Category Archives: Music

There Are Two Knobs

Speaking of adventures in driving, I’ve recently been routinely driving the Volvo for various reasons. It’s a nice car, but the dashboard layout is a bit unfamiliar to me still.

In particular, there are two big knobs in the center console, one above the other. One controls the fan for the heat and air conditioning, the other the volume for the sound system. There have been several instances (including again this evening) when I reach over without double checking. It’s been really hot, the car’s been sitting in the sun, and it’s important that I get the A/C kicked up to MAX AIRFLOW instantly if not sooner.

Guess what happens if I’m not careful?

Fortunately it was a good song. (“Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo.)

The ringing in my ears should go away in a day or two!

1 Comment

Filed under Music, Paul

Just What The Doctor Ordered

After a day at the office that was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long and stressful, I was sort of just vegging out, listening to some tunes.

Then came the opening beats, and I cranked it up to an eleven with the good headphones on…

I may have listened to it waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too loud (and I might have pulled something doing air drums) but the stress levels are a lot lower!!

2 Comments

Filed under Music

It’s A Challange!

It’s a challenge, not being able to speak at all in a job where a big chunk of it it answering questions, being in meetings, giving instructions, communicating, communicating, communicating!

To be specific, it’s a pain in the ass, extremely frustrating, gonna put me in an early grave challenge!

I’m coping, carrying around a pad of yellow sticky notes, a notepad, and even a short FAQ sheet. (“Yes! I have industrial strength laryngitis and can’t talk!”) Several folks thought the latter was humorous and amusing – screw that, I was trying to stop repeating the same thing (in pantomime) a dozen times a day!

When we went into Urgent Care on Sunday morning I pretty much knew what most of the questions would be, so I while sitting there in the waiting room I whipped out my iPad and typed up a document that gave them my name, address, medication, symptoms, history, what I needed, and so on. Again, the staff seemed bemused by that. I can’t really be the only one who thinks this makes sense, can I? Do you have to be Steven Hawking to get a little bit of technological help with a medical condition?

I’m sure when I look back on it it will be amusing, and probably hilarious if it’s happening to someone else. Right here? Right now? Not so much.

I’m ready for this to be over!


One other thought from yesterday, where I staggered my way through to the end of the day.

On the way home I was too freaking tired to bother to change the station. It was on the usual (Sirius channel 33, First Wave) but it was one of their weekly shows that I rarely listen to, the Billy Idol hosted show. But exhaustion won and I ended up a winner.

Billy was, as always, talking about the very early days of punk in the UK in the late 1970’s. This was about the time I was getting hooked on it over here in my early 20’s, but he was already deep into the genre. He told a great story about seeing the Sex Pistols form, very, very early in their career, when they were playing Tuesday night pub gigs and doing all covers, including songs by The Who and even The Monkees. Then they started experimenting with their own stuff, one night breaking out THIS…

You don’t have to know much about that genre of music or that time to know what “THIS” was going to be. I might have been tired, but my arm instinctively shot out and cranked up the volume to hearing impairment volume just as the first note of that infamous opening bass riff hit.

It was glorious.

I had the top up on the convertible and all of the windows rolled up, so they probably couldn’t hear me more than ten or fifteen cars away stopped at that red light. And if the little old lady from Pasadena next to me gave me the hairy eyeball? It’s okay, she knows that I made her day, even if she can’t appreciate it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health, Music

Only One Choice

Sitting, keeping the idiot box off, listening to a favorite playlist with the really nice headphones on, dealing with a bit of old, familiar pain, more of a bit of discomfort really but always with that threat of having it explode into agony, but it probably won’t and I’ll just be sitting uneasy for a day or two.

Great, just in time for that three-day weekend that I so desperately need.

