Category Archives: Music

Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova

~ Oasis

I was actually listening to “Killer Queen” (by Queen) this morning and for some reason this television show came to mind.  Maybe it was lines pertaining to Moët et Chandon in her pretty cabinet or the caviar and cigarettes -well versed in etiquette, but Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous was one of the first television shows to actually feature the well-to-do.

It was truly an unprecedented time of growth and outrageous spending in the US as we bounced back from inflationary rates that had gripped the US for more than a few years. (At one point, the inflation rate was over 13%. E-gads.) I believe some of this was because of the 1973 stock market crash that came swiftly on the heels of the oil crisis and subsequent embargo by OPEC / the Middle East because of American aid to Israel. Long story short, they demanded higher prices and we paid. In fact, oil prices were pretty out of control until the mid 1980’s.

About the time the economy really started to settle down, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous hosted by Robin Leach came on the air. It was an inside look at the who’s who and who’s got what. Opulence was the name of the day and I believe it helped inspire a generation ore two to strive for “more.” After all, we could literally see what “more” was and it was a lot.

Now a strange thing happened in the midst of “Lifestyles” run that rocked the whole world.  I was just a high school senior , but I remember clearly the day the stock market crashed on “black Monday” – October 19,1987.  $500 billion dollars was lost on that one day alone. It was about a quarter of it’s estimated value at that time.  Here… let me put this into perspective courtesy of wiki for the visual learners out there.

1000px-Black_Monday_Dow_Jones.svg

There were more than a few contributing factors to the crash including overvaluation and market psychology; however, one of the reasons the stock market rebounded as quickly as it did was because of the Savings and Loans. Oddly enough, the S&L business started to crash two years later because of horrible regulatory practices and that continued almost as long as “Lifestyles.” By the time the show ended, about a third of the S&L’s were toast.

Like a pendulum, the economy swings back and forth. But for whatever reason, it feels as though today the rest of the world has more of an impact on the American economy than American’s actually do.  In a post 9/11 universe, I have seen the European union struggle with problems such as Standard and Poor dropping Greece’s credit rating and the subsequent bailout, the Chinese stock market took a big hit last year and even Brexit has caused some shifting in the valuation of stocks. (Investors lost about $2 trillion US dollars last year alone during Brexit.)

So what does all this actually mean?  Well…I’m not sure, but the one thing I do know is numbers don’t lie and when you look at the DOW (Dow Jones Industrial Average) and the market ups and downs, it appears to my untrained eye that we are land-sliding into an economic supernova.

In the two generations since my senior year of high school, I realize more and more the folks who lived through the Great Depression in 1929, the subsequent decade of unheard of unemployment, the Dust Bowl and the years leading into WW2 learned to make due with much less than the excesses that came to be flaunted in the 1980’s and 90’s. I think it’s high time we all prepare the best we can for what feels like an uncertain future. After all, who will bail out the US if our economy tanks like it did almost 90 years ago? No one. That’s who.

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Ob-La-Di, Ob-La Da…

“Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra…”
– The Beatles –

Remember vinyl records? I used to actually spin tunes on the radio when I was a young lass. 45’s and 33 1/3rds and carts. It was a true joy to be had. Thankfully I’m not old enough to have played 78’s. The transition to CD”s came later and now, everything in radio is pretty much computerized.

My love for radio and music in general came when I was about 7 or 8 years old. My sister had this small, orange AM/FM radio in the bathroom and also had a really cool stereo that had (gasp) a radio, phonograph and an 8 track player. She had  (and still does have) excellent taste in music and I grew up listening to everything from ABBA to Zappa and back again.

I finally moved from my little portable phonograph to a similar stereo system when I was 12. I thought it was the greatest invention ever. I listened to KPUR, Z-93 and the man, Casey Kasum, with a religious fervor. New wave blossomed and it was an age where guitars were somewhat being replaced with synthesizers. This was evident in groups such as Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, The Fixx, New Order Echo and the Bunnymen and the list goes on. Hair bands of the 1980’s came (and went) and music morphed into a kind of post-punk turned grunge era. Rap music really took on a whole new life and it also blossomed.

When I was 14, I did my first radio air shift and began cutting a few commercials and doing television voice over work. Pops owned an advertising agency and I was pretty cheap talent. By the time I was 18, I was in school to actually learn the business and I felt invincible on the air. However, I can say radio personalities are not invincible. The music industry and changes in how radio works (aka technology) made many great DJ’s obsolete.

