Friday, April 17, 2015

Digital Killed the Video Star


In a not so distant land, in a time not that long ago, was a world that was technology challenged. It was a world without remote controls. It was a world with 13 channels on TV, no computer and no internet. It was a world without CD's which are already becoming obsolete. A world where often you had to wait and listen to the radio, so you could make a very lousy recording of your favorite songs on the radio, and you hoped the DJ did not talk too much over the intro of the song.

One day along came something called MTV, Music Television. It was awesome. It was 24 hours of music videos. These days you would be hard pressed to find a music video on MTV. It was a thrill to see the debut of a new song from one of your favorite artists. The first song ever played was a song called Video Killed the Radio Star (which I revised to make my point) by a band called the Buggles. If you are reading this, trust me, I played it for you already.

If you were lucky enough to have some money, you would head to a "record" store. You might have 10 dollars if lucky, then you could decide what album you wanted to buy. If you didn't have enough to buy an album for $7.99, you could buy what was called a 45, or a single. Later cassette tapes entered the picture, it was much of the same. You can even go back further to something called 8-tracks which were really primitive by todays standards.

I was thinking about this, I was going to pick you up from pre-k. Now any song you wish is at your fingertips. You download it, if honest you pay the 99 cents or 1.29 or you try to get them free but risk viruses and criminal penalties.

In a way it is great. In a way it is not so great. You will never know the thrill of saving up your 10 dollars and have to make the decision of which album to buy. You will never get the thrill of opening a new album, smelling the smell of a new album, and reading the liner notes. Some of the best times of my youth were buying a new album, going to my bedroom and listening to the new album from my favorite bands and singers, and reading along with the lyrics as they sang the songs on the record.

I am guilty of falling into the trap these days. You download single songs. I find current artist that I like that I hear, and I download just the songs I like.

As always, there is a sacrifice you make with progress. That sacrifice is the art of making an album. The cover art, making 10-15 songs that went together. Sitting down and listening to a whole album of songs by one artist that would come together and make sense. It was a great way to spend 45-60 minutes, losing yourself in the music.

Some artist did concept albums, which all songs lead to a bigger story. Some artists would make an album of unrelated songs and somehow tie it together with the last song. Making an album was an art, putting together a series of songs that kept peoples interest. Now it is just about making hit records. Using the same old tired 3 chord progression that makes a hit record so you can get your song heard on the radio.

Don't get me wrong, there is some good to the digital age. There are artists out there if you search hard enough. One thing it does, it makes it easier for artists who might not get a big record deal to get their music heard. Most of them are much better than what you hear on the radio. You  just have to search for such bands.

There are many things that I grew up with, that you will never get the chance to experience. Buying a new album. cassette, or cd is among the top. It was such a thrill to have a copy of your favorite songs, bands, albums. It was something tangible, something you could hold in your hands. Something you could look at, something that had a distinct smell. Now you have an digital file. You can put it on a cd, you can put it on an Ipod or some other MP3 player, but that will never compare to bringing your favorite record, tape, or cd home from the record store, opening it up, and spending an hour just taking it all in.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Working Class Hero Is Something To Be

The title of this came from a John Lennon. I want to subtitle it "If you see me as a someone, thats what it is I'm trying to be" from a Jeffrey Gaines song.

I am writing this rather depressed. I tend to enjoy my solitude from time to time although I run the risk of becoming too introspective.

Anyway, I know in this blog, I at least once said to follow your passion. I will probably say it again. To me, it is the single most important piece of advice. (that along with take care of your teeth).

As I sit here and type this on 3/10/15 at 12:51 am, I have been unemployed from selling cars for just over 2 months. My resume is a little all over the place.

As you get older, and decide what it is you would like to do with your life, follow your heart. If I have any regrets in life, it is that I didn't go to college (honestly I was nervous and didn't like school), and that I didn't really take any chances. I didn't go for what I really wanted to do in life.

Whatever it is that you wish to do, you are going to be surrounded by people who tell you it can not be done. I may even be one of them, you then have my permission to throw this back in face.

I do not want you to be a 45 year old man, with no job, a family to feed, and it being too late to do what you always wanted to do.

I love you RJ, you are an extraordinary peorson with lots of God given talent. Make use of it.  Don't be an exceptional person who lives an ordinary life.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Been Too Long So Many Changes


I have realized that it has been a year and a half since I last posted. So much has changed, including you. I had decided to take a break for a while, (although I did not attend it to year and a half) as it seemed like it was a lot of the same stuff, me telling you how wonderful you are (were).

Yes you are still wonderful and becoming quite the little man. Your intelligence and memory continues to amaze both Mom and me. We have gone through several changes since I last posted. We moved from our house in Reading, to Nana's house until we could find another house. Than from Nana's house to our new house in Schuylkill Haven. I changed jobs, once, twice, or three times. You adapted to everything. You love your new home, your new room, and probably most of all, you have a playroom now. (someday could be man cave)

I don't know if you will have children in your future. If you do, you will always be questioning yourself. I hope I am around to see it. I'll do the famous parent wish "I hope you one just like you". We had someone tell us when you were only a year old, the good news is you have a strong willed child, the bad news is you have a strong willed child"

The constant struggle is what is out of control and what is being a 4 year old? You did not come with an owners manual. I am sure you sound ten times louder to us than you do to everyone else. Anyway, I hope you know how hard we tried, we have always done what we thought was best for you, including moving and changing jobs.

