Monday, November 3, 2008

Rockabilly, radio days, & something else that starts with /R/

Right! So I'm putting my time in on Crackbook, trying to not be boring when I notice that my bud, Tyler Nelson, is going to be playing rockabilly on WRAS tonight from 8 - 10 p.m. So, it's time to take the dog for a walk and rock out to some rockabilly.

Little did I know that Tyler would be shredding the air waves with an unbelievable mix of new, old, rare & obscure stuff. "Little Miss Prissy" from Built for Speed, which I found out that Tyler has on vinyl, like myself. Tyler being so much younger than I probably did not have the joy of buying it at Turtles Records & Tapes when he was in 7th grade, though. Jerry Lee Lewis doing "Playing in a Traveling Band". Southern Culture on the Skids doing a Spanish version of "Double Shot of My Baby's Love"! Finally, Tyler sealed the deal because someone requested Danny Gatton, and Tyler gave them a tip of the hat for that. Not a lot of people know about Danny Gatton, and if you're one of those not a lot of people you totally need to check him out. As a matter of fact, you should check it out right now -

Tyler is on the air regularly on WRAS, 88.5 on the fm dial Mondays from 6 - 8 p.m. for his regular rotation show, and you should check him out. And next semester, I think he's going to be getting his own show where he can continue to entertain and enlighten the Atlanta area listeners with his Rockabilly/Psychobilly shows.

Radio Days

Back when I was at UGA I got involved with the radio station, WUOG, 90.5 fm, because I was starting at UGA as a junior, I didn't know anyone really, I wasn't living in a dorm, and I grew up loving music, and the thought of being able to play music for a large (relative term) audience was super fantastic. Plus, I wanted to be in a band, and I thought working at the radio station would be a good way to find one or make one. It wasn't. Nonetheless, I did get to play music that I loved, music I tolerated, and music that I came to despise. College radio is way more relaxed in their formatting, at least WUOG was (is?), so we had free reign to play stuff from all over the place. Now, we had artists that we were supposed to play on a regular rotation, but we had our choice of songs from those albums or cds to play. We also had local music on these cartridges, kind of like what 8 track tapes were like.

My first shift was the 6 - 9 a.m. show. WUOG didn't operate 24 hours in the early 90s, so I was the start off shift for Thursday mornings. I would set my alarm for 5:30, race down the road, stopping to get a honeybun and 2% milk for my breakfast, park illegally, and then climb the ridiculous flight of stairs to get to the top of Memorial Hall where the station was. No elevator, just lots and lots of stairs. Turn on all the equipment, give the top of the hour call name and number - some thing the FCC has radio stations do to show their legitimacy I guess, and the first song I would play would usually be Sun Ra or a live Allman Brothers song because they would inevitably be more than 11 minutes long, and that would give me enough time to pull some things from the library, find some good things from the current rotation, and inhale my honeybun and milk. Sometimes Sun Ra and his Orchestra would go on for a LONG time. I would then get a call or two saying, "Enough with this. Play some real music." I couldn't argue. I can't stand Sun Ra, it was just something that bought me some time. I love the Allman Bros, but the college music community is not as forgiving to some southern hippies as they are to an Alien playing his music.

After a quarter or two at that shift I somehow inherited Blue Laws from Manfred Jones, singer of the Woggles, on Sunday evenings from 7 - 9 p.m. Some of the music Dad played for me and my brother (my brother & I, sorry) was the blues. John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, & Jimmy Reed. I was so excited to get to do this show! I was introduced to Lightnin' Hopkins, Howling Wolf, and Willie Dixon . I got to know Muddy Waters better and was amazed at how much 70s Rock acts took from him. I was able to play Stevie Ray Vaughn, some select Eric Clapton, and so many more. They were some great nights. I remember getting calls from older listeners asking for songs. This one lady Manfred said would call and ask for "Fan It" by Lightnin' Hopkins, I can't remember if that was the real name or the name she called the song, but whatever it was Manfred told me to be prepared and sure enough on my first night she did.