Juggling, lots of unresolved, low-level fears and angers, disturbances, trust issues, uncertainties, trying to figure if there’ some gaslighting going on or if I’m simply going batshit crazy at last, thinking about how unfair it’s going to be if it’s hallucinations and losing my grip when it’s not the good hallucinations, the ones with the karmic out-of-body experiences and multi-dimensional, mind-blowing colors and sounds and sensations, but instead getting the grey, boring ones that are like that last fifteen minutes of stolen sleep before you really have to get out of bed but all your stupid, stupid brain can spit out are endless anxiety dreams where you can’t get some boring accounting journal to balance.

Physical discomfort, mentally off-balance a bit, all leading to a headache that I could really have done without, especially when I’ve already taken Extra Strength Excedrin and can’t take any more so I’m just going to have to suck it up and keep breathing.

The playlist spins. Garth Brooks. ‘Til Tuesday. Linkin Park. The Eagles.

“Life In The Fast Lane.”

Only one choice.

Fuck the headache, it will be there either way. Hit the volume and see if the really nice headphones can take it to eleven.

Then play it again. Just because.

Lower the volume as it fades. Move on. Still breathing.

Got a website article to write for tonight.

1 Comment

Filed under Health, Music

He May Rotten, But He May Be Right

Mood.

Anger is an energy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Punk Roots (Part Two)

(Note – I link to a bunch of videos here. Take your time. Watch them. Let me take you on a little musical trip. Enjoy!)

It’s 1978. Maybe early 1979.

I’m in college at UC Irvine. No scholarships for me, and no assistance from parents or anyone else, so I’m working full time to get through school. With classes during the day, I needed something that gave me the ability to work around that schedule. Which is why I worked for Marriott, first with swing shifts (some real shitty, entry level, minimum wage jobs, “moving up” to room service at about $3.10/hour) and then ended up on graveyard shift.

The graveyard job was night audit. This was not the computerized, automated, “babysit the front desk and check in people in the middle of the night” job that it is now. No computers at all, everything done on paper, by hand, with nothing fancier than a desk calculator. For a hotel with several hundred rooms plus lots of banquet space plus four restaurants, this meant at least three of us most nights.

It was work that taught me how to do the accounting equivalent of “M*A*S*H”‘s “meatball surgery.” I was a physics major with some computer programming (FORTRAN, LISP, assembly) thrown in, not business or accounting. (For the record, this proved invaluable after graduation and for the forty years since. I started writing computer programs for accounting, then ended up as a corporate Controller and now a Director of Finance. Physics, on the other hand – not so much.)

But it was truly drudge work. Boring. Slow. Boring. Tedious. Boring. Methodical. Boring. Routine. Detailed. And did I mention “boring?” Needless to say, “boring” is not necessarily a good thing when you’re working graveyard shift. Especially when you’ve had classes all day, crammed in a couple of hours of homework and studying, and only gotten four or five hours of sleep. (Ah, youth!) They also usually turned off the air conditioning, so it was always warm and stuffy.

Warm. Bored. Exhausted.

Anything that could help keep us from falling asleep at work was welcome.

There was some relief. They allowed us to have a radio in the office behind the front desk where we worked. But in the late 70’s, there were very limited options for late-night radio, even in Los Angeles. (Pre CDs, pre digitial, pre iPhone [hell, over ten years pre cell phone, period!] – does anyone have a cassette?) If you’re trying to stay awake, K-RTH 101 playing the Beach Boys doesn’t do much for you.

Then one night…

One night one of the guys (it was all guys except for a brief stint with a woman, which was led to a completely different nightmare) came in, very excited about a radio station he had found. It was called KROQ and we could just about pick it up on FM if conditions were right. It had a weak signal, low power, and they either kept losing their license and going off the air for a while or they were being threatened with losing it).

They were playing the most bizarre music any of us had ever heard.

Something called “punk.”

X. The B-52s. The Knack. Tonio K. (“Life In The Foodchain” is still an all-time favorite album!) Joe Jackson. The Clash. Boomtown Rats. Buzzcocks. Joy Division. Talking Heads. Public Image, Ltd. Elvis Costello. The Buggles. The Police. Blondie. Ian Drury. The Ramones. Devo. Morrisey.

