Saturday, May 9, 2009

Song Dating -- Writer's Poke #227

Greg talked about how much he was enjoying his new XM radio. It made his long commute to work enjoyable, and it allowed him to explore music that he might never have listened to otherwise.

One such channel was 80s Hair Metal. He cranked up the volume, and his car transformed into a time machine, sending him back to his high school glory days. Skid Row, Whitesnake, Winger -- they were all here. And while Greg wasn't a big fan of any of these groups back in the day, he admitted that he found comfort into listening to them now.

For most of the 1990s, it was taboo to admit any fondness for Hair Metal. If you told someone that you liked Poison, for example, they would most likely pat you on the head while wearing a look of sympathy on their faces. But now, admitting to and embracing your musical past is acceptable. Charming even. Hell, they even play all the old anthems on VH-1 classics.

In 2001, Chuck Klosterman published Fargo Rock City. In this book, Klosterman damns hair metal while attempting to praise it. Maybe this is unintentional, and perhaps not enough time had past for him to fully embrace his inner KISS. And I'll be the first to admit that I had my Peter (St. Peter, not Peter Criss) moments for a few years, too. In the end, however, if music has any value whatsoever, it should be able to transcend labels and stereotypes. And for those of us that like guitars and music that rocks, there's really nothing better than Hair Metal.

What five year period of music is your favorite? Where were you during that period of you life, and what are your thoughts on why that music most speaks to you?

"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have." -- Edgar Watson Howe

Friday, May 8, 2009

Leaving the Nest -- Writer's Poke #226

I crossed a psychological barrier turning 30. Age is just a number, right? Well, it sure didn't feel that way at the time.

When I was 29 I was still in school, and I couldn't imagine entering my 30s in that condition. To that point, I'd never made more than $20,000 in a year, and my life wasn't full of material stuff. I had sacrificed my 20s for knowledge, and I had no worldly possessions to show for it.

So while I didn't technically drop out of school, I did seek a real job for the first time. But even still, I wasn't happy about it. Yes, I was now making a living wage, and yes, I would now be able to accumulate stuff, but ironically I also felt like a sell out.

To a certain extent, I acknowledged to myself that I needed to sell out. I couldn't stay in college forever, could I? Not as a student, anyway. Truth be told, I was at the point in my life that I needed to leave the academic nest of graduate school.

But then what did I do for a career? I became a teacher, which allowed me to keep one foot in the nest.

What experience do you have leaving the nest? Were you able to make a clean break?

"Time is neither / young nor old, but simply new, always / counting, the only apocalypse." -- Wendell Berry