oh my!

Beirut is dripping—dripping, I tell you—with talent.

Here’s a little taste of their goodness. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh)

I was lucky enough to attend the 8-piece band’s show last night where, by the end of the two encores, fans were mock-waltzing (since this generation doesn’t know how to properly waltz) just because the vibe was that upbeat and happy. I know I had a grin on my face.

But let me get back to that talent. These kids were playing every instrument you could imagine: guitar, ukulele, mandolin, violin, stand-up bass, bass guitar, accordion, drums, tenor saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, a couple of other brass horns I don’t know, xylophone, keyboard, tambourine…and those are just the ones I can remember. One kid in particular, we referred to him as ‘the big guy with the beard,’ played most of the instruments—several per song—and traveled the stage according to band placement and sound quality. I was very impressed, to say the least, and I couldn’t help but think of just how proud their parents must be!

And let me just interject here, as a former middle-school clarinetist myself, last night’s show was a clarinet-fest! Yippee! The two opening acts, The Apple Miner Colony and The Bruntettes, both featured that sexy blow-stick. It almost made me want to play again…but I’d much rather listen these days than play.

Although the show was in the lovely Regency Grand Ballroom, there were far too many sound and lighting issues to allow the show to be as amazing as it could have been. I felt terrible for The Brunettes whose set was cut short and marred by sound difficulties. I thought their music was really good, but we only got to hear 3 or 4 songs. And the house lights actually came all the way on twice during Beirut’s set! Unacceptable.

But I really did leave with a smile.

let me count the ways

I am really good at coming up with ways to be passive aggressive. Okay. I’m really good at coming up with ways of being plain aggressive, too. But I normally try to be as rational and understanding as I can. And that usually means beating down all those great ideas and letting that water roll right off the back.

I truly like to keep the Golden Rule in mind when dealing with others—especially others that are special to me. But sometimes, just sometimes, doesn’t it feel sooo good to give in to that little devil on the shoulder?

Living with roommates opens up a cornucopia of opportunities. I admit to participating in some PA activities around the house. And some of those activities were even in partnership with other roommates. Mind you, we’re all still pretty pleased with each other in our living situation. It’s just that everyone has their little quirks that seem to glare here and there.

Family is another easy target—easier than roommates—but somehow way more sensitive. I’d like to think I’ve matured enough to steer clear of the family PA shenanigans. That, and living far enough away from them all helps, too.

And then there are the relationship digs. Here is where the ice becomes thin and treacherous to tread. But I confess, my most beautiful and purely poetic PA feat was executed in the relationship realm—only when the relationship was kaput, of course. It was like a finely executed Rube Goldberg set-up where everything fell right into place, almost as if I weren’t even trying. Like I said, pure poetry, simply brilliant. Is it so wrong to be extremely proud of such a thing?

Yes, I know it’s not a good thing. And, yes, I try very hard to turn the other cheek when I so badly want to flash both of them at some folks. I know that it’s usually me that retains the psychological damage in the long run. And I’m working through it all the time.

reason

Why I love cinema: the last 10 minutes of Michael Clayton.

And while we’re on the subject, is it just me? Or is Michael Clayton—given, it’s the name of the lead character—just a boring title or what? I had no motivation to see this movie other than the force that is George and all of the buzz surrounding said force. So I thought I would come up with some other fitting titles that might have made the marketing a wee bit more enticing:

20 Baguettes

Cleanup Is a Snap

Give This Man a Break

Is that Hollywood I hear knocking on my door?!

what’s that smell?

Rare is the moment one boards a public city bus and thinks to one’s self “Gee, Your Bus Smells Terrific!” I’ve yet to encounter a moment like this, but I will continue my search.

Today I was offended once more as I sat in the back (red flag #1) of a 38 Geary bus. I *think* it was a urine smell, but it wasn’t quite as bad as that time a man started peeing in the corner of the bus stop on Van Ness and Sacramento in the rain. But I digress… This smell wasn’t bad enough to make me get up and move. Who knows what other smells were lurking in the other areas of the bus? Besides, the windows were open.

