Feb. 9th, 2011


Feb. 9th, 2011 11:13 am
janradder: (crying)
--Woken up at 5am by my youngest who had a bad dream.

--Fell asleep at 7 or so to be woken by the alarm at 7:30 and the sound of thumping feet and shouting downstairs from the boys.

--Yelled at the boys for waking me up with their thumping and shouting yet again only to have them laugh at me.

--Spent the morning nagging Arie to get dressed, eat, brush teeth, and get ready for school instead of staring at his bare feet, or the empty bowl in front of him, or his reflection in the mirror, or the running water . . .

--Walked the boys to the garage and nagged them into the car only to discover that the car's battery died in the cold.

--Called Haddayr home to drive the boys to school.

--Drove the boys to school with Haddayr, then the two of us spent the next half hour pushing the car out of the garage over the ice so we could jump start it.

--Found that the kitchen window with the cracks running through it had finally broke completely.

--Carefully repaired the window with duct tape.

--Found out that the writing assignments I thought were due tomorrow were in fact due today.

And it's not yet noon.
janradder: (watt)
A Song I Can Play On An Instrument

Back when I was sixteen and first started playing in a band, my friend and I made it pact that we'd never play cover songs. Covers were all that the other bands at our high school played -- Steve Miller, Chicago, Traffic, Yes. Back then the idea was that if you wanted to play rock and roll you had to play note-perfect versions of someone else's songs. Like if you were learning to play guitar, you had to play "Stairway to Heaven" or the intro to "Roundabout, " and you had to play them exactly like they sounded on the records. If you couldn't, you shouldn't even bother to let anyone know you played because you were just pathetic. It's why for a long time I thought I'd never be able to play in a band. But that changed when I heard punk. WIth punk you didn't have to have the best chops, or know your scales, or even know what the fuck note you were playing or sometimes even if you were in tune. You just played. And you put everything you had into whatever song you were playing as if it were the last thing you were ever going to do in your life. And when you did, you played your own damn songs, which was why we never learned anyone else's. We felt pride in that fact, because we weren't following what someone else had done, and we weren't being like everyone else at our school. We were just being ourselves.

The thing is though, it's kind of fun to play other people's songs. In a way, when you do, you kind of make it your own. Quite a few years ago, long after I was in a band, I switched from bass to playing mostly guitar because, honestly, it gets kind of boring after a while to play bass by yourself. And when I did, I started learning covers for fun. I got a book of Beatles songs, and then I found a site that had tabs for every Hüsker Dü song ever recorded, and then a little later I found another site that had tabs for tons more songs, some punk and some most definitely not. One of my favorite covers that I learned from that site is the Who's "I'm One." To me, it's perhaps the best thing that Townshend ever wrote, though I'm more than willing to listen to any arguments for others. The way it moves from that quiet plaintive beginning to that explosive chorus and verse and then back again -- it's what Nirvana's Kurt Cobain only wished he could have done just half as well. And the alienation and that feeling of low self esteem that Townshend sings about is as honest and soul-baring as he's ever gotten. I love playing that song. I'm nowhere as good a guitarist as Townshend is, and I can't play it nearly as well -- my fingers really are too clumsy -- but my voice . . . man, I can sing the fuck out of that thing when I want. And I love how I feel when I am.


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