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:

Defleppardbeers

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:

deflepconcertt

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…

1990 and Cupcakes

I’m going with a spring 1990 vibe with my drivetime music right now. This replaces the spring 1983 thing I had going for the last couple weeks. Stop smirking, you’d be stunned how quickly Affair of the Heart and Human Touch takes you back to 7th grade. Or, if you’re currently in 7th grade like Rye, you’ll be pleased at the level of disdain and scorn you can heap upon your Dad while he listens. Anyway, spring 1990. Not only did it give us a classic like Steven Seagal’s Hard to Kill, we also had Warrant’s Sometimes She’s Cries and Whitesnake’s Now You’re Gone. And listen, nothing and I mean nothing, will disgust a 13 year old brainwashed into thinking Nicki Minaj and Rhianna are the pinnacle of popular music coolness than the vocals of Jani Lane and David Coverdale. And just so you know, it doesn’t matter how many times the phrase “Dad, can I change it” is uttered, Now You’re Gone and by extension, 1990, will not be browbeaten into capitulation. Because hair metal surrenders to no one!

That being said, there are things that you do simply because your kids ask. No parent is cold hearted enough to say no in every instance a “no” is in fact the right parenting answer. Hey, sometimes you suck as parent. I’m no exception. I’m not sure its worse when you’re a Dad with three daughters – meaning I have no hard data to prove it is a metaphysical certitude that Dads do head-shakingly absurd stuff for their daughters, but I suspect it’s the case.

While I have yet to learn or develop the skills and tactics necessary to apply make-up at dance recitals and/or performances, I did master the fine art of toe nail polish deployment on 6 year-old little girls. I have, on occasion, been unable to utilize the “tough sh*t” strategy when your 5th grader calls from school saying they left their clarinet/saxophone/violin/something else at home and would it be possible for me to detour my route to work and return home, retrieve said musical instrument and drop it off in the office at school. This morning however was the first time I went grocery shopping for a 7th grader at 6:30 a.m. I suspect it is probably not the last time.

Last night after leaving work early to pick up Bails and Kinz from school, a move necessary because I was consistently unable to get Bails to dance class on time due to tight time windows between school bus drop offs and dance classes, and after shuttling between Bails’ dance class and Rye’s two dance classes, and after picking up Kinz from softball practice, I’m lying on the couch drifting into and out of consciousness. Rye walks up and frantically lets us know that she just remembered she’s supposed to bring the ingredients for cupcakes to school tomorrow for class.

Now listen I don’t have anything against cupcakes. I like chocolate ones. I like vanilla ones. I like cupcakes that are chocolate and vanilla mixed together. They are loosely related to donuts and muffins and can at least attend the same parties as coffee cake. Its all good.

But I’ve literally been out driving around from 3:45 until about 7:45 and have driven past a grocery store at least 13 times. I’m not kidding about this. I looked at the map. I drove right past or was within a mile of a grocery store 13 times. Rye was in the car for at least 4 of those drive-bys. At no time did it pop into her head that she needed stuff for cupcakes. You know what did pop into her head? Telling me how much David Coverdale sucks. That’s what. But she has the steely resolve, I mean the self-absorbed audacity to ask me to drag my backside off the couch in the middle of the best Sweet 16 game of the night and go to the store to get crap for cupcakes. Cupcakes that I’m not even going to get to freaking eat! You don’t lay down some hateful smack about David Coverdale and Whitesnake and go and ask for a cupcake favor. I don’t care if the cupcakes are made out of beer, I’m not doing it. Seriously, though, if they had beer cupcakes I’d totally get the stuff to make those.

I mean I have already initiated the 40something night time total body shutdown sequence. With every passing minute it becomes more difficult for me to form sentences because the muscles that control jaw movement are asleep. Which, as it turns out, must be God’s way of making sure you can’t drop an expletive laced carpet bombing tirade on your kids. Kind of failsafe protocol for parents.

So naturally, we drove to the grocery store before school and picked up white cake mix, white frosting, vegetable oil, egg whites and those foil cupcake cup things. I’m assuming that when I see her this afternoon she’ll smile and let me know that it was all a false alarm and she didn’t really need the stuff for some reason. But that’s way a 13 year-old brain works. It develops at a natural rate until right about 7th grade and then it randomly works, malfunctions, works, shuts down, works and then regresses before finally it begins normal development again after college. It’s a lot like the career of Steven Tyler.

