Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Cyber Journey OR Why Steve Perry is the Greatest Lead Vocalist of our Time

During downtime at work, I like to read various blogs and columnists which inevitably lead me to a series of other cyberspace destinations. One of my favorite columnists is ESPN’s Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. Simmons is a Boston sports freak, so it’s quite pertinent to my daily life in Beantown. Anyway, I was poking around on his weekly links, and one of them directed me to VH-1’s Best Week Ever website and Michelle Collins' entry on Patrick Swazye’s faces in Ghost. Considering that the column was timed hours before his illness was made public, I wanted to see what other odd feats of clairvoyance Ms. Collins had. What followed changed my world forever. Ok, maybe not forever, but for the next few hours. I found this post detailing the impending super-tour of Heart, Cheap Trick, and one of my personal favorites: Journey.

Anyone who has known me for the last six months has probably heard my theory that Steve Perry, former lead singer of Journey, is the greatest lead vocalist of our time. Now, I will readily admit that Journey is probably not the greatest band, but one cannot deny they have made amazing contributions to music culture that are still being felt today. Take the underdog anthem, Don’t Stop Believin’ or their love song to their hometown and recent Deuce-Ans destination, San Francisco in Lights. And let’s not forget the timeless classic power-rock ballads, Open Arms and Faithfully (Ans doesn’t know it yet, but Faithfully will definitely be played at our wedding, if not our first dance. Even the hardest of hearts crumble with the kicker, “I’m forever yours….Faithfully.” Waterworks, I tell you). While the band has enjoyed considerable success, I posit that Journey has carved its place in history with Steve Perry’s voice. I am basing this claim on four categories: emotive ability, the ability to stand out, image, and imitation factor.

Emotive Ability: One of the things I like about Steve Perry is his ability to get a feeling across through the tone of his voice while maintaining a down-to-earth grittiness. It’s melodic and moving coupled with that Springsteen-like growl. Something about it is believable, but primitive. The accessibility builds a connection with the listener, allowing them to relate to the song, but also maintains the aural aesthetic. I’m disturbed at how much it sounds like I have a man-crush on Steve Perry, but I think I’ve made my point.

Ability to Stand Out: Bono has the Edge, Axl had Slash, Mick Jagger has Keith Richards. Quick, name someone in Journey other than Steve Perry, and Randy Jackson doesn’t count. I bet 98% of people can’t. That’s because Steve Perry WAS Journey. He was the reason people bought their records. But hold on, because the mark of a good lead vocalist is that they need the band too. Steve Perry may have thought he was hot shit and went out on his own, but without the rest of Journey, he kind of flopped (except for Oh Sherry. That was a good song). There are a lot of great male vocalists, but not many that are willing to put their pride aside and be a part of a band.

Image: Steve Perry’s fashion sense is impeccable: mullet, clothes, facial hair. Can’t lose with that.

Imitation: There have been three lead singers of Journey post-Perry. All have been chosen based on their ability to mimic Perry’s style. The highest form of flattery is imitation. And not many people can do Perry well. He has an amazing range, and as mentioned before, great quality. Check out this comparison.

Because of Perry’s excellence in these four categories, I feel he has a strong case for greatest lead vocalist of the last 30 years. The only other contender in my opinion was put forth by Official-Best-Friend-To-Be-Given-An-Internet-Name: Freddie Mercury. Actually the more I think about it, I really think it’s close. Oh and there was this wedding band guy I saw in October. He was really impressive too.

In truth, the real reason I got really excited about the new Journey tour is that the new lead singer is Filipino. Represent. And he’s good too. I’m a little jealous, though I would be more jealous if Randy busted out the bass to tour with them too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Dear California,
Thank you for being so wonderful to Deuce and I this past weekend. It was a short visit, but I just can't shake you quite yet. I'm still high on your mid 60 degree weather, lilac bushes, and sunshine. The only regret I have is the fact that I can't keep your UV ray kisses from peeling off my nose.

I've been told that you were exceptionally kind to us this weekend, and that your true March behaviors are not as cheery or warm as we witnessed. I think that maybe you've just never been so damn needed or loved before by two East coast snow birds, and this was your way of thanking us as we pumped money into your pockets. I know you have faults; high real estate and gas prices, and fewer walkers, more drivers; but we have friends that rent in your cities and have cars, so you are forgiven. We do love you dearly.

