Musings @musicandmeaning.com

Never feel alone -- you're really not alone.
"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Archive for the 'Favorite posts' category

Past posts that I’m particularly fond of, for whatever reason.


Tuesday, 15 March 2005

Thanks Dad, for my first tape recorder

I just posted about the Ask MeFi thread — I actually read it a while back, but wanted to post it today, before this entry. Oddly enough, the MeFi thread got me thinking about today, and about music and audio.

Today is my father’s birthday — he would have turned 66. Aside from other cool fatherly things, such as taking the family on trips and teaching his kids how to ride a bicycle, he provided an extremely rich musical background. There was always music on in the house, or in the car. As a kid, I listened to Tchaikovsky and Chopin; Jim Reeves and Nat King Cole; Verdi and Bizet; the Platters and Marty Robbins; Neil Diamond and the Kingston Trio…and lots and lots of other folk music, children’s songs, and Disney movie music, courtesy of those orange Disney cassettes for kids, and albums by the Chipmunks and the Smurfs.

My father gave me my first tape recorder when I was in the first grade. It was a new red Panasonic model, shaped like a cube, with a telescoping antenna and a headphone jack. I could listen to AM/FM and play my cassettes, but I remember being more excited to be able to record sounds and music. Most often, I used it to dub favorite songs from the radio. (One of the first tunes I taped: "I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues" by Elton John.)

Once, I tried to record the theme to The Smurfs by placing the recorder up to the TV speaker, and trying to shush anyone who made noise around me. I think I was disappointed by the results of the recording — since the Panasonic had an omnidirectional microphone, it picked up a lot of the ambient sounds.

Sometimes I’d record myself playing piano or singing. I remember the first time I listened to my voice on playback — speaking and singing — and being shocked by how I sounded nothing like what I’d thought (aren’t we all?). I also quickly discovered that if I set the recorder a few feet away from the piano (rather than right on top of — or too close to — the instrument), the recording sounded better.

I was terribly shy as a child, and never let anyone else listen to the tapes of me playing or singing; they were just for my ears. Once on a road trip somewhere, I started singing along to whatever was playing on the car stereo — I don’t remember what it was. Except I just sort of sang it quietly, under my breath. My aunt noticed, and she smiled and told me to sing louder. Frightened and flustered, I just clammed up. And one time at home, my dad found an unlabeled tape and played it — it was me singing along to either a Phil Collins or Genesis song. I was embarrassed beyond all doubt (embarrassed by my singing, not by the song…or maybe both ;) ). I may have grabbed the tape and run away, red-faced.

In fourth grade, my class got split into groups that had to write and produce original plays. There were two phone calls scripted in my group’s play, and I used the red Panasonic cube to record the ringing of the phone at home. I recall putting the recorder near the phone in the living room, and waiting for a call to come in. I didn’t have anyone call purposely — I just waited for someone to ring. Back then, we had rotary phones — you know, with actual dials (I know, the stone age!) — and the ringer was a real analog bell that clanged. Phones don’t sound like that anymore. Anyway, so I got home from school, and set it all up, and waited for the phone to ring…and waited…and in the evening, it finally did. I ran to the phone in the living room while saying, "Don’t answer it!" and then hit the play and record buttons (a blue arrow and a red circle) to start taping. And I let the phone ring…and ring…and ring. I finally picked up on the fourth one, I think. I waited for another call, for safety, or at least to get another take (of course, back then I just thought, "Just in case"). I ended up using those rings for the play.

Years later in high school, I was the assistant sound designer for the school production of Our Town, and did sound tech throughout high school and, even later, in college.

As a kid, I never dreamed of being a musician, or that I’d write and perform songs and put them on a CD for other people to hear. And yet, here I am, doing exactly that. It’s still hard for me to believe.

My dad bought me my first guitar when I was a junior in high school. It turned out to be his last Christmas gift to me. He never got to witness my playing ability progress, or hear any of my songs, or see me break out of my apprehensiveness about singing.

