Friday, August 12, 2022

The Soundtrack to My Life

The thing about Blaugust that dislike the most is when you're supposed to talk about yourself.

I don't mean the (mis)adventures I --or my toons-- have, but rather when you explain yourself to people.

Certain times, you kind of just have to talk about yourself because it impacts both the blog and your game playing (from which material for the blog originates), such as my little hospital adventure last November and my subsequent follow-up several months later. There are also other assorted times when I've felt like I had to explain some of the things that go on in my head, because otherwise some of my in-game behaviors would make no sense. That doesn't mean I have to like it when I make those sorts of posts, it just simply is a thing that goes with the job of being a blogger: sometimes you have to explain yourself. 

But actively promoting yourself and giving out your bona-fides under the guise of "Introducing Yourself"?


I'd rather run around naked in my backyard.*

Still, this is supposed to be "Introducing Yourself" week, and even though I'm not officially enrolled in Blaugust I do feel obligated to at least pay lip service to saying something about myself.

You know, hobbies, doodads, history, family, and other assorted things that go to make up a life.

That's what you get for letting that little line "things that go to make up a life" slip into my head: a Genesis song.

Hmm.... Maybe that's where I should go with this post: music.


I was not born into a musical family.

Oh, my mom's family had musicians in them, but a lot of them were in the 19th century past. My immediate family wasn't musical: my maternal Grandmother was tone deaf and simply didn't like music much at all. My dad's mom and aunt liked the "old timey" songs like Shine On Harvest Moon --my great aunt was born the year before the Wright Brothers' first flight-- and while they loved watching Lawrence Welk** they had no more affinity for music than a squirrel does. My dad wasn't musically inclined, and my mom made a few attempts to learn guitar and gave up soon afterward. Dad liked to listen to what is now called Yacht Rock, and Mom liked religious music.*** Of the two of us kids, I quickly grew bored with the grind of slowly learning piano and passed on learning how to play. My brother, on the other hand, loved to play piano and played mellophone in marching band for his high school. 

The funny thing about all that is you'd not expect my household to be filled with music, but it is

My wife does play guitar and piano, and she took harpsichord lessons in college, but that's in spite of a rather disastrous guitar recital she had when she was seven or so. If it were me, I'd likely have given up trying to play guitar, but she doggedly kept on going. She doesn't play much now, but I'm certain the kids picked up whatever musical talent they have from her, not me.

Me? I just loved to listen to music. I didn't want to play it****, just surround myself with it. I listened to almost everything --with the notable exception of Country-- but I loved anything that made my heart soar and kept my blood pumping.

Thank goodness for the Blues Brothers,
otherwise you'd not get this little gem.

We didn't make the kids take music lessons in the way some parents force it on their progeny in the vain hope that it'll pad a future college resume, but my wife took them to preschool music appreciation programs when they were around toddler through preschool age, and as they liked it and wanted to play the instruments themselves, we signed them up for lessons. Aside from that, no pushing on my watch. All I did was simply play music while I worked, cleaned, drove the parental taxi, and did just about everything else in life. And like a love of reading, they just kind of fell into it because of the exposure.

So our lives eventually have come to this: maneuvering around a drum kit in the basement, tripping over guitars around the house, and a keyboard on my wife's dresser.

Oh yeah, and me building speakers for stereo systems around the house.

But you know, I'd never change it for the world. Music keeps me going and it provides a nourishment that I can't describe. It's not exactly an addiction, and to be honest I've had tinnitus since roughly 2018 or so, but I make a point to simply enjoy music for what it is.


*And believe me, it's been more than a few decades since I was in good enough shape to even think about pulling that off. And no, I've never been drunk enough to consider it, either.

**Oh yes, the horror. I had to put up with that show being on --along with Hee Haw-- whenever they babysat my brother and myself.

***I really hate the music played at churches. And no, I don't mean the traditional fare found at weddings, such as Wagner's Bridal Chorus. As a kid at a Catholic grade school, singing hymns was pretty much all we ever sang in Music class, and the few times we did something other than that sort of Relgious fare, it was (and I kid you not) Country Western Music. Like we were somehow going to be happy it was that and not another version of "On Eagle's Wings". About the only Religious music I like to this day is that found in the Classical repertoire, such as this:

****Okay, when I was in high school I used to daydream about playing guitar or bass in a rock band in a cartoony sort of fashion: rock star by day, SF hero by night. I suppose you'd say that I'd be up for a male version of Josie and the Pussycats or Jem, or even Batman if Batman weren't a billionaire playboy but rather a rock star. That had about as much chance of happening to me as getting bitten by a radioactive spider and turning into Spider-man, but a guy could dream.

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