What I Learned at a Woman’s Convention

What I Learned at a Woman’s Convention

I went to a woman’s conference this past weekend… yes intentionally, and I began taking a few Smirk-inspired notes about a few observations I had being one of a handful of men there out of over two hundred women. I suppose the first question one might ask, what was I doing at a woman’s conference?

I wish I could chalk this one up to “it was for the experience”, kind of like that whole pedicure excursion I Smirked about last week. But no, the main reason for me being there is very similar to the main reason men go to the ballets, go to Josh Groban concerts, or sit through movies like the Notebook or Sex in the City 1 and 2. That’s right it’s because I am in a committed relationship to a woman I love and adore, my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh, Angela… who just so happened to be the one that put on the conference I was attending. It was her second year of putting on her Ignite Your Spark event and it just keeps getting better.

Being one of three men attending a conference compiled of over two hundred women I felt I was in a rather interesting observational position. I’ll admit my observation skills are a little off beat at time, which I blame on losing my sense of rhythm when I was a kid… along with my first wallet. Still, put me in an audience of people clapping in unison and nine out of nine times, yes 100% of the time, I’m going to screw up the simple task of clapping with the beat. This is why I usually just tap my feet or my hand next to my leg instead of that full blown hand above my head clapping while I flail around in what I can only describe as a fit of anti-rhythm. Yep, my superhero power is the ability to unleash anti-rhythm, which causes one to fail to make a single movement in beat with the music. Sadly, I am the only one affected by this super power when I unleash it. I always suspected this about myself, but it became quite clear to me during the closing ceremony Saturday night. I’m just glad the lights were turned down.

This next observation was made by a friend of mine. He was there staffing his wife’s vendor booth while she attended the conference. He came up to me during one of the breaks and asked, “Rich, you want to know the most serene, calm and quiet place at this event? The men’s bathroom.” Naturally I had to test this claim. So, in the midst of all these women visiting with each other, visiting sponsor booths, using the restroom, calling and texting friends about the amazing breakthroughs they just had, I walked into the men’s room. It was around 11AM and only one of four sinks that had been used, the other three were completely dry; they had not been used all day. It was quiet and calm and you would have never guessed the energy and excitement that was going on just outside the door, until…

Knock, knock, knock… “Hello? Is anyone in here?” and around the corner to door popped the head of one of the attendees. “Oh, sorry, are you about done?”

“Uh, yeah.”

She then proceeded to explain her intrusion, “There’s only one women’s room on this floor and it’s a little packed, and there’s a line and we thought if there was no one in here we might as well use the restroom that isn’t being used.”

“Makes sense,” I said as I washed my hands, “it’s all yours.”

Now obviously I didn’t need to wash my hands, since I had not performed any functions that required the washing of hands, I was just there to experience the silence. However, when you find yourself in a conversation with some stranger, male or female, that walks in on you while you are standing in a bathroom, you really don’t want to walk out of that room without washing your hands, not unless your goal is to ensure that no one else will shake your hand the rest of the day.

As I walked out, a group of ladies walked in. “Good for them,” I thought. They saw a situation that needed to be handled and handle it they did… well done.

The next knowledge nugget was picked up as a result of the room Angela and I stayed in each night of the event… Sleep by Number bed and nothing but glorified air mattress and suck all the comfort and ease of sleep out of you so you wake up tired, achy, pissy, and committed to dropping at least ten f-bombs about how worthless the bed is. I really think the only selling point that would cause anyone to every consider one of these monstrosities of sleepless nights is the fact that it’s a bed with a remote control… some people are quite dedicated to a remote control lifestyle. So if you enjoy an uncomfortable bed that had a remote allowing you to make the bed even more uncomfortable, well then this is the bed for you… stupid bed (obviously I’m not still bitter).

I do think events like this create miracles for people, and by miracles I mean an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment. Yes, and based on that definition I’m pretty sure I took part in a miracle, one that I shared with Angela on the last day of the conference. See, I have this rather groovy white button up shirt, which Angela loves when I wear it. So naturally I packed it with me. Then, Saturday morning after getting up, and after completing my obligatory bought of uncensored profanity directed at that stupid bed, I accomplished something extremely outstanding and unusual, for me. I have only attempted this one other time in my life and it went so well the first time I have not attempted it again in over twenty years… I got out my groovy white shirt… and ironed it.

