Monday, January 31, 2011

Le Printemps Lament

Bridge of Flowers
I haven't minded the snow for the past few years. No reason to; I was indoors, it didn't bother me.

Now that I'm gainfully employed throughout the Winter instead of being laid-off for the season, there's been three major snow storms (one of them even got named!) and there's more predicted. Okay, seriously; whatever happened to January thaw? In Southern New England we traditionally get a week or two where the white stuff goes away on its own to make room for the last dregs of Winter's punishment. There was one nice day (today) with mild temperatures. Roadways are down to single lanes and lawns have mountains higher than houses. Yes, many of you readers deal with much more snow than I describe, but it's really hampered our geographical area.

So much so that I'm actually already looking forward to Spring. That doesn't usually happen until March 1 for me, as I'm a realist/pessimist. Usually Spring just doesn't do it for me, and I'm not much of a fan of Summer's oppressive heat and humidity, but I can't wait for the Crocuses, Daffodils, Cherry Blossoms et al to break the dirt and blow in tree boughs.

The six foot high piles along my sidewalk were a novelty for a few days, but I want to see green again, please?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Magical Mystery Beatles

Coming up next on ow-er blawg, four handsome lads from Liverpool *the sound of screaming young tweens erupts* The Beatles!!!
*Music swells and mop tops wave side to side as the lads harmonize about love*

"Who are the Beatles?" a young female disc jockey (yes they're still called that) at the college radio station I managed (that's a blog in and of itself) was playing something from Wing's Greatest Hits during her shift one afternoon and she turned to me and asked "Wasn't Paul McCartney in a band before Wings?"

"Yes, he was part of the Beatles," I replied, to which she posed the above question.
I continued, "You've heard of John Lennon?"

"Yes, I love his music," she gushed.

"Do you know about George Harrison and Ringo Starr?"

"Yes I do."

"All four were the Beatles."

"No, you're pulling my leg, that would be too awesome."

I reached down for the Digital Audio Tape of what's best known as the Blue album, and handed it to her saying "Give this a listen sometime," and had to step out of the room because even though I'd heard of young folks asking who the Beatles were, I'd hoped to avoid it myself for sometime longer than had happened. I think I blanched when she asked that also...

Frankly, I guess I shouldn't know so much about them either as they broke up three years before I was born. But it's well documented I'm a music junkie. Heck, I'd rock away the hours in my childhood home living room listening to the Blue album, the Grease Soundtrack, Barry Manilow... I was always asking Mom to put on the stereo. She must have been a least a little grateful, it kept me occupied and out of her hair. Guess it's no surprise I had a brief career (and a brief resurgence) as a disc jockey.

I'm certain none of the Beatles imagined the long lasting impact they'd have. As I lurk about the internet I see blog entries whose titles are lyrics from Beatles songs and young folks who could ALMOST (if I were just a tad bit older) be my own kids. It makes sense, in a way, that this newest generation (following Gen X -- not the comic, that's another facet of mine) would latch on and either discover the lads by nosing around the house or because someone like me or my Mom introduced them by exposing them to the tunes. I'll count those uninformed (such as our female jock example) as exceptions. After all, well, actually it's best if I discuss 21st Century popular tunes in its own entry, but it's because of today's seemingly "cookie cutter" music that kids are rediscovering what I stumbled upon and heard growing up and even what my parents listened to and bought when they were these current kids' age; because it's -- well, musical -- and not sample driven.

Where was I? Ah yes:

I practically wore a hole through the "Paperback Writer" 45 loving both sides equally ("Rain" is on the flip) and have just about done the same with the compact disc version as well. There's something simple but lasting in their music. Sure, some of it is whimsical and some of it just bizarre ("Revolution Number 9 anybody? Number 9, number 9, number 9), but the majority of the catalog is so universally known there's a Cirque du Soleil show based on their music and of course the video games.

Not only do the songs make us feel good, even forty years later, but John also made people think. He was inspirational and though I never met him I instantly felt his loss December 8, 1980. But his spirit is still out there. I can attest to that first hand, if I were to delve into sharing another dream I had, also relating to my brief marriage. In a conversation I don't much recall now, but it was mainly small talk, I initially didn't recognize the visage, but as I explained more about what I was feeling to this guy (in my dream) he nods in understanding and tells me "It's not worth getting yourself all worked up over. Do what you need to do and it'll all work out, you'll see."

