Dave Weinberger says nothing is worse than burning a flag. (For those that don’t know him, he’s being sarcastic… don’t worry.)
Oh my god. This is so freaking awesome. Watch it, love it, pass it on. Please.
Have you ever had a question in the back of your mind that you knew the answer to, but just couldn’t get it to materialize? I’ve had a puzzle like that for almost 7 years, and finally solved it Sunday.
In 1999 I downloaded a random song off Napster (back when it was still legal) that was called “Teardrops in the Air.” You know how Napster (and pretty much all peer-to-peer sharing networks) was: not very reliable as far as song name, artist, etc. The only information I had about the song was the name, the supposed artist (10000 Spoons) and in parenthesis “Aled Jones vs. Massive Attack.”
The song had a slow techno background, but where all the trouble started was with the voice track. It was a beautiful, haunting melody that I knew as soon as I played it that I had heard it before. I did not know where or when, except that I was almost 100 percent sure it was from my childhood.
I figured it probably was a remix of a song I had heard long ago, and asked around. I played it for anyone that came over to my house to see if they knew. No one did. For years this went on. I tried searching for clues, but with very little information in the file’s header, I didn’t have much to go on. I found the Massive Attack song “Teardrop,” but the vocal track was all wrong. I was confused, and tired of wondering. I let it go for a while.
The song floated around in my mind off and on for several years. When Ian and I first started dating I played it for him to see if he, the all-knowing music master, would recognize it. I remember staring intently at him as he listened, thinking that maybe since he knew so much about music and since we were sleeping together that somehow he would be able to see into my mind and fuse the song with the memory and solve my dilemma.
I was disappointed, but decided to give it a rest for a while again. Maybe I was crazy. Maybe I had never heard the song before, I just really liked it and wanted to think I had. Maybe I heard it on a tv show or in a movie, not in my childhood as I had thought. I swore it was from when I was young… but maybe, just maybe, my mind was deceiving me? I wasn’t ready to give up, but I let it slip my mind for a couple more years.
Fast forward to a few months ago, when for the first time I heard the opening credits of the tv show “House.” I had seen the show before, but had never heard the beginning. The opening song was the background of my song! Ian and I borrowed the DVD of the first season of the show from his mom, and the closing credits were available. It was the Massive Attack song, “Teardrop,” but without the vocal track. The instrumental version of the song sounded more like my song. Holy shit. I had to find out where this song was from.
I spent a few hours Googling “Teardrop” and Massive Attack for any clues as to how that song would show up in my childhood. It was released on their album “Mezzanine” in 1998, which put it at about the right timeframe for me to download it. But something was different. Something wasn’t right.
Where did the vocal track come from that was on my song? “Teardrop” was not the same song that I had. “Teardrop” was the background layer of my song, but the vocal layer was different. I rushed upstairs to my iTunes. It had to be a remix. “Teardrop” was obviously the background, but what was the vocal?
I started Googling like a madwoman, all the time with the song playing. I googled what I thought were lyrics, the name of the song I had (“Teardrops in the Air”), Aled Jones vs. Massive Attack, 10000 Spoons, etc.
The search for 10000 Spoons turned up pretty much nothing. All I could figure was this group, person, whatever, had to be the one responsible for the mix. Finally I stumbled upon a page for Aled Jones, which originally I had thought the file’s original owner had typed incorrectly for “Alex” Jones. Aled was a classically trained singer in the UK whose work apparently some DJs liked to mix. After playing some of his tunes, I was pretty sure the voice on my song was not his, but I felt I needed to keep searching his site.
Then I saw it. “Walking in the Air.” A classical song he had covered. Originally written by Howard Blake, covered by Aled Jones—and plenty others. Though I doubted the person singing on my song was a man, I knew I had the right song title when I saw the lyrics:
We’re walking in the air
We’re floating in the moonlit sky
The people far below are sleeping as we fly
I got goosebumps.
I googled the song, “Walking in the Air,” and my heart almost stopped when I saw the results on the screen.
The song was made popular in the children’s movie The Snowman. My favorite winter movie when I was a child.
I almost cried. I was so relieved.
I was not crazy. I was not imagining songs or things or memories that never existed. I had heard the melody over and over again so many times as a young child, but not enough as an older child to remember it clearly.
At that moment, sitting at my computer, I realized that for the past seven years I was right—I was searching for something that existed. Right then I knew I was right to have believed in myself and to not have dismissed myself as crazy or confused. You know how you go through those periods of self-doubt? Well, I trusted myself so much that I could carry on this search off and on for seven years, and let me tell you: finding this song, this answer that I always knew and trusted was there, was incredibly self-assuring.
I feel as if I have unlocked a part of my mind, and it is soothing, melodic and energizing.
Ian’s been out of town quite a bit more this week than he usually is, and Gordo’s been my little buddy. Here he is making sure I’m not sleeping in our bed alone.
