Saturday, May 22, 2010

as the turntable spins

How many of you used to sit beside your record player and repeatedly lift the needle to set it back to just the right spot in order to hear that first or second or third verse again? It was the easiest way to learn a song’s lyrics, wasn’t it? When you repeat one verse at a time without the rest of it distracting you, it’s quite simple to memorize one song after another. I can’t even imagine how many songs I learned that way, or when cassettes came along, by learning how long to let it rewind to go just far enough.

If those songs come on the radio now, I still remember them pretty well.

Of course these days most lyrics are printed on the CD pamphlet, and if not, they’re all over the net to find. Way back in the days of LPs, a few companies did print them on each side of the big square envelope made to protect the album from the cardboard cover. As time went by, more of them did. Still, learning that way was never as satisfying as sitting by the record player returning the arm to exactly where I wanted it.

Try doing that with a CD or with a song on an MP3. You have to go all the way back to the beginning, even though you have that down already, and wait to be where you want to be.

Maybe others don’t need the separate repetition of each verse, but I was taught in school to do my vocab words or times tables 10 times each before moving along. It was the only way it worked. (I tended to need fewer for vocab and more for arithmetic, but you get my point.)

It seems to me that the more they make things “easier” and more “convenient” the harder it actually becomes when you look beyond the convenience.

Look at phones. We went from simply picking up a receiver and dialing a number from the same kind of phone everyone and her aunt had and knew how to use to having 50 different types of phones that do so many things most of us don’t even use their full potential since we can’t figure out how (or we’re too busy to bother). The biggest issue with the phone used to be remembering whether or not you needed a “1” in front of the number. Of course, we had to stay within reach of the cord, but that was a big plus for our parents. If we were on the phone, they darn well knew we were. If we were some of the lucky few with a phone in our room, we still had the knowledge that the receiver in the main room could be raised at any time and … “busted!” It was much easier for parents to keep track of phone time.

It was also easier for parents to know who their kids hung out with. Simple. If you didn’t want your kids to know half of the US, you didn’t put them on a train by themselves and let them hop on and off. With social networks, parents have no means of controlling … well, too much of anything. Block your kids at home from being on the computer, and they’ll use one at a friend’s house, or at school, or on a friend’s iPod on the way home on the bus.

Wait. How is this making things easier or more convenient? How can anything be easier when all control is being grabbed from you? When the videos on Youtube are filled with images you’ve protected your children from most of their lives only to have friends download them and share willingly?

Yes, I’m showing my age. I long for the days of record players and real phones and knowing who is calling the house for my child.  I sigh for the loss of days when a kid could tell time from a clock with hands (numbers or not), write out arithmetic problems on paper without $100 required calculators, would actually read a book since there were only 3 channels on television and reading was better than the fourth rerun of Gilligan’s Island, and it was totally cool to get a video recorder where you could actually put a tape in to capture that one show you just had to see during the only time and only method you had of seeing it.

Or maybe I just long for the brain of a teenager who can actually figure out how to use her cell phone or digital music device without giving herself a headache.

Records were so easy.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Creative Writer (Liar) Award

Thanks to Lindsay Townsend for this award and game! 

Find her contest using the award at Lindsay’s Romantics.

The Game: Below I’ve listed 7 statements. One is about me. The other 6 are about one of my characters. Anyone who emails loraine @ (no spaces) to say which one is actually me, with a mailing address included and permission to add you to my newsletter (if you’re not there already), will receive a signed print copy of my short story that’s included in the CRR anthology The Cupid Diaries: A Moment in Time (link is on the sidebar).

Anyone who goes farther and tries to match the facts to my characters will go into a drawing for a signed print of my brand new, end of May release, Protect The Heart.

Here goes:

1. I used to teach dance at a little small town studio.

2. I nearly lived next door at a friend’s house.

3. I swam in a very cold loch in Scotland.

4. I have an uncle who is very well known in the music industry.

5. Charcoal is my favorite artistic medium.

6. I moved often as a child.

7. I had main care of two younger children while still in school.

Okay, the game’s on!  I’ll give it until the 31st of May, so answer away!  Comment here to let me know you’re playing, if you’d like, but no answers in the blog!

