Monday, August 30, 2004

So whose Olympics was it?

I got to experience yet another interesting difference between America and Canada, regarding their news broadcasting. The closing ceremonies for the Olympics in Athens were on all day yesterday. The Canadian network ran theirs in the afternoon. They focused on the performances...the awesome music, the dancing, the costumes, the art of the show. Every song & dance number was broadcast in its entirety, and there were titles indicating who every singer was. The commentators didn't say much, just occasionally gave brief backgrounds on the various singers and groups, explaining the context of their popularity in Greece, or whatever country they hailed from. They explained where the children who lit the torches came from, and how they got to be chosen for the ceremony.

Later in the evening, we got to see NBC's coverage of the same event. Where should I start? The camera would not stay on the singers or performances for more than 5 seconds...they focused more on the crowds of athletes on the floor, mugging for the camera. Everytime the stage performances would get interesting, they would switch to an interview with one of the American medal winners, who all looked bored and pissed off that the reporter was wasting their time instead of letting them enjoy the ceremony. They would ask all of them the same questions....'how did you feel winning that medal?' 'what has this experience been like?' Who cares????? What are they going to say, 'it sucked' on National TV? GASP! How un-American!

Whenever they DID switch back to the actual ceremony, the commentators would not shut up! And the comments they made were inane...'wow the crowd is sure going mad!'...'look at the Canadians flying their colors'.....'these singers sure have a lot of energy'......'there's the flame going back up'.....(and after the flame was extinguished)...'just like that!'

For the Canadian broadcast, I felt like I was there in the stadium with everyone else...watching NBC, it felt like watching 'Moulin Rouge' with an audio commentary by Joan Rivers and Bob Saget.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Reminiscin' with the Ryche

So Michael and I are going to see Queensryche on October 7 here in Vancouver...yay! Mikey's taken a recent interest in them, which is good. It's a rare occasion for most people. I've usually been a bit of a loner in my fondness for their music.

So I've been listening to them a bit more lately in order to psyche myself up and reminisce. It's funny how when a band means so much to you for many years, they sort of become like friends. I was hooked from the start after seeing their 'Empire' video in 10th grade, and then once I became obsessed with that album I had to catch up with their previous work. I remember how disappointed I was after buying 'Mindcrime' and not liking it at first...but eventually it became my most-listened-to album through much of high school. I saw them play the whole thing live the first time I saw them, in 1991. I'm not sure what it is about that album that was intriguing...I think the songs are great, plus the epic-ness of the whole rock opera idea. From my older perspective now, I can listen for sentimental reasons and enjoying the tunes...yet the subject matter seems to me now to be cynical, dark and angry...just a tiny bit too much for my liking at times. It always was, of course, but back then I was also cynical, dark and angry. All in all, as brilliant as it is, it's not my favorite album by them. Now they're making a sequel, which, much like their recent CD releases, seems like a desperate plea for winning back their old fans...some of which, I'm guessing, have moved on. Their new material and approach is seriously lacking without Chris DeGarmo writing and playing with them. In so many ways, he made that band what it was. And as cheesy as it is, I still love their early gothic sci-fi metal from 'Warning' and 'Rage' too!

With the release of 'Promised Land' (my favorite next to Empire) when I was in college, their music hit me on a much more personal level. The song 'Bridge' hit home as my relationship with my dad was at its lowest points. The third time I saw them in concert, with my brothers at Pine Knob, was the same day that Mom told me Dad was getting fired from his job of over 20 years. I could barely hold back my tears when they played that song. The song 'Someone Else?' resonated many times through periods of identity crisis in my mid-20s. 'Some People Fly' gave me hope as I longed to move on to bigger and better things in my life, and break free to find out who I was. After moving to Vancouver, and becoming a Christian, the song 'Anybody Listening?' had new resonance as I related it to one of Dave's sermons.

My friends of the Ryche, like all artists, grow along with their music and change their styles as they go. Everything after 'Promised Land' has been hit and miss, a few promising moments here and there, but something happened; not sure what. I'm still looking forward to seeing them again (will be the 4th time) in a smaller, more intimate venue. Plus, what better place to see them than in the Pacific Northwest, where they hail from to begin with? I think their music is another one of those obsessions that subconsciously brought me to live here eventually. Therefore, I shall forever be indebted to the Ryche for being the soundtrack to my psyche over the years.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

whither scuzzbopper?

the name 'Scuzzbopper' is from a character in the animated film 'Twice Upon a Time', one of my's a cult film produced by George Lucas that didn't get much exposure. Scuzzbopper is the head writer of the Murkworks, where scripts are written for all the world's nightmares. What endears me to him is that he does his job reluctantly, all the while dreaming of writing the Great Murkian Novel.

the title of my blog, of course, is from 'the neverending story' film....and Fantasia of course, has no boundaries!


Sunday, August 22, 2004

In just seven days, I can make you a man....

I feel grown up. Bring it on.

I guess I've had a lot of experiences lately that have made me feel more like a grown-up who knows what it's like to not be one, because I didn't use to be one. I've been 14, so I can be 14. I've been 3, so I can be 3...yet at the same time be 29. Today at the 60th anniversary dinner for Abe & Emily Enns at church, I was inspired and given a glimpse of what the possibilities are for the future, in terms of building a family. Yet at the same time, I felt distanced from it, because I'm not there yet.

So I may be a grown-up, but I can still shake the walls by belching.

Thursday, August 19, 2004