Kissing Pete Townshend While Living on a Prayer

Kissing a rockstar was never on my bucket list of things to do. Still isn’t. Yet, when the opportunity presents itself, one must take it, mustn’t one?

It all started when Rog said that ‘we needed a break’ and he wanted to spoil me. I don’t recall the order of those two comments, but when one is offered a Mexican vacation, the standard response should invariably be ‘yes.’ When he asks about where I want to stay, I didn’t have an opinion (when you’ve been going to Mexico for as long as I have, you’ve pretty much seen it all–or so I thought).

A day later he tells me he has mixed it up and booked the Hard Rock Hotel in Puerto Vallarta. Yes, I’d seen the ads for the one in Las Vegas (in case you have missed the MTV-like commercials, everyone has seemingly stepped from the pages of a magazine, the music is all that is hot and sexy and the food heaven sent), and yes, they were offering a special ($1,500 worth of hotel credit). Thus, I checked out the spa, read the reviews (mixed on all aspects) and said ‘why not?’

So it was that the plane ride down was all about introspection. That ended the second we pulled up to the hotel and was assaulted with You give love a bad name by Bon Jovi. I turned to Rog. “You made sure to order up all the sexy people right?” He nods, humoring me.

At the counter, we are informed we can rent any one of 22 Fender guitars, along with headsets and amplifiers to we can practice without disturbing anyone. I don’t catch his last comments because A Whitesnake song comes at me from above, like a demon from hell, piped down in overhead speakers (and I only know its Whitesnake because Rog tells me). As we walk through the lobby (with looping videos of Pitbull and past a stream of authentic rockstar items), I’m suddenly face to face with a lifesize picture of the Guns-N-Roses band members. I realize that Slash has bigger hair than me (I feel a twinge of jealously) and Axl Rose was so skinny his entire waist was the size of one of my thighs.

2015-02-20 23.59.58

post Tom Petty and pre Spinal Tap

It’s about four pm, and as we head into the elevator, I’m starting to snicker. No sexy people. The original flag from Woodstock (it’s of big lips btw) hangs just below the arch of the hallway is the line “Love in an elevator,” by Steven Tyler, nicely called out in subdued, foot-size silver lettering. Are you getting a visual yet?

Blessedly, the room has no music, but I can hear the blasting from the pool area. It’s Back in Black and I start to fantasize about earphones and my favorite Sesto Sento Moby remix–really loud.

You can do this, I tell myself. It’s only a week. I keep hope alive that poolside will feature people in my decade and those that evidently chose the music. But first, I want to work out. The sun is setting, the breeze is coming in. The music in the gym has got to match the vibe. Steel, modern, pool front with the ocean in the background. Rog even takes a picture (the smile is genuine. I’m in a warm place, not much clothing and am positive the gym will be rocking).

2015-02-19 19.59.26

Spinal Tap is alive…every day at the gym

It is. To Tom Petty. Who. In. The. H**l works out to Tom Petty? He’s a great writer of lyrics, of course, but I certainly don’t feel like having my heart drug around.

That’s quite alright I repeat to myself, smiling falsely at Rog. I don’t want him to feel bad for booking this place nor do I want to appear an ungrateful shrew for hating the music. I walk forward with fortitude. Right into a life-size picture of Spinal Tap. For my dear readers who are as cool as I am, do you know who Spinal Tap is? I didn’t. Rog did (his Colorado roots are starting to seep through, don’t you think?). Now folks. When working out, isn’t it more appropriate to see images of beach bodies–or no images at all, rather than be forced to look at a skinny man poured into a lycra outfit that should only be worn by downhill skiiers racing at 100MPH? My thoughts exactly.

I know at this point, you really don’t believe me (I could barely believe it myself), so I started taking pictures as evidence. I made it through the workout, thanking Steve Jobs once again   (may he rest in peace) for the iPhone that saved my ears, changed for dinner and walked to the elevator.

Two things then happened at once. The first is I was struck by Bon Jovi everywhere singing Living on a Prayer.

my air guitar

my air guitar

The second thing was I had (somehow) missed the image of Pete Townsend in front of me, doing the air guitar movement. (I call it this because most men who insist on doing the air guitar never, ever, actually have a guitar. They just think it’s cool to whip their arm around as though they were, are or in their fantasy, will be, Pete Townsend. But I digress).

