Saturday, July 31, 2010

Clinton Wedding, Rocky Horror, Cow Judging, And The Great Tour Shirt Debacle

I've been saving this one up, 'cause it's just too good.
Picture it: Denver, earlier this month; we've just finished with limo-watch.
In the last few years, Paul fans have exploded... almost literally, exploded.
Concerts used to be a rather reserved affair, but not any more; folks practically stampede each other to get to the merchandise, to their seats, to get pictures, even peeving the precious when he sings (I know, I've seen it myself)... it almost makes me look polite about the whole thing. Perhaps you remember the terrible Who Concert Disaster? If that hadn't happened then, we'd be calling it the terrible McCartney Concert Disaster.
Needless to say, they've started putting up merchandise stands outside the venue, before you are even allowed inside. This works out really well for us, because Daddy doesn't go with us to the show, but he can take all our goodies back to the hotel with him when he drops us off.
Once you get to the front of the merchandise line (after fighting with everybody else, of course), they rush you through, take your money as you count it out, tell you to get out of the way, and move on to the next schmuck.
When it was our turn, we got a venue specific shirt, three other shirts, and a jacket (oh yeah, believe it). We were shoved unceremoniously out of the way by a gruff-looking lady, and our buying spree was over. Pleased with our purchases, we accompanied Daddy back to the car, and headed for the doors.
Everything goes splendidly; we have a lovely afternoon the next day, and are on our way home poorer, but happier.
Two days after the show, we finally get the chance for a really good look at our goodies. We admire the jacket, and fawn over the signature on the inside tag; we look at the concert date on the backs of our respective shirts; and then, the venue specific. Well, we knew it was all too good to be true, didn't we?
Imagine my surprise when I arrive home from Denver to find this on the back of my venue specific t-shirt.

Uh, yeah, no.
Not one to give up, I headed over to Paul's official online store, hoping to get contact information. PAY DIRT.
Since it was the weekend, we called first thing on Monday. We were told that it wasn't their problem, and to get in touch with Pepsi Center.
How does one get in touch with Pepsi Center? Who the hell knows. The folks we spoke to on the phone certainly didn't. So. We had to work with this here list of numbers... and believe you me, we tried quite a few of them before we found the right guy. PAY DIRT?
This guy said that he would put us in touch with the bloke we needed, so, we were redirected to the guy on the road with the trucks (PAY DIRT?!); he said we'd have to wait until the shipment for the next stop, Kansas City, got into town before he could send us the right thing. We waited about a week, then gave it a few days, and finally wrote to him, reminding him that he would send us a Denver shirt.
Finally, a couple of days ago, via "EXTREMELY URGENT" FedEx mail, this arrived at my door...
Finally, PAY DIRT, damn it!

This apparently happened to eight other people, so I hope they were as diligent as I was in getting what we paid for.

The moral of this story, children, is to ALWAYS CHECK YOUR MERCHANDISE. And, if it's wrong, BLOODY WELL FIX IT.

It's time for another round of YOU BE THE JUDGE.
Is it just me, or does this guy on the back of our local phone book...

...look just like John Inman?

Though, my favorite phone book advertisement was this one in San Antonio a few years ago...

If you're unfamiliar with Mr. Inman, perhaps this little ditty will refresh your memory...

Hey, if you thought that was questionable, you ought to give this a listen.

Did you see this headline?
I think it's my favorite ever.

At least that headline is a little less baffling than this one...
Some folks have too much fun on company time.


As I was in the process of writing this post, I told my mother it was going to turn out rather annoying.
She said she couldn't believe anything I ever did would be boring.
I told her I said it would be annoying.
She said she could buy that one.
It's vibed, man, fab gear, really swingin'.
No, I don't know what vibed means (I'm thinking it's a regional thing). When I looked it up, though, I found this....

You are now free to go back to your boring lives.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

^2s Just Wanna Have Fun!