Now, I'm back at work; procrastinating, and wishing that the wind was about 30 degrees warmer, rather than the 30 degrees it is, as it blows garbage under the feet of people who are holding on to their scarves and hats, desperately trying to stay warm. I can understand why 20% of the US population lives within your borders, dear Cali. I do have to say that I'm pretty much sold on your clean streets, weather, and waterfront views, but wish you were in closer proximity to our lives on the East coat. It's ok though. You are only a short 6 hour flight away, given that Chicago doesn't come between us, interfering with violent winds or freak snow storms, and postponing our reunion. Stupid bitch.

So, until next time, my friend, I will think of your blue skies, fresh air, and in-and-out burgers. Thanks, again. Love, Ans.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm an Illusion

Did I ever tell you the story about the crazy lady who told me to (and I quote), "At least grow some breasts"? No? Good, let me tell you about a sunny Saturday afternoon in early February of 2008. I was casually walking from the gym, heading due East towards my apartment. Coming towards me I noticed a short, stout woman wearing a blue coat and what appeared to be a black helmet. Squinting already (because of the brilliant, BRILLIANT sun facing me) I strained my eyes further to see if I could make out what was really heading in my direction. It was a woman, she was wearing a blue coat, but as she neared I saw that it was not a helmet atop her head, but a very sculpted bob cut that was dyed jet black. Curiously enough, she had also dyed or left untouched, white wisps of hair just above her ears. She liked it, I thought. That's great. Granted, only 10 seconds had passed since the first sighting of this elderly woman up to this point, but I had already begun to think about something else. Probably food and a shower. "But which to do first? Food, definitely food," I thought to myself. "Oh, and look, here is that woman just about five feet away from me now. I should smile and say, "Hi." on this lovely afternoon. Just to be nice, you know, because I'm a nice person." So squinting because of the still brilliant sun in my face, I gave her a half smile and a nearly silent "Hi." Now, Lord, if I had known, and I should have known at that point because I immediately got this sinking feeling in my stomach as I saw her face nearly melt off, that she was going to say what she said, I would have prepared myself, and had a more witty response. However, when someone belts out, "No lesbians. NO LESBIANS!" behind your back, it is shocking and I stopped in my tracks. Dead stop. "WHAT?" I responded. She retorted, "At least grow some breasts!"

Yeah, ok, now this is where we pause, children. I was wearing a black pea coat, but even through that, let's be honest, the ladies are evident. Even my father admitted that that was a completely bogus remark to make about me and my chesticles, and my father is not the Joe Simpson type of dad. I had to laugh at this point. "Excuse me?" I walked on. However, about ten feet further down the street, fuming with confusion and dismay, I wanted to turn around and yell, but mute the world to all the children and their families nearby, "Oh yeeeeahhh! And all I want to do is get into your pants, you old bag!" But I didn't. Again, I'm a nice person.

This past Saturday, as Deuce and I were taking a walk, I spotted the helmet and white wisps! It was her. I looked at her, she looked at me, and woah. Deuce was on my right side, clearly a boy, a metro-boy, but still, a boy, and she looked at me - almost through me - and for a second I wanted to pull Deuce up to her and vehemently make out with him until she yelled, "No heteros! No heteros!" But we carried on, and my counselor boyfriend reassured me that she is crazy, and with the way she looked at me, that she probably thinks I'm an illusion. Ooo an illusion? Sweet.

Now, every Saturday I take this short walk from the gym to my apartment and have yet to see her again at that point, but on days when the sun is just right- just like it was that one memorable day in February- I have stopped, squinted, smiled and taken a picture of myself. And this has proven not only how "non-lesbian" (whatever that means), but more duped- as if I had been promised a chocolate bar, but was instead slapped in the face with an old, wet fish- I look after the gym. But trust, it's all an illusion. I'm just doing it for the attention I get out of the neighborhood nutsies.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Souping my Melon

I have to thank a friend's younger brother for that phrase. It makes no sense, but it feels so right. It's Friday afternoon and time to blow off a little steam. At the moment, this is what is souping my melon.

