Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Taste of Stardom

So, I’m kind of a fanatic. Yup, that’s right, true bonified authentic fanatic. What about? Well, the band Travis of course. In fact, I’ve even named blog after them, you see their second cd was titled “The Man Who.” And, in my computer class in high school, I did a power point slideshow on Travis. Well, on November 18th I actually saw Travis, live, in the flesh, up close and personal. I had my first real contact with Travis. Those kinds of things just don’t happen to people like me.

We got to the concert quite early and stood around with the other Travis fanatics for an hour, and then we saw some rubbish band perform (Unfortunately, Gretchen has since become a fan of this rubbish band). The redeeming quality of the first band was the aesthetically pleasing drummer, who I enjoyed looking at.

Suddenly, after more waiting, the theme jingle from Universal pictures played and lights flashed around. The venue was dark and fans began screaming. I thought to myself “Wow!” and my heart began to race. The band ran up from a side corridor in wrestlers robes. Fans put their hands out hoping to touch the band, I stuck my hand out, but I didn’t touch anyone. Gretchen touched Dougies hand, I’m still jealous. She told me it felt rough.

Amazingly enough, me and Grethen were really close the action, about 3 feet away from the stage right in the center. I think I made eye contact with Dougie (Bassist) several times (uh, I think it was me he was looking at..). He enjoyed playing cat and mouse with the fans (that’s me by the way) he’d give a look and then look away and grin real big in his trendy rocker clothes. Then, he would do it again but this time more deviously. Gretchen got the honor of making eye contact with Franny (Lead Singer), man she gets everything!

All their major songs were played, sing, turn, side, battleships, why does it always rain on me, all I wanna do it rock, good feeling, writing to reach you, driftwood, closer and much more. Then when they sang “Flowers in the Window” they all put their arms around each other and sang together with just a guitar and a tambourine. Neil the drummer is a great tambourinist, well I suppose he has good rhythm since he’s a drummer.

At one point Andy (Guitarist) ran out into the crowd and played a solo in the with a guitar cord trailing behind him back up to the stage. Franny had us all point and shout rhythmically “Klaus, Klaus” at their keyboard guy. Then Franny insisted we make use of the springboard dance floor by jumping up and down during the chorus of “Why doe it always rain on me.” They got the audience involved and validated everyone’s feelings. Later in the show Franny said “Hi Linda” to an older lady with long grey hair, glasses and a denim coat. She looked absolutely shocked that they remembered her and her mouth hung open in disbelief.

I feel like I’ve arrived. I’ve never had contact with anyone remotely famous (unless you count a local newscaster). We did everything with Travis, we sang with them, looked at them, were looked at by them, touched them, screamed at them, jumped with them, and they talked to us. After all that contact, I feel like I can nonchalantly say, “Yeah, I know them.”

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Times, They Are a Not Changin

If you’re a country music enthusiast, you’ll surely remember that song by Tracey Lawrence, “Time Marches On." Unlike most country songs that sing about unfaithful women and lonesome cowboys, Lawrence professes that the only thing that stays the same is that everything changes. He illustrates his point by saying, “North moves South and South Moves North” and “A star is born, a star burns out.” Well I only half way agree with Mr Lawrence, everything does not change, however everything does not remain the same.

Tonight I was walking through my old stomping grounds of inner-city Portland. I was outside Powell’s Books and I saw the this bum. That same bum I’d seen years before. That same bum who received a whole cheesecake from me that was a leftover from a wedding reception. And here I was, and there he was, approximately three years later, still holding his cardboard sign. I don’t think he remembered me, the cheesecake girl. Some years ago when this same bum had approached me for change, I had given him a half eaten bag of soy nuts that for some reason happened to be in my pocket. He thanked me, but then I heard him trying to pawn of the soy nuts onto another street dweller. I’d like to believe he was just sharing but I am led to believe that he was trying to ditch the healthy snack. And, he was still there; I was astonished! What’s even more haunting about the encounter is that across the street there was that same man playing the trumpet. The street musician who perches himself on a little stool, and wears a tuxedo and Mickey Mouse ears still plays in the same spot year after year. He plays a potpourri of jaunty tunes near a busy stoplight and has to stop every so often to turn the page in the music he is following. Two years later and I see him again in the same spot, wearing the same costume, and playing the same tunes.

