Friday, February 22, 2008

DJ Jazzy JoBiv

Last night I helped out my Canuck Melissa with a wee project. She's running an event (a benefit gala) for her work and needed a soundtrack. Now, last year we developed a short album of carefully chosen songs that would bring people in for hors d'oeuvres and then kick them out at the end of the event. I sat and wrangled tracks from all over my CD collection, flexing and stretching to appease the client.

This year, I was prepared. Having lots of time on my hands these days (artificially, anyway), I put together 38 tracks of possibilities, choosing with Canuck's pickiness in mind. The songs had to be clean, classic, and not too adventurous. I, of course, insisted on putting in a few gems that she simply had to hear, 'though I knew they wouldn't make it to her compilation.

So after two hours, two bowls of homemade chili, two pudding cups and too much music, she walked away with three perfected soundtracks, hand-picked and groomed. Some great things got left out (my favorite version of Chet Baker's "My Funny Valentine" got blacklisted for its extensive, but I think understated, drum solo) but some greater things will get an introduction (Madeleine Peyroux, Jamie Cullum - new school meets old school).

All of this is to say that I was shocked at how happily I drifted off to sleep last night, completely immersed in my music. I was full of my expert status and gleeful after sharing music that's informed my vocal personality (including non-vocal tracks, mind you). The silly thing is, I forgot about this. I forgot that I'm good at something. Or some things. I forgot how good it feels to share and teach the things that make me passionate.

Let me cling to it a little longer. There has to be a way to use this in my life, right?

Monday, February 11, 2008

i rambini

Bizarro Sunday…

On my way home from a sad, painful little shift at the Bux, I wound up on the T across from two teen-aged boys. At first I was zoned out, buried in thoughts of how to initiate a few big discussions with various people (my manager, therapist, surgeon, roommates…) and was shocked out of my anxious meanderings by mention of guns.

“He’s got this rifle that’s like old Civil War but like way better and it reloads faster and the bullets are like made with…”

Inspecting the kids from across the aisle, there were no outward signs that they’d be in much contact with firearms. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the whiteness, the abercrombie-ness, the general we-live-in-Brookline quality was baffling to me. And they would. not. shut. up.

“… And there’s this gun where like the bullet’s like this big (gesturing with hands to the rough size of a basketball) and you can only shoot one and it’s like all your ammo for like weeks but it like tears shit apart and then you can’t shoot it for like a month but it’s like this big…”

What? Video games maybe?

“…he was just in the Airforce which, like, they don’t even have real guns because they don’t shoot people like Marines, so I don’t think he even saw a gun but there was this cool one that this Marine kid had and he can carry it anywhere and wouldn’t it be cool if I got a gun and I could...”


This reminds me of my mother’s take on the Second Amendment. Her theory is that the founding fathers would be overjoyed if those who still insist on upholding this particular amendment may only do so in an historically accurate manner. That is, they may carry 18th century bayonets, which are impossible to aim, take about five minutes to reload and require such constant upkeep that really, how much damage could a person do with one? I don’t think this argument is particularly helpful, but charming thought, no?

Anyway, the Gun Fiends got off at my stop and lurched behind me for most of my limp home. My rough estimate on the time invested in their deep conversation… twenty minutes or more. On GUNS. This is the kind of instance that makes me think that I could never write convincing enough characters for a good novel because my brain would never conceive of a person, much less TWO people, who could sustain that kind of conversation for more than five seconds. I'm (appropriately) blown away.