As the rules state, I’m passing the award on to 7 other bloggers:

Cheryl Pierson
Stephanie Burkhart
TC Conner
Francesca Prescott
David McClain
A.L. Marquardt
Liana Laverentz


Sunday, May 09, 2010

What We Owe Our Mothers

©LK Hunsaker. Do not copyI watched the first part of Father of the Bride again last night. I had to laugh at his realization that his daughter was the age his wife had been when they married. He couldn’t imagine she had been so young. I’ve had that thought often, as next month, my daughter will be the age I was when I got married.

I kept thinking how hard that had to be for my mom, as it was much the same situation: I met someone from a distance and brought him home to say we were getting married. I was still 20 at the time and so sure of myself. Well, mostly. My daughter is older than that now and heading that direction *sigh* and I just can’t see how she can be old enough to be thinking of marriage.

We’re not as old at that age as we think we are. How do our moms deal with watching us walk into a whole new world while knowing we really have no idea what we’re getting into? How do we let our little girls, who we’ve protected and defended and veered into the right direction and taught to be ladies who should stand on their own and be proud of themselves walk down the aisle and tie themselves to some man who thinks he loves her more than anyone else in the world?

Of course that’s not true. No one can love a child the way a mom does. And yet, as my mom always said: we raise them, put up with all of the hassle and hard times, the spit up and throw up, the NOs and I DON’T WANT TOs, the head-locking when all we’re really trying to do is to make things better for them, finally get them to adulthood and see all the beautiful results of all those frustrating hair-tearing-out years … and they leave us for some guy.

Wait. How is that fair?

But, I did it to my mom and it’s time for payback.

So what do we owe our moms for having to go through this whole routine, especially the horrible letting go part?


Of course we can’t give them everything, but we can try to give them what they always wanted most for us: to live in a way we make things better for ourselves, not harder; to make good choices as she kept drumming into our head; to not let ‘that boy’ or anyone else turn us away from who we are and what we want from life, and to always remember that what we do affects our moms, forever. Yes, we owe them that. And if we keep that in mind and do our best to keep making Mom proud, we will better our own lives, as well.

That’s all Mom ever really wanted.

with my daughter-Nov1990

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Feel Better with London To Tokyo

I first found Simon Steadman when I learned one of my favorite musicians of the past 30-some years had helped to produce an album for a band called Steadman. I had to go give the group a listen, which was easy enough, since they have a very open share policy and plenty of free downloads. I was hooked. Despite the free music offers, or because of them, I had to buy their CDs.

Simon has moved on from Steadman and is now fronting, and writing for, a band called London To Tokyo. I followed along to check them out, despite that their name reflects not only Simon’s English heritage but also Japanese techno. I’m not a big fan of techno. To be honest, I try hard to avoid it. However, there are exceptions to every rule.

Some things are just better mixed: nationalities, dog breeds, novel genres, and music genres, to name a few.

What do you know? I’m hooked on their EP, techno included. London To Tokyo is a delightful mix of pop, rock, alternative, and techo. Their style varies even between songs and yet stays connected. With Simon writing the lyrics, it’s a given the songs will be upbeat and optimistic, meaningful, and searching all at once. I’m not a music expert enough to write a detailed technical review (despite having 3 guitars, a drum set, and a piano in the house and having dabbled with all 3 instruments), so this is from the POV of a music-obsessed fan.

I love great guitar technique. I love a trained and talented voice. I love lyrics that say something, and especially those that promote optimism. The drums have to add to the band, not be just a beat in the background. The music has to flow and mesh (no discordance, thank you). It has to make me want to keep listening without tiring of it.

London To Tokyo has all of that. They also have friendly, fan-appreciative members who take the time to interact. That’s always a huge plus. They come across as people you’d want to know as people, not only as musicians. For me, since I’m a people person and attitude matters greatly, that’s another huge plus. I’ve been known to refuse to listen to music or buy books from artists who don’t appeal to me as people. After all, it’s the humanity behind art that makes it what it is.

Don’t take my word, though. Find 6 full songs to check out on their website: and find their links to Facebook and Myspace. Friend them or Like them and download their EP free! Share it with friends (their request). And then come back here and let me know what you think.

Oh, and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Simon! Go over to his Facebook page and tell him I sent you. ;-)