Monday, January 22, 2007

When No News Isn't Necessarily Good News...

...when after 2 calls fielded by your Doctor's receptionist assuring you that the results of the ultrasound are normal "because he doesn't call a patient with negative results" you find yourself sitting in his office 3 months later discovering he never looked at it. "Wait here. We'll get it faxed over right away."

You wait. Knowing that you're intuitive where you're body is concerned and that it's been telling you something's off with persistent pain & discomfort and you're about to finally find out why.

"Good news. It's just a _________________. Actually, it's a good thing that you didn't get the results earlier. We have to do another one to see if it's grown so you just would have worried for the last 3 months anyways."

"Ahhh, good news. It wasn't all in my head. Ummm...glad to hear it?!"

"Oh. Ha ha. Well, like I said, nothing to worry about, ________"

Correction. Almost nothing to worry about. It has to be removed and biopsied because there is the chance it's malignant. There is no sitting around and waiting to see what happens with it. With your recent history? Less so. If you'ld been given the results 3 months earlier you would be that much closer to learning if you've dodged a bullet, if it's still chambered or if it's lodged deep within you; the cause of that persistent, tiring ache. He's the Doctor in this room, right? Why are you the one informing him of the normal course of action?

The point of this? Do not let your fear of what you may learn let you be passive when faced with another's assurances or standard scripts. Be proactive. Insist on proof. It's your health.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

George Stroumboulopoulos: Is it Technically Stalking on MySpace?

I only started to follow what George a.k.a. Strombo is about when I checked out George on MySpace back in Sept of this year or so but admittedly it was the promo for the 3rd season of The Hour that made me even wonder if he had one:

Aside: I’m a sucker for innuendo - the more sexual and/or deviant the better - when it comes to humor though, just plain childish works too :)

When I first visited his page I was immediately struck by the choice of white background, given his penchant for wearing black. Next, the headline “Panic & Understanding” intrigued particularly juxtaposed against the easy laid-back way of his writing style. Lastly, he really said very little aside from thanking you for stopping by and making you feel welcome to stay or “If you have time... check out” No pressure promoting. “This guy could sell me a f__king Vespa” I said aloud to myself which of course made me laugh and choke on my water when I later saw the Gemini skit.

Oh hell, here it is:

Another Aside: Vespas are EVERYWHERE where I live. There's a Vespa gang. They're often seen riding down Fairview Street. Move very slowly out of their way if you see them...

So what made me want to add him as a friend at that point? There wasn’t any reference to motorcycles (at that time), no sense yet of his propensity to say “F__k” A LOT, no hint of just how funny he can really be. I didn’t know yet to what extent he’s involved, liked and well-respected in his field, sure as hell didn’t know that Bono was ‘a fan’. Strombo may as well have been Joe Blow from Jersey. I had no prior interest in him up to that point. Hell, it’s more likely I would have been distracted by and clicked on Joe Blow’s Cool New People profile pic if Joe were straddling an R1 than I would have clicked on George’s pic (no offense meant to George). So why did I want to add him? A sense of openness I think and a feeling of intelligence flowing through the words on his space, the choice of literature. A deceptive calm…? Shmexy versus sexy?

The Hour , The Strombo Show , "The Horror, The Horror" (not really)...

I didn’t catch the first 2 seasons of The Hour so I don’t have that baseline to compare season 3 to. I’ve heard it referred to as “dumbed down” or a “The Daily Show wannabe” but I don’t share those opinions. George reports and comments on a segment exactly as I, and I imagine others, are commenting on aloud when hearing about more celebrity stupidity or Bush stupidity or Harper stupidity, well let’s just say stupidity in any form gets me gesturing and the sarcasm flowing. There are the also the interviews with Canadian personalities, giving us a different perspective from the staid interviewing style that I grew up on. And really, how different can you really expect one show to be from another in this genre? After seeing a few episodes I thought it would be interesting to head into Toronto to catch a taping and requested a ticket.

On the Sunday before The Hour taping that I was going to, I listened to The Strombo Show (talk radio) for the first time and participated in the discussions through commenting on George’s MySpace page. It was cool having a few of my comments read allowed on the air with even a “she’s awesome” response to them from Strombo himself (not everyone gets my sense of humor). They’re pretty good about balancing out the comments they’re reading and giving a nod to everyone participating.

Because I played along on The Strombo Show, I almost cancelled my tickets for The Hour the next day; I felt kinda stalkerish about going to see it but decided ‘What the Hell, I’ll just sit in the back row and be unobtrusive.’ That turned out to be a difficult thing to do with a spotlight directly over my chair…*groan* It was an awesome experience though and it’s sitting in on a taping that will hook you on George and The Hour if nothing else quite sells you. He’s personable, intelligent, tells great stories and is funny as f__k. He’s got this weird energy to him – I can’t stand still for 2 seconds vibe – as if he’s idling way too high and waiting impatiently for the green.

Encouraging audience participation is again key and there’s always (I presume) an invite to hang out after and talk with him. I skulked out of there when it was over (in keeping with my decision to be unobtrusive) but I did stick around when I went back to a 2nd taping (courtesy of Barbara – Thanks) and it’s true what they say: he talks to everyone, makes eye-contact and doesn’t give you any sense that he’s just being polite. George patiently posed for pictures, hamming it up a bit in some and yes, I even ended up in one with him. Who am I to turn down a hug? I should post it I guess, but I’ve always felt awkward about our (the public’s) relationship with celebrities. Speaking only for myself, I don’t actually feel in awe of, or get nervous around them, maybe that’s why I like to keep things (such as a pic, the odd autograph) as a personal memento.

George on MySpace: getting to the actual point of all this

Unlike other ‘celeb’ pages that I’ve networked to for updates on new releases, concert info, etc., I actually (admittedly) post comments quite often on George's page. Sometimes they’re The Hour related, other times it’s in response to the latest entry in his blog on and often I visit just to read what other people are leaving. He attracts some very intelligent and interesting people who have developed friendships that have definitely outgrown their Stroumboulopoulos-commonality. I’ve even messaged him privately regarding some of his blogs (no, not with you are so sexy, you are so hot subject lines).

Lately, I’ve been asking myself “WTF?” “Why am I inclined to do this, more so, why on a regular basis?” Yes, it is in part because George will often end a blog with a question directed at the reader or a “let me know what you think” comment, but still. It’s also fun to do because (like me) others are reading them and even commenting back and forth to each other on his page. It’s like a virtual meeting place for some. If George is reading them and getting a laugh, that’s cool too. If George is getting creeped out, well, oops and sorry (it's a Canadian thing).

In real life, on the street I wouldn’t walk up to him (no really, I wouldn’t). I would probably say “hello” if we made eye-contact especially since I’ve met him (from what I hear he will remember you and probably not even mind if I did). So what makes it normal behavior on MySpace? To be so much more comfortable and impulsive with regards to contacting strangers? The closest analogy I can think of for MySpace in the real world would be to walk around with Post-it® notes and when a thought hit such as “Hey…a Strombo pez…” jot it down, walk over to George and stick it on his chest as I pass by.

That would be weird, having our popularity measured by the amount of Post-it®s we amass on our persons everyday. Probably toxic (well, for some) too.

PS2: It's like sex...without the awkard "'re still here?"

I am officially addicted to PS2. Picked up Tourist Trophy for me (Lego Star Wars for 'The Boy") and I was up til 4am playing the damn thing.I'm getting an Rd350 on the road in '07. Picked it up seized and it's always been put on the back burner. I did learn to ride but not exactly all official and legal like. As I recall the trick to riding well isn't in the thumbs. If it is...I'm going down...A LOT