an evolution of identity

October 13, 2014 2:41pm
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musicI used to be WAY into music when I was younger, but now I’m kind of not.

I mean, I still listen to music in the car or whatever … it’s just that my passion for music doesn’t define me like it used to back when I was a teenager.

Over the weekend we went over to Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival and one of the features besides all of the food and drink are the random bands of yesteryear that they bring in to play throughout the month and a half that the festival runs. Even though a lot of the names used to be fairly popular, it’s never really been a big draw for me because it’s no secret when they list Night Ranger – known for their song Sister Christian” in the program, that’s pretty much the only song that the group is known for…

…or at least the only one that anybody remembers anymore, anyways!

Case in point – a few years ago, we happened to be doing Food & Wine when Night Ranger was playing, and although it was kind of neat to be walking by when they were going into the power ballad that is Sister Christian, it’s not like I exactly stopped to take in the rest of their set, either.

So this year when we made an impromptu decision to do Food & Wine on Saturday after spending a few hours at one of the water parks, I picked up a guide book and sure enough, Sister Hazel was performing that night. I’ve always liked Sister Hazel, particularly after seeing them in concert while I was in college, and although they’ve been playing Food & Wine for a while now, I’ve never gotten a chance to see them just because we never seemed to go over during their three-day stretch of the festival.

I thought it might be cool, after having first seeing them live circa 2001 in the thriving metropolis that is Big Rapids, Michigan, but after not even half a dozen songs, I just wasn’t feeling it.

And it was weird because here after all of this time kind of mocking groups that settle on playing theme park gigs because they’re kind of yesterday’s news, here I was actually wishing that they’d just play that one song that they were famous for, too!

You know it’s not good when the singer actually introduces their next song as, “Now we’d like to play you one of our new songs … so if you could not leave and go back to eating and drinking for a while, we’d really appreciate it!” 😯

I hung around in the back for a few songs and we danced a little with the baby, who seemed to be more into the colored lights than the loud music, and then we proceeded on down our path to more desserts and drinks and by the time we had reached the Germany pavilion, the ambient music pretty much drowned out the band that we had left behind, anyways.

And the more I think about it, I guess that’s sort of what’s happened to me and music in the last decade or so, too.

Music used to be my everything – I wore the t-shirts and went to countless rock concerts, I had hundreds of CDs and posters on the walls, and for a while there I was even under the fun, little delusion that I could actually be a rock and roll star myself! But then it slowly started to fade away as I got more into writing, and publishing on the ‘net, and video games made a resurgence in my life, and then I moved to Florida and found me a wife and a family, and now when I look back at those live shows that I used to blow so much money on … I don’t really miss ’em all that much.

Every now and then when I hear that so-and-so artist is coming to town, I think for a moment whether maybe it would be fun and we should get tickets to go, but I just don’t have the drive that I used to, and then I find that tickets are way more expensive than they were back in the day, and frankly there are just so many other ways at this point that I’d rather spend my time and money.

It’s nothing against music, of course. Music served to give me one of my first identities during those teenage years when you’ll stop at nothing just to be you, and to figure out what that is, and for a while there, I was the long-haired, tie-dye wearing hippie guy who had way too many black light posters for the minuscule amount of weed that he realistically smoked and who lived through his guitar and emulating his rock heroes.

Now I’ve moved on and it’s a little weird to revisit that and find that I’m not nearly as into it as I used to be.

Which is strange in its own way when you consider how ridiculously nostalgic I am and you wonder why it doesn’t really carry over to music as much as it did some of the earlier stuff, but that’s another thought train for another day!  8)

Something in the Way She Moves

June 6, 2014 11:38pm
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I’ve always loved this song as a great relationship song, albeit it’s actually meant different things to me based on the relationship that I happened to be in at the time.

