Today is my birthday, I just turned 27. The typical Henley birthdays last for a week, therefore this is the Week-of-Jason. My party was on the 16th, wife took me out to the Melting Pot on the 17th, my Mom’s taking me out today, and my Dad tomorrow. Then Ashley’s parents sometime next weekend.

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Among the personalized signature from James Randi, Ashley also got me the Death and Return of Superman in hardcover. Way back in 1992, when I was 10, I heard on the news that DC Comics was going to kill off Superman. Being incredibly naive I thought this meant the franchise was coming to an end. This was as good an opportunity as any to get in on comics. I asked my Mom if I could get the one where he dies.

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We went to Wonderbook and Video and my Mom pre-orderd for both Jeff and I to get each issue leading up to, and following his death. Each week Jeff and I would make the journey on foot from our house to Wonderbook and Video to get the latest issue. Week after week Superman battled Doomsday. One week Superman was winning, one week it was Doomsday until finally both Superman and Doomsday were dead.

Following his death was several issues dedicated to his funeral and then several about his supposed return in suspicious new forms. The collection just kept going and going, and being 10, all I wanted to see was action, and there wasn’t too much action while was Superman dead.

Flash forward 17 years later (wow almost 2 decades) and my wife has bought me the hardcover version of that entire story (all 700 some pages of it). Reading it really takes me back.

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Last night I lied in bed thinking about my final wishes.  I need some kind of gathering and a burial method.  If remaining family members really need an obligatory religious ceremony, that’s fine.  However, for me I want a pizza party.  Don’t do it in a funeral home, those places scare people.  If you have to be upset, let’s not make it about how your in such a scary place.  I want pizza and Jason memorabilia scattered about.  I want my gathering to be the in-person version on an online profile.  I want my favorite movies and books and TV shows, and friends, and whatever else is used to define me, on display.

But the big question I am faced with the only true eternal question: to cremate or burry?  I’m really not sure what I want to do.  Burial is probably the norm, you get a definitive resting place that people can come to if they so choose.  However, the entire burial process seems so scary.  The iconic image of the casket can have such a strong visceral effect, I’m not sure if that’s what I want for my last harrah.

On the flip side, some people don’t like to think about their loved ones being burned up.  Me personally, I don’t care about being burned, I’m already dead.  However, if I am cremated, I don’t want to be in a jar in someone’s house. No one needs that constant depressing reminder.  No, go on a fun road trip and scatter me all over the place.  Familiar places and unfamiliar places, it doesn’t matter, just have a good time with me.

I also don’t want lots of money to be spent on my final arrangements.  If people want to bury me, buy my casket like a bottle of wine at a restaurant, go to the cheapest and then up one (just so people don’t talk).  No one is going to be spending that much time at the graveyard, so don’t waste hard earned money on the dead, instead buy something cool in my honor.  Buy a nice surround sound.  It’s a good practical memorial that won’t be wasted.  If you expect your legacy to be at your grave site, then you probably aren’t worth remembering.  But I still don’t know for sure if I want to be buried or not.

Mom on MySpace Kills!

November 20, 2008

I just love this story. Lori Drew this middle-aged woman, her daughter, and her co-worker gets on the MySpace and pretend to be a 16 year old boy. She uses her fake identity to torment this 13 year old girl. I just picture all the good times I’ve spent with people crowded around the computer (my Mom included) egging the person on who’s in the driver’s seat. MySpace drama is what MySpace is for. But sadly, this time the 13 year old girl ends up killing herself over the rejection. This isn’t being considered a murder but still Lori Drew faces 20 years in prison for inflicting emotional stress over a computer.

Of course it’s sad that a 13 year old hung herself, but if someone hangs themselves over a failed internet love, then maybe they shouldn’t be on MySpace. Of course the family of the girl say that 20 years is not enough.

Jason on god

November 9, 2008

About 2 years ago, I made the most profound discovery of my life: god didn’t exist.

All my life I was a devout Christian. I didn’t swear, I prayed every single day, I believed without seeing. It was a comforting feeling that was hard to let go of. My parents were drama queens at church so at one point we stopped going. Getting away from that weekly reminder, allowed me to start thinking for myself. When I realized there was no god, I was crushed. You go from attributing everything good in your life to this friend you have, and all of a sudden you realize the friend was make believe. What do you do when you have the daily, or even hourly urge to talk to them? I was devastated.

It was very hard for me to come to say that I’m an atheist. I don’t know that god doesn’t exists, it’s impossible to prove that anything doesn’t exist. However, there is currently nothing in the universe that suggests the supernatural. So far science has done a nice job discovering things the good old fashioned way. There are plenty of unknowns, but being unknown doesn’t equal god’s hand.

Most likely what we think of as life, is just stuff interacting with other stuff. The interactions got so complicated that it looks like life. We life in a deterministic universe, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, life is an illusion, free will is an illusion, and all of that is OK. Humans two jobs are, survive, and thrive. Do whatever it takes to accomplish those two goals and don’t do anything that hinder either goal.

We’re very lucky to exist, if even for a short while. Science will try to beat death, maybe someday that will be a reality, but until then, we just die. In dealing with the world believing in god works, but not believing in god works better.

Bereavement photography is posing the dead as if they were living for a photo shoot. Suprisingly, this is still a practice going on today in America. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is one of the more popular berevement photographers. The company specializes in dead babies. The company claims that their service helps in the healing process after the loss of an infant. Tthe parents of the dead child just want something tangebable to hold onto from their experience. It’s a creppy consolation prize, that’s all.