Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, February 01, 2015

How I Spent My Vacation

So, I'm finishing up a week off.  The Company wanted me to use up some leftover vacation time from last year, so I took a week to just chill out at home.  I had no real plans until I saw that Jem and the Holograms expires from Netflix on Monday, then my plan became binge-watch Jem like my life depended on it.

I'll probably have a full blog entry on the joys of Jem in the weeks ahead.  For those who don't remember this classic product of the 1980s, we follow the adventures of Jerrica Benton, president of Starlight Music and head of the charity the Starlight Foundation for Foster Girls.  But by night, Jerrica becomes Jem, the world's most beloved pop star.  She accomplishes this transformation thanks to Synergy, the world's most advanced AI and sound and projection machine, working through the holographic projectors concealed in Jerrica's earrings.  Only 4 others know her secret:  Shana, Aja, Kimber, and Raya, her best friends since childhood who form her backing band, the Holograms.  And using the powers of generosity, love, and friendship, they do battle with their rival band the Misfits for pop chart supremacy.

It's like every fad and trend of the 1980s threw up on Barbie and it is the trippiest nostalgia trip ever.  As a kid growing up, it was right there on Saturday afternoons between G.I. Joe and Transformers and that's when I first started thinking that girls may not be icky after all.


I came across the episode KJEM.  In this tale, our heroines are asked to underwrite a struggling radio station until the station can successfully relaunch as a community station serving the nearby college.  But of course, there's an evil broadcast conglomerate who wants to put the station out of business, and it turns into every "big evil developer vs. plucky teens trying to save their community centre" plot that was so popular in the 1980s.  However, I was quite taken by this one scene.  When things look dire for our struggling station, the old station manager takes to the air one last time to give his final sign off.  I listened to his speech, and I was like, "Wow.  This just sums up the power of radio so nicely."

So I had to rip the clip to share.

tl;dr: I just dig that the benefits of my business was the moral of a 1980s cartoon. 

I also got to work on rebuilding my website, Chaos in a Box.com.  I had kind of half-started a year ago, and rebuilding it is something I'd really like to do.  I mean, I'm paying for the server space and the URL, so why not use it?  For those interested in the nuts and bolts, I had a friend install WordPress, the Internet's favourite DIY web designer, and I've been copying-and-pasting my hundreds of lovingly, hand-crafted webpages into WordPress.  Granted, it looks more like a typical blog now, but this ensures consistency across all the pages, and now it's searchable, too!

I was finally able to finish Phase II, which was reconstructing my original blog, Chaos in Print, which ran from 1999 to 2006.  It's an interesting chronicle of my life, as it starts when I graduated from university, and ends when I got my first radio gig.  I never meant for it end when I got my first radio gig.  I always said I'd get back to it once I got settled in to Athabasca, but I'd also started up the podcast at that time, and as a friend pointed out, if radio announcing and the podcast was where my true passion lay, then that's what I should focus on.  The podcast kind of supplanted the original blog.

Re-reading some of those entries, I can see why several of my instructors at NAIT warned me that it could cost me a job in radio.  Back then, I had no qualms about venting my frustrations about co-workers, classmates, and general unpleasant situations.  I remember my co-workers at Extra Foods in Drayton Valley were pissed when they discovered my blog, because I had no problems whatsoever sharing tales of the idiot clerks I worked with.  "But I didn't use your name, no one knows it was you," was my constant defense. 

I am a little worried that digging these up, giving them a fresh coat of paint, and re-posting them will cause a few things to come back and bite me on the butt.  But then, when I had those fears when I first attempted this reconstruction last year, I just reminded myself that this has all be online for more than a decade now.  If it was going to come back and bite me on the butt, it would have by now. 

I miss blogging like that.  It grew out of the opinion column I used to write for my college paper, and so I always did it like how I wrote that column:  just spend a few hours a week writing 2 pages on something I'm deeply passionate about.  Reviewing those old entries, at that time in my life, if there was one thing I was passionate about, it was my two best friends.  I gave them the pseudonyms Chuck and L, and they are characters that loom large in that original blog.

What can I say?  I idolized them back then.  Here I was, puttering around in my parents' basement, working a minimum wage retail job, trying to figure out what to do next in my life, and here they were, living in a big house in Vancouver.  They always spoke with confidence and had smiles on their faces.  It was like they already had things all figured out.  Granted, the big house was her parents', and they were living in the basement, but still!  Vancouver! 

Because of how the blog ended, I never got to tell the end of their story.  Not much to tell.  They broke up.  As Chuck explained to me at the time, over dinner one night, L announced that she'd decided she'd needed to spend some time on her own to grow as a person, as they'd been together since her first year in college, and that she'd be moving out by the end of the month.  The end of the month came, L moved out, and within the year, she was married to some other guy.  Chuck took a little more time to move on, but he's now happily married to another as well.  The end. 

Not quite the ending I'd ever pictured for them, but then as the book says, there can be no happy endings for nothing truly ends.  Maybe it's good that I never got to write the ending.  In real life, that's not how people enter and exit your life.  There's no splashy entrances and grand finales, they just kind of drift in and then drift away.

Much like how I drifted away from that blog.  But still, it's been neat having it drift back in and remembering these good ol' days.  Good ol' days that I'll soon be able to share with you once again, once the website reconstruction is complete.  

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