Looking back, I’m so grateful my “first life” was filled with extraordinary experiences in the broadcast industry. From being a radio personality to news anchor to being a news technical director, I have been blessed beyond belief. To this day, I cherish the friendships I made in those early years when I was learning a bit about who I was and what I wanted out of life. (And I’m also thankful those folks do not hold the arrogance of youth against me.)

When I go back to my hometown, I occasionally get to get back on the radio for a few hours. There is something enchanting about doing something you love so much. And even though the technology has changed, the process of “being a good jock” hasn’t. The key is to let the world see you as you are and to let them in. After that, everything is gravy.

 

 

 

 

They Say It’s Your Birthday…

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.”

~ William Barclay

I don’t feel old enough to have grand children. When I was younger it always seemed like grand-parents were these really “OLD” people and as I’m still in my 40’s I don’t exactly feel old, but I am still totally weirded out about having grand-kids.

The youngest grand-baby turned one a little over a week ago and my youngest daughter is holding the birthday party tomorrow. Because I cannot sit for long periods of time, the 352 mile drive north to see them and spend the weekend with family is impossible. I fervently wish it weren’t. I miss seeing everyone.

Yoda-hubby is; however, going up to see family today and will attend the party. At the moment I’m feeling a more than a bit lonely and a bit depressed. I attempted cleaning house to take my mind off things. No go. And listening to 90’s alternative music really isn’t helping matters. When you are down, Nirvana might not actually be the best choice, but then… I get Foo Fighters “Everlong.” I’m more than pleased, but it really is an odd auto-segue  because Dave Grohl was Nirvana’s drummer. **Mind blown**

Now, let me get to the particular reason for this post. I hate the birthday song. No. That’s not a strong enough word. I despise the birthday song with a passion that mere mortal men cannot truly comprehend. You know the one… “Happy Birthday to you…blah, blah, blah freaking blah.”  This song is old. Really old. It dates back to the late 1800’s and appeared in print in about 1912. It’s been translated into so many different languages and (unfortunately) it’s the most recognized song in the world.

When I go to restaurants, I actually feel nauseous when I hear it. It makes me angry. And fortunately my family knows better than to have a bunch of strange people sing this freaking song to me in a restaurant – ever. I would seriously walk out in the middle of it because I not only hate the song, but I hate the forced singing by people who don’t even know me.  God help me if I someday end up in a nursing home and have to listen to this mindless musical drivel on a regular basis.

I actually have adopted my own birthday song, “Birthday” by the Beatles. (It’s on their 1968 “white album.” Great stuff on that album by the way.)  “Birthday” is a thunderous symphony of sound and motion. It’s a song that makes me say, “Hell, yes! It’s my birthday.” (And this is the song I would undoubtedly crank in the nursing home to ward off others more than anything else.)

So with all this said  for her first birthday (as it were)… Stella, this one is for you.

 Beatles – “Birthday”

 

The Perfect Night’s Sleep

To Sleep
O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
      Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
      Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
      Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
      Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

I have to admit I have been on a massively long creative hiatus. I have been sick with a few neurological disorders and frankly, I have been feeling sorry for myself for quite a while. However, a pity-party of one can only last so long. So here I am once again trying to start life anew.

My husband unit, who I affectionally call Yoda, received a king size mattress set from some sweet and generous people at work. We have two queen size beds in our little apartment so right now, as there is no king-sized bed frame, the majority of the living room floor is filled with a king size mattress.(The box springs are standing on end “out of the way” in the rarely used dining room.)  The actual reason for this was we wanted to try it out and see if we were going to really like it despite the fact the bed I sleep in has mattresses going on 20 years old and there is some serious divoting in the bed. Seriously, there is a huge mountain in the middle and the rest looks like a truck has driven repeatedly down a muddy alleyway in springtime.

Despite the lack of room to walk or play with the dogs, there is something supremely gratifying about comfortably laying down in the living room and watching a movie or playing the X-Box. (Yes, I’m a nerd. Get over it.) I’m actually considering getting a day bed with a trundle for the living room. (Which would also help when family comes to visit.)  We shall see how that goes.

