BANV has been rockin’ instead of bloggin’

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    Beachdog pointed out that Bel Air News & Views had a little posting slow down recently. I’d say it was due to a crazy convergence of end-of-school year events, a visiting grandmother and my 9-year-old’s birthday … but in truth it’s all due to Playstation 2′s Guitar Hero II. This is what my son wanted for his birthday. I saw it was rated “Teen” so I initially said no. Then we went to Gamestop and I asked the salesman about it. He said, “It’s not violent. It’s rated ‘Teen’ because of the song lyrics.” I flipped the game over and read the titles: “Beast and the Harlot,” “Killing in the Name,” “Shout at the Devil.” I asked him, “Would you let your 9-year-old play it?” He said, “Probably not.” So there it was. I was drawing the line, taking a Mommy stand for holding onto to childhood innocence just a little bit longer. My son was crestfallen, but I was feeling very righteous. That was until we went to our neighbor’s graduation party. The 18-year-old Fallston High graduate and her 10-year-old brother split the $80 cost of the game and guitar controller and their parents, who I consider some of the most thoughtfully cautious I know, said the lyrics didn’t bother them. “You can hardly hear them,” they said. So my husband and I watched the kids play Guitar Hero II in their basement for awhile. I couldn’t make out the lyrics at all. I felt the images of the Grim Reaper lurking in the background were unnecessarily creepy, but I guess you can’t have a rock star game without some edge. And the song list included the Police’s “Message in a Bottle” which conjures up fond memories of a Police concert I attended as a 16-year-old. So I relented and traded in righteous mom for “Righteous Mom.” That’s the name of my Guitar Hero II band. I haven’t graduated from the “Easy” category yet, but that’s only because I play with my 4-year-old on my lap. My son and I play together in the “Multiplayer” category at least twice a day. He has to hit the button on my guitar for me to get “Star Power” because I miss too many notes when I try to do it myself. And the audience is merciless with the booing when you miss a note. Anyway, all this fake guitar jamming has interfered with my blogging. But the good news is, it’s piqued my son’s interest in the real thing. We’ve been noticing these blue and yellow hand written signs advertising summer guitar lessons all around Bel Air. When we saw another one on our way out of Annie’s Playground this afternoon, my son memorized the number and we called. Turns out the lessons are being offered by a little music school on Bel Air Road called Noteworthy Music (2112 Bel Air Rd, Fallston, MD 21047, (410) 420-7200). In an unusual burst of impulse, we drove over to the school and signed him up for electric guitar lessons and rented a red and black electric guitar — the real thing. No red, green and yellow buttons to push for points on this. I hope he takes to it just as readily, though I imagine it will take a bit longer for him to acquire the mastery involved in playing with it held behind his head.