I could do the skill, I couldn’t do the patience. I’m, not great at discipline, and although I may be able to start such a project, my attention would wander and it would lay unfinished.

Sometimes art makes me sad in this way. Since I was a child playing mind games, I would often ask myself; if I could have one talent I don’t have, would it be to play music, or to be able to draw. I usually choose drawing. My life would be so different if I could draw. In truth of course, my life would be different either way. The life – and brain of an artist is different than mine. I should not be sad that isn’t me. An artist is a different kind of person, and al to often in the past, I have criticized or belittle it.

Today, this blog was inspired because I clicked a link, and was watching another one of those time lapse – or perhaps they call them hyper-lapse movies about the city I live in. A video set to music that showcases Toronto. There are a lot of them out there, and the first one you see is amazing. You watch it all. After the 5th one, they seem similar, but no less special. Just less watchable for me. I not only lack the patience to be such an artist., I sometimes lack the patience to be a spectator too.

In any case, this time I watched the video with a sadness. In my head, I was thinking that photography is one of the easier art forms. A specialty of seeing, and using technology to capture a mood. I was a photographer. I had training, and an excellent eye. I had equipment. I was good – years ago. As I watched this video, I didn’t see anything spectacular. I just say photos, and video clips set to music. The package was pleasing but (in my head) nothing I could not do. It made me sad I could not be an artist, even when I had the pure skills.  I was missing something.  Not just patience, but the ego. The confidence.

I herby amend my standard artiest breakdown statement.  An artist is more than 50% patience and 50% skill.  I will now split them into thirds, and add the third that is perhaps most key;  1/3 confidence.  A true artist not only has the skill and the ability, but the ego to say their finished product is art. Many people can play the guitar, but only some have the inner confidence to call it art.  Many people can build a sand castle, or turn a pottery wheel, or take a photograph, but some of us – rare special people, call it art – and stick a price tag on it. In some cases, the ego is so powerful, it borders on arrogance, but even bad artists have fans. If you tell me your drawing of a dog is art, I believe you.

No matter how bizarre it may be.

Art is patience, talent and an attitude.  Artists have a mindset.

So now there are three reasons I don’t think of myself as an artist, and that’s ok. I know I’m good at things they may not be. Maybe they can’t remove a virus off their artist computer, or design their own web site. Maybe they even think to themselves late at night; “Gee… I wish I understood Windows 8 like that guy does.” In their eyes, they may even think I have such patience, talent and confidence when they watch me zip my mouse around the screen.

Everyone is different, even when we’re the same.

 

 

 

 

 

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?

My Mother

Today is October 27th. A day some sons would remember, if it was the day their mother died, but I’ll probably forget in time. I don’t remember the date that my father died. I didn’t really mourn their deaths. It’s different situation when you say goodbye to family members who don’t remember who you are. You tend to reach deep into your memory, and think of them as they were 10 years ago, when they knew your name.

Both my parents suffered similar memory loss around the same time, which rare I’m told, but makes perfect sense if the loss was triggered by environment. I suspect something like the aluminum pot my mother cooked Sausage casserole in, or some similar case. The doctors use all sorts of words to avoid saying Alzheimer’s. Officially it is some sort of dementia.

In any case, I said goodbye a long time ago to both, so m mothers death last night comes more as a relief for her, and for the family. I won’t turn this into a political blog about the right to die on your own terms. She lived a long and happy life, and despite not remembering much from each day, she still managed to smile and make others smile with stories from her past. In the final years, the stories were completely fictional, and sometimes outrageous, but she always told them with a smile, and made others smile.

I have my own stories too. I started a list of mom memories a few years back, just as I did for my father. As you get older, you tend to tell the same few stories over and over, and both my parents had their favourites. As I recall each one from here till my death, they’ll make me smile and remember them. They both lived to be over 85, older than the memories of my Grandfather ad Grandmother before them. A good life I suppose, and although we were a close family in many ways, I never really knew much about my parents, beyond how they related to me. They were superheroes for my early life, and then, as happens to most of us, I began to grow older myself, and discovered that my parents were just people, with flaws like anyone else. My mother was not a superhero, and in fact, suffered from depression and self esteem issues much like I do. She saw the negative in life rather than the positive, and often told the sad side of any story.