I didn’t iron it well by any stretch, but I did iron it. I even got close to 40% of the wrinkles out of it. I was so impressed with myself and my miraculous experience that once I was dressed and out the door, the first thing I did was find Angela and tell her about my conference miracle. Sure she laughed, but she was also in shock and dismay that I actually ironed something that I was wearing. I even got a big hug and kiss from her as a result. Go me. Hey miracles are subjective and are entirely specific toward the person involved. If a person who has never played golf in their life gets a hole in one, well, it’s a miracle. Now if a professional golfer more gets a hole in one, it’s just considered skill and not a miracle at all. So trust me when I tell you that me ironing a shirt and finishing with fewer wrinkles than when I started, you can bet your ass it’s a bloody miracle.

One of the things I loved about this event was not just experiencing some personal breakthroughs in my life, but seeing some of the huge life altering changes that others experienced. Some people were filled with moments of clarity about themselves. Others let their walls fall down and opened themselves up to the truth that they are amazing; they are worth loving themselves and being loved by others. It makes me sad when people forget their own greatness. However, being able to attend an event where people are constantly reminded not only of their own greatness, but that they are worthy of that greatness, not to mention the abundance of support that all the attendees are giving them in regards to how amazing they truly are, it’s, well, it’s illuminating and it was an honor to be there.

Here are some of the highlights from the event, put together by the videographer, feel free to check it out. (If the video does not play, chick here.)

Ignite Your Spark Highlight Video from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: empowering women, woman in mens room, sleep by number bed, and man ironing.

© Richard Timothy 2011

A Few Valentine’s Day Thoughts

A Few Valentine’s Day Thoughts

With today being the celebration of Juno Fructifie (and no, not the Feast of Lupercalia, that doesn’t happen until tomorrow the 15th), or St. Valentine’s Day, or Valentine’s day, or Single Awareness Day, or National Send Flowers Day, or a stupid Hallmark holiday exploiting love to make money… so a kind of National Hallmark Pimp day maybe? Anyway, I thought I’d let this piece form on its own throughout the day. A sort of work in progress concerning my mental journey concerning encompassing the random stroll my mind took today… on the day of love.

Valentine’s Day in Japan
Did you know in Japan the custom on Valentine’s Day is that only women give chocolates to men? Amusingly enough this tradition came about due to a typo from the executive of a chocolate company during initial campaigns to introduce their chocolate to the Japanese. The common practice is for women to give chocolate to all male co-workers, and to only their female friends. However when Valentine’s falls on a Sunday, instead of giving regular chocolate women will give the cheapest quality chocolate to the unpopular co-workers. So if you are a jerk at the office in Japan, you can rest assure that one of these years, if you continue to follow your jerk-like behavior, everyone is going to let you know on the same day, where you will receive literally pounds of shitty tasting chocolate that is probably more wax than it is chocolate.

I think the weirdest thing about that is that it would mean there is a company out there that intentionally creates nasty tasking, cheep chocolate so that women in Japan can purchase it and give it to some jerk on the random event that February 14th falls on a Sunday. I mean, I would think that to make their points they should just purchase and hand out chocolate flavored Ex-lax bars to the people they don’t like. I know it’s what a few girls I knew did with boys they didn’t like at school growing up… which might explain why I was so afraid of girls when I was in high school… hmmm.

I will say that in the 80s Japan did invent White Day, which is a sort of reply day for Valentine’s Day, which takes place on March 14th. On White Day the men in the office are expected to give white chocolate replies to all the women that gave him chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Still, it seems like a lot of work to make up for a typo.

Happy Shag Day
Is it just me or is Valentine’s Day kind of like the official Happy Shag Day of the year? Kudos to Valentine’s sticking to its Pagan roots in that regard. Think about it though, Valentine’s is a courting day were gifts like chocolates, flowers… or garments that are suggested to be worn under other articles of clothing, but are expected to be worn with no outerwear other than a long coat. All for the sake of setting the mood, which was set the second the lingerie was picked out.