The bed will contribute to a much better night’s sleep. However, I have no cure yet for the people who live in the apartment to our north. I want to shoot them every weekday morning about 6am when there is a crap-ton of yelling and screaming at the kids to get up, get ready for school and all that jazz. I may actually have to stumble out of bed and go over there in my jammies one of these mornings and give them a small piece of what’s left of my mind. Five days a week, I pray for uninterrupted sleep. It doesn’t happen. I think I will have to break out the ear-plugs again. (Highly recommended: Flents / 29db.) And I wonder if it would be wrong to break out older Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park.  Metallica. Led Zeppelin etc. about 2am every morning for a week or two? It would definitely have to be something with a great bass beat. (And rap music is out. I’m not a fan. Why torture myself?)

Of course, these are the same relatively nice people who brought a “rescued by the side of the road” puppy home and they have no earthly business owning a dog. Seriously. The mom actually admitted they know nothing about raising a puppy. (Buy a book?) The pup is cute, but has no discipline and no training. They also bought the pup, who is now probably 5 months old tops, a shock collar because he’s biting. I have no problem with shock collars; however, if you don’t know how to use them you are going to create a problem with the animal. The little girl who lives there was playing outside with the dog and when I let my dogs out (on leashes mind you) the dog would not leave mine alone. She threatened to get the shock collar because he wasn’t minding. I nicely told her to put the dog on a leash and work on commands – the shock collar isn’t going to work when you don’t have any idea how to properly use it. It’s so frustrating.

They also just let the dog outside by himself to go potty. No leash. No nothing. He wanders by the creek and we have all sorts of wildlife that could harm the animal including (but not limited to) coyotes, possums, raccoons, snakes and more. And without watching the animal, it would also be very easy for someone to steal their pet. It’s pretty sad. But what can I do? Not much I’m afraid.

In other news, I have found a few local radio stations (after living in the Metroplex for a few years) that I totally dig. One is a classic rock station that reminds me of my years in broadcasting. Right now, Bog Seger’s “Turn the Page” is playing.  My word. I love this song. I brings back so many memories. The downside is I’m singing along and my German Shepard is not amused. To make her howl some more is the question. The aforementioned neighbors are home so the answer: I’m singing.  Heh.

(Insert quick bathroom break here.) 

Oh heck. I just broke out Fall Out Boy, who is not my favorite band, but I really love their music. “I Don’t Care” is cranked to 100 (and the dogs are hiding in the other room.) Patrick has such a cool voice and Pete Wentz plays a pretty solid bass line. I know I shouldn’t feel this pleased, but I just looked outside and the neighbor’s dog is running amok again. After this comes Zeppelin. Yeah, it’s going to be a good day, I think.

Fall Out Boy – “I Don’t Care”

Tunes to Inspire

“Time stands still
beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything
Take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath,
Every hour has come to this…”

Red Dragon by Aggiorna
Red Dragon by Aggiorna

~Christina Perri: A Thousand Years~

Dipping into my writer’s toolbox, I dug out one of my favorite topics to share with you today.  Music.

Many writers and authors write to tunes of all sorts of genres.  I find that the music sets the scene, just as it does in the movies. I mean picture watching some of your favorite flicks without the scores. It doesn’t work. Music evokes emotion and that’s what we as writers aim for.

“The Dragon’s Kiss”, the novel I’m currently working on, has about 35 songs attached to it at the moment. Each of which is for a different mood I need to capture in a scene. I thought I would share a few to maybe inspire you today.  These songs aren’t necessarily there because of the lyrics themselves, but the beat, the passion of the song.

“Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling. I use this song for two different scenes. One during a transformative moment of my protagonist and the other is a chase scene down the streets of NYC. I also use “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up)” by Fall Out Boy when I write chase scenes. It has that kind of throbbing beat that works well. (As a side note, it’s one of my favorite “running tunes.”)

“Rain” by Jon Heintz. Such a lovely song. Originally this appeared in the TV show, “The Deadliest Catch” (which I love.) But it’s a haunting song, dark and deep. It’s perfect for a character who has lost much and is in mourning. Bill Wither’s “Aint No Sunshine” has that same feeling for me. I alternate between the two because the loss is different.

“Kecharitomene” by Loreena McKennitt is brilliant for the fantasy world I have created. It has an etherial quality to it. I alternate between that and “Flying for the First Time” by Elenowen.

Some other songs on the playlist include the Kelly Sweet remake of Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” “Walk” by the Foo Fighters, “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri and “Disappear” by Hoobastank.

Obviously there are more than I’ve listed, but maybe some of these will inspire you to look outside what you normally listen to and expand your writing.