Songs with titles like “Beat On The Brat,” “Hatred,” “Psycho Killer,” “I Want To Be Sedated,” “Warm Leatherette,” and “T.V.O.D.” (Go ahead, watch those last two from The Normal. Heads up – they’re anything but normal.)

THAT’s music that will keep you up at 3AM while reconciling restaurant sales in 90°F temps on four hours sleep!!

A lot of what they were playing was actually banned, which is why they kept having their license threatened. There were obscenities in it. There was sex. (Remember that I mentioned “88 Lines About 44 Women” by The Nails? They played the unedited version.) There were taboo subjects.

I’ll never forget that the Boomtown Rats had a song called “I Don’t Like Mondays” about the 1979 Cleveland Elementary School shooting in San Diego. (For those of you not familiar with ancient history, this was long ago enough so that people were actually shocked and horrified by a schoolyard being shot up and kids and teachers killed.) It had been banned everywhere – but KROQ played it.

It was glorious. I loved it.

My boss – not so much. He allowed it, but on nights I wasn’t there they listened to something else. But turnover in that job was high, it was tough getting good help, it was really tough getting anyone who wouldn’t be gone in six months (or less), so I got to listen to punk on KROQ and get his, “What is this crap you’re listening to?!” comments.

Until 1980 when he heard “The Wait” by The Pretenders. (See, you knew that eventually I would get back to this, which I got reminded of last night.) That angry, in-your-face chanting and ranting, borderline gibberish just cracked him up for some reason. It was the funniest thing he had ever heard in his life. He truly had no idea what crap he was listening to, but he liked it.

It didn’t hurt that he had seen a picture of Chrissie Hynde at some point and was deeply in lust with her. (I was a bit obsessed at the time with Debbie Harry of Blondie and would have crossed oceans and climbed mountains to be with Pat Benatar, so who am I to judge? Damn, those eyes… plus ça change…)

So that’s where my head goes when I find a new Sirius/XM channel of punk/alternative/new wave music and they smack me in the face with great music from forty years ago. I’ll be listening to my music of my early twenties to ease the stress of today in my early sixties.

At least, until the next time I go off on a “Hamilton” binge. Or Jean Michel Jarre. Or The Eagles. Or…

2 Comments

Filed under Los Angeles, Music

Punk Roots

I’ve spoken of my pretty wide-ranging musical tastes, everything from rock to classical to musicals to country to EDM to… You get the idea. I think I’ve got stuff in my playlist from just about everything except gospel. (One must maintain certain standards!)

I’ve also mentioned Sirius/XM’s “First Wave” channel playing all of the punk and alternative music of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Ramones. X. Frank Zappa, Depeche Mode. Pet Shop Boys. Duran Duran. Eurythmics. New Order. The Cure. Blondie. The Go-gos. In particular, I’ve mentioned their “Saturday Night Safety Dance,” an eight-hour show every Saturday night where they play all of the long remix cuts from the dance clubs of the day.

I’m a huge fan.

Now Sirius/XM has added to their app and online programming a hundred or so “special channels.” These are similar to the regular, satellite broadcast channels, but without DJs and with a subset of the big channels selections. A “workout” mix of upbeat songs, an “electronic” mix, a “British” mix, etc.

There’s a “First Wave Party” channel now that’s pretty much the Saturday Night Safety Dance 24/7/365. This might have made my day!

So on go the really good headphones, up goes the volume, and let’s see what’s on…

The first song up was “88 Lines About 44 Women” by The Nails, one of my ALL. TIME. FAVORITES. I think they knew I was coming.

And next was “The Wait” by The Pretenders. Which might not be my favorite song, but has a lot of memories associated with it. It took me right back to when I first got hooked hard on punk and alternative music. At the time I was…

Wait. It’s late. Maybe I’ll tell that story tomorrow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music