It was just about the time that I was trying to identify the smell when I noticed my shirt was sticking to the back of the seat I was in…gah! I leaned forward to inspect. Luckily it wasn’t a food-product or worse, it was just an area where a sticker used to be. Whew! And then, wouldn’t you know it? Inevitably, a well-meaning, cutely-dressed, young student (?) sits beside me…wearing patchouli oil.

This series of events led me to make a mental note of bus-ride smells I don’t particularly care for (in no particular order):

- urine/vomit/and any bodily fluid in general

- spilled beer

- patchouli oil

- dirty hair

- that weird and debilitating combination of body odor and mildew

- marijuana (By the way, this smell permeates the entire city. It’s not just limited to the bus. And come on, people, anything that smells like a skunk is not a good smell.)

That last one reminds me of the time I boarded the bus at the end of a night out. Of course, the diversity on the bus is greatest at late hours. I went to sit in one of the last open seats. The guy to my left had a long-ish coat on and didn’t care to move it out of my way. When I sat down he exclaimed, “Dude! You sat on my weed!” Then he assured me he was joking and that it was safely in his other pocket.

for the birds

Andrew Bird is simply amazing.

I’ve been loving his music for a couple of years now. I was introduced to his music through this Studio 360 episode. He has since released a new album: Armchair Apocrypha. At first, I didn’t love it as much as his previous work, but don’t you know it’s completely grown on me.


if you haven’t heard this, RUN, don’t walk to your nearest music outlet!

I had the chance to see Andrew Bird live in December at the Warfield. His energy and stage presence makes me smile when I remember it. The thing I loved the most is that immediately as he walked onto stage, onto the Indian rugs, he kicked off his shoes and played the entire set, including encores, in his striped socks. He’s entirely just as good live as he is recorded, if not even better. In fact, his live recordings are equally as fun and wonderful to listen to. Every time I hear one of his tracks play on my little blue iPod Shuffle, I can’t get over how talented he is.

Long live Andrew Bird!

doppelganger

Jan had an Apple TV guided tour queued up on his TV the other night. I saw the thumbnail on the screen and thought to myself, “that must be a photo of me that Jan took a few years ago.” ‘Cuz he’s taken photos of me. I know he has.

Then he played it. It kinda freaked me out a little bit.

In case you can’t tell, the REAL me is on the right: photo by Jan Garcia.

I posted this side-by-side comparison on flickr the other day and got some great reactions—many similar to my own—weirded out. The best was fooling my own mother. She was convinced that I had worked some PhotoShop voodoo on the left photo. Nope. Other than lightening this version a tad, there’s no alteration whatsoever.

We’ve all seen folks out there that sort of look like us, right? All I’m saying is watch out for the ones that have your same hair style!

**UPDATE: My roommate, Joel, found this…read comment #1!

oh, yes…there WILL be

If this movie (There Will Be Blood) doesn’t rake in the awards this year, something is wrong wrong wrong! Mind you, I haven’t seen a bunch of the other nominated movies yet, but still!

Granted, I had the best of all possible experiences—viewing it at a Landmark cinema, the Bridge Theater. Much like my Ratatouille experience, the movie was introduced by one of the employees—and these employees live and breathe movies, you can just tell. This guy was very charming and skilled at his job. He gave plenty of pre-movie information (such as just how many Oscars this movie has been nominated for—8—and much of this movie and No Country for Old Men was filmed on the same locations in Texas). He also noticed a raised hand in the crowd—”yes, do you have a question?” Audience member’s Q: “Will there be blood?” Charming movie guy’s A: “There WILL be blood.” Ahhh… and that’s why I love going to the movies in San Francisco!

Three words, okay, names: Daniel. Day. Lewis. Just go ahead and give this man a life-time Oscar, already! He is fascinating to watch in this film—and any film. And the cutest kid since Suri Cruise is his right-hand man. I wanted to put him in my pocket and bring him home with me!

