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Showing posts from 2023

Basement Songs: Bruce Springsteen "Book of Dreams"

"Scott thinks he knows what he's doing." That's what I heard when I began telling people that I was in love and planned to marry the woman I'd only known a few months. In May of 1992 I had a plan: live with my folks, find a job, save some cash, and move to California. It started out that way. I found work at a store called Nature's Bin in Lakewood, Ohio. It was a storefront that sold fresh produce and was a non-profit training adults with disabilities how to perform in a workplace. It was only supposed to be a summer job. Three months of saving up and then I was leaving for Los Angeles to pursue the dream. Hollywood. Writing. Directing. Stardom. I had no interest in getting to know someone and opening up myself to another human being; leaving them. It was all working just fine until the end of July. That smile and those bright blue eyes. A kindness and joyful spirit that was so contagious I wanted to be in every room she was in; that kind of feeling where you

A Trip Through the "My 90'sTapes" Collection Pt. 3: Cyndi Lauper "She's So Unusual"

I was gifted a piece of artwork called "My 90's Tapes" by an artist named Jeff Klarin ( . It looks like one of my own collections at that time, a mix of rock/classic rock, pop, new wave, punk, dance, heavy metal and soundtracks. I decided to use this artwork as a writing prompt to review all 115 albums pictured and share some personal anecdotes along the way. Consider this me dipping my toe back into the Basement Songs pool. After a slight delay (more like a hiatus), we're back. Let's get right to it, shall we? Column 1, Row 3: Cyndi Lauper She's So Unusual Cyndi Lauper is a Grammy Award, Tony Award, Emmy Award winning singer, songwriter and actress who, despite her many accolades, will likely be best known for her upbeat, female positive anthem, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." Born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, she began writing songs at an early age. As a teenager in the 6

Basement Songs Revisit: The Waitresses, “Christmas Wrapping”

A quick update. I didn't expect six weeks to pass between postings. I have half of my Cyndi Lauper entry already written! However, I was out with the flu for a week, I had to do a revision of the Christmas drama I wrote for my church, I went through a week or anticipation of officiating a wedding, and then I married two young people! I became a year older, my son got a year older, I got sucked into revising a portion of the novel I'm writing, then it was Thanksgiving. Oh, and work. And here we are! Me, me, me, me. Get over yourself, Malchus! The public demands your opinion about Cyndi Lauper and masturbation (they're linked, but "She Bop" fans know that). I promise I'll post by the end of next week. A special t6hanks to the one person who reached out to see if I'd be continuing the series. I do have a habit of starting columns and letting them peter out (just check out my Popdose history). But I promise that I'm dedicated to seeing this one through to

A Trip Through the "My 90's Tapes" Collection Pt. 2: Nirvana "Bleach"

  I was gifted a piece of artwork called "My 90's Tapes" by an artist named Jeff Klarin ( . It looks like one of my own collections at that time, a mix of rock/classic rock, pop, new wave, punk, dance, heavy metal and soundtracks. I decided to use this artwork as a writing prompt to review all 115 albums pictured and share some personal anecdotes along the way. Consider this me dipping my toe back into the Basement Songs pool. I can't say that I heard of Nirvana before "Smells Like Teen Spirit" changed the musical landscape and altered pop culture in the 90s. However, I can say that I heard Nirvana and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" before the song and band impacted the world. In the fall of 1991, after spending a summer in Los Angeles listening to KROQ and their their mix of west coast alternative, I asked a classmate named Dean to make me a mix tape. He was one of the few &qu

A Trip Through the "My 90'sTapes" Collection Pt. 1: Foreigner "Records"

I was gifted a nice piece of artwork called "My 90's Tapes" by an artist named Jeff Klarin . The picture is  seen below and available to purchase at the artist's website ( . Klarin has five versions of this theme of his cassettes from the era of the late 80s/early90s, the others are more genre based, but this one felt like I'm looking at my own collection at that time. As you can see, it's a mix of rock/classic rock, pop, new wave, punk, dance, heavy metal and soundtracks. I love it so much that I have it hanging above my desk at work. As I've struggled to get back into blogging, I decided to use this artwork as a writing prompt to review all 115 albums pictured and share some personal anecdotes along the way. Consider this me dipping my toe back into the Basement Songs pool. I hope you enjoy it. Actually, I hope I enjoy it because there is some music on here I don't look forward t

Basement Songs: Robbie Robertson, "What About Now"

In the fall of 1991, Robbie Robertson released his second solo album, Storyville , to glowing reviews, including a four-star feature write up in Rolling Stone ("a mature and masterful work that lends additional luster to the formidable legacy Robertson shaped with the Band). A month later, Nirvana's Nevermind was released, and we all know which one went on to be considered one of the most important albums of all time. Robertson's Storyville is all but forgotten, which is a shame, because the record's atmospheric tribute to New Orleans contains one of his most beautiful songs, "What About Now." I'm not sure what prompted me to have my best friend buy me Storyville for my birthday that year, most likely Anthony Curtis' review in Rolling Stone, but "What About Now" was also receiving minor airplay on, of all places, the AOR radio station in Toledo that I listened to while finishing up my senior year at Bowling Green. Initially,

