My Playlists are Awesome, and Planned Euthanasia Really Sounds Sucky- When You’re Old

Some people (like me) absolutely adore it, the rest of the world (even some Journey fans) absolutely hates it, but Dream, After Dream isn’t your typical rock album.

I was thinking about it this morning, what an awesome collection I have of music that doesn’t suck on MP3.  Most music (with a few notable exceptions) written after 1985 sucks major ass.  That’s OK because most of the good stuff is readily available on MP3 if you know where to look (Amazon…), which means no farting about with vinyl records, cassette tapes or even CDs.

This morning started off with Don McLean’s “American Pie,” “A Girl Like You,” by the Smithereens, the amazing live version of Journey’s “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin'” from the Greatest Hits Live album, and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” by Night Ranger.  I’ve got the good stuff.  I  have some choice rarities- all on MP3- such as Journey’s Dream, After Dream, Journey, Look Into the Future, and Next, and Gregg Rolie’s album simply titled Gregg Rolie, (these are sort of obscure) as well as some more recognizable 70’s and 80’s fare such as REO Speedwagon’s Hi InFidelity, Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell, and Rush’s 2112. 

The album art was a lot more interesting when record companies had all that surface area to work with and actual artists designing the covers.  I must say Journey’s Departure album is the greatest cover art ever:

Multi-colored motifs are not just for gay pride.  Remember that.

I have to say my favorite pic of Steve Perry on a Journey album cover is the one from Evolution:

It was 1979.  Steve Perry was wearing Spandex.  All  was pretty much right with the world.

It disturbs me at times just how archaic I am becoming.  It’s pretty bad when half the population can’t get most of my reference points.  I was thinking about the whole idea of how our society views older people.  I’m not a total fossil yet- at 43 I have not quite made it to the “ancient” category, but I’ve lived a year longer than Elvis.   (If you don’t know who Elvis was, click on the previous link.)  Elvis died in 1977.  I remember that.  A lot of my friends’ mothers were brought to tears over that one.  I wasn’t really much of an Elvis fan (I was only 8) so I wasn’t as devastated by his death as some other people were.  Of course, there are those who speculate that Elvis is still alive- but then Jimmy Hoffa might be alive somewhere too.

In 1975 there was a movie released called Logan’s RunI am generally not a fan of science fiction, (in fact, normally I rather loathe the genre) but I remember watching this movie back in the 80’s and thinking that it wouldn’t be so bad to be spared the indignity of living past age 30 and being “old.”  From today’s perspective (and having passed that milestone over a decade ago) that’s some scary shit.

Guess what?  Your time’s expired!

Humans have a little something called a self-preservation instinct, and it’s a pretty intense drive.  If not for this instinct, suicide would probably be so rampant that nobody would make it past puberty.  All those people who tell you that “man, if I had to live like that just shoot me,” have a totally different perspective after the open heart surgery or colonoscopy or course of chemo.  People hang on just as tenaciously- if not more so- to life at age 80 with a laundry list of catastrophic health issues than do healthy young people.  They have looked death in the face and it scares the hell out of them.

 Yeah, you’re old, but just not quite ready to die right now.

In Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, we get to see a wonderful example of the self-preservation instinct in action.   “I don’t want to go on the cart!”  No shit.  Nobody does, and I don’t care if you’re 8 or 80.

Steve-o is always telling me if he had to give himself shots he would rather die.  Yeah, right. He might say that now but if it’s a choice between shots or death, I’m pretty sure he will acclimate himself to the shots.  I’m diabetic and on insulin.  Believe me, I am the first one to go and fill that insulin script.  Needles?  Who gives a royal hang?  Once you get used to giving yourself the shots- which really doesn’t take long- it’s just something you do, like brushing your teeth or putting on shoes.

Get used to it, you wuss.  I can think of much worse things- like being subjected to bad country music at 11 PM.

Of course, because I’m diabetic and have a nice little list of chronic illnesses I’ll probably be targeted for Obama’s death list sooner or later.  I can see it now: This one is just too expensive to maintain.  What scares me about the whole idea of rationed health care is that necessarily some people are going to simply be denied the treatments and medications they need to live.  As the program costs more and more,  fewer people will be deemed “sustainable,”  and those with expensive chronic illnesses will be the first to be assigned to die- first by neglect (hell, just make sure the diabetics can’t afford their insulin!) and eventually by force.  Maybe I’m being paranoid, (and I should never watch science fiction anyway) but I see Logan’s Run as an eventuality should socialism be played out to its objectives.

On the bright side, the old people have all the money, at least right now.  As the population ages, perhaps we won’t have such a negative view of the elderly and/or infirm.  Hell, we are almost hip. Notice that Lawrence Welk is not included in my playlists.  I’m not that ancient- yet.

Lawrence Welk, not so much.

But Ozzy’s cool.

Support Bras and Sensible Shoes, an Air of Pervasive Misanthropy- with a Metallica Soundtrack

As much as I try to fight it, I am becoming my mother, at least in appearance.  As much as I wish I could look like Demi Moore, on a good day I might pass for a 55 year old mutant troll.   I’ve had more than one person ask me if I was my mother’s sister.  Never mind that I’m 42, and Mom is 22 years older than me.  I know I’ve been rode hard and put away wet throughout this adventure of life, but I sort of wish I might have aged just a little bit better.  The years have not been kind.

