Lea – Her 2nd year

Today, my Lea turns 2 years old.  I can’t believe that this amount of time has gone by, though I am sure that this is something I will always feel as I watch her grow up.  I wrote on Twitter today that Lea confirms every cliched statement that one can feel about a love between a parent and their child.  Since I’ve been working on this blog, a lot of people have said to me that I don’t write more about Lea (after all she does have her name in the title!)  So, this one is for her and what she means to me.

Because of her, I can now say:

  • I adore Elmo, after spending decades loathing that Muppet.
  • I take the time to appreciate all of the small things that we all take for granted.  For example, if Lea sees a tree she will say “Hi, tree!” and then proceed to give the tree a kiss.  This warms my heart.
  • I now have an excuse to crawl around on the floor and make funny noises.
  • I am in awe when I look at her, because I can simultaneously see her mother reflected back at me, and then hear traces of my hysterical laughter when she laughs.  This also warms my heart.
  • Her openness to life is a lesson that I continue to learn from.

I suppose all babies are this to their parents.  I am not going through a singularly unique experience.  What is amazing to me is that these experiences take on a different perspective for each parent involved.  It’s as though the things that I search for in life – their answers are manifested in my daughter.  That would seem to be a lot of pressure for one little girl to carry. Let me clarify that I would never put that kind of thing on anyone, let alone my child!  But, I just find that things have a way of taking place before you even bat an eye.  And it’s only on birthdays or special occasions that you take stock of these items and then you can see it.

I cherish our walks to and from daycare every morning.  We point out things that we see, she will tell me the things she wants to do when she gets home, and somewhere in there she wraps her arms around my neck and hugs me.  I hug her back.  Leaving at 5PM on the dot every day is without question, because that time with her is what my days are all about now.

Happy Birthday to her today.  Happy indeed.

Aaliyah

It truly boggles my mind that “Aaliyah” – an album that truly made a mark on my brain and heart is 10 years old this year.  It also floors me that it has also been 10 years since that voice has passed.

I had always thought Aaliyah was awesome.  She was cool, she was beautiful and the girl could sing.  Her hooking up with Timbaland and Missy Elliott was Kismet.  It was meant to be.  Their work together was palpable, it was on fire.  When I was hearing that she was working on a new album, of course I was interested.  I was also particularly interested in that she had said that this was going to be an album that signified her growth as an artist and as a woman.  She won me right away.  On top of that, I had also heard that she had wanted to work with Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails AND was playing Akasha in the big screen version of Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned – part three in a series of vampire books that I adored.  I was loving Aaliyah more and more – here was an R&B artist who wanted to push boundaries of sound and look and truly go against what was happening in the music world.  I always gravitate towards those artists, and it was looking like she was doing just that.

10 years ago, I was 24.5 years old.  I was a very alone 25-year-old.  I had just finished working on a play for the Montreal Fringe Festival and had started to feel the onset of depression closing in on me.  My “flow of creativity” was ending, and I was completely done.  Friends were leaving Montreal to pursue their lives, and I was standing still.  Music was my only solace.  By sheer coincidence, “Aaliyah” was my record of choice for that summer of 2001.

The beats were on fire, her voice was gentle yet pointed, everything about it was raw, beautiful, soulful and god did it make you dance!  I remember Rolling Stone magazine giving it a stellar review, saying that it was Aaliyah’s Control, Velvet Rope and Jagged Little Pill all rolled into one.  I remember how it did “bother” me that she didn’t write any of the songs on the album, but she did put her stamp on every one of those songs in a way that made her a choice song interpreter.

I think I played all of those songs over and over again.  I would have to say that “More Than A Woman” was the one that stuck the most (and still today).  Something about that song gets to my hips and my heart at the same time.  And that video was hot and cool – and clearly Shania Twain felt the same way cause her “I’m Gonna Getcha Good” video totally rips from “More Than A Woman”!

Aaliyah was poised for insanity and superstardom.  I could taste it for her.

And then she died.  In a plane crash.

