Friday, November 16, 2012
Got to the venue to see Conniption, a local band, playing already...at 7 pm, when I thought they were to play at 8. Eschewed whatever was left of the Black Dahlia Murder's set to watch those guys, as they're a fantastic band, hopefully slated for bigger things. Funny thing, I'd seen the Black Dahlia Murder play once before, when they were a local Detroit act foisted onto a bill they were unsuited for (in terms of musical style), when they opened for Symphony X and Blind Guardian in 2002. This was the second time I've been in a position to see them again, and just passed. That first impression wasn't... impressive.
The second band on the main bill, All that Remains, was also a band I'd caught before, and not been particularly impressed with. As I attended that show (in a small club in Madison) on a freshly sprained ankle, hobbling on crutches an hour after a softball injury, I'd wondered whether that impression was colored by pain. Tonight, I found the answer, and in a word, it's No. Once again, I was kind of bored by their presentation, more so than just not really being into their music.
That wasn't the case with the headliner, Dethklok. Now, I've seen bits and pieces of the Met apocalypse cartoon, but not enough to know any narrative or have a grasp of who even the main glcharacters were. Didn't matter, the music was backed by scenes from the show, including some with lyrics allowing even dethklok newbies to yell along. It did distract a bit from me watching the individual musicians I'd planned on watching, but no matter. The evening was a ggod time overall, and all the better for having been free. My friend Mike, who drove, waved away my offer of gas money by referring to the fact I'd procured the tickets, something that took all the effort of reaching out toward a guy offering free tickets and grabbing some. But hey, I wasn't complaining.
A good night, all told. Might have been even better better, had Robb Flynn's hernia not required immediate attention, forcing Machine Head off the your, but again, I'm not really complaining, it really was a swell evening.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
A tale from Monday: went to Popeye's for a bit of fried chicken. Got there and was seduced by the idea of crawfish instead, so I ordered that. It wasn't ready, so I grabbed a seat, chatting with the girl behind the counter. Didn't have any timeline on where I was going after, so played my turns in Words with Friends. Looked up on occasion to see the employees chatting it up. Finished playing the last game where it was my turn and went up to the counter, and was asked if I needed anything else. Told her I hadn't received my food yet. The kid had the decency to turn red, obviously mortified, but not flustered. Totally give her points for that. She offered a bit of chicken on the side, in addition to my order, and I accepted, lunch the next day, or that was the plan anyway.
One effect of this fast food double shot was that after I'd gone to my next destination, instead of heading home, I put in an unplanned stop at the gun. Might not have been the greatest idea, what with me verging on being sick (again!) (And I say verging because it seems limited to a head cold rather than full on ick, after all, I made it to the gym Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, which is sad in a way since there were entire months when I lived two miles away that I didn't make it to the gym three times, but I digress), but hey, I was feeling good, and I was in the (creatively defined) neighborhood, so I went.
The extra grub was consumed piecemeal over the entirety of the next day, a piece of chicken anchoring lunch, the side of red beans and rice adjoining dinner, and the apple pie annointing desert, of you'll excuse the grammatical mash I've made of this sentence.
And tonight, back to Milwaukee for more rock and roll, to watch a cartoon come to life. Going to see Dethklok, the band from the cartoon network show Metalocalypse. The album released under that name are fairly engaging death metal, but I'm excited to see drummer Gene Hoglan (the human atomic clock, for his precision) and guitarist Mike Keneally and bassist Bryan Bellar. The latter two both played with Frank Zappa and Steve Vai, and have a cool, quirky band together called Beer for Dolphins. Interested to see them turn the amps up to eleven and get their metal on.
Don't think I'll mix it up with the kids in the pits tonight, though. Spent last night wheezing and not sleep well. Don't need the added exertion. Doesn't guarantee I won't go for it though.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Went to a concert last night and decided to get in on the crowd action rather than watching from the wings or balcony...now, the bands playing included Hatebreed, In Flames and Lamb of God, so the point of getting into the crowd was, in addition to having fun, to get what I call the heavy metal workout.
Even if you're unfamiliar with the metal crowd, you've probably heard of the moshpit, which is essentially human pinball. One flavor is the circle pit, where participants are running in the same direction, bouncing and getting shoved by the people on the edge of the circle. In addition to this localized action, the area in front of the stage is often a seething mass of humanity, propelled to and fro by people pushing and shoving, often in an attempt to gain better position, whether in terms of getting closer to the stage, or frankly, just stay upright. Now, there are a few rules, even in that scrum, cardinal among them the fact that if someone falls to the ground, you help them up. But past that? A ton of anything goes.
Honestly, it can be a lot of fun, trying to maneuver within that mass to get to where you want to go, or to deny some young punk from getting to where they want to go (ie take your hard earned spot). Given the fluidity of the crowd, and the fact that you don't always have a choice in which way you're heading, your relative position changes often, and in that fight to keep upright, and going where you want to go, well, let's just say it's a very sweaty endeavour. A good workout, if you can deal with a lot of hairy sweaty dudes around you, and the near certainty that you'll be going home with a few bruises.
The damage started early yesterday, with my first foray into the pit resulting in a busted lip courtesy of a guy's elbow. Giving Angelina Jolie a run for her money today, though fortunately all the visible damage is on the inside of the lip. Later on, there was the kick below the belt from a guy jumping up to go crowd surfing, the head butt in the pitt that oppened near where I was trying to get OUT of the crowd, and the mystery Charley horse that I hadn't even realized I had until I tried climbing down the stairs and found myself clinging to the barrister. Adrenaline, I suppose.