I can’t take it anymore. I lose myself to the notion of being a product of the seventies, channeling my inner flower-child-meets-bic-lighter-groupie and stand by Pete. In a single moment of rock-star-ness, I swirl my arm like every seventeen year old wanna-be guitarist and I become one with the picture. Of course it would only be fitting that in my moment of anonymous greatness than a woman walks by. She offers to take a photo and I do what I’ve never previously wanted to do. I kissed the rock star. Or at least his picture. That’s as close as I’m ever gonna get. kissing peteAnd as the final notes of Bon Jovi fades, I’m thinking about my prayer. One that includes music from the 90’s, 00’s, 10’s and maybe, just maybe if I’m really lucky, 2015. That is, if my prayers are answered.

A little more soap please

Am I the only one who is bothered by the bad language that’s on every form of digital communication known to man? Maybe it’s because I’m here like a greased pig on the bed, (as in, I’m wallowing in my own misery and can’t get up) that I’m consuming mass amounts of media, anything that crosses my fingers, I’m reading, from news to sports, entertainment and foreign publications, at 2 in the afternoon and 4 in the morning. Somewhere, at sometime, there is always new content to absorb.

More soap is not just for curing
stanky breath

With the lone exception of…well, I haven’t found a lone exception, other than religious
sites, where I tend not to spend a lot of time, they are all peppered with lots of ****. I’ll admit, I’m pretty inured to the use of the dots, and frankly, have come to expect it from politicians and porn stars (neither am I seeking out I must add, they just happen to be considered “news-worthy” and thus a synopsis of the article comes up), while I also expected less-than-wholesome language from athletes and rap stars. Get it.

But you know what’s getting to me? The age of the person being quoted is now so young (and why, might you ask, is this? Young actors, young singers, all pushed in front of us as a brilliant manager creates a billion-dollar brand) that they haven’t been taught to speak properly, or if they do, they can’t speak without inserting the F-word without inserting it as a comma, a space, a period, apostrophe, question mark and many times, my favorite, the rhetorical question, WTF.

Most recently, I listened to NRP and heard an excerpt of an Australian singer with the number 1 billboard song in the world. World, not US, not Australia. She’s 16, and sounded intelligent, but I’d never heard the song (call me kooky, but I listen to satellite radio with over 2000 songs and I tend to pick the region and genres, which doesn’t put me in the top 40 category in any language). So I figure, if NPR picked it up, I’ll go listen.

I listened. I liked. I purchased. No sooner do I know the words to the song then I read a follow up article where she’s dissed doing a collaboration with David Guetta (a favorite of mine, but OK, not everyone digs his Vegas-DJ vibe), she has turned down opening for Katy Perry (lots of cleavage, true, and a momentary lapse of reason when she got married to that crazy dude from the UK, but whatever, I still like a lot of her songs), and I was fine with both of these. Whatever. Be an artist and make your own paths. But seriously, what got me was that she couldn’t stop using the F-word, again, as a pause, an exclamation and other various grammatical uses not heretofore known.

As I’m going to be stuck here for the next two months, I have one universal plea to anyone speaking to the media: as you follow your own path, creative or political, athletic or homebody, the next time you open your mouth, think about Grandma and her bar of soap and clean it up.

Music for Writing

I’ve recently started using our sound system which we spent way too much money and time on 10 yrs ago to install, and to be honest, didn’t get hooked up for a decade due to a little, ah, shall we say, “marital dispute.” In other words, after all the thousands it took, Rog flamed out at the ten-yard line, which I figured was going to be less than $1,500 to finish up.

Of course, he knew better, and I fought him for a decade (a long time of worthless arguing that a) I was wrong about and b) I’ll never get back). But let’s not dwell on my issues. Let’s move on to the salient points.

Where, might you ask, did this need to be spent? (I know I’m digressing, but for my male readers who generally relate with Roger, and the female readers who share my pain, I’m exposing more of the bloody guts of our relationship).
1- he was afraid of the cost of the panels, which we have in most rooms of every floor
2- he was convinced we needed another receiver, and a stack of electronics, so avoidance was the best policy in his mind and
3- he simply couldn’t justify spending money on a ‘discretionary expense.’

