Wednesday, January 19, 2011

pOp, The Foundation Years...Part Two of Three

And if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us;

To die by your side...well the pleasure, the privilege is mine.

So, there I was - 15 and bad as hell. Mothers Milk opened doors to other bands that shaped my adolescent world and most intensely, my mood. I dove into that open sea and drank up this music. And, I let it be known. My tee-shirts proclaimed my status as loudly as the music streaming from my 1991 Firebird with T Tops. I recall a trip to our family doctor and I was wearing a RHCP tee shirt and he asked me if I was certain I wasn’t pregnant! I guess I realized there were sperm swimming towards the egg in the center...but the biology of baby making hadn’t really entered into my thoughts. Yet. But, that is another blog all unto itself.

In those years, I went insane as I listened to Boys Don’t Cry and of Pictures of You. I poured over those lyrics and attached them to the boy I loved. EVERY song was about him or us. It was years after college before I would be able to listen to The Cure. That is how deeply I was affected by these songs. As depressing as the words were, I was filled with a knowing that at least I ‘felt’ love. I was not numb to its power and I bled myself dry for this cause (metaphorically speaking - and stolen lyrics from Coldplay). Roaming the halls of JA in my Smiths tee and a striped tube skirt, I was as fucking cool as dog shit! Lisa Grigoraci (5 inches shorter and probably 50 pounds smaller) had the same skirt. I had the legs, I must say, to pull it off. I sailed into the Dead Milkmen and The Violent Femmes; the more curious and campy of those times. “Yeah, You’re for me Punk Rock Girl. That was the Anthem of the summer after 9th Grade.

Yet, I was a more mainstream as much of the bands I hounded had a video or two on MTV. In fact, 120 Minutes was the doorway to the new, the hip, the avante garde. I didn’t want to go deeper than this; The Melvins, Black Flag, Social Distortion, and Pantera were a little harder than my tastes in those days...but I still felt cutting edge. I rocked Gleaming the Cube and Pump up the Volume soundtracks (is it bigger than a baby’s arm?) but I never got a taste for anger. I just wanted to hear what I was felling. Again, these were the first blushes of my obsessions.

How could you turn me into this? After you just taught me how to kiss you.
I told you I'd never say goodbye. Now I'm slipping on the tears you made me cry.

The year was 1991 and along came Lollapalooza. My first real concert. The line-up was a dream and one never to be rivaled again in my opinion (Since Simon and Garfunkel can’t play with the Beatles in Central Park). Jane's Addiction, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, Living Colour, Rollins Band, The Violent Femmes, and Fishbone. WOW. I had just heard Pretty Hate Machine at a party at Elizabeth Martin’s house and had a spiritual experience. Perry Farrell started the series and I am lucky to have attended the first 4 years of the touring show. But, that first year was intense and I felt the last drops of girl dry on my arm in the sun. After that, I ripped off my clothes and went swimming at night. I didn’t care what dangers lay ahead. I was turned on and tuning in (to boys, drugs, and general pissiness).

Grunge hit (and hard) and it would be understated to mention the impact it had on the early 90’s. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog and all the others that rocked the Seattle Sound. Kayde Cappellari and I sang Black so loudly in her little Subbie the doors shook. I loved it. There was also a good deal of REM, Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Prince, and too many more to type out peppering the times. I was well-rounded in the school of 90’s rock. And, while my memories are vivid and certain, words will never be put to paper describing all that transpired during those short 3 years. My life - where I thought I would never escape high school. And, how vital these band were to allowing me an outlet for the usual unsettled mind caged in every 15-18 year old.

