Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Out There Beyond the Wall

I watched The Wall last night and this morning. I didn’t watch it twice, it just took me that long to get through it (for family reasons). It evokes so many feelings in me. Not to say that my life in any way mirrors that of “Pink.” But I saw it as a child (I was 11 when it came out) and it had a lot of impact on me at the time because of so much subject matter that I was only marginally familiar with, and because of the unusual, mysterious animation. It was the first time I had seen a movie which incorporated an album with which I was overly familiar. So when I initially saw it it was deeper than just seeing a movie for the first time, it already had a backstory of a sort because of the experience of hearing the album many times, and tying in the emotions that brought out in me. So when I saw it this last time it not only had the bundled effect of reminding me of when I would listen to the album in my room at my dad’s house, and when I would watch the movie with my friends, but it also had the effect of making me reflect on my own childhood the way the movie reflects on Pink’s childhood. The roaming the house alone, looking through his mom’s things, playing outside, finding the rat, the dawning awareness that his father was gone, even though he didn’t seem to have known him. So there again is that feeling of a childhood long gone, the reflection on that childhood, as well as the emotional loop feedback from remembering a childhood which included this movie which reflects on its character’s childhood, causing me to reflect on my own, which includes this movie, which includes the music which was, in its own rite, a part of that childhood: a bigger part, even, than the movie. it was kind of an emotional mindf***. I liked it. Last week it was The Flaming Lips covering the entire Dark Side of the Moon album. Different emotions tied to that one.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Delilah Helene

My daughter is amazing. When people compliment her to me I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react. Yes, she’s of my genes, and I’m partly responsible for her beauty, not with anything I’ve done, but even so, when someone says, “You have beautiful eyes” it’s not because you’ve worked hard to sculpt the eyes you have (typically), but still you say, “Thank you.” And yes, Delilah has my eyes. And they are beautiful. But if they say she has beautiful eyes, is it appropriate for me to say “thank you”? It seems like it, but then I don’t deserve credit for my own eyes let alone hers. People say she’s so smart, and she is, but can I take credit for that? If they say she’s very well behaved, it seems even more awkward to say “thank you” for that, but in fact it’s more appropriate because her behavior is one thing I do have something to do with. More often than “thank you” though, I find myself responding to “she’s so smart, she’s so beautiful, she’s so sweet, so well-spoken” with, “Yes she is.” Obviously if these were compliments someone gave me about myself this would be a very douchy thing to say, but with her is it? I don’t know. So sometimes I just say, “We couldn’t be much more proud.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Growing Up Sucks

Great things happening at home. Delilah is getting so big, so grown up. I’m starting to feel it. Starting to get sad about the loss of innocence. She hasn’t lost that much of it, but the little bits are starting to hit home.
She’s recently started saying that she doesn’t love Woody anymore. Seems innocuous enough, but let me put some perspective on it. When she was really little, like a year old, she would sit and watch, completely absorbed, any of the Toy Story movies. Woody was her favorite. Then, after seeing Toy Story 2 about 7 million times, she really took to Jessie. But she still loved Woody, the ol’ Woodster.
So nowadays she’s saying “I don’t love Woody. I love Jessie and Buzz.” That’s fine, of course. It’s up to her to decide who and what she loves (we’ve even had to accept and not punish her for saying, “I don’t love Great Gramma!” because we can’t change that), but it makes me sad, and reminds me of the birthday I had over 30 years ago when my brother gave me his Vans shoe box full of Star Wars character action figures.
We had spent years collecting them, playing with them, flaunting our acquisitions in front of each other, and it was a really big deal. We had vehicles, we had habitat things (I don’t know what you call them) like I had the Hoth one with the collapsing ice bridge, and he had the Tatooine one, and it was a huge part of our lives. So one day, on my birthday, not accustomed to getting gifts from him anyway, he just gives me his box full of “Star Wars guys.” It was a really emotional moment for a number of reasons. For one thing, there was a certain sadness apparent in him as he did it, presumably for the same reasons it hit me so hard. It seemed to signify the end of an era, a conclusion to our childhood. Here’s something we’re not going to play together anymore. I think I said something like, “no, you can’t give me all of these!” I think we both cried.
Another aspect was just the sacrifice of him giving me these long-valued items which, until that moment, seemed like cherished objects.
Last and probably least was the fact that, by giving me all he had, suddenly the entire collection, mine and his combined, lost its value. Like any currency, if nobody wants it, it isn’t worth anything.
So whenever I think of Delilah no longer loving Woody, I have to fight back tears for the loss of her childhood (at least early stages of it, driving like a rusty drywall screw into my temple the point that time marches on) as well as this memory of the loss of my own youth. We’re obviously still brothers, but after that point it felt like just not as much.
So now I’m spreading out my sleeping bag in the “let’s have another baby!” camp where Emily has been set up for a while.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Geek Power

What must it be like to come up a geek and find yourself in fashion? When I was young we struggled, and then came Revenge of the Nerds, which I think was a big turning point. Decades later Napoleon Dynamite comes out and the point is driven further into the general consciousness: it’s cool to be geeky. Do the dorky kids of today even recognize the sacrifices, the challenges, of those of us who paved the way for them? I doubt it. One of the charming things about geeks is their lack of awareness of current trends. Well, as someone who spent his formative years around Ham radios and early home computers, let me tell you this victory was fairly easily won. Of course, I didn’t fit neatly into any one category. Sure, I was a geeky nerd sort, but I was also a member of the “slacker” crowd, being generally dirty and stoned, and I was also overlapping the border of “heavy metaller” or whatever they were called, with my Judas Priest t-shirt and my long-ish hair. I wasn’t trying to not fit in, I just wasn’t trying to. The only crowd I was trying to fit in with was that of my brother and his friends. That was the heavy metal part. The slacker thing was all my own. I really just didn’t care. Plus I have a certain amount of dirty hippie in me. But perhaps that's another post.

