Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wilhelm the Water Buffalo

The belly button slays me...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hello there, DJ

Last Thursday i went over to Kate and Jason's to get my first glimpse of Dashiell. I had called to make an appointment cause i thought there still might be 47 grandparents clamoring around, but it was down to only Gramma Cass and she didn't mind sharing. Let's face some facts here people: all newborns look pretty similar and they come in 2 varieties - cute and monkey. We all know it's true, but you can't very well say that to new parents so there is that moment when you first meet a new baby when you are thinking to yourself, Please don't let it be monkey. What am i gonna say if it's monkey? Thank goodness, he wasn't monkey. Dash spent most of his time sleeping, though i stayed long enough for a feeding cycle, a diaper changing (he tried to squirt Aunt Niki, but didn't realize that i have 7 nieces and nephews; i'm a professional, kiddo) and the obligatory costume change. Who doesn't love a snugglesaurus? And why did he need to put on this particular outfit? The paws, people, the paws. Baby clothes have the cutest feet.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Camera query

Soooooooo, a lot of my detailed pictures with people in them have been coming out blurry lately. I thought maybe my focus was wacky, but i did a bunch of test shots and everything looks fine on the camera screen, but fuzzy once i transfer them to the computer. I think i heard once (you know how tech savvy i am) that if you delete your pictures over and over again that you can sort of wear out your memory card. I have the emptiest mem card of anyone i know; basically as soon as a picture is taken it is deleted or transferred within 3-4 days. I never have more than 100 pics on the card (though it can hold like 700 at the size i shoot at) or photos older than 2 weeks on the card. Can this fuzziness indicate that i need a new memory card? Anyone?

parking lot tableau

The subject of donuts came up in the van today. After talking about them for 10 minutes we simply HAD to have donuts, so we stopped by the grocery store on the way back to work. They have colossal donuts that are delicious. As i pulled into a parking spot i noticed something orange sitting on the lamp post base. It was a block of cheese just sitting there, forlorn. Do you think it fell out of someone's grocery bag? If so, why put it on the lamp post? And when i went to take the picture TM Megan said It's not alone, there are three - no four- batteries keeping it company. I can't even begin to explain this.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Too cute for poop

So we were doing a show at a private kindergarten. This place was adorable and obviously well funded. When i went to rinse out some glassware i was literally taken aback when i switched on the light in the bathroom. WOW! Check out the wrap-around farm scene. I especially enjoy the cow who is peaking at us from behind the vacuum cleaner. How can they expect 5 year olds to quickly and efficiently use the facilities without getting distracted? I am 38 and couldn't piddle without striking up a conversation with Mr Hey-Whatcha-Doing-There? Lamb and Betsy the Cow-Who-Needs-to-Gain-Some-Weight. The second bathroom was a little tiny bit less distracting cause it was just a garden by which I mean, a garden with anthropomorphic flowers. I never thought i'd hear myself say this, but i think there might be a "too cute" situation going on here. I love, loved the murals, but found myself talking to butterflies while washing dishes and spent a good five minutes trying to figure out what this bee is up to: Cause look at that expression - dude is up to no good, mark my words.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

me and my buds

Have i mentioned how happy i am that it is Spring?

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm (mostly) back

I have spent the better part of this last week feeling like i was drunk, or at least buzzed. The medication for the vertigo works, but gives me blurred vision. It has been such a hoot trying to find the chemical balance between the room spinning and not being able to see; really, it has. This weekend i spent on my couch alternating between horrific and heartwarming as i delved into my video library, the library's video library and our beloved Redbox to watch (in no particular order): Season 2 of The X-Files several episodes form Season 3 of the X-Files The X-Files Movie (the real one not whatever came out last year) Ponyo Angels and Demons Monsters vs. Aliens Season 1 of Glee (or the first half... did it only have 13 episodes?) Season 1 of Flight of the Conchords the first half of Season 1 of Fringe Under normal circumstances i'm sure that mixture of entertainment would have been confusing, but between the vertigo and the vertigo medicine it all seemed quite normal. I feel like i have gotten the symptoms pretty much under control and will keep taking the meds so that i can work this week. [yesterday i felt pretty normal so i decided to start weening myself down - BAD idea] Luckily i have plenty of refills. OH! That reminds me... walking home from the library on -well, whatever day i did my last post- it occurred to me that i had to be confused about the 5 refills on my 'scrip so i checked it when i got home. Indeed i was confused. The 5 i had stuck in my head as the refill number was the 5 from the fact that there were 50 pills in the bottle. There are actually 8 refills. Yes, EIGHT. i've never heard of anything so ridiculous. Anyhoo, things should be getting back to normal around here. Or at least what passes for normal around here. In that spirit i would like to share this picture with you. I took it in Florida over christmas and it is what i want in my front yard: ahhhhh... tikis