Long ago I became resigned to the fact that it’s in my best interest to dress for comfort,  not for speed.  For those of us with ample chests, (38D) bra shopping consists of two goals- find a bra that will hold the puppies firmly and comfortably without fail, even when bending over, AND that doesn’t leave divots in one’s shoulders.  These bras are practical but not generally pretty.  Victoria’s Secret is that they don’t have bras that meet this criteria.   I spent way too many years in my vanity dealing with scratchy underwire bras that left divots in my shoulders and would allow the puppies to fly out every time I bent over.  These days I like the heavy duty beauty hold ’em up in a hurricane type bras- the kind my grandmother (also endowed with the 38Ds) preferred. She was a lingerie buyer for a department store and could at least could get good deals on the stuff.  I either have to wait for the clearance sales- or pay retail, which I am loathe to do for anything.  I hate to pay retail.

The shoe reality is harder for me to deal with.  I used to wear at least a three inch heel (if not a five inch stiletto) every freaking day, working and standing on concrete and it never bothered me.  Now it almost has to be a special occasion for me to wear a two inch wedge.  I’m still only 5’4″, provided I’ve not shrunk with age, so I still need the height boost.  It’s not as if I have a hard to fit foot- I wear a 7B and the only issue I ever encounter with shoes is that I have a high instep.  Boots and certain over-the-instep styles can be a bit of a challenge, but generally if the shoe is true to size I’m good to go.  I order shoes online quite often with no difficulty. I don’t have as big a problem with trying on shoes in public as I do with clothes (I never, ever, ever disrobe for the perverts charged with monitoring public fitting rooms) but I’d still rather buy my shoes online.  It saves me time and the aggravation of cavorting around amidst the unwashed hordes.

I just ordered some five inch platform sandals which I am going to wear come hell or high water (a good fashion choice in high water, heh-heh) because I paid good money for them, and because sometimes it’s fun to mess with Dad.  If I wear more than a two inch heel, I’m taller than him.

For daily wear, though, I find myself gravitating less toward five inch platforms and more toward Crocs sandals or Skechers Toners.  I don’t have to wear dress clothes to work. We don’t see customers face to face, so our dress code can be summed up as, “just as long as the nasty bits are covered.”  Since I don’t have to wear dress clothes,  I like the “toning shoes.”  I figure if I have to walk anyway, might as well get as much exercise as I can with each step.  This way I am more motivated to walk so I can get more stealth exercise. I am not much for doing a whole lot of walking in heels. 

I’m sure that a casual observer would think it strange that the matronly looking old cougar driving a car with hot pink Hello Kitty stickers all over it, who looks like someone’s grandma, is usually jamming to assorted hard rock and heavy metal.  I got a really bizarre look the other day from some teen punks when I had Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” cranked up full blast on the HK Yaris’ stereo when I pulled in to park in the Kroger’s parking lot.   Just because I’m old does not mean I am resigned to Lawrence Welk, Barbra Streisand (accckkkk!) and elevator music.  My only regret is that I wasn’t listening to something a bit more edgy, such as Quiet Riot’s “Cum on Feel the Noise,” or Black Sabbath’s “Crazy Train.”

I’m every bit the headbanger I was back in the day even though I (sadly) sold the Gibson Victory Artist (yes, they are legendary, and yes I actually had one) and the Marshall full stack years ago.  I enjoyed singing and playing bass, but the reality is that very few people ever get to a place where they can support themselves by playing music.  Sometimes practical concerns have to win out, such as being gainfully employed and supporting oneself, but it was fun while it lasted.  I was a good player and a good singer, but I have to admit I don’t have the image.  Nobody cares how well you play or sing if you don’t have the stage presence.  Audiences want you to give ’em something to look at, and I’ve never been much to look at.  Maybe that’s why most female musicians who have done well for themselves have done it on their looks and not necessarily on their talent.  There’s a lot of very nice looking but horribly mediocre female singers out there who are making the big bucks.  You can be a very good singer, but look like a mutant troll- and you end up selling automotive parts. 

1982 Gibson Victory Artist…drooolll… mine looked exactly like this, with the sunburst pattern and everything.   I bought mine ever so slightly used (almost pristine) for $800 back in 1985 which was an unheard of sum to pay for an instrument, especially when considering my first car- yes it was a POS but it ran- was only $400.  Today you would not be able to touch a functional Victory Artist- in which the active EQ and pickups work as they should- for under $1000.   Awesome instrument except for one minor detail- it was in no way light on the shoulders. Gibson stopped making them in 1986, probably because they were incredibly expensive for the day, ($2000 for a new Victory Artist with all the toys, in 1985) and Gibson wasn’t exactly making money in the dismal economic times of the early ’80’s selling high line instruments.  One could buy a Washburn bass that was decent and almost as effortless to play, for less than half the price- but Gibson’s craftsmanship is legendary.  If I were into vintage instruments, and/or if I seriously wanted to start playing bass again, I would have to scrounge me another one- but (sad as it sounds) playing bass isn’t terribly high on my list of things I really need to do right now.  Playing an instrument well takes a lot of time and practice, and the equipment needed to play is not inexpensive.  Finding others interested in forming a band and getting any kind of venues in which to play would also be a formidable task . More importantly, I seriously wonder if my wrists and fingers could tolerate it, especially considering all the typing I have to do in the course of a day.  When I sold the Artist in 1994 I was at a point where I could only play comfortably for 15-20 minutes at a time and really had to push it to make it through a two hour set.  What’s the point of playing music if it’s painful?  I have arthritis in virtually every part of my body that has cartilage in it, thanks to a childhood bout of rheumatic fever- the gift that keeps on destroying- and a young adulthood of taking everything just a little too far.  My hands and wrists are in bad enough shape already without bothering to put all that extra stress on them.

Oh, well.  I like being comfortably obscure from the safety of my ivory tower, watching the wheels go around when I can stay still long enough, and entertaining myself by watching the ongoing devolution of humanity.

“For Whom the Bell Tolls” indeed.

 It’s oddly comforting to know that all the rock/metal artists I admire are older than me.