Farewell, Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

I’ve always insisted that one man does not a team make, but it is difficult to put into perspective that one man can make a huge difference.

As the head of Apple, Steve Jobs was part of a team that revolutionised the way we live. Were it not for the Macintosh, would computers look and behave the way they do today? NeXT provided the first platform for the World Wide Web and this incredible world we live in. The iPod, the iMac and the iPhone have revolutionised their own industries and have been total game changers.

Jobs was also responsible for buying out the animated division of Lucasfilm in 1986 from George Lucas and helped them change direction. That division was spun off into a business called Pixar Animation Studios. When Pixar was bought out by Disney in 2006, he became Disney’s largest shareholder.

Thanks for everything Steve. If one man can change the world, then I guess we all can.

My thoughts go out to Steve’s wife Laurene, his children, his colleagues and friends.

Reflect

Reflect

Ten years today, on a crisp New York morning, people went to work on what was a normal Tuesday in September.

Unfortunately, they would never return home.

Unforgettable images still occupy the minds of all those who witnessed them.

The world became united in grief and mourning.

So many innocent lives were taken and so many innocent bystanders had their world changed by the horrific deeds on that day.

The sadness of that day is one that I hope, we will never see once more.

Regardless of your disposition surrounding the events before, on, or after 9/11/2001, choose today to reflect on those who lost their lives in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

I hope to have said nothing new. However, I just wanted to say it myself.

Never ever, forget.

(Photo credit: http://philipio.tumblr.com/post/10055247772)

Farewell, Randy Savage

Macho Man and LizWrestling fans are sadly rather familiar with the feeling of losing a star. In the past 10 or so years, the list of those lost to drugs, alcohol abuse or horrific accidents is utterly horrendous. However, the loss of one superstar today has transcended them all.

I was on break from work when I checked my Twitter feed to see the WWE’s tweet that the Macho Man Randy Savage, had passed away. The pain of losing someone who I grew up watching is something I have become sadly very used to. To a generation of wrestling fans, Savage is one of its icons. He was a man beloved not only by fans, but by a majority of his peers. Savage represented the rock and wrestling era so brilliantly. When you first tune in and see this man enter to Pomp and Circumstance, the crowd rising to cheer as one before turning to the entranceway, you get the feeling “this guy is something special”. Always led by the beautiful First Lady of Professional Wrestling, the quiet Miss Elizabeth, Savage was flamboyant. His interviews and “Ohhhh yeah!” are much imitated (I have lost count of the several times, when after a few beers, I resort to a Macho Man impression. It is terribly sad) but it is a sign of appreciation to one of the greatest stars who competed in the squared circle. His association with Slim Jims and the commercials that aired mean his popularity and persona extended beyond the usual wrestling fandom. Wrestling fans are unique, but one thing that I think rings true, especially on days like today, is that more emotion that is honest comes from a fake sport than real ones. Savage’s passing to me and a certain generation, is no different to losing a leading star on the sports team of your youth, or an actor whose films you grew up enjoying. For so much of people’s lives, Savage’s antics were beamed across living rooms worldwide and despite having never met so many of his fans; he reached out to them in so many ways.

The breakdown in his relationship with Vince McMahon drove him from the WWF in 1993 (where he made his name) and he headed to WCW and no matter where or what he did, Savage was always a draw. In my opinion, it is terrible that Savage will not have lived to be inducted into the WWF/WWE’s Hall of Fame because of this, when some of the names inducted are in nowhere near Savage’s bracket in terms of fame and great wrestling ability. To name one particular moment as Savage’s greatest would be stretching as he had so many fantastic moments that have stayed with fans for years.