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hitchcock was right - this blows!

You know that i don't get sick like normal people, right?
Oh no; i get weird, stupid stuff like physical exhaustion and an infected secondary salivary gland and a duodenal ulcer and scratching my cornea with a christmas tree.
I generally enjoy being a freak, but really people, there is a price to pay for seeing sparkle ponies.
Guess who has vertigo?
I thought it was a reaction to doing one-armed aphoresis for the first time Monday night [stupid right veins have become uncooperative so now when i donate platelets they take blood and return anticoagulant and leftovers through the same puncture; it was different and kinda cool, but i had to be on the machine for 120 minutes instead of 80] as i was a bit dizzy and light-headed right afterwards.
It was so bad on Tuesday that i left work early. When i went home i super-loaded protein and fluids and napped thinking that i was just taking longer to recover from donating.
By Wednesday i could fight it and deal with it enough to go a fieldtrip with the team (details to follow in another post) and go over to Stacey's for dinner, but i was still not right.
When on Thursday i jumped for my alarm clock and almost fell down i thought it might be time to get some help.
[i'd like everyone to take a moment and realize that at this time last year i would have just pushed on recklessly, ignoring the implications to my overall well-being; that's personal growth, people, right there]
I spent a long time on the phone with Red Cross trying to see if they had changed the anticoagulant solution or something. They walked me through a symptom rubric and wanted me to consult my doctor.
Dr Cool (you know i love her) felt strongly that it is coincidental that this happened after donating and that i have a no-goodsky virus in my inner ear.
She phoned me in a prescription for an anti-dizzy drug. I should have known that something weird was up when my insurance refused to pay for it, but it was only $15 so whatever.
My first moment of trepidation came when i noticed that there are FIVE refills on it.
Anyhoo, when the doctor called at 8:30 last night to check on me (yes, she is that cool) she told me that even after my body kills the virus (which could be 2 days to 2 weeks) the symptoms of vertigo will continue to reappear off and on.
For the rest of my life.  
Today, i feel better, but still haven't quite gotten the dosage right - you have to take enough of the meds to alleviate the symptoms, but still function in society.
I'm down to just blurry vision and slight confusion so i'm almost okay.
[side note: that's what's left when i sit still; walking to the library has stirred everything back up so that i feel a bit drunk; but still i'm almost okay]
The fabulous Dr Cool (who has had vertigo herself) said that i should just try different doses and different intervals until you find what works for you.
Don't you love her?
It is frustrating, though because i was supposed to work security tonight at work (i'm taking as many extra side jobs as possible to make money for trip to Francie's wedding) and i had to call out.
I hate, hate, hate calling out to other supervisors.
Hate it.
When i call out of my own job it only upsets me if i have to move performers around to cover for me, but really it isn't that big of a deal because i know that at some point i will cover for them. But to cause another supervisor to scramble to cover makes me feel like a loser. It is especially frustrating cause i am fine to do the work, i just can't drive yet.
At least not without endangering the innocent.
So, i also had to call out of trivia tonite.
This blows.
Anyhoo... so far i've been lucky and my symptoms have been mild to moderate. The are some people that get vertigo so badly that they throw up.
Basically, i just feel buzzed all the time and the room spins whenever i move.
It could be fun if i didn't have any responsibilities and never needed to drive anywhere.
I guess i'll make the best of it by checking some movies out of the library (i walked here) and spend the weekend resting and trying to kill this buzz.  
PS - sorry if this is disjointed and even more poorly crafted than normal; did i mention that i feel a bit like i've been doing tequila shots without having to find a lime?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

