Friday, November 20, 2009

The Oprah Winfrey Effect

I have heard quite enough from the sobbing sloppy sniffling Oprah fans depressed about Winfrey's announcement to finish her talk show September 9 2011. Her focus group is the exact opposite of her main fan base.

If her goal is to enpower women with confidence, independence, and financial freedom, while having a happy family and fulfilled mate, she missed the target. The fans that aspire to her perfection, will be cut off with a simple slice on September 9 2011. This is Winfrey's key way of collection her millions. If Oprah says read this, watch this, buy this, eat this - her followers read, watch, buy, and eat in formation. This, in turn, creates instant authors, movie stars, entrepeneurs, and chefs.

If Oprah leaves her flock, it will not only affect those needy followers but also herself. How will Oprah gather her piles and piles of gold? In turn, how will she react to cutting off her Mother Teresa type life, albeit a richer version - perhaps more Robin Hood-like?

Her creation of a black President and ideal Royal 1st Family, or rather support of the Obamas, pave the yellow brick road to the White House. Now her trek down the road will take some time to allow the Obama effect to set in. I guess 2012 is too early as she will not want to go up against Obama. 2016 is more likely and I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't try for some other political title to add to her resume.

Now if you think this all sounds familiar, it does, but the relation is more from a negative incubus. Of course, perhaps negative is a term used here in relation to success. Cult leaders are considered by society as evil people, leading their followers to bad actions. Religious leaders do the same, leading their flock to goodness and light, while collecting money for the Church. Is Winfrey a cult or religious leader? In my eyes, she is. These viewers say they will be lost without her. They have not learned independence if they cannot stop following Winfrey. Has Oprah slowly created her own society or religion of followers?

You decide......

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Angels in the Outfield (or infield)

It is September and to many people this is a time of happiness. Children go back to school leaving their parents relieved that their offspring will be entertained by someone else. Others are joyous as the busy summer months are over and the chaos has finally stopped. Yet others are indifferent, not affected by either senario. For me it is a time of rememberance. The one person in the world that made me who I am today, passed away at the beginning of this month, years ago. My Mother, strong and stubborn in her beliefs, died from complications of breast cancer. She made me the independent person that she never was.

She would hate the picture above, not depending on angels and religion to get her through the rough days. I like this sculpture and the angle the picture is taken. It reminded me of her looking down on me when I was a young girl with pigtails, smiling at me. This sculpture, found in Central Park ,New York, over the Bathesda Fountain, was used in the mini series, Angels in America. The history of the fountain in Jeruselum, I believe, washed people of their illnesses and sins. There is more to it than that but I wish my mom could have jumped in that fountain. It would have taken a herd of elephants to push her in, as she wouldn't have believed the magic of the waters, but her stubbornness would have manifested in quite a large display of anger before she knew what was good for her.

It's funny that I can recognize those characteristics in myself and yet still fight the help from others. In my own bullheadedness, my being a Taurus doesn't help, I have similar moments. I have been known to fall off the radar occassionally, usually fighting with my inner demons. I have ways of shutting the outside world out, perhaps to avoid any hurt or disharmony. I hate to cause a large scene, directly that is, and as the youngest of three children, learned to manipulate situations to my benefit. Unfortunately, this is usually fleeting, as I am more 'focussed' on instant gratification. My mother showed her strength to us as an amazingly healthy woman, never sick or under the weather. She never needed a doctor - of course she did eventually - and because of her stubbornness about not needing medical assistance, she died of a illness which could have been prevented.

I am my mothers daughter, stubborn and stuck in her ways. I can give a look that could kill and not blink an eye. I can also soften enough to cry but not for long. Crying is a sign of weakness, although also an interesting tool. For some reason I am unaware of my using this implement until it's too late. Have I unknowingly manipulated the situation? Possibly. I never see it as a conscious strategic move when backed into a corner. When I see red (although proven not to affect bulls) I tend to charge.

With the current situation, I have backed myself into a wall; too many hands out to try and pull me back on to the radar screen. I don't take to surprises well. I also don't like it when my peers are treated like second class. In addition, I am not to be taken for granted. With all of these little grenades thrown in my path, without one of my equals at work removing them or putting the pins back in, I am due to explode. Collateral damage created by the unfortunate time of the year and direct association. It's my own little way of poking myself to prove I'm alive. It helps to wake up surrounding soldiers of the incoming shrapnel, too.

So now the wall has been built. It never needed to be built but the people at my work decided that they could be the mortor between the bricks. If they knew me at all, they would have let the wall pile high without the bandaids and then the bricks would have fallen easily. Then I would be standing in the open. Even when I tell them to leave it alone, they get their spreaders out with the bucket of cement. My only hope now is to kick the wall down myself.

Back to my mother, who was a master at walls and windows. My question is, if I can see the mirror image, why don't I see the wall behind me in the reflection. My mother and I obviously were born with the same genetic trait - self image distortion. People see us as ones to look up to. Well balanced functioning individuals who never wobble off the balance beam of life. (I have fallen off a balance beam literally. It hurts!) When the outside world witnesses a missing blip on the radar, they send out the emergency vehicles. My goodness, how could we have a moment of weakness, especially with out walls built so well by our peers and friends. But, alas, I point the blame outward.

Well, mom, I believe in God, on my own terms. You made me in your likeness. Ask my dad's friends - "she is so much like Diane". A successful cloning without all the political red tape. I wonder if the cloned offspring were supposed to know they were clones. Seeing the maker, I can see the future. I have forsight into my future that others can enable me towards. I ask another question...Can a person change? I am trying. I am trying. I am trying. That's all I can do.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Make Your Bed...Lie In It!

