Sunday, July 17, 2011

A One Sided Anniversary

By Pam

It was two years ago yesterday that I was at The Back-up Plan set in New York. I remember it being 92 degrees in the city that day.  I'm contending that being with Alex O'Loughlin (dressed as Stan) made it that hot. Can you blame me for thinking that way? 

What has changed for Alex since then?  He played Dr. Andy Yablonski for a short time in Three Rivers, on CBS. Poor guy...two failed series in as many years.  The Back-up Plan was released and got tepid reviews, but the ladies loved Alex.  Now, he's more popular than ever and leading the good life in Hawaii. He has a hit TV series, owns a home and has a canine companion.  The Back-up Plan has been running on Show Time and new waves of admirers are swooning.  His great success is shared with his beloved son, family and friends. 

I'm happy for Alex.  I remember when he would say in interviews how uncomfortable he thought success would feel. He has been so afraid of losing his life. Oahu seems to be the place that changed his mind about the downside of being a celebrity.  On Oahu he can still go out and about without being hounded. Oh, I'm sure he is recognized, but the politeness of the people there surely must make the fears subside to a point of being quite tolerable.  He seems to be melting into the landscape quite comfortably.  He deserves this.  He works very hard and takes the pressure like a man. 

Do I miss the "old days?" Absolutely.  Alex no longer blogs on My Space, and refuses to participate on any other social network, at this time.  Would it be possible to spend time with him, as a fan, by just showing up on the set of his TV show (or a movie, should the opportunity arise) like it was two years ago? I don't believe so.  I miss the "closeness" and Alex's approachability. Don't get me wrong, I'm not mad or even disappointed. I had my turn and I have no claims, no rights, no demands and no regrets I understand that things change. Nothing stays the same forever. I'm amazed that I've followed this man for as long as I have.  He's a good man, aside from his celebrity. Understanding that he is who he is for the sake of himself and his son is how I see it.  Aren't you just drawn to those people who do something for all the right reasons? 

Happy Anniversary, Al.  You remember me, don't you?  Huh?  Al?  

Friday, July 8, 2011

You Can't Beat the Alternative

by carol

Fans of actor Alex O’Loughlin are acutely aware that his birthday is next month. While working on the tv series Three Rivers, Alex posted a picture of himself and a few of the many, MANY gifts he received. Fans enjoy sending their favorite celebrities presents for their birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and sometimes “just ‘cos.”

While I am sure Alex and other celebrities are deeply appreciative of the thoughtfulness behind the numerous, and sometimes expensive, gifts sent to them, I have to wonder if that is the best way to honor them. I am in no way discouraging anyone who wants to buy or make a special gift, wrap and mail it. But let’s try to look at this another way.

A gift should be something that we give freely without any thought of our own benefit and that makes no demand on the recipient. It is a message of love and respect.

But we should know that this is not how gift-giving actually works. There have been many disappointed and even angry reactions to gifts that are not personally acknowledged by the recipient. Of course we are all taught to say “Thank you,” but is that a reasonable expectation of someone who may receive hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cards and gifts from people they value but do not know? 

"Um, did it come with a gift receipt?"
And, whether home-made or special-ordered, can we really know what a celebrity wants or actually needs? Celebs like Alex may have started off sleeping on a friend’s couch, but hard work and talent have rewarded him. His worth is now estimated at 
$7 million USD*. If he wants a couch now, he can buy it himself!

So how can you resolve the dilemma of someone who wants to show family, friend, or celebrity a meaningful gesture of caring? Especially when that person may already have everything they need.

Time to consider the alternative gift, a financial gift to a charity made in honor of another person. If this person has shown an interest in world hunger, peace issues or preventing a particular disease, that's where your focus should go. Let’s face it, there is no wrong charity. They are all important whether they serve people, animals or the environment.

Imagine Alex receiving this card in the mail.
Most large charities will outline their policies regarding donations in someone's name on their websites. The recipient organization will usually notify the honoree of your gift so be sure to mention that you're making the donation on behalf of someone. Include the person's name and address so the organization can send a card or note advising them of your donation (amounts are usually not disclosed). 

Making a gift to charity in another's name is a way to honor the person you care about while your dollars directly impact those in need. Certainly, when others in our world and our country still have so little, maybe it's time we draw the line on what constitutes enough for our family and friends -- and put our gifts where they are needed most. 

It may sound like a cliché, but alternative gifts make the world better. They empower people to make a difference and that feeling is shared with the honoree. If I send Alex a t-shirt for his birthday, I will probably never know if he liked it or even received it. If I make a gift in his name to a charity, I do know that Alex would be pleased, whether he's aware of it or not.

You can check out your charity of choice to be sure at least 75% is going to the actual cause, and not to simply supporting the administrative expenses.