pink glass

Ever since i acquired this striking pink Depression glass center handled server i've been looking for an excuse to use it.
Made in the 30s the pattern is called Mayfair and i think the piece calls out for wee luncheon sandwiches.
I've used it once for cookies, which was lovely, but not really what i envisioned.
On Sunday i had fTM Karen and her MIL Nancy over for lunch and a bit of crafting. I was excited because entertaining is a new thing for me in this apartment because of the woefully inadequate kitchen. I have decide that instead of lamenting the kitchen i simply need to learn to work around it.
When Karen requested my curry chicken salad i knew that i could finally use my pink glass server.
Look at how good it looks with tiny luncheon sandwiches on it.
Exactly what i imagined.
It just fits a dozen mid-sized potato rolls, so i filled half with curry chicken salad and half with shaved honey ham and muenster cheese.
Once the table was set with everything else (i had regular and BBQ chips, mini celery and carrot sticks and cucumber-red onion salad) i felt really elegant and put together pulling my sandwich-covered glass server from the fridge; there might have been some flourish as i set it down in the center of the table.
...sigh... so pretty

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quick Quotes 5

We were talking about hair and TM Megan nearly exploded with
...and I had a horrible perm. My hair was down to here (indicating her waist) and my mom didn't want to deal with it so she just permed it. It was frizzy and poufy and terrible. I hated it. pause OH! A bird once got stuck in my hair.
(apparently it was a friend's parakeet that was flying in the house and his feet got tangled in Megan's hair; she brought in a picture of it today; dang i wish i had a scanner so that you could see the bird perched on top of this little girl's white-man's-fro)

Consider yourself off of the list

To: Entertainment Industry From: Niki RE: Unamused ********************************************************** Sirs and/or Madams- Really? Really?!? First you release my second favorite show - Farscape - on VHS. I did not buy it because i already had some crappy VHS versions that i taped off of Friday Prime when it was originally aired. Then, you released it on DVD, with each season broken into parts. I did not buy it because i did not own a DVD player. Then, you released the Starburst edition DVDs, with more special features. You know i can't resist special features. This time the seasons were packaged differently so even if one owned some of the original DVDs it would be impossible to supplement with the Starburst without missing or doubling episodes. Must you be so sneaky? Still, i only bought one cause they were pricey and i am frugal. Enter my good friend, but sometimes nemesis, EBay, where i could find some used copies in a more reasonable Niki price range. Then, you -oh entertainment industry- discontinued the Starburst editions and prices skyrocketed. The whole series is 12 DVD sets in the Starburst format and on EBay i saw ver1.1 top out at $119! What the hey?!? I can't afford 11 more sets at over $100 per set. Finally, after a year or so the prices settled a little bit. Slowly, but surely, like a giant tortoise i have saved and bid and waited and bid and have managed to get 7 of the 12 sets. At my current pace i am projected to have the whole collection in about 18 months after spending about 80 more dollars. When necessary i can have immense patience. So what the heck is THIS I hate you entertainment industry. Why must you betray me so? I waited and waited and tried to get the whole series as cheaply as possible and only after i am halfway there you release an entire BOX SET?!? It even looks like most of the special features are intact. And it takes up less room. AND it is only $100 at Sam's Club! I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. (foot stomping and general wailing here) I am a firm believer in capitalism and can appreciate the market economy, but must you so obviously be such money-grubbing, bottom feeders? I am happy to pay for your products, but stop offering 10 jillion versions of the same dang thing already. I have 3 versions of Star Wars, for goodness sakes. Just stop it. I am taking you off of the New Year's card list, Entertainment Industry, and i will not be attending your brother's wedding this summer. BTW, i want my Kenny Rogers cassette back and that scarf you borrowed last October. I'm not talking to you anymore.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pi Day - observed

