Saturday, June 1, 2013

There's a science to walking through windows

This might be controversial.  This might place my extensive readership in an uproar.  But I'll say it anyway.  It was easier to be a parent 30 years ago than it is today.  Now before I get a bunch of comments (unlikely but bear with me) about how parents today can use technology to control tiny children (what with iPads and iBlanket and iWouldreallylikeitifyoustoppedcrying) please remember that such technology is a double-edged parenting aid.

Ada has grown rather accustomed to seeing what she wants when she wants.  She will say, in a voice that is deathly serious: "Gabba?"  This means that Yo Gabba Gabba should soon be washing over her in all of its peyote dream glory.  Kat has taken to telling her that "That show is not on right now," but I think Ada has figured out we live in an on-demand world.  She knows that DJ Lance Rock is available at any time, and we cannot pretend otherwise.

If I asked to watch Sesame Street when I was two, my parents could truthfully say it was not on at 4 p.m., but Ada knows she has seen Sesame Street at all hours of the day on various devices.  I do not lie to her.  I explain that yes, we can watch seemingly anything we want online, but we are not going to watch the Muppets right now.

The life of a toddler is one of unmet demands.  But some things are actually on-demand, and this complicates parenting and discipline.  It also complicates my use of my own iPad.  I have to use it in hiding sometimes (like I have a drug problem or something) because if Ada sees it she will say: "Elmo too?" while looking at me in a way that can only be described as "intense yearning."  It's terrible.  And I can't say "Elmo's not on" because it is not true and Netflix has a ton of episodes at the ready.

Anyway, I don't think parenting is going to get easier.  Ada loves sunglasses, so I'm sure she would love Google Glass.  However, she's never going to find out about it.  Because, after all, "Google Glass is not on right now."

Continuing my old-timey rants about "the future," I don't think anyone listens to full musical albums anymore.  It's just singles and YouTube clips and snippets in commercials.  And in my small way I try to rebel against that by trying to take my time with music I care about.  Last weekend I listened to the new The National record "Trouble Will Find Me" while walking the new Centennial Trail, which starts near our house.  I thought it was a great mix of activity and auditory experience that will keep both in my mind for some time.

While I can remember the first time I saw the Gangnam Style video on YouTube, I can't remember the 2nd through 25th times, and this shows the rather disposable state of most music today.  Right now I'm reading "Bruce," a recent biography of Bruce Springsteen.  And it seems that when people were listening to Darkness on the Edge of Town on vinyl for the first time, it was a momentous, near religious, experience.  While there are many artists today whose music is far from momentous, there still are many bands that can deliver that sort of punch.

For me, The National definitely delivers on that level.  While they are sonically different from the Boss, I think lyrically they are just as interesting.  And clearly they both share an attention to detail and thirst for perfection that can make recording sessions stretch for months.  If you get an opportunity, at least listen to "Graceless," by The National, which is my current obsession.  Although the prior paragraphs were in support of listening to the entirety of the work of the artist, just give that one a listen.  If you like it, there is plenty more where it came from.

I'm enjoying the Springsteen book.  I've always been impressed by the sheer magnitude of the shows he and the E Street Band would put on.  While I never got to see one (and the Dancing in the Dark video is not all that accurate), I can appreciate that kind of effort.

My favorite Springsteen song: Atlantic City off of Nebraska, another album that you should listen to throughout and celebrates one of my home states claims to fame: psychotic murderers.  Well, that and football.

OK, that's all.  Remember, it's the side effects that save us.