One of my very earliest memories is of hearing that dirty little seven-letter word uttered.
My mother was talking to my sister, who miserably poured over a book, which they both looked at with contempt.
My sister was in high school at the time, and, as a very small child, I was amazed that she could read books that big and not enjoy them; after all, my smaller books were about Dick and Jane and Baby Sally and Spot all playing at the park with Kitty in a red wagon, or "A picnic! A picnic! Who wants a picnic?", with accompanying song.
The foreign word continued to crop up in their conversation as I went up behind my sister to look over her shoulder at this abominable book. It was flipped open to the oddest assortment of pictures and words I had ever seen. I vowed to stay as far away from that as I could.
Though I heard "The Word" quite often, I was rather desensitized to it by the time I started my education at home. Sure, I knew "The Word" implied horrible things, which had begun to frighten me when spoken of; I wasn't quite sure of the full extent of "The Word"'s meaning, but it couldn't have been good, whatever it was.
As I worked through my lessons at home, and continued to live with "The Word", it finally dawned on me that I was never going to escape it, and that, one day, I would have to face the same battle my sister had trudged ahead with for so long... I believe I was about nine years old when I first made this astonishing discovery, and ever since then, I have fretted when my time would come.
As I grew, "The Word" was just as present, though I was resigned to it by then; that didn't mean I wasn't dreading the inevitable struggle, only that I must prepare myself for battle (and let me tell you, bootcamp was hell), keep my chin up, and not complain about it.
Just as my sister had done, I put it off, and put it off, dreading what awaited me; and, just as always, the time came for me to face the music.
The war was on.
It started off with a bang, from the ground floor, the dead basics; I worked my way through the ranks quickly, taking great pride in my victories, and wallowing in my defeats tirelessly throughout the last year. Be that as it may, I have finally conquered the fear, and can stand in the light of dawn, proudly holding two fingers aloft.

I finally passed algebra.
On the first try.

I don't even understand this. I can't tell you what any of that means.


Take that, public education system!
I say this purely because the only thing that kept me out of the Gifted and Talented club in public school was math. True story.
I'll bet the three kids I knew from G&T couldn't pass algebra to save their hides, though (and they're only just getting the chance, what with they've only just graduated high school and all... see what "Gifted and Talented" gets you? You still have it all ahead of you, you little tit-monkeys!)
It was always a little awkward to have the kids from Gifted and Talented ask me what certain words were in their textbooks, or how to spell a word, yet publicly have lower speed-math scores than the other twenty-nine children in the room. When the other kids would ask me why I never went with the Gifted and Talented group on their "special field trips", I would tell them that I was too cool for that, and, anyway, I was the only kid the teachers trusted to take the Ritalin bags to the principal's office every day (true story... seven years old, running drugs for the school).
I wish them lots of luck, though. They might be better with numbers than I was, but while they've been stuck in their precious institutions of learning for the better part of ten years, I've been out there living my life. And I'd bet I could still out-spell 'em.

That being said, my life has been on hold for the last year; during the last fifty-two weeks, I have not...:

*drawn in my sketchbook (yes, you read that right... I'm not just a mediocre face!)
*gone on all-night writing binges (which, by the way, are one of my favorite things to do in the whole world)
*cleaned out my closets (and it shows)
*re-read any of my previous Wordpad drafts ('cause you can never be completely happy with whatever drivel comes out of your brainbox)
*finished half of the books I've started on off-weekends
*or, in general, done anything falling into the category of "fun" besides going to see Paul.

And I can tell you, it's done my head in.
I have been told that I turn into the Supreme Super-Bitch when I do algebra, so I'll be back to my effervescent self in no time!

Now that algebra may officially be spoken of by me in the past tense, I plan on doing all of what I listed up there, AND MORE.
It's been too long, enough is enough. I have decided to take my life back, and claim it as my own again.
It's pretty bad when you start to get envious of the people in those stupid Scientology advertisements...

Damn people, out living their lives! Bastards!

