10.30.2007

I Was Meant For the Stage

Holy shit!!! I had quite the eventful weekend. On Friday, Chris and I went to a department Halloween party with a dress-up-like-a-game theme. I decided to go as the game Eat, Fuck, Or Kill, which consisted of three baby dolls--one tied around my waist, one on a platter with some parsley, and one hanging from a noose. It was pretty fantastic (if I do say so myself), only no one at the party had heard of the game. Before we even arrived, though, Chris and I accidentally locked ourselves out of our apartment and had to call a locksmith to let us in. This was bad thing #2 in the last couple of weeks, the first being that I dropped my ipod into a clean toilet bowl and will now have to send it in to hopefully be repaired or buy a new one. But, I thought that maybe these were actually good luck charms for the Decemberists' shows this past weekend. You see, the last time I saw the band, a very bad thing happened the night before when Chris and I were stuck in the city with my car that wouldn't start (and then it was a bit damaged from the towing). All was forgotten, though, when before the concert, while waiting in line, I talked to Colin Meloy and he recognized me!!! So I crossed my fingers that perhaps this too was some sort of karma.

Indeed it was. We arrived at the Vic Theatre at about 11:30am on Sunday. One girl was in line (who I had waited in line all day with last April when the band played at the Riviera Theatre). One of the guys working with the merchandise asked us about the deal where if you bought a two-day pass, you received a poster and needed to photocopy what the two-day pass tickets looked like. So, I volunteered (after he said I could accompany him on this task). Turns out, he photocopied the tickets in the Decemberists' dressing room, so I was standing in the hallway right outside of their door. Nate was talking on his phone right next to me, and when he was finished with his conversation, he introduced himself to me (meaning that I have now met all five Decemberists). And I could see Jenny and Colin on the couch talking and Colin eating a sandwich. Back outside, the band soon came out to walk around the area and I had my chance to ask Colin my questions--about Jane Eyre's influence on "The Island" and about how to pronounce his sister's name (turns out I'm an idiot and have been mispronouncing it all this time). He told me that Jane Eyre had nothing to do with his song (but said "good digging!"), that there was a bit of James Joyce (parallax). So I was pretty happy that I had a chance to complete what I had set out to do.

The show was fantastic!! It was really great to see the opening of the tour as they were still working out how they were going to do everything and seemed to be in a mood for spontaneity. Colin had his shirt sleeves rolled up and on his inner right forearm, just below the elbow, there was a tattoo of a ship. I called out that I liked his tattoo and he looked at me and said thank you, and then rolled up his sleeve a bit more. I can't be absolutely certain, but I'm pretty sure he made eye contact with me several times in the show, and he came out to the edge of the stage near us several times as well. The show was supposed to be over at 9:45pm, since there's a 10pm curfew (all ages show), and the band was warned that they were going over at one point, but they wouldn't cut the night short (it wouldn't be the Long Of It if it was cut short). They played until about ten after 10pm, including an almost ridiculously long cover of Pink Floyd's "Echoes". After the concert was over, John, Chris, and I decided to hang out by the stage door to see if the band would be frequenting any local bars. I also wanted to tell Colin that when he drums (during The Tain), he looks a bit like Mick Fleetwood with his expressions. We had to wait a bit (a firetruck and ambulance pulled up while we were waiting--it seems that Nate hit his head and was being checked to make sure he was alright), but eventually they all came out and signed autographs. I was last in the little semi-circle of people, and I was busy forumlating my comment, apparently too busy to hear him say to me, "Hello, it's good to see you again." (!!!!!) I told him my observation, and he was very happy about it (Fleetwood Mac is one of the biggest influences for the band, according to some interviews). He told me it was a "high compliment." Then they were whisked off by a van and I was left giddy and incredibly sore.