019 100_0206 100_0248 100_0252 IMG_0010 IMG_0076 IMG_0096 mom 3 Christmas 2013  momthinner tuckers with mom 000_0005 004 012 013 (2) 015 018 (2)

Still she was my mother. The prettiest of all mothers, and the coolest. She was a teacher, and a theatre performer. Our house parties were great, always attended by other actors from Georgetown playing games and telling stories.

I saw little hate, or anger, or prejudice in my mother. She was supportive of me, even before anybody knew what attention deficit disorder was. I feel she was always a little sad that everyone told her I wasn’t living up to my potential, which was what they said about smart A.D.D kids that couldn’t sit still enough to read a book or finish a report. I didn’t do very well in school, but everyone agreed I was smart.

I got into computers at an early age in a time when adults didn’t, and although she tried her hardest to understand them, so we’d have something to share, it was clear she did it for me. She never really understood what I did for a living, and bragging about me was harder than it was for the other neighborhood kids who were doing well in school or sports… but I know she loved me.

My mother had a great sense of humour, and we shared that, often at the expense of my father, who tried – but didn’t. Perhaps his upbringing ina a foreign culture just made it harder to understand our humour, but Mom and me would make jokes al the time.

Although I was the youngest of 3, both my sisters were a generation older and moved out of the house fairly early. For much of my youth, I was like an only child. A full 7 and 9 years younger than my two sisters, I was the baby. I was perfect. I was over protected I suppose. My sisters were often in trouble or in the hospital. I wasn’t.

My own memory isn’t as stable with regards to emotions and family. I have huge blank spots for most of my childhood. I remember a lot of yelling coming from my Dad and crying coming from my Mom. He’d call her stupid and other such insults in anger. I’m sad I remember less of the good times, because I know there were many. We’d play games, and even though I almost never won any, it was still quality time.

I’ve lived away from Mom for the last ten years or so, as my sisters took care of her in BC. I visited once, and was frustrated to see her get old. I prefer my memories of pretty – reasonably happy Mom. It’s how I’ll remember her.

The Gift of No Gifts

One of the issues I’ve had as an obsessive mind that overthinks every scenario of life, is regarding the idea of receiving gifts. I have very few memories of receiving gifts, where I enjoyed the process. That is one serious imaginary memory deficit. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy getting gifts, but I always hate the way I react. It stresses me to receive gifts, because a gift is somebody else’s idea of what I’d like, and seldom live up to hopes and expectation.

My mind pre-imagines all the things I want, but I never tell anyone my preferrences. I don’t like to ask.

Invariably the gifts received don’t live up to my hopes, in many cases, because my expectations were far from reasonable.  Because my sisters were so much older than me, I lived much of my youth almost like an only child with no cousins. My circle of gifts was smaller than almost anyone I knew.  My friends had more siblings, or more wealth, and I always compared my gifts to theirs with disappointment. As an adult remembering back, the reality is that I did quite well. It’s only my memory that retained the negative stories. I’m working on that.

For similar reasons, I don’t like to give gifts wither, and especially hate any situations where we might exchange gifts. The pressure of my obsessions is taxing. I can be in a foul mood for weeks in advance, or even the entire December gift season. As much as I hate the feeling or a bad reaction to a gift given, I don’t like the feeling of passing that on to others. Getting a gift you don’t like — or love, is stressful, because you’re forced to fake happiness and be polite. Giving the wrong gift is a horrible deal for both parties. It’s a failure. I hate failure.

Gift exchanges are even worse, because there is the possible cost differential to add to the uncomfortable feelings. You may have bought a cheap gift, or worse – a gift card or lottery ticket for a few bucks, and the other party spent weeks searching for a perfect present and spent more. When this happens, not only do you have the bad feeling of the wrong gift, but you have to cope with an obvious unbalance of cost. It can effect friendships if I let it. It can cause feelings that linger for years, generating additional obligations to make it up on the next annual birthday or party.