The last regular show I had was called Industry Standards. I shared the show with the station manager. Every other week I got to come in from 10 - midnight and play music from the late 60s to late 70s. Hot damn! I took this position to be the opportunity to make a classic rock station as it should be, not the canon of 80 songs that most classic rock stations are. My partner was more into the progressive music of that era - King Crimson and the like, but man oh man, I played some GREAT stuff that never saw the light of day on regular radio stations. Sometimes on a radio show you get into a zone and the song selection you pick is just incredible. College radio DJs probably don't get a lot of calls requesting stuff, but when we did(they do), we'd try to accommodate. This one time in particular stands out. I had a set list going and it was so good. I don't even remember who I had on it, I just remember that it was really good. This listener called and requested a band and I said such and such song. Turns out that was what he was going to request. So, we went back and forth picking out songs that I would play next, taking turns naming the band or artist and letting the other one pick the song. It sounds cheesy now, but to a 20 year old college kid it was about as cool as it could get.

One of the other great things about working at the radio station was getting into shows for free. Each show would have 3 slots for two people a slot. Usually you could get into anything because people weren't always interested, but when a really well known band would come to the 40 Watt or the GA Theater, you had to make sure that you got to the station early enough to beat out the Sports Talk chuckleheads because they would ALWAYS try to get them. It was kind of funny the animosity that occured between the DJs and the Sports Talk people. It's kind of like listening to WRFG and knowing what must go on behind the scenes when the classic country DJs are switching shifts with the reggae DJs. Opposite worlds doing similar things. I also got to interview some cool artists - Mojo Nixon, The Young Fresh Fellows are two. River Pheonix did an interview at the station because his band Aleca's Attic was playing in town. They were pretty good actually, and the band that opened up for them, I can't remember their name, but they played an AWESOME version of the Beatles' song "Flying" as well as Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music".

Wow. That was so cool. It was so much fun, and I know there were mornings when I didn't want to get up or weekends that I didn't want to leave my girlfriend in Atlanta to come back and play the blues, but I did and I would love to be able to do it again.

Another R Thing

Reading. I'm reading two things right now. One is the sequel to Peter & the Starcatchers, Peter & the Shadow Thief. The Starcatchers book is a prequel to how Peter Pan becomes Peter Pan. It's a good read and this one, Shadow Thief is proving to be just as enjoyable. They're by Dave Barry (comic writer) & Ridley Pearson. The other book I'm reading is Steve Martin's autobiography Born Standing Up. It's about his years as a stand up comedian and what shaped him into the comic that he was then, as well as the writer, actor, and man that he is today. I've loved Steve Martin since he put out "King Tut" back in the mid 70s. My dad actually bought my brother and I (happy now?) his album for Christmas one year, the one with "King Tut" on it. It was great! Mom wasn't so happy about some of the other material on it, but come on, it had "King Tut". Steve Martin had the white suit long before David Byrne did. Martin's comedy is so smart and that is what I like most about him. Now, you may argue, justifiably that The Jerk isn't the smartest comedy, but so much of his other stuff is. Plus, PLUS he wore the fake arrow through his head. The story of how he started doing that is in Born Standing Up. Okay last thing. I think all of you (all six of you) should go out and buy this book as soon as you get off the computer and get in your car - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest stories that I have read. I loaned it to this girl two years ago and when I see her she tells me that she has it, she just doesn't carry it around with her. Well, why not?

Okay, love to you all. Vote tomorrow and be okay with the results, whether they are the way you want or not, because in the grand scheme of things, the grand scheme of we're just passing through, these things don't matter all that much. What matters is how we treat others, and that can be consistent regardless of whether the left or the right is in power.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crackbook & The Decline of Western Civilization Due to Poor Customer Service

Sorry folks I've been out of it for a while, and now I'm not even sure where I am. I think this goes back to my first posting of looking over the edge. Well, I think I've moved back from the edge, but I'm still on the roof.