As an aside, my mother thinks I should sell my algebra books back to the library... I'm thinking that a ceremonial burning is in order. Too drastic?

Perhaps not.

My mother and I were talking recently about the joys of being finished with this immeasurable evil, and how I shall never have to deal with it as long as I live ever-again-ever.
After a moment's thought, she said to me, "you will when you have kids of your own".
My reply?
"I'll just tell them the same thing everyone always told me: 'Gee, kid, I don't know.'"

We shall be celebrating with sparkling apple juice, and an iTunes buying spree!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You Can Thank Me Later

Who here remembers the terrible tangent I went on not too long ago?
You know, about how the foreign music industry doesn't do enough to get their music out in the US, thereby diminishing the artist's staying power and revenue?
Yes, that one.
Well, imagine my surprise when I read this announcement yesterday :

One Night Only's first album on US iTunes!
July 27

You're welcome, small-percentage-of-America-that-gives-a-damn.
My only question is how far is this going to go? Will we be getting singles, as well? Are we slated to get their second album come August?
I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.

In other news, I laughed my arse off at this advertisement today (just because it tickled me)...

I don't know much about this kid, besides the fact that he sounds like a girl... isn't he incredibly young, as well? Doesn't he still firmly believe girls have cooties?
Well, just think, if he sounds like a girl now, perhaps his next album will sound more like this...

Just a thought.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What's This About Altitude? BRING IT ON!

Well, we're back from Paul!
Our hotel didn't have Internet access (isn't it funny how that seems to happen to us?), but I wrote the following bit of fluff as soon as we hit the room from the concert.
I had a hard time deciding on a title, but here were a few floating about in my brainbucket:

"The Return Of The Psychedelic Piano"
"Paul-Fringe In The Air Conditioning"
"NEWS BRIEFS : Literally!"
"Ram On Hits Denver!"
"Brian Smells Loverly"

Enjoy the post, folks!

I have just come back from a night of awesome. Like, twenty minutes ago, we were watching Paul McCartney (didn't I tell you this was going to happen? Then don't be so surprised!)
I don't even know where to begin, so I'm just going to ramble.
Paul hair update : He's letting it go a little "soft" around the wings, which works for him, and he hasn't cut it, either... it's beginning to rival the '89/'90 World Tour hair...
And I have no problem with that.

Big moment of the night : HE ADDED RAM MATERIAL! Even if it was just "Ram On", he used his ukulele for more than two minutes, and it was EFFING AWESOME. I started screaming a stream of obscenities when he started playing the song (at first, I thought he was just mucking about, so imagine my surprise, right?)
Favorite flub : Had to be when he forgot the words to Paperback Writer (though he skirted around the lyrics to Blackbird in his own adorable way, too).
Biggest Change : None of the jokes were the same, except for the one after Mrs. Vanderbilt (regarding the Russians... yeah, now you want to know). It was awesome!
Crew participation : In the space between Paul and Rusty, in my Paul-ipheral vision I could see the sound mixer working his magic... this included rocking out like nobody's monkey... you know, like, air guitar/drumming, dancing, grinning, et al. He's probably awesome at Rock Band. More crew antics included packing up before Paul was even finished on stage.
Audience participation : The poor guy that sat next to me was quite the talker (he spat all over my pretzel. I was not amused.); when he asked if I was a screamer, I asked him he had a hearing aid, and, if so, I have actually shorted them out before. I also warned him that he should protect that side of his face, and, if he got in my way, I would probably shove him over. He must have taken my warning very seriously, because he left before the tenth (or so) number, and never came back.
I can't help it. I can clear a crowd, man.
New band bonding moment : They all cross legs as they take their bows (recent from Phoenix); when Wix didn't participate, Paul prompted him to do so... and you bet he did after that!
As far as Paul goes, he was ON tonight. The altitude does something to his voice (this was my third Denver show, so I'm pretty sure of this), and it's fabulous. Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five was my toppermost of the poppermost number for the night, for sure. He even added the "baby don't break it" ad-lib, which was just fantastic, since he didn't in Phoenix.
Tonight was tight trouser night. In my semi-professional opinion, I can also confirm a very prudent question : briefs.
We saw the return of the Psychedelic Piano, as well, which he used on Hey Jude, and Lady Madonna (though I don't remember seeing him rock the grand piano like he did tonight, either). He's rearranged the set list a little, and it works so much better than it did before; he's finally got his new set list nailed down to exactly PERFECT.

