Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Legos, Musicals, and STP

When I was younger, I liked Legos, musicals, and Stone Temple Pilots. Oh, the hours I'd spend uncomfortably perched upon a thin carpet covering our 1/2 remodeled basement floor sifting through pieces upon pieces of small plastic bricks. They made a horrible music as you pushed them around - a sound I can only imagine curled my parents' ear drums. But I was mesmerized by the sound, the search for that perfect brick, to add to the perfect knob of the perfect piece on the soon-to-be-perfect Lego creation. As I grew older, my Lego collection slowed its growth. I spent more of my funds on soccer spikes, gifts for my girlfriend, and gas money. Legos seemed sort of humorous, as I aged.

I tried out for a high school musical, Hello Dolly, when I was a junior. Landed a lead role. The daily practices, the warm-up routine, the constant company of my opposite actors. Preparing for those three magical nights of live performance made me feel tired; like I was treading through a thick cornfield in early October with a dog on my ass, chasing me toward some end. The payoff? Oh yeah, it was there. Get more than three people to clap and cheer for you because of something you just did that they didn't have the nerve to do. You'll see. By the time I could buy a six pack at Tops Supermarket, musicals seemed a bit dorky.

Stone Temple Pilots, on cassette tape in my brand new Sony Walkman. It had digital FM and AM tuning, and a tape deck that automatically reversed - so you never had to manually flip the tape. I could listen to STP forever. I remember blasting the comforting beats into headphones, reading a Dale Brown book about a stealth airplane. This was before the public knew about the SR-71, mind you. On my wedding day, STP wasn't on the playlist - too heavy and unapproachable for a husband to introduce to his wife.

Now, I'm an adult. A father, professional, who manages his money carefully and always remembers to call his mom on a regular basis. I wear a Citizen watch and drive a reliable care with 153,000 miles gently worn into its four cylinders. I compost for God's sake!

...I know you want what's on my mind. I know you like what's on my mind....

Wait, what's that? Like a tugboat's whistle through a dense Portsmouth harbor fog, a steady unapproachable heavy noise fills my headphones as I type.

...I said I wanna get next to you...

Oh yeah. STP blaring into my open, welcoming old ears. I love it. I love how I can use a tugboat and fog analogy to describe music through headphones. I would have never thought to do that in high school. Likewise, I never would have mused it would take me years to realize that growing up does not change a man. You don't grow into someone else as you age. You are always that same clay you were born of. It molds, reshapes, dries, moistens, dries again in a different configuration; and the same clay - those Legos, musicals, and STP songs - remains.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Seems Everything is Connected

"Life's a game, but it's not fair. I break the rules so I don't care." ... "The only thing that's on my mind is who's gonna run this town tonight." -Rihanna. It's on my headphones, plugged into my little computer speakers, sitting next to my Dell desktop PC, connected to my Lala music account. Earlier today, Chris Bathgate was filling the air in my kitchen/dining room/living room, and he was being pumped into this space via my iPod, plugged into some speakers, plugged into an extension cord, plugged into....you get the idea. Seems everything is connected.

Seems everything is connected. My 13.5 mo old daughter is sleeping peacefully (I hope) upstairs in her crib, monitor blazing that little green light saying "Everything's ok. I'm on." The eternal sentinel watching over your most precious package. The other end of that electronic guardian is sitting above those computer speakers that my headphones are plugged into - now spouting Uprising by Muse - with its watchful green "on" eye glowing, but none of the red lights indicating a waking or crying baby. You dads get it. Seems everything is connected.

Seems everything is connected. I typed in www.nfl.com today to see how my Pats did against the Panthers. On the right hand column, under Headlines, I see text with keywords "Pats" and "Panthers". Keywords. Of course. I don't remember what the actual phrase was. We don't read article headlines anymore, do we? Or did we ever? We just look for keywords. Weather. Murder. Winner. We probably never read full headlines before, but now we know what keywords are, and we are connected with our own brains more intimately by understanding the concept. Do I need to say it again? Seems everything is connected.

So I clicked the keyword link to see how my Pats did against the Panthers. And then it happened. I was treated to a 30 second video ad from Lexus. Lexus! I can't afford to put leather seats in my Accord. Well, I choose not to spend my limited funds on that. Right? We could afford probably any one luxury, certainly not all, of course; but we choose to spend our money on diapers, a well-needed babysitter.. you get it. Lexus. The only reason I did not immediately click away from NFL.com was my wife interrupted me with some normal everyday question that I instinctively promoted above all Internet visuals, audios, text, etc in front of me. When we were done with our conversation, that damned Lexus ad was still running! 3...2...1...done! Then a stall while the Game Center console I wanted to look at loaded. Why does NFL.com think my time is so invaluable that I would ever choose to sit through a 30 second snooty car commercial just to see some game stats when there are hundreds of other web sites, blogs, RSS feeds, that load much faster, I could get the same info from? Seems everything...