Showing posts with label dire straits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dire straits. Show all posts

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Aesthetics - The Home Office

If only mine looked like this.

It's not as if I had any advance warning. I found out on a Friday and by Monday afternoon I was hauling freshly-configured computer equipment and hastily snatched manila folders and legal pads and sticky notes out to my car. I dumped everything in our second bedroom, dreading the colossal task of crawling under my desk and unplugging six hundred twisted cables and dusty power cords and sticking every loose plug into the back of my new computer; crossing my fingers that God would have mercy on me and make everything work. Everything didn't. The whole process consumed one and a half hours, and I found I had a worthless second monitor that chose to flash red, blue, and green bars instead of the anticipated helpful work screen. I actually worked with that monstrosity on my desk for half a day until I decided to ditch it to an empty corner of the room.

Thus I had a room littered with spare computer parts and cables; a room that already was filled to overflowing. This was heretofore my kick-back room, where I smoked and watched TV and blogged on the weekends and paid my bills online. And listened to music.Now it was suddenly my workplace for eight hours every day, and it was ugly.

Sitting in a tiny room for an entire work shift, one not only feels claustrophobia creeping in, but they notice everything that's aesthetically wrong. And it begins to grate.

Our townhome is tiny -- there is no "magic closet" where extraneous items can be stuffed. And people give me things. It's not that I don't appreciate the sentiment, but there are only so many knick-knacks I can accommodate before the whole place implodes. Add to that mishmash hideous ominous "black things" - spare monitors and hard drives and speaker cables - and you can imagine my depression. Today I disguised the detritus as best I could. At least I can now glimpse it and not be horrified. The boxes the fake plant is resting on have been swaddled in leftover Christmas wrap. The guitar is disguising cardboard Amazon shipping boxes holding spare computer parts.

My setup is far from ideal. Maybe by the time I get to go back to the office, I'll have it configured to my satisfaction. I'm thinking there will be several tweaks between now and then.

My bottom-line advice: make your work space as tolerable as you can. You've got to live with it.

But it's only Saturday night -- I can be messy and no one will be the wiser.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


I don't think we recognize the happy times while we're living them; or perhaps we think we'll always feel this way, and therefore, this feeling is normal. We don't even recognize the emotion as happiness. Maybe it's the absence of worry, jitteryness; an embrace of the big blue sky.

I've pinpointed 1985 as my "happy time".  I was thirty, which is actually the perfect age, all things considered. My boys were at the fun age; the world opening up to them and me along for the ride. My job was perfect for my lifestyle. I worked second shift at a job I really liked -- interesting, yet only occasionally stressful. My mornings were my own. I even enjoyed setting up the ironing board in the living room, flipping my TV dial to MTV and pressing my hospital uniform, while this flashed on my screen in the background:

Even the music was optimistic in '85, and why not? We had a president who made us feel like everything was going to be okay. Our country was safe, tucked in. President Reagan had everything under control. And everyone felt it. 

I drove to the local mall with my youngest son, and as I slid into the parking slot, this song came on the radio. Matt knew a few of the artists, but I pointed out some he didn't know; some he needed to know. We made a game of picking out the voices. 

I had a savings account at the hospital credit union, and dutifully deposited twenty-five dollars out of each paycheck -- our vacation booty. Come July, I'd descend the steps to the hospital basement and acquire reams of traveler's checks and sign each one in the presence of the teller. Then, mid-month, we'd pack up our travel trailer with coolers full of New Coke, bologna, and Hostess treats and steer down Highway 83 toward Belle Fouche and ultimately, Rapid City and the exhale of the Rafter J Bar Ranch nestled within the tall pines. 

The campground had an outdoor pool and my boys made a beeline for it before we'd even pounded the camper stakes into the ground. In the setting sun, an Oglala brave would dance in full Lakota regalia as we tourists sat, cross-legged, in the tall prairie grass. At sunrise the next morning, we'd wind along the curvy two-lane logging road on our twelve-mile trip to the tourist town of Keystone so I could buy a Black Hills gold ring and my kids could ride the helicopter for a close-up view of Mount Rushmore.

1985 was the year of bands that have never been heard from since, but their hits are so iconic, it doesn't matter.

And a few who've stood the test of time:

Television was what it always was. Shows were "good" because we had nothing to compare them to. I watched Kate and Allie and Newhart and Family Ties. There was, however, one program that offered a glimpse of how good TV could be. It was on NBC on Wednesday nights, and since I worked second shift, I had to utilize my trusty VCR, because I was not about to miss it. Maybe working in a hospital made the show more special to me, but in reality, it was just a damn good show:

"Okay, smart guy, who's the president in 1985?"

"Ronald Reagan? Is Jerry Lewis Vice President?"

The eighties were the most fun period for movies. This classic was released -- guess when? 1985.

The country was optimistic; I was optimistic. 

I was happy.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Remember When We Wanted Our MTV?

I'm old enough to remember when music was experienced through our ears; and not through our eyes.

I guess I'm old enough to remember a whole bunch of things, frankly.

But, like everybody else who was cognitive in 1981, I immediately became addicted to MTV.

Artists are acting out their songs?  Well, that's different!

My cable provider was quick to jump on the  bandwagon, so I saw MTV from its inception.  Weirdly, though, there are only certain songs videos that adhered to my brain cells from that time; even though they weren't necessarily good songs.  Maybe I remember those because they were so heavily rotated.

Remember this?  (a-ha!)

How about this?

Whip it good!

George Michael in 1988: opposed to the very cheesy George Michael (and that other guy) of two years earlier (this always makes me laugh):

I'm a big Mark Knopfler fan:

This video was shown about 3,528,600 times too many:

Ahh, takes me back to the days when I had a frizzy perm and giant eyeglasses. 

In a post to come, I'll run down my favorite videos (which were often my favorite songs) from the MTV days.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You're A Terrible Judge of Your Own Music

Alas, it is true. Murphy's Law will tell you (and I'm not exactly sure who Murphy is, unless he's Papa Murphy, in which case, I'm not real crazy about his pizzas, either) that whatever song you think is your absolute best, fans will absolutely HATE, or worse, will absolutely IGNORE.

How do I know? Well, that's where marketing shows its real value. By "marketing", I mean basically slapping up some songs on a promotion site, such as ReverbNation or Jango, or, if you're really, really bored and narcissistic, on your own radio station.

It's the ultimate conundrum, I guess.

For example, I'm sure that Mark Knopfler thought that this was the greatest Dire Straits song ever:

Watch Dire Straits(money for nothing) in Music | View More Free Videos Online at

Of course, that was before Canada got wind of the song, and determined that it was COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE FOR BROADCAST. (Really, Canada? And here I thought you all had that laissez faire attitude. You know, being French and all.) And strangely, "Money For Nothing" was released in 1985, so it only took a quarter of a century for Canada to determine the utter inappropriateness of the song. Well, they have a backlog.

So, Mark was downhearted. Well, actually, he was feeling pretty uphearted until approximately the year 2010.

Ironically, little did Mark know that the actual favorite Dire Straits song, as determined by the fans, was this:

Why, Mark asks? Well, it was because of this line:

"doo doo, da da DO do do doo doo".

Not scientific, I grant you, but what, after all, is scientific about music?

The moral of this story, if there is one, is, as an artist, please make sure that you include this line in every one of your songs:

Doo doo, da da DO do do doo doo

Then riches shall be yours. And you won't have to guess which song your fans will like best, because they will like them all!

Another fine public service from me, your Music Success Guru. And I don't even charge for this!