It’s the third verse in particular that gets me with my wife, Sara…

It isn’t what she’s got to say, or how she thinks or where she’s been.
To me, the words are nice the way they sound.
I like to hear them best that way, it doesn’t much matter what they mean.
Well, she says them mostly just to calm me down…

We’ve been married going on  seven years now, so maybe it speaks to how the two of us communicate these days. There have been times when I feel a little frustrated because it feels like we don’t always have as much to talk about as we did years ago when we had just started dating, and god knows she’s had to listen to me repeat my stories I’m sure dozens of times! Yet in a way we’re kind of at this point where it doesn’t even matter what the words are anymore … sometimes, anyways … because just hearing them in the first place from each other is the comforting part.

Plus, I guess I just like the idea of the sound of a woman’s voice being powerful enough to bring peace to her partner, which I’ve witnessed with Sara firsthand as well…

Pretty song. 😉

Just Another Day in Paradise…

May 31, 2014 4:23pm
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…when Phil Collins makes an appearance at your kid’s school to play a few songs with the band because his kid goes there, too!!! 8)

one last thing about these Somali pirates…

February 2, 2014 2:37pm
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You see, even if it’s actually cited and true and everything, it’s comments like this on Wikipedia that make people  – for good reason – question its accuracy and reliability…

Somali Pirates – Self Defense
This list includes doing things like ringing the deck of the ship with razor wire, rigging fire-hoses to spray sea-water over the side of the ship (to hinder boardings), having a distinctive pirate alarm, hardening the bridge against gunfire and creating a “citadel” where the crew can retreat in the event pirates get on board. Other unofficial self-defense measures that can be found on merchant vessels include the setting up of mannequins posing as armed guards or firing flares at the pirates.[137] Also, the songs “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops!… I Did It Again” by Britney Spears blasted at high volume at the pirates, are reported to be effective.[138]

What?! 😆

I should probably emphasize for the sake of the famous people involved that this was just a dream and didn’t really happen, although it would’ve been really cool if it had! 😉

So I was at home visiting Northern Michigan, and at random I found myself touring a beefed up version of my old house, except that somehow now it was connected to several other houses on the block in one long row and you could look out through glass windows down onto the backyards of each home as you walked down this long hallway that connected all of them. I was walking down the hallway with Miss Parker, who played the role of that hot teacher everybody had in high school, except now that I was older, somehow she actually cared about what I had to say.

She was definitely still the hot teacher, though! 😉

When I pointed out that we were looking down at my own backyard, she seemed intrigued and we went down to walk around outside, where I pointed out a few things from my childhood and made her laugh by citing both the shed and the club house that had gotten so infested with wild animals that they’d had to be demolished. As we neared the front of the house, I disappeared to go take care of something at the gas station down the street, which was where I found…

…Jonathan Coulton was randomly playing at a gas station in Northern Michigan! He was all by himself save for a manager-type guy who was hovering by him, but didn’t seem to mind as I first stopped just to verify what my eyes were seeing, then did my best to frame up a tweet so that I could post that I’d just seen Jonathan Coulton playing at a gas station in Northern Michigan!

I had trouble lining up the photo with all of the gas pumps, so when his song ended, I asked him quite frankly what in the world he was doing there, to which he cited that actually a lot of his band mates lived in the area, so it was easiest way for him to work on his new album by coming to where they all were. We chatted for a while because not a lot of other people were recognizing him, and then things got really weird when I asked if he wanted to go into space with me… 😯

Of course, being the awesome guy that Jonathan Coulton is, he graciously accepted my invitation without hesitation, and by then a couple of his band mates showed up and they wanted to come, too. We went somewhere to a ship that we called the Arcadia, which kind of resembled a group of seats from a roller coaster where all of the seats had pull-down harnesses, and everything was in white. Inside the dream, it reminded me very much of a Calvin & Hobbes adventure, as if deep down somehow we all knew that we were just imagining together, but it didn’t matter and for all tends and purposes, we were going to space!

