An Awesome Time Machine

Time travel is cool.  And thanks to the magic of Youtube it is possible.

I can’t be the only person who has sat down and watch an episode or two of Magnum, P.I. and Riptide on Youtube.  I mean c’mon, Nick and Cody lived on a freaking boat in L.A.! Nor can I be the only one who has watched the Monday Night Football game from October 20, 1980 between the Raiders and the Steelers when we all realized the dynasty was over.  And there’s no way I’m alone watching old MTV videos.  Now, don’t get me wrong, if given the choice I’m watching old NFL Films highlights all day.  And maybe a couple of the Riptide episodes when the all-female crew of the Barefoot Contessa were featured.  But if you really want to go back in time, go watch the videos.

Like this doesn’t take you right back to the May of ’83?

How about May of ’85?

May of ’87?

But here’s the thing, it is still just a video.  You’re not there.  Granted, you’re experiencing nostalgia at awesome levels.  Actual time travel, while elusive, is possible.  You can get there.

Again, if you went to high school or college with me in the 80’s and early 90’s, this might make some sense…especially after watching that Poison video.  Mom and I went to Def Leppard, Poison and Tesla a few weeks ago.  Five years ago we went to a similar version of this concert when we saw Def Leppard, Poison and Lita Ford.  The common factor – I mean besides the fact that Phil Collen is like 57 years old and still doesn’t wear a damn shirt – is going to these concerts is like experiencing an awesome time machine.  Its like you’re in one big giant DeLorean.  I love going.  Because just for a few hours, you’re back! Which, at our ages, is really all we can handle at this point anyway.

You get into the arena and you immediately do two things that you didn’t do in high school or your first couple years of college.  You go buy a couple of these:


That’s $18 worth of Miller Lite right there.  You need a salary and health insurance to afford these.  You don’t have that in high school or college.

Then you buy a $36 concert t-shirt because its freaking worth it. Here’s mine:


After you get your second 25 oz Miller Lite you head to your seats.  The first beer is a walking beer.  Meaning its the beer you drink while walking to get your sweet new concert tee.  Once in your seats I always take a look around at the folks sitting in my immediate area.  I like to know who will be rocking it old school with me, flashing the horns and belting out every single freaking lyric.  Who are my co-pilots on this awesome journey back to the late 80’s and early 90’s?  Also its good to get a feel for those who won’t be doing that so you have an idea who you are going to be annoying for next 3 hours or so.

Tesla is first.  I wanted to hear 4 songs – Getting Better, Little Suzi, Signs and What You Give.  Ending up hitting .500 as they left the stage without singing Getting Better and What You Give.  And I gotta be honest, it felt a little empty without hearing Getting Better. But…Little Suzi, well she’s on the up.  It was awesome.  And the only person who probably liked it better than me was the woman in the row below us and off to the right who was absolutely rocking.  She was belting out those lyrics so loud she was shaming the rest of us.  We became immediate friends.

When they hit the first few chords of Signs there was an impressive roar from the Gen X dominated crowd.  And we clearly – CLEARLY – preferred the unedited version as we sang, “So I made up my f*#&ing sign!”

Poison was next.  And Bret Michaels obviously understands who his audience is.  No messing around with their new stuff.  Listen, it was a good thing they can dial it back a bit with Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Something to Believe In because I probably would have needed to take a knee just to regroup.  Ride the Wind, Fallen Angel and then Nothing But A Good Time…I was exhausted.  I mean that’s A LOT of air guitar.  My fingers were cramping up.  Plus Nothing But A Good Time is synonymous with the summer of ’88…along with my sweet ’81 diesel Volkswagen Rabbit, Stroh Light and the Lakers going back to back.

Then Def Leppard.

DefLeppardSugarDef Leppard dominated my senior year of high school. Dominated.  Like Markie Post’s hotness dominated the set of Night Court.  Sure Micheal Jackson got in there with Man in the Mirror and David Lee Roth kicked our asses with Just Like Paradise and Arnold Schwarzenegger was in every freaking movie. Anybody else think they should remake The Running Man?  No?  Just me then. Anyway, point being Def Leppard was awesome in the ’87-’88 school year and they are still awesome. Armaggedon It is a like flamethrower showering us with late 80’s nostalgia.  Plus it melts your face off. Pour Some Sugar On Me hits you like city bus filled with all your high school memories.  Like the time my buddy Pete almost blew his finger off in the front seat of my car as he lit a bottle rocket that recorded a total travel distance of his side of the dashboard to mine and then exploded. Or The Longest Day (Feb. 27, 1988) when my buddies and I, allegedly, used fake IDs to load up at EJ’s Liquors to keep us hydrated throughout an entire Saturday.

It all hits you.  You feel it.  And for a few fleeting instances, you’re there.  You’re really there. And then you realize you’ve spent $54 dollars on a six pack of 25 oz Miller Lites and you have to be up early to make sure your 7th grader has a ride to school.

