Monday, June 29, 2009

on the subject of michael jackson and cognitive dissonance

On the subject of the under reported, hardly talked about coverage of Michael Jackson's death, I will add one sentiment I haven't heard expressed: Relief.

Not for his children, of course. For them I am sad.

I'm sad that Michael Jackson named each of his three children Michael Jackson, including his daughter.

I'm sad that he dangled one of them, dubbed "Blanket," from a 4th story hotel balcony for the shock and pleasure of the paparazzi below.

I'm sad that his children will grow up never truly knowing their father, but rather trying to piece together and comprehend this supremely talented superstar turned bizarre victim of a fame obsessed culture.

No, the relief I feel relates to the laying to rest of the cognitive dissonance, the ambivalence that I, and millions of others, have felt over the years watching this premiere performer morph from a cute and irresistable little boy into a disaster of a middle-aged adult.

Cognitive dissonance because his singing was perfectly nuanced, his dancing was dazzling, and his looks (skin color, even) were ever changing but his psychosocial development was stunted.

Cognitive dissonance because his worldwide fame grew at the same rapid rate as his disturbing behavior.

Because the more mesmerized we were by his complex and stylized entertainment, the more embarrassed we were for him and his off camera persona.

Because we felt the sizzling allure of his onscreen sexuality while reading about his seemingly asexual lifestyle.

Because he told us in his child-like voice that it was perfectly innocent and reasonable for an unattached adult man to hold sleepovers for pre-pubescent boys. He couldn't have been that naive. Could he?

Because the more we admired him, the more we were repelled by him. And if you're like me, perplexed and maybe even disgusted by your own admiration given his potential danger to children. Maybe even his own.

Because you couldn't help love him and you couldn't help loathe him. And you simply had to watch him.

Who could turn the channel, afterall, when the news showed yet another clip of Michael doing his signature moon dance? Or the one where his fancy footwork mixed with fancy fingerwork aimed at keeping what remained of his surgically mutillated nose in place? (How do these surgeons keep their licenses?) How about Bubbles, his pet chimp? His secret marriage and divorce to Lisa Marie Presley? (He reportedly harbored an Elvis obsession). To his dermatologist's nurse? His court testimony? His hair on fire?

A fellow psychologist at Couch Trip (wish I had thought of that blog name) put his ambivalent feelings into words this way:

"I was fascinated....And there was also a sense that his troubles are over, which allows the genius and the music and the dancing to come to the surface again."

So yes, I'm relieved that as time goes by and as the media obsession dies down, so will the discomfort of our collective cognitive dissonance.

In it's place will be left the memories and music videos of a man who, though tragically flawed, was amazingly fun to watch.

We will no longer have to worry about his sex life, his substance abuse, his nose falling off his face.

We'll just be able to listen to his music, smile, and try to remember where we were when we first danced along to Billie Jean.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

some like it hawt

We're getting zapped with unusually hot June temperatures. Yesterday, according to the metiorologist meterologist weatherman, the temps reached 108 in some not too distant corner of the Austin area. Now, I like it hot, but not this hot.

I don't like staying camped in the air conditioning, either. I'm grateful that I have AC, and will use it, but I really dislike retreating inside the house, sucking up what feels like stale air.

So I did what any reasonable Austinite would do for therrapy on an extremely hot June day:

Submerged myself in Barton Spring's year round 68 degree water, alternating with sunning on a raft. It could only have been more perfect if I was slurrping on a PPP margarita.

Now my husband, SAM, on the other hand? He chose a completely different path:

He prefers to sun himself from a rooftop, armed with a tool belt and nail gun. He's decking the roof of our neighbor's addition. Which he framed. In this heat. Now that is hawt. And I do likes me some of this kinda hawt.

You can't see me, but I'm down below, rendering myself a nuisance assistance with my camera and a first aid kit: fresh brewed iced tea and a tall stack of ice.

What about you, readers? How do you cope with the summer heat?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

it's about that time again

The summer is off to a running start between a busier than usual work schedule and kids with busier than usual comings and goings. No time to catch my breath much less catch up on all of the blogs I've been sorely neglecting. I expect more downtime in July but I'm not making any promises.

So far we've had afternoons of swimming at West Enfield, Deep Eddy (below) and Barton Springs Pools. Swimming is not an option, but a necessity, in these June "we've already hit 100 degrees" temps.

The oldest pool in Texas, Deep Eddy Pool is located close to downtown. Like Barton Springs and Enfield Pools, Deep Eddy is spring fed, making for an ultra-refreshing dip. It's also a great place to people watch and catch the latest trends in men's fashionable summertime headwear:

This weekend? We're beating the heat with our annual girls-plus-kids weekend trip for the second best kind of poolside relaxing, here.

And this year I'll be packing the prickly. Normally reserved for martyr syndrome intervention, I'm feeling the need for a little self-administered liquid therrapy.

Find out how you, too, can beat the heat with a pink prickly pear margarita, here.
I will add a major, energy saving modification. The pears can be frozen in the freezer, taken out the morning of your therrapy appointment, placed in a plastic container and left to thaw in your fridge. Retrieve a few hours later to find the dark purple juice oozing from the pears, ready to be strained and poured into the drink of your desire. Much easier.

Friday, June 12, 2009

exercise in futility

Weight Loss Fact #1

During a routine workout on the eliptical machine I can burn 300 calories in 30 minutes. That's comes to about 10 calories burned per minute.

Weight Loss Fact #2

During a routine sitting in front of my laptop, I can eat four Ghirardelli Truffles in 30 seconds. That comes out to about 600 calories scarfed per minute.

Weight Loss Fact #3

If I want to lose any weight, I'd better stay on the elliptical machine, like, forever.

image source, here

Saturday, June 06, 2009

hot tub etiquette at a large downtown gym

Old man with the rotund physique, I don't know where you came from or how you were raised, but proper jacuzzi etiquette does not include:

1. ignoring the stair step entrance;

2. lollying your full body onto the ledge, laying your head nearly directly behind mine so that you appear to intend to roll on top of me, swinging your legs down into the water, missing me only because I have lightning quick reflexes;

3. continuing to sit on the ledge about six inches from my spot, despite an otherwise empty jacuzzi, arms crossed and resting on your buddha belly, head tilted down, eyes closed, as if in deep slumber, remaining thusly situated for the next twenty minutes.

WTF, old man?!? I came here to relax too, ya know.