Well, in the end, he was right. The panels are $400 a pop that Rog got for $325 through smart Internet shopping. We compromised. Well, actually, I compromised. I gave up a panel in one bathroom, but stood firm on having one in the two bathrooms where I soak my bones in the tubs. The stack of components was painful- about $10K, which Rog was able to cut down to about $8K thanks to his diligent shopping ways, so he was right all along. (By the way, have I ever told you that Roger’s nickname for me is “rainman,” because he says I think money rains from above. Rude isn’t he?)

One of the beautiful things that all that money bought was a type of component that allows every sort of media known at this time. It’s wide and flat, and can stream, play and store it all, from my SD card which takes me seconds to load songs, or switch to my iphone or whatever else I have going on. But the very best part, hands down, is the Internet radio feature.

Internet radio means thousands of channels in all genres. I point the remote, select a genre, then up comes a list of hundreds or thousands of channels. I’m not really down with bluegrass, but up with dance, and quite a few sub genres. It’s crazy when I find a Paris-based country station, when a DJ is talking in a language I can’t understand, then proceeds to play Taylor Switch. Likewise, I’m grooving out DJ Krush, and then a German-speaking DJ hops on and the only words I understand is the name of the group and the song. The upside is that I feel like I’m getting language lessons while I get grooving music.

All this backstory to tell you that I’ve zoned in on 6 channels (for now) and one in particular is writing, and it’s Ambient. The other words for this are Chillout, and I’m telling you what, about a quarter of the songs I have on CDs already, the others are new. When I hear a song I don’t have I Shazam it on my iphone and bam, a click of a credit card later, I have it on my system.

My favorite of all 202 Ambient stations is this one 1.FM Chillout Lounge. You can listen on any system you have.

A few of the songs I love are as follows (I should create another tab, but I have to give something up on my home page until then..)

updated 4/28/13
Come a Little Closer- Ambassadeurs
Central Reservation- Beth Orton (remix)
What the sun sees- people like you and me- Gloria
Turbulence- radio edit (ft lil john)- Turbulence
Inside your mind- Color in Rhythm Stimulate Mind Freedom
Steamworks- by the Presents- Beams
Take me Away- Chill Central
You are the One- Chill Central
Blood of Eden- US remastered- Peter Gabriel
Walk Tall- Sugar Tax- OMD
Sun Goes Down- no Silence- ATB
Scaffold- Coyote Remix) Chillout Lounge 3, Downtempo grooves
Rupture (Hylton Mix), Bedroom Escapades, Vol 1- Harry Vincent
Always (Ashley Beedle’s) Best of Bent- BEnt
Jumiera Drive- Dubai Chill Lounge Vol. 2
Flipside- Chill Out Experience- Paradise Found
Girl and the Sea- by the presets- Beams
Miami Sunset- (feat Duality) by Invisible Sounds (Sunn Jellie Remix)

The inner American Idol

Who among us hasn’t longed for a chance to be on the stage, singing in front of sixty-thousand people or accepting an award for a playing a superb villain in a movie?  What about the deeply secreted desire to live out the P-diddy fantasy, sipping champagne, riding in tricked-out black Escalade with beautiful women all wanting….whatever they can get.

I call this the inner American Idol. It’s the fantastical dream of every driver singing at the top of their lungs behind the wheel. Or the forty-year old male who still plays air guitar, imagining himself Bruce Springsteen asking a sixteen year-old Courtney Cox on stage to Dance in the Dark.
Once upon a time, I believed the dream of singing to thousands would some day be reality, and joined a jazz choir in junior high. This gave way to singing and acting in high school, which ended the moment I left for college. Reality faded to a dream, dream turned in to a vague hope, and a few years ago, hope disappeared.
In my thirties, a health issue caused me to assess my life and the real reason I let my dreams fade to black. It was because of one word: Fear.

I’ve come to believe that fear is the greatest weapon against progress.Fear of failure. Fear of ridicule. Fear of judgment.  Fear restrained me from pursuing things I loved and dreamt of as a youth.

Thinking about dying hit the reset button. Cher related a similar turning point in her life, when she said didn’t want to die without at least trying to fulfill her dreams. Her fear was that she’d lose what she did have, respect in the pop-tv world, when she tried to branch out. Her dreams were far beyond the smalls screen and duets with Sonny. It included acting on stage, in movies and being a serious actress. She faced her critics head on, acted in Silkwood and Moonstruck and won an Oscar. This, from a woman who wore little more than a nipple-covering thong on the ship of an aircraft carrier at 40! If she could do that, I could at least try to unleash my inner American Idol.