But it was still awesome…


StrengthsFinder and the Mall

Have you read StrengthsFinder? Mom did. Which means I have. It’s pretty cool and incredibly interesting. It has determined 34 talent themes and helps you understand your top 5. It’s a management tool. I think its also a marriage and parenting tool. Among my top are the context, deliberative, analytical and strategic themes.

Let me summarize: I understand the present by researching its history. I take serious care in making decisions so as to anticipate and avoid obstacles. I naturally spot relevant patterns and issues, have the ability to understand multiple factors that can affect a situation and develop possible scenarios and solutions.

Now think about how those strengths play out while the girls enter their teen years.

I agree. Not well. The possible outcomes of many teen behaviors are not positive. And, if you ask my folks, I experienced a few of them. Letting the girls learn by doing isn’t always my first choice. So we’re slowly introducing independence.

Riley and her friend Hannah went to a movie Friday night. By themselves. They’re both 11. I was going to movies with friends sans parents in 1981 when I was eleven. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Still awesome.

Hannah is the youngest of three so her Mom has already been through this. She was already off to a different deal when Mom and Rye picked up Hannah for the movie – Soul Surfer. We had a good weekend by the way. Thanks for asking. Bailey had softball practice Friday so we took the opportunity to practice fielding and throwing with Rye and Kinz. Then Saturday and Sunday I was able to get both cars washed and vacuumed (there is a burgeoning colony of hair bands and crayons thriving in the third row of Mom’s car) and then I spent most of both days outside reseeding a portion of our yard and chopping wood. I have a freaking sweet firewood pile for this fall and winter. Some white pine in there, a little maple, ash and big chunks of river birch. My neighbor, when he’s not running his fleet of 3 limos, has a tree removal and stump grinding business. The man knows how to wield a chainsaw. Plus he has a trailer the size of a small barge so all the left over brush/crap left the yard too. Once that seed comes in, it’s going to look pretty awesome.

Anyway, I picked up my daughter from the movies on Friday night for the first time. I debated just pulling up alongside the exit like most of the other parents and waiting. That however requires deft timing and an absolute disregard for other movie goers and mall patrons. The theater is in the mall. Next to restaurants. So it’s a pretty active area on Fridays. Plus there is a hat store pretty close to the theaters. And they just received a shipment of throwback baseball hats – Brooklyn Dodgers, tri-color 70’s and 80’s Orioles, 70’s Braves (although I’m still not over the ’92 NLCS so nothing Braves for me), 80’s Brewers, Mike Schmidt-era Phillies, early 70’s Pirates. Still waiting on the mid-80’s Mariners and the orange Astros hats. So that means I decided to park, check out the hats, and wait.

Just an observation but the mall on Friday, especially any area which combines a food court and a movie theater, can be accurately and without exaggeration be described as hellish. It’s awful. Pre-driver’s license teen hell.

Seriously what’s with all the hugging? It’s been what? Three, maybe four hours tops, since these girls have seen each other? “Omigosh, I haven’t seen you since 3:00! Ahhhhhhh!”

You look around and the sheer number of them is disconcerting. Not really frightening because there is no way they can organize themselves into units capable of doing any major or sustained damage. But its just a bit unsettling. And I tried, I really did, not to have that look of complete disdain as I maneuvered my way through that range of mall territory that is sort of between the food court and the theater. But then you enter the food court. I know these teens have brains larger than ants but if you watch their traffic patterns you very quickly recognize something similar to watching ants travel and how these kids walk. Indistinguishable.

Which means if you need to work on your peripheral vision or planting and cutting in rush hour traffic skills, this isn’t a bad place to work on it.

Made it to the hat store but decided against getting that vintage Orioles hat. Deal breaker was it had “1988” stitched onto the back. Nothing against 1988, it was a good year. David Lee Roth came out with “Just like Paradise”, the Lakers beat the hated Pistons and we were introduced to Sexual Chocolate in Coming to America. But 1988 was also the year the Orioles started 0-21. I buy that hat and who knows what kind of loser karma starts rubbing off on the Steelers and/or Cyclones. I’m already a Pirates fan. I don’t need any help when it comes to bad karma.

So after a return dash through the nightmarish abyss of the teen-infested food court, all that was left to do was wait for the girls outside the theater. Without looking creepy. I was a little self-conscious that I might be the only Dad actually waiting inside the theater. Thankfully, I wasn’t. Evidently, it is not uncommon for Moms to use the theater as a Friday night babysitter while they shop. There is a waiting area with 6 or 7 tables and they almost all filled with Moms and Talbot’s bags. There was one other Dad who was there on pick up duty but I didn’t notice him until the movie let out because he was in the game room off to the side playing video games. Not a bad time killer. I followed the Pirates-Rockies game on my phone.

Turns out I’m not the only one who thinks teenagers are weird. Rye and Hannah came out, told me how good the movie was and then casually mentioned that teenagers are “just weird.”

“And, Dad, the girls behind us kept kicking our seats.”

“And texting. Geez, they had a message up before movie about not texting too.”

So at least Rye and Hannah are rule-followers and not rule-breakers…for now…

And before I forget – my top 3 songs from the spring of ’88:

1-Just Like Paradise
2-Nothing But a Good Time
3-Man in the Mirror