As March 14th fell on a Sunday this year, we observed Pi Day at work on the following Monday. Though this was the 6th Annual party, it is the first time i have been able to attend since we normally are on the road. There are Pi decorations. In the past there were Pi favors and even the tables in the conference room were rearranged to form the Greek letter, pi. Basically people bring in pies. We eat pie. Then we vote on our favorite pie. It is glorious. The double chocolate peanut butter pie was delicious and cut with perfect strata. The Kentucky bourbon pecan pie was a bit messier, but fabulous. I don't have a picture of my personal favorite, a triple berry jam tart made by TM Sam. It was delectable and i was inspired to vote for it in haiku. The winner of the Most Delicious Pie award was Katherine from the planetarium with Blueberry Pi(e), while fTM Miriam took the second place Very Delicious Pie award with a grapefruit meringue pie. (curiously not pictured) There is nothing a bunch of science geeks like better than a mathematical excuse to consume multiple desserts. TM Elise even had an outfit for the occasion.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It appears to be a series

To make up for the dreary morning post, here is the next in TM Megan's Superlatively Cute Quadrupeds Pretending to Be Bipeds white board drawings:
  He is my favorite so far,
especially his surprised expression.
What could be so astounding to a zebra?
And that mohawk... priceless.
 I wish you could have seen the remorseful monkey she drew for TM Lindsey; crap-on-a-cracker, was it hilarious. I'd like a children's tv show to be made with these characters. wait... i don't get tv anymore. Okay, how about some children's books instead?
It could be the Upright Series.

MVA Monday

Last week i spent Monday morning at jury duty; this week i spent Monday morning at the MVA. It makes me understand why people hate Mondays. The good news is that i didn't have to go to the actual Motor Vehicle Administration offices - i'd rather have a root canal than go there - but instead i went to a satellite office for my car's emission test. It honestly isn't that bad, compared to other bureaucratic nonsense, since generally they can run the test via the car's computer diagnostic and only have to do the 20 minute road test if something looks hinkey, but still on a rainy, grey Monday you don't really want this bleakness staring you in the face. I understand form over function, but do government building really have to look so cheerless? Once it was my turn, the test itself didn't take that much time; in fact, it took longer to find a manager to come verify my VIN number as the computer detected possible fraud (who knows what that means) than to do the whole emissions test. Good news - my car is spewing a state regulated acceptable amount of nastiness into the atmosphere. YEA!

Friday, March 12, 2010

memories etched in silica

I have fTM Karen and her MIL Nancy coming over for lunch and crafting this weekend, which means that my entire apartment needs cleaned, spring linens have to come out, a menu needs written and then grocery shopping needs done. So of course it seemed like a perfect time to unpack 4 boxes of barware - cause nothing makes cleaning easier like adding even more breakables to an already jam-packed area I have collected vintage barware since before i was allowed into bars and often will pick up glassware to commemorate events, so there is a lot of it. Though the bar itself was one of the first 3 things i setup when i moved (do remember how stressful that move was?) i never finished getting out all of the glass. Probably because there isn't room for it. But i was bound and determined to get those boxes out of the sunroom; i mean, next month is my fourth anniversary of living in the apartment, people. There really shouldn't be any moving boxes left. The last box that i did contained all of the sentimental bar ware: glasses from adventures and special times. Look at the flute from my Senior Prom; it has 2 little desiccated roses in it from my wrist corsage. There are shot glasses from bachelor and bachelorette parties, an assortment of glasses from Pat O'Briens in New Orleans (i started ordering drinks of off the menu based on which glass they came in), bright, gaudy glasses from Las Vegas, a hurricane from Phillips on the eastern Shore from the first time you know what - let's skip that story, the Irish coffee mugs from the Christmas party when my best friend at the time and I drank all night on someone else's tab cause the bartender liked us (in fact, we closed the place down and he ended up driving us around the city for hours until we were sober enough to drive ourselves home), my first wine glasses that were bought specifically for a romantic evening, the glass from Ruby Tuesdays where i had a standing date in the same section every Saturday, and the list goes on and on. I love that as i unwrapped each glass I remembered the moment that i got it, the people i was with and why it was important. I've really missed having them and can't wait to start serving beverages to friends in my glass-encased memories.

oh... my head!

