Feigned intimacy as a marketing tool

I’m sick of low-level celebrities “opening up” about supposedly difficult things they’ve been through when it’s clearly just a ploy to sell some shit. I came across this article today:

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and that’s what made me want to write about this.

I mean, nobody — or at least, no sane person — would “open up” about difficult, heavy, deeply personal stuff to a reporter. Typically, that’s stuff you save for talking about with family and close friends, or maybe you would make a post about on your personal social media (without following it with an ad — more on that shortly) if you wanted to get your message out to the world. A reasonable person certainly wouldn’t share it with ice-hearted professionals who unscrupulously use anything you say and even twist your words around just to have a clickbait-worthy headline. If you’re talking about that stuff with reporters and you just happen to have a new album out that you’re hitting the pavement to promote, well, that’s probably the real reason you’re conveniently opening up about it right now.

I think that’s incredibly sad. Who would use their darkest hours to try to sell more of their shit? I think you’d have to be pretty soulless to sell yourself out like that.

I see this kind of thing all the time lately. I’ve noticed people on instagram who make posts that start with “it’s really difficult for me to talk about this…” before going on to talk about BAD their ACNE used to be and how they were TEASED and BULLIED because of it, but this NEW PRODUCT is AMAZING and you should click the link to try it for yourself!! Man, if I tell someone I’m going to talk about something that is difficult for me to share, it’s going to be a lot fucking heavier than, “I had zits.”

So now, when someone says “it’s hard for me to talk about this,” I recognize that they’re feigning intimacy with their audience to dig their hooks in in preparation for making the big pitch, and it’s obviously an enormous red flag. When that’s followed by the “buy this product that saved my life” or “this album is for people who have struggled with similar adversity and it’s only $10 on iTunes” line, that’s it. You know then that it’s just a modern day infomercial coming from a person who will do whatever it takes to sell you their snake oil.

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Who killed Marilyn?

I just had a funny craigslist experience. Not funny haha, more funny curious.

I found an electric chainsaw on craigslist that I was interested in so I emailed the seller and asked about testing it. I got a call back within a few minutes (odd because no one calls anymore, especially for used stuff, and odd that the seller was so prompt in responding to me) and the seller was a nice enough woman who lived in a condo in Victoria but said I could test the saw. I wasn’t sure how to go about doing that in a fucking condo so I asked if she had a deck I could go out on with some scrap wood. In a polite way, she said there was no way she was going to let a strange guy into her apartment to fuck around with a chainsaw. I understood why that was wack to her but didn’t understand how else she expected me to test the damned thing, and why she said I could test it if there was no good way to do so. I was annoyed and also didn’t feel like driving to Victoria for something that may be a wild goose chase so I said I’d think about it and get back to her if I decided to pursue it.

She called me back 10 minutes later but I missed her call. She didn’t leave a message. I called her back, she missed my call, I left a message. She called me back five minutes later and explained she’s selling the saw for her uncle who lives in my area because his wife recently died and he needs help sorting through stuff (an interesting needless detail), and that it might make more sense for him to sell the saw himself since people in the country probably have more use for a saw than city folk do. I said great, if the saw could somehow make its way to my neck of the woods, I’d be all over it.

She passed my info on to her uncle and he called me shortly after. Our conversation was stunted and awkward, like he couldn’t hear me well or something. We eventually sorted out that he would get the saw and bring it back here today. I said ok.

He called me again a few hours later and we had another stunted and awkward phone conversation. That’s three lousy phone conversations in one day, by golly. Basically, he said he had returned with the saw so I got his address and headed to his place. When I got there, he explained that his niece is broke so he’s helping her out by selling a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need anymore and splitting the proceeds with her, 50/50. Then he told me he had moved to Hawaii and left his wife here so he got her this small chainsaw to use while he was away. He didn’t say anything else about his wife, why she stayed here while he went to Hawaii, or why he was back now, but he didn’t seem upset at all and he seemed to talk about his wife as if she was still around. It was really weird.

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Of course, I couldn’t care less who was helping who or whatever. I just wanted a fucking electric chainsaw. I tested the thing and it worked fine so I threw $65 in buddy’s face and ran off with it. I just used it on a bunch of firewood and it was a dream, so much nicer than messing around with a gas saw. I’m sick of those things.