I still listen to Jim Reeves and Nat King Cole, and Marty Robbins and the Platters, and Chopin and Tchaikovsky, and Verdi and Bizet…

I still have that old Panasonic tape recorder. And it still works.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Posted at 1:33 am | Filed under Favorite posts, Musings & everything else |  

Tuesday, 2 December 2003

‘To do’ list

This sort of ties in to my Dreams/Wishes List from a few weeks ago. Here’s a list of things I’ve wanted to do for ever so long but still haven’t gotten around to yet (I’ll probably keep adding items as I think of more):

  • Write a letter to James Ivory
  • Write a letter to Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  • Write a letter to Ismail Merchant (see a pattern?)
  • Write a letter to my high school freshman English teacher
  • Write a letter to Anne Litt
  • Write a letter to Gordon Korman

Yeah, yeah. They’re all about writing letters so far. I’d be sending them out too. Too bad I can’t send one to E. M. Forster.

Posted at 9:05 pm | Filed under Favorite posts, Musings & everything else |  

Saturday, 1 November 2003

Goodbye to an old friend

Last night, for the first time in a while, I tuned in to the KNX Drama Hour, which has been on the air here on KNX 1070 AM since the 1970s, I believe.

I "found" it when I was about 12 years old, and it was a huge part of my life during my adolescence, during the height of my old-time radio show fandom/collection sensibility. It went hand-in-hand with my then-fledgling interest in films from the 1930s-’50s, and my fascination for the media culture of that period definitely made it hard to share interests with my peers. It was difficult finding anyone my age who had heard of Orson Welles, Jack Benny, Frank Lovejoy or Norman Corwin, let alone appreciate them or the dramas in which they were involved. For me, Alad Ladd will always be Dan Holiday from the radio show Box 13 before he is Shane. William Conrad will always be Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke. June Foray, famous for (among other things) Natasha on Rocky and Bullwinkle, will always be a Stan Freberg character first (Miss Jupiter…Edna St. Louis Missouri…Lucretia). Admittedly, when I think of Orson Welles now, I tend to think of Citizen Kane before anything else, but for the longest time, he was always first Harry Lime from the radio show version of The Third Man; he was the spooky narrator from The Black Museum; he was the brains behind The Mercury Theatre on the Air radio theatre group. Needless to say, old-time radio (OTR) was a huge part of my life, and KNX was the station that introduced me to it, and provided one or two OTR shows every night at 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Anyway, I tuned in to KNX last night, and was not surprised that the regular Friday shows had been pre-empted by the annual Halloween broadcast of Orson Welles & The Mercury Theatre group’s infamous 1938 production of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. What did surprise me, however, was the canned announcement at the beginning of the show, saying that it would be the final installment of the KNX Drama Hour. Final, based on the need for news recently: the SoCal fires, strikes, recall election, continuing war in Iraq…

It’s true, KNX skipped the Drama Hour during the first Bush/Iraq war, but it came back. It came back after September 11th. So perhaps this isn’t the true end? Perhaps they will bring it back? Unless another factor was a lagging listenership over the past few years.

So many years, so many shows. I feel old, and like I just lost a friend. A constant, true friend that’s no longer there. No Jack Benny on Saturday nights at 9. Unbelievable. It’s been a part of my life for 15 years.

It means absolutely nothing to the people who have lost friends and family and homes in recent days…maybe it means nothing in the grand scheme of the world. But it’s still sad to see what had been a true staple — a rare hour of old, historic drama, on a major CBS radio affiliate — disappear.

Thankfully, today being Saturday, I tuned in to Anne Litt and Weekend Becomes Eclectic on KCRW and it helped me remember to be grateful for what’s still here in terms of radio media and culture. I hope, hope, hope that her show (and NPR and KCRW for that matter) will be around for a long time to come.


