Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pop Culture Influences

Nick has an assignment for his application to the TMA department at BYU that I found really interesting. He is supposed to list 10 things from music, film, books, TV and the internet that have had the most influence in his life. We started talking about it yesterday & I decided to make my top 10 list too, just for fun. I was surprised by the number of things I came up with. I could have made this list a lot longer. For the sake of all of you, though, I narrowed it down. Feel free to laugh at me. A lot of this probably deserves that reaction.

From a very young age, my OCD personality was pretty obvious. I'm not totally sure where my obsession with this decidedly obnoxious, but insanely popular boy band came from. In my defense, I was only 10 or 11 when I started listening to their music. The following couple of years were filled with trips to the store to spend babysitting money on Tean Beat, buttons, and an infamous night spent "sleeping" in the parking lot of Smiths to get tickets to their concert at the Marriot Center. It was my first concert, and the beginning of my love for live music and fantastic production values. Luckily I gave this band up by 13.

In 1989, at the age of 12, I went to see a new "cartoon" in the movie theater in Layton, UT. (I know this because I still have the tickets stub, and have saved every movie ticket stub since that day. It's a big stack) It was the return of the Disney Animated Feature and I LOVED it. I was hooked from there on, from Beauty & The Beast through the Pixar movies. But I have a soft spot in my heart for this particular movie. When it was recently re-released on DVD we bought it, and I wore the little bracelet that came with it on my wrist all evening, even though it didn't fit very well.

My second musical obsession was much cooler than NKTOB, in the form of the Dave Matthews Band. The pivotal day came when a bunch of us went to see Toad The Wet Sprocket play at William & Mary. Their opening band, a Richmond group called "The Dave Matthews Band". We were all underwhelmed by Toad and thrilled by their opening act. That day led to many many concerts in Southern VA, increasingly more expensive and packed as their popularity grew. I like to see myself as one of those "discoverers" of one of the great bands of our generation. It's an exageration, but I like the idea anyway.

The joy this movie brings me is sort of odd. It's not my favorite movie of all time. It's probably in my top 10, but not #1. It was pretty influential, however. It made me fall in love with my first movie soundtrack, made me realize how much I love witty, fast paced dialogue. It also, in later years, led me to make, or start to make, my own documentary about my friends. I loved the idea of catching random snippets of our everyday life and cutting them together so we could remember them forever. I still love that idea. I'm going to finish it one day.

I have never gotten so utterly sucked in to the world of a book as I have Harry Potter books. I love to read, don't get me wrong, but I seldom get so wrapped up that I can't put something down. I could NOT put these books down. Besides influencing the pop culture of my world, these books bring me hope that there are still some truly original and compelling ideas out there that aren't shocking or scandelous.

I have always loved music, and, as I mentioned before, had loved bands before. This album was one of my first experiences with loving lyrics. SO much of this album truly resonated with me. There are songs on this album that I felt totally defined me when it came out. Jeremy, my music guru little brother, made me a copy of this before it was really out there and I fell in love. I still find Mr. Mayer's music hits me in a place that no other music does. Maybe because we're about the same age. Maybe because the sounds he comes up with are just things that speak to me. Regardless, I love it all. It started my love for "guy with guitar" simplicity, and it's still as strong now, 5 years later, as it was then.

This year will be my 6th year attending Sundance, and while it's not a specific film that has influenced me, the whole festival has had a great impact on me. It's fascinating to see the films in their early stages, before studios have gotten to them. It's really fascinating to experience film in a more up close and personal kind of way. And it's SO much fun to see things before the rest of the world sees them. It's like knowing a great secret that no one else knows. It makes me giggle to even think about it, honestly.

I sort of hate to admit to this one, but it's true. Soon after my divorce, my friend Eve suggested I venture onto this site to cheer myself up a bit. I didn't really see how it would cheer me up at all. It seemed desperate and stupid. But it turned out she was right. It was a fabulous ego boost. I met a lot of weird people, true. But I also met a few really great people, who definitely changed my life in their own ways. I needed that 6 months of dating a bunch of people to help me realize I had options, and make me happy with the choice I ended up making.

One day, just after I lost my job, Melissa & I were wandering around the Gateway and we went in to Sur La Table. The sales girl was really doing her job that day. She sold me a cupcake tree and this book. It has been my thing ever since. I had no idea how much fun cupcakes would be. We've had them for opening nights, birthdays, and even our wedding. Every recipe imaginable can be adapted using this brilliant book. None of that baking from scratch crap for me. You can do so much with a cake mix!

When I made my way into the blogging world for the first time, Chris introduced me to this fabulous web site that would track all of my favorite blogs for me and tell me when there were new postings. I'm sure that made those that track their blog traffic a lot happier, as now I don't have to repeatedly open a blog to see if there is something new. It saves me a lot of time, too. It's ridiculously slow at recognizing new posts sometimes, but generally it makes my blog reading a little more streamlined, and I love that.

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