Singularity

Ah, Monday morning and the sun has yet to rise in the east. It’s chilly in the Lost Apartment this morning, and as I steel myself for yet another day in the spice mines at the office, I am also pleased with how much I accomplished this weekend.–which wouldn’t have happened had there been parades. This week, of course, would be the big weekend of Carnival–with Muses and Orpheus and Bacchus and Endymion and Iris and so many, many others passing by down at the corner (well, not Endymion) and I would be trying to figure out how to get to and from work…so glad I don’t have to deal with any of that this year, quite frankly. But I do miss Carnival and the parades. I also have a long weekend coming up; Fat Tuesday is a holiday, so I went ahead and took a vacation day for Monday. Since there’s no distractions going on at the corner this weekend, I instead have four glorious days off in a row, which should help me get much further along with the revisions of the book and getting me that much closer to turning the bitch in.

I did wind up not working yesterday after all. I made groceries and then went to the gym; I was tired after that and repaired to my easy chair. I tried to read, but alas, was too tired and unfocused to get very far in what I was reading, so decided to rest for a while and take notes. This resulted into my falling into–of all things–a wormhole about The Partridge Family on Youtube; I don’t even remember how this came about, to be honest. I think a video was suggested to me, and after I got started down that garden path, there was no returning from it. This wormhole of course led me into music videos–clips from the show–and so forth; and who knew there was still so much Partridge/David Cassidy love out there in the world? (Shouldn’t really have been so surprising, really–look at how seriously the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys fans still take their devotion to those series books they read decades ago–there’s probably still some serious Leif Erickson and Shaun Cassidy fan channels on Youtube, with some significant crossover between Shaun fans and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew fandom as well.) What was really surprising to me was–despite not having heard the music in a while–how good it sounded. David Cassidy was a good singer–it really is astonishing what a superstar he was during that time period–and I could still remember the lyrics to a lot of the songs. I’ve always liked harmonies when it comes to songs, so I always enjoyed the harmonies, and some of the songs still hold up today. (I will not go far as to say the songs would be hit records again today) I had no idea their debut album peaked at Number Four on the charts, that they had so many hits–the first three albums went platinum; any number of gold singles–and listening to the music and watching videos took me back to those years. The Partridge Family spanned the time from when we lived in the city and moved into the suburbs; it finally went off the air when I was in junior high. My sister and I watched every Friday night, groaning our way through The Brady Bunch (even as a kid I thought it was juvenile and lame) as a sort of punishment for getting there. The humor/comedy/situations on The Partridge Family often wasn’t much better–sometimes the two shows used the same basic plot premises–but the concept behind it was so much more clever and original than The Brady Bunch, and it worked better.

And of course, as I watched the videos–there was a Biography, an E! True Hollywood Story, and so forth–I kept thinking about how weirdly Danny Bonaduce’s life has turned out, and then began thinking in terms of a novel about a similar type show in the past whose cast in the present day is trying to figure out why the one whose life took a Bonaduce-like turn did precisely that. He would be dead, of course, and some of the cast members would still be in show business and some would not; it would be one of the younger kids telling the story because their own memories of their time on the show would be vague since they’d been so young, and having left show business far far behind in their rear view mirror….looking into the dead one’s life would, of course, bring back memories of their own and remind them how glad they are to be out of the business now.

And yes, after watching I did make a Partridge Family playlist on Spotify. Sue me.

WE also started watching a show called Resident Alien last night, which was actually kind of clever. I think it airs on Syfy; we’re watching it on Hulu, of course–we only watch the Super Bowl when the Saints are in it, so I think we’ve watched perhaps two Super Bowls this century–and the other one I watched was when I was out of town visiting friends and we went to a Super Bowl party, and I don’t even remember who played that year–and so I suppose this morning congratulations are in order for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, good for you. Anyway, I digress. I think Resident Alien may have been a film? The title certainly seems familiar, but the premise of the show–which really boils down to ‘fish out of water’–features an alien creature who had a mission to earth, only to have his ship hit by lightning and crash in Colorado. The creature then kills a human and takes over his life while trying to find his ship–now buried in snow–and trying to avoid human contact. Of course he gets unwillingly dragged into human contact, and there’s a big surprise twist at the end of the first episode. Some of the humor is predictable–an alien with no idea of what humans are actually like learning to adapt and become more human-like in order to pull off the deception; this was first done really well with Starman in the 1980’s, starring Jeff Bridges–but it’s still funny. And the little remote town in Colorado is an interesting setting. We liked that first episode and intend to watch more; it’s quite engaging, and while it’s eminently predictable–he’s going to start liking humans and getting personally vested in them–it’s still very well done.