1) Links to websites that don't open in their own tab or window.
2) People who have loud cell phone conversations on quiet buses.
3) Wet counter tops and toilet seats. Gross. Warm toilet seats are equally disturbing.
4) Seated people who ignore pregnant women, the injured, and the aged on public transportation.
5) The smell oranges leave on my hands.
6) The nonresponsive. Whether dead or just an asshole, dealing with this always sucks.
7) The unafforadable. But I want it SO BAD!
8) Homework.
9) The hump I'm developing from sitting at a desk all day.
10) People who bitch on the internet. Woops.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day Dream

There's a small home with a yard; in a safe place. Rooms are flooded with sunlight and I'm ok with the dust particles I see floating, and the random strands of dog hair that have escaped the vacuum and found their way to the bottom of my socks. Strategically placed, there is modern, yet comfortable furniture that demonstrates a need for colors, design and tidiness, as well hopes of creating a welcoming, creative and relaxed environment. In the afternoon, shadows of tall trees outside fall across the wood floors, chairs, and tables. It refracts through glass vases and rainbow catchers. Years of collected artwork (some good, some not) hang in frames and a couple tasteful tchotchkes sit on book shelves and table tops with photos we've taken and have been given. An assortment of shoes in various sizes and coats lie rested and piled in the mudroom. A heavy, traditional oak table that seats eight claims its space in the kitchen. It is where we eat, play, talk, cook, and study. Initials are inscribed in the sides and corners of the table, where I may not notice, but every time I do it makes me grin. There is always tea in the cupboard, and jelly in the fridge. People like being here, and I do too.

It Begins...

People who know me know I'm a big fan of comic books, particulary Batman. Which is why I shouldn't be surprised that I found this with my mail yesterday:

It's a real life batarang. With sharp blades on the wings. And holes you can fit your fingers into and become Stabby McFisterson. Along with my new batmobile, its the first step to becoming a superhero.

I have a feeling it's from my landlord, who is really cool and would totally see this and think I would dig it (He'd be right). However, if it isn't my landlord, I may have to file a police report.

In other crimefighting news, I feel much better knowing that Ans keeps a tined kitchen utensil in her coat pocket for self-defense. You do NOT want to fork with her.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

How I Know I'm Old

Ans has been posting lists recently and it's got me thinking.

I've got a birthday coming. It's the big train at the end of the tunnel. Here's how I know I'm not the same springy, capricious youth I once was (in no particular order):

1) I refer to undergrads as "kids." To be more accurate, "fucking kids." Unfortunately, Boston is not a place to avoid undergraduates. They fill the T with their inane conversation, usually at a volume appropriate for nursing homes. They sit around at the gym occupying machines and apparatuses, barely increasing their heart rate as they stare at one another lasciviously. All I wanna do is get out of there as fast as humanly possible.

2) I'm asleep at midnight and wake up at nine...on the weekend. Back in the day, I could go to sleep at 2am a little tipsy and get up at 9:30am to play football. Now I have a hot chocolate at 9pm and I'm lucky to see midnight. Granted, a lot of this is Ans' fault. Not only is she the dominant one, but she's also the sleepy one. And she's a morning person, so I usually wake up from the weight of her stares.

3) Speaking of waking up, when I get out of bed, it sounds like I'm making popcorn. I do try to maintain some semblance of physical well-being. Yeah, maybe I eat too much, but I do exercise regularly. Three days at the gym and touch football on Saturdays, but it's taken a toll on me. I had my first physical therapy appointment last week. Apparently I have a weak core. That's right, I'm softcore.

4) I enjoy going to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. When I was in college, there was a Toys R Us across from a Best Buy. That was the mecca of commerce as far as I was concerned. Now I can't remember the last time I was at Toys R Us, but I freakin love BB&B. I don't know what it is, I find that place facinating. How many different kitchen gadgets are there? Knives, peelers, potato mashers, and melon ballers. Melon Ballers? Why the fuck do you need to eat melons in ball form? And the name sounds like porn. BB&B has also opened my eyes to a whole world of sheets. I had never known the ecstacy of high-thread count sheets until BB&B.

5) My friends are having babies. Recently, I reached a transition point in my life where a friend would tell me they were pregnant and my first reaction was no longer "Holy Shit, you're fucked." Now my first reaction is "Oh that's great, congratulations." The "holy shit, you're fucked" comes much later. Having a baby is great and I think everyone should go through that if they want to. On the sadder note, some of my friends are also getting divorced and that's really sad. No one should have to go through that.

