Category Archives: General Word Vomit

I am the brain, some say insane

Time Magazine has released a 25 Best Blogs of 2009 list.

I, of course, am not on it. It’s my own fault really; I’ve steadfastly refused to play nice in the proverbial sandbox since my start as a blogger years ago. And that’s fine, especially considering that I appear to lack every single aspect from the blogosphere’s top elements for relevance.

Case in point: in 2009, I:

1) Did not get pregnant, give birth, or become a parent. It seems as though every chick who has gotten knocked up fancies herself a writer these days. Belching out children is amusing enough I suppose, and yay them for that whole launching a new life thing and all, I’m just not convinced all these blathering “momversations” make for anything other than weathered cautionary tales. A chick like me can only read so many botched episiotomy stories, excruciating toilet training soliloquies, and “vaccinations equal retardation” arguments before she logs off permanently and schedules an emergency appointment to double her birth control.

2) Could not name a single prime time network TV show. Oh, I’m not so pretentious as to claim I didn’t watch any television – I caught episodes of Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm whenever I could, I just (wrongly) assumed that they mean nothing. Silly me. If Time believes that recounting the plotlines of television shows (written by someone other than the blogger) makes for a stellar blog, who am I to fight it? Perhaps in the new year I will begin documenting every single episode of Man Vs. Food until I see the one I crave, where what’s-his-name finally succumbs to the ultimate competitor: his heart.

3) Failed to appropriately comment on the economy, politics, and celebrities. Name dropping, be it celebrity, cultural event or news story, seems to be the biggest blog seller on the Internet. It’s always been my policy to opine only when I have an actual story to tell, and since the online world seems to think in 180 characters or less, I fear it may be time I rethink my writing. Instead of relating the story about how I was nearly run over when an overly self important musician darted into his awaiting limo and sped away, rather than saying hello to the only two people waiting in the backstage alley for him, I should instead just write, “Davy Jones is a gay, douche nozzle, ass monster.”

4) Refused to link to other blogs, articles and web sites. According to Time, to be a “best” blog, one need not have original content. All one needs to do is create a dumping ground of links to other sites. I can have shiny object mentality, too – and swear to soon create my own “Links Not Language” blog.

5) Avoided interaction in comment forums. The real content of a blog isn’t so much in its posts, but in the comments people leave about them. That’s where a blogger can really flex her writing muscles: nothing says “future Pulitzer winner” like a two-paragraph tirade that includes gems such as, “U R a donkey sucking hoze beast thats’ goin to hell. I don’t start shit on boards but ur too stupid to know it.” Sadly, my fondness for punctuation, grammar and not verbing letters or numerals would brand me a “noob” the second I poked my nose into any comment forum – I’m best leaving that to the professionals.

I suppose I’m coming off as a bitter writer throwing sour grapes, and I’ll admit it: I am. Half the blogs on Time’s list weren’t even blogs by the traditional “web journal” definition, but repositories of random links and jabber-inducing headlines by people who are too cheap to dish out the six bucks a month for a real website.

Therefore, my allegiance is officially being thrown in with all the real writers of the world, who also happen to maintain blogs – we may not post often, we may never be able to tell you all the nominees for Grammys or Oscars or Heismans, and we will only flame you for misusing an apostrophe, but you can always count on every word being crafted carefully and with complete dedication to our story, whatever it may be.

And just to ensure Time and all their “best blogs” get my point, I’ll just sum it up in 180 characters or less: suck it, ass monsters.

PS – New blog coming soon detailing my guy’s attempts to teach me a song on bass and my eventual debut on stage. This may not end well for anyone.

An open letter to Bon Jovi

Dear Bon Jovi,

It’s been many years since we’ve spoken in depth – at least ten, I’m guessing. It was right around the time of your These Days album, and I have to admit, you weren’t the best interview I’ve ever conducted. It isn’t always easy for a writer to overcome her intrinsic admiration for a band, even at the expense of her professional integrity.

So I feel the need to preface my letter with a brief apology: first, for bumbling through that interview ten years ago, and second, for throwing my professional integrity aside yet again to tell you exactly what I think of your band now.

