A Musical Pause

A few weeks ago just after posting our trip to the anime convention, Dasad mentioned how much he enjoyed the anime music video (AMV) linked in the blog.  Since then I search about for some other interesting or unique AMVs to show him and others.  This post-convention season churns out many high-quality AMVs that have won awards during the summer at conventions, thus I thought that I would post one or two just for kicks.

Essentially this is what I watch when I’m bored or need a good pick-me-up.  Better than coffee . . . for me at least.

Musical Haunts

Lately songs have become lodged in my head, whispering lyrics as I sleep like the ghost of some blond pop diva.  I speak of course of Natasha Bedingfold’s “Pocketful of Sunshine,” one of the most addictive songs on the radio this year.  If you happen to hear its wispy synthetic prelude, careen off to the median and throw yourself from your car immediately (or turn down the volume), lest you subject your family and loved-ones to long off-key interludes of “Take me Awaaaay . . . to my secret plaaaace . . .”  Airborne infection occurs within seconds; normal healthy siblings will fall into chorus or dance after a single verse:

Natasha’s secret place apparently excludes non-beautiful people who cannot street dance — or look horrible in white.  Ryan meanwhile took most of family to see Neil Diamond Tuesday.  The average age of the audience included 30-year old men and 40-year old women, shaking and dancing to the rhythm of Neil’s blue jeans.   During one energetic song, we told by the row behind us to sit down and slump in our seats as we stood to dance.  Apparently the older curmudgeons, too old or lazy to stand and clap, felt angry at the prospect of paying eighty bucks to watch our porcine rears shake and obstruct the stage.  Some people enjoy to dance; other enjoy to sit quietly and listen.  Either is good, but for those that choose the latter, a $20 DVD succeeds much better than an $80 concert ticket.

Running Man

One of my irrational dreams involves running, racing against time or escaping from evil forces set to some dramatic soundtrack.  Like the guy in that Bon Jovi video . . .

Or those chase scenes in Scooby Doo episodes . . .

Life should come with its own soundtrack sometimes.  Maybe if it did, I might feel inspired to search more ancient Egyptian tombs or visit New Jersey.

Guy Talk: Part 2

Ryan and I are driving south this weekend to visit his . . . uh, platonic female friend and her equally platonic girlfriends for dating evaluations. If he manages to pass, he gains the title of boyfriend and man. If not, we eat eighty dollars in gas money, snacks, and tissues. Either way, it should be an amazing trip. Sun or storm, no place on land captures the savage beauty quite like the seashore. Waves crashing and breaking against rocks, liquid thunder, the pulsating heartbeat of a vast monster, an ageless world without remorse . . .

“Hold the lengthy metaphors for a moment. Tissues? Are you suggesting that I might cry?” Ryan cries out from behind the steering wheel.

“How did you read . . .? I turned the screen away from you! And the windows were down! How do you read my story without a reflection?”

The laptop sat on my legs facing the open passenger window of Ryan’s Yukon. Currently we rolled along several hundred feet above the water overlooking a vast gray inlet, marked with waterfront housing and tiny fishing boats, which bobbed up and down like corks in the murky water. Very inspiring perspective, if not for the constant commentary.

“Side mirror reflection,” he answered. “You think that I’m going to get sob-y or something?”

“Well, Mr. Sensitive, you do drop tears from time to time,” I reminded him, not bothering to mention again the dangers of simultaneous reading and driving. My words lacked any and all strength, like the advice of a hypocrite. “Remember Rudy? Miracle? Pride and Prejudice?”

“Uh uh, no way. Pride and Prejudice was YOUR big cry, you girl.” True.

“It’s an excellent book.” This is also true.

“Except when you continue to spout about how great frickin’ Elizabeth is,” Ryan shouts.The girl would torment any man for the rest of his life.”

True again, but in my experience only mutual indifference really poisons love; while ironically aggravation often masks true affection. Darcy, I imagine, is very brave man but never an unhappy one.

“Hey look, you have your pseudo-girlfriend,” I retaliated. “Leave me to my imaginary ones.”

“Oh and Mr. Darcy. Wasn’t he dreamy? Together with Lizzie . . . ahhhh. Sheesh, frickin’ psychos are made for one another.”

“Dude, Darcy is the flippin’ man! One of the world great romantic leads in Brit Lit. And Lizzie . . . well, you start bad mouthin’ Lizzie again and I’ll kill you.”

Ironically enough, these remarks typifies the type of conversations that usually erupt when Ryan and I talk. On occasion we have been known to argue over the effect of Huxley’s Soma, the motivation of Bradbury’s firemen, and why Batman is vastly superior to Superman (he still cannot accept this unassailable fact).

“I don’t even know why you like her in the first place,” Ryan asserted. “Jane’s the hotty. Right or left, here?”

“Left and then straight for about twenty miles,” I answered. The roads here now dappled with light rain, ‘cat-spit’ my old professor termed it, reminds me of the river or inlet we passed over moments before: dark, silent, and impervious.