Thus, I found my way to the doorstep of one Ross Hauck, a successful singer who teaches professionals the craft. Apparently, the day I showed up, he was in the giving mood, for he took pity on me.

Chicken warble

The first three lessons, I was paranoid he was going to fire me. My voice warbled like a duck being plucked. Staying on key was akin to a wolf howling at the moon while running after an elk. Up and down, side ways, jerky and ragged. It was horrible. I knew it was bad when his red, curly hair raised on the back of his neck. He doesn’t know I saw it, but he was playing the piano, oblivious to the tell-tale signs.
That wasn’t the worst part. I record the hour-long sessions on my iphone. I’d practice the scales in my car or at home. My singing was so bad, my daughter, not yet seven months, would burst in to tears. It got to the point I actually had to sing outside my own home, until goats started bleating back to me across the gulley.
Still, I perservered. Once again, I thank the good Lord his one gift to me was dog-with-a-bone determination. I figured if Angelina Jolie can learn how to fly a plane in barefeet, and Heidi Montag can rise from obscurity to pay cash for a Rolls Royce, I can train my voice to do what I want it to do. It was convenient that Ross’s  wife was pregnant at the time, or he might not have been as incentivized to endure the two months that followed.
The breakthrough came on the ninth lesson, when we’d been working on breathing technique. Four lessons were insufficient to teach me how to expand my ribs while using my diagram to support my voice and produce anything other than a note that sounded like I’d sucked down a balloon full of helium. Finally, he could take it no more. He got up, went in the other room, and came back with a large, black belt with Velcro.
“It’s a maternity belt,” I exclaimed. His wife gave birth last week, and it was now free to be of use to someone else.
“Put this on here,” he said, strapping it around his chest to show me where it belonged.
I took the object, placed it around my ribs, just under by bra-line until it was taught, but not tight.
“There, now expand your breath to the point where it pushes to capacity.”
I did so. When I started to see spots, I croaked out if “it was enough?”
“Yes. Now breath and sing.” After a few passes of single notes, then phrases, we pulled out a song we’ve been working on for Christmas. I can’t quite hit the high E without making the neighborhood dogs bark, but none committed suicide in the street today either.
That was progress, and for a moment, I was quite pleased until he stopped me.
“Pretend that you’re a famous jazz singer in a club with an orchestra behind you.”
I stared at him, trying to interpret what he was saying.
“Let it go,” he clarified, his oh-so-polite way of telling me to get over the controlling-type A personality that I am.  Afraid of being fired, just when I was making progress, I conjured up an image of Aretha in her fighting days, and letter-rip.
Missy RESPECT

It didn’t matter that my neck craned, blood vessels popped and I sqawked like a chicken getting poked from behind. For two minutes, I channeled Miss R.E.S.P.E.C.T, belting out I’ll be home for Christmas as my full-blown orchestra played behind me.  

“Feel the difference?” he asked politely. Sort of, yeah, I said, though what I really felt was my ribs expanding against the maternity belt, which threatened to push my breasts into my chin. If that was the side benefit of wearing the thick, black boob holder-upper, I was in.
Unaware of my inner amusings, he tells me it was because I wasn’t over-thinking the process. Whatever I thought of, he said, worked. I’d freed my mind, and my voice was clearer and better supported as a result.
Kuato freeing my mind

The last part of his sentence was lost on me, because as Ross said I’d freed my mind, the visual of a three fingered, mutant Kuato (Total Recall), expanding out of his human host hissing the words “Free your Minddddd.” I nearly choke on my tongue as I inhaled, pushed against my boob enhancer while inhabiting the body of a three-hundred pound jazz singer. 

For all that, the lesson produced a better sound and I came away sweaty, fulfilled and excited about my progress and the next lesson. Ross is an amazing teacher, who may still fire me during my next lesson. (That kind of fear is good, I think. Keeps me on the straight and narrow). I figure at this rate, I might be ready for the American Idol auditions, right about the time my five year old graduates from high school. 

Accelerating enlightenment through music

How often have you read about a super-human child with off-the-charts intellect or acute capabilities in one area or another and invariably, the interviewer asks the mother, “what did you do?” The answer was nearly always “I played classical music while I was pregnant,” sometimes augmenting this by putting headsets on the belly. (which leads me to wonder if people really had fat, hydrosauphalic heads back then, but that’s a different blog). As I’m neither off the charts intellectual nor a prodigy in any discernable area, I wondered, why all the fuss? What about the masses for which classical music has done butt-kuss?

