Dear Jack: For Crazy Hair Day, You Chose to Be Green!

8 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

This past Tuesday, your class got to celebrate filling the jar with marbles, for good class behavior, by having Crazy Hair Day!

So before we left for school, I took you out to the garage and basically spray paint all your hair.

At first, I only sprayed the top, but you insisted I spray all of your hair, including all the back.

Looking back on these pictures though, I should have used the entire can; as there was still some sandy brown showing through.

Needless to say, you had a really fun day. And I’m fairly confident you’re going to be asking me to have green hair again!

Love,

Daddy

Tattoos Of Memories And Dead Skin On Trial

August 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm , by 

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

When I picked you up from school today, you had a giant sticker on your arm, like a sleeve tattoo.

You were pretty proud of it.

I asked you what the sticker said. Your reply:

“Pig! Pig! Pig!”

Evidently you were convinced that pink kitty was actually a pink pig.

I let you believe it.

Somewhat related was the little sticker on your chest of an open can of tuna fish.

When I asked you what that was about, you explained to me:

“I think it’s for the cow… he drinks it, maybe?”

There’s actually a pretty good chance that neither you nor I will ever really know why you came home with those extremely random stickers today.

(I’ll probably forget to ask your teacher tomorrow.)

But not so randomly, the event reminded me of what I consider to be one of the best songs ever written: “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” by Green Day.

It came out half my life ago, when I was only 16.

Here’s an excerpt of it:

“So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time.
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while.”

My interpretation of the song is that it’s important to appreciate the mundane, seemingly pointless, average days; as they serve as a bookmark to life… to the good ole days.

That we should do our best to capture these somewhat weird memories as they happen. And that we should also hold our current selves accountable to our former selves, in an attempt to apply what we learn from life.

(“Dead skin ” is a reference to the fact our bodies’ cells constantly are regenerating themselves.”)

So while certain days may seem like the most forgettable ever, I’ve learned that when you’re looking for it, there’s always something that made that day different than any other day you’ve ever lived.

For example, I’m sure nothing else amazing or interesting happened today in my life.

But you came home with these goofy, ridiculous stickers on you. And just by me capturing that fact in history, this seemingly mundane day stands out.

Honestly, had I not mentioned this event to you today, and made an effort to snap a few quick pictures of it, essentially it would be the same as if it never happened.

But it did.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

 

Hey Jealousy (A Retrospective Look Back at Grunge and Alternative Rock Music)

I’m gonna say it.  Despite the cliché, because it’s true: Music today just ain’t what it used to be.

I was born in 1981.  Junior high for me was 1993 to 1995.  High school was from 1995 to 1999.  And I say in all confidence that compared to the current generic decency of Nickelback and the outright douchebaggery of bands like Godsmack and Buckcherry, my generation of rock music was far superior.

Not that I have anything against the stuff they play on Jack FM (Phil Collins, Eddie Money, The Police, etc.) or my parents’ music (The Beatles, The Eagles, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc.) because I’m a huge classic music fan.  Just as I’m a Movie Guy, I’m absolutely a Music Guy as well.

I get it.  Every music lover out there seems to hold a warm place in their heart for the music that was popular when they were a teenager.  Here I am doing the same thing; I’m no different.  Those bands and songs are all attached to places, people, and stories from a time where I was “discovering who I was”.  Grunge and alternative rock makes up the soundtrack of my teenage years.

I clearly remember in 8th grade, after school getting off the bus several blocks too soon to visit the local music store (that coincidently was only open that year and the following year, when alternative music ruled the music scene) to purchase the groundbreaking Green Day album, Dookie (at the time, I was still buying cassettes, not CD’s).  From Janis Joplin to Santana to Dinosaur Jr. to Blind Melon, they had it all in stock.  Along with several racks of appropriate signs-of-the-times jewelry including, but not limited to, clay “shroom” necklaces.

What I remember most about that music store isn’t the name, being that I have no clue what it was called, but the smell.  Incense.  A sweeter smell than patchouli.  I can’t help but assume that the constantly burning incense had something to do with the store owners covering up a different smoke smell of their own.

When I hear “Ironic” or “Hand in My Pocket” or “You Learn” by Alanis Morissette, or “Today” by The Smashing Pumpkins (which I would have to declare as the official song of my teenage years), an emotional spark ignites in my brain, causing me to simultaneously travel back to 1995 and feel a rush of euphoria.

So maybe what exactly constitutes as grunge or alternative is a bit blurry.  Typically, the lyrics are abstract, weird, and sometimes bit creepy.  The guitars are layered with both “staticky” and “crystallized” effects.  Whatever it was and is, it makes me happy.  Long live grunge and alternative!

Since I released my top 25 favorite movies this week (Movie Guy, at Your Service: My Top Ten Favorites), I might as well attempt to release my top twenty favorite bands of the grunge and alternative rock era.  Yes, it is controversial, but on my list, Nirvana is not present.  Like Soundgarden, they were too depressing for me.  I’m judging these by their relevance of grunge and alternative music in my personal life.  This is not a list of my favorite bands of all time- that’s a different list altogether.

My Top Twenty Favorite Bands of the Grunge and Alternative Rock Era

1)     Smashing Pumpkins

2)     Oasis

3)     Green Day

4)     Third Eye Blind

5)     Live

6)     The Wallflowers

7)     Alanis Morissette

8)     R.E.M.

9)     Bush

10) Gin Blossoms

11) Counting Crows

12) The Cranberries

13) Matchbox Twenty

14) Weezer

15) Collective Soul

16) Red Hot Chili Peppers

17) Foo Fighters

18) Everclear

19) Pearl Jam

20) Better Than Ezra

Do you want to share your list with me?  Then do it!

Me in 1995, AKA "The Grunge Days"