But while I was working on the firewood, I got to wondering about the woman and her uncle. I wondered who was actually doing who the favour, and I decided it’s probably a bit of both: the woman probably is broke, and he’s probably happy to help her because his wife died recently and he’s lonely and lost and needs a project to distract him from all the grief. I wish I knew all the details of their macabre story but it’s certainly for the best that I don’t because that would have meant wasting even more time having awkward conversations with two weirdos.

Ah, craigslist. You never disappoint. There’s always something.

Living daily life in a Hawaiian vacation state of mind

I’ve been to the Hawaiian island of Kauai a few times, and while I am not a fan of sun and heat, I am a huge fan of the way a lot of people there live. I’ve consistently seen folks of Kauai being kinder and more courteous than people anywhere else in North America, even in high tension situations like rush hour traffic. I’ve also seen lots of large families having get-togethers and bbq’s on the beach — they seem to really value quality time together. And I’ve seen a lot of older people being really active, like surfing and even doing sit-ups at the beach.

I think all of that is amazing. Those are things that I value greatly, and things that I feel get lost in the hectic madness of the North American world. We’re always so busy trying to get ahead, get better jobs, make more money, and buy nicer stuff, that we neglect the stuff that actually makes us happier — like being kind, spending time with people we care about, doing fun things, and staying fit and active.

But what I don’t understand is that most people go to places like Hawaii for vacations to get just a short taste of what life is like when those things are prioritized over rat race stuff. They spend a week there, relax, have a great time…and then head home and jump right back into the rat race.

If people like the pace of life while they’re on vacation in Hawaii, if they like it so much that it’s what they want to escape to when they have some time off, why don’t they just incorporate some qualities of Hawaiian/vacation living into their daily lives so they get small doses of it all the time?

I don’t know. I think probably because we don’t want to stand out from our suburban neighbours and look like some sort of lazy hippie weirdos. And I think it’s tough to change your habits. And I think most people aren’t self-aware enough to realize that they could be much happier and healthier.

Personally, I think most of us would benefit from a bit more of a Hawaiian vacation approach to our entire lives.

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I looked up “family on vacation” pics and found this. Not what I had in mind but I’ll run with it.

my grandma’s big lie

When I was a little kid, I was fascinated by my uncle, Paul. He drove fast cars and had police radars (that was fancy stuff back in the early 80’s) so I thought he was cool. We didn’t see him often though, and when my parents split in ’85, I saw even less of him. So when I was 18, I asked my grandmother to invite him to dinner with us so I could reconnect with him. He came, and he was an arrogant, condescending prick. I didn’t like him at all anymore, and I felt really weird that I now thought so little of my formerly enigmatic childhood hero.

About a week later, I was talking to my grandma on the phone (we were pretty close, more about her here) and she told me that Paul had called and asked her to apologize to me for being so rude that night. I thought it was a nice gesture but since I hadn’t seen the guy in 10 years, it wasn’t like this was a critical relationship that required maintenance. It wasn’t worth going for dinner again or anything like that, I just didn’t care that much about it. But I thought it was nice that he apologized, and that was that.

But yesterday — 20 years later — my mom informed me that Paul never asked grandma to apologize to me. My grandmother told my mom that she lied to me about it because she was so embarrassed by Paul, and because she felt so bad for me.

I couldn’t believe it. All these years, that apology from Paul has stood out to me as a small yet redeeming quality in an otherwise nasty person. Now I feel totally different about him. It’s remarkable.

As for my grandma, I think the fact she lied to me shows just how ashamed she was of Paul’s awfulness, and how much she cared about me and how I felt. Normally, I’m all for the ‘honesty to a fault’ approach but in this case, I think my grandma’s lie was actually a remarkably kind, sensitive thing. I don’t know that I would have thought to lie to smooth things over if I were in her situation, but I’m glad she did.

What a lovely woman she was.

nostalgia

i was just listening to neil diamond’s the jazz singer album, loving it and feeling nostalgic about when i was a little kid. my mom used to love that record and i remember her playing it on christmas morning.

then i started thinking about a bunch of the other stuff i feel the strongest nostalgia for — anything by the police (the band, obv), michael jackson’s thriller, fiddler on the roof, an 80s dolly parton and kenny rogers christmas special from tv — and i realized that my mom is the thread that connects all of these things. i wouldn’t say any of them remind me of her specifically, but she is present in each of the memories i associate with them.

i think the most likely explanation for this is a bland, boring one: that when i was young, i was more attached to my mother than my father. this is typical since mothers are the food source and spend more time with the children. fathers aren’t as important until later in the child’s life. also, my dad had a temper when i was a kid, and i didn’t like that very much. so i guess mom was my preferred parent then, and because of that, my memories involving her at that time have an intrinsic warmth to them.

jeez, that is boring. i was hoping for some profound revelation, like “maybe my mom and i are far closer than i imagined,” or maybe something mystical or spiritual. but nope. just plain old “mom was there and mom was nice so things associated with her also feel nice.” SNORE.

oh well. i guess not every post can be a nail biter.