The answer? It finally came to me while I was raking the last ten pounds off my arms and legs yesterday and couldn’t get Shubert’s Ave Maria out of my head. Classical music is uplifting and calming in a way inspires, rather than tires.

In particular, I find classical Christmas music changes my entire mood, removing the grey in my head, replacing it with bright yellows. I love a good Moby tune as much as the next person, but it doesn’t compare to Candlelight Carole by John Rutter.

In fact, I was a bit worried to think that I was the only person alive that listens to classic Christmas music year round, when I recently read a blurb about another writer who complained about her husband’s preference for Christmas music. She was disgusted, limiting to the general areas of the house between the day after Thanksgiving and New Years. The rest of the time, she “makes him listen to it in his own office.”

I remarked to my husband that at least 2 of us exist in the world, like Shrek finding Feona. “No,” said my husband, “You only listen to classical Christmas music year around, not ‘holiday'” It’s true. No Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in July.

Bad mood? Need inspiration? Give it a shot. Here are four reasons to kill the dance music for 10 minutes.

1. Classical Christmas is uplifting
Can anyone argue that Handel was divinely inspired when he composed the score to the Messiah? I know people from all walks of life and all religious persuasions who agree that the Messiah is a magical piece of work.

2.  It’s calming.
When my daughters are going at it like two teams at the Superbowl, I play Shepherd’s Pipe Carol. Suddently, my daughters stop all activity as they try to sing along. When it ends, one of them inevitably says “can you play that again?” We actually have the Carols from Clare conducted by John Rutter and play the CD over and over again.

3. Enlightenment begets enlightenment.
Let’s face it. Everyone strives for enlightenment. Who doesn’t want to be more tomorrow than they are today? Expansion of the mind comes with the extension and growth of the soul. When I listen to beautiful music, I feel inspired to learn more, to achieve, and frankly, be a better person.

4. It collapses time.
I tend to either listen to dance music or classical Christmas writing the blog or on the elyptical, and I will tell you this. When I listen to classical Christmas, the 30 minutes on whatever device of pain I’m using skips by, and I’m so much more motivated, whereas simply dance music (or upbeat of any kind) doesn’t speed by so fast.

5. It kills a bad mood.
I simply find it hard to be in a bad mood when something do angelic is playing in the background. As I was stuck, raking mounds of dog-poop-encrusted piles of leaves yesterday, I tried to give it a shot. I thought of a man I simply abhore, willing myself to think evil of him. Ave Maria was swirling in my head the entire time, and guess what? It was impossible to keep him in my head. He sort of…faded, replaced with the lyrics of Shubert’s song of giving.

And yes, I listened to the music while writing this. (PS. I also love the odd classical bit, like Torelli’s Trumpet Concerto in D. Supercool.)

Forget the pre-nup numbers. Ask about the music.

Love is not what keeps Rog and I together. It’s really music. When we were dating, one of our qualifying questions including music preferences. Yes, we advocate all dating couples to ask this question. Think of the hours in the car, train, plane, on the beach, in the home, tableside, entertaining–where music is involved. We agreed that we were going to put a rider clause (or an allonge for literary snobs) on our non-pre-nup (we are old-fashioned, and don’t actually have one for those of you nosey enough to want to know). But if we did, we’d surely have the rider clause Spare yourself the divorce process. Talk music first. (as an aside, welcome Chile and Egypt. I’m mystified at how this blog spreads, but whatever. The world is indeed flat.

But relationships (countries or flat worlds) aren’t the topic of this blog. It’s meant to satisfy the musical requests of She, who complained to me just this morning about the fact that she doesn’t make it to the computer everyday, and thus misses my musical selections. She is asking for a music log, and suggested that while I’m at it, I just log my “Did you know.” Well, I’ll make it half way and do the musical log.

Here’s the deal. I post a song on the main page under Try This, then when I take it down, it will come here. Of course, I’m not going to copy all my commentary about why the song is special etc. Too much. Most recent on top.

Read on. Listen. Enjoy. PS. Don’t forget that pre-nup rider clause about the music.