Soundcheck : We got there at three o'clock, and Paul didn't arrive until after six, so we waited quite a while out in the heat (and, for Denver, it was ruddy blistering!). These are some of the awesome shots we got...

All in all, it was one hulluva show!
Baby, we'll see you next time!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mrs. Crab's Lily Meets My Lilly!

Our house was built by an eccentric couple, Mr. and Mrs. Crab, in 1949.
I never hear much about Mr. Crab, but Mrs. Crab seems to have been a very interesting lady, indeed. My bedroom was her art studio/laundry room (and it's pretty much still used that way, come to think of it; there must be some kind of creative energy in that room, because it's my favorite place in the whole world to write); our laundry hall/room is the greatest place to grow violets and orchids, and our living room counter is the ideal spot to winter my geraniums... I know, she built the house that way.
Her love of plants lives on in the few of her Day Lilies still lingering from the Crab Era of our home. What with today being so lovely and drizzly, I figured I'd stretch my macro muscle and take some shots (my mother is convinced I'm a vampire... if I were, I don't think I'd be here)!
Would you like to see them?
Oh, come on!

Well, I've made the slideshow anyway, the least you can do is have a peep.

In other news, yesterday was Ringo's birthday.
Beatles-A-Rama celebrated in it's own way...

Less than a week to go for Paul! 'Tis a beautiful thing. It gets me to thinking, though...
the other day, as I was watching the Hard Rock Calling stream (again), it occurred to me that,
though I have been part of the audience many times,
I've never actually looked at the audience itself.
I mean, when Paul is standing in front of you,
chances are that you aren't going to give a damn about the ordinary mortals surrounding you...
but the Hard Rock Calling video shows that audience in abundance!
I loved a couple of them so much, I decided to take screen caps,
and share them with you. The top two contenders are...

The Weeper...

...and, the bestest one of all, Screamer Man-Man...

Song Time!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mixing Up My Morrisons, And C6H12O6...

"The girls" (mother, sister, myself) were talking about music the other day.
I don't know how, but we got to talking about modern music, and we all know how I feel about that.


But wait, there's more!
There is something I have never publicly shared, because, frankly, it's none of your business; however, this blog is like a sponge, soaking up ideas and oddities as I bumble along day to day.
You'd better sit down, 'cause it may shock you.
Are you ready?
There is actually good modern music out there.
Yes. That's right. I just said that.
Now, hold off the holy water until I've said my piece.

My musical taste has been through a series of changes over the last decade or so.
My whole life, I have lived and loved the 60's sound - hell, one of my earliest memories is being a very small child, singing along to Hey Jude in the back of our old van, legs not even long enough to reach the edge of the seat. It's my favorite sound, it's where I feel the most comfortable, and, in my opinion, there is nothing better than that.
Helloooooooo, Nurse!

With a sister who was in high school in the early 90's, and as a public school kid later in that decade, I was familiar with that sound, too, and I still sometimes put on some Sugar Ray if I'm feeling nostalgic.
Yes, they were the typical social pressures. Wretched business.
Fast forward to the new millennium... I was pulled from public school, left with nothing but my own fancies. I went for the exact opposite of everything I had been pressured into; I listened to quite a lot of Big Band, cherished my Cherry Poppin' Daddies albums, and went through a period where I listened to nothing but Dean Martin.
Believe it.

