The spring weather peek-a-boo we had recently put me back in touch with something I'd kind of ignored the past couple of months music.
Not sure why, but I tend to go dark, musicwise, post-Christmas. Maybe I've OD'd on the whole fa-la-la thing and my head just wants some quiet, but the dead of winter generally finds me on radio silence, my earbuds lying dormant and my general surroundings tune-free.
Then, spring hits and all of a sudden I'm bouncing down the road listening to peppy songs, singing along to the radio or walking through the neighborhood with rock 'n' roll blaring in my head.
The valley's recent warm-weather spurt was just the needed jolt. The trees were blossoming, the sky was sunny and my body was telling me it was time to resume those winter-dormant daily walks, complete with musical accompaniment.
I like to think I have a decent handle on popular music I can appreciate a lot of the current hits, and my job, coupled with having a teenage son, helps keep me on top of things.
But in downtime, I do tend to go back to classic rock. Let's face it, there's never again going to be an era in music like the 1960s, '70s, a little '80s even my 14-year-old admits to that. Still, there's some Pink on my iPod, some Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Foster the People, All-American Rejects and the like.
It's sort of an eclectic mix and I like to set things on shuffle and experience the playlist, in all its decade-spanning glory, randomly, when I'm out soaking in the sun.
And so it was on a recent afternoon, strolling and listening and pondering the viability of classic rock in the modern pop era.
A lot of the 30-year-old music on ye olde iPod still stands up. If a modern-rock station DJ dropped, oh, say a little "Dream On" into the current-day mix, your basic classic-rock-clueless teen would be all over it, ready to log onto iTunes and download the latest hit.
If my son wasn't already into classic rock (his most recent obsession: AC/DC. Seriously.), I'm pretty sure I could convince him that Elton John is an up-and- coming star, or that The Bangles' "Manic Monday" is a new release from Carly Rae Jepson.
Of course, not all classic rock holds up. When Jim Croce's "Operator" popped up on my earbuds, it was clearly a modern-day no-sell.
Are there even any telephone operators out there, anymore?
The song, though, is lovely a storytelling piece of art that could stand the test of time on its instrumentals if it weren't for the fact that its lyrics are frozen in a place long since rendered obsolete.
That makes the song's kind of sadness squared, doesn't it? The melancholy "Operator" might be by any one of the current male singer/songwriters out there, if not for a few lyrics. Of course, its those outmoded lyrics themselves that give the song its heft.
How poignant and lovely, after all, when Croce sings, "You can keep the dime." And yet, no one under the age of 30 would have a clue as to what he was talking about. Pay phone? What's that?
They could always Google it on their smart phones, of course.
After a week-one near-elimination scare, Modesto native JesseRay Vasquez and his design partner, Garrett Gerson, have found much success while competing on TV's "Fashion Star."
The reality competition show, where reps from Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Express bid on fashion designs created each week by the contestants, has rewarded the work by Vasquez and Gerson with big-buck buys the past two weeks, and clothes on the Macy's and Sak's websites.
In fact, a couple of weeks ago, their dress design sparked a bidding war and garnered them $140,000 to produce it for sale on Macys.com.
They'll be back at it tonight, trying to stay in the game, on NBC.
Over on "The Amazing Race," Modesto native Meghan Camarena and her partner, Joey Graceffa, remain in the hunt, despite being targeted for ouster by some of their competitors.
They still have targets on their backs, but they've held their own up to now.
And that young married couple with the nasty attitudes that I've mentioned disliking before? I like them even less. Seriously snotty pair. They came in last on Sunday, but, sadly, it wasn't an elimination challenge, so they remain in the competition.
Isn't that always the way?