So, Crackbook and its inevitable let down. As addictions go Crackbook was really good at first, but as time has gone on I find myself less and less interested, and unfortunately it has to do with the dreadfully boring people that I have allowed to be my Friends. I already made one purge of boring people, and at this point it's looking like I need to go in again, pull up my list of friends and hit that little X next to their name. _________ will not know, or so says the little crackbook message. I'm not so sure about that. Do you think people start to notice when they don't see posts by certain people anymore? The only way I found out I had been de-friended was trying to send an email to someone and their name would not pop up like it does when I email friends from my list.

I suppose I should quote Harvey Danger here and say, "If you're bored then you're boring", and that might be so. Maybe I'm in a boring place right now. I think there are things to write about that don't need to be explored and things that need to be explored that I don't feel like writing about. What a quandary! Thank goodness I don't make my living this way.

Poor Customer Service

Is it just me or has the whole idea of customer service just completely gone out the window? I'm not talking about fast food restaurants or huge corporations who deal with people over the phone. Those were gone at least a decade ago. I'm talking about small, independent places that count on word of mouth to get their reputation out. Why is it all right for some of these people to go about their business not giving their customers proper respect and consideration? What on earth is going on in our society that it is okay to not treat the people paying you money for a service like they are providing you your livelihood? A little bit of consideration goes a long way. Unfortunately the cost of this is sometimes convenience, and because we don't want to be inconvenienced, or literally don't have the time to be inconvenienced we are willing to put up with less than great service. I suppose it is just one of the many downfalls of being part of "the working poor". The brochure made it seem much more elegant than what it has turned out to be. So, it's not so much the decline of Western Civilization as it is just the breaks, and well, "the breaks" kind of suck.

Hmm. Well, that's all I got. Good feelings, won't you stay with me, just a little longer?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rush vs. The Police

Playlist for this posting

  • Finding My Way
  • Free Will
  • Red Barchetta
  • Spirit of the Radio
  • Fly By Night
  • YYZ

The Police

  • Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
  • Hold In My Life
  • Walking On The Moon
  • When The World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around
  • No Time This Time
  • The Other Way of Stopping

Right, so I've been listening to the Police a lot lately, as noted in my yardwork posting, although that didn't have the greatest effect on me. And I love the Police. I always have, probably before this next described moment, but seeing this totally drove it home for me. Watching MTV back whenever it was, 1982, 1983, somewhere along there and the video for Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic comes on. What a great video! They're dancing on the studio console, they're messing with all the knobs and buttons, Stewart's playing steel drums in the back of the big truck, Andy's doing his own thing, and he and Sting are wearing cool hats, well just see for yourself: Of course there are some tragic mistakes as well, and unfortunately they seem to be coming by way of Stewart - those damn tennis shorts and his giant aviator glasses, but those were the times and that's what they were wearing, well at least some of them. But how can you deny the greatness of that song? So, I'm digging the Police and always have, even through the crazy songs on Synchronicity, but then I remember Rush and as I'm taking Buddy for a walk the other night I listen to the sampling of Rush songs that I have.

Oh wow! I forgot how great they are too. The first real album that I bought with my own money from Turtle's Records & Tapes was Rush - Moving Pictures. I sat there and listened to it and looked at the album cover and the inner sleeve with its kind of sinister pictures on it. You may remember that Rush had a reputation of being one of those devil-worshipping bands. RUSH - Rise Under Satan's Hand. Yep, that's what they said. I couldn't really see it. There is that picture of the lady being burned at the stake, but other than that...So, Rush wasn't much of a video band. I'm sure their management made them do some b/c that's what everyone was doing, but the musicianship of those three!

So, I'm walking Buddy and it hit me. These two great bands, outrageously talented bands are both these power trios with the bassist as the lead singer of each. Wow! I thought as I tried to coax Buddy past a drain culvert (another story altogether). So I started comparing the two bands. I have two friends that I consulted for this very thought process and I'm going to give you their two cents right now. For sake of keeping friends, I'm just going to say Friend A and Friend B.

