Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break from preparing a PowerPoint for work. PowerPoints, for me, can be extremely time-consuming; it takes just the right amount of effort and patience in order to find the perfect graphic, animation, sound effect, etc. This one was particularly challenging, so I decided to take a break before adding animation--that is, if I decide to add it.

I am wandering around on the iTunes store. You know the little window right below your playlist that shows you what other listeners bought in addition to the songs that you did? Well, apparently the Ashlee Simpson fans are also Hilary Duff fans. I decided to listen to a sample of Ms. Duff's recordings, and must say I'm not at all impressed. She's got a weak, whiny voice.

And yet, Hilary Duff has an iTunes Essentials compilation. What the hey?!?! She hasn't released that many albums--three, tops, I believe.

There's one song on my current playlist that is just so haunting to me. It all started when I was surfing on YouTube one day and came across this clip from WCBS TV:

video

Take a listen to the music from the first and last promos in this montage. When I first heard it, it really, really spellbounded me, and it's rare that a TV clip ever does that to me. I even Googled the video, and eventually learned that it was a track written by Johnny Scott, "Roses Today".

Long story short, I tracked down the CD, ordered it from Amazon, and now have that blissed out, 60s vibe, gem of a soundtrack on my iPod.

It's been a long time--since I was in 8th grade, maybe--that I've bought a CD for just one song. But I couldn't download this from iTunes. I have listened to it over and over again.

Why do I love this piece of music so much? Maybe it's because it reminds me of a simpler time--childhood. I spent the first four years of my life in Westchester County, New York, and WCBS was a constant fixture at my house. Whenever my family returned to the tri-state area, WCBS would be a presence at my relatives' houses (unless Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons were doing the news, then it would be WNBC). This song reminds me of those simpler times.

Why am I longing for simpler times? I've got a lot of stress in my life right now. I don't wish to go into details, but my friends and family know what's going on, and that's all that matters.

There's also a lot of stress in this country, too: high gas prices. An incompetent president. The forthcoming election. Our state as a superpower diminished. High food prices. Foreclosures.

Got a headache yet?

Ironically, in the latest chapter of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Bill Bryson writes about the lost feeling of safety as a child, what with mushroom clouds, nuclear weapons, and communism--the anxiety-producing events that caused many a child of the 50s to lose his or her innocence. Those are the events when you realize that the world, as cozy and sweet as you knew it in childhood, is not as safe as you realize.

When did I lose my innocence? For many of my generation, it was the Challenger disaster of 1986. I didn't see it happen live; I was at recess, and my classmates returned to a room full of crying teachers. I don't remember if I was dismissed early from school that day, but I do remember avoiding the news at all costs--yet there was a part of me that wanted to see it replayed, to know that I wasn't dreaming that it happened.

I felt this way again on September 11th. It had been two months since I moved in to my first apartment, and I remember coming home from work and watching CNN nonstop. I really wanted to avoid the news, but couldn't; it was everywhere, on every station. I just remember sobbing for almost two weeks straight; I had started a new job, was two hours away from family and friends, and had no friends in the area yet. I felt very, very alone.

Gee, so much for taking a break! And yet, I managed to sneak in a book post!! Yeah, we're back to bibliomatters! There will be more book posts at the end of the week. I know I'm not staying on track with the main theme of this blog, but it's been so theraputic to post about other matters!

So thanks--all 1.5 of you readers out there--for reading.

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