Some things are expected to change. I had expected a new batch of street dwellers and street musicians, so I was surprised that they were still the same people. However, it could be a prime sport for securing soy nuts or cheesecakes, if you happen to be sparinging (slang: requesting or hinting at someone’s spare change; sparechanging). If you’re a street performer you might be in the middle of a great multitude of people who are trying to cross the boulevard and that could be financially advantageous.

There are some things which one expects never to change. My Uncle Phillip has this purple shirt which I am sure he worn at least 3 days a week for the last 17 years. I remember him in that purple plaid shirt when I was a kid. He has received new shirts as gifts but I suppose he has a tendency to return to the familiarity and trustworthiness of the purple shirt. Some things will never change.

Some things do change. For example a man in the middle of a mid life crises has been known to re-invent himself. You might see these men sporting longer hair, riding on a Harley, and flaunting a much younger girlfriend. There are the inevitable changes of the twenty-something crowd (of which I am a part of). We’re always changing our minds, majors, careers or towns. I’m a perfect example of an ever-changing young adult, as are most, of not all of my friends. There’s the child who grows up, who starts wearing make-up, doesn’t refuse to eat vegetables (they might even employ a vegetarian diet), starts driving a car and carrying on with the opposite sex. People get married, acquire children, buy houses, and join Mommy and Tot time at the local community center. Some changes are just expected.

Some things I wish would change, I should like to hear kazoo music instead of trumpet music whilst I cross Burnside. I should like to get harassed for change by someone new. I expect change from everyone else. From this observation of life I have concluded that some things such as bums, struggling musicians and purple shirts don’t change while other aspects of life such as jobs and towns are expected to change.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Upkeep and Molars and Their Relations

Everyone has something to say when it comes to teeth. Everyone. They talk about their wisdom teeth, braces, or knocking their teeth out as kids; there's always something. So there I was at my yearly dental check up, on the second floor looking at the vast Columbia River waiting for my name to be called. I amused myself by flipping through a shallow magazine.

Two months prior to this check up I had been flossing, when suddenly a tiny morsel of my tooth succumbed to the force of gravity. "Oh no!" I thought. "This is like one of those dreams where all your teeth start falling out." Only, this was different because it was actually happening but only a tiny morsel came out rather then a full tooth. This morsel of tooth falling out created a hole. I have spent the last two months sticking my tongue in that hole for fun, however, I knew I needed to get this taken care of as soon as possible or the tooth might decay. That could cause havoc, and who has time for havoc? One can’t go around with holes in their molars.

Most people despise these dental visits. Some people fear the noise of the drill; others hate the vacuum or that thing that squirts water. What I hate however, is that crude hook they use. They go about prodding at my teeth and I’m never quite sure why. I hate the sound it makes as they scrape your teeth. It’s like nails to a chalkboard. When the lovely assistant came upon the hole in my molar she told me a filling had fallen out. That was reassuring; at least it was a filling and not my tooth deciding to dispose of itself.

I was scheduled to come back in one hour to get the hole filled. My sister, my mom, and myself went off to the bakery for lunch, where we bumped into two relatives and enjoyed casual conversation over a vegetarian lunch. But time ran away and I had to be off to my doomed appointment.

It's at this point things get a bit more traumatic. I was lying down in the dentist chair, my body erect with anxiety. This massive needle was coming at my face. The dentist stuck the needle in my mouth and started pulling on my lips, the pain increased and then slowly decreased again, there was a bitter taste in my mouth. Then, the whole right side of my face was numb. The drilling began, my mouth started to get tired of being open and then I was done. The whole time whilst at the dentist it is helpful to remind oneself "This too shall pass." And, it did.