Monday, July 18, 2005

I Hope You Know That This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record

The Violent Femmes played Raleigh this week-end, and of course I went. I spent countless hours as a teenager listening to their first album. On casette tape, of course, so that it subsequently started sounding like the band was playing underwater on some of the songs, and then the tape finally just broke. We would play their music on the band bus (oh yes, the band bus), and many times my own personal judge of character of somebody I had just met was whether they liked the Femmes or not. Needless to say, my husband is a fan. I don't know if he wore out his casette tape playing it or not, but he knows the lyrics to some of their more obscure songs, so he passes the test.

The concert was free, and held in downtown Raleigh at a tiny park in the middle of the bar/restaurant/art gallery/trendy junk shop district. Let me preface my review of the concert with this: I am old. I'm convinced of this fact for several reasons.

First, I don't really enjoy drinking cheap, overpriced beer. I mean, $4 per can isn't THAT bad, by concert standards, but after one can of Bud Light I'm ready to just give up on drinking for the night. Also, they used this stupid ticket system, which means you have to wait in line to buy a ticket, then wait in line to trade your ticket for a beer. This means that you buy a bunch of tickets intending to trade them in later, but then if you don't want any more to drink, the bastards running the concert get to keep your money. Yeah, we drank ALL of the beers. No unused tickets for us! Looking around, I saw that most people also used all of their tickets. Many, many, tickets.

Second, I don't like crowds. It seemed like most people around me were basically OK with standing around shoulder-to-shoulder. This could have more to do with redeeming all of their tickets than with their age, I'm not sure. All I know is that I was hot (it was 95 degrees and humid with no breeze, even at 9 at night) and people kept shoving through us. Why in God's name can't people just stand the fuck still when the band is playing?? I mean, send one person to go get beer, there is no need for all seven of you to come shoving through everybody in a bizarre, rude, conga line.

This was not helped by the lesbian couple next to us, who decided to bring their children along, ages 12 and 8. The 12-year-old seemed OK, bobbing her head along to the music, smiling, trying not to acknowledge the drunk men next to her that were perving on her something fierce by the end of the set. The 8-year-old was NOT happy, and looked like he was going to throw up at any minute. Thankfully, he held off. He was practically laying down on the ground though, which meant that his mothers had the job of making sure he didn't get stepped on. They proceeded to direct traffic around him, which made some people get a little unruly. At which point, one of them would threaten to kick his/her ass, and the unruly person would walk away. We were pretty thankful for the "walking away" part, although generally it was more like "walking around the crazy lesbian and then shoving whoever else happens to be in the way (usually me or Nikki)."

That being said, the Violent Femmes still rock my world. They are good at what they do, which is more than I can say for other artists that are currently played on Top 40 (although I listen to less and less of that, to be sure), and they are still very odd. They played Country Death Song, which is a dark and ironic choice being that they were fairly close to being in the Appalachians. We sang along and looked around, expecting outrage. All we got was drunken revelry, and somebody behind us shouting FREEBIRD about 25 times throughout the course of the set. The set was much to short, of course, but hey - the price was right.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Is it wrong that I'm so excited about the potential of Karl Rove actually getting caught doing something shady? I can barely listen to stories about it on the radio without clapping my hands with glee. Glee, I tell you. I just finished reading one of Al Franken's books (dated, I know) about Rove's push polling to knock McCain out of the primary, and various other shady shit he's done to help a President that should never have become one.

And just to cement my liberal standing, I will repeat what should be repeated, over and over again. Al Gore never claimed to have invented the Internet.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Calling

Our main TV broke about three weeks ago, so the first I heard of today's bombings was on BBC news on my way to work. It made the news much more immediate hearing it on a London-based station. The immediate panic and the jammed phone lines reminded me so much of 9/11 it was eerie. In addition to the victims and wounded, they talked about the 3 million or so people who would normally take the subway or buses today, and it was hard to imagine how scared those people must be, all of them.

My other thoughts are about Iraq. I have never been there, but I have to think that getting on a bus there you would take your life in your hands every single day. Not to mention on the street, in your home, going to the store, anywhere. Are they scared all the time? Or are they just numb to it by now and take it as part of everyday life? Also, ask yourself what your reaction was the last time you heard about a suicide bomber blowing up a bus in Iraq. Was it on par with your reaction to the attacks in London?