Advice: Score your book while writing it. I think it adds a little something special to what you’ve done. Now go and create something amazing.

Mellow Yellow

“Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.”

– Coldplay-

Chris Ford ‘A Foggy Empire’, United States, New York City, 5th Avenue & 20th St., Cold Spring Night

 Have you ever noticed how music reflects your mood, puts you into a specific frame of mind or just invites you to feel “something,” whatever that something may be? Today is one of those days for me.

I hate October 30th. I have to keep myself busy, too busy to think and maybe, too busy to breathe. But the music reminds me of how much I hate this date. And to go a day without music would be worse than not breathing, than today.

When I woke up this morning, I had Coldplay’s “Yellow” on the brain. It’s from their album “Parachutes” in case you were wondering. I can’t say I’m a “can’t-wait-for-the-next-release” fan of Coldplay, but I admittedly have a couple of songs from each of their albums in my music library. If this had been my record collection, I would probably have more than my fair share of albums, but gone are the days of vinyl, eh?

I wish more than anything, I were anywhere but here. I found the picture Chris Ford took (Ford is a great photographer) and it adequately describes my feelings about “today.” Rain. Walking alone down the streets of New York. Yes. There is where I would like to be. Not here. Not today.

Pops showed me the stars… and they were all yellow.  I wonder which star you are…

Drowning in Change

“There’s a ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch…” Frank Zappa

climate-change_1509200c

Frank Zappa released the album “Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch in the early 1980’s. It’s most notable song was “Valley Girl” which was a parody of a stereotype during that time period.  “Like totally” as well as “Gag me with a spoon” were heard so frequently it was almost nauseating.  I’m pretty sure my parental units were grateful when those phrases went out of vogue.  But on the album’s flip-side was the title track “Drowning Witch” which the past six months has felt on and off like my theme song.

The lyrics that especially speak to me are: “As the light goes dim and she’s trying to swim… will she make it? (Boy we sure hope so.)”

The upside of life: I’ve finally settled in to my Metroplex apartment and have been working on getting a routine settled into place. I can actually drive around the area (thanks to the GPS on my phone and in the vehicle) and I am learning to be more independent as it’s just me and Yoda here. I’m still learning about the area and it doesn’t yet feel like home, but I’m homesick for my peeps, not so much the city where I used to live.

But a few things have happened over the past two months that have really started putting life into perspective. I took a writing hiatus to clear the head and really start thinking about what I’m writing, how I’m writing it and most importantly, WHY I am doing it.  I’m doing it because I love the written word and the power behind language. When I am writing, I create entire universes on a blank page and while I’m not yet in league with the best of the best, I feel I can take you to another place. Writing is the air I breathe and the time off has given me a much needed perspective on taking those deep, deep breaths.

I also realized that the job I got when I moved down here is not the stellar expectation I built up in my mind. (Haven’t we all done that a time or two?)  I had plenty of time to contemplate this fact after an on-the-job injury and spending time in bed at home.  I figured out while recovering when you get up out of bed each day and dread going to work and then come home too exhausted to even be human, there is a problem. Seriously, some days I felt like the anti-christ as my mood and behavior changed so dramatically.

What was I doing?  Why was I doing it?  Who was I doing it for?

Since the accident these little life questions have been haunting me and it all came to a head one day when someone at work called into question my character and integrity with such venom it took me aback. This person doesn’t know me and what little interaction we have had has been tense even prior to this.  It brought out feelings of anger, resentment and frankly, despair. (Basically my middle school years all wrapped up into a couple of days.)

WHAT was I doing? I’m a grown woman and I don’t need or deserve to be treated like I’m worthless by someone who doesn’t know me or want to know me.  WHY was I still working there after a couple of months of progressive misery? The grass was literally greener on the other side, but laying underneath the grass was a cold, dark place.  I was working there for the wrong reasons and there are no right ones to really keep me there.  WHO was I doing this for?  The epic question of the day wore on my heart and I realized I was doing it JUST for the money and not for anyone.

Money is an evil task-master.  The Beatles were right. It can’t buy you love and at the end of the day, it only buys a fleeting happiness.

So as I write this, I’m a little more than 24 hours out of the epic showdown that will occur on Monday.  I can’t look back on this time with regret like those who consistently say, “if I knew then what I know now.” I have learned a lot about me, what I believe in and where I’m going in the future.

The ship is arriving and I’m swimming to shore, but it’s not too late. Not too late at all.