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Entry date: 5-7-2024 – I Don’t Care for Drywall Mud – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


Drywall mud is humbling. It seems so simple, and in many ways, it is, except for the fact that putting drywall on a block wall no fucking fun. There are so many seams. I’m ready to scream.


Instead, I’ll just write about it and complain. The lessons I’ve learned are many. Bathroom number two will be a lot smoother. At least I hope it will be.




The Cocaine Baby is back to his shenanigans. He came to school with vengeance yesterday. He was on a mission to be as disruptive as possible. Today, though, I am giving him no energy. I’m going to redirect him without any emotion and do my best to cut off his negative energy supply. 14 more days. I can do it.


He also kicked a poor kid in the balls, and they had to send the student to the nurse. As of the time I left yesterday, nothing had been done. I’m guessing nothing will be done. Eventually, though, he will hurt someone, or someone will hurt him. It is sad and inevitable.


If he’s lucky, karma will be swift and educational.




How about those Timberwolves? I didn’t get to watch, but wow. That’s another nice win. Eff the Nuggets in the B.




I have this romantic notion that the first time I heard Tears for Fears was at a school dance in 8th grade. Maybe it wasn’t entirely (or even remotely) romantic as I didn’t know what romance was in those days. Some would argue that I still don’t, but I’m not copping to that here and now.


The timing, though, is right for a good DJ to have played either “Mad World” or “Change” or “Pale Shelter” in the cafeteria at Madison Meadows. This is where we had our dances, and it is where I heard a lot of the music I liked at the time.


In my memory banks, I’m dancing with this very intense girl from my English class, Mara, to “Mad World.” We had a lot of staring contests in those days, and she had these incredibly blue, incredibly pretty eyes. It was a few years later that I realized that maybe those staring contests meant something very different than I thought they did at the time, but it was way too late by then.


Between school dances and MTV, I learned to appreciate Tears for Fears a lot. They are a really good band. I had a copy of Songs From The Big Chair before I got their debut, The Hurting, but I really like The Hurting a lot more. It has become my “go to” Tears for Fears record.


The first three songs are as solid as they get. “The Hurting” is very cool and kind of laid back and not very typical of a lot of Tears for Fears contemporaries. They didn’t try to make some big, dance-y splash right off the bat. I have to think the band opted for “The Hurting” to show they were something a little different.


Something worth contemplating a bit more than bands like Duran Duran or the Thompson Twins.


“The Hurting” lulls the listener, in a way, and helps you break down your defenses. The bridge part, for example, just disarms you with its delicate beauty, then that quick burst of drums brings you back.


“Mad World” is just magnificent. That song is so damn good. I never get sick of it, although it does make me wish I was a better singer. I never feel like I can do it justice when I sing along. Fuck, I love it. Roland Orzabal wrote some amazing songs.


Curt Smith, Orzabal’s bandmate is such a good singer, and his bass lines are terribly underrated. I think a lot of what I love about many of the tracks on this record is the basslines. Smith’s work on “Mad World” and “Pale Shelter” brings Orzabal’s songs to a level they couldn’t have reached without each other.


I do have to admit that I didn’t embrace “Ideas as Opiates” until I was older. As a high school kid, I would often skip over it. Looking back, I think I didn’t care to take the time to appreciate it or understand it. I’m also not as big a fan of Orzabal’s vocals sometimes.


As I’ve gotten older, I like how “ideas as Opiates” is kind of discordant and off-putting in a way. It could be the irregular heartbeat style percussion. It could also be some of Orzabal’s vocal techniques that are not choices you expect after the greatness of tracks 1-3.


“Memories Fade” is a tale of two songs. The beginning is still one that I’m not a huge fan of to this day, but once Orzabal sings the “Memories fade but the scars still linger” part the first time, I’m back on the train.


“Suffer the Children” is a lot. I have to believe a lot of people said, “What the fuck is this” when they first heard it and the bridge/outro kicked in. Orzabal has never been one to shy away from tough lyrics, but at this point, no one really knew it. As far as new wave pop goes, though, this is fine.



“Watch Me Bleed” is also a bit over the top, but “Change” is so good that you can forgive “Watch Me Bleed” for being so basic. “Change” is a song that I’ve loved now for over 40 years. It reminds me of Tommy’s a lot. Talk about making eye contact with people. “Change” was a perfect one to have a moment with a stranger on the dance floor.


Side note: I’m so glad I did all that night club stuff when I was 15. As an adult it must be terrible. By the time I was an “adult,” I wasn’t going to dance clubs. I was going to see bands play.


The Hurting ends with “The Prisoner” and “Start of the Breakdown.” While “The Prisoner” has some cool sounds going on and is appropriately noisy and dramatic, it’s not really the greatest song. “Start of the Breakdown” is much better and had great keyboards. It’s super dated now, but I still like it a lot.


“Sands of time would be easier found.”





See you tomorrow.


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