Friday, November 5, 2010

Take a sad song and make it better


A few months ago after I had written about Lady Gaga a couple of times, a very young friend of mine commented something like: “That’s great. You’re keeping up.” (Insinuating “at YOUR age”)

That didn’t sound right, but I didn’t have a defense at the time. Now I realize it was simply the latest manifestation of a lifelong curiosity. I had heard of her and an opportunity came up to learn more about her and her music and I took it. I liked what I learned and the rest is history. I have never in my life felt like I had to keep up. As a matter of fact I have more often thought people had to keep up with me. After all I am probably the oldest Lil Monster in the world.

So, now curiosity has gotten the better of me again. Last winter I had thought, given the amount of time I spend alone in this house it might be fun to have one of the video game systems. They turned out to cost much more than I felt comfortable spending so I let it drop. Then a couple of weeks ago I was looking at my rewards points for a credit card and discovered I was about to see 6,000 points expire. I raced through the offerings until I came to something very close to the number of points I had. In a flash without thinking I had ordered an Xbox 360. It’s even new enough to be able to use the new Kinect image gaming hardware.
It was then I realized I haven’t been successful on a video game since beating the game Jaws on the original Nintendo in the early 80s. Since then as I’ve watched my kids play and tried it a time or two it has been one 15-minute exercise in frustration after another. Once I had the unit, I went looking for a game. All I want is a simple car racing game. When I asked the cute girl with the nose jewel which one would be a simple racing game she looked at me like I was way out of my league (I was) and said there are no simple Xbox games. I bought Grand Theft Auto IV mostly because I recognized the name and I thought at least I could create some mayhem. I should have saved my money.

That was yesterday. Today I woke up remembering what I wanted to get last year when I was looking: one of the Rock Band games, particularly the Beatles. So today I went looking. A Walmart, a Fred Meyer, a Target. No one had it. But, the guy at Target said try Game Stop over there.

So off I went. Another one of those almost goth girls... neat clean, not overly made up, but the nose stud, the dark makeup and the oh so cute eyes and tight striped top. I hated to bring up the Beatles with her. It took two or three tries but a guy in the store finally came up with the whole Beatles Rock Band package: guitar, drums, microphone (I won’t be using that) and of course the game. 

Now also instead of rap and a game I can’t seem to play, I get good music and a game I am pretty sure I can play. (A couple of years ago I played it for a few minutes with my son and his friend and at the easiest level I could almost keep up.) Plus, this purchase held a couple of bonuses: first it was less than half the price I would have paid for the same thing last year, and, second I bought it from a local store rather than one of those big boxes that ruin local entrepreneurs. And on top of that there was the beautiful smile from the almost goth girl which I chose to interpret as "you're cool" rather than "I have to smile at this old guy trying to be young."

But the best part was yet to come. I had quite a hike across the parking lot to my car given that I had parked in front of Target (Jeep, but that’s another story from today). In the lot I was accosted by a woman who is probably close to my age. She had one of those happy, loud, kind of blousy voices and saw me and my Beatles box and said wow, that is so cool, Where did you find it. I told her and that it was half the original price. That is so great she said, Then she asked, looking me over, is that for you or is it a gift. Rather embarrassed I said in a low voice, it’s for me. She laughed. OH man, you rock. You go have good time. Rock on! I promised to do that, now somehow more confident with my purchase.

What I should have done was invite her to come along. Wondering now if there is a Leon Russell Rock Band game or OOOO, Ra Ra a a a-a-a Lady Gaga.

ADDENDUM: OK, that was officially fun. Took a while to get things to work but once I got the guitar going, well, lost in it for an hour. I even had to sing one song. Best not do that again. But this will be fun.

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Interesting quotations

"In the final analysis your life is only as good as the background music you dance to." – that was me

"Whether you think that you can or you think you can't, you are right." – Henry Ford

"You want to feel alive until the day you croak" – Frank Gallagher Shameless

"Smooth is good but sailing takes a brisk wind" – me

"I'm a drinker with writing problems." ~ Brendan Behan

"Religious Freedom is not about stopping persecution; it’s about being the one who gets to do it. Glory!" – Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's best Christian

It doesn't matter what you write, it only matters that you write.

"Give someone a book and they'll read all day. Teach someone to write a book and they'll spend a lifetime mired in paralyzing self doubt." – internet meme

"It's been a long time since I heard my backbone crack – Chuck Berry

“Don’t think you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path.” – JD

"I was the only person up on the hill with both racing numbers and a handicapped placard." – Kitty Delorey Fleischman, a grandmother who occasionally still races her Porsche in hill climbs.

Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. – anon

"Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool." – Mark Twain

Shit happens; you just come up with a different plan. – Kitty

Your body is not a temple. It's an amusement park. – Anthony Bourdain

Never too late for a happy childhood – Berkley Breathed

A real writer doesn't just want to write, a real writer has to write. – Internet meme

"It was like the aftermath of an orgasm with the wrong partner" – David Lagercrants, "The Girl in the Spider's Web"

The non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

We never comprehend how heavy the things are we insist on carrying until we set them down. jd

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio talk show host

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve