This is the second time in about forty minutes that I’ve wanted to change the title of an entry. First: "when i’m boss of the universe . . ." should be called "new slang", or "gold teeth and a curse" if I wanted to be slightly more obscure and rewarding to anyone who figured it out.
"i call the big one bitey" is a nice homage to a long ago time when The Simpsons was still consistently funny, but "antmusic" would be cooler. "dirk wears white socks" would be even better, but "kings of the final frontier" would probably be the most obscure and rewarding (the ant habitat was originally designed by NASA, and I’ll let you figure the rest out on your own.)
Now this is a little weird: iTunes must know that I’m writing about music, because for the last seven songs, it has taken me on a little time warp to my teens. These songs are listed in the exact order that they came up. It was set to shuffle through my entire library (currently organized by album title), which is pretty eclectic, so the choice of tunes is particularly eerie.
Songs with their associated memories:
Cinderella Undercover – I am driving my brand new 1989 Honda Prelude Si 4WS to work on Star Trek. I don’t know why, but in all of my memories, it’s early morning, it’s cold, and it’s a little foggy. I loved that car, and it’s the same one that was just slightly better than Patrick Stewart’s, if you’ve heard that story.
Don’t Be Square, Be There – My friend Guy (who was also my stand-in on TNG) introduced me to Adam and the Ants via the Kings of the Wild Frontier album. I can still see the tape, an old TDK number with "Adam and the Ants" on one side and "Kings of the Wild Frontier" on the other, written in Guy’s realy cool architect writing, in a smoky grey case with no paper insert. Guy lived in Costa Mesa, and after I got my Mac II — in color, with four fraking megabyes of RAM, man! — I’d put it in my car and drive down to Guy’s on the weekend so we could appletalk our machines together and play NetTrek and Spaceward Ho! People often asked me in interviews how I avoided the drugs and partying scene that claimed the lives and futures of so many of my peers; I’ve just realized that this is a major reason why: when they were getting high and courting the paparazzi in night clubs they were too young to be in, I was sitting in Guy’s house playing really geeky games.
Still Ill – When I was in my very early teens, I had one of those massive teenage crushes that consumes your every waking moment and requires you to listen to endless hours of The Smiths in your bedroom wondering why she doesn’t like you "in that way." This particular crush was on Kyra, who was so beautiful, and so smart, and so cool, and so a senior when I was a freshman it was never going to happen. Kyra introduced me to The Smiths (on Vinyl, no less), the Violent Femmes (in her BMW 2002 while we were driving to see Harvey at a local college) and was goth before goth was goth. Though I had such a massive crush on her, we were great friends, and she never broke my heart.
Pale Shelter – I heard this on the radio in my mom’s car on my way to my first day of public high school at Crescenta Valley High School, and it will always remind me of that day. I was terrified. I remember sitting into first period history class, and not even knowing that I was supposed to write "per. 1" on my papers. I remember that it was nothing like I’d seen in movies and on TV, and how the kids in all my classes were so cruel to me. I was shy, I was scared to death, and I was so withdrawn as a result, they all decided that I was aloof and arrogant and I never got a chance to correct that first impression. Wow – as I write this, I can feel that terror all over again. I feel it in my muscle memory and in my soul. Gods, I felt so tiny as I walked across the quad on that first day, like a little kid who lost his mom in the department store. The time I spent at CV was the absolute worst in my life.
How Beautiful You Are – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me was the first compact disc I had, and it’s a good thing, too. I love this record so much, I would have worn it out in any other medium. This was also during the "W + K 4EVR" phase, and, nerdly little artist that I was, whenever I heard this song I longed to go with her to Paris and dance in the rain together. You know what I just realized? I don’t think I ever told her that I was so fiercely head over heels for her, and she either knew and didn’t call me out, or I had the perfect combination of infatuation and insecurity to keep it to myself. I wonder where she is today, and how she’s doing? Hrm.
Charge of the Batmobile – My best friend, Darin, lived just over one mile from my house, across windy streets up in the hills above La Crescenta. We were such Batman geeks and we were such stupid teens, we frequently put this song on my tape deck and drove way too fast across those windy streets late at night between our two houses. It’s a miracle we never crashed or hurt anyone or anything.
Phonetic Alphabet – NATO – This is from disc 2 of The Conet Project. I never heard a numbers station in my teens, but I spent a lot of time listening to my shortwave radio and my police scanner (I told you I was a geek) so it reminds me of sitting in the dark (because shortwave listening is so much better when you’re in the dark, for some reason) late at night when propagation was better, spinning the dial and thinking it was the coolest thing in the world to hear transmissions from the other side of the planet. I’m glad the Cold War is over, but boy do I miss the SW propaganda broadcasts.
And the Conet Project is the perfect coda to this trip in the wayback machine. That invisible woman’s voice, sending a message to some unknown person in an unknown land, shot into the ionosphere and back, captured by someone else in another time is almost too perfect. If I saw it in a movie, I’d never believe it. Good thing this isn’t a movie.
"romeo, romeo, lima, yankee, november, oscar, oscar, zulu . . . end of message end of t–"