Friend A: Both have 3 members. The guys in Rush are unquestionably better technical musicians though Copeland's drumming is in a league of its own and Sting probably knows more about music theory. The Police's work has more feeling, is more fun, and generally more immediately accessible; I think Rush's work objectively shows better musicianship and is appreciated for its complexity, which tends to reveal itself as accessible over time.The main thing I can add -- which I only know from nerdily from reading Neal Peart's website one time -- is that Peart was flipping through a magazine once (relatively recently, past 5 years or so) that listed rock's WORST lyricists. Number One: Sting. Number Two: Neil Peart.

Friend B: Here are knee jerk reactions to the comparisons of Rush and the Police.....both are awesome bands that had a bazillion fans, but both bands were probably technically better than most fans could even imagine. They could have been giving masters level courses in music. Also, both bands had super great guitarists that were overshadowed by higher profile personalities in the band. In fact, I almost couldn't tell you which belonged in which band........(Alex, Andy...Andy, Alex....aley, andex....)

So, they're both right. They are such in a league of their own. The Police, while more commercially viable were so far beyond what the average person knew, in terms of their music, and even their songwriting. Very introspective, especially the middle albums, and yes even Synchronicity (obviously not my favorite, but I love Ms. Gradenko). Their music is more fun even if the words don't always match the fun. [I'm going to get rid of the proper quotation marking of song titles for my sanity] Can't Stand Losing You, The Bed's Too Big Without You, Hole in My Life, Every Breath You Take, So Lonely, I could go on and on, but there's another side. They also had great love songs. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (love from afar, perhaps, but love nonetheless), Walking On the Moon, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, and there may be more, but not many. They also weren't afraid of long song titles. Perhaps the longest one I know, When The World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around. Certainly they could have shortened that a little, but they didn't and that's part of what I like about them. The ego.

So, Rush. I think they are one of the great storyteller bands around. There are certain songs that make me think of mini-movies in my head, No, not like music videos, mini-movies and usually animated. Brian Wilson's SMiLE for example. When I was listening to that driving down to the beach one summer I came up with all these great little animated shorts in my head that would go perfectly with the whole album. Brian Wilson's a whole other entry, too. So, Rush has that ability, too. Lakeside Park, Red Barchetta. These are great stories. Most people may not think so, and certainly not the author of that magazine piece, but there are, as Friend B said a bazillion fans and they most definitely think so.

Musicianship. Please. I don't know if I can even write about this. Five of the six of the musicians in these bands are sick in their abilities. Some of Sting's bass playing is really cool and he definitely helped to make the sound of the band, but beside Andy's complexity and Stewart's insanity, it's just okay. Not Rush. All three of those guys are almost completely beyond the realm of imagination. The drums, the guitar, the bass. It doesn't hurt that Geddy Lee plays a Rickenbacker bass, and has a double-neck one at that. Plus he played the keyboard and bass. I've never seen them in concert, so I don't know if they pull a Doors thing with the bass box that Manzarek used, but I don't think so. Liefson's playing? He's almost too fast and too clean for himself. Ah, I can't go on with this, I don't have the chops myself to even unlock their cases.

Instrumentals. I love instrumentals. I made a mixed tape in college of all the instrumentals from my giant tape collection. It was awesome! And no one, no one wanted to hear it. What? It shows off the band without the words, and I love the words, but come on! So, I had a hard time deciding the Police's instrumental to use. I wanted to go with Behind My Camel because it's just so cool and atmospheric, but it's not a good showcase for all three, and I totally dig Masako Tango, but The Other Way of Stopping is a really good example of all three of them playing together and fitting together perfectly. Now I know that Stewart's time keeping pissed Sting off and he'd speed up his tempos too much in concert, but it gets you going, you know? Hard to keep it contained. There wasn't much a choice for me with my Rush instrumental. YYZ. I used to think of the zipper company, YKK, when I thought of this song. I think I can't adequately talk about the music of this song, but needless to say, it's also a great example of the three parts becoming one and making a complete, awesome sound.