6) My hairline and waistline are moving in opposite directions. Who doesn't love a little more skin?

7) I'm using out of date slang. I've had to make a concious shift to remove "phat," "dope," and "shitlickingmotherfuckingcocksucker" out of my daily lexicon. "Phat" and "Dope" had to leave cause no one says it anymore. The other one is more because I work with children. On occasion, I need to use to figure out what some phrases mean. Also a bad sign. Now excuse me while I jump in my whip and outrun the po-po.

8) I go places and I forget where I'm going. I'm sure I had something funny to say about this but I can't remember.

9) I forget names and faces of people I just met. Bad when you are constantly meeting new clients. It also makes it difficult in social situations. I know this is a problem when you get older because my parents always called me by my sibling's name. I have a sister.

10) The celebrities I thought were so hot when I was younger are now old. Christy Brinkley is 54. Sharon Stone is 50. I'd still do them.

11) This is most crushing but, I am now too old to be on the Real World or American Idol. I have dreamed a dream, but now that dream is gone from me.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Music for Baby's First CD

This is what I'm thinking so far:
1) Ruby Adeline Minnie Driver
2) Lullabye Billy Joel
3) Over the Rainbow Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
4) Darlin' Do Not Fear Brett Dennen
5) Something by Nick Drake
6) Heart of Mine Covered by Deuce
7) Sleep Kimya Dawson
8) Tree Hugger Kimya Dawson
9) Angel Ben Harper
10) True Love Mason Jennings
Not writing just lists? What?

Monday, March 3, 2008


Some of the blogs that I frequent have decided to post everyday for the entire month of March. The theme to follow is Lists. I am a compulsive list maker. In the diary that I occasionally write in I have graffiti-ed it with lists of recent happenings or thoughts, which are the result of the few minutes of consciousness I have before bed. I'm not going to post lists everyday, but I do have a few things that I have to write down before I forget.
List: Weekend Crazy
1) Sis'mores: My sisters met for the first time on Saturday, and there was confirmation that Dev smells like marshmallows.
2) Straining Odors: The girls in my family have a tendency to seriously misinterpret the lyrics to songs. Usually what we think is sung is much funnier than what is actually sung. Zilla will never be able to live down the day when she threw a little twang into her voice and enthusiastically serenaded us with, "He walked right through that straining odor, and put her in intensive care." Although with the southern drawl it did sound almost right, and I personally hate it every time I pass through a straining odor, the Dixie Chicks meant "restraining order." Funny thing. My aunt has put up a restraining order against a man who entered her home, smashed gifts he had bought her on her basement floor, and left what he could not manage to destroy in a box that read "FREE" at the end of her driveway. We'll take both, Officer- a restraining order and a straining odor. Just in case.
3) Typhoid Mary: My grandmother has not been well. I found out last night that she had not been able to walk for nearly 10 days because of a neck spasm. Not moving is not an option to my grandmother and this has warn on her morale a bit. The fact that she has also had a cold for EIGHT WEEKS that she cannot shake is also something that I have a hard time even typing without feeling my heart bounce off the floor and up into my throat. We suspect it is from my year old cousin who she watches one day a week, but who is then put in day care with other germ crawling petri dishes of nastiness called toddlers, the other 4 days. I just hope that with the help of family members who are not under the age of 10 or over 55, that she gets well soon!
4) Opposite day?: Deuce and I have pretty much decided that we're cool with hanging out together for the rest of our lives, but have yet to make any sudden moves that may disturb the Monstrous Contentous that keeps us in separate homes with separate bank accounts and grocery lists. However, a friend who has always sworn that marriage was as appealing to her as eating dog shit sushi left out over night with some cotton candy ice cream, has just spent the weekend looking for engagement rings with her BF of a year. Happy times, don't get me wrong! I'm pumped for her! However, this friend has also always detested birds and "goo" foods, such as ice cream, pudding, jelly, peanut butter, etc. and given the recent change of heart, I have a feeling now that her wedding doves will be released when they leave the chapel and that there will be a sundae bar waiting for me at the reception!
5) Pan's Labyrinth. Not about Peter Pan.