Saturday, September 28, 2013

Important lessons from 'Breaking Bad'

If I've learned anything from Breaking Bad it's mostly that I was inadvertently prescient not to retain too much from high school chemistry (all those years ago), so if I ever got a terminal disease I would never have the skills (whether I had the inclination or not) to pursue cooking up decent meth.

Knowledge is power, but sometimes that power is more than it's cracked up to be.

And if I did attempt to get into the illegal drug game I'm certain I'd get myself killed within the first month.

Sometimes our smartest decisions are when we choose not to be too smart.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Unintended future parenting lessons from phone commercials

I'd like to salute the advertising firm behind this commercial for the Nokia Lumia phone, but not because they've interested me in the product.

Before I explain why, we need to back up a bit.

Last Monday night as we went to bed my wife and I detected the unmistakable smell of smoke coming from outside the open window. After the fire in the building next door last June we instantly on high alert. I went to the patio and saw smoke billowing into the air from the northwest, looking to be originating from across the street at the next corner. I went to do some reconnaissance, going down the back alley toward the street. Sure enough, it was the laundromat with flames shooting out of the roof. Many of the others in the neighborhood were already watching, and the fire department was arriving on scene.

And when I was down in the back alley, braving the thickening smoke, among the gathered crowd I overheard someone lament aloud that she hadn't brought her phone--not because she needed to call someone but because she couldn't take a picture.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Coming down with a case of... the Vapors (they weren't just turning Japanese)

Back in 1980 (at age 12) I was coming off liking the Village People and started listening to pop radio, and remember hearing and really liking some of the unusual hits that flittered on to the charts, in what I didn't realize at the time was New Wave.

A track that I enjoyed then and continued enjoying ever since was the Vapors' only hit, "Turning Japanese." The riff, the beat, the not entirely explicable chorus, that "Think so, think so, think so" part in the final run of the chorus: it was marvelous. And frankly, I have to say I still think so (think so, think so)—not out of nostalgia, but because it remains an excellent slice of power pop.

I never got their record nor even the single, but I listened with anticipation for when the radio station might spin it again. (Yes, kids, there was a time when everything was not immediately available on the internet.) Eventually it turned up on virtually every '80s hits CD that came out, so finding that band's one hit proved easy by the end of the decade.

And for the intervening decades, even as my musical horizons expanded, my relationship with the band remained unchanged. I honestly cannot say why.

Recently I finally came across the band's "best of" collection (another digital trip to rediscover a missed past) and heard other songs by them, only 33 years after the fact. After several listens I have enjoyed that rest of their (still available) material, such as what I have learned was the b-side of the "Turning Japanese" single, a dynamic six-and-a-half minute live track called "Here Comes the Judge."

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Not breaking the end of 'Breaking Bad' / How we'll meet the Mother

Tread lightly when guessing the ending.
On a recent Hollywood Prospectus podcast they touched on the inclination some demonstrate to speculate about the ending for Breaking Bad, with only a few episodes to go. It's not surprising that with a show that clearly is heading toward a specific resolution that there would be those who'd play that parlor game of concocting a theory. Perhaps it's a desire to have bragging rights if one happened to think of the same thing that the obviously clever creators did and, by inference, to have been equally clever (at least in one instance). Certainly that's understandable.

I don't know exactly what this suggests about me, and it does seem to defy my analytic side, but I have no motivation whatsoever to try to glean the show's narrative destination. I am more than content to sit back and let it unfold before me. I don't know where it's going, exactly, but I expect I'll enjoy it most by sitting back, both literally and mentally, and going along for the ride.