Mips: frivolous notes of the Skyylark


Robert Pollard and his flying beer bottles

Last night, I felt like I was on the verge of getting really sick. (And I am now, thanks for your concern.) Thus, I went to a rock show. In my defense, I think the vibration of the booming bass cleared my sinuses. But I just poured myself a tall glass of orange juice, so I'm good to go.

So I went to First Ave. and saw Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices. Robert, or as he called himself, "Uncle Bob", is a fifty-something with the stamina, stage savy, and drinking ability of a twenty-something. He belted out tune after catchy rock tune for a good two hours, performing each one as though it were the first. His voice was in stellar shape, and it's very reminiscent of bands of the British Invasion. (Which is always good in my book.) I was impressed, 'cause I've seen rock shows where vocalists half his age grow hoarse after the second song. All the while, he smoked, swigged Tequila, spun his mic around like a lasso, and tossed beer bottles. What a pro. Great fun for all.

And I guess this ageless rockstar used to be a grade-school teacher. Needless to say, he's found himself a new fan.


If music be the food of love...

Due to a pleasant surprise, I am now officially a music teacher. As thrilled and relieved as I am, I'm also faced with a couple important questions: Will I have to start wearing bright red jumper dresses and embarrassingly chunky jewelry? Probably not. Oh Lordy, I hope not.

But that's not what concerns me the most. (Shocking, I know!) Throughout my college career, I was required to write numerous papers on exactly why I feel music is important to every child's life. And for years, even though I knew I wanted to pursue music for the rest of my life, I could never explain why. I usually spat out some over-dramaticized lecture on how music is the universal language. Which I still believe is true, but that's not why I spent four years studying, and another three going through a parade of rejected job-applications and interviews. So after seven years, I feel I must ask myself this same question: why music?

Music was like a second language in my house growing up. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't sing and dance with my family. And now, music has become just as natural in my daily life as sleeping and eating. And at times, it feels just as crucial to my well-being. I get crabby if I haven't sung for a while, much like I get irritable when I'm hungry or tired. I feel that where self-expression is concerned, music starts where language stops. It's just like that old quote, "Music is love in search of a word". Words can only go so far when expressing sorrow, anger, joy, celebration. When you hear Beethoven's 6th or Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, without a word you know exactly what they were feeling. It's also crucial to the reflection and movement of a culture. Can you imagine a movie, commercial, tv show, party, night on the town, wedding, funeral, etc. without music? Why should I deprive others of this amazing emotional and cultural outlet?

Kermit the Frog once said, "Yeah, well, I've got a dream, too. It's about singing and dancing and making people happy. It's the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with." Damn right. Cheesy, but damn right. So I need to stop over-thinking and just enjoy the fact that I get to do what I want to do. Why music? Why the hell not:)


Valentines, lunchboxes and such

Over the past couple months, I've come upon the realization that I'm growing increasingly out-of-touch with the culture that my students embrace. At times this makes me feel like I should start watching McGyver and going to Bingo every Friday night. But I'm honestly comforted by this revelation. I had always frowned-upon those teachers who desparately dangled to what ever shred of coolness they had left, and I refuse to join those ranks.
On a daily basis, I observe the familiar struggles that my adolescent students are going through, which are ten-times heightened now then when I was a tot. I adore my adult life and there is no amount of money that could lure me back into my childhood, as stable as it was. However, there are a few elements of childhood that I wish I could revisit for a day. Thus, my new list:

5 Things I Miss About Childhood

1. Valentine's Day: Spending V-day in the public schools is a blast 'cause it always reminds me of how great V-Day was when I was a kid. I'd spend about a week decorating my sad little shoebox with red construction paper and glitter, and I'd cut a card-sized slit into the top. When the big day came, we'd get to spend a whole afternoon playing games, getting our faces painted, and eating frosted, heart-shaped cookies. And even though everyone in my class was required to give me a Valentine, I just knew in my heart that the Scooby-Doo valentine from my current crush was extra special. No expectations, no heart-break, no bitterness. Just an afternoon of innocent fun.

2. Lunch Boxes. Do I honestly need to justify this one? I had a yellow, plastic Cabbage Patch Kids lunch box, and I thought it was the shit.

3. Energy: I don't ever recall being tired as a child. And when I was, I resisted the urge to sleep with full-force. I was the youngest of three kids, and thus, put to bed first. I was certain that once I fell asleep, the rest of my family would break out the ice cream, carnival rides, and zoo animals. And I would've missed it all. I'd get up at the crack of dawn every Saturday morning to catch my favorite cartoons. Getting up early wasn't a horrid task, it was a privilege.

4. Enthusiasum: when you're a kid, everything is new and exciting. I think that's what I love about working with kids. You get to re-experience the world through their eyes. I remember shopping at Target with my mom. And when we passed the stratigically placed bakery by the front door, I'd BEG my mom to by me a cookie shaped like Big Bird or Grover. Usually she didn't cave-in. But the day she was too tired to fight me, I'd get my cookie and it would be the best day ever! I can't remember the last time I've felt such pure joy from a mere cookie. I'd kill to feel that sort of enthusiasum again.

5. Black and Whites: this one needs a bit more explaining. When you're a child, complex concepts of the world are simple, black and white if you will. Good is good, evil is evil. God (without a doubt) exists, loves you, and wears a white robe and a great big beard (or atleast mine did). Athletes, Miss America, and the President are the nicest, least corrupt people in the world. Your Dad can beat up anybody. Your whole world is limited to your family, your neighborhood, and your school. And you're just fine with that. When you grow older, the black and white disappears, and is replaced with various shades of gray. Truths are revealed, and the world grows bigger and more complex with every passing day. Ignorance is bliss. That's exactly what made childhood life perfect: ignorance. And it was...bliss.

This is me twirling.