Friday, 24 October 2003

And the air was beautiful

Three or four years ago, I attempted to learn how to play Nick Drake‘s "From the Morning" (one of my favorite songs). I gave up after a few tries. Maybe it was because I didn’t have the patience to "get" it, or maybe I just wasn’t ready. In any case, the song basically kicked my wump.

For whatever reason, about three weeks ago I found myself digging up the music for it, retuning my guitar, and getting set to have my wump kicked again. Not surprisingly, I was pretty awful. Managing each measure was a fight. Welcome to discouragement. But the next night, I picked up the guitar again (one good sign was that I didn’t tune it back to standard) and tackled that first measure, and the second, and the third… Still a fierce fight. But maybe not as impossible.

As each day passed, discouragement made way for the motto of eventually: I’ll get this arpeggio, eventually. I’ll remember the next phrase, eventually. I’ll play p m p i and not p m i m, eventually. And each time I reached a point where I could dispense an "eventually" sentence, I felt the enthusiasm burn that much brighter.

I still haven’t retuned the guitar to standard. And it’s amazing that I now can play most of the song without having to look at the music, and even sing at the same time. It’s sloppy playing — still plenty of missing or sour notes — but I think I’ve persevered through the most difficult stages of learning the piece. I find myself picking up the guitar to work on tough measures more than once a day sometimes — maybe for a few minutes while I’m waiting for some water to boil, or sometimes right after I wake up in the morning. It’ll take me at least another month or two to really grow comfortable with the song, but I’m looking forward to the days ahead, tossing away old "eventually"s and creating new ones. Ultimately, I look forward to having this song become even more a part of my life: in my playing, in my thoughts, and understanding more about music and the musician who wrote and played this song.

Nick Drake’s playing was always a mystery to me, and in turn, I suppose he himself was a mystery as well; as a songwriter, as a guitarist, as a person. Maybe I was too awed or overwhelmed by him to learn this song when I first tried. But now that I’m finally able to play a little of it, I have a better understanding of his music, and his guitar playing, and him. Perhaps not a clear or close understanding, but certainly a tiny bit more than before. I’m no painter, but I imagine it’s sort of like finding the unique brushstroke of a famous artist, and getting a sense of how that brushstroke could create such a work of art.

Posted at 5:49 pm | Filed under Favorite posts, Music |  

Tuesday, 21 October 2003

Hoping wishers never lose

Dum spiro, spero. So, here are just a few of my goals, wishes and pipe dreams:

  • My music getting airplay on KCRW (if it’s airplay on Weekend Becomes Eclectic…please, someone catch me as I tumble to the ground).
  • Guest DJ on KCRW.
  • Be interviewed by Nic Harcourt.
  • Be interviewed on an NPR newsmagazine.
  • Get published in the New Yorker.
  • Try not to mess up the lives of those around me.

Okay, the following aren’t so far up in the clouds as the rest:

  • Finally release a full-length album with all of my arrangements realized.
  • Publish a book of fiction.
  • Write a screenplay.
  • Write a radio play.
  • Take a really long vacation.
    » Visit all my faraway friends and their environments: DC, Houston TX, New Haven CT, A² MI, Boston/Cambridge MA, Philadelphia PA, Olean NY, Hong Kong.
    » Return to England, and see the rest of Britain, as well as Eire.
  • Treat my family to a long vacation.
  • Attend a "Says You" taping.
  • Publish a photo exhibit.

Ten years ago I no doubt would have written "produce a film" or or "win an Academy Award." Odd how they’re not even on the list.

Posted at 12:39 am | Filed under Favorite posts, Musings & everything else |  

Thursday, 10 April 2003

My favorite things

Here are just a few things that cheer me up, in no particular order. I plan to continue adding more to this list in future blogs and then compile them into a more complete document as time goes by.

