Mike’s Prattle


Archive for August, 2007

Friday Night Lights on DVD – guaranteed

Posted by Mike on August 23, 2007


The DVD of the first season of the most recent television’s best new show is not only coming out at a great $29.99 retail price ($19.99 preordered from Amazon at last look) but also comes with a money back guarantee if you don’t like it. One of the best dramas on TV and now no excuse not to give it a try.


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Alcoholism and responsibility

Posted by Mike on August 23, 2007

The last few months have been really interesting on a number of personal fronts. There are basically two situations, one related to an old partner peripherally back in my life and the other is basically tragedy. I credit meditation and other similar types of theurgic work for even having any sense of detachment for both situations, but also a couple of mutual friends both of whom I have the deepest respect and appreciation for. My coping mechanism for tragedy and anxiety is almost entirely humor, something I share with both friends. At least in the former situation, which more or less revolves around helping an ex through a similar situation to something I went through many years ago, things seem to be positive and working out and for that I’m grateful. Here I sense a woman on the cusp of really becoming something (even more) special especially in the sense that I find that people’s personal power can only come from one’s self and that the realization of such is one of the great liberators. Seeing someone you care about come to this realization is a great joy, especially as it tends to come on the back end of personal hell.

The other situation is intensely awful, especially absent a similar realization. It’s a situation that puts into conflict one’s loyalty to someone you’ve known forever and the need to put the same situation behind you. And as the subject states, it almost has everything to do with alcohol. Now since my college days I’ve always appreciated good drink and have gone through phases appreciating premium beer, scotch and rum. So when I say I drink maybe once or twice a month max now and have for years, I’ll say it’s the direct result of seeing alcohol destroy someone I cared about.

I’m no pioneer talking about the way alcohol can take down someone’s life, but when the alcoholic already has a self-centered and oblivious sense of ethics in place when sober, the unveiling of the tragedy is much worse. Support is entirely in conflict with one trying to find out where the alcohol stops and the true personality begins. And when the alcohol problem dates back to teen years, one starts to wonder if a true personality even exists or if it’s just modeled on years of manipulation and con artistry. Having someone you consider a friend, lie directly to your face with alcohol on his breath with the absolute knowledge that this person who you’re supposed to trust is lying about their denial is one of the great deal breakers when it comes to a friendship. It’s the point when you realize that this is a person you’ll never trust again in this lifetime, not specifically because everyone expects an alcoholic to lie, but because you realize this is the same hat worn on scores of previous occasions, even during the sober months.

Individuals like this don’t even really hit rock bottom, they just keep falling, hitting every crag along the way. When a human being feels entitled to luxury, entitled to the point of expecting it to be handed out on a silver platter, the ideas of actions and their reactions become alien. An action always leads to consequences of some sort and ignoring this connection changes the dynamic not a bit. Each tragedy that comes out of the result of a self-centered action is considered “not fair” when it’s actually exactly what you’d expect. If you drive a car with a blood alcohol level of .35, not only are you an oblivious alcoholic (as you’d have to be to even be able to operate at this horrific level – you’d literally have to have had 15-18 drinks in ONE HOUR to chart at this level) but you’re also a potential killer. When you do this AGAIN only weeks after spending a night in the tank with the property of someone who has basically gone well and above any sort of natural loyalty, you’re sending the message that you’d sell your best friends out for chump change.

Perhaps with this individual it’s too late, as so much of one’s late teens and early 20s (maybe even later in this era) deals with maturing and taking one’s place as a responsible member of society. Take that away, drown it with booze and one is eternally 17 years old, with the same careless passions for responsibility-less carousing. This individual has betrayed his friends, his family and particularly abused those whose sense of boundaries aren’t as firm. When one’s motivations are keeping one’s alcohol level at such precarious heights, everyone is fair game for manipulation. And unfortunately a 17 year old isn’t a clever manipulator, so friends are completely and totally aware of every vocal inflection, pause, sigh and bit of flattery that occurs. Every mutual friend I have could play this role in a movie to a tee and all of us are practically prophetic in terms of knowing what comes next. And yet we’re still surprised every time the latest rug gets pulled out. Can it get any worse? We have no reason to expect that it won’t. And when every other opportunity for healing is rejected, sooner or later that great healer known as death with be knocking on the door.

We all suffer knowing someone with this sort of problem and we all follow the ups and downs with our being. We spend hours wondering what we can do to change the situation, we literally despair over the problem because as friends we feel its our responsibility to give support. A friend who bails out when the chips are down isn’t much of a friend. Everyone knows the “turn the other cheek” cliche, but when both of those cheeks have been torn off, there’s nothing left for a beating.

This post is the very last thing I can possibly do and I expect it to have no discernable effect on the situation. But to me morality isn’t all that far from physics. Actions create their opposing reactions. Denial doesn’t change this one iota. Two DUIs (within ten years, let alone 6 weeks) means you get prison time and extraordinary debt, not happiness. But I suspect even the cold metal of handcuffs and bars will evoke nothing more than chagrin and accumulating outrage rather than enlightenment. And that’s the real tragedy.

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Summer TV

Posted by Mike on August 14, 2007

It’s actually kind of nice to take a break from appointment television from the usual season, in fact by the end of the regular season I’m usually exhuasted by it all and wishing to remove items from the must see list.

Apparently there are a lot of good shows on this summer, but without making a real effort to find them, I’ve got a pretty short list. There’s Sci-Fi channel’s Friday night schedule with Series 3 of Doctor Who. I’ve seen it already but watching it again cuz it’s great, in fact if you haven’t seen it, start watching on August 24th as the best three episodes of the series start then. Unfortunately, it’s followed by the new imagining of Flash Gordon, whose pilot episode was rather bad, in fact it’s a good thing not to judge television by the pilot eps at all. Hoping for it to get better, but given that it’s something like Stargate:Flash Gordon (read: Vancouver), I’m likely to get tired of it in a hurry. It’s missing too much, acting chemistry and clever dialogue in particular.

Also in the seen already but you should be watching category is BBC’s Jekyll, airing on BBC America on, I believe, Saturdays. It’s already a third of the way through the run of 6 eps but I can imagine a schedule check would lead to reairings. Also a modern remake on an old tale (I’m starting to believe that those who make TV also don’t believe there’s anything original left to say), the writing of Steven Moffat and the acting elevates the story, and I found it extremely enjoyable.

Also of interest, is AMC’s Mad Men about Wall Street in 1960. It’s a bit slow moving but very clever, particularly in how the scripts reflect how different that time was from now. The 50s, in general, give me the willies, so I was surprised at how engaging it was. And I’m hoping most programs move to the model of keeping recent episodes on On Demand, because it makes it a lot easier to keep up with.

And that’s about it….

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