Sunlight by DJ Sammy. I have multiple versions-the original is slow, and I don’t like it–the radio version is fine, this fast version is amazing (actually, multiple fast versions are great, including this funny, hardcore quasi-chipmuck version the Takaki Matsude Remix slow version is good writing music. (5/23)
Mariah…Honey (5/22)
I am what I am. Nice as it is, and great as background music, I’m a much bigger fan of the faster versions. This is the Lange remix–(5/21)
Addiction by Medina (5/18)
Feel it in my Bones (feat. Tegan & Sarah) by Tiesto (up for a wk)
Coast to Coast by Matrix and Futurebound off Freshtraxxx Vol. 3 (mixed by Utah Saints) 5/7
Armaggedon by Jessica Jarrell (5/5)
 She’s a beauty by The Tubes (5/4)
Hard Workin man by Brooks and Dunn (5/3)
Juke Joint Jezebel (Mortal Combat Version) 5/2
Halcyon On and On by Orbital (5/1)
God is a DJ by Faithless (4/29)
Beautiful by Bennie Bennassi
Walk in to the Sun by Dirty Vegas
Concrete Schoolyard by Jurassic Five
Higher by Tao Cruz ft Kylie Monogue

Audiophiles delight- background music

41TPJF6NR0L._SL500_AA300_.jpgAs an update to my earlier email on tampooning and all things bloody, I’d like to thank everyone of you that has my direct email or cell phone number. It seems I defiled a number of you, stripping away what was left of your innocence with that rather, um, visual blog. You’re welcome by the way. I’m flattered I can de-virginize anyone about anything in this stage in life. 

Now, I must pause to say that I’ve been without technology for four days. Apparently, certain black zones in Idaho exist, wherein smoke signals are the texting equivalent. So it is that I wrote this Thursday, it’s now Sunday night, and I’m backed up on my blogs like a rusted out pipe of constipation. I need to be flushed.

With that out in the open (I feel better already),  I want to assure my newest friends in Malaysia I’m a bit more consistent with blogs that has been evidenced this weekend. 

When we escaped the rain for a few days of sunshine in Idaho, I didn’t expect it to a one-way road to the land of musical nostalgia. It must be my forty-year old demographic that owns, and therefore, defines what music played in the coffee shops, restaurants and ski-boarding joints. Instead of listening to Alice DJ when I’m in buying a pair of shoes, it’s the Clash. At the boarding store, nary a chord from Utah Saints or Robyn, but Grandmaster Flash’s iconic hit, White Lines. The night was topped off with Mariah Carey’s I’ll be there, which almost made me weepy. 
Of course, Rog started laughing at me. “The song?” he asked, his lip in a quirk. Porsche was drawing Picasso’s clothed version a moose with yellow antlers, Sophia busily throwing bits of bagels in the blue-hairs behind her, and I’m leaking.