So I admit that I create the energy around me. Yes, people are all affected by your actions, I understand. When I make my bed I should lie in it, but should it be a bed of nails? In my attempt to stand up for the rights and happiness of my fellow employees, I end up suffering the most. Why do I sacrifice my happiness for others? I never get the kharma back. I mean maybe I do but it certainly isn't noticable. When presented with an obviously awful situation where the choice between me or everyone else is involved, 'everyone' never stands up for
me, and I have no choice but to put myself second. Is it for the fear of being disliked? Avoiding ruffling anyone's feathers? Perhaps. I feel that I am taken for granted, assuming I will always sacrifice myself for another. Well, sometimes I hate it! Just stop it!!!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Craig Ferguson is the Perfect Nightcap!

Every weekday night I get comfortable on the couch or if it's later in bed and get ready for a perfect nightcap. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is such a great show and many people are missing the genius of an amazing comedian. Ferguson is so personable that every person, no matter where you come from, can relate to his comedy.

Ferguson is humble and self-depreciating to make everyone realize even more how different his show is in comparison to his competition, Jimmy Fallon. Ferguson's show is strictly a one-man-show, with no side kick or band. His set is minimal, hardly altered much from the previous set used by Craig Kilborn, the original host. Ferguson has no flashy graphics or expensive skits. It's all 'focussed' on him and his ability to hold a room for the whole show.
His eccentricities using puppets and dressing as a woman are slapstick vaudvillian classic comedy tools. His opening musical two minute introductions, lipsynching popular songs with some intern help, are hilarious because of his acting abilities and clown-esque personality.
If watching Craig Ferguson once is in your future be prepared to be hooked!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pride Vancouver, Heat Waves and Fireworks

Vancouver is a busy place right now. There are so many events happening at once, the city can hardly contain itself. The HSBC Celebration of Light, Pride Week, The Police and Fireman Games, and the endless heat wave to make us all a little sweaty. Everyone is trying their best to not perspire while having fun in the sun.

At work we have been busy for a week, breaking sales records and heat records all the same. The kitchen there is taking casualties daily as the heatwave is tripled in front of the fires cooking all the food for the locals and Pride goers. With the Fireworks and Pride festivities combined tomorrow night, and a busy sunny brunch to boot, we all will be running off our feet.

If you're out and about, send out some positive thoughts our way as we will need it!!!!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Feelin' HOT HOT HOT!!!!!

Vancouver is known for its temperate climate and greenery. Vancouver is also known for it's long stints of rain, thus creating a false idea that we all have umbrellas surgically attached to us to protect us from the elements. Well, this past week has been anything but temperate. Apparently we are setting a heatwave record with 6 days or so of unseasonably high temperature values couples with even more unseasonably high humidity levels. This is the 4th day in a row it has been above 30c and the humidex reading suggests that it feels like 36 or above.

I wouldn't normally start my blogging, after almost a year off, with this topic, but it obviously has some affect to me directly as I work in a restaurant kitchen. This choice in careers, well not really a choice but a "falling into", brings up the old saying - "If you can't take the heat, get outta the kitchen". Well, I doubt this saying began during an outrageous heat wave. If it is 30c outside and feels like 36 or 40 on the humidex rating, imagine what it feels like in a small kitchen without any airflow.

The heat is taking a toll on everyone. My cooks are sweating
faster than they can drink water which ends in splitting headaches, poached brain matter and cranky attitudes. This of course includes myself, as I sweat like the rest of them. Being the altruistic person that I am at work, I choose the hottest spot in the kitchen, in hopes that it saves my cooks from going down at any point thus leaving me short staffed. In turn, I am the crabby Chef, barking once in a while, trying to understand the mind of servers and their interesting codes and garbled excuses for their mistakes. With 6 fans crammed in our 20' x 10' line, heat spewing equipment, open flames, hot deep fryers and blowing convection oven air, not including the compressors pumping out heat trying to keep our coolers cold, and the air circulation at a minimum, it's no doubt there will be a bark or bite once or twice or ten times a night.

When a comment is heard from the front of the house about how hot it is, I want to grab them and place them directly in front of the broiler with all 4 burners on, and ask them if they are hot now! A friend of mine working in another bar down the street actually took a customer, complaining about the wait for his food, into the kitchen and stood him by the grill and said to him, as the 4 cooks stared down this smarmy beast, "Would you like to complain now, man? These guys are sweating their asses off for you! Are you hot enough?" Perhaps a bit of a drastic move, but the customer was probably deserving of the whole incident.

The humidity can create quite the weather phenomena too! On Saturday, a lightening storm hit Vancouver and during the storm, as the sun set over the mountains and ocean a strange effect occurred. The sky turned orange for about 45 minutes! Absolutely incredible! All the while, lightening forks shot down creating a stupendous light show for the thousands of people entering the downtown core for the HSBC Celebration of Light. Fireworks and lightning...quite the show!

This heatwave is occurring during the busiest times in Vancouver with the fireworks festival, Pride Week and numerous other events. Everyone I know in the industry is not only working long hours, but also trying not overheat in this heatwave. Our kitchen is at least 15c hotter than outside and most places aren't air conditioned. I'm not alone when I want to eat out, as no one wants to heat up their apartments. My thermostat says 27c. I of course, have a guilty feeling every time I eat out, so I try to eat at home as much as possible. Salads are a good bet and fruit.

When the heatwave will end? No one really knows. Hopefully soon but I bet once the rain starts to fall, people will forget about the summer we had and complain about having to open up their umbrellas again.