First, this past Tuesday, which was not only St. Patrick's Day but my birthday as well, I -- along with the rest of the world -- came to hear of the unfortunate news about Natasha Richardson's skiing accident in Montreal. We were slowly drawn to the conclusion that a "minor" fall on a beginner slope would soon result in Ms. Richardson's death, and the shock and disbelief we all presumably felt was exacerbated by the media's overwhelming urgency to be the first to publish the bad news, as per usual.
First and foremost, what I knew of Ms. Richardson -- between her movies, some personal appearances and her recent appearance on an episode of this season's Top Chef -- was thoroughly positive. I didn't know she'd been married to Liam Neeson, nor that they had two children, but I did know -- in hindsight -- it was and remains sad that someone so positive, talented and in the forefront of her life was taken from her family. As I've indicated in the past, I understand the media's need to expose every inch available vis-a-vis a celebrity's passing, I thought that the Post's headline -- "Brain Dead" -- was uniquely and markedly crass. However, the subsequent discussion of how Ms. Richardson died -- ie blunt trauma -- and her autopsy, and the subsequent details that trickled out at a steady stream over the days following her accident were even worse than crass. They ostensibly took a woman who was a beacon of happiness and light and, seemingly, reduced her death -- and, to a degree, her legacy -- to tabloid clippings.
Perhaps I'm being a bit overly sensitive, but to me, this whole feeding frenzy by the media really took an awful, terrible, tragic piece of news and made it that much worse. There has to -- or should -- be a line between going after a newsworthy story and shitting all over a story.
What also bothered me about this story was the virtual media blackout on the passing of another actor, Ron Silver. Ron Silver never played the "main" guy but, like J. T. Walsh and John Ritter's latter movie career, Ron Silver was always solid. He elevated a crappy movie like "Timecop" (yes, with Jean-Claude Van Damme) to quasi-legitimate status. He hit every role in which I'd seen him with the same tenacious genuineness, and beyond his abilities, he began -- later in his life -- to become more publicly involved with politics. I'm not sure if he had aspirations to become a politician or simply to affect the political process, but I was impressed by not only his beliefs but also the nearly anonymous way he went about what he was doing. The fact that he died after a bout with throat cancer -- and that he didn't publicize his story or whore the end of his life out to the highest bidder -- really impressed me and reminded me why I had so much respect for him in the first place. And I'm glad his passing was barely addressed in the media, although I am certainly sad that he is now relegated to a memory and to his roles. I did notice the difference between his and Ms. Richardson's passing and how the media handled each, and while again, I understand the need to get a story, I think there are certain things which should be off-limits, if not at least treated with a bare modicum of respect. It can't simply be an all-or-nothing dichotomy; however, seeing how the media handled these two incidents, I'm fairly certain that nothing will change, and if it does, it won't be for the better.
Beyond this, there were other events of equal significance that, thankfully, weren't as unfortunate as were Ms. Richardson's or Mr. Silver's deaths. First, as per usual, I was inundated with work and barely got a chance to spend any quality time with Kaia, friends and/or family. On the other hand, I was able to get a foothold on a lot of work that had been in the air for the past week or ten days, so that's a definite plus. I suppose, given that I have a deadline so close to my birthday each year, I'm slowly -- begrudgingly -- accepting that the world, seemingly, doesn't revolve around me and that the day before my birthday, the day after my birthday, and -- somehow -- the day of my actual birthday is irrelevant when I've got to deal with clients, deadlines, city personnel and ticking time bombs. I'll figure it out some day. In the meantime, I can be a bit -- mockingly -- irritated, or I can just get on with what I've got to do and lament the late hours of March 17th next year as I did last year as well as this year.
Score: PC Gremlins 1, Boogie 0.
Finally, this weekend I spent time with friends, one of whom swung by to do some PC work on the home rig. We swapped out the motherboard -- which is a huge undertaking, akin to removing the fuel injection on a modern sports car -- and did so with relatively few problems. The issues plaguing the first build were and are no longer applicable, as the "new" build sings. We did some post-fix testing and everything was and remains bulletproof. However, to be sure, we ran a few games to challenge all aspects of the system, as firing up a 25-page, multi-sheet Excel spreadsheet doesn't quite push modern, multi-core PC's to their limits. After that, I fired up a Blu-Ray disc to see how much it would tax the system; no problems. Thereafter, we popped in a "rip" of a Blu-Ray disc in sparkling, pristine 1080p and that too failed to pressure the system in any significant way.
Boogie 1, PC Gremlins 1.
Finally, waking up on the first day of spring to a wet, sideways snowfall was a reminder of one of Kaia and my first New Years' together. It was a nice flashback and inasmuch as I don't much care for snow on days when "commute" involves me and getting to and from my office, it was a nice memory and one I suspect will remain with me until our next snowy New Years' morning.