Top Spring 1990 Videos For You to Watch on Youtube:
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Rock of Ages Easter

I’ve made this argument before but Easter kinda gets left behind in the Holiday playoffs. Corporate America still hasn’t figured out the correct formula to commercialize it. My theory? Its day keeps changing. With Christmas and Halloween, it’s the same day every year. Regardless, Easter is about celebration and happiness. And candy if you ask the girls. But then again, they say the same thing about Christmas and Halloween.

Mom and I inadvertently added a good dose of hair metal to really make Easter rock this year. Why? Partly because of my floating day theory mentioned above and also because upon seeing Jersey Boys last summer, I remarked that it would be pretty freaking cool and far easier to get me to attend a musical if all the songs were hair metal. And it was okay to wear shredded jeans. So Saturday was a good lesson in being careful about what you say out loud.

Turns out Rock of Ages is a musical with nearly all hair metal. And, truth be told, live hair metal is pretty damn cool. A recorded David Coverdale introduced the show, in which he explained the glaring omission of Def Leppard songs. Def Lep wouldn’t give them the rights to their songs. Booooooo Joe Elliot. No explanation on the equally glaring omissions of Motley Crue and Tesla. Anyway, most of the time you just get the standard turn off your cellphones message. I’m going off memory here but we got this:

“Furthermore, please silence all cellphones. Text messaging during the show makes you look like a douchebag. And, if you have one of those “bluetooth” thingies in your ear… please, c’mon. You look like a dick.”

Its awesome because its true.

The story was pretty thin but who freaking cares! How many times do you get to hear Just like Paradise live? If you’re me, the answer is twice. July of ’88 Alpine Valley, Wisconsin and Saturday.

How many shows feature the narrator wearing a “Hooray for boobies” shirt? Or a set with a Meister Brau beer sign?

But I gotta say that Dee Snider would not be happy about the liberal use of the horns. I mean everybody in the show was flashing the horns at the end. And remember, it was a musical. Which means just about everyone in the show wasn’t metal. Just because you belted out a pretty good version of Here I Go Again doesn’t mean you get to flash the horns. Especially if you list “The Sound of Music” on your resume.

Inappropriate horn flashing aside, I call home to check on the girls at intermission. We left them at home, by themselves, the latest episode in our attempt to introduce independence and responsibility. Riley answers the phone.

“Hey Rye, it’s Dad. How’s everything going?”

“Really good, we’re just getting ready for our pedicures.”

“Um…………Ah………..try to stay in the bathroom and off the carpet when you do that.”

“Okay, talk to later.”

Show wraps up and we head home and discover that something is amiss back at the ranch. The girls rooms are not only clean but they actually used the putting away cleaning strategy instead of the pushing everything to sides of the room cleaning strategy.

No toe nail polish on the carpret. No one is crying. In fact, everyone is smiling. Kinsey and Bailey wiggle their fingers and toes in front of me….”look Dad, mani’s and pedi’s!”

C’mon man, I just heard I Wanna Rock live.

But before I could contemplate my future and the amount of nail polish it will contain, I was overwhelmed that the girls behaved while we were gone.

Reason?

Only thing I can come up with is that the combination of the joy of Christ rising from the dead and power of hair metal joined to create harmony in the universe.

Last thing – we’re at church Easter morning with our family and Mom’s sister and her family. Ten of us. At one point the minister calls up the kids for “Children’s Time.” Riley and her fellow 5th grade cousin obviously did not go up because they’re too old and cool for that anymore. Anyhow, the minister is asking the kids about Easter and jokingly asks if the reason they are all at church is because its “April Fool’s Day.” Kids all say “noooooooo, its Easter” and the minister says, “Hey, you guys know any good April Fool’s jokes?” My 2nd grade niece raises her hand and proceeds to tell the whole congregation:

“When your friend is sleeping, you can take their hand and put it in some warm water and then they will, um, wet their bed.”

If that wasn’t enough to make Easter memorable, she decided to use a brick and to help her retrieve a plastic candy filled egg placed on a window ledge at an altitude too high for her to reach. Result? Broken window.

My reaction? “Oh, please tell me that wasn’t Bails…”

Oh and just 37 people at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house this year for Easter…