If you ever think you're having a bad day, just remember this poor little guy i saw in someone's car the other day
OY! I've got such a pain in my neck.
 Who wedged that poor stuffed animal in there like that?
What message were they trying to convey?
Did they really think it was a good idea?
Why is the poor thing now 3 different colors?
What freaking animal IS that? (TM Mike and I agreed on gorilla, but i'm not so sure)
At least, i says to myself, I'm not a mutant plushie crammed in the back of same lady's window.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

my staff is trying to kill me

How else do you explain this level of cuteness? He's looks like a friendly Sleestack with a tail. Just can't stand it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

darling, forgotten Miguel

I totally forgot that i took this picture. When i first started to get the intestinal unfortunateness a few weeks ago I didn't go to work one day. When i called mid-morning to check on things and tell team members about something i'd suddenly remembered in my feverishness, TM Megan said to me, It's okay Miss Niki. I drew a dinosaur with outstretched arms on the board. He'll give you a hug when you get back. Look at that ridiculous cuteness. Could it be any stinkin' cuter? How's he gonna hug me? It's like he has no arms at all - just hands growing out of his chest. And look at his whimsical overbite. Adorable! Miguel stayed on the board for over a week and every day someone would change what he was saying. Just looking at him makes me smile. sigh... i miss you, Miguel.

Monday, March 8, 2010

the glacial pace of justice

I was summoned to jury duty today.
sigh... jury duty... again...
Honestly, i have been summoned more times to jury duty than anyone else i've ever met. I know that it is a random system, but something about my name or address or soundex number is very attractive because the moment i am eligible, i am called.
Of course, i can never serve on a criminal trial having been the victim of a violent crime (mugged at gunpoint in college) and i can't serve on a civil trial that lasts more than one day because of my job. Basically, i keep getting summoned, but never picked.
I don't really mind going because i truly believe that it is my civic duty to participate in the legal process, but DANG is it boring. No one tells you that being called to jury duty means waiting and waiting and waiting, all day long.
 I saw people in the assembly room that hadn't even brought a book with them.
How ever would you survive without a book?
 I don't want that to happen to any of you, so let me share this Public Service Announcement as i walk you through the sheer tedium that is A Day at Jury Duty.
In Baltimore County you need to report to the assembly room by 8:30am for petit jurors.
Don't forget to leave plenty of time to drive rush-hour traffic into the county seat, park in one of the 3 county owned garages, walk to the courthouse and go through security.
 BTW, you can't bring scissors or cameras with you; sheriffs will take them away.
Once in the assembly room, find a seat and wait to check in.
And wait.
 And wait.
Now would be an excellent time to read the pamphlets you've been given about the legal process and your job as a juror.
Once your group is called, stand in line and wait to check in.
And wait.
At the first station you get your work pass and have your parking ticket validated (you did remember to bring it with you, right?).
Then go wait in another line to sign your name and get your jury allowance.
Then go back to your seat and wait.
And wait.
And wait. After all they have to check in hundreds people.
A nice jury office assistant will eventually come over the PA to welcome you all and give you a basic layout of the assembly space and an overview of the day's proceeding (how many trials there are, etc).
Then you wait.
An informative DVD from the 80s then plays explaining everything you already read about in the pamphlet.
Then you wait.
And wait.
And wait.
Eventually, they will start calling numbers.
If your number is called -and it isn't necessarily in numeric order that they are called, so listen close- you line up to go to the court.
Once in the court you wait and wait and wait.
 The nature of the trial is explained to you. Then the selection process starts. The judge asks a bunch of questions like Do you know the defendant? or Have you ever been the victim of a violent crime? or Are you related to a police officer? and if the answer is yes to any question you have to stand up, state your name and selection number. After all of the questions are answered, the judge then goes back through and asks specific jurors specific questions about their answers. The attorneys go back and forth tossing jurors until they have the 12 or 13 that they can agree upon. Often a prospective juror is dismissed without any reason being given; they tell you not to take it personally, but really, who wouldn't take it personally?
I guess that the trial would then start; i've never made it that far.
But let's say that your number is not called in the first round. In the 6 times i've been summoned and the 3 times i've actually had to go to the assembly room, i've only made it upstairs once.
Back in the assembly room, you continue to wait.
And wait.
And wait.
By this time it is too close to lunch to start another selection process, so you break for lunch.
Today, i was smart enough to bring my lunch with me so i moved to the cantine and ate. Then back out to the quiet room and my book to wait.
And wait.
And wait.
Last time, we were dismissed after lunch cause they had all the jurors they needed. Today, they did a second round of number calling, lining up and filing up to the courtrooms. Still, Niki's number -332- was not requested.
You know what time it is: time to wait.
And wait.
And wait.
Finally, they announce that all of the jury positions have been filled for the day and you can go.
I would never try to get out of jury duty because of the responsibility and civic duty, etc, but man, i wish there was a way to speed this process up a bit. I don't want the Queen of Hearts just chopping off people's head, but come on people, let's get a move on already.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Quick Quotes 4