Ugh. I'm exhausted from that. You all need to go right now and find your favorite Police or Rush song, listen to it and report back to me. All three of you. My three followers, making me feel just a little better than, well I was going to say the blogger after me when you hit "Next Blog" at the top, but he's got three followers now, too, and then you just get into these Spanish photography blogs after that guy and I don't want to spend too much time thinking about why I'm so far down the line that I'm next to the Spanish photography section. Hmm. Well, anyhoo, you've got your assignment. Love to you all.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Okay, GO!

Right, so here it goes random stream of consciousness writing like I used to in high school for 10 minutes. 10:24 - 10:34. Tattoos hurt. They really really do, and if you're not sure you want one you should really consider not doing it. that's what i did the first time. i wasn't ready so i didn't get it and when i did i was ready and i was glad. both times i have gotten tattoos there has been some guy in there getting this HUGE thing done and they're sitting there like they're bored or something and i'm sitting there grimacing like a bastard and thinking, THIS REALLY HURTS, and the guy tattooing me looks like he's about 12 and his skinny rocker boy jeans have a hole in the crotch and i'm so glad that i'm facing the other way so i don't have to look at the hole in his crotch.

i would like to go on record as saying nothing. nothing on the record, noting that there's nothing on the record i will say that sometimes having nothing to say can be liberating, but not in the way you think.

i will also say that my post about my dog, who's not so great stands as much today as it did yesterday and that he fell down the stairs again today.

i forgot cinnamon toast crunch in my cereal blog and i should not have forgotten it b/c it's the best thing out there now.

dogs from my past - smokey, brutess, smut, jimi, janis. all dogs that made an impact on my life. strangely enough there is a pattern of every other dog being really smelly and the first and third had horrible skin problems that made it so i didn't want to touch them or have them too close to me. i remember when smokey died, i must have only been about 8 or 9 and i was so sad and i went and hid under my bed in my blue room with jungle print carpet and cried and cried and cried and my dad came and tried to make me feel better, but i can't remember what he said and i don't know if it made me feel better or not. when your dog dies and that dog has been with you for a long time, a really long time a part of you dies too b/c you spent so much time and energy and love with that dog and they were so much a part of your life and it's amazing that that much love can be poured into a dog. people who aren't dog people can't get it, it's just like trying to explain to someone why they should have kids, it can't be done, but when you have one the little switch inside of you gets clicked on and it's just right and there's nothing in the world but you and that little bitty tiny baby even when you're waiting for your wife to get out of post-op and it's just you and the baby. the first baby, the second baby, there are so many differences that no one tells you about and i don't know if they can or what, but it's crazy and i think did my parents feel the same way about my brother and i and then i feel badly and wonder if i'm a bad parent b/c i have these feelings and it's not a love one more than the other or less than the other, but there is clearly a thing b/t first and second born kids and i guess maybe that's why birth order is an interesting topic for some people, i guess

oh, only a minute to go and i can't think of where to go so i think i'm just going to STOP!

Friday, October 17, 2008

cold cereal & dogs

There are few things in life like a good bowl of cold cereal. Me, I'm a sweetened cereal kind of guy. Always have been, always will be. Mom bought my brother & I all kinds: Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks, Alpha-Bits, Sugar Smacks, Honeycomb, Frosted Flakes, Cap 'n Crunch (original, crunchberries, and my all time favorite peanut butter), Cookie Crisp - I didn't like the chocolate chip kinds, only the vanilla wafer kind and those were really rare. Every once in a while she'd bring home regular Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes, and those were good and fine as long as we could heap the sugar on there so that when we got down to just the milk and you'd tip the bowl back to drink it down there'd be a nice big goo of milky sugar waiting down there. Mmmm, milky sugar. Mom would never buy the Frosted Krispies and they were really good. I don't know why, they must have been too expensive or there weren't coupons for them or something. Anyhoo, I remember going to a friend's house to spend the night and the next morning sitting down to breakfast and reaching for the Honey Nut Cheerios and trying to put more sugar on them and his mom said, "No, no, son, these don't need anymore sugar". What? Why not? They're not that sweet, they could always use some more.