  1. Sitting outside and looking at the night sky and its faraway inhabitants
  2. Playing guitar
  3. Jamming with other musicians
  4. A hug from a loved one
  5. The Pacific Ocean breeze sweeping o’er us
  6. A postcard from a friend
  7. Someone laughing at my jokes
  8. Weekend Becomes Eclectic on KCRW
  9. A really good episode of Gilmore Girls
  10. A really fun episode of Says You
  11. Trader Joe’s Vanilla Bean Cream Soda
  12. Finding a long-lost friend
  13. Kindness
  14. Feeling safe

Quote for the time being:

We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.

E. M. Forster, "The Tercentenary of the ‘Areopagitica’," Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)


Tuesday, 25 February 2003

FED fun

A few weeks ago a friend let me borrow his FED 5 camera when he heard I was into photography. Apparently he’d had it around but never used it. I’d read about old Soviet/Russian rangefinders but hadn’t actually held one. So here was my chance to see one up close.

Before I get into details, let me first say that the Internet is awesome. I learned so much about this camera from various sites. My favorite one about FEDs turned out to be the rangefinders section of Matt’s Cameras. Wonderful site, especially for classic rangefinder enthusiasts like myself. I also loved the section on folders (don’t have a folder yet but maybe someday a Kodak Retina I…). I also got some very helpful tips and suggestions from a RF list, especially from one guy in particular (I’ll call him RFguy), who helped me solve most of the problems I encountered with the camera.

The camera itself was/is pretty clean, with the case in good condition as well. This is a FED 5, not a 5b or 5c. First thing I noticed about this one: the rangefinder wasn’t working. Turns out that the arm had gotten stuck and turning the focusing ring on the lens didn’t do anything. So thanks to a tip from the RF list, I simply removed the lens, wiggled the arm and it popped out. This seems to be a common problem (i.e. the arm getting stuck) because I’ve had to pull it out every so often.

Other noticeable problems: the rangefinger wasn’t aligned correctly — both vertically and horizontally; the pressure plate was scratched; there were no foam or felt light seals. Otherwise everything seemed fine: shutter fired at all speeds, film winder worked smoothly, self-timer was functional, even the selenium meter was operational. The Industar-61 L/D lens looked very clean.

Adjusting the rangefinger was the toughest part. I had a lot of trouble opening the front panel, but apparently all I needed was to pry the thing open with a fingernail. I had been too careful in not wanting to scratch or somehow move the viewfinder glass…but it’s more secure than it looks. The collar around the rangefinger window was just as secure, because after removing the plate, I couldn’t turn it to correct azimuth. It just wouldn’t budge, no matter what tool I tried. So thanks to RFguy’s suggestion I dug out a pair of small scissors from a portable first aid kit. The ends of the scissor points weren’t even — one was a bit too large to fit into the ring, but after a few misses, I was able to successfully turn the ring loose of the paint and adjust azimuth! Let me say, this was my first time working on camera repairs and it’s kind of scary poking around a rangfinder window with scissors! Certainly, being careful is key. The horizontal correction was a piece of cake, since the screw for that is easily accessible.

I worked on the light seals earlier today. I wasn’t sure there would be light leaks but with the whole removeable back coming off the way it does, it wouldn’t surprise me if the camera leaked. I could have put some film in it, left the camera in bright light and then checked for light contamination, but I figured I’d just be cautious and install some foam anyway. All it took was a couple of thin strips of 2mm-thick black foam (available in 9″ x 12″ sheets from any crafts store and some drug stores). I just used a metal straight-edge, scissors, a metal-tipped mechanical pencil (with the lead recessed) and a stick of acid-free glue. The only strip of foam I had to glue was for the bottom of the camera back — everything else (both side-edges of the camera and the alley running above the shutter curtain on the camera body) I just nudged into place using the pencil tip. Reattaching the back is a much tighter squeeze now, but it’s still fairly easy to lock into place.