So it was I hearkened to She’s recent suggestion I blog on all things music. I’ve hemmed and hawed on this topic because it’s fraught with landmines. I love music. Adore it. More than clothes, watches or cars. I have thousands of CDs, hundreds of old tapes and boxes of LPs. This doesn’t compare to true audiophiles, who have a wall dedicated to 30,000 plus LPs (for, if you are a true audiophile, CDs are crap, which I agree, but I can’t get Rog to invest a Ferrari’s worth of money in a dedicated room, a $20K record player or a security system to keep out the kids). I used to be far right on the musical thing, a first class purist with no tolerance for moderation. For a purist like me, who can actually hear the difference between high end sound systems etc., it’s painful to listen to a CD or an old tape. But like all things, a certain marital state is preferred to making love to a turntable. (the needles gets stuck sometimes. it’s painful). Thus, I now listen for the love of the music and not necessarily the quality. 
Now that I’ve gone centrist as a requirement for marital happiness, I’ve embraced the notion of quantity over quality. It’s tragic, and I’m afraid of the hate mail I’ll receive by lowering my audio standards. But hear my logic—if I’m going to be subservient to inferior sound, I might as well drop my floor of standards entirely. This means I don’t even have to get the CD, I do it all on line. It’s lame, but immediate. Then, when I determine I like the CD or single, I’ll purchase that. If I really want to hear good quality, I then seek out the LP.
I’m in the micro-demographic of music freaks that have no problem purchasing the same song three times, in every format available. It’s a marital tax, I explain to Rog, like his four wrenches, one in every drawer so he won’t have to reach another two feet. If he doesn’t extend his gorilla arm, why should I be bothered to lift out a CD from the car and move it to the room.
“Fair point,” is all Rog says, not bothering to look up from the Xbox player (which, by the way, we have three. The dining room (for guests, he explains), the tv room (his man cave) and one at the condo (for chilling). I put my footdown on the xbox in the bedroom with the same vigor he denied my turntable request.
LPs, known as vinyl…a fading product line…
Actual vinyl is hard to come by. Mostly, I have to purchase it from overseas outlets. It’s worth the money, the time and drama on the homefront. Listening to the richness of the audio is pure ecstasy. Rog, a man of all things physical, deals with the added expense by justifying I’m so happy after a new purchase I’ll stay in bed, playing the same LP over and over and over. He gets worn out much faster than that vinyl, a fact he tells his friends with pride.
But back to the music, my taste is far ranging. I’d either turn on lots of readers or turn off others by blogging about it all the time. However, She is batting a thousand for her other blog recommendations—so I’ll start  identifying what I’m listening to for specific purposes. Very rarely do I have music playing in the background without a purpose. It’s always a mood thing.
Here’s a few I’m listening to as I write this blog…
Somewhere by DJ Mog. The bonus on this one is the beat is perfect for sit-ups (which I did 350 last night while Rog played xbox. That counted as our family time). Counterbalanced the half a pound of pulled pork I downed while swooning to Mariah.
We Belong by Ferry Corsten. Corsten is a long time fav. Years ago, on a trip to Berlin, my business associates were busy downing marajuna-infused brownies in an attempt to get high before a meeting the next day, while I was glued to the tv, watching music videos by Corsten two years before he hit the US. To each his own.
Everything (extended) (feat Myah) by Ron Reeser and Dan Saenz.
On this particular writing mix, I have some throwbacks to the eighties as well as a song off New Moon. I’ve got Wouldn’t it be Good by Nik Kershaw, Ours by The Bravery, one of my latest non-pump-you-up favorite bands. I am What I Am (Lange remix) Trance Anthems, Above and Beyond Presents, another great song for sit-ups.
Come to think of it, I do have some background music I play. The last Twilight Movie introduced me to the Boards of Canada. I then discovered Slag Boom Van Loon and the Poppy Seed Remix, which has a slow lead-in, and great melody. I promptly went out and purchased six albums. Some is a little ethereal and boring, but it’s very diverse. Great for non-distracting white noise.
I’m a major fan of Chillout Music–the genres are chillout experience, chillout trance, chillout Euphoria etc etc….Also on this mix are Blue by Monaco, from 20 years ago, Falling from Chillout session two, the calling, inner peace mix, Euphoria, Deeper, Red Jerry Solar Stone, disk 2 (a mere 12 years ago, but still awesome….wrote my entire first book to this double CD set).
Kiani Industries (original by Boards of Canada) Warp20 recreated, bonus track version Bibio
At least we tried by moby off 18, an oldy but goodie, Ultramarine by Michael brook off Heat, when Val Kilmer was hot and lean, not two small pinpoints of eyes peering out from a face of fatness.
Chillout tunes have the double benefit of being great for a romantic prelude, or as we say in this household, interlude. Lots of great music networks exist for chillout. My mom, in her organist fashion, so slyly calls “postlude music is just as important as prelude.” Of course, she was specifically talking about church music, and the tunes before the session, during and after, but whatever. I can take her innocent thought and run with it. 
I could go on, but I’m stopping here. This whole linking thing is taking an eternity. Since Rog took the girls, I actually have to get some writing done, and all these links take forever (thanks again SDR, for showing me how what I’ll need to go back and correct later).

Little hypocrisy(s) and other moral annoyances

At the beginning of my last voice lesson, I asked Ross, my red-haired fireball of a teacher, for an extension of another week on the loan of his Christmas songbook. I’d not been able to find another like it on-line, I said, and didn’t want to purchase the songs individually. As such, I’d photocopy the thing, but, “my toner went out,” I said. “I’d just copy the song we’re learning and a few others if that was ok.”

“Sure,” he said, “though I’m getting a bit more sensitive to an artist than I was before.” At the time, I thought nothing of the statement. It wasn’t until the drive home that the full force of his comment struck me. I’m an artist (a writer), wanting, and expecting consumers (readers) to purchase my works (books), not photocopy someone else’s, and here I am, giving no thought to essentially taking money out of a songwriter’s pocket by doing the same.