“Jane’s sweet but silent,” I continued. “It’s like marrying a frickin’ mannequin . . .”

“Kim Cattrall was hot in that movie.”

“Agreed but again all smiles. No laughter. No wit. No soul.”

“Again with the wit?!” Ryan sighed. “If my future sister-in-law talks like a Shakespearean player, our family dinners will be very quiet and sparse. No one but you will be able to understand her.”

“You confuse wit with learning Russian,” I responded.

“Well, as long as she likes you and the family, we’ll have no problem, ok?”

“I would not favor her otherwise.”

“Oh and cute. If I cannot understand her, she may as well be easy on the eyes, as I stare dumbfounded . . . hey you hungry?”

The answer was an unequivocal “Yes” and so we drove through KFC for some chicken wraps and sandwiches. We parked, and Ryan dove into his chicken sandwich, slurped down a chocolate shake, and now finished he began rubbing his index fingers across his nipples. This frankly disturbed me in ways I cannot possibly describe and I choked back nausea.

“What by the power of Greyskull are you doing?”

“Summer is coming soon,” Ryan responded still rubbing his chest. “I want to wear a tight Speedo shirt to the beach, but I don’t want saggy flaccid nipples. If I rub them now and then, they get a little perky . . . and well, that shows through the shirt.”

I tossed the remainder of my wrap in the bag, and closed my eyes before telling Ryan to drive. Within a few minutes the engine roars to life, but for some moments we remain parked. Even over the roar of the engine, I heard the rubbing whoosh of his fingers against his shirt. I choked back my wrap and try in vain to fall asleep.

An hour later of fitful disturbing nipply-dreams, I woke to the riffs of AC/DC and Ryan’s warbled singing. As soon as I rubbed my eyes, he began banging out beats on the dashboard.

“It’s a long way to the top if you’re gonna Rock N’ ROoool . . .” Boom badaba boom. Boom badaba boom.

“Are we done touching ourselves?”

“Huh? Oh yeah,” he shouted over the radio. “All done for now. I do this once a day, by vacation time my nipples will be ready for all the world to see.”

“Please, your words are wrecking havoc on my imagination. I dreamt of exploring Egyptian tombs with Jessica Alba . . .”

“So, that doesn’t sound too bad,” Ryan said turning down the radio as the song faded.

“All the pyramids had nippled apexes, and your face was carved into  the sphinx. Its paws were folded across its chest doing . . . God knows what.”

Ryan apparently found this quite amusing. “So what?” he laughed, “I’d thought you’d be used to weird stuff like that. With all the Japanese porn you watch.”

“Anime,” I corrected him. “It’s called anime.”

EXPLANATION: Years ago, right out of college, my interest in sci-fi and fantasy stories led me to Japanese animation or anime, movies like Metropolis and Akira which through complex characterization and bewildering imagery seemed to treat animation as a means to tell an epic tale and not just a child’s diversion. My interest grew in the medium, and so the following Christmas, I received several volumes of manga or Japanese comics, specifically romantic comedies like Love Hina, which although not vulgar sometimes lacked the . . . er, modesty of American comics. My vehement explanations about character, story, and art had about as much effect as discussing the literary content of Playboy articles.

“Whatever, you and your animated girls. Your imaginary girlfriends. That’s weird man.”

“Not all of my loves have been animated,” I responded. “Besides Miss Elizabeth Bennet, back in college, I had the biggest crush on Clarisse McClennen and Cecelia Jupe.”

“From Farenheit 451?”

“And Dickens’ Hard Times . . .”

“You need to put down the books and get yourself a girl, dude.”

Sigh. “I need a girl.” The words seemed to sink into me: an answer without a solution. The way Ryan said it you would think I could simply walk into Walmart and find the love of my life sitting upon a shelf next to indoor fans and lighting fixtures. Marked down, too! Yet in Ryan himself I found solace.

“The way I figure it, though,” I said. “If you can find a girl who accepts your nip . . . nipple . . . gosh I cannot even say it. Your oddities. There must be someone who understands mine, right?”

“The world is a large place, man! There’s sure to be another cartoon freak like you somewhere in this morass of insanity, delusions, and phobias, right?”

“Well said,” I answered enthusiastically. “Although I suspect that the real motive behind that little speech was just so you could say . . .”

“Morass? Yup. Mom never quite got over that vocab word.”

“I’m feeling more hopeful by the minute,” I said as we neared the college. The waters of the inlet licked at the beach, bordering the school. The far off shores seemed like islands in the fog, remote and foreign toppled with evergreens and flowering trees full in bloom. A small dock hugged several small sailboats, where students readied ships to sail off into gray abyss.

“. . . long way to the top, if you wanna Rock N ROOLLLLL.” Boom badaba Boom!