As for the scratched pressure plate: it was a long jagged scratch running down the plate. On a whim, I rolled up a piece of leftover foam strip and tried cleaning the entire plate. It took a little while, but I was able to buff out the scratch! Now the plate is much smoother with only faint signs of the scratch.

So, a roll of Superia is now in the camera and I hope to get the test roll finished soon. The flash sync/hotshoe works fine. Still need to test all apertures and shutter speeds. Hoping for: no light leaks, accurate rangefinder and proof of what’s supposed to be a great lens. Even if there are still problems, at least I’ve learned a bit about simple camera mods.

- Some history on FED cameras: check out Jim Blazik’s site (includes Zorki cameras and other Soviet RF info).

Posted at 9:46 pm | Filed under Favorite posts, Photography |  

Monday, 20 January 2003

The more things stay the same…

Earlier tonight (technically last night) I had the TV turned on during the 3-hour-tape-delayed Golden Globe Awards (given by the Hollywood Foreign Press, which has a membership of 90 people…90 people who can give a seemingly huge-biz-deal, internationally televised awards party…isn’t that amazing? I’ve always thought so). I was working on something on the computer; the TV is situated behind me, so I ended up just listening in every so often.

When Nicole Kidman accepted her Best Actress in a Drama award for playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours, she made a comment about how the past year had so many good performances and roles for women. And she pleaded with writers to continue writing rich and complex roles for women, because (may not be verbatim) “we’re very interesting.”

It was a nice speech, and it got much well-deserved applause…but I couldn’t and still can’t help thinking that a decade ago, when I was so very into the film industry and kept up with all of the news I could, actresses were trying to get the same message across. In no way do I intend to critique the originality of Kidman’s speech — not at all. I’m saying: What does it mean when, after ten years, female actors still have to plead for diverse and interesting characters to play?

Of course, I realize that it’s not as if things have remained static from 1993 to 2003. I acknowledge that improvements have been made. Even if Michael Cunningham had written The Hours back ten or fifteen years ago, I don’t know if the film would have been made…perhaps. But if it had, it likely wouldn’t have included such a remarkable “A” list cast, nor would it have been backed by a huge studio like Paramount, and without that cast and financial backing, it never would have had a chance in heck at winning an award like the Golden Globe. So a major dramatic movie about three women (who are not in their twenties, nor action heroes, nor evil spies, nor singing and dancing seductresses) like this one…it’s a positive sign, definitely (and I haven’t even seen the film yet). Even with the dollar-driven drivel that gets green-lighted these days, there’s still hope. Not just for actresses but for women as directors and writers and in the many other talents.

But I hope to witness the day when women will not have to ask men to write especially for them (and more women will be welcomed in the biz as writers), and when women will not have to search far and wide for (to borrow Kidman’s phrase) “complicated, rich characters to play.” Let’s try and see if we can make it happen. Because, let’s face it, I don’t want to have to make this case again ten years from now…and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Posted at 3:03 am | Filed under Favorite posts, Film, News commentary |  

Sunday, 8 September 2002

Baseball shouldn’t be this scary

Watching the Astros-vs.-Dodgers game on television earlier, I saw L.A.’s starting pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii get hit in the forehead by a line drive. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even say anything — not even a gasp or an "oh no." It looked really nasty, and when Vin Scully speculated (and hoped) that Ishii might at least have put his glove in front of his face to deflect the ball, the replays showed no such luck. Upon being struck, Ishii just crumpled in front of the mound, writhing in pain, and was taken away in an ambulance that drove onto the infield. It was really awful to watch. As I write this, the latest AP report states that Ishii suffered a concussion and a small skull fracture. The report also said that after the ball hit Ishii, "it ricocheted all the way to the backstop behind home plate." Geez. There was a somewhat reassuring moment, though, when he moved his arms and showed that he was conscious while being strapped to the stretcher.