Except that we didn’t, and once we blasted off, we visited other places on Earth instead. I don’t remember them all because this is when I started to wake up, but somehow I remember traveling to visit Moe and Principal Skinner from The Simpsons. I’m sure that we went other possibly less fictional places as well, and I’d like to think that somewhere along the way maybe we stopped and picked up Miss Parker because let’s be honest, chicks dig space ships, but that’s when I woke up and rushed to write down the epic dream of where I not only flirted with my grade school teacher crush, but then also got to (sort of) go into space with Jonathan Coulton.  :mrgreen:

Back to the Future … an acoustic melody

December 26, 2013 8:34pm
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“Marty, we’ve got to go back – it’s your children!”

“What, do they turn out to be assholes or something?!”

“No, worse – bass players!”

Ahhhh, just kidding … but this acoustic rendering of the Back to the Future theme is super pretty. I think you’re gonna like it… 😀

Posting this as close to Christmas as possible because I hate to spoil the surprise, but it was just too awesome not to include in this year’s advent blog and besides, most of the people on the list aren’t exactly ones to waste their time reading this thing anyways! 😉

They said that it couldn’t be done.

Well, more specifically, my wife said that it shouldn’t be done because apparently there’s just something about a guy spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on buying singing fish over the Internet that doesn’t exactly make for a thrilled wife … and yet after receiving a lackluster quantity of actual gift suggestions from the various family members who would ultimately receive said fish, I think you’ll agree that I basically didn’t have any other choice!

So after finding a couple of surprisingly helpful eBay sellers, soon I found myself the proud, albeit temporary owner of these little beauties…

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So to answer your inevitable questions:

  • Yes, I had them all sing at once.
  • No, it sadly wasn’t as cool as you might think … mostly because this model actually sings two different songs and thus there were always a least a couple of fish singing the wrong one.
  • No, I didn’t actually spend hundredof dollars. It was more like hundred dollars – I think after shipping, they ended up costing me on average around $15 each.
  • Also, Singing Fish Pro-Tip – if you’re looking to buy bulk quantities of holiday-branded singing fish, do it in July when nobody cares about Christmas because after sellers see you grab the first few, that’s when they realize that they’re way undercharging for their Santa Hat-laden Bass.

Nonetheless, for the few precious hours that we had together before I had to start taking them back down off the wall again and packing them into separate boxes for holiday gift-giving in various states around the north and northeast, the holiday ballad(s) that they chose to serenade me with was nothing short of magical … like the Christmas songs that I hear in my dreams, sung by Big Mouth Billy Bass himself in his finest holiday attire.

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Best. Christmas. Ever. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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One of the things that we’re trying to do more of this year is decorating inside the house … in addition to the actual Christmas tree and all! We’ve never really had much for interior decorations, but as I’ve mentioned in previous years, Sara and I really want our house to be one of those warm and cozy, all-encompassing holiday homes around this time of year, and as you’ll no doubt see in future posts, we kind of splurged a bit this year to get that ball a’rolling all the more!

I stumbled across these Disney figurines at Hallmark about a month ago and thought that they’d fit well in a home that’s both very much into Christmas and into Disney. They’re supposed to be an incentive to get you coming back every week to pick up the newest one throughout November, but honestly we got the first one during that initial visit and then went back and bought the other four all at once yesterday.

For what it’s worth, I tried to get them sooner, but apparently the store that I thought was a Hallmark store in the mall closest to home is actually an American Greetings store, which is a different thing, so they didn’t have them…  😳

Now admittedly I’ve only actually heard them play in the store while I was walking past the display … I haven’t had the guts to turn on the motion sensors on them yet because they’re likely to be playing night and day at that point, which we don’t need … but it is kind of cool how they’re setup to all play in sync if they’re near one another, so that’s neat!

The one exception that I have to this series is that they screwed up the fab five by including Daisy Duck here instead of Pluto!!! Who really cares about Daisy?! Was this some affirmative action thing to get another girl in the band??? Sure, we’ve already got a dog (kinda) with the likes of Goofy, but Pluto is someone special … sorry, Donald, but I guess what I’m saying is that I’d rather have you be alone so that Mickey can have both his girl and his dog play in the band.

Happy Holidays! 😛

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