Monday, January 17, 2011

pOp, The Early Years - An Unfolding in Three Parts

It is only January 17th and already, 2011 has brought me several insights into myself and how I am choosing to live my life. I am the kind of gal who is flooded with, although admittedly not very novel, ideas. What I lack is the follow-through. Ah, again it must be said; I am short on the backstroke. Thinking it up – easy, all I do is think. Doing it – meh, I’d rather nap. That is to say I wrote this entry in my head more than once the last few days and I laughed aloud from my clever musings. But, I allowed the thoughts to cool and now I am pushing to get them down. BE DAMNED the humor and wit and turn-of-phrase that I was assured to capture your admiration with. But, the sentiment is still there – I have had a breakthrough of sorts.

You see, as long as I can remember I have enjoyed music. Since I got my first cassette tape – the Grease 2 Soundtrack - with Michelle Pfeiffer singing ‘Cool Rider’, I allowed music and song to set my mental stage and define my mood. I was 7 years old and we lived in San Antonio, Texas, and I had bunk beds with my sister Amber. I played that tape from my top bunk and cried. Cried because I thought Maxwell Caulfield was the most beautiful human breathing and why didn't he love me? Cried because I knew I could be a famous actor one day and all this suffering would be fuel for my creativity. Cried because even then, I was moody and sought an outlet to shake the burned layers off my heart. Needless to say, I lived that tape. And that was the beginning; the start to a memory cataloging system and twisted love affair/open diary/obsession with music… song and lyric parcelled in my own Dewey Decimal Drawer of Memories.

After Grease 2, I dabbled in other musicals. They were easy for a kid to get a hold of back then. I can still sing all the words to every song in The Sound of Music. I learned this pattern before age 10 and the disc player in my head skips if I hear any of the songs out of order from the film. "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria" DOES NOT EVER come after "Do Re Me"! I recall trips from Texas to Virginia to see my grandparents and Crystal Gayle’s Brown Eyes haunted me all over some stretch of road in Arkansas. I absorbed Simon and Garfunkel’s America in Alabama and swayed to Kenny Rogers’ Gambler in South Carolina. In fact, adult contemporary music of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s still calls to me and I find myself seeking out that familiar piece of song from B.J. Thomas or some other faceless singer because I can’t shake it until I can ‘feel’ those Raindrops Fallin’ on my Head. Ahhhhh, to finally tease out enough of the notes to find and hear that song, catalogued in my mind with a specific thought, emotion, or memory. It teeters on obsession some days. I must do it right then, or that piece of my life will fall off the edge, never to be reclaimed.

Sure, I saw Debbie Gibson and Tiffany at the mall in Corpus Christi. And I heard Menudo at Padre Island one summer and thought I was in love with Robby Rosa. But, who wasn’t? Every hot-blooded girl in Texas loved those cute boys from Puerto Rico. I was just another fish in the tide. In a few short years, MTV would take hold of me and I now had new music at my fingertips. Every hour. Every day. And soon, my tastes would be changing. And my thoughts about how I let music define me would be changing right along with them.

For Christmas when I was 13 years old my brother bought me The Red Hot Chili Peppers cassette Mothers Milk. While I had always been happy to bob along on the surface and glean the stuff that everyone was soaking in as well, Mothers Milk was a taste of what was waiting for me just below the surface. Like I was told, I never went passed the second sandbar at the beach. Menudo and Debbie Gibson were close to the shore and safe. My peers and parents could relate. But the Chili Peppers were calling me from just beyond that second sandbar and I dove at them like a shark. This feeling was a deal breaker. I had to see what else was there. Higher Ground, while a Stevie Wonder cover, made me dance and shake my head in ways Stevie never did. Sexy Mexican Maid was dirty and I didn't know why - but I knew I would be that woman one day. From then on, whatever band, whichever song, and no matter what the lyric I was brushing my teeth to or replaying on my Sony Walkman, it became a badge that I wore. It proclaimed my rights and marked my path for all to see. I didn't have to dare tell my secrets, because I was sure to find some brilliant musician who had put my tender rage and explosive whimsy to a succession of notes and words. They did this and I was free.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

D20 as Nostradamus - The 2011 Predictor of Fates

WELCOME 2011. Here's to a new year with exciting opportunities to excel and fail upon my horizon.