All through high school and college, cold cereal was always a favorite. I was so excited when I got to my first year of college and the cafeteria had the big dispenser of cereal with four really good sweetened ones and then Raisin Bran or some other lame cereal. Oh man, I'd go back three or four times. What was best about that is that the cafeteria always had the coldest milk. Nothing ruins a bowl of cereal like lukewarm milk. Well, buttermilk ruined a bowl of Cap 'n Crunch pretty badly one time, Dad got a big laugh out of that, but overall, lukewarm milk with cereal pretty much takes away the whole joyful experience of it.

Where did your family keep the cereal? Mine was always in the cabinets above the stove and whenever I got old enough to get it myself on Saturday mornings I would pull out the stepping stool, climb up there, shove aside the cookies and the boring cereal and grab whatever sugary sweet goodness there was back there. In desperate times when there was no cereal I would resort to taking Graham crackers, breaking them into their 4ths sections and then breaking those in half. I had to eat them superquick because those things soaked up the milk like nobody's business. Like I said, desperate times. Where am I going with this? You got me. Alls I know is that to this day sometimes I'll skip a meal if we've got some good cereal in the pantry above the fridge, that's where ours is now. My kids aren't into the cereal like I am, but that's another story. Jerry Seinfeld liked cereal a lot, and he always had a really impressive selection in his apartment. Superman and Cereal. Those are two good things to be known for, I suppose. Hmmmmmmm...

Dogs come into conversation a lot and usually there are great stories about how great someone's dog is and how great it is to have them around and they're great with the kids and they're great to have when my husband's out of town and blah blah blah. Well my current dog is not so great. He could be worse, mind you, but he's a long way from great. He falls down the stairs a lot. I think it's because the hair around his feet is kind of long, so it makes it kind of slippery for him, and I'd feel badly about this, but he seems to take it in stride pretty good. He never cries out in pain, he always just kind of looks up at us like he's saying "What the hell? Not again." Plus, he has this game he plays with his ball or his deer antler chew thingy where he stands at the top of the stairs and drops them and watches them as they go down the stairs - bounce, bounce, bounce or clunk, clunk, clunk depending on the thing. Those deer antler things are surprisingly loud. Anyway, he stands there, watches the things go down, and then he goes down the steps gets them, comes back up the steps and does it again. The ball is not so bad, it's not so loud, but those deer antlers. Man, after a couple of times doing that we've all had enough. We've got those things in various high places in the house because we have to take them from him. Otherwise he'll just do that again and again and again. And if he's not dropping them down the stairs he's just dropping them over and over on the hardwood floors. Stupid dog - imagine Eustace Bagge from Courage the Cowardly Dog saying that - dropping things on the floor.

Hmm, cold cereal to stupid dogs. Not a great one, but better than nothing I suppose.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Got Nothing

Dag! The Powers That Be shut me down for a day and totally threw a kink in me head about what to write on, and so I summon the inner Costanza and say, "I got nothing". Ugh, how completely lame.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yardwork, Atlanta Radio & Dinner

Right, so I have come to the conclusion that when I do yardwork I am have too much time on my hands that my mind starts to wander, and it never ends up anywhere good. I have almost convinced myself three times now that I need to get in my van and leave, NOW, and go somewhere. I don't know where, but not in that yard, getting those leaves. Today I tried to do it with some music, so as to fill the empty space, and The Police occupied my mind, but then I tried to tie my life in with Sting's or Stewart's songs, never Andy's because, well because I don't dig blow-up dolls. So, my mind's wandering into their songs and some of them are eerily coinciding with things in my life, and on hand, that's kind of cool, but on the other hand, it's the left hand, the hand I write with, that's not cool at all. These aren't happy, my life is fantastic songs. These are songs that deal with all kinds of not so great things. Then "Mother" came on, and good Lord I had not thought about "Mother" in such a long time, and what a creepy-ass song that is. Now, I will state that in NO WAY do I relate ANYTHING in that song to my own. I just have to put that out there. It's just that we're talking about The Police, and that's one of their songs. Luckily for my state of mind there were enough instrumentals and semi-instrumentals that my mental spaz off was contained. "Masako Tango" where would I be without you? So, final thoughts on this subject - yard work is not good for me. Unfortunately I have 48,934 leaves left to go before they're done falling. Stupid Autumn.