Her death shook me in a way that I can’t explain.  I was in a real sad state that summer, but her death made my sadness worse – she was young, she was so talented, and she died close to my “impending doom of a birthday” – turning 25.  Suddenly, all of the songs took a deeper meaning – as though these were Aaliyah’s last impressions that she would leave on Earth.  “More Than A Woman” simultaneously would make me joyous and crying.

Seeing her play Akasha – a person of the undead in Queen of the Damned provided more irony than I would have liked.  The film is a terrible adaptation, but watching Aaliyah made me elevate my feelings on the entire thing.  Had there been more time, I do still think she would have made a fantastic Akasha.

You blink your eyes, and 10 years past.  I’m now 34.5 years old and my life is quite the polar opposite of what it was before.  I am definitely not alone.  I found myself posting “More Than A Woman” on my Facebook page this week, and also have been thinking about Aaliyah again – now understanding why I have.  The age has changed, and that CD has now become digitally received to me through my iPod – and I always go back to those tracks and remember and feel.  And most of all, to dance.

God bless you, Aaliyah.  You didn’t fade away.

What film have you seen more than any other?

Hello, bloggy! It’s been a while. I’ve been wanting to write for a while but I didn’t want it to be about nothing. The inspirations from postaweek2011 have been here or there for me – but I did like this one.
I liked this question for a number of reasons – 1) it’s about movies, and I love movies (newsflash!) 2) it’s about repeated viewings of movies which is something that has dwindled in my life over the last few years but was something that I loved to do. I have a tendency that if I love a certain song, record or movie, I obsess about it for weeks and weeks. I eat it, breathe it and completely consume it. I think it’s part of my Virgo psyche as my way of showing devotion or something.
So, to answer the question, the one film that I have probably seen the most in my life is Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia”. In the theatre alone, I saw it 4 times and then endlessly when it arrived on DVD. I would say I’ve seen it a total of about 10 times in my lifetime. 10 might not be enough, seeing that you’re talking to someone who worships “E.T.” but yet still hasn’t seen that one 10 times. Nope, it’s Magnolia. I loved, worshipped and cried my heart out for that movie. I haven’t seen it in years, and I wonder if it would still resonate in me in the same way. That film spoke to my heart in ways that I didn’t even know existed. Tom Cruise has never been better than in this film. With its myriad of characters, I remember connecting to a different one with each viewing. It’s not flippant that the poster for that film is laminated and hung in my house. The film made me appreciate Paul Thomas Anderson for the master that he is, and made me revisit Boogie Nights as well – a film that I initially hated, but then have come to adore just as much.
So, there ya have it – Magnolia. I wonder if I watched it as many times as I did because it shed light and gave a voice to the 23 year old version of me that was still trying to find his own voice and identity. Would I still feel the same way now as a married husband and father? Perhaps I should watch it again…or perhaps it should just remain a moment in time that I can look back fondly on and reach out for on my DVD shelf.

10 Shows in 10 sentences.

I’m in the middle of watching Friday Night Lights, thanks to the persuasion of many of my friends. As I am journeying through this storytelling, I am finding myself quite in love with the arc that this show takes. No sir, this show ain’t completely about football. I am only into Season 3 of 5 for this show – and perhaps it might enter my list of fave TV shows in life. We shall see.
In 10 sentences, here are my favorite shows – some cut down in their prime, and some running its course – all so awesome:

Freaks and Geeks – This show, set in 1980, is your high school life to a tee.

Felicity – Encapsulates university life and pondering your next move in such a sensitive way.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Everything that television is capable to bring to a viewer – was done in this show.

The Cosby Show – I can watch this family and still feel welcomed no matter how many times I watch.

Sesame Street – Don’t laugh – this was a groundbreaking show if you think about it.

LostIt went up and down and everywhere in between, but it never failed to amaze.

Friends – This show evolved from a sex-focused sitcom into a full on ensemble comedy.

Seinfeld – you get it.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show – Before my time, watch it in reruns and you completely understand its greatness.

The Golden Girls – Lord, this show had balls and had one of the best casts on television.