His long association with his one-time wife Elizabeth stands out to me personally. From her introduction as his manager, “outbidding” many of the top managers at the time for his service to their wedding at Madison Square Garden, the two were intertwined. Savage’s incredible match with Ricky the Dragon Steamboat at WrestleMania III is still considered among the very greatest of all-time. His ascent to winning the WWF Championship by defeating the diabolical Million Dollar Man at WrestleMania IVThe Mega Powers explode at WrestleMania V and his match with Hulk Hogan, a man with whom he had a long and storied rivalry. His fantastic feud with Ric Flair and eventual victory at WrestleMania VIII…my personal favourite moment is that of his reunion with Elizabeth at WrestleMania VII after losing his retirement match to the Ultimate Warrior (for non-fans, there’s a reason wrestling retirements are an in-joke). Even in WCW, he had tremendous moments. His victory at Spring Stampede 1998 to become WCW Champion. His feud with Diamond Dallas Page in WCW was terrific and took in so many great matches as well.

I have said nothing in the piece that has not already been said. However, to me, it just needed reinforcing. Hope Macho is snapping into a Slim Jim and dropping an elbow on some poor dummy wherever he is. My thoughts are with his close family and friends, especially his wife Lynn who survived the car crash, and his brother The Genius Larry Poffo.

R.I.P. Randy Savage

Farewell, Matt Laporte

Matt LaPorte
Matt LaPorte performing at the ProgPowerUKII festival in 2007

Only just read about the death of Matt LaPorte. Absolutely terrible news.

Matt was the guitar player in two of my favourite bands: Circle II Circle for their first record and he was on all of Jon Oliva’s Pain’s works.

This photo was taken when I saw JOP at ProgPowerUK II in 2007. One of my favourite gigs ever, as I have mentioned before. I actually got to meet Jon Oliva (holy shit moment of my life), Kevin Rothney and Matt LaPorte. Matt loved my “Musicians for Groupies” t-shirt and I asked “You guys got any surprises in the set tonight?” to which he replied “Yeah, we’re playing like 80% of Streets.” I think I struggled to pick my jaw up from the floor until they played the set.

As a guitarist, he has few equals. Along with Chris Caffery, they are the guys who can best emulate what Criss Oliva could do with his guitar. A superb musician, he also recorded with ex-Crimson Glory vocalist Midnight and he plays on a beautiful duet between Midnight and the aforementioned Mr. J. Oliva.

So incredibly sad. Thoughts go out to his family and friends. Poor Jon. He’s lost so many people close to him through the years.

“Now a star to light the night
And all you left behind
Has truly touched my life
My friend to you I say goodbye”

— “O to G”, Jon Oliva’s Pain

How the Story Ends

Note: this was the final entry I posted at my old blogs on Blogspot/MySpace/Windows Live Spaces. It is included here for prosterity.

This, my dearly beloved humanoids, is it.

Almost Honest has gone through some good times, some bad times and a couple of blogging websites, but, this particular entry will draw the curtain on the final act of this play, which began, in a beautiful twist, just under six years ago today. Much to my dismay, things are changing. The original home for this blog, Windows Live Spaces, is being reformatted in January and as a result, these entries will be gone. MySpace, my other usual blogging outlet, is so seriously on the wane that News Corp are thinking of selling it. BlogSpot is still doing okay, but I think the readership of that particular blog is small. I may be wrong. What this does offer me an opportunity to do though is to draw a line under everything on these here webpages and give my thanks to all those who have been along this crazy journey over the past few years.

Looking through my initial entries, not a lot has changed. Take that as a positive, or a negative. From my rants about lunchtime kickabouts “and playing like a geriatric”, how I couldn’t pick up a girl even if she was falling down, my love of Football Manager, to particular school lessons (long time readers will know what I mean by one sentence – “GRRRRRRRHHH! I HATE THAT LESSON”). I can’t remember who said it, but a man far wiser than I once said that a man who views the world the same at 40 as he did when he was 20 has wasted 20 years of his life. I was always very proud of the fact that very little had changed in my personality for so long and that I could be that one constant everyone had. I hadn’t changed. I was still the same guy. Now, that is no longer the case; I think if it was possible, I’ve managed to mature and realise that change, whilst not always being good, is often necessary.

My last entry, admittedly, was overwhelmingly negative and that’s a fair reflection on what I was feeling at that particular time. Especially the passage about feeling lost. But, here’s what’s gone on lately. Continue reading How the Story Ends