We were walking out to the van early Friday morning to go to our shows when we spotted something on the plaza. It was a drawing in black of a walrus ummmm... what? It was a nicely done, cartooney walrus. It was not there the day before. What was he doing there? How? Who? WHY? TM Amy looked at it and said Someone must have done a drive-by walrusing. This is my life, people. Really.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What is bigger than "epic"?

Somewhat recently (in the last year) i have become acquainted with the band Muse (no, not acquainted with the actual band, silly - their music). I've liked some stuff, loved some stuff, been apathetic about some stuff. I appreciated them for the most part, but didn't feel compelled to spend discretionary funds on them. That is, until i got The Resistance out of the library last month. HOLY CRAP! I love, love, love this album. Love it with a burning passion of love. I almost crashed my work van listening to it on an overnight in New Jersey - no joke. The odd blend of musical styles speaks to my own eclectic musical tastes. Some of the tempos are exactly my natural internal rhythms. I'm sure you've all experienced the sensation of instantly connecting with a piece of music; it is unexplainable, but profound. What made the connection even better was that the CD came with a "making of" DVD. The only thing i love more than music is musicians. The process of creation astounds me; i hear music inside of my head and even dream in music, but lack the skills by which to bring that sound into the world. Watching this band's process was amazing. The CD is richly layered and symphonic and it was cool to get a glimpse of how it came together. I was talking to fTM Matt about it and he said, Muse doesn't do anything short of epic. You have to see the Absolution live DVD. They are really a live band. I was frankly dubious. I mean, this music is really, really layered and produced. I found it hard to believe that anyone could do justice to it live. But Matt is a musician himself and i trust his opinions on music. So i looked for the DVD at the library, but they didn't have it and you know me - i stick to my budget and don't buy anything i haven't already read, heard or seen. Oh well. Then, about 4 weeks ago, I heard that Muse was coming in concert to DC. I was tempted, but really didn't want to go to down to the Patriot Center during rush hour after work. Plus, concert tickets are not in the budget. Oh well. Then, 3 weeks ago, I found out that there was a Baltimore concert date. It was right downtown, less than 10 blocks from my office. I've never gone to a major concert venue by myself, but i have to do at least one new thing per month this year so i bit the bullet and took money from savings and bought a ticket. It was only 15 days until the concert so there weren't a lot of seats left to choose from so i opted for cheap and nose-bleed, but dead center. Wednesday after work i changed my clothes, drove to the arena, found parking and walked into the venue by myself. It was a bit unnerving as i am not a big fan of going to public places alone, but i wasn't gonna miss this opportunity (even if it meant braving that scary clown by the elevators). The stage was pretty stripped down with three huge speaker towers in the middle and 2 elevated wings (not pictured). In this picture, it is set up for the opening act, Silversun Pickups. They were very enthusiastic. I can't report much about the music besides that it was loud. Someone needs to step away from the distortion pedals and lay off the reverb. 'nuff said. Roadies broke down and removed their instruments and then set up and tested four mikes - 2 on the stage and 1 on each wing platform. Okay, the guitarist and bassist will obviously be moving around. I love watching stage setup; as a performer I know how much of the flow of the show depends on your preparation. Time passed and no drums appeared. hmmmm... I kept watching and waiting for drums, but nothing. I texted Matt about the proceedings and at one point he wrote, Let me know if it is a. epic or b. the most epic thing you have ever seen. Epic, huh? I don't know how it is gonna be epic when there isn't even a drum kit yet, i thought. Eventually i saw some drum pieces wheeled out in between, but sort of behind the speaker towers. Okay, maybe the center tower isn't really a tower and it will raise or lower for the drums to be pushed out. Wait, are those timpanis? More waiting. Still no more