But that's not all. We arrived at the theatre around 11:30am on Monday as well. There was no band-meeting before the show this time, but it was more than made up for. The set list for this show was highly discussed during the day of waiting--which short songs would they play? Would it be all upbeat, or would they mix it up? It turns out that they played a bit of everything and mostly things that aren't usually played. The set began with the first five of the six songs, in order, from the 5 Songs EP. The rest of the set was a mix of the peppier and the less so (i.e. "Eli, the Barrow Boy"). They ended the encore with "After the Bombs" and started the encore with "A Cautionary Song" which featured Chris and John reenacting the St. Valentine's Day Massacre (and the front row was able to sit on the stage at this point to make room for the reenacting). But, the two absolute highlights (of the night and of my life up til this point, really) came with the performances of "Culling of the Fold" and "The Chimbley Sweep." I was hoping that they would play "Culling of the Fold" and hoping that I would be one of the audience members who come face to face with Colin during this song. He did his usual round of audience interaction, and then kind of fell into the crowd a bit, right on top of Chris. Towards the end of the song, he came back, and touched my cheek as he finished singing!!! He then went to stand on an amp in front of the drum set and jump around a bit while the band was ending the song, and ended up falling into John and the drum set a bit. By this point, I was already on cloud nine, but it wasn't over yet. During the instrumental break on "The Chimbley Sweep," Colin and Chris had their guitar riff-off, but in the middle of it, Colin walked over towards me. I thought he was just going to play near the crowd as usual, but instead, he held his hand out to me and pulled me up onstage!!!!!!!! Then, he gave me his guitar and pick and then he went into the audience to play the role of a fan. It was an odd mixture of extreme excitement and a bit of terror as I can't play guitar, not even a little bit (and it was a bit difficult to try as the guitar was hanging pretty low on me, given that I'm smaller than Colin Meloy). I attempted to play at least a scale or strum a chord that I knew, but there was a capo about halfway down the neck which was a bit hindering for me and I could barely hear any sound that I was making. I tried my best to play the rock star, but I was shaking quite a bit. I tried walking around and high-fiving the audience, but I was a little afraid that I would trip over all the wires onstage and mostly stayed put. At some point (I didn't really notice that much of what was going on aorund me), Chris and pulled up another audience member to play his guitar. In the meantime, Colin was acting the groupie, shouting to John that he loved him and jumping around. Eventually, he came back onstage and I gave him his guitar back, shook hands, and then he hugged me and I joined the audience again. So, aside feeling like a bit of a schmuck for not actually knowing how to play, it was fucking phenomenal. I'm still not entirely sure that this actually happened to me, and everytime I picture Colin holding his hand out, I giggle like a school girl. This truly was the craziest thing that's ever happened to me.

We waited outside the stage door again, mostly so I could apologize for my lack of talent and promote myself by telling him I could play trumpet (maybe they could use me on this tour for "The Sporting Life"?), but Colin went right into the van and it drove off. Oh well. I think I can make due with only having the experience of playing onstage with the Decemberists. Holy fuck!!!!!!!!!

10.26.2007

Wonder Boys

I have finished reading Jane Eyre. It seemed to me to end a bit abruptly, but it was a pretty good read, I'll say. Rochester is a bit of a douche bag, though not nearly as much as St. John. It tends to drag a bit, though I did really like the first part of the novel, before Jane grew up. I enjoyed Charlotte Bronte's writing--she has a very poetic style. I don't know that I really have that much to say (write) about it though. I've been reading a few academic articles about it, but after that I'm not sure what I want to read at work next. This is where you come in, dear readers. Please help me decide what to set upon next by voting. Here are some options.
Reading at work:

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

The Sea-Gull by Anton Chekhov

anything by Charles Dickens

Middlemarch by George Eliot

something by Henry James

Ulysses by James Joyce

something by Edgar Allan Poe

anything by Mark Twain

anything by Jules Verne

something by Edith Wharton

something by Virginia Woolf

Stay tuned to vote on what I should read next in the at-home category!

10.15.2007

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Good news everyone (besides the Bible)! For the past week or so, I've noticed a contentedness blossoming in my life. I'm getting more organized and confident with my job, as well as my reading progress at said job. I bought a swim suit and will be swimming every other day, which helps the whole healthy-in-the-body bit. Most importantly, I've had better and better thoughts recently. What I'm really happy about is that I am content and not ecstatic. This is very important to me, as the former more or less equals healthfulness and the latter not as much. It feels almost as if I'm starting over, which is pretty nice. I am becoming better at relaxing and maintaining a laid-backness throughtout each day. While before I might imagine myself somewhere or doing something else if I didn't particularly like where I was or what I was doing, I am now just imagining a happy place/thought. The difference is that now, it's a more relaxed imagining--instead of thinking about being somewhere else physically, I find it works better if I picture the place mentally and leave it at that, without the extra work of making it tangible or realistic (if that makes sense). I'm trying to be more patient with people, especially when I'm driving (though I don't think that one will work so well until I get out of this state--no wonder they don't make cars here anymore, they don't know how to operate them). Also, I'm trying to be productive, but at the same time not worry about being productive so much. Basically, I'm trying and somewhat succeeding at worrying less overall--which is a great improvement for me. I think the only place I am less successful with this strategy is in the financial department. So, if you have a lot of extra cash that has been burdening you as of late, please feel free to send it my way.