To quote a line from the show Cheers "living with you is like living in a jungle. I am not sure what is going to happen next and it scares me" It is always an adventure, and no matter what happens we always seem to be able to laugh about it. Let's keep going that way.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Phillies and Baseball


You are growing up to be quite a fan of Phillies and baseball in general. You love to go to the Reading Phillies games, probably more so for the mascots, but you also pay more attention to the game than you do any thing else. I wish we could get you to be as quiet in Church as you do at the Stadium.

I remember going to my first pro game at Veterans Stadium ( a stadium long gone before you born). It was the Phillies vs the Reds. I was about 11 years old in 1982. Mike Krukow took the mound that day vs the Reds. I don't remember much other than they handed out kazoos, and we all played take me out on the ballgame in the 7th inning stretch on kazoos. I remember my dad's disappointment when I said is that the whole stadium (seemed much bigger to me on TV)

It saddens me that you will never get to see a game at the Vet, where I saw my first game, even though CBP is a much better place to watch a game. It saddens me to know that before you really understand baseball, players like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hammels will most likely be gone and that you never got the chance to see my childhood idols of Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Garry Maddox, Tug McGraw and Manny Trillo just to name a few.

I hope you continue your love of baseball that you have shown so far. You have a great arm and can hit better than any other 2 year  old I have seen. I look forward to spending many of moments with you involving baseball. If your taste change, then so be it, but I will enjoy the love of baseball you have shown so far as long as I can.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Circle Of Life, Fathers Day blog.

RJ, it has been so long since I updated this blog, but our day today, I needed to comment about.

Today we took you to Knoebel's Amusement Park, not the first time, but the first time you really understood what was going on. You loved all the rides. Your favorite was the cars that went around the track, they were my favorite too when I was a young boy.

The whole day, I couldn't help but think back to going to Knoebels with my parents. And on this Fathers Day weekend, the way my Dad used to go on these rides with me. I used to beg him to take me on the same car ride you wanted to keep riding. My dad used to take me on the boats, which he always loved, and I loved because he loved them. Soon you will be big enough to go on the bumper cars, another thing my dad, and your grandfather loved.

The whole day, as we walked around the park, and I put you on one ride after another, I couldn't help but to think of my dad doing the same thing for me.

I know you are still too young to remember days like these. However I know there will be many more days like this that we will share together. And I hope, one day, you will have your own children to share memories with, and that you will remember and think about me, the way I was thinking about my dad today.

Happy Fathers Day to all Fathers. God Bless you RJ, you still can manage to make me angry one minute, and crack me up the next.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Looking in the Mirror

Once again, it has been way too long since I updated this blog.

Life keeps getting more and more interesting since you have joined our family. On New Years Eve, I had you watch Paul McCartney with me. You confused him with Murray from the Wiggles. You had been a Wiggle junky at this point in time. I decided it was time to introduce you to the Beatles. The Beatles replaced the Wiggles (though the Wiggles still rate high up there) and we must watch a Hard Days Night at least once a day now. As much as I love the Beatles, I must say, you may even push my limits on them. Although, that is not a bad thing in my book. You love acting out all the scenes in the movie, and you seem to know all your videos inside and out, and even when we think you are not paying attention, you always know exactly what is happening.

You are starting to mimick everything everyone does and say, especially me. One of my favorite things you do right now, when we ask a question, you say hmmmm and put your finger over your mouth.

You definately know what you like and what you do not like, and you are not shy about letting us know the difference. Right now your favorite foods are waffles, pancakes, pizza, pickels, cheese and PB&J sandwiches. You love music, love to dance and sing. You love playing with your cars and love looking at books and magazines.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2 Years Already


It is very hard to believe that you are two years old. We celelbrated your birthday on October 17th, and your homecoming on November 6th.

You have turned our lives upside down. I now know much more about the Wiggles than I ever thought I would. You love the Big Red Car, you stand in front of the TV and say Car Car Car, and point to the DVD player. You also still like Elmo and Ernie on Sesame Street, along with Caillou on Sprout.

Your speech is getting better and you are saying more and more words. We can't always understand you, wich gets you frustrated at times, but you do manage usually to get your point across.

You continually surprise every day with what you know. Tonight you started playing duck-duck-goose which we didn't even know you knew how to play, you must have learned it in daycare.

Every day you continue to challenge me to be better than I think I ever can be. You are such a smart little boy, too smart for my own good. You are getting around quite well now, able to get up and down the furniture, you have no fear, often falling down, bumping your head and laughing about it.

You continue to be such a pleasant young boy, you waive to people you see, you love to laugh and make others laugh.

You are such a blessing to everyone that you encounter. Again, I have said this before and I will say it again, you have no idea the impact you have made on our family and friends, and I do not think you will ever realize it.