Writing is Writing, and Art is What You Like

I’ve often struggle about what I write, that delving into the artistic merits and importance of film and television and comics and trying my own hand at writing for those mediums wasn’t serious art. To some extent, the same holds true with music. I felt that about rock ‘n roll. I think it must have been in the 5th or 6th grade, when I was still naïve and influenced by the people I looked up to and respected, that I became critical of the kind of art that I considered “serious” and what was simply “pop.” In other words, expendable.  I admire people who grew up loving genre films like horror or science fiction and held on to those passions as they grew into adulthood. I wish I‘d been brave enough to be vocal about what made me feel something rather than hiding it. But if I was going to be a writer, it had to be serious. It had to be ART. Even though I loved laughing my ass off at The Naked Gun and Blazing Saddles , I didn’t appreciate those movies for what they were accomplishing. An

The End of the Explanation

I don't want to drag this out for a series of extended posts; there's no need to go into the minute details. So I'll wrap up my ongoing mental health journey with this post. After I basically quit writing, I began the work on myself. From 2017 to the middle of 2019, the only things I wrote were 10 minute dramas for our church, and let me tell you, even those were a challenge. But when God gives you a deadline, you don't mess around. There was a real depression that came with the relief of not writing or worrying about writing scripts. Again, if I wasn't writing, what was I doing? I really struggled with this question because we had moved from Ohio to Los Angeles so I could pursue a career in film. Even though I'd written and directed a movie, and sold a script, in my mind that wasn't good enough. I couldn't appreciate all of the great things in my life, and the solid career that I had forged in animation over 18 years. It took some real work: a lot o

The Middle of the Explanation

My second panic attack took place in the middle of my daughter Sophie's high school graduation party. Because one isn't good enough, my body decided to take me on that thrill ride once again. It was June 2017. I'd already started going to therapy once a week, and I also saw a psychiatrist who sat with me for five minutes every couple of months and regulated my new antidepressants. We found a medication that works for me and I no longer walk around as if I have pins under my skin and feel like I've had seven too many cups of coffee. That's the best way to describe my anxiety. Anyway, the panic attack hit while we had guests in the house and Sophie's favorite songs were playing. Without saying anything to my family, I escaped up to our bedroom and closed the door. Luckily, I had started meditating and was able to work through it. When it was all done, I channeled my pride and excitement for Sophie to restore the energy I wanted to celebrate my daughter. At this p

The Beginning of an Explanation

When I dropped off of the Internet, it wasn't meant to be a years long sabbatical. I thought I just needed a break; that I was getting burned out from writing Basement Songs and movie reviews for Something cracked, though, and I couldn't consider writing even in a journal for a very long time. Things changed in the winter of 2017. While driving to pick up Jacob at theater rehearsal, I experienced my first panic attack. It started immediately after he got in the car at the theater and it slowly took over my body for the fifteen minute drive home. My skin became clammy and I felt myself removed from my body. My brain was empty and I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I gutted it out until we walked through the front door. Without saying a word, I went upstairs, crawled into bed and got in the fetal position. I just wanted to close my eyes and shut out the world. The next morning I awoke exhausted, as if I'd exercised the previous day. That was the first time

65 Roses Day 2023

The first blog I kept was called "If I Should Fall Behind," and it was meant to track my training for my first marathon, which I ran 20 years ago. Jacob was two at the time and we were living with the shadow of cystic fibrosis over everything we did. You don't have time to be terrorized by the fact that your child's life is in danger because you are doing the day to day things to keep them healthy. Only in the quiet moments - late at night or in your car - does the world crash inward. So much has changed since 2003. Jacob is now on life changing medicine that has given him a "normal" existence. He hasn't be hospitalized since he began the medicine called Tikafta. Before he started taking it, things were getting rocky with his health. We are blessed that the medicine is available for him and that it's working. There are many CF patients for whom the medicine doesn't work, and for them we continue the fight to find a cure. Today is 65 Roses Day.   

Hangin Out

Julie and I are spending the weekend in San Diego, visiting our friends Michelle and Mike. Michelle is the lead pastor at a local Methodist church and Mike works for the postal service. Outside is surprisingly cool and drizzly. This year the weather in Southern California has been  incredibly mellow. I don't want to jinx what we've been experiencing, so I leave it to you to surf the net and find out what the temperatures are like. I credit Michelle for helping strengthen my spirituality, and really for helping Julie and I find the people who've become some of our closest friends in Santa Clarita. Michelle formed a small group (I think) in 2013 that included us and the same folks we now consider family. They are our people. Michelle and Mike moved to San Diego a year ago when she was appointed to lead this church. While we were all very sad to see them go, we were all so proud of her in achieving a goal that she was called to do and that she worked so hard to get. Michelle a

Testing... testing...

 Hello old friends. I haven't been here in a long time, but I thought I would make an attempt starting up "Thunderbolt" once again. I took a lot of time off from writing in any form, about four years. A lot transpired: Graduations, breakthroughs in CF treatments, panic attacks and an ample amount of therapy. Oh, and a pandemic. It was during the pandemic that I began writing a new novel. The idea came to me in early 2019 and I began researching for it in the summer of '19. It wasn't until April 2020 that I started in earnest, seeing as I had a lot of time. We all did, didn't we? Since then, I completed and rewrote the prologue and first part, and finished the second part. I'm currently on part three which I anticipate will have four parts and a brief epilogue. My goal is to be done with the first draft by the end of 2024. That seems so far off, but as I've gotten older (I turned 50 in 2019) and the kids have transitioned into young adults, I find that