My Life As a Musical – Blue Angels

I left the house in quintessential Rango style today, in a hurry and missing something.   Today it was neither keys nor phone, but in fact the power adapter to my trusty Sony camcorder, the little gizmo with the built-in projector that I’ve used to shoot all the Operation Rango videos.  So I came back and got a replacement, the bulkier Panasonic with the nice color translation, but in fact forgot the memory card.  That’s just how we roll here in the Rangosphere.  It’s not that I’m disorganized, it’s that I have too much to organize successfully and consequently fail at random tasks.  I’m ambitious to a fault, I’ll grant you that.

So resigned to actually experiencing the moment in the 1st person with no way to put on Facebook, I high-tailed it down I-405 to Kirkland and grabbed a table near the Lake Washington shore.  The drive offered spectacular vistas today, with blue skies cover-to-cover and mountains everywhere you look.  This truly is the Emerald City when the sun comes out, and writing this now, I’m really regretting not getting it on video.  The wind was blowing just a bit, and my view of the lake was obscured by two buildings with an American flag hanging between them.  It reminded me of September 11th and the questions my daughter was asking about the war the other night.  The arc of the flag was complimented by seabirds behind it caught in the same draft, and that’s the direction the noise was coming from.

A distant rumble belied the story of two more seabirds arcing up in the distance, but sharply, not like the others.  They exploded in size in freeze-frame time, quickly disavowing my brain of the notion the were birds at all, revealing themselves instead to be two A-10 Warthogs, tank killers on a strafing run that was paradoxically deliberately slow and unbelievably fast.  In a thousand frames a second my brain elucidated a story of fear and carnage imagining what it would be like to on the wrong side of a war with us and having those machines reap death on my town, blazing fury out of their nose and the roar of engines screaming with overtones.  They kill tanks, I’m sure my Matrix wouldn’t afford much protection.

A-10 Warthogs - You're Already Dead

A-10 Warthogs – You’re Already Dead.

They repeated this process three times, and each time the anticipation was tangible and each time I was out of my chair, arms up in a V.  The Doppler effect was in full glory and the unique harmonics in the jet engines made for a rare listening opportunity.  Listening is a skill that musicians practice, but some people have an uncanny natural ability.  I’m not one such person, but over the years I’ve had teachers tell me what to listen for and eventually learned to hear what I missing previously.  What you need more than anything is to practice.  This noise started in the gut, at a range you can’t hear but you can feel, and was full of metal and blue flames.

It was inspiring at a level that’s hard to pin down with words.  Rare, perhaps, a surge of patriotism and pride.  Notably absent: fear.  Those jets are the pinnacle of human engineering and the people that fly them are unique among us in their intelligence, skill and courage.  They’ve got an amazing and difficult job, the kind that just makes me shake my head and say “no way man, you do it”.

I left Kirkland with a well of mojo swirling in my gut and hit the guitar store on the way home.  Time to make a decision about the dobro.  I wrote this on my Facebook page:

She’s regal and blonde, with silver coils that resonate around a long, graceful neck. She’s small but heavier than you’d expect with elegant curves, and just the feeling of her on my lap is comforting and immediately familiar. It feels like love, what can I say. And even talking about it making me feel childishly optimistic.

She’s not perfect. Perfect for me maybe, except for the timing of

course, but sings like bird in a cage and just needs a little love herself. It’s been a hard 25 years or so, but they just don’t build them like did back in the 70’s and 80’s and that’s where i left my heart. So she’s been waiting for me this whole time, I tell myself. It’s fate. She’s been my secret for a while, and we’ve had a long distance relationship. It honesty felt right the minute my fingers touched her body.Here goes nothing. I don’t have any pictures of us together so this will have to do…(film at 11:00).MONA: Just get on with it.
PLAGUS: I’ll get right on that.
RANGO: Wait for it…\m/ (-.-) \m/

…all that, followed by a dramatic pause, then the big reveal:The Princess Bride: Ye Olde DobroThat’s right, a Regal dobro, the same one you read about here on my blog.  Remember when Larry the sales guy had his way with me?  I got her out of pawn and brought her home.  It was a nominal amount of cash compared to the opportunity, and before the night was through I had written a love song and coughed up lyrics for Risk, my metalish experiment from Into the Snow II: This is Not Empire.
So yeah, distinct lack of net and poor judgement.  Could have used the extra Benjamins and might have to sell it back (with my autograph and a demand for an extra $5 due to the increased value).  Also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finish the video of the most significant and striking piece of music I have ever written, Smokeouse. with a guitar for the part.  I answered the question about the dobro like this: what would Jimi Hendrix do?He would get his axe out of pawn and shred the thing to pieces, that’s what he’d do.  So, go Jimi, you’re in the lead and I’m just following orders.  And thanks to the Blue Angels for another amazing day in My Life as A Musical (TM).\m/ (-.-) \m/

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