I’ll spare you the tales of how I grew up with your music; I do know I’m not alone in saying that your music has provided a significant soundtrack to my life. Still, one experience does stand out from all the rest.

This story has made the rounds in multiple columns and articles I’ve written, not so much because it’s particularly unique, but because it shows how I came to be the person I am. Obviously, I don’t need to tell you about the impact that music in general can have on a person; it was just my fortune that music, yours specifically, found and shaped me.

I was12 and sitting in the second row at Alpine Valley Music Theater for my first concert ever (I scored the tickets from a radio station giveaway). You were playing “Living on a Prayer” when a tremendous storm broke out. The reserved seats at the outdoor amphitheater were safe from the rain, but the people in the lawn were at the risk not just of being drenched, but likely struck by lightning. Winds were swirling in insane gusts, the sky was back and rain pummeled the ground. No one moved but you. You stopped, right before the final chorus of what has become the greatest song ever to me, and said, “Rock and roll opens the sky.”

It’s the kind of moment that means the world to an impressionable young person, though in retrospect I understand how some perceive it as contrived. Nevertheless, I decided at that point that I, too, wanted to open the sky.

I suppose I have, in my own way. I may not have been able to do it with music like you (my voice is better left to drunken karaoke and the shower), but I do take a great deal of pride in knowing I’ve made an impact with my writing. The writing is my own, of course, but I credit that experience and your music in part for giving me the wherewithal to make my life what it is.

“That storm seems to follow us around,” you said in our interview. I appreciated your courtesy in humoring me with the response; I’m sure at that point I was probably tearing up at the fact that I was sharing my story with you personally. But even if you didn’t remember the exact concert I described, you certainly caught my meaning: that your music has had an influence not just on me, but millions of other people.

And that’s why I’m writing you this letter. You’ve certainly been better at adapting to the times than any other band of your era, but I’m starting to wonder if in adapting you’ve somehow lost sight of the fundamentals of your music… and of rock and roll.

In saying that, please don’t think I’m trashing your alt-country crossover. I saw that coming years ago when you released the horrible This Left Feels Right album. I’m sure you know what a mistake that album was; I’m just glad you were able to fine tune your corporate kowtowing into a better album now.

And that’s not to say that I don’t like Lost Highway – there are a few songs that resonate with me just as strongly as ones from Slippery or Keep the Faith (your best albums). I do wonder though, why, of all the songs on that album, you felt the need to release what is without a doubt the most painfully boring, monotonous drudgery of the bunch as your first single. Forgive me, but every time I hear “You Want to Make a Memory” I really just want to make a lunge for the mute button.

 

I’m sure the decision to release that song was in the best interest of your corporation; there are plenty of paying people who don’t know the difference between your good songs and your lame ones. I guess that’s what makes me most sad in all this: I never expected you to become so obvious of a corporation.

No matter how much you deny it, you’re not just a group of guys from New Jersey anymore. You’re a band with extended families and a never ending conga line of executives, managers, promoters and agents who all need to be fed.

Which is fine. I don’t fault you for needing to sustain the livelihood of the band. The trouble is that I need to eat, too. And I can’t do that and drop the $129 plus related processing and parking fees for one ticket to see you play a show in Chicago this winter.

I might be more inclined to trade my grocery budget for a ticket if I thought I’d see the Bon Jovi I love. But that’s more than I’m willing to give to the corporation for music that seems to be moving farther away from the fans and more and more towards an “audience”.

Here’s the deal Jon and company: I realize you can’t help the appearances on Oprah, the American Idol endorsements or the Duracell battery commercials. There is a business to this all that can’t be avoided.

But you’re still a rock and roll band, and rock and roll is not about adding a fiddler to your stage band to round out the holes in your songs, it’s not about overproducing the life out of a song, and it’s definitely not about releasing lackluster first singles just to suck in lovelorn matrons.

Rock is about passion and energy and living on the edge. And when you get back to that, Bon Jovi, when I feel you’ll open the sky again, I’ll gladly pay any price.

I’m sure Tommy and Gina would agree with me.

 

Best,

Juliette Miranda