Intergalactic Orchestral Manuevers in the Dark


For the uninitiated, to make a little extra cash, I got a gig as an usher at the downtown sports palace (no free ads in my journal). It never fails to be interesting leading up to a given event, but once you get tired of being in the same circle for a given time, the charm can sometimes depart quickly.
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Given the NHL work stoppage, there hasn’t been much going of late, but I got the call to come work for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra shows (I couldn’t begin to wonder where a Trans-Siberian shops, maybe in the Village, but I digress). Something stupid, maybe it was my checkbook, said to make myself available to work both shows.

Stupid checkbook.

Unlike a few friends of mine, I’m not huge fan of the proceedings. I’m sure the players are lovely folks and kudos for giving a buck from every ticket to a charity. All well and good, but this is essentially hair metal for soccer moms and that’s fine, but not really my cup of tea, so while on duty, I people watch (which I guess you are suppose to, given my station and mentally wander to happy places provided the locks haven’t been changed). As crowds go, it’s a fairly innocuous gathering. I mean, who would “pre-game” for the Transiberian Orchestra? So, you don’t have much to worry about breaking up fights or any other type of concert shenanigans. I don’t there has been a transiberian mosh pit in the now six shows I’ve now seen

So, it’s a kick to people watch. There are enough pyrotechnics in these shows that I pity any epileptics as it can be a bit seizure inducing. For the first show, I was just to the left hand side of the stage where among the visual treats were a couple in their late fifties doing a rather impressive space dance and an amazing number of folks concerned with trying to record portions of the show instead of actually watching the show.

It makes you laugh, especially since in the previously undeclared war between firework and smart phone, the firework will win everytime.

A night out down there isn’t cheap. That isn’t a knock or a dig, just an observation, and regardless of event, it always startles me a bit to see the amount of time and money spent in not watching the show. The TSO audience could use some ritalin for the amount of time up and down getting snacks and whatnot.

A few folks popped up later in the show, must have been comped tickets. The cheapest seat I saw was in the $50+ dollar range and I know if I’m paying that money, I got my nutritional needs filled and watching the flipping show. Maybe I’m jealous of the well-financing, as my dinner break set me back $12.75 for a burger, fries and a coke. I bought a bag of some of my parents’ christmas baked goods to snack on and judging from the envious look that got from an fellow usher, I could have made good money peddling nickel bags of my folks’ chocolate chip cookies. Take this tidbit my friends. Those of us who attend/have attended rock shows have come to expect them  to be like parties and not start at the time printed on the ticket. But it probably isn’t a good idea to wait until that actual time to enter the venue.

For the second show, I was dispatched to the 300s (toward the top of the effin center), where again, it wasn’t a whole lot of heavy lifting, just giving directions, pretending to find the jokes about how high the steps are are just hilarious, and watching folks in pursuit of that last beer while the TSO chirps “Merry, Merry Christmas.” Hearing that for the second time made me want to heave my little tree out the living room rock star style when I finally made it home. But, I didn’t as I bought some cool (or nerdy) ornaments this year.

The one bonus wild card to the first event gig in sometime (thanks, NHL), was the return of Buffalo winter weather. Since it hasn’t snowed for real since 2010, I was keeping an eye peeled Wednesday as the weatherdudes called it right. That made me wonder how the roads around the arena would be and how my landlord would be about digging us out.

For once, the train won, but after ten hours walking the concrete hallways, it was fun to traipse to the train in the snow.
Continue reading “Intergalactic Orchestral Manuevers in the Dark”

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Couldn’t Stand the Weather


In the school of thought about Western New York weather, I like all the seasons, but this area is having a collectively weirder reaction to news of snow storms. Not to go old man on you, but when I was a boy….

I had to lampoon the last mishagas of tweets and warnings that were flying through social media today. The thanksgiving snow storm in 2000 and the “surprise storm” of 2006 have understandably made folks a little jumpy, that “we have to remember our winter driving skills,” etc. It seems like when we get a taste of winter instead of just dealing,we do tend to overreact a bit. I made a little good natured mock of that on Facebook and was busted by one of the fine weather dudes. I felt a little bad about that, but wasn’t mocking the forecasting. I was mocking how weather angst can cause people to hear a forecast on a monday, and go on a stock the shelves mission like snowmageddon is setting up over us. It’s like the old story about the professor who tells one student a short story and instructs the student to pass the story along. By the time, the story gets to the tenth student, it is a completely different story.

A couple work colleagues were teasing me because I was a little indifferent to whether or not we received a white christmas. Given I’ve seen 48 of them now, whether or not snow makes it, isn’t that big a deal as it has shown up plenty of times previously. We did get a little spoiled about 10 or 11 years ago, we did get seven feet of snow between Christmas and New Years‘s and I don’t seem to recall it slowing us down at all.

Winter rain has no soul at all so some snow would be nice for the pictures, for the snowmobilers, snowboarders that I know of among my friends. Then, like the days getting longer (screw you, mayans) be gone before January.

Now that my daughter made it home for the holidays, it can do whatever it likes as nobody has to be anywhere tomorrow. I think the consequences of some of those other storms provided just enough variants that it messed with our mojo a bit. When the School district calls a snow day, I’m fine with it as with the 2000 storm, kids were trapped on buses and some spent the night in a supermarket on the west side. Better to be safe than sorry in that regard.

