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image from www.michaeljackson.com

image from www.michaeljackson.com

I have about 20 screenshots hanging out on my desktop waiting for meaningful file names and a purpose. I’m trying to figure out where to start (as addressed in the subject line), and I can’t really think of anything more topical than Michael Jackson.

I know everyone and their second cousin twice removed are talking about MJ right now and how he changed their life, but dudes, he did. I started to wade through my own bank of Jackson memories, and had a great conversation with my mom about us gathering around ye olde television set to watch the Thriller video. I was four when the video debuted, and I’m not sure if this memory is from the day that MTV first played it, or just the first time WE saw it. Either way, I was no older than five. The video is terrifying. It’s one of two beloved pop-culture phenomena that have scarred me for life (the other being Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, more on that in a future post). I made it about two and a half minutes into the fourteen-minute video. When were-Michael looked up with his yellow eyes and yelled, “GO AWAY,” I did. For years, YEARS, I had nightmares about this, and not just nightmares, but also hallucinations. I used to sleep with my bedroom door open and we had a yellow-tone light in the hallway, at night, I would look up and there he’d be, were-Michael, in his red jacket, hunched over about to pounce, yellow eyes glowing and claws ready for the attack. Years. We moved out of that house about seven years later, and the hallucinations stopped, but I still would have occasional nightmares.

Unlike Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, however, I love Thriller. Love. it. Do you all remember all those Michael Jackson marathon’s MTV used to do? When he came out with Dangerous in 1991 I was glued to MTV. I wore that tape out. I grew up listening to Bad and Thriller on vinyl, my parents learned to disco to Off the Wall. The Jackson Five are on all of my “cheer up” or “shake your booty” playlists, also, some of my wallowy playlists, and definitely on “Lea Sings in the Shower: Songs to make the neighbors break their leases.”

I think what has been most difficult, is to me, and I’m sure to many people of my generation, it felt like Jackson died a long time ago. Our MJ was gone, and these increasingly bizarre iterations appeared every couple years or so, but now, we are all celebrating all that he’s done, the many people he’s been, and the staggering legacy of FORTY years of music.

As you may know, I recently watched The Queen, about how Queen Elizabeth II dealt with the public’s reaction to Princess Diana’s death. I keep going back to that, just watching how the mourning swelled, how millions of people were affected, and see that happening for MJ too (but on a astronomically larger scale). I am pleased that the MJ events are celebrations of his life and his art. I can’t wait to hit up a few myself – friends and I went to the MJ singalong for my 25th and I highly recommend it, if you can get tickets.

I also love that Michael Jackson broke the Internet. That is just so amazing to me. He crashed Twitter and AIM, freaked out Google, blew up Wikipedia, and appeared in millions of Facebook status messages. The latter was incredibly powerful for me. My Facebook friend list is comprised of people from the many different phases of my life. There was just something about seeing my elementary school classmates, summer camp friends, fellow former Cleveland-area alternateens, college and grad school folk, just really everyone I’ve ever known – all react to the same event – it just made me think about the universality of Jackson.

Oh man, MJ, I want you back.

MySpace is streaming tons of Jackson songs and videos, here is one of my favorites The Way You Make Me Feel.

What are your favorites?

If you don’t know where to start, may I suggest this?

I wish it wasn't :(

I wish it wasn't 🙁

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A few days ago (probably on Macbookless – Day Two) I remembered what right clicking is. I kept automatically alt clicking and not knowing why nothing was happening.

Have I mentioned that this laptop has NO battery? There is physically a battery in it, but it doesn’t do anything. If the power cord disconnects for more than two seconds then the whole thing shuts down.

I think I’ve figured out the limits of this computer. I can have at most two programs open (Firefox and Pidgin, although I did open Adobe Reader once, that was a trial in patience. I am not Job.) In Firefox I can have four tabs, but none of the pages can have embedded audio or video – java and flash are the kiss of death. Usually any sort of moving or singing thing will crash my browser, but it doesn’t crash quickly. It freezes, and when I try to force quit it takes another 5 minutes or so. If I have more than four tabs open, I get the virtual memory dump balloon. I’ve uninstalled the memory sucking programs that run secretly in the background, but I guess I either have missed a few, or there really is just not enough memory to handle five tabs.

I stayed away from the PC today, mostly because of a killer migraine, but also I started to get into the Picoult book. I still don’t love it. I realized one of my problems with it is I picture Cameron Diaz every time there is a chapter written from the mother’s perspective. I have a love/hate relationship with Ms. Diaz (Being John Malkovich = love, There’s Something About Mary = hate, her political and social activism = love and hate – it’s kind of endearing because she seems to be trying so hard, but it also feels like she’s that girl from your high school that suddenly became really passionate about something because she saw it on Oprah). I know this isn’t fair to Ms. Picoult, but I can’t undo it now, and I doubt I’d like the mother character anyway. Sometimes I like when chapters are written from different character’s perspectives, but it’s not really working for me with this book. I find myself dreading chapters written by certain characters, and the whole thing just seems overly dramatic. I keep getting a sense of “this is really serious you guys!” underneath all her writing. I get it, it’s serious. Quit trying to convince us and just keep that plot going. I think the 23-hour headache has made me overly harsh. I understand that Ms. Picoult has an often-hospitalized child of her own (just from the book jacket, I didn’t do any other research, I’m not ready to hear her story because I don’t want it to influence my impression of the book), and I guess that if I was a person who had an experience similar to the mother in the book or Ms. Picoult then I might feel differently. I might feel that affirmation that comes from reading a story that expresses the thought and feelings you can’t, but I don’t feel that way.


Upon reviewing my post, I realized that the Oprah comment was unnecessarily snotty. Although I’m not all about celebrities telling us that we can be fabulous if we’d just make all the choices they do – Gwynnie, I’m looking in your direction – it’s unfair of me to criticize the catalyst for one’s politicization. As a feminist, and a person who has formally studied gender for the past decade, it is especially heinous for me to make such a meanie-pants observation. So I apologize. Go ahead, become politicized through Oprah, but please, do some more research – like listening to NPR, because as all good liberals know – everything on NPR can be taken as gospel. 😉

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