I am such a hypocrite, I thought. Worse, Ross knew this, and was being oh-so-kind in his hint about photocopying the book (that he paid for) without giving me an outright ‘no,’ which he was well within his rights to have done. He probably made the assumption I was an intelligent, sensitive individual endowed with free will that would figure it out on my own.

Before I hit my doorstep, I’d gone through a moral and ethical inventory of all the times I was skating across the lines of hypocrisy. Let me count the ways:

  • photocopying a recipe and redistributing it
  • copying a piece of music (from a song-book) of friends, relatives, church
  • downloading a piece of sheet music (plus lots of cds etc)
  • borrowing a friends gigabyte drive (they he’d borrowed from work) full of 300+ movies, to download on my own gigabyte drive
  • copying and pasting photos on line for this blog
  • doing the same for powerpoint presentations
I’d go on, but I’m getting concerned about incriminating myself further. Let me assure you, dear reader, that each and every one of these items are not only in some legal gray area, but are definitely over the line of my own moral code. However, until Ross pointed it out, I’d never thought of it that way.
Many, or all of the items, are done with such regularity, be it in school, church or in my circle, it’s not even a question “can you make me a copy?” “Sure!” Of course I want to save some coin, or $21.99 if I want a singular recipe instead of buying an entire book. Yet I’m not completely stupid. That recipe, soundtrack or photograph is the result of another’s intellectual property, or in other words, hard work, persistence, intelligence and probable copyright. I have a moral and ethical obligation to recognize this, not to mention some amount of legal promise.
If I were my own version of the pre-legitimate Napster, I’d be prosecuted to the fullest. But I’m a small time offender. One or two things, here and there. It’s not like I’m reproducing 50,000 CDs that I’m selling from a shop for 2 bucks in India, nor am I redistributed some church hymnal to a bevy of swaying, hands-in-the-air Bible thumpers. I’m “just”…
And that’s the hypocrisy. There is no “just.” “Just” is a justification for crossing the line between right and wrong. There is no just, or…well, anything. It’s black and white. Take for example, my contractual agreement with one of my publishers, McGraw-Hill. It states that I can’t reproduce more than 15% of the content in my book without their express permission. And that’s for me, the author. The rest of the world is supposed to cite and source references. However, I’m not about to get sued by my publisher, so you can believe I’ve counted out the pages and words to make sure I don’t near that 15% threshold.
The one little footnote is when a note on the manuscript or music says: “no photocopying except for personal use.” That means, in my home, me only. No one else. I find this only in the church songbooks. It implies my church has already paid some exceptional fee to the owner of that song to reproduce the song in that book in the first place.
I will tell you, this little moral correction cost me over a hundred dollars within two days. I literally threw away my on-line version of a bunch of songs, including Bella’s song (and just about every other piece of soundtrack sheet music I own) that were ill-gotten (e.g. free on line). I went down to the local music store and sucked it up. It was $121.00.
Then I made the conscious decision to NOT copy Ross’s songbook, instead, purchasing the sheet music from authorized, on-line retailers. I’m sorry to say, the state of the economy has absolutely devastated the retail music business. Most of the best music stores have folded. So on-line is now my source of choice.
The commitment to become morally correct has afflicted the rest of me as well. Now, when someone asks for a recipe, I have to say “you can get it from X book,” unless it’s my own, then I’ll happily pass it along gratis. I feel so bad when I turn someone down, I then go into a 10-minute apology-slash-justification that it’s really the right thing to do. It’s hard to shut up when I feel like I’ve got my own personal explaining to due without coming across like a preachy born again something-or-other.
I figure if Karma has anything to do with it, someone down the line ‘may’ not photocopy one of my books, use it in a powerpoint, or quote me without a source. Whether or not that actually happens is out of my control and out of mind. Now when someone offers me a freebie of the copywritten type, I say “thanks, but I’ll go get my own copy,” thus appreciating the offer while showing the creator the love by putting my cash behind my newfound moral backbone.

Smile today

This is for the sad looking man at the grocery store today
The person who needs a fast-paced ‘happy song’, an inspirational, motivational upper
Anyone who thinks life is horrible, depressing and only getting worse.

I have this song on 2 devices, two computers, and as a backup, on a memory card in my car. At times, I’m three of the above. the music and lyrics are great-not in love with the video, so close your eyes if you need to.

Smile by bendj