In 2006, the first time we went to Las Vegas, I was exposed to more modern music, which I just couldn't make myself like. In 2007, though, as we were driving back from Toronto, there was a song that was played everywhere we went (and I do mean everywhere)... perhaps you've heard of it, "Hey There, Delilah"?
Though I procrastinated for a long time, I finally got curious, and looked the band up.
I have been a fan since then (like a lot of other people), and vowed that, whenever I got curious about something, I would simply have to look it/them up.
Usually when I do this, I end up with nothing, or, if I'm lucky, one or two songs; but what a thrill it is when I find something new!
My latest addition is a gear little band out of Yorkshire, One Night Only.

So, why the hell am I talking about all this rubbish?
As the three of us were chatting, it occurred to me that, though my sister is also a fan of the Plain White T's, she had no idea what they were up to.
She was completely unaware that they've got an album coming out in the fall, or that they've been playing their first single in the Chicago area only (it's not available for purchase yet); her biggest surprise was that they participated in the complementary soundtrack to Alice In Wonderland...

(I told her it sounded like Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite... was I wrong?)

Sure, when they had their hit, and were signed to a bigger label, their name was put out there, but the general record-buying public looses track of these kinds of things. When the labels don't do their proper job of promoting their artists, it's up to the artist (within their contractual rights, of course, which are still incredibly limited, as is explained in this article); if that artist doesn't self-promote, folks have no idea what's happening with them.

I proceeded to tell her about One Night Only, and she just looked puzzled (but then, she always looks puzzled when I take over the conversation).
This, of course, brings up an entirely different problem, in that overseas musicians (i.e. those silly Brits) have no way of "making it" in America (and, let's face it, if there's money to be spent, the good ol' US of A is going to do so) if their record label doesn't promote them here. Sure, you can buy One Night Only off, even in vinyl, but, really, who purchases tangible CDs anymore, or, for that matter, a vinyl record? The hipsters have all gone digital, man. And who is it exactly that record labels should be trying to target? That prized 18-35 range, much?
I realize that my sister hasn't any time for looking up this sort of drivel (and really, who does?), so I have done the laborious searching for you! Aren't you glad you read this blog?

I was immediately impressed by these chaps purely because they dress like 60's mods.
Examples to further prove my point?
I thought you'd never ask!

The Kinks...

The Who...

One Night Only...
That's right, kids, mods for the 21st century! Weller would be proud.

Beatle Boots, drainpipe jeans, and man-fringe... I didn't even have to hear their sound before I was making a post-it note in my head to check them out later.
That was a little less than a week ago, and, though they've only got one album out, I've been lapping them up.
This particular song has a lot of great elements to it, but I particularly like the chorus...

Many moons ago, my sister was impressed with the band 98 Degrees when they slipped a lyric about Dr. Zhivago into their song; I was impressed with One Night Only when they put the scientific formula for glucose into their chorus.

Yet, no matter what I listen to, at the end of the night, I always go back to Paul...


Now, let's all hope this discussion never comes up again.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

We The People Of The United States...

It's that time of year again, folks; time for going out to buy explosives, setting your back yard on fire (that actually happened at our house one year, but it was small, and we dealt with it), getting eaten up by vampiric insects and dealing with screaming children whilst trying to enjoy a display of larger fireworks... you know, the ones you couldn't afford when you talked to the firecracker display man.
Have you guessed it?
It's the Fourth of July!
Lilly, watching the local fireworks display from our front yard last night.

For a majority of the country, this is a day to celebrate our nation's independence from those silly limeys... an occasion on which to drink, blow stuff up, and light up the grill...
Remember, all burgers are not created equally.

For others, it offers a chance to reflect on what a great nation we were... um, are.

For the lasses at Fusspot Farm, it merely means we're closer to this...

However you choose to celebrate today, be safe, and remember the real reason for the celebrations.
Happy Glad We Aren't Still Britain Day (but that doesn't mean we can't love them oodles and bunches)!

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