What to have some fun? Go into a store that sells lingerie and browse. When a salesperson… commonly a woman, approaches you and asks, “Can I help you?” Tell them yes and pull something off the racks and ask her to hold it up (next to her, not in front of her – no need to come across as a creepy, well, creep) for you to look at. Then walk up and take the piece off the hanger and drop it on the floor. Take a few steps back and evaluate its appearance on the floor. If it looks good, let the salesperson know you’ll take it. Besides, you know and they know that is where it is going to spend most of the time anyway.

The point is that it seems all of the activities people partake in on this day seem to be devised as a precursor for the festivities people interact in as they wrap the day up and spent some time enjoying each other’s company. I know it’s a superficial holiday, but I like that it helps remind people of why they love the person they’re with. A day that reminds people to love instead of fight (or act ambivalent), is just pretty damn cool.

No Longer a Christian Holiday
Did you know that Valentine’s Day was removed from the Catholic calendar in 1969? (I bet we could blame the hippies.) I guess it makes sense it kept hold of many of its pagan roots, even though they tried to replace the Pagan holiday with a Christian one. I mean even eventually using the cherubim to depict that meddlesome bastard Cupid in Catholic sanctioned art during the time is a prime example of this. The only thing vaguely religious about this holiday anymore is its name. Apart from that, there is nothing religious, well Christian, about this holiday anymore. It’s one of the few ‘Pagan turned Christian’ holidays that won out in the end. Not that it’s a contest, but it’s nice to see that out of so many holidays that were adopted and revised for the changing political and religious times, that some pieces of those original works were able to survive.

To Angela
My sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh asked me if we were going to do anything for each other this Valentine’s Day in regards to a gift… I told her “sort of”. Meaning, I had a plan, but I was going to surprise her with it… meaning, you are welcome to keep reading it if you want, but the rest of this Smirk for her, about her, to her…

When you asked me what I was thinking about the other night when I was working in my office, and I started to say something and then stopped, well I was thinking about Mello Yello, yes the drink. What I was going to tell you is that when I’m at work and I get the hankering for a mid to late afternoon beverage, I go to the break room and up to the drink machine housing three rows of Mello Yello and I start smiling, know why? Because it reminds me of you.

Ever since you told me years ago that when you were a kid you would always get Mello Yello when you went to the store, and that it was your favorite childhood drink, when the thirst arises I’ll get one and take it back to my desk. Then for the rest of the day there you are, well there the memory of you is, wrapped in a plastic bottle with a small green screw top, filled with an almost florescent liquid that I’d swear glows in the dark after you crack the bottle over your knee and shake it up. The thing is, the drink is really nothing like you, mainly because you are not artificially sweet in any way. Being sweet is very much an all-natural thing for you. Still, out of all the selection available, I get the drink you loved as a child, because it reminds me of you.

I love it when I come home and find you working away while wearing one of my goofy tee shirts. Even though a lot of what you are working on is a solitary and time consuming process, I feel like you wanted me there in your day. When you raid my closet and let one of my shirts wrap around, holding you all day, and keeping you warm during those times when your office gets a little chilled, it makes me happy to see that the memory of me got to spend the day with you in that way.

I love your childlike enthusiasm for show and tell. I know every time you’ve purchased something because of that look on your face when you walk into the house. It’s not just your big eyes giving you away, but you’re whole self can barely contain the excitement you are holding inside, not just because you are genuinely excited about what you got, but because I know how excited you are about sharing it with me. That inner excitement and infectious desire to share with others is one of the things that I find so beautiful about you. When you begin to share with others, you lead, and as you lead you fill others with excitement not just about life in general, but about their own life.

Your addiction to pretty stationary is… well yes, something we both agree you have a problem with, but I get it. It becomes clear every time you use that stationary to write a letter or send a card, or create some type of correspondence that is going to fill another person with acceptance, love and joy. You get more excited about using up your stationary treasure and giving that beauty to others than you do in actually getting it in the first place. That is why I have kept every letter you have ever written me and have my office filled with the cards you have sent me.