instruments appear. Wait, is that a tiny light behind a tower? Wait, is that a really tiny light inside of a tower. Huh? Lights go down in the arena and the crowd starts screaming. The 3 towers light up like buildings and then video is projected on them of people walking up stairs, like business drones going to work. (all pics are crappy, but were mostly taken so that i could remember what happened; clicking to make them bigger will help with some of them). Hmmmmm... maybe they aren't really speaker towers, i think just a split second before the covers drop to reveal the band inside of them SQUEAL! Each member had his own tower with video projection above and below. Cool doesn't really capture it. They opened with "Uprising" which is the first hit from this album and followed with "Resistance" which is the current song on the radio. It was a bold move; most bands save hits for partway through the first set, the end of the last set or even the encore. Not these guys. They pulled no punches and opened with what people came to hear. The only other band i've ever seen do that is U2 (who Muse opened for a few years ago; maybe they picked up some good tour tips). At some point the towers lowered so that the guitarist and bassist could move out to their front mikes or go over to the wings I owe Matt a huge apology for ever doubting him. The music, the sound, the lights, the effects- everything was truly epic. There was no sense of moderation or holding back. The band gave everything they had on every song and the show was designed to keep you breathless. Even though this how for away i was from the stage i felt like i was in the middle of a colossal event. I had considered getting floor tickets, but decided against it since being 5'3'' means that all you see is the center of some dude's back if you can't manage to get to the front row. I'm kinda glad that i went for the high seats now cause it afforded me a view of the entire spectacle. The singer not only plays guitar, but he is a piano virtuoso so at one point all the lights go out and when they come back on the band is situated on their three towers, except now Matthew's had a baby grand piano (or maybe it was a grand and i was just really far away) that he played for 2 songs. Did i mention that the inside of the lid was wired with lights that were triggered by the keys so that they flashed as he played? Yep. And later, the drummer had some bright flashers that were triggered by the toms so they activated as he played. Speaking of the drummer, at one point he and the bassist did a great rhythm breakdown together. It was musically fabulous, but it was the spectacle that nearly undid me: Chris the bassist is back to back with Dom the drummer, playing as the drum kit revolves and the tower raises and lowers with color real-time video of them playing above and below. Really, people, my little head almost popped right off its shoulders. And for those of you who need even more stimulation, HUGE eyeball balloons were released into the audience where they batted around until one by one they popped, releasing clouds of red confetti. I've been to some really, really good concerts, but this was superlative. I really don't know what is bigger than epic, but the Muse show was whatever that word might be. When i got home that night i was so drained that i fell into bed, but was so keyed up that i couldn't sleep. I assume that it is the feeling that causes people to use drugs. I think every nerve in my body was tingling. You know that i am frugal, but honestly if i found out that Muse was playing again anywhere in the vicinity of me, i would pay to go there and see this show again. I might even consider anything east of the Mississippi to be in the vicinity of me. The only drawback of the entire experience would be that after this work the next day and the real world in general seemed a bit dull.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

why did it have to be clowns?

I went to the arena in Baltimore last night for a concert (epic details in the next post) and each level of the parking garage had a color and theme so that you could remember where you had left your car. The themes were all things that could reasonably be happening at the arena. How did i end up on the clown level? This greets you at the elevator. It was almost enough to make me want to get back in my car and move to another level. I never used to be afraid of clowns, but honestly, the older i get the more freaked out i am by them.