Like many baseball fans, I just wish that he’s okay. I didn’t see Dodger Alex Cora sustain his concussion while sliding into second base a few weeks ago (I’m glad that he’s recovered nicely), but this accident was just gruesome to witness. It made me think of John Olerud, first baseman for the Seattle Mariners. When playing defense, Olerud always wears a helmet — it looks kind of like a slimline version of a batting helmet — instead of the usual baseball cap. I’m sure he gets a lot of ribbing, but I’ve always thought he was smart to do it. The helmet is cheap insurance, and it makes a lot of sense on the field. When something like today’s accident happens, it makes even more sense.

Also, as Vin Scully pointed out, the difficult lighting within the stadium did not help at all. At the time of the accident, the last rays of sun were slowly moving away. The mound was bathed in a patch of sunlight, but the entire area in front of the mound, including the batter’s box, was in shade. Scully guessed that Ishii may have lost sight of the ball as it crossed the shaded area into the sunlight towards him, and hence couldn’t move out of its way in time.

As the medical personnel were examining Ishii and the game was put on hold (there was no break to commercials until the ambulance left the field and Kevin Beirne came in as the emergency reliever), Scully kept saying that pitchers don’t like talking about the hazards of working on a mound a mere sixty feet in front of the batter, and the possibility of getting seriously hurt. I got the impression that it was a taboo subject among both pitchers and players — that they just ignore the negative possibilities and hope for the best, considering any accident part of the job. But why is that? That just seems so wrong. If the players don’t want to talk about it, why don’t the team trainers and management at least pick a bone about it? Ishii certainly isn’t the first pitcher to ever get struck in the head by a hit baseball. Is it because accidents like this don’t happen everyday?

Okay, so I’m not sure if requiring helmets for fielders would be the answer… I know pitchers and many infielders would balk (no pun intended) at a helmet on the field, saying it would hinder their abilities. I would really be interested in learning about Olerud’s experience in wearing a helmet while playing first base. I tried Googling for interviews or articles quoting him on the subject and how it affects his play, but couldn’t find anything of substance. In any case, I can’t come up with the perfect solution right now, but all I’m saying is that this really shouldn’t be a taboo subject to sweep under the rug and ignore, hoping that an accident won’t happen. It should be addressed carefully and thoroughly, because safety should never be a low priority.

Posted at 12:00 am | Filed under Baseball, sports, Favorite posts |  

Thursday, 8 November 2001

The power of music and WBE

It’s been nearly two months since I last updated this page… the last time was just after the attacks on 11 September, and me trying to begin to deal with it, through written words.

In nearly all the difficult periods of my life, I have found music to be extraordinarily healing. I remember that on the weekend after the attacks happened on 11 Sept., I tuned in to KCRW to hear Weekend Becomes Eclectic, and was relieved to hear Anne Litt at the mic again. I think at that point, everyone was just trying to get back into some sort of post-trauma life as best as possible. But it was very, very helpful to hear the show again, and the music that Litt selected was just spot-on for the moment. I remember thinking that she knew just what to play. Some of the tunes: U2‘s "Walk On," David Gray‘s "My Oh My" — which got cut off, unfortunately, leading into an NPR news report — Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Dave Alvin, even some strong>Beatles and Kinks tunes…and music that I learned to love thanks to my dad: some Glenn Miller, Nat King Cole… she played a lot of older tunes that would definitely not be played much by any other station in the same weekend.

I felt better after listening to the shows, and I’m sure that I was not the only one. In a time of chaos and confusion — and we all felt it; no doubt the folks at KCRW were just as affected as anyone — it was good to hear my favorite radio music program on the air. When I wanted news, I’d go to a network TV station, but by the time the weekend arrived, I needed to break away from the hard reality and I needed to know that the world that I used to know wasn’t completely eradicated by terrorism — that "my" world was still intact…still going forward in spite of sustaining a huge wound. Hearing the show that weekend, live as usual, was a clear sign indicating that we would go on and we could go on.

