Nostalgia: Part III- Elementary School Life

My birthday was a couple days ago and, as I always do around this time of year, I got to thinking about the years past, and my childhood. I started thinking about all of the things that I miss about being a kid in elementary school in the 90s: Trapper Keepers, Lisa Frank stationary, the Crayola Big Box, stencils, pencil cases, and  the scent of new composition books.

 

What are some of your favourite childhood memories?

The Beauty of Words: Part X- Listeners’ Edition

As all of my followers know, I am an incorrigible audiophile and in this edition of “The Beauty of Words”, I’d like for all the music junkies out there to leave me their favourite songs (and the reason why you love them, but that part’s optional). My music library needs feeding and my ears are thirsting for audio adrenaline. Thanks in advance! 🙂

Nostalgia: Part II, Tell Me: Groove Theory

One of the greatest things about growing up in the 90s was the amazing R&B music of the time. Unlike today’s R&B, which is mostly saturated with lyrics about cheating, trying to cheat, and meaningless sex, the 90s offered a buffet of “I want to get to know you”, “I’m falling in love”, and “I want to make love” records.

I was only 10 years old when Groove Theory, featuring the amazing (and amazingly underrated) croonings of Amel Larrieux released the single “Tell me” and even as a child, I understood that I was listening to something incredible. Besides the almost supernatural vocals, the lyrics were a straight-forward, no-bullshit confessional of attraction and genuine interest in a relationship, all tied up in a slow-dance, bob-your-head-worthy groove.

Sometimes, I think about this song and the many others that I sang when I was too young to understand the full breadth of these emotions and I’m almost saddened for today’s generation, in which such a powerful influence as music lacks any mention of real relationships and romance.

Luckily, “Tell me” has never gotten old, and when I hear some nonsense lyrics about juggling multiple women, I can always turn up the volume and drown it out.

Nostalgia: Part I

Today, for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about some of my favourite cartoons from the 90s, specifically “Captain Planet” and even more specifically, the character Ma-Ti. Those of you too young to know about “Captain Planet”, I mourn for you. Seriously. This is probably one of the coolest shows ever, even if the ultimate message was to recycle, something that was consistently lost on the viewing audience in what was quite possibly the least eco-friendly generation that has ever lived.

But I digress. “Captain Planet” was beyond amazing but Ma-Ti’s power, heart (seriously, it was heart), was undoubtedly the lamest superpower in life. Earth, fire, wind, and water were amazing abilities that were consistently displayed as jaw-droppingly formidable, but Ma-Ti’s power was so weak (even the way he said it was weak and depressing) that is was only ever used as a last resort when the Planeteers were about to get killed and even then, the creepy, voodoo-laden ability was more than a bit disturbing, not to mention just barely effective.

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Moral of the Story: If you’ve run out of elements, don’t create another character. I understand the need to be all-inclusively multi-cultural, but if I were South American, I would have felt terribly shafted. I’m just saying….

No One’s Gonna Love You: Band of Horses

“No one’s gonna love you more than I do….”

Hasn’t everyone been in this situation, where you are so in love, a love bordering on addiction, that you feel that no one else could have ever or will ever love this person this intensely? Even more common is the feeling that, once that person leaves and takes their love with them, you will never love anyone else ever again. The former is impossible to know but the latter is rarely true. However, I love that Band of Horses captures the fervency of infatuation and love, however fleeting, so eloquently. We’ve all been there, so why not?

The Beauty of Words: Part IX

“We feel that….” This is probably the most annoying combination of words humanly possible. It’s incredibly common to hear business people say it in representation of a corporation when what the truly mean is “What we plan to….” or “The decision we’ve come to is….”, and therefore, I give them a pass. But it’s an entirely different matter altogether to hear that prelude from someone in a relationship, someone who has either temporarily or permanently declared themselves the spokesperson for the couple.

The reality is, as many ways as there are to communicate with our fellow human beings, emotions are an intensely personal and solitary thing. Even if two people are in fact thinking and feeling the same thing at any given moment, the intensity with which they each feel it and all subsequent thoughts and actions fueled by said emotion are most certainly not the same.

It is incredibly important to remember that part of respecting a person is to respect not only the words they say, but the things that they don’t say, to respect the silence and anything it may hold. To assume that one’s emotions mirror your own and/or make declaration of another’s feelings is a violation of their person-hood and their thoughts. Communication, in all forms, is beautiful because it removes the need or desire to assume how others think and feel. They can show or tell us, and from that point onward, our duty is to either trust in that individual or distrust and act accordingly. The words we speak to one another are beautiful because they either reveal truth or reveal treacherous character. Don’t deprive others of that opportunity. Don’t deprive yourself.

Chronicle (2012)

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Sometimes, apathy can be the most destructive force of all. This is the lesson that I learned from “Chronicle”. Matt and Steve are friends. Andrew and Matt are cousins. These are the least complicated facts about a film that  is the superhero thriller for this generation, a film that explores the domino affect of human action, and inaction.

In “Chronicle”, Matt, Steve and Andrew stumble upon what appears to be a radioactive meteorite or orb underground, near a house party. They all touch and soon after discover amazing new telekinetic abilities. But life doesn’t stop just because you have superpowers. And having amazing abilities does not negate all that has already happened to you. Andrew has suffered humiliation at the hands of his classmates and abuse at the hands of his father for years, which his popular cousin, Matt, is well aware of but never made an effort to chance. After discovering their powers, the three boys start to spend every waking moment together and Andrew and Steve become close friends, the first real friendship that Andre has ever had. But the abuse has not ended, and he continues to be dismissed by his classmates.

When the stress becomes overwhelming as his mother lies dying, he faces the ultimate embarrassment in front of his peers and his father strikes him one time too many, Andrew accidentally kills Steve, his best friend, and the only person who cared enough to ask. As things quickly unravel, Matt’s apathy at his cousin’s lifelong abuse and alienation are highlighted prominently as the catalyst for Steve’s death and Andrew’s downfall, because (like most villains  Andrew was merely a hurt and angry person that needed a friend, and found none. Instead, he’d gained an ability that had only served to further isolate him for other people. “Chronicle” isn’t just an incredibly thought-provoking film, it stays true to the teenage experience and handles the issues of domestic abuse and bullying with incredible subtlety and finesse.

We learn that there is more to the battle of good and evil than merely right or wrong. There are those who stubbornly insist on remaining grey and inevitably suffer most of all.