Poor Evil Twin. Every night he begs to go out. Every morning he begs to come in. It’s usually apparent he’s been in a scuffle. This morning he looked like he’d been beaten all to hell. Here he is trying to let the sun ease his pain. His right ear still isn’t standing up straight, his eyes are squinty and bloodshot, and he’s got a limp. But he’s purring like a madman, so I think that means he’s ok. Bless his little oily heart.
redecorate my house
redo my Web site
clean the bathroom
finish the book i started this morning
visit west texas
figure out CSS
take back the movies to blockbuster
finish playing Morrowind
edit some photos
complete my Spain scrapbook
take a road trip to the Grand Canyon
But since it’s unlikely I’ll complete any of these today, I’m just going to put the pizza in the fridge and call it a day.
For those of you who don’t blog because you don’t think you know what it’s about: That’s not a good enough reason. There are many uses for blogs, and on MySpace especially, it’s a no-rule zone. If you think you’d like to get on the blogwagon but aren’t really sure why or how, here are five reasons you should give it a shot:
- It lets people into your life. Don’t want to write 50 e-mails to everyone you know or like to keep in touch with? With a blog, you can let groups of people know the latest in your life. And don’t start thinking, “Oh, nobody cares,” or “They’d just call me if they wanted to know.” People like to read about other people’s experiences, thoughts, etc., even if it’s just bullshit they write after a bad day at work or school.
- It’s cathartic. Remember when you were a kid and kept a diary where you could write about what an asshole your stupid little brother was? Well, ok, maybe you didn’t keep a diary and maybe you don’t have a brother, but either way: Writing helps you work it out. Mad, sad, crushed, pissed–hell, even if you’re overwhelmed with utter complacency–just talking about it can feel good. And people tend to want to read emotions, no matter what they are.
- It helps you keep a record of your life Remember what happened back in October of 2002? Or when you were dating whats-his-name and ran into your ex at that place? Yeah, you might not next time, either, if you don’t write it down. Blogging provides an easy-to-use and relatively customizeable platform to hold on to those every so often memories that you might want to look back on one day. Don’t delete your blogs, either. It’s a good rule to have more content online than less, but if you blog about an experience that you absolutely want to wipe off the face of the Internet, consider saving it offline for yourself. You’ll thank me for this advice in about 10 or 20 years.
- It makes you more aware It might take you awhile, but once you start blogging regularly (yeah, I’m working on that, too), you will find yourself searching out other blogs–not just ones on MySpace here, either. Venture out into the blogosphere and you’ll find great content on just about anything. You’ll also find crappy content with even crappier writing, but hey, it’s free and it’s citizen media. If you listen closely (well, not even that closely, really), you’ll realize the blogosphere is a conversation. Become part of it (but that’s another list that I’m not entirely sure I’m even qualified to tackle).
- It’s all about YOU. Where else is it accepted, hell encouraged, to focus on all you, all the time? You can use your blog for anything you want, but the most popular topic here on MySpace is the self. Your readers want to read about you, and anything else you post. Otherwise they wouldn’t read it. So go ahead, explore your narcissism.
I couldn’t resist buying this today.You decide what it looks like. It’s in my livingroom if you want a closer look.
There just aren’t any anymore. I doubt it’s because there aren’t any worthy causes to protest anymore; just look around—there are plenty, believe me.
Is the culture that much different? Are the people of my generation lazy? We’ve mobilized via the Internet toward causes such as AIDS research, sex education, fair trade, etc., but have we really protested? And I don’t mean all those lameos in front of Opryland when W. came to speak after the State of the Union. I was there, I saw them. It was weak. Fifteen people in goth holding posterboard signs is not a protest.
Or is it?
Are the protests of the 60s and 70s gone? Isn’t this “war” (yes, it deserves quotes) in Iraq just as shifty and manipulative of society as the Vietnam war was? Doesn’t W. provide us with enough fodder to produce a good-sized protest about every 15 minutes?
But where are we? It wasn’t just jobless hippies protesting back in the day, either. People with jobs, families, priorities came out to voice their opinion and remind the government that they couldn’t be fooled. We’ve been lied to, taken advantage of, and taken for idiots over the last 6 years by the U.S. government. Why do I feel like all I can do is write about it?
Note: While this post may come across as cynical, I do not intend to relay any sort of pessimism in regards to my own life, or life in general. All I’m saying is: Enjoy the journey, because the time you can spend at the destination isn’t as long.
Today I asked myself a question I’m sure millions have before: What’s the point of life? What did I come up with? An answer that left me content, eager and excited: There isn’t one, and if you spend your life looking for it, you’ve missed your life.
But maybe that’s the point: that there isn’t a point. Think about why you do what you do next. What are you doing it for? To prepare for some future moment that will at some point be over? Then what… you move on to the next stage of preparation for the next moment that will be over, too? How about forgetting about the “there” and focus on the “getting there.” Not how you’re going to get there, but what the getting there is all about. The things you experience, see, learn, hear, smell, feel, etc. Because eventually, the “getting there” is over, divulging the “there,” and when that’s over, if you’ve missed the beauty and graciousness of the “getting there,” you’re left with nothing but an empty need to find the next “there.”