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“buddy’s blog has really taken a shit lately.”

negative investments

so patrick fox was just sentenced to almost 4 years in prison for harassing his ex-wife, desiree capuano, and also for a firearms offense. for those that don’t know, fox is the BC man who made it his life mission to “destroy” capuano for taking his son away from him, and created and maintained a website devoted just that. he used the site to expose unsavory details of her personal life, like drug use and criminal boyfriends.

i think this is one of those cases where both parties are guilty — i find when opposing sides both claim they are totally innocent and their nemesis is the cause of all the problems, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. in other words, both fox and his ex-wife are probably pieces of shit. there are too many questionable or dubious details on both sides for either to be the angels they claim to be.

but be that as it may, fox proved himself to be the bigger piece of shit by devoting himself to the purely negative endeavour of destroying capuano’s life. dedicating your life to the destruction of your child’s mother, becoming a social pariah, and ultimately being sentenced to prison for the whole debacle, has nothing but a profound negative influence on his child. as much as fox believes his ex’s behaviour is harmful to their child’s well-being, he’d have to be completely out to lunch to not acknowledge his own behaviour being just as damaging, if not more so.

then again, to have come this far — to have married and had a child with someone he claims is so worthless and destructive, to have invested so much energy in a purely negative pursuit, to publicly defend his actions and truly believe he was doing nothing wrong, to end up in jail for it — it’s clear that patrick fox is in fact 100% out to lunch. there is obviously no reasoning with him so i guess all bets are off anyway.

i usually consider myself a fairly negative bastard, but then i learn about people like this and i realize i’m actually pretty normal, at least when i compare myself to a sociopath. i can’t imagine creating a website devoted solely to complaining about something!

wait a minute… (jk, jk. i’m not that bad. or am i???? to be continued!!!!…… 😀 😀 😀 )

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what a weird, spiteful idiot.

for a few moments, i found myself wanting kids.

i recently had my dad over to help me with some yard work. he came in afterwards and also gave me a hand when he showed me how to refill the kerosene lamp my mother just gave me. once we were done with the lamp, i put it back on top of the cabinet and marveled at how the old lamp from my mom sat between the metal sculpture my maternal grandmother made in university and the shillelagh that originally belonged to my maternal great, great grandfather.

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this is what a shillelagh is, for all the uneducated clods out there. it’s an old irish walking/fighting stick made from blackthorn. pretty neat.

then i realized that all three of those items were from my mom’s side of the family, and i felt shitty that i didn’t have anything from my dad’s side.

then i remembered that the cabinet that all that crap sits atop was given to me by my dad, and it used to be a part of his father’s house in victoria (back when they built cabinets into houses way back when). i laughed and felt better.

but you know, all that thinking about family and heritage quietly stoked some awful, primordial instinct in me — an instinct to pass this cool shit on to my own progeny…

…TO PROCREATE.

egad.

a day or two later, i woke up with a feeling of longing for my own child. i must have had a dream about it because of how strongly i felt it. you know how the overall vibe of an especially powerful dream can sometimes permeate waking life.

so it’s been weird. i don’t think i’ve ever felt this urge to have kids, and if i have, it certainly hasn’t been this strong. i’m confident it’s just a phase that will pass but it’s still an odd, unsettling thing to feel when i’ve otherwise felt so happy and confident in my choice to lead a childless life.

don’t get any ideas though. i’m not flip flopping here because of a few trinkets in my living room and a dream i don’t even remember having. as soon as i start feeling wistful about kids, i close my eyes and picture myself changing diapers, struggling through sleepless nights, having less time for everything else in life i love, paying $50,000 for my kid to go to rehab at age 28, etc. that works pretty well for quelling any urge to make a little version of jenn and myself.

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oh yes, very cute now. but just you wait…

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…for this. not so cute anymore.