And on that note, tis time to get ready for work. Talk to you tomorrow!

Paparazzi

Memories lie.

There are things and moments from my childhood I remember completely differently from my parents and my sister, for example, or moments from early on in Paul’s and my relationship. My memories differ from those of kids I went to high school with, and those of my fraternity brothers. Memory and experience are always, of course, colored by our own internal beliefs, values, fears, and opinions; which is what makes being a crime writer interesting.

I remembered, for example, that we moved from the city out to the suburbs in the winter of 1969. I’ve always thought that was the truth; we moved to our house in Bolingbrook that winter and would have sworn on a stack of Bibles that was the truth. Imagine my surprise, during my recent visit to my parents, to hear both of them insist that wasn’t true and we moved out there in either the winter of 1971 or 1972; and I sat there, confused, and then a key piece of my history snapped into place in the jigsaw puzzle that is my memory: you were ten when you moved; your eleventh birthday was your first birthday in the new house so it had to be 1971. I’d always remembered that we’d lived out there for much longer than we had. We only lived in Bolingbrook for four and a half years; I was in the sixth grade when we moved and we moved to Kansas after my sophomore year ended.

Interesting, isn’t it?

I was rather startled the other day to hear that David Cassidy is in early stage dementia; David Cassidy was a part of my childhood, and it’s hard to remember the years when The Partridge Family aired without hearing their music in the echo chambers of my brain. The Partridge Family Album was, in fact, the first album my sister owned. She had one of those little portable record players that either ran on six enormous batteries or could be plugged into the wall, and she played the album over and over and over again. I didn’t mind because I kind of liked the music myself; and we watched the show religiously every week. My sister, of course, was madly in love with David Cassidy, who did nothing for me. (Even as a nascent gay child, my crush was Kurt Russell.)

Before buying that album my sister primarily bought 45’s; it amazes me that there are any number of people who don’t know what those are, or how you used to stack them on the record player, so the next one would drop when the previous one finished playing and the needle cleared out of the way, or the scratchy sounds from collected dust and/or scratches on the record that you could always hear in the background. David Cassidy replaced Bobby Sherman in my sister and her friends’ affections; Bobby Sherman replaced Davey Jones of the Monkees.

The show itself was pretty dreadful, really. The idea was derived from the Cowsills, an actual family musical group, and it was designed to appeal to young girls and hopefully sell some records; another prefabricated music group along the lines of the Monkees and the Archies. They’d never intended for “Keith” to sing lead vocals on the music, but David Cassidy auditioned and got the part and to their surprise, he could sing and had musical ambitions. (Alas for him, he became a huge teen idol but never got the rock stardom he always dreamed of.) His stepmother in real life, Shirley Jones, was cast as his mother, widowed Shirley who worked in a bank to support her five kids. (Jones was actually an accomplished singer herself, and had an Oscar for playing a prostitute in Elmer Gantry.) Even at the time, I didn’t think the show was funny, but it wasn’t as bad and corny and hokey as The Brady Bunch, which was admittedly a low bar. But I was delighted several years ago to discover that the Partridge Family’s music was on iTunes, and I downloaded some, out of a sense of nostalgia.

And it wasn’t bad. I downloaded more, and still listen to it from time to time. It’s glossy, well produced, and slick pop music, but it’s not terrible. It certainly holds up better than Shaun Cassidy’s hits or New Kids on the Block.

And am I ever glad I didn’t have to go into the office today. I am worn out, frankly, not sure how I am going to survive tonight’s parades.

Heavy sigh