So besides a few hiding-behind-my-hands scenes—which were necessary for weight—my assessment is that this movie is amazing.

busy busy

Things I did on my recent trip to Georgia:

work: I finished up the deadlines I was currently working on before I left. And I did this with my super cool new(ish) MacBook, Steve. Other than a minor font hiccup (thanks for the HUGE help, Tim!), everything moved along smoothly.

parties: My first “ATL” party was at Natalie’s new condo. I got to see some ladies that I haven’t seen in years! Chris had a small party. I hadn’t seen that many Christmas trees in one household since Melissa and Jennifer’s place! I organized a happy hour with mostly YHC friends, although it was a happy happy surprise to see Christie there! Brandey and Danny hosted a party, too. As it turns out, playing Wii in heels isn’t all that fun.

shop: I saved all of my Christmas shopping for after I was in town. Three words: God bless Target. And I acquired my first Vera Wang dress! Granted, it’s a Simply Vera dress from her lower-end line at Kohl’s—but a Vera Wang is a Vera Wang, right?! (I wore it at our New Year’s Eve party back here in SF.)

travel: My folks and I went to suburban Savannah to deliver gifts to my niece and nephew, Lindsey and Tyler. Lindsey showed us the café and salon where she works. Tyler gave us a running commentary and tour of the rural Savannah area. We stayed in a hotel overnight, and the highlight, hands down, was playing with Photobooth on Steve. The giggles were running wild that night. Check out our masterpieces.


having a bunch fun

family: I got to spend some time with my Grammie. She’s doing really well for a nearly 90-year-old youngster! We all spent Christmas Day with my Uncle Roger and Aunt Sandy, cousins Jonathan and Aubrey, and Aubrey’s new bride, Veronica. It was a smaller than usual Ingalls/Hazlett holiday, and there was no Win, Lose or Draw smack down, but it was still a lovely day and amazing dinner. We were sad that Russ and Mona weren’t with us, but Russ made up for it with calling about five times on Christmas Day in between his snow-shoveling shifts.


Grammie is always suspicious of Dad…and I don’t blame her.

friends: Although I didn’t get to see all of the people I wanted to catch up with, I had some good visits. One of these good visits happened to be with my friend Crystal. She and I hadn’t talked since we left high school WAY back in 1992. She happened to google me a few months ago, and we resumed our friendship. It was so great to see her and catch up for lots and lots of lost time. We had such a good time during our scheduled lunch that we made plans for the next day, as well. And, of course, I adore being with my AI sisters. We have all moved along in our adult lives, but that bond we formed years ago is rock solid. I am truly blessed to have so many friends, both in quantity and quality.


YaYas for life: Sue, Lil’ Sarah, Mona, Jenna, Natalie and Brandey

art: I wanted to check out the new aquarium, but fearing the holiday crowds, I decided to go to the High Museum of Art instead. My dad volunteered to join me. I don’t think he’s been to a museum with me since I was a kid. Needless to say, his feet were hurting by the end of the day. We started our day with a “HIGHLights Tour” that focused on select pieces from the permanent collection and the architecture of the High. Next, we participated in the audio tour of the Inspiring Impressionism exhibit. Dad claims he could do what those artists did. Then on to the Louvre Atlanta exhibit. I think Dad was more impressed with these pieces—ancient Greek and Egyptian vases get to him, apparently. After seeing these two temporary exhibits, I wanted to see a little more of the permanent collection. But I kept finding my dad sitting on the benches near the doors, so I thought I’d give him a break and call it a day—a good day.


one of my favorite places in ATL

movies: I saw Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street with Natalie. It was good and bloody, but what I found more disturbing than all of the cut throats were the shots and angles of the bodies dropping through the chute. I also saw Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story with Crystal. I’m still giggling over lines from that one. “You’ve gone smell-blind!”

As you can see, I had a good trip. Now it’s time to recover.