Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Anniversary thematic motifs

Yes, yes, yes . . . I know, a motif is thematic by nature but I couldn't resist being redundant in my subject title. Don't ask why, it's just better that way.

Anyway . . . moving along . . . today is the third wedding anniversary for my wife and I. I have enjoyed these three years and look forward to a few more (just kidding, I look forward to many more but it's all a manner of how long she'll put up with me). I have a particular observational gripe, though, that I thought I might vent here.

Anniversaries are broken into yearly thematic groups. For instance, 1st anniversary is paper and 2nd anniversary is cotton and so on. This may or may not be the traditional association, as there are many interpretations and modifications to this, a simplistic capitalistic ploy to make married people spend even more money.

The 3rd anniversary, or so I have been led to believe, is . . . (drum roll) . . . leather. Yes, that's right, cow hide. Uh huh. The other two were understandable and even workable. Leather, mind you, does conjure up images in the mind but not ones I tend to hold close when I'm thinking about my anniversary. I also knew that the whips, dominatrix motif would not go over well with my wife. We're sensible folk, you see.

I say the whole thing should be re-done so the thematic items are more practical and sensible. I say something like this:

1st anniversary: cash (as in, receive it from other people)
2nd anniversary: car (same as above)
3rd anniversary: nice tool set, with a good selection of sockets for a ratchet (to keep the car running)

and so on . . . which might mean that the items become something like stainless steel, vulcanised rubber, tempered polyurethene plastic and so on . . .

Eh, it's just an idea.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Iconic tragedy

As some of you might know, I'm a fan of the classic (perhaps VERY classic) Marvel superhero Captain America. Now, say what you want about him and cast all the derision you care to as it will not change my mind. Cap has undergone some serious changes since his first appearance in March of 1941 . . . if you really care for the research low-down, Wikipedia has a fantastic article here.

So, being one of the true founding members / characters of the now massive Marvel enterprise (the folks who have brought you Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, The X Men, Daredevil and so on) you would expect Steve Rogers / alias Captain America to receive some credit and accolades for his 66 years of hard work.

Yet I found out some of the saddest and cruelest news today: Captain America was brought down by two assassin bullets in issue #25. This news is big enough to garner CNN coverage, USA Today and even Howard Stern. I, like many others, cry out "WHY HAS THIS BEEN DONE?!"

I guess if Cap had to go out some way it's best he go out defending people's rights. Yet, he was shot down on the steps of a federal court house . . . not once, but twice.

This is a heavy blow to me because this is one of my childhood heroes . . . imagine Optimus Prime killing off the Voltron team (the original guys in the lions, not that car crap) only to be cut to bits by the Thundercats who are later obliterated by He-Man and his crew who . . . well, you get the picture. Needless to say I am not happy and do not like it one bit.

For those of you who are interested, here's a picture of Cap fallen on the court house steps:

Now, through some clever researching and following up (seeing as I no longer collect the comics and graphic novels, the last one I purchased being back in 1994 or 1995 if not earlier) I was able to dig some things up regarding this "death":
-the comic never shows Cap dead in any frame, only mortally wounded
-another superhero, Ms. Marvel, states that Cap is not dead but "...tucked away safe on the Raft... They're trying to save his life even as we speak". (Wikipedia article on Captain America)

So, is this a clever ruse to pick up sales? If so, I still disapprove. One of the most legendary heroes of the Marvel universe being brought down like some celebrity rapper from a drive-by. It makes him look like a chump if you ask me. Other heroes, when they've died, have had magnificent opus-claiming death scenes (like Superman). Not Cap. No, he gets shot like a simple victim of violent crime.

All stop here before I get too worked up to make a coherent sentence. For those of you interested, here is another link I use to stay abreast of Cap news:
"Captain America-The Web Page"

Long live Cap . . . wherever he is . . .

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mr. No Rhythm goes into the world of music . . . maybe

I realised some time ago that I had not blogged for . . . well, some time. This is largely due to the keen observation powers of my wife and a few good friends (those of you who actually read this thing).

So, viola! Here's a new blog entry. Let's make believe it hasn't been since November '06 since I last did an entry.

The school I work at recently received a much needed shipment of instruments for our students. In the shipment was a clarinet, which I was excited to see and have now taken home with me.

Let me explain some back history here:

Way back in year 7 and 8 in school (oh, 1990 or so if my mathematical skills hold up) I was in the school band and played the clarinet. Not the base clarinet, just the normal "Benny Goodman" looking type. As you can tell my knowledge of my instrument has faded some.

I learned to play on a rather nice, antique instrument that my father also learned to play on. If I'm not mistaken it was made of rosewood or some other beautifully sounding and appearing wood with silver plated keys. The instrument, as I remember it, was an impressive sight.

After ceasing lessons in year 8 I didn't pick up the instrument in a few years and even then only rarely just to put it together, to play a few notes and such and that would be it.

Fast forward to now . . . 17 years have passed since my last official lesson. My passion for the instrument resurged when the music teacher at my school recommended that I, even in my utter lack of talent, join the staff soul band. I agreed on condition that an instrument be procured for me and I receive lessons. Well, the conditions have been partially met with only lessons to be formalised.

I'm now the holder of a black acrylic body, stainless steel key standard Yamaha clarinet. According to some websites it's a very good beginner instrument as it is sturdy and forgiving. Well, that's good. My dream, though, is to have my old antique beauty shipped to me from back home in the States. I hope that it is still in good condition as it was re-conditioned when I began playing it. Will those years (at least 10) of little use and much storage have slowly weathered away the pads, slowed the keys or made the cork rings crack?

Anyway, wish me luck on this (my newest) adventure.