Atlanta Radio
I don't know what conglomerate came into Atlanta took a look at the stations that we used to have and said, , but whoever they are I hope that they develop a very lengthy bladder infection that causes them to writhe in pain. Because there is no more radio in Atlanta, at least not on the fm tuner. Dave fm? Yes, but no. The River? Please, Led Zeppelin is a great band, but they actually have more than those five songs you play. Project 96.1? I've got a project for you - go study some music history, find yourself a target audience that isn't 13 and pimply, give yourself a real name, and then try again. The only station that has remained untouched is B98.5, and they sucked to begin with. I was exposed to the station I regularly tune into by chance a few years back. WMLB 1690 am used to be Air America, (thank God that's not on anymore, Janeane Garofolo I like you in your movies, but you're one angry radio host.) but was bought by a business guy with a broad taste in music. The truck I used to drive had no fm tuner for some reason, so all I could get was am stations, which I thought that meant nothing but talk radio, and please just slap me with The New York Times on one cheek and The Washington Post on the other. The truck's radio didn't have a CD player so I would either have my Discman or I'd resurrect tapes from a box in the basement to listen to music. On days when I had neither I'd try in vain a few times on the fm tuner and then switch over to am. Seek....blah blah nag (indecipherable Spanish) Cash "I Walk the Line"? Hmm, what's going on here? Bob Dylan "Shelter From the Storm"? The Beatles "Norwegian Wood"? Now just hold on here one minute. Radio doesn't sound like this. Well take it off hold pally because yes it does. I urge all of you to go right now to and see for yourself. Here's a sample of what you can hear in one day on THE SAME STATION! Al Jolson, Amazing Rhythm Aces, Artie Shaw, Bach, Benny Goodman, Billy Joel, Bob & Ray, Bob Dylan, Chopin, Chuck Berry, Diane Ross, Dion and the Belmonts, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Gene Autry, George Gershwin, Gordon Lightfoot, Gordon MacRae, Guissepe Verdi, Gustav Mahler, Hank Williams, Haydn, James Brown, Joan Baez, Klezmer Conservatory Ensemble, Louis Armstrong, Luciano Pavarotti, Mel Brooks, Mendelssohn, Miles Davis, Patsy Cline, Paul Robeson, Ray Charles, Rogers and Hammerstein, Roy Acuff, Schumann, Sidney Bechet, Sidney Robinson, Spencer Davis, The Beatles, Tony Bennett. The DJs are a little cheesy, especially Larry Larson in the morning (he does play great music though), but Grover Norman for "The Long Drive Home" is so good. If you love music as much as I do, or even almost as much, you owe it to yourself to go check it out.

Mmmm-mmmm! I love Mahi-Mahi, and the sandwiches I had tonight were awesome! A friend coated the filets with Creole seasoning and put them in her George Foreman grill, and hot damn they were sooooooooo good! I'm not a BLT person b/c I don't eat tomatoes, and as a rule I don't just put Mayo on my sandwich, but tonight I made an exception for the Mayo, plus there's always the bacon - real bacon, not the lame turkey bacon substitute - turkey sausage, yes, fine, but bacon needs to be pork. Mac & Cheese, meh, I would have rather had fries, but it was a beautiful evening to sit on a deck and inhale two sandwiches. As a teacher I have had to learn to savor taste quickly, so no complaints that inhaling food doesn't give it enough time to give your taste buds the pleasure. Shut it. Your taste buds are slow and fat. Mine are in hyper-drive like the rest of me.