Midol, neat (3/16/12)

I’m feeling really melancholy today. I don’t know why. I don’t think it’s any single thing in particular, but a variety of things weighing on me. Maybe it’s partly the downer of having so much band activity concentrated in a short time, to suddenly having none. I know part of it is my being overwhelmed by the room project at home and the hurdles associated with that. I have nothing to look forward to this weekend except house cleaning. That wouldn’t be so bad if I knew where to put all this stuff that needs to find a place to go. A little of it is a feeling of powerlessness, as my desires seem to have little influence over my course of action. Even my actions seem to be powerless. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels to no effect. People seem to be treating me with an indifference or even mild distaste lately. I must be doing something wrong, but I don’t seem to have too many options of what I can do. I’m trying to make a difference in the life I live with my wife and daughter, yet I feel like every day is just a replay of the days before. I don’t seem to be accomplishing anything, my efforts repeatedly go unrewarded. I know things are no worse in my life than they were even a week or two ago, but I guess I feel like I should have advanced somehow, should have improved our situation a little. But everything is exactly the same. That’s not it though. I think maybe I’m just manstruating. It’s about that time for the lady; I guess I’ve synched up with her.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Music for Schmucks

What is less than a flash in a pan? A spark? In this metaphor, what causes the flash? Is it a grease fire? Is it oxygen suddenly being allowed into an enclosed space which has burned away its available store of it? In either of these scenarios, where would a spark come from? Maybe I’m delving too deeply into the logistics of the metaphor. Let’s say a spark is a significant step down from the flash. What would be smaller than the spark? What would be the next step down? A pop? A sizzle? Even that seems too much to describe what I’m thinking of, considering the size of the pan. Maybe a little bit of a hiss. The things I hope would make a permanent dent in the pan create little more than a noticeable change in the temperature for a brief second. If that.

If we do what we do because we love it, does that predicate that somebody else will love it also? Will the love we feel for what we do be enough of a thing for someone else to love, even if what we’re doing is not? The example that comes to mind is Steve Carell’s character in Dinner for Schmucks. His passion for creating dioramas featuring taxidermied mice is creepy and odd, but his love for his characters and their “lives” is enough to make it endearing and sweet. It makes you sad to see him sweep all his hard work into the trash, not because we care about the mice or their remains, but because we know how much effort and care he put into making them what they are in their afterlife. I hope my music can be at least as endearing as a bunch of dead mice.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Most Common Man

As a child I often lamented the fact that i was so common. I thought of it as boring. Boring brown hair, boring brown eyes, the most common blood type. I felt like there was nothing interesting or unique about me. Well, today I learned another thing about myself that is exceptionally common. I have the most common fingerprint type. It's a short story, but I suddenly became interested in the different fingerprint types, and what they say about us. I saw one presentation which suggested that the "Arch" type print is most common among green-eyed people. I did not find any characteristics particularly associated with the "Loop" variety of print, just that it's the most common, and of course it's what I have. While this would once have been a source of grief for me, further indicating just how dull and boring I am right down to my skin and blood, I look at it now as a blessing because if I ever needed a blood transfusion I'd have no trouble finding some I could use, and if I was ever being investigated for a crime evidenced mainly by fingerprints they would have a harder time finding me because of my common-ass fingerprints. So yeah, it's all good. I don't mind being the Most Common Man.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Fit is Muppet

I wanted to say a few things about the Honda Fit. And the soundtrack for the new Muppets movie. The Fit is a really fun drive. This is coming from a 2005 Chevy Aveo hatchback to a 2012 Fit. The cars appear similar in overall stature and shape, but they feel very different. The Chevy was fun, but I always got a top-heavy feeling in it, and didn't feel that steady. The Fit really is "Go." It's got a nice gear ratio that gets me up to a comfortable speed in second gear, and I can't even feel when it leaves first. It's zippy, it corners nicely, and I hardly think twice about squeezing down the right turn lane even when there isn't a lane there. It's a lot of fun, and fast, and goes anywhere. And I'm so lucky my daughter has good taste in music. She wants to hear that Muppets cd over and over, and it's a really good album. One of the songs is nominated for an Oscar, and will almost certainly win, and it has Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) in that scene of the movie, and it's just a great song. The Muppets, Kermit, they have such clout in American entertainment culture, and this movie not only keeps true to their characters, it adds new depth to many of them, and lets them shine in their - I hate to say it but - Muppety way. I was a fan of the show growing up, and to see these "old friends" catching up on the last 30 years or so, and getting the other aspects of their routines that were lost on me in my youth, and tying in such timely trends as Cee-Lo Green's "Forget You" sung by chickens, it warms the cockles, whatever those are. So I was tooling around town in the Fit tonight, cranking the Muppets disc, and it was a good night.