Rob Gauntlett – He drank milk.

There are a wide range of things I still want to do with my life.  I’d like to see Europe, and Africa.  I’d like to learn how to sail and how to build machines.  I think trying hang gliding once might be fun, even though I’m afraid of heights.  I wouldn’t mind to spend some time as a hermit.  I’d like to learn more traditional folk dances, especially the ones they do with swords.

Some people dedicate their entire lives to just such interests.  Some people pursue mountain climbing, or athletics, or scientific discovery, or invention, or learning, or service as their whole selves.  I have great respect for such people.  Though I am more of a dabbler myself and will never excel in any of my interests, I dream for those who can devote all the bundled energy of life in some singular striving.  There is a sort of beauty that comes from really living, and I think those with such a force exhibit it.  I think the rest of us can exhibit the same, but those with that intensity of purpose show this type of beauty most clearly to the world.

Rob Gauntlett was that type of person.  His life’s story is littered with firsts, with accomplishments, with explorations and challenges the like of which I will never experience.  He seems, from all accounts, to have been that half-mad, lovable sort that can’t help but push themselves, loving ever bone-tingling moment of experience.  He seems to truly have lived in beauty, despite the shortness of that life and the potential curse of his name.

artgauntlettfile

Finally, on a less than serious note, we know he had strong bones.  Even on year-long treks, across land, sea, and basically halfway around the world, he had time for the calcium.  And who doesn’t love a milk drinker?  Yum.

(Yes, I know this is frost on the upper lip.  Geez, give me at least a little license…)

Creepers

I’m a fan of the slightly spooky.  A full moon on a chilly night or an abandoned house in disrepair appeal to me at some level.  I like those spooky sounds tapes available for Halloween at the public library.  It may even be a genetic condition – one of my sisters likes to refer to herself as ‘Queen Creepster’.  Occasionally however real life situations are a little too creepy for me.  Take, for instance, the recent discovery of yet another foot in BC.  This one washed up along the Fraser River.

What’s really spooky about the whole situation is not the fact of a foot in a shoe but separated from a body.  I mean, it probably was pretty creepy to find the shoe, but a dead foot is not the spookiest thing I can think of.  The creep factor for me really comes in with the origin of the feet.  These weren’t feet that were hacked off – they supposedly came off the bodies through a natural decomposition process.  The question for em is just where all these decomposing bodies came from.  it’s not like they’ve had that long to decompose – the shoe models were from 1999-2004.  And it’s not like these are shoes washing in from a known burial site – all of them are athletic shoes, which is not what people are typically buried in.  What makes it creepy is that somewhere out there are the lost and unclaimed bodies of those we cannot identify and may never know.  Their families and loved ones may never know what happened to them, or where their final resting place may be – even if a foot or two is positively identified.  The unknown, as always, is the creepiest thing there is.

A sad end.

A body found off the coast of Brazil was recently identified as that of the flying-balloon-man priest, the Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli.

While this ending was expected, with such a long time passing since the man was last heard from,  I still find it sad and slightly depressing.  So instead of lingering on that, I’d like to turn to something more positive, namely, what did we learn from these events?

There are several possible lessons.  Should we learn that balloon take-offs, even with careful preparation, are dangerous? Probably.  Should we refrain therefore from this and other ridiculous practices just due to potential danger?  I should hope not.  This man had a sense of joy, and a sense of responsibility.  I hope that those of us still living would be able to combine both as effectively.

Dreams

One of my co-workers told another co-worker that she had dreamed about him last night.  She said, “something bad happened to you.  You need to be careful,” in all seriousness.  My co-workers reaction was this: “it was the most uncomfortable conversation I’ve ever had with someone.  She is c-r-a-z-y.”  Despite the fact that the whole thing crosses questionable office etiquette lines and leads me to wonder about the gullibility levels of certain of my co-workers, I too had an unusual dream last night.  I feel an irrefutable need to share.

The dream started off with everyone I knew on a plane.  I do mean everyone – it was a big plane.  For coherency’s sake we’ll say it was one of those big tank-carrying planes, the c-5 galaxy.  Anyway, either there was already a bomb on the plane (Speed 3), or someone evil was trying to crash the plane or use it for nefarious purposes, so we built a bomb to blow it up first.  After we all jumped out with parachutes and life rafts.  Of course, the bomb accidentally went off early and everybody died, except for me and my dad, who happened to be near me and the door.  We grabbed a raft and hit the air.

There’s a moral to a story here.  Dreams about death are probably not to be shared.

A Tribute to Heath Ledger

I was sad to hear yesterday about this actor’s death. I don’t feel the drama that most people seem to feel about it, but I do feel something. Maybe it is the lass of the on-screen charisma that many remember and love. Maybe it’s the lack of this hot-hot actor just a year older than me in any upcoming new films. I’m not sure, but it is a fleeting thing, not like the screaming annoyance I felt at the cancellation of one of my favorite TV shows back in 1997. Stupid Fox.

In the wake of his death, there have been conflicting reports, various statements by those close to him, and a variety of resources being published to both remember this actor and address the issues concerning his death.  A collection and analysis of the reporting snafus can be found here.  If you want up-to-the-minute information, check here.  As for me, what I’d really like to address is my beginnings with Heath, which were also the beginnings of his career, at least in the United States.

It seems I have a  history of loving those television shows that are doomed to failure.  Sure, i don’t mind watching the occasional episode of shows like Heroes or Battlestar Galactica.  And Friends and Seinfeld reruns are good once in a while as well. But the shows I seem really drawn to, that I HAVe to watch every week, are doomed to a few seasons at most.  Take Pretender, that wonder-of-wonders with Michael T. Weiss!  Not only is it addictive plot-wise, but you can get caught up just in the man’s extreme facial expressions.  Now that’s acting!

With Heath, it was that non-hit TV show, Roar.  He was a cutie worth following even then, and his Celts knew it.  For those who don’t understand the greatness, the wikipedia summary is here.   Basically, this was a show to end all shows – and it didn’t get all the way through its first season.  Why?  People are dumb.  It’s the only underlying law of human nature.

With the end of Heath comes the end of any hope of rekindling the Roar tradition, and for that I am especially sad.  I am grateful to discover the existence of Roar: The Complete Series, including the episodes that were not aired in the US, but that will never replace the fullness of what might have been in the rest of this actor’s young life.  And I think the types of shows he was involved in early show who he truly was as an actor.  They were not the most popular shows, or the most well-developed ones.  But his character still had something that we needed and loved on the screen – perhaps is was his humanness.  I hope that was something he didn’t lose, even in the end.

I leave you with a quote from the flickfilosopher: “It’ll be quite a while before we know how Ledger died, but I’m not sure I believe that there’s truly such a thing as an accidental drug overdose. I hope I’m wrong about that. Because it’s hard to imagine that someone so gifted and with, clearly, so much further still to go could imagine that life is not worth living.”