Tag Archives: Disco

The Sound Of Silence

Unless you’re in a museum, you’re never going to hear the sound of a busy signal, or the hiss of a cassette tape before the music begins playing.

Even worse, you’ll never experience again the pure visceral satisfaction of ending a heated conversation with a numbskull by slamming down the phone handset into the cradle. Stabbing at the off section of a touchscreen just doesn’t cut it, no matter how straight you make the stabbing finger.

Change is an ever turning wheel, dudes, and as the wheel turns, it leaves many things behind.

And technology? Dudes, that stuff rolls by faster than almost anything else.

I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember the introduction of the modem into the general population, but, if you are, you’ll never forget the ooooppp-eeeeeppppp-squellllccchhhhh-bbbeeeoooooommmppp sound of it. The amazing thing is that we once thought it would be around forever. For such a futuristic movie, the Matrix got one thing really, really wrong (in addition to continuing on with two horrible sequels when it should have stopped after the first): It posited that the modem and its annoying connection sound was here to stay.

When Neo is disconnected from the Matrix and birthed into the real world, the sound we hear as we follow him down the rabbit hole is the sound of a modem connecting.

For me, one sound I’ll miss is the wak-wak-wak sound of typewriter keys hitting ribbon and paper. That’s a comforting sound to me as I used it in my profession for quite a while. Using a typewriter, we actually outputted the finished product the first time. There was none of this going back and editing as we were writing. You’d better get it right the first time, or be prepared to go back and retype the whole page.

Because you know the white out (or liquid paper) would never do a good enough job of erasing a mistake so it looked like it never happened. Every single keystroke. . . it meant something.

The ding as we reached the end of a line and slid the cartridge back to begin again. . . all gone.

And I couldn’t be happier. Sure, I miss the sound, but the actual process. . . the machine itself? Oh, heck no. I love being able to edit as I go, knowing that I can goof up and still not have it show. It’s so wonderful. So freeing.

It’s only the sound I miss.

And I’m not the only one, either. The good folks over at Wired Magazine have a nice little list of the tech sounds that are going the way of the modem and the typewriter. The only thing it’s missing are actual sound files so you can hear what you’ll be missing.

Easily rectified. Head over to FindSounds and just type in the sound for which you’re searching and — poof — there it is.

Time rolls on, dudes, and we all see things as they disappear. But then the wheel comes around again, bringing with it something new and unexperienced before. It’s a wonderful cycle.

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A Field Of Waving Hands

by Richard

Where did all that enthusiasm go, dudes? Where did it go?

For those of who aren’t following this bit of blog religiously, a little update is in order. As part of the growing up and getting out initiative, I’ve gone out and gotten a new job outside the home.

I’m currently a Title I Tutor at a local elementary school. I’ve previously talked about what a great school it is, full of dedicated teachers who are giving these lucky kids a fantastic education.

What really struck me this last week, though, was the kids themselves. For the most part, whenever a teacher asks a question she’s answered by a forest of upraised hands, most of them waggling back and forth like a hyperactive dog’s tail after he’s just discovered coffee-dog biscuits.

Seriously, dudes, these kids really, really, really want the teacher to call on them. Heck, even kids who don’t know the answer to the question are raising their hands, sincerely hoping they will miraculously find the answer once the teacher calls their name.

Is it that these little dudes and dudettes want the teacher to validate them? Because, to the young, the teachers and other authority figures are important, nearly as important as pleasing those same figures?

Or is it that the kids want to be seen as smart? After all, this is an elementary school, well before those times when being seen as the smartest kid in the room is a detriment. Do they actually want to be seen as knowing the answers? Do they care?

I’m not sure. All I do know is that they do want to be called on. They do want to answer the question. No matter what the question was.

There’s certainly no shortage of persistence in those rooms. If the teacher calls on one kid, the hands go down slowly and reluctantly, simply biding their time until the next question is asked and the hand can shoot up once more. And the kid who just answered the last question? Her hand is back up there with all the rest.

That, dudes, is enthusiasm, no matter the reason behind it. It’s a familiar lament, but if we could only bottle that enthusiasm and sell it to the old and the tired. Anyone older than 17, in other words.

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Sunday Serenade: Paradise By The Dashboard Light

by Richard

Meat Loaf — the singer, not the meal — is something that could only have happened in the 1970s. We were still coming out of our disco-induced haze, still hung up on overproduced shows featuring even-more-flamboyant-than-normal rock stars who tried to sell us on the idea that they lived not only larger than life but larger than we could conceive of life being lived.

So, into this scene stepped Meat Loaf. Born Marvin Lee Aday in 1947, Meat Loaf was a very odd choice for a sex symbol. Sporting more than just a couple extra pounds, adorned by very long, stringy hair, Meat Loaf loved jumping around on stage and mopping at his sweating face with huge white hankies.

Look, I just lived through the ’70s. I wasn’t in charge.

Anyway. Meat Loaf is best known for his Bat Out Of Hell trilogy of albums. Mostly, though, it’s the first one, titled simply Bat Out Of Hell. It’s got classics like “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth,” “All Revved Up And No Place To Go,” and, of course, “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.”

This song tells the story of a young dude and young dudette making out in a car, then breaks to a play-by-play of a baseball game still metaphorically talking about the incipient sex, and then the desperate wish by the dude to have never actually done the dirty deed because he couldn’t live up to his hasty promise to stay with her the rest of his life in return for sex then and there.

It’s a classic. Enjoy!


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