Saturday, October 23, 2010


Everything I ever needed to know about life I learned from my favorite movie, Almost Famous.

It's late on a Friday night. I went home early tonight because I am getting over walking pneumonia. I wanted to come home, climb into bed early and slip into a peaceful Nyquil induced come. Instead I came home to a quiet house in desperate need of inspiration. When I need to be inspired, I put on Almost Famous.

Almost Famous Lesson #1

Lester Bangs: The only true currency in this bankrupt world... is what you share with someone else when you're uncool.

Meaning: Learn to let your guard down and authentically be yourself. You'd be amazed how genuine a person will be with you when you are being genuine. To put it crassly: stop being such a douchebag, drop the front and be yourself. People will like you, if you like yourself.

Almost Famous Lesson #2

Penny Lane: If you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.

Meaning: No matter how tough things get, you can always hide in your favorite music. Drive down the highway with the windows down and blare "Where the Streets Have No Name". Lay on your back porch and listen to Cat Steven's "The Wind". If you're broken hearted, turn Brandi Carlile's "My Song" up as loud as you can and sing it at the top of your lungs. In those moments, you \know that song was written just for you, just for that moment.

Almost Famous Lesson #3

Music is the magical glue that binds us together.

Now I know some might think that is a magic-pixie-life-is-full-stardust bullsh*t thing to say, but it's f*cking true. It does. Have you ever stood in a crowd of thousands and threw your arm over the complete stranger next to you and sang at the top of your lungs to your favorite band? Have you ever sat in a general admission line for 8 hours and made friends with people from three different states, and even though you know you'll never see them again you'll never forget them? Have you ever sat at a piano with someone and sang show tunes so loudly you didn't care how badly you sounded? Have you ever written a stupid song with a friend, and every time you're with that friend if something reminds you of that song all you have to do is look at each other and you immediately start singing it? Music is transcontinental. It is one language that everyone understands. Even if you don't know the words, you just f*cking get it.

Almost Famous Lesson #4

It's a shame you can't go with someone to their gate to watch them take off.

That's not really a lesson. More an observation. Who wouldn't love to reenact the scene when Penny's plane is pulling away, with her hand on the window, and William runs down past the windows watching her pull away. Come on. You know you want to.

Almost Famous Lesson #5

Russell Hammond: I'm on drugs!

Don't do drugs.

Almost Famous Lesson #6

Elaine Miller: Now go do your best. 'Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.' Goethe said that. It's not too late for you to become a person of substance, Russell.

Whether it's your Mother, Aunt, cousin, brother, sister, best friend, teacher or whoever; you will inevitably have someone in your life who is willing to dispense some kind of wisdom to you. In that moment you will be tempted to roll your eyes and just keep wallowing in that world of self piteous behavior that you've allowed yourself to become trapped in. Shut up. Listen. You might learn something. Goethe was on to something, and so might be that person regurgitating Goethe to you.

Almost Famous Lesson #7

Penny Lane: I've made a decision, I'm gonna live in Morocco for one year.

For goodness sakes, get out of your home town. Go away. If you're from a small town, live in a big city. If you're from a big city, live in a small town. If you're from the suburbs, get out and never go back! There is such a huge magnificent world out there. Explore it.

Almost Famous Lesson #8

I miss Polaroids.

Who had a Polaroid camera? You know that every picture you took with a Polaroid camera was a very special picture, because Polaroid film is very expensive and you only had 10 shots a pack. I lost my Polaroids when I moved to Seattle. It broke my heart because those were some of the greatest pictures I've ever taken in some pretty precious moments. Try taking pictures like you you had a Polaroid camera; you'd be amazed at some of the special shots you get.

Okay, it's 2:38 am. Bedtime. I'm going to turn on Joni Mitchell on my Zune and listen to "River" over and over again until I fall asleep.

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