Then the voice and face recognition hit me and my eyes opened up, I was laying in bed and I gained a little bit of perception, while I was stunned and honored by it. To this day, eight years later, I couldn't even say why we had that spiritual conversation, but I'm glad we did. It was such a treasured moment for me, that until now I've only told a few of my musician friends about it, and they, in turn, were honored that I thought highly enough of them to share that.

How's THAT for a band's influence upon society? This entry took some time, but then it was pretty chock full of ideas. I'd been thinking about it for a number of weeks, even contemplating not posting it until a relevant date, but tonight just seemed to be the right night to put it out.

(And had nothing to do with dusting and Elvis, honest)

Thank God Mom Never Did This

As usual, you'll likely need to copy and paste the link in a new browser window to see it. If you're lazy like me, it's a six minute long prehistoric infomercial for a Westinghouse refrigerator, advertising customizable panels to match whatever your heart's content.

I can't imagine having to grow up looking at some busy pattern in the kitchen day in and day out reaching in for my Snack Pack puddings or Frosted Shakes. Most likely I'd have developed epilepsy, so I'm thankful I never had to deal with such a tacky scene in those groovy days of growing up during the mid to late seventies and into the early eighties. After all, the kitchen set was some kind of green and yellow jungle pattern or something sea-sicky like that until the chairs self destructed. That's when the oversized padded set replaced it in the mid eighties -- around when fashion was big padded shoulders and more sedate tones. Anyways, I digress.

So, thankfully, there was no designer fridge (or any other furnishing) in the household, although during the re-roofing project my Mom made contact paper Easter Eggs to stick on the large dumpster to spruce it up while it sat on the lawn...

(I get no monetary endorsement by mentioning brand names)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Storm

Snow Storm
One bonus of working in a stone quarry was not having to be out in weather such as this. Alas, now I'm driving around in blizzard conditions to save people as stupid as myself for going out in such bad weather; not to mention the falls and heart attacks brought on by digging out.

The photo was taken early during its assault on the homestead. Rarely does a snow fall impress me, but there was something about this one that made me imagine the Canadian Prairie Winter images I'd seen in my lifetime. So with that in mind, I snapped away from the toasty side of the kitchen window. Oh, this is the third storm in a seven day period, two of which (the first and this one) dumping significant accumulations of the stuff upon us.

I already know before going to sleep at 0-dark-30 in the morning that it'll be a struggle digging out, driving to work, and dealing with the call load. Small price to pay for personal success. So when I hear the plow truck 30 minutes before my alarm rings, I throw on some clothes and open the door.

The snow is higher than the step. *sigh* I trudge through the white stuff which is fluffy and swallows me up to me knees. That's a record snowfall for my area, it must be; and it is still coming down as I write. I'd brushed a good four plus inches of snow off of my van just to move it so the plow could futilely open my parking space. And while he's not waiting for me and plows out all around -- including the walkway fronting my building -- I indignantly try climbing over the halfway up the van tall snow mountain piled on the grass just to deny the plow guy any appreciation I may have had for his making an opening. (There's friction between myself and the plow crews which goes back all seven years since I moved for another time).

Now it's just as snowy INSIDE the van as outside of it. I don't care. Hopefully, it'll get me safely into work and safely home again when I need it to.

To top it all off, there's almost as much snow back on my trusty steed as there was when I cleaned it off for the plow and there's still no end in sight and *sigh* I still have a whole day of work (at least!) ahead of me yet...

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Serendipity All Over Again

Happy 2011 everybody. I was initially going to post about the bizarre display of fireworks exploding above the horizon which borders my neighborhood, except fireworks launched from a sports complex don't hold a bottle rocket to ones fired off on your own land.

Instead, I'll relay musings of the coincidental kind. ever have a moment when you get a song you haven't heard in a while stuck in your brain, and then within a day or two it comes on the radio? Me too!!!

But that's not what this is about either. This time it happened with a person. That's right. I found myself the other night reflecting on one of my previous lives -- that of my college days, and in particular this one young woman, high school student at the time. We gelled at certain levels, but being the paranoid agoraphobe that I was, once I had trained her to be a disc jockey and the semester ended, we parted ways. Just tonight, through that mysterious hinterland known as Facebook, I received a message from said young woman.

Funny how life works sometimes...