Unplugged In Frog Pajamas

love8So, I’m beginning to wonder if this plot of cyberspace to which I’ve relocated is built on a Native American burial ground. Since arriving here, life has pre-empted writing at several turns.

The most recent impediment was technologically related. I’m not exactly sure of the cause, but the laptop’s eyes rolled back in its head last week and the screen went dark.

So, for five days, we were plunged back into the dim recesses of the mid-‘90s. How essential the internet is to my existence was driven home. I spent the better part of the weekend maddeningly trying to identify an actor on an old episode of The Twilight Zone.

(I finally realized it was a young(er) Murray Hamilton, better known to me for his later role as the mayor of Amity in Jaws)

More disconcerting than having to spend eight dollars on a pair of Sunday newspapers, the computer issues caused grief and confusion beyond no internet access. No computer meant there was no writing aside from putting pen to paper.

Handwriting is such a foreign concept and uncommon occurrence these days that I was startled not long ago when I had to write something more than a short note.

As I studied the illegible scrawl, I wondered if I’d had a stroke.

I used to constantly scribble ideas and fragments in notebooks – some usable, some not so much. But, the scraps often provided a trail somewhere, sometimes months later.

Now, I tap things out on a keyboard and what is discarded is gone. If the fragments might have led somewhere, there’s no getting there as the map has been tossed.

As much as I have embraced the ease of writing on the computer, I do miss the charm of writing things by hand (the words usually overgrown with doodles).

But, the computer is operational again.

(thanks to the dogged efforts of Paloma)

And a rather grueling September is, thankfully, at an end.

Since I began the month with some songs from 1982, a time when music was beginning to matter to me, here are some from Billboard’s chart for this week that year…

Billy Idol – Hot In The City
from Billy Idol

I don’t remember hearing this on the radio much at the time. It wasn’t until the summer of ’83 that the stations popular with me and my friends played White Wedding into the ground.

Idol’s stuff was usually a mixed bag to me – give me Dancing With Myself, White Wedding and Sweet Sixteen, keep Flesh For Fantasy and Mony Mony.

Hot In The City is a keeper, though.

Gap Band – You Dropped A Bomb On Me
from Gap Band IV

I’ve never been a funk maven or R&B aficionado. Oh, I think some of it is marvelous, but it’s rarely been the first genre I dial up even though I own more than I realized.

Fortunately, in 1982, the most popular Top 40 station within range was one that, like most at the time, a listener could hear hits by Billy Idol and Air Supply and Journey and Kenny Rogers in the same hour. And, that autumn, Gap Band’s You Dropped A Bomb On Me was in constant rotation.

(although, thirty years later, I prefer Early In The Morning)

The Who – Athena
from It’s Hard

I have a Who t-shirt which, thanks to its being in heavy-wear rotation, I believe is becoming Paloma’s sartorial nemesis.

That said, I suspect that Athena (or possibly You Better You Bet) was one of the first Who songs that I knew. It’s not a classic, but it’s not bad, either, and, according to Wikipedia, Pete Townshend wrote the song for actress Teresa Russell, with whom he was smitten.

Rush – New World Man
from Signals

Rush, particularly the Exit Stage Left/Moving Pictures period, had a rabid following with the older kids in my high school (especially the stoners). Personally, I became a big fan during the Grace Under Pressure/Power Windows era.

But, I did dig New World Man and Subdivisions (also from Signals), both of which got a lot of airplay on the radio stations I was listening to at the time.

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3 Responses to Unplugged In Frog Pajamas

  1. whiteray says:

    My handwriting was never a thing of grace, but years of taking notes longhand at public meetings utterly destroyed any legibility for other folks who might find it. I, on the other hand, could decipher with astounding accuracy exactly what the notes told me about the conduct of those meetings, an ability that lasted only as long as it took to finish my stories about those meetings. If asked a month later to tell the story of a meeting from my notes, I would have likely have lapsed straight into revisionist fantasy. And now, after ten years of hand-writing nothing more than shopping lists – and not always those – it seems that the chickens whose scratchings I could interpret ten years ago have developed a palsy that make it impossible for them to be understood by any sane man. There must be a parable or metaphor in our increasing distance from, and the increasing complexity of, the tools of our communications.I’ll leave that for another, however, as it’s two in the morning and the more I write, the less cogent I fear I will be. Just suffice it to say that I have abiding respect for the writers in any year who write or wrote with only pen or pencil and paper. I cannot do that; I need my plastic appurtenance, and the thought of a period of days without it makes me shudder.

  2. Dane says:

    I used to love Athena and haven’t thought about it in years. Thanks for that. Glad to hear your computer is fixed – going through the computer DTs is awful.

  3. I can relate very much to that feeling of being marooned in a communication wasteland sans computer. It’s a tad scary just how imprisoned humanity has become to the very technology that is supposedly designed to give us more freedom. I sometimes picture myself as the archetypal gruff old man sitting on a park bench lamenting over those long lost days when life was simple and we didn’t need to pass three identity checks, provide eight passwords, and register a valid retina scan to walk through the door to our workplace.

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