As suspected, I did emerge from the show with a good few bruises, in addition to the Charley horse and busted lip.and that's in spite of not making it all the way through Lamb of God's set. Four songs on, I bailed for the safety of the balcony. I made it through Hatebreed and In Flames in decent shape, but the crowd took things to a new level as we waited for Lamb of God. This crowd was moving and pulsing 10-15 minutes before the band appeared on stage. After a few songs, I had to escape. Maybe I'd just had my fill, or perhaps it was more brutal in there than during the opening bands. Don't know, really, but it was the first time in many years that I felt compelled by something other than the desire to watch the show to get out of the scrum.
Had a lot of fun, but paying for it in soreness today, and I suspect the next couple of days as well.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
...and infrequently at that, is the possibility that a typo might slip past you for a few days. Like the one where I apparently managed to rack up a thousand fitness minutes in the first four days of the month. Yes, I did a lot of walking over the weekend, but I didn't intend to log the actual amount of time spent, as that did not translate precisely in terms of exercise. Instead, I translated the mileage (or approximation thereof) to the 17 minute/mile pace I use for exercise purposes, and then mixed that with the distance to come up with an exercise minutes number. I intended to enter 140, but instead typed in 1140. Rest assured, I did not exercise 19 hours on Monday.
I've corrected that mistake, but I wonder how well the fitness tracker responds to such correction. Guess we'll find out.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Ended up going to the local Dem watch party, aka Tammy Baldwin’s victory rally. Not that we were nearly as confident of that as we were that President would carry Wisconsin. As we wrapped up making phone calls all the way up to the 8 PM deadline for getting in line – at 7:30, new lists were distributed, of voters in a particular Milwaukee precinct where turnout was running behind norms, in an effort to scrounge up a few more last minute votes – one of the young women in the office professed to being nervous about the outcome. I caught up to her at the watch party a few hours later, and asked her whether she was feeling better, and…you should have seen the smile lighting up her face. Kind of said it all about how we were feeling at that event, watching the President win re-election, watching Tammy Baldwin’s numbers in the Senate race climb towards election, seeing Mark Pocan’s far more predictable win in his race to replace Baldwin as our Congressman.
I didn’t really know very many people there, as I haven't ever really gotten involved with local politics in the 9 years I’ve been in Madison. Kind of odd, as interested as I am in politics, that I haven’t participated before to the extent I did this time around. Far different vibe (obviously) at this thing, as opposed to watching returns on my own as I did in 2006 and 2008. I'm really glad I decided to join the crowd last night. I spent some time randomly talking to a few folks, conversations sparked by things flashing across the projection screens, and ended up hanging with my friend Dave (fellow food pantry volunteer) most of the night. As those rambling conversations borne out of waiting for something to happen (in this case, CNN or MSNBC calling the next state or race; no Fox for this crowd, which is ironic if only for the fact that that network declared Tammy Baldwin a victor an hour or more before other networks followed suit), we got around to the topic of vote margins, which brought up how dictators would claim ludicrous electoral wins, like Saddam Hussein’s 100% turnout, 100% of the vote claims.
Hours later, after Baldwin gave her victory speech, we were sent to a nearby venue to watch Obama’s acceptance speech. En route to the new site, I was walking beside a woman who was hailed by a tall bearded guy, who started talking about numbers in some random race. Unsure if I’d heard the numbers correctly, I asked the guy to repeat them, kinda butting into the conversation, and then asked whose race he was talking about. “Why, mine,” he replied…apparently, I was speaking to the newly elected District Attorney for Trempealeau County in western Wisconsin. And in response to the quizzical looks I got about my laughter, I told them about the earlier Saddam Hussein conversation. Because the election numbers he was excited about were just as comical, he won his race 10,024-56. Looking it up just now, I see the guy was apparently unopposed on the ballot. That certainly does make it easier to win!
A few favorite moments from the evening, besides the DA’s 99.444444 percent win, included that moment when MSNBC called Ohio for the President, and declared that Obama had won re-election. A bit of a primal roar through the crowd, a chill up the back…a great feeling. Then there was Baldwin’s acceptance speech, especially, for me, when she was recounting how kind her defeated foe, Tommy Thompson was to her when she was a freshman legislator and Thompson was Governor of Wisconsin. Apparently, Thompson had known Baldwin’s father (who had since passed away) in college, and shared memories with her every time they ran into each other back then. I’m not going to forget Mark Pocan’s acceptance speech, either, partly because he was someone I’d actually met before. He went up on stage with just one other person in tow, who I figured was a campaign manager or something. The guy kind of looks like John Oliver from the Daily Show. When Pocan got done thanking others who’d helped him get to Washington, he introduced the guy behind him as his husband, and leaned over for a quick kiss. A sweet little moment. You know, unlike that earlier (no less fun!) moment when I made a call at about 7:45 and the guy just said, “I’ve already f***ing voted,” and hung up on me! I got a kick out of that one…I mean, what if I’d been calling him to tell him he’d won a million dollars??!
To top it all off, when I hopped on the scale this morning, I was down a pound from the last time I’d checked (5 days…longest I’ve gone in a long time without hopping on the darn thing!) Guess all that walking around knocking on doors did pay off a bit. But I need to get back to the gym, otherwise, I’ll never get enough facebook check-ins to get the free t-shirt.
And now, back to rarely mentioning politics in this space.
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