Besides being one of the most stunning women I’ve ever seen, one of the reasons I love to watch you is your reaction to life and the joy you carry into life of all your friends… and it is an honor to hold you in that space where you are not just my love, or my wife, but as my best friend as well. Our home is always full of laughter and I love that a day does not go by where we don’t tell the other how much we love them. I know we say it all the time and thing I love most about us saying, “I love us” is that it is becomes more so with every passing day.

You want to know why I think butterflies are such a fitting symbol of you, because that is exactly what you have done to my life. My life with you has forever transformed in something more. Filled with more life, more beauty and more love than I ever expected possible. You are my butterfly, and because of that I am free. Thank you my dear, sweet, beautiful wife… my Angela. Happy Valentine’s Day, I love you.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: Valentine’s Day, ex-lax, shag, Mello Yello, show and tell, and blue butterfly.

The Millionaire Question… What to Wear?

The Millionaire Question… What to Wear?

So, I just finished day one of a four day conference I’m attending in DC. The event is called Seven THE Event: Four Days. One Decision. Seven Figures. In short, it’s four sponge filled days where my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh and I, and 200 other attendees try to soak up as much brilliantly usable and applicable business information as we can, which is presented by four different entrepreneurs that all make a yearly seven figure income, letting us know that we can too.

Now, I’m not sure what the protocol is for meeting millionaires, especially at these conference thingies where you’ll essentially be hanging out with them for the day, but when I got up this morning to get ready I did have a thought. Is there a dress code for conferencing with millionaires? It seems like there might me, depending on the situation. I think a lot of the time people dress accordingly based on the culture and/or context in which they will be spending time with that culture. I mean you wouldn’t show up in a tux when going to drink beer and hunt woodland creatures with residents of a trailer park, unless you lost a bet or something. Likewise, it only seems right that you wouldn’t show up for a millionaire (x 4) hosted conference in a hula skirt and coconut bra over your “With a shirt like this who needs pants?” tee shirt, you know, unless you lost a bet.

So as I was getting ready for day one, my first thought was, “Damn, I wish I hadn’t lost that bet.” Ok, not really, but I was still a little curious on what to wear. I opted to go with the philosophy, when in doubt just dress yourself… with pants on. Wait, I mean “be” yourself… with pants on, and I need to say the overall effect was quite, well, devoid of having people stare at me in an uncomfortable expression.

I did take a few precautions though. First, I wore a belt so I would not be pulling up my pants every time I got up and/or walked around… it was almost a belt… it served as a belt like tool sustaining a solid pants to waist ratio support system… ok fine, it was the pull string from my pajama bottoms, but it worked just fine damn it. And I don’t think anyone apart from Angela noticed. At least she’s the only one that said anything to me about, and since she’s the one that is most likely going to forgive me for what I’m wearing, I really don’t mind with she shakes her head in disbelief and what I occasionally attempt to pass off as fashion for the sake of functionality.

Second, as I was putting on my least wrinkly dress shirt over my tee shirt before leaving to the conference, it turned out that, unbeknownst to me, the shirt was missing a button. From top to bottom it went button, button, no button, button, button, button, but thanks to one of the props I had received from the event I was able to have my very own MacGyver moment. I noticed that if I put my name badge on a string and wore it around my neck. It perfectly covered my missing button and had enough weight to keep my shirt from popping open to giving those around me a little flash of my completely nondescript single colored undershirt with absolutely no dirty words anywhere on it. The best part, Angela didn’t even notice the missing button until I pointed it out to her after the day’s festivities had ended and we were enjoying dinner together.

As for the conference itself, there is something incredibly refreshing and satisfying about going to an event where, when something is sharing with the entire audience a profound breakthrough they experienced that one of the presenters encourage the breakthrough by telling the audience to, “Clap that shit up.”

Here are a few of my “ah ha” moments from day one:

  • You have a business to make money, the more money you make the more you can help others and the more good you can do. If you goal is not to make money you have a hobby, not a business.
  • Indecision is a form of self abuse.
  • The sure way to get clear about what it is you do is to make a decision. Only 20% of your message about what it is your business does is a result of your discoveries, the other 80% is because you made a decision.

