While the flyer has been sitting for over a week in the perpetual pile of crap that guards our kitchen phone, I only just noticed something yesterday. The Grand Prize home in London's annual Dream Lifestyles Lottery has a rather interesting address.
It's 2046 Logans Run, London, Ontario
That's Logans Run, folks.
I'm guessing someone with a sense of humour nominated this street name, and someone who didn't 'get it' did the approval. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there's a geek down at City Hall who has a sly sense of humour.
Either way, if I win this lottery I'll have to take the cash. I'm already too old for that neighbourhood.
I've been a huge fan of The Show with Ze Frank ever since I stumbled across the site back in Summer 2006. It's tough to describe exactly what it is, other to say it's been an experiment of sorts by the aforementioned Ze Frank to host a video blog 5 days a week for 1 full year.
But it's been more than that. Every show is well-produced, entertaining, damn smart, and sometimes silly. Along the way, Ze has attracted thousands of fans from around the world, who have been active participants in this weird, collaborative experiment.
The Show has invented its own culture and vocabulary, including: Sportsracers (fans), Ride the Fire-Eagle Danger Day (Fridays), Power Moves (must be seen to be understood), and the signoff "...thinking, so you don't have to". I can't even begin to describe the fan-collaboration projects such as Earth Sandwich and Dress Up Your Vacuum Cleaner.
If nothing else, The Show has proven there are lots of 'regular people' out there who are full of creativity, and just need a little spark and direction to unleash what they have inside.
Yesterday, March 17 2007, was the last show in the 1 year experiment. I'll miss it, although I imagine that we'll see Ze pop up elsewhere (he's already being courted in Hollywood). Here's to hoping that his future endeavours are as intelligent as the The Show has been.
In the meantime, I'd invite you to check out The Show and Ze's main site. There's lots to do there, and the shows are still archived.
Let's recap Part 1, shall we? It's 1985, I'm in London, England, and I'm driving a car. In what would be an amazingly prescient moment were I, in fact, Chevy Chase, I'm stuck in a traffic circle for all eternity. I'm traumatized to the point where I vow never to drive on the wrong side of the road ever again. Ever. At least, not on purpose.
Now let's set the Wayback Machine for somewhere in the vicinity of Summer 1998. My youngest kid is 2 and a half years old. My oldest kid is 6 months shy of 6 years. We're still basking in the warm memories from our first Big Time Family Vacation, which we had taken in Springtime of that year.
Emboldened by a truly enjoyable week in Florida with 2 young kids (one still in diapers), my wife wonders aloud about 'Europe'.
"I'd love to go someday", she says. "I guess the kids would need to be a bit older".
I know where this going. It's going to be one of those conversations where we both know the right answer, but one us will have to speak The Truth aloud. It's gut-check time.
"That's a long way from home", says I, using my amazing grasp of the obvious. "The kids - the kids are kinda young, aren't they?". I'm looking for the soft landing, but Dee is not going to let me go that easy.
"Sure. You're right, they're too young. I'm mean, they were great little travelers down to Florida. But Europe, that's big isn't it?". Dee's reaching for something, I know. She wants measurable objectives. She wants goals.
So I give her what she wants. "I think we should wait under our youngest kid is, like, 10. You know, old enough to appreciate castles and stuff".
Perfect, I thought. That gives us 8 years - minimum. Not so long a wait as to be unimaginable, but not so short a time as to oblige anyone (like me) to plan or worry about anything.
That was 9 years ago. You probably think you know where this is going.
Okay, I know the world waits for Part 2 - breath baited, lives on hold, phones off the hook, etc. - but my Monday steadily upgrades from craptastic to pretty nice.
My kids just sat and watched "Singing in the Rain" with me. I tuned it in as a joke; something to annoy them, really. They sat and watched the whole damn thing; all of us on the couch with arms and legs akimbo. And they liked it.
It's funny how events separated by time and space can converge in unexpected ways. In this case, there are 3 events spanning 22 years and 2 continents that have come together to cause me much anxiety. It's a long tale and I'm telling it in 3 parts; beginning with where it began.
Back in 1985 I spent a couple of weeks in Europe with 3 friends. This was the cliched 'students do Europe on the cheap' kind of trip. Except it wasn't. None of us were in school, and we could afford to avoid the whole youth hostel scene.
Rather than use cheap rail passes, our plan included - in part - a driving tour of Scotland, Wales, and England. We rented a car with the intention of sharing the driving chores. We would start at Prestwick, Scotland and end this leg of the trip in foggy ol' London. From there, we would head to the Continent.
I won't bore you right now with the physics involved with a transatlantic flight, too much booze, and driving on the wrong side of the road. The most excitement we had driving-wise was a close call with a flock of sheep blocking a road. Turns out it was our fault - or at least that's what the old guy with the wooden staff told us. Generally, though, we made out alright.
That was before we made it to London.
It was my day to drive. The route: drive from Salisbury Plain (Stonehenge) and drop the car off at the rental depot in London (just off Hyde Park). No one had warned me about the impossibility that is The Traffic Circle that contains Hyde Park. That scene in National Lampoon's European Vacation - Chevy Chase caught in a traffic circle for an entire day - that was me. We spent 90 minutes circling Hyde Park; trying to get to the outside lane so we could pull into the rental depot.
It just could not be done. I'm serious about this. That traffic circle seemed to suck us into the inner lane like some great automotive whirlpool, and It was loathe to let us out. All that was missing from the experience were skeletal remains of tourists and their rental cars strewn about the inside lane. Maybe we were going to be the first.
In the end, Our Saviour was the cop who investigated our illegally-parked rental car at one end of the Park. He took pity on the poor tourists, and used his radio to summon someone from the rental depot to pick up the car. The depot, it turns out, was right across the street from where we had made our last, desperate stand.
I vowed never to drive in England again. Ever. You must remember this as we head into Part 2 of my tale.
Right now - at this precise moment - two 11 year-old boys are sitting in front of the 'kid computer' down the hall from where I sit. They're laughing their asses off. They're watching episodes 1 through 6 of Chad Vader.
Middle-aged guy who blends into the crowd; leading a life of quiet desperation while waiting for a future that he knows will bring silver jumpsuits and flying cars. He can't wait. In the meantime, he wants a Tivo.