Supposedly, we might get some wind and snow tomorrow. If we don’t, somebody is going to grouse about that too, like it is an affront to the area’s manhood.
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That said, I did get some milk at the store tonight, right before I got to the beer aisle

Silent Night


While trying to process all that we are seeing from Connecticut and not recasting it as nightmares with my own kids, I was reminded of both the good and the bad of social media.

Within minutes of the President’s speech, the memes were out, drawing parallels to how no guns were needed in Oklahoma City or how all the modern dictators had gun control. In the “get your political mcnugget cast culture” that can be predominant on Facebook, people “liking” these “political inquiries.”

I guess my problem with all of that is that those postings are such a gross oversimplification of what is playing out on our television screens. So I guess I’m troubled.

Nobody is coming to take your legally purchased AK-47. If anything, the President has been one of the best buds the NRA has had, having done nothing to alarm them since his election.

So, nobody is coming for your automatic weapon, but it certainly isn’t that simple. I long ago stopped wondering why hunters might need armor piercing bullets when the only thing shooting back might be other hunters, but I digress.

My best childhood friend and I took a shooting course when we were 14 and his older brothers taught us how to hold, shoot, and aim the shotguns they owned. They also admonished us not to ever touch them. The shotguns scared the hell out of me, enough that I really didn’t want to finish the class with 22 caliber rifles we were learning.

I don’t see anything wrong with making the more complex weapons more complex to acquire. It doesn’t infringe upon the second amendment, which is never going to change. The word “regulated” does show up in there. Given that the weapons of the time weren’t semi-automatic muskets with multiple clips, it would be good to remember that.

But what happened in Newtown goes beyond the availibilty of the guns too. There are mental health discussions to be had, that need to extend beyond political affiliations and who helped get you elected.

For some other thoughts, including the president’s speech, click below from buffalopundit and Artvoice:

We Can’t Tolerate this Anymore.

Elementary


I’ve been trying to decide if I had anything articulate to say about the horribleness in Newtown. I’m not sure I do. My friend, Alan Bedenko, does a pretty good job here, but it is a hard think to wrap your arms around. With social media we’ve got an outlet to think aloud, react aloud, even if you are in the room alone. I’m struck by the idea of such little kids giving “What was it like?” style interviews to curious reporters. I think that sticks with me. To a degree, that might help, but I know if a member of the press tried learning my kids experience without checking with their mom or I first, I don’t know how happy I’d be about it.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked  if “today was a good day to talk about gun control.” He deferred, replying about concentrating about what was currently transpiring, but I think we all would have wished he said that yesterday, might have been better.  A good friend of mine  alluded that controlling guns seems less important when compared to making sure them just tougher to get for the lunatics. The President is right, we’ve been here too many times.

We’ll probably never change the 2nd amendment, but it would be good to know that when it was written that the muskets weren’t automatic.

I’m not sure what’s next, but after the flurry of knee jerk reactions, but these scenes are playing out far too often.  I know I care nothing for any knowledge about the shooter and the frantic pursuit about his id among the national media was laden with mistakes in the name of breaking the story. The p.r. pro in me wants them to spend more time being right, as that is infinitely more important than being first. That’s the trouble with all the microphones, just heard one blowhard talk about “How liberals will use any excuse to push a program…” . The blowhard didn’t stop to consider that politics played no role. It does seem like sensible is kicked all over the playground in favor of extremes.

That town is forever changed. All those families are forever scarred. I know those folks have to remember without reliving.

The pursuit of “why” might ultimately be folly.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~ Thomas Edison

Calendar Blues


Apparently, I’m a bad american. I didn’t rush out and buy a tv between dinner and dessert on thanksgiving. Thankfully, I didn’t read about some slob getting caught under the mobs in pursuit of his 60 inch vizio.

It’s easy to get a little overwhelmed as this month seems to have enough demands to it that if you are easily suggestible, you can be trapped into feeling like you should be doing else, buying something when you don’t need to be.

So in the ongoing effort to let myself off the hook a bit when it comes to unnecessary holiday angst:

Apparently if you aren’t running around like a hopped five year old on too many pixy sticks, you got issues.

While I admit I have full subscriptions, the holiday is nice and all but it doesn’t dominate all my thinking that I need to hear Bing Crosby the moment the Halloween candy gets polished off. My folks pulled some amazing magic tricks when my siblings and I were young. We did pretty good in the unabashed consumer department. And I guess, especially in my daily guise of bachelor father, my perpetually worried brow gets a pretty heavy workout during these weeks. I was inducing Seasonal Disorder Syndrome

I had this ephihany that it’s a lot of mental energy that doesn’t need to be burnt up like a fast timed fuse. The world keeps on spinning and all in the lives of my immediate circle is largely unaffected by it all save the many cookies we’ve consumed at the various stops. We can all sit back and enjoy a bit.

After all, there are so many other things to get crazy over, but a day on the calendar isn’t one of them.

53 degrees


“How can I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?”

Well, unlike Ferris, I had the day off anyway. In a nod to it being better to lucky instead of good, consider this on this third day of December in Western New York:

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Now, I know there are some of you who want to be ass deep in snow by now, that it isn’t the friggin holiday season unless you have to shake a snowdrift off your show when you arrive home. To that I say “bah!!”

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It can take a back seat. We’ll have a few slices of winter. Of that, I’m sure. When you consider how recently as two years ago, that we couldn’t swing the january thaw that is usually riding in winter’s side, relax, go outside. Let this sun hit you as we all know it isn’t long for these climes.

Enjoy the reprieve. It’s like getting that call from the governor, today is not the day you freeze your uvuela off trying to get to work.

Me, I think I’ll light up the grill.