It’s been a brilliant first day overall, the information has been grand, the presenters are personable and solid presenters, and the people attending are really quite lovely and friendly. Oh yeah, I even have business cards now! I’ve even handed out a couple. My tag line: Richard Timothy… writer, blogger, smirker. I know! I thought it rather fitting as well.

Definitely looking forward to tomorrow and I’m pretty sure my wardrobe will be a little more to code tomorrow as well, unless I decide to wear my intentionally ugly Christmas sweater. Tis the season you know.

Any thoughts about today’s Smirk?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: man with suitcase, with a shirt like this, missing button, and shirt missing button.

Labor Day Weekend… Sharing My Past with My Present

Labor Day Weekend… Sharing My Past with My Present

“Those are big sheep,” Angela said from the passenger’s side of the front seat.

I made a quick glance into a field and as my eyes returned to the road I chuckled a bit and said, “Um, honey, those are llamas.”

She turned around to look out the back window and double checked. “Oh! Well I only saw their woolly backs.”

It wasn’t my cutie-baby-sweetie-pie’s first animal misidentification of the trip and it wasn’t going to be the last. The first happened as we were traveling along the freeway across some sagebrush infested plains. She looked out the window and said, “Oh look, deer.”

Focusing more on passing a Winnebago than looking at what she saw I made one small assumption and asked, “Are you sure they’re not antelope?”

“They could be. They are funny looking deer.”

People have different strengths, identifying animals in nature is really not one Angela’s. But she still tries… and I love that about her. Plus it keeps us laughing as the miles roll by.

For Labor Day weekend this year, we did something that we had not done in years… we left town. It was actually a joint effort. Three of our dear friends, one of which grew up in the same town in Wyoming as I did, and Angela and I decided to go to Star Valley for Labor Day weekend to do some hiking, and so our friend and I could introduce them to the place we identified as our “hometown” on our Facebook profiles. Our friend’s parents, who still lived in town and had the extra space, were kind enough to put us up for two nights (Saturday and Sunday).

We all arrived at our friend’s parent’s house within the same half hour. After we got our cars unpacked, we all piled into Angela’s car and headed up the canyon to go on a hike to see the world’s largest intermittent spring. Sure there were a lot of cowboy’s and jacked up trucks I had to deal with growing up, but the water… it’s liquid perfection. Whenever I have the treat of being able to drink some, it always takes me back. It is the flavor of my youth… well that and Mountain Dew.

After our hike, which is now mostly a stroll due to a lot of trail reformation thanks to excessive use of a CAT, we made our way to a little chocolate shop on Main Street. We even parked next to the only street light in town; a flashing yellow light where a crosswalk is in the middle of Main Street. It just so happens to be resting on right under a mammoth (as in large and not the extinct animal of the woolly variety) arch made of elk horns that spans across the entire four lane width of Main Street. The claim is that it’s a largest elk horn arch in the world. I don’t know if this is true or not, but it’s always stricken me as an odd source of town pride… and it’s been there as long as I can remember making the people of Afton very proud.

Star Valley is beautiful… I will give it that well deserved credit. I say Star Valley instead of Afton because Afton is in Star Valley. See there are about nine or ten little towns in the forty mile stretch that makes up Star Valley. So even though there are a bunch of elementary schools there is only one junior high school and high school, both of which bare the title Star Valley. So when I say Star Valley I do mean Afton as well, but I also mean all of the other towns that make up the valley as well.

One thing I did manage to do while driving everyone around town was to show them all of the buildings I had climbed on top of and thrown tomatoes, water balloons, and eggs off of. There was that one Molotov cocktail that was thrown off the movie theater once, but I had nothing to do with… I mean I was there, but I didn’t help make the thing, or light it… or throw it… I might verbally suggested that the culprit give the thing a toss once it had been lit, but that’s it, I swear. It was late at night too, so most everyone was asleep and the flames only lasted about five minutes anyway. The police never even showed up to investigate… and the flames were only about 100 yards from the dispatch center, so it’s not like they would have far to go if they had noticed.