I have somehow managed to work my reputation into that of a guy who doesn’t do gifts. At all. I’m not sure how. It just happened. I don’t give birthday gifts, Christmas gifts or anything. In return, nobody gifts me. I say that I am happier with this arrangement, but I know I’m missing out on the joy and surprise of a good gift. It’s a brain thing. My gift is to not have to worry about gifts.

Now let me be clear; there is a huge part of me that loves getting free stuff. Any gift is at minimum, a surprise, a story, and a memory.  Great gifts are memories all by themselves. I have several ornamental gifts decorating my home, and each time I look at them, I am reminded of the person or event related to that gift. A good gift can be precious.

I suppose I’m not against the idea gifts itself, as much as I am afraid of receiving them in front of the giver. It’s the fact that I have to react live, and show happiness regardless of the gift.  My unhappy and stressful gift memories are of the bad and hurtful reactions. I find it hard to hide my disappointment, or fake it. On the other side of the coin, I can’t stop going on and on with gleeful excitement when I get a good gift. 

I wrote this with my birthday just over two weeks away. I know I will probably not get any gifts on my birthday. I am an adult. Not getting birthday presents is a normal fact of life for single adults. In one way I’ll be relieved, and in another way I’ll be sad.

Maybe it’s time to change my position, and reputation.

 

The ABCS of Me

FaceShotOne of the popular things that happens on Facebook from time to time, is your friends start posting lists and forwarding them. They also try to force you to do the same.  I have a policy to not do anything on Facebook that a status post dared me or even asked me to do. However I do often enjoy these kind of list posting because it lets me get to know people a little better. Although I’ve met and shaken hands with almost everyone on my Facebook friends list – that doesn’t mean I know them. Sometimes an informational post is helpful when making better relationships.

The answers on this list can be used to get to know me. They can also be used to build my FBI profile, or steal my identity, and I have to decide whether sharing is worth the risk. I’ve never really been scared away by conspiracy theories. I readily admit that marketers online want as much information about me as they can get. They love building detailed databases, and these answers will help. If it lets you know about me, it lets anyone know about me, and for now – I’m OK with that. My income and wealth are low enough that anyone who stole my identity would actually end up owing more money than they do now.

Having said that, here are the ABCs of Jeff Goebel.

A – Age: 50

B – Bed: Double size on steel stand and box springs. No frame or design. I prefer Queen size, but bought a smaller one two years ago when we couldn’t fit a Queen into my apartment.

C – Chore you hate: Dusting and Vacuum.

D – Dogs: No. I grew up with dogs, but since moving out at 18 have never had one. Barking bothers me.

E – Essential start to my day: Cereal and some news reading.

F – Favorite Color: ORANGE!

G – Gold or Silver: Neither. Not a Jewelry Person. I own no jewelry at all.

H – Height: 6′  No clue in Metric.

I – Instruments I play: I whistle. IN my head, I am quite god, but others may disagree.

J – Job: frogstar.ca

K – Kids: None. Never wanted that stress and anxiety.

L – Living arrangement: Alone, although I prefer living with a roommate.

M – Music: All, as long as I can tap my foot to unchanged tempo.

N – Nicknames: I never had a nickname, but use Frogstar42 online

O – Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Not since I was 7.

P – Pet peeves: Loud Noises, Barking, Kids in my Jello Tree.

Q – Quote from a movie: “Wherever you go, there you are”

R – Right or left handed: right

S – Siblings: 3 – two sisters

T – Time you wake up: Around 6am with no alarm. Changes seasonally

U – Underwear: White Briefs

V – Vegetable you dislike: ONIONS and Squash

W – Workout Style: Walking weekends

X – X-rays you’ve had: Teeth, Shoulder

Y – Yummy food you make: Mac and Cheese

Z – The best place to visit: Back to Vegas! One day!