Post to come: the TV season so far (idea stolen from John)

10.10.2007

Everything In Its Right Place


Happy Belated Birthday John!!!

In other news, I have become greatly worried about the current and future state of House. Last night's episode (spoiler alert!!!! Oh No!!!!) featured House acting like a room full of writers have succumbed to fatigue/writer's block/absence of good ideas. I was afraid when I saw the preview for last night's episode last week. Surely they won't have their star character act completely out of character, surely a life long atheist and superb doctor won't act this naively , surely they won't throw all of the characterization they've provided the past few years in one fell swoop. I can accept him sticking a knife into an outlet in order to prove someone wrong (beyond a doubt, or at least as much as that is possible), to shut down the inevitable comment of "you've never been there," but now the preview for next week makes me worry again. Surely they're not going to bring the supernatural into this show. Why are the writer's obsessed with his atheism and continually provide him with inferior foils espousing Christianity? Can't there be an escape from the overabundance of the bad side of religion in our culture right now (I'm looking at you people who don't "believe" in evolution)? Hopefully this will just be a case of networks providing horribly inaccurate previews for their programs (I'm looking at you ER trailers). And another thing...I don't like what the writers are doing with this new blonde chick. Okay, so she's the "female House," only it doesn't work. I get the point that men get away with being sarcastic/arrogant/condescending/aggressive/etc. much more than women do, but that's not what's happening here. The reason House is likable is that he's exceptional and can back up all of his arrogance and everything else and then some. This woman is not exceptional and I'm tired of hating all the female team members (though I do like the woman who correctly diagnosed the patient this past week). So, hopefully I'll be able to continue watching House. If they fuck up next week, I won't be able to watch and then I'll be very sad and mourn my loss for quite some time. Sigh.

10.09.2007

10.05.2007

The Sporting Life




Happy Birthday Colin and Carson!!!!!

In other news, I've decided that East Lansing law enforcement is wretched. On the first day of my job up here, more than a month ago, I noticed a yellow light and went through the intersection because I wasn't far enough way when the light changed to stop. I was then pulled over by a motorcycle cop who gave me a $175 ticket. Feeling that this was utter bullshit, I contested the ticket this past Wednesday. To no avail. The judge deemed that I was responsible and I was relieved of quite a chunk of my not-so-ample finances. I figured I would lose if the cop showed up (which he did), but I thought I might have a bit of a chance. I didn't realize that the court and the police headuquarters are in the SAME FUCKING BUILDING! Fuckers. So I'm stuck driving every day in a town where the police have nothing better to do than ticket drivers who commit a perceived offense. My only consolation is that I added to the number of tickets issued by this particular police officer that are contested (I'm thinking that list is quite long), and that maybe someone will take him aside and tell him not to be such a douchebag. Other than the ridiculous police, the roads and drivers in this city/state are starting to wear on my nerves. This is how they drive around here:
1. 5-10 miles below the posted speed limit
2. 30-40mph on the on-ramp for the highway (when the ramp is a straighaway)
3. cluster in one lane (there is often two cars in the left lane and fifteen in the right, even though none of those fifteen plan on making a right turn)
4. stop with a car space or two distance between them and the car in front of them at a stoplight
5. block an intersection when there's a back-up in the lane instead of stopping at the light
6. stop (or slow to a crawl) while on a road for no apparent reason
7. wait a minimum of 5 seconds before proceeding when they get a green light (the same goes for making a left turn)
8. other things that annoy me and impede my passage

Though it's not all bad up here. Last weekend, a friend of Chris accompanied us to Ann Arbor and on the way back, we drove through a suburb called Chelsea that seemed very nice. The other day I learned that Chelsea is home to none other than Jeff Daniels! Perhaps I will meet him someday.

One last thing--Chris and I watched the Office last night and are both hoping that it does not continue to dwell in over-the-top land for any other episode this season.