It may seem like a small event, really, or even a non-event, but to me it was important. It wasn’t just the music that was healing (I think Litt herself said that the music she chose was for "comfort food"); it was also because of the fact that she showed up to work as usual, as did all of the KCRW music program hosts (and other programs, but I won’t go into that here). Music is an extremely important part of life — for me, anyway — and, as I mentioned, can be especially important during difficult times. So, thank you Anne Litt and thank you KCRW. And thank God for the gift of music.

Moving on to less serious things… I’ve given this some thought, and I’ve decided that at some near point in the future, I am going to start using this space (probably) to write more formal entries. More like an infrequent column. I guess you could already call this a sort of column, but they’re more newsy bulletins than personal essays. For example the opening topic of this entry (about KCRW after 11 Sept.) would actually be an ideal subject for a column, IMO. That’s the kind of stuff I would write about. But maybe more in-depth. With titles. :-) The last time I wrote a regular column was over six years ago. I guess that I miss the experience, so I’m creating my own opportunity here.

Other news: Was that one of the best World Series ever, or what?! Absolutely amazing.

Music of the moment: Richard Buckner is remarkably still very much a factor here. Especially "Pull," "Goner w/ Souvenir," "Lucky Buzz" and "Once." As for other music, well, I’ve been listening to a lot more than just five CDs lately. But for a sampling: I finally
updated my CD player inhabitants.

Quote for the time being:

Hey Jude,
don’t let me down.
You have found her,
now go and get her.

Remember
to let her into your heart.
Then you can start
to make it better.

– what else? The Beatles’ "Hey Jude"


Friday, 8 September 2000

Baseball = players, coaches, a stadium, cheering fans, and Vin Scully

I am an L.A. Dodgers fan. I was an avid baseball fan from 1988 until 1992 (the strike). My favorite players back then were mostly Dodgers (obviously), and not necessarily famous or long-term ones either: outfielder Stan Javier (recently retired; finished his career with the record-breaking 2001 Seattle team), pitcher Ray Searage (whatever happened to him?). Of course I also liked the more well-known names: Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser, Steve Sax and Mike Marshall. Non-Dodger faves included Nolan Ryan and Paul Molitor. I didn’t really follow the game again until 1995 (thanks to the fabulous season by Hideo Nomo), but then lost interest once more until 1999. This might sound odd, but even if the Dodgers never win another title in my lifetime (don’t get me wrong…I would be thrilled if they did!), I’m very grateful to have had the experience of a home team winning the series, and it happening during a time when I was such a big baseball fan.

The best thing about being a Dodgers fan, for me anyway, isn’t about the players or the city, and it’s definitely not the current Rupert Murdoch era. The best thing about being a Dodgers fan is the amazing, eloquent Vin Scully. I could go on to spout about why I feel so strongly about this, but suffice it to say that for me and for countless other fans, he has been the mainstay, the consistent element to our baseball experiences, the voice of the Dodgers for over 50 years. And yet, I didn’t fully appreciate his talent and his dedication and significance to the franchise until a year ago.

A few days before graduating from college, I was in the middle of packing one morning when I happened to switch on the little TV in my room. Instantly, before the picture even showed up, I heard Vin Scully’s voice calling a Dodgers game. It had been a few years since I’d tuned into a baseball game, and my immediate reaction was to smile. It reminded me of when I was younger, when my life seemed so different, and experiencing the thrill of a home team’s World Series. That era seemed so far away; yet there was Vin Scully calling a game, 11 years later. At that moment, I felt a very strong connection to the past, and the feeling was extremely moving, and almost surreal.

Now, I’ll listen to him announce and laugh at his jokes and puns, and appreciate his wit, whereas I don’t recall ever noticing his wordplay in my youth. And every so often during the course of a game, I’ll find my attention drawn not to the action on the field, but to the familiar timbre and poise of his voice — grateful to have at least one constant in my life, and wishing that "The Voice" would be there forever.

[Read more about Vin Scully’s amazing career]