Of course this doesn't diminish the tragedy in any way. In "free" western societies we expect to be able to walk down the street or use public transportation without being blown up. Of course, we also expect to live without things like illegal search and seizure, wiretaps without court orders, imprisonment for indefinite time without hope of trial, going to jail for not revealing a journalistic source, things like that.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


What other word is there to describe North Carolina in July besides, "Gaaahhh." Seriously. Hot, Africa hot, and humid so it seems like you're swimming through the air rather than walking. This is interrupted only by sudden and torrential downpours, some with lightning and thunder, some with hail, some with only huge, furious drops of rain.

Sometimes, the rain parts the heat like a wave, and you go outside and forget how hot it was just an hour ago. It feels clean and you want to sit outside and drink iced tea and be Southern® for a while.

Other times, the added moisture just makes it worse. You go outside and you feel like a piece of broccoli in a steam cooker. You slow down, though, so you get evenly cooked on all sides.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Spring, Summer, and Fall

I had a whole series of things that would fit into the seasons categories, but I got so hung up on how to write the Fall one that I haven't written anything. So I'm just going to skip it. Plus, the overall blog tone has gotten a little depressing with the multiple deaths in my family and among friends of the family.

There are much happier things that have happened this year. For example, my friend Krissy got married this February and about forty of us went on a cruise to watch it happen. Now that was really something, so much so that I finally got motivated to get a free photo account. The images are BACK, baby! Well, I still have to re-upload the old ones.

Moments like the wedding seem to have a gravity of their own, leaving an imprint in your mind. Sitting at a little restaurant on the water, listening to the water and the mexican music played on the official wedding boombox, sipping a margarita and watching a good friend get married to somebody she loves with all her heart. Now that is a good one to keep with you for a while. Despite Carnival making abundant mistakes, we had a fantastic time and wouldn't have changed it for the world. A lifetime of happiness to Krissy and Ted!

Thursday, February 10, 2005


While we were on vacation, my Aunt Ola Mae passed away. It seems as though our family is reaching the point where we will be gathering for funerals more often. Most of these will be for people that have reached the winter of life, and I think Aunt Ola Mae had definitely made it there. She buried two husbands, has seen a generation of children born, then a generation of grandchildren, and finally a generation of great grandchildren. She was the photographer in the family - we used to joke that we wouldn't recognize her without a flashbulb on her forehead - and she drove like a bat out of hell. Seriously. We would all leave at the same time and she always always was the first to arrive. She was always full of energy and loved to laugh. The overwhelming sense I get from her passing is that she had seen everything there was to see, and now it's time for the next adventure. I hope she takes some good pictures.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Good Things

And I say
No, no, no, don't pass me over No, no, no, don't pass me by
See I can see good things for you and I
Yeah, good things for you

The year is 1992 (or thereabouts) and the place is a basement of a rental house that is somewhere in the vicinity of campus but is just far enough away that you have to find somebody with a car to take you there. There are five of us in the basement, and we are trying to learn songs with only three chords. For a brief period we consider naming the band DAG, but then Tommy convinces us to go with Oresteia. This turns out to be an interesting choice, considering that the only gigs we ever play are in crappy hick bars in semi-rural Wisconsin. For the most part, they call us Ortega, and then are fairly hostile when we don't play salsa music. Actually, that's not true. They are VERY hostile, when we don't know Freebird. FREEBIRD!! SKYNYRD!! DAMN, this band SUCKS!

So back to the basement. We feel like rock and rolls superstars in the basement. It's smoky and poorly ventilated, which proves to be good practice for me at putting up with the aforementioned crappy hick bars. I only have a couple allergy attacks, which is amazing considering the length of time we spend in the basement. Ray, although a great guy and pretty good contact with the crappy hick bars, has some trouble with the DAG songs. As they say in the South, bless his heart. It probably didn't help that he's deaf in one ear.

I know that leaving the band was the right thing to do for my college career. My week-ends were better spent practicing piano than pounding out DAG in a smoky basement. Still, for a brief while it was fun to be a rock and roll superstar, even if it was only in my own mind. I attempted to join a smaller band later on, sort of a Hootie wannabe, but it wasn't the same. Maybe because he didn't smoke.