Rhythm for no reason

Often during the day and usually when under stress, I hear music cycling through my brain. Nothing divine or extraterrestrial mind you, no music of the spheres, or song of the living trees. Just an interesting piece of music on the radio or one of the songs that the kids downloaded filters through my ears and excites my imagination. Sans earphones or iPod, the rhythm builds inside of me like a crescendo, mounting and growing like a snowball bounding downhill. My fingers tap or my hands begin to silently conduct the unseen sound as if the walls and earth reverberate with its beat. Boom ba-ba-dum ba-ba-dum. The panels in the ceiling flash and chime as if played by giant invisible hands, jumping from note to note, tile to tile sending snowfalls of dust cascading to the bouncing floor. Birds whiz and zip across the window panes like fiddle bows, while trees shake and dance to the orchestra. The mounting sound peaks; I almost will the walls to break asunder as the song spirals down to its conclusion. The floor cracks, the tiles shudder, the birds and trees twist and jump until . . . the music fades away; the song ends, seeping into the night like the remnants of a flood, into the earth and its hidden chambers.

No one else hears it. The classroom or lecture hall remains unchanged, except for the clock. A minute or two have passed. The guy next to me scribbles notes, surpressing a yawn. I sigh and decide to start writing. Notes rarely help my memory, but they do keep me awake. I start to doodle as another slide glides across the screen. Notes and chords drift and fade, but I sit and wait, eager for a fresh faint riff to sound.

Hard of Hearing

Of all my senses, my hearing manifests itself as the most distracted, absent-minded simpleton. Not worthwhile enough to be deaf, for that would at least augment my remaining senses; no, I hear just enough to be comical, like an old pantaloon in Medieval dramas with a funneled brass horn permanently attached to his ear drum and gumming his shouts of “Huh? What he’d say? ”

Song lyrics in particular are my bane, leading me to make up most of what I hear. Pat and Katie laugh whenever Live’s “Turn My Head” airs whose refrain I once passionately interpreted as “termite head/ termite head/ it’s aimed at you.” Bush’s “Glycerine” became “kiss the rain,” a favorite line of mine apparently. In Toto’s Africa, I have re-imagined “I bless the rains down in
Africa” as “I kiss the rains . . .” or “I miss the rains . . .” It all depends really on my mood and what I want the song to say.

The biggest reinterpretation though comes from my sibs, Pat and Katie, who on the way to school one morning heard Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets:”

“She’s got electric boots a mohair suit/
You know I read it in a magazine.”

Only the way it’s sung, it sounds nothing like this. Even if I knew what the heck a mohair suit was – which I don’t – “mohair” would not comprise my top ten guesses for song lyrics. Moreover, Sir Elton ends “magazine” with a bit of a grunt so that it sounds like “maGAzina-uh.” Thus, one can easily pardon the creative tykes for creating this version:

“She’s got electric boobs they all hang loose,and a pack-a, pack-a of hyENa-as.”

It makes no sense, but in terms of singing aloud the new composition far outweighs the original.

I wondered how common this “lazy ear” epidemic had reached so I visited www.kissthisguy.com (man-love ironically enough is featured in another story I’ll be telling later on), a website for misheard lyrics. Apparently this disease of mine is quite well-traveled and depending on your inclination towards profanity quite funny as well:

SmashMouth “All-Star”

The real lyrics were:
She was looking kinda dumb with her finger and her thumb
in the shape of an L on her forehead.

But I misheard them as:
She was looking kinda dumb with her finger in her bum
and the shape of a elf on her forehead.

OR

Bryan Adams “Summer of ‘69

The real lyrics were:
Got my first real six string,
bought it at the five-and-dime.
Played it till my fingers bled.
It was the summer of 69.

But I misheard them as:
Got my first real sex dream,
I was 5 at the time.

Played it till my fingers bled.
It was the summer of 69.

Reading through those listed under the “Funny” section made me realize how perverse most people actually are. Many lyrics of these hardcore rockers are actually much tamer than what most people come up with on their own.

Another shock burned into my corneas yesterday afternoon. Pat, Ryan, and I had just stopped at Panera to pick up food for ourselves and Pat’s wife, Tiff, after a long and early morning of golf. I paid for the meal, which for some reason prompted the guy behind the counter to jokingly ask: “Is someone getting married?” I stopped at this; the words “Thank you” seemed to wander off and hold conference with the rest of my vocabulary to discuss what the heck to say in response.

“Uh, no, he already got married,” was the best that they do. I looked at Pat who looked just as confused, and before he asked where we lived or how old we were, we left with soup, sandwiches, and room temp tea in tow. Arriving at Pat’s place– a final bastion from the odd, I thought — I walked up the steps to find Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal naked and in bed together. After a seconds pause and some intense on-screen cuddling, Pat, Ryan, and I decided to escape into the kitchen for lunch, Tiff’s laughs chasing after us. Apparently Saturday Morning cartoons have been replaced by man-love hour, which did nothing to help our digestion. My ears may be faulty, but at that time my eyes remembered too much. Never disparage the curative abilities of mindless entertainment. Oscar winning dramas may broaden your perspectives, but Road Runner and Bugs Bunny can soothe any mood like the sweetest balm.