It’s funny, but after almost 20 years of not living there, most things still look the same. There are a few new buildings that are pretty and a few remolded ones that are the kind of eye sore that had your eyes their own appendages they would poke themselves in the eye just so they wouldn’t have to look at it. I’m talking about you Courtesy Ford.

Saturday consisted of enjoying dinner with our friend’s parents, followed by a discussion about post-modern movement of philosophy. It was actually a lovely discussion, which we rewarded ourselves but getting shakes at the local drive-in restaurant the Red Baron, which is still as good as I remember. Well done and thank you for not letting my nostalgic taste buds down. Then went and caught the late show at the only theater in town, which is part of that same eye sore car dealership of a building.

Because Star Valley was settled by religious folk, and the offspring of these said religious folk still make up 95+% of the entire valley’s population this can only mean one thing… nothing is open on Sundays. So to address this issue, we went to Jackson (Jackson Hole) for the day instead, because in Jackson, tourism trumps religion every time. It was a bit blustery, but we still made it to some nice spots and took lots of pictures of the illustrious Tetons. We even had another Angela animal sighting… turned out to be an elk… pretending to be a moose.

We stopped at the grocery before leaving town so we could A) get some food for dinner because the grocery in Star Valley was closed and B) so we could buy some wine for dinner. Let’s just say liquor stores in Star Valley are not renowned for their wine selections… unless you consider all of the flavors of Boone’s Farm flavored malt beverages to count as wine. For my ‘take home and save for a special occasion’ find I scored a bottle of ‘Old Codger’ an Australian Port. I have no idea if it’s good or not, but seriously, how could you pass up a port called ‘Old Codger.’ I smile every time I look at the bottle.

Sunday evening ended with us sitting around the dinner in the guest kitchen, eating cheese and bread, enjoying aged balsamic vinegar with the cheese and bread and filling the night with sips of wine and conversation about how we came out of a small Wyoming town ‘normal’ and with a liberal perspective. We then topped the evening off with a few eyefuls of stars thank to our friend bringing his telescope.

I do have to say though, that there was one thing that kept cracking me up the whole trip. I’m sure I was the only one to notice, but it was the constant use of the phrase, “I’ve got 3G coverage here,” or the other just as used phrase, “I’ve got no signal here.” I guess when you use your phone as a paper weight with a monthly payment plan phrases like that never come to mind. But for those that use their phones to update Facebook, use the GPS so we don’t miss our turn, or Google one of the little sites we are seeing to get a more in-depth history about it, I can see how that could be important.

All in all, it was a brilliant Labor Day weekend… and I only scared the hell out of my wife about 23 different times passing cars on the small back highways the lead out of Wyoming back to Utah… but for the record, we did make good time, and that nervous twitch in her eye is gone now. As for Star Valley, I’m glad I don’t live there anymore, but it is a groovy little place to spend a weekend…. you know, before the snow sets in. Thanks for the memories you little valley of stars.

How was your Labor Day weekend?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: road trip couple, periodic spring, elk horn arch, Courtesy Ford, Cunningham’s Cabin, Old Codger port, and Star Valley.

Norah Jones… A Concert to Remember

Norah Jones… A Concert to Remember

Last week I went to see Norah Jones in concert at a lovely little place in Salt Lake called Red Butte Gardens. They always put on a concert series, but only during summer due to it being an outside venue. It is a beautiful, and always a great show… unless you have allergies… or a freak rain storm blows in… or if any other extreme and tedious weather mishaps occur. For my night with Norah, it was perfect.

The other groovy thing about concerts at this particular location is that it is an open bar venue… as long as you bring the bar. So with a cooler in hand, well, it was a cooler on wheels so I just had to hold on to the handle and let the thing roll along behind us, we found a spot on the lawn and began to enjoy our dinner and some wine as the warm up band began warming up. It was almost the perfect evening…

There was a collection of little nuances that helped sculpt this evening into a night that will not be soon forgotten. First was the wine, all very yummy, but a little difficult to get to at first. For the record we remembered the Swiss Army knife. The down side is that we grabbed the one without the cork screw. This was easily rectified thanks to the couple sitting next to us. They, being wine drinkers as well, were kind enough to lend us their de-corking apparatus. So in a fit of brilliance, I opened all three bottles at