Give me a nice, smooth concrete surface and just 30 minutes and I can entertain myself thoroughly. Just such an occasion arose the other day, when I slipped on my Vans and hopped on my skateboard, taking to the street right in front of my house. It's a recently resurfaced road at a fairly steep incline, which delivers sudden acceleration and ample opportunity for kick turning from curb to curb on the way down. The experience is exhilarating, invigorating … totally radical. More about my street-surfin' ways here.
The kids and I worked up a rendition of the popular Black Eyed Peas tune, I Gotta Feeling, and coerced mommy into capturing it on video. My little ones sound great, don't they?
Ever since my friend Clark passed away a few months ago, I've been recalling our extraordinary, carefree days playing rock music together in the 1980s. Traveling back home to North Carolina for his memorial service was emotional and unsettling, but it also afforded me the opportunity to reconnect with the remaining members of our old band, the Vanguard. (Pictured to the left is one of our promo shots from 1985.)
Nothing will ever compare to the exhilaration of writing songs, performing and just plain rockin' out with these guys. Our recent evening together, playing through some of Clark's songs and launching off into a few inspired improvisations, reminded me of how powerful our bond is and will remain.
The experience also prompted me to dust off a few newspaper reviews of the Vanguard, a project we poured every ounce of our energy and creativity into and which still stands as a defining phase of our lives.
"The Vanguard, Winston-Salem's sole entry on More Mondo (a compilation album of North Carolina bands), delivers a nice surprise, a pure and simple love song. Though it is a bit busy at times, Waiting Game has an indelible melody and is a fun, powerful and smart song." (Winston-Salem Journal)
"Their August 15 show at Ziggy's (like all their shows, for that matter), was airtight: well-rehearsed, well-groomed and very well-received." (Spectator)
Want to hear the Vanguard? The four original songs below were recorded in one session on March 15, 1986, with producer Mitch Easter at his studio in Winston-Salem, N.C.
My son and I enjoyed an Orlando Magic game last night from the upper level of the Amway Arena, with tickets courtesy of Santa Claus ("my best present ever," said the little guy.) Below is a narrative of the action delivered by my 7-year-old and edited only slightly by Guitar Dad.
"When we were walking inside, we saw a blimp in the sky. My heart was just pumpin'. We sat in the very back row, at the very top of the upper bowl. There were a lot of people there. Next, the Hawks got clobbered (Orlando played Atlanta.) It was 66 to 37 in the second quarter, and at the end of the third quarter it was 91 to 60. The final score was 113 to 81. Me and my dad had a lot of fun. We got a Sprite and a pretzel and beer for my dad. It was a cool game, really cool."
The highlight for me was seeing my son so inspired, so pleased. Sure, watching the action on the court was fun, and the electrifying energy of a live NBA game is terrific. But there's nothing like seeing a kid so moved by an experience. His first words after rising from bed this morning were, "Don't you remember when we whupped the Hawks last night?" In fact, he's jumping around the house right now shooting "air" three-pointers. I better start saving now for season tickets.
It's a new year – a new decade, too – and there's no time to waste in chasing our resolutions. You have resolutions, don't you? I sure as hell do. And not just one. Below are my 10 – count 'em, 10 – New Year's resolutions, all of them quite important goals if I do say so myself:
1. Drink less soda
2. Eat more spicy food
3. Jog farther and faster
4. Play a lot more basketball with my son
5. Partake in more princess tea parties with my daughter
6. Make sure my wife always knows how much I adore her
7. Call my parents and brothers more often
8. Get promoted at work
9. Become even less interested in politics
10. Pay far less attention to the Tiger Woods scandal
Obviously I have my work cut out for me, especially with No. 10, so I better stop typing and start working. Best wishes for success with your own 2010 resolutions. As Benjamin Franklin proclaimed, "Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."
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