So, that's all for tonight. I've heard from one person that says they already have their soundtrack for a loved one complete. I just don't know if it's for a realized loved one or a obessession loved one want to be their love slave forever and a day one. Who cares? Somebody did what I suggested, and that's kind of cool.

Love to you all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First go round

Right, so where to begin? Sometimes you have to go to very edge to see how high you've come. Hopefully when you get there the overwhelming urge to throw yourself off will be overcome by the desire to see how it all plays out.

Current playlist accompanying my thoughts on it all this go round
  • I Don't Wanna Know - Fleetwood Mac
  • Rainbow Song - The Wagonwheels
  • Sit Down I Think I Love You - Buffalo Springfield
  • There She Goes - Chris Isaak
  • My Friends - David Franklin
  • Rusty Old American Dream
  • Good Day Everyday - drivin 'n cryin'
  • Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands - Elliott Smith
  • Over My Head - The Fray
  • Collide - Howie Day
  • Upside Down - Jack Johnson
  • If It Kills Me - Jason Mraz
  • Just Gimme Some Truth - John Lennon
  • Picture Book - The Kinks
  • Suddenly I See - K.T. Tunstall
  • Hanging By a Moment - Lifehouse
  • Why Can't I? - Liz Phair
  • I Wanted to Tell You - Matthew Sweet
  • Cast No Shadow - Oasis

Music fills the background. I've often wanted to have a soundtrack to go along with my life, but the impracticalities of doing it are too many. The iPod has certainly made it more of an option, but really, the thought of sitting down and putting all that music in, well, actually, it sounds kind of enticing, but that's not what it's about. The problem is even after only the teenage years your soundtrack would be so voluminous that you'd lose some of those songs that were kind of pivotal, but not really vital, and even those songs deserve to be heard every now and again.

From the list above, I'm trying to see if there's a running theme there, but I can't see one. I'm sure I could if I thought about it long enough, but who has time for that when there's Crackbook status' to update, crackheads to email, new threads to post (that's right, you're being excluded sometimes), and profile photos to change. I guess the most obvious thing that hops out at me is, well, no, I was going to say music from the 90s, but Fleetwood Mac, Buffalo Springfield, John Lennon, and the Kinks throw that out the window. Dammit, I'm going to have to rethink this playlist thing.

If you were given the choice from the Powers That Be to compile a soundtrack for your life would you be able to do it? Could you narrow down the music that matters most to you from birth to present? You can have a double CD, that's a lot of songs you can fit on there, unless your tastes tend to run toward the Allman Bros., the Dead or John Coltrane. Would you be able to whittle and cut and scratch out and omit and resubmit these little pieces of notes and words and meaning and emotion and EVERYTHING to create a picture of you so that when you're gone some kid will pick up your soundtrack see your picture on the cover, flip it over to look at the songs and have a pretty good idea of who you were? It's a BIG task, especially since most of us are not even halfway through our lives yet.

Could you compile a soundtrack for a loved one? One that could really capture them? Whether it's someone you're going to spend the rest of your life with, or just someone you're currently obsessing over, do you think you could put together 14 songs that sum that person up? I challenge you to do it. Now we're not just talking a mix-tape here. This is a bit deeper than that, admittedly, not much deeper, but a bit. You've got to pick out songs that will be able to show complete strangers who your loved one was. I suppose there could be different volumes, two siblings might put together two very different soundtracks for a parent depending on the relationship. A spouse might put something together that s/he thinks creates the perfect image in sound and voice and a secret crush might create a completely different image. Is one better than the other? I don't know, and I don't think it matters (not that any of this does), but there's a challenge in this and that's to take yourself out of it and put that loved one as the focus. There might be songs that you don't particularly care for, but they somehow fit with your loved one, you've got to put aside your tastes and focus on the image you're trying to create.

So, you've got your challenge. Are you up for it? Do you even care about it? If you do send me the playlist and let me see if I can get the image of your loved on in my head. I won't tell if it doesn't look anything like them, but I bet a lot of you could do a really great job.

So, keep going back to edge, but don't forget seeing how it all plays out is worth sticking around for.