Sunday, November 24, 2013

Last Sunday in November 2013

In which we talk of preternaturally cold weather, electronic music, and the very short, very impecunious Christmas season ahead.


Normally I make a point of going out for an extra-long walk on the last Sunday of the month, using the time to brood over what went right over the previous weeks, and what I can do to make the next month better (or simply not suck worse).

This isn’t normal. Unless I still lived in Alaska, that is, or if it was already February here in Colorado Springs. It was 25 degrees Fahrenheit at half-past noon when I got down to my office. It’s up to a balmy 29 now, just before sunset. I might hazard it if it wasn’t for all the ice and snow on the sidewalks. Even then, I’m certain the only thing I’d get out of the walk is, “Holy smokes, it’s cold out here!” and a raw, runny nose.

Looks like it’s going to be a harder than usual winter. All I ask is that it not be 60 degrees (or higher) and sunny on Christmas. I did move here for the snow. Let’s have some more of that, too, if we’re not climbing much above freezing for so many days in a row.



The highlight of my week, aside from watching my blog stats break all kinds of records after I made a 1 a.m. post last night, was sitting at the stoplight with my son on our way from school. A song came on the radio. This one had a heavy, synth-augmented, bass-thumping beat, with lots of high-end synth drama on the build. My 17 year old son was banging his head to it.

I knew this song, so I knew what would happen next: Steve Perry opened his mouth to contribute his vocal part to “Separate Ways,” and my son’s head-banging morphed into a look of abject horror: what nightmare horror was I just suckered into grooving to?

My son loves classic rock, but like most right-thinking people (his father, for instance), he has a natural aversion to Journey. After we had our laugh—and I expressed my usual caveat not to throw out guitarist/musical arranger Neil Schon with the histrionic singing, stupid lyrics, etc.—my son started talking about his fascination with electronic music. Not EDM*, per se, but the stuff people like Deadmau5 do.

That my son talks to me at all is one of those miracles I will once again give thanks for this Thursday. That my son is anxious to talk to me about music cheers me up even more. He spoke to me about the Ten Thousand Names of Electronic Music and how each was defined by the beats per minute (BPM), and how he didn’t care for that. He just wants a groove he can get behind and nod his head to.

I sat there nodding, thinking how I really need to get him a new graphics card and extra memory sticks for his computer. It’s not the kind of thing I can surprise him with under the Christmas tree. It’s not the thing I can necessarily afford, either. Oh, well. Put it on the card. 

If nothing else, I’ll need him and his improved rig to make Web commercials to promote my books. Overall, though, if he can teach himself how to make his own electronic music as he’s taught himself guitar, and he likely will...well, that settles it. It’s got to be done. It will be done.

It’s going to be another tough Christmas season. Maybe the toughest yet. I’m strategizing how I can make it work without a pile of presents under the tree.

I’m reasonably certain I can pull this off. If nothing else, it will give me something to write about. Of course, if any of you lurkers have any ideas, drop me a line. I know I’m not the only one struggling here.
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* EDM: Electronic Dance Music. Formerly known as “electronica” when all the music and youth culture magazines were trying to shove it down our throats in the late 1990s: “You should throw away your Beatles and Led Zeppelin and guitar-based and verse-chorus-verse stuff and EMBRACE THE FUTURE like all the cool rich club kids we hang out with are doing!” Yes, they really published stuff like that, so much so they angered that silent majority of people who liked to going to clubs to dance, but weren’t giving up the other music they liked. Moral of story: when in doubt, rebrand.


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