Not so Private Confession (and slight giggle): my dear husband is a role player. In more ways than one ;-), he enjoys adopting alternate persona. He has been participating (often as DM) in a Dungeon's and Dragon's Campaign that has endured a wedding (his own), a death (my father), and many, many, many other less traumatic events with our family and friends. And for this particular role playing game (RPG), he requires the use of a D20 die. This special die has 20 numbered sides. When you role to resolve an action or add modifiers to a players aptitude; you have options 1-20. One is the lowest and twenty is the Critical Hit/Failure. Depending on what you are rolling for, either can be crippling and result in death or that chance you needed to get back up and fight a little longer.

As we are in deep consideration of purchasing a home together, we decided a smaller gift-giving extravaganza would be appropriate this Christmas. Along with six thousand pairs of socks, I bought him Atari pint glasses from Think and a red D20 die that lights up when you land on 20 - the Critical Hit.

                                                         Stay with me. There is more.

As he is so fond of games and challenges, this New Years Eve, he proposed that we roll to set personal goals for ourselves during the month of January. He really gets serious about new year resolutions...and this new, illuminating D20 gave him a snazzy toy to entice his audience into setting some serious and thought-provoking benchmarks for ourselves.

He was the first to roll. The Captain rolled for the number of meals he could purchase outside the home. His first roll was a 1. BOO! Remember, this impacts me as well. So, he opted to pay a fine to charity for the opportunity to re-roll. This roll was a 10. MUCH better. That means I get at least 1 mexican fiesta feast with him this month. Next, he rolls for how many push-ups he must do daily; 17 was the toll. Not too shabby. With a max of 20, that is an easy enough goal to mind daily. He must also post a whopping 18 blogs this month. That will be a challenge many are eager to see come to fruition. Dorge Kas (click name for link) puts out an interesting story and I for one will be tuned in. Lastly, he rolled for number of times he will go exercise at our local gym. He rolled 14. Easy enough.

SuperActionBear rolled for push-ups as well. His equallt super wife, SuperSarah, also jumped on the push-up wagon. The just completed a boot camp class - so they are really riding the fitness wave that is sweeping our nation like a wet cloth. Jean Grey rolled for the number of servings each of carbs and diet cola during the month she may consume. Upping the ante here, ladies and gents. Diet cola I can live without - but carbs? Ack! Many others joined in the fun and then it came to me. I am terrible at challenging myself and more than terrible at the challenge is sticking with it. Like a weak golf game, I have no follow through. My lack of will power and weaseling out of a goal that involves food, exercise or any manner of hedonistic denying is notorious. What possibly could my personal goal for January (hopefully to swell the tide to February and so forth) be when everyone in the room swore that whatever it was, I wouldn't stick with it so it really didn't matter. The dismissiveness of the remarks stung; the truth stings a time or two.

My grandiose gesture of sacrifice for January; how many times I will have intercourse with my husband. I assumed I would get a good laugh and move on. I guess my darling husband has been spilling some family secrets, because you could hear the clock tick when I declared my intent to roll. He merely mutteres a 'harumph' under his breathe and passed me over. Like any self-loathing wife I stood up, grabbed the die and rolled for his pleasures. As the little red die was rolling around on the wool carpet I was praying for a Critical Hit. Not so much becasue I wanted 20 sexual encounters, but the dramatic flair it would have produced is the stuff of legends. Alas, a 17. That averages out to every other day. I can do that. I rolled for the push-ups and gym visits too. But, I am certain that starting with a January like this, my husband may have a very good year.

Today is January 5, 2011. I have fulfilled 2 of my 17 engagments. Glorious and dirty. In part, because an entire room full of friends knows that on any given night, their friends are probably rolling to see how many times Mommy can spank Daddy. Or, how many time Daddy must refer to Mommy as Mistress during sex.

Ok, off to do those dammed push-ups.