The Handoff, Cultures & Sub-Cultures

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On a Sunday night, around 6:45, the mini-van, driven by a lone adult woman, pulls into a space of the diner parking lot.    After a few minutes I realize she has not exited her vehicle and is just quietly reading in the van. Is she waiting for her dining companion so she doesn’t have to enter the diner alone, or is it something else entirely?

Just before 7 another vehicle, driven by a man,  parks right next to the mini-van. The man does not exit the car or even look at the woman. Instead, a small boy about 10 years old gets out carrying a backpack, closes the car door and enters the mini-van, which promptly pulls out of the parking space, making a quick left turn out of the diner parking lot.  The man sits in his car for a moment, checks his phone, then puts his car back in gear, and makes a right hand turn out of the lot.

I had just witnessed the Sunday evening end of visiting weekend transfer of a child from one divorced parent to another.   I started to ponder  about how many times on a Sunday evening this event must occur, and how for the most part I have been totally oblivious to it.  As a happily married man of almost 30 years with two children, I have no first-hand experience with this part of our culture, and only a passing knowledge about.  Sure, I know it occurs, but I have never done it (thankfully), none of my friends do it (thankfully), and I have only occasionally seen it.

After watching the exchange, I was struck that the parents never looked at one another during  the transfer.  I can only imagine how bitter and complete their divorce is that they cannot even say a few polite words to the other.  I started thinking about how they even communicate to each other, since they are both responsible for the child in some way.  Do they just text each other about arrangements, or do they only communicate through another party or a lawyer.  A 10 year old kid must have a busy life, how do these parents share that life if they cannot communicate, even during a weekend transfer?   For the sake of their child, I hope these parents can one day set aside their bitterness and share in the joys that await them in the years to come; birthday parties, proms, graduations, college, etc.

I also starting thinking about how our  culture has many sub-cultures that I have little or no awareness about, or I am no longer a part of.  Divorced parents, single parents, mixed race parents, parents that work different shifts, ultra-religious families, families of the disabled, families of the terminally ill, young adults just out of college, wrestling families, swim families, dance families, cheer families, etc.  The list of sub-cultures (mini-cultures if you want) within our own society is endless, and unless you are a part of one you usually don’t think about them.

These sub-cultures or sub-groups fit into other parts of our life as well.  The brand of car you own, the type of music you listen to, whether or not you own a mac or a PC, do you watch MSNBC or FOX news, are you a republican or democrat, conservative or liberal or somewhere down the middle do you like Springsteen or (god forbid) Bon Jovi.  Each of us is part of the greater culture of our society, and at the same time we are all parts of sub-cultures that make us who we are.  Being able to span these sub-cultures on a daily basis is one of the things that make our society thrive, and for that I am grateful.  I’m just glad I’m not forced into being part of a group I wouldn’t enjoy.

Theme change, maybe or maybe not

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I’m not overly thrilled with this theme.  It’s b&w and simple and doesn’t have many fancy colors, which is what I want.  I want my pages to be able to load quickly in any browser, pad, and phone.  Having many colors and various ‘things’ to load will only frustrate people, so the simpler the better.

However, I am not thrilled with some of the aspects such as the colors of the links, recent posts, blogs I am starting to ‘officially’ follow via my WP account  (as opposed to viewing them every once in awhile).  I’ve tooled around with the theme and am not finding many things I can modify.

So…..the question now becomes Which Theme Do A Change To, and advancing that to another degree, Do I Stay With A Free Theme Or Do I Pay For One?

The good news with all of this experimentation is that I AM learning the WP interface.

Stay tuned and rock on.

I Miss Albums

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I miss albums.

I miss…..
• being able to admire the artwork, read the liner notes and the lyrics while listening to the songs.
• being able to drop the needle and play (reference to Springsteen’s Mary’s Place intentional).
• taking the cleaner and wiping the record clean before each play, and cleaning the stylus with the little brush.
• going to a friend’s house (or a dorm room) and browsing their record collection and becoming instant friends because it was obvious that our tastes in music were similar. They also had a copy of Love’s Forever Changes, or the cover of Bitches Brew was worn and frayed, or At The Fillmore East never seemed to make its way back into the stack, or they just didn’t know how to categorize the Beatles solo albums (put at the end of the Beatles section or alphabetize like all the other artists).
• the days of playing an album and friends or neighbors would hear it and we would bond some more and talk about the music and other stuff and we would then listen to something else, and it would morph into listening to something new and different.
• those days when I would make a mix tape and it would take me hours (if not days) and I would have albums scattered all over the floor as I tried to make that perfect running order.

I still have my albums. They haven’t been played in over 25 years (since I started re-booting my collection with CD’s). But I still have them and I don’t want to let them go just yet.

I like how CD’s don’t scratch, and sound clean, though not as ‘rich’ as an album. I appreciate how they take up less room, and how I can put 5 of them in the player and be entertained for hours. I like how easy it is to travel with them and play them in my car (as opposed to making a ‘car tape’). I like how I can display my CD collection in two wall units in our living room and it doesn’t take over the whole room (like my album collection used to).

I still listen to my CD’s, at home, and in the car.

I like being able to find out information about any CD or a song or an artist in seconds. Google and Amazon are my friend.

I love my Itunes library, with 6000+ songs that give me a wealth of music to listen to in an instant. I can make a mix CD or a playlist in a fraction of the time it used to take to make a mix tape (it may be easier, but it is not as much fun).

I love my 64 Gig Ipod Classic and my Iphone. I can listen to any song at any time whenever I want wherever I am, and I can do it quickly and without much thought, and I can put my headphones on and block out the world and isolate myself and nobody will know what I am listening to and it’s my music and you can’t have it. The person at the table next to me at Starbucks is doing the same, and I don’t care what they are listening to. It can’t be as good as what I am listening to. We would never have the same taste in music.

I miss albums……….

Welcome to A Beautiful Thud

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Welcome to my new blog, A Beautiful Thud, where I will share my view on life, music, media, technology, my writing,  and whatever else crosses my path.

In the daily adventures of my normal life I am always listening to music, using technology and learning about the world around me. I hope that sharing these aspects of my life, what I see, and what I think,  will help and inspire others (and myself) to explore new ways to do things, find new music to enjoy, and use the tools that are at our disposal to educate and mold our lives.  My plan is for this to be dynamic, change through time, and possibly morph into something thing else entirely.  Time will tell.

“…..a beautiful thud” is the end of a line from the third and final verse of Bruce Springsteen’s Lost in the Flood (from his 1973 debut album Greetings From Asbury Park N.J.).   Lost in the Flood is one of my top 10 favorite Springsteen songs, both from a lyrical and musical standpoint.  It is a sparse piano-driven song that builds in intensity throughout the three verses.  Like Dylan’s Desolation Row, Lost in the Flood tells us about characters that are lost in their life, whether they are a victim of their own circumstances or stuck in a life that they can’t get out of (U2 song reference unintentional).  With intricate detail, strong emotions, and memorable characters, this is one of the first Springsteen songs that hit me hard from the start, and shows that everything in life will work out fine.
As Lost in the Flood almost comes to a close, the line  “Hey, man, did you see that?  His body hit the street with a beautiful thud.”

reminds me that while life can be tough, sometimes the most awful things lead to something great and beautiful.  In this song, when the body hits the street all those that are lost can now find themselves as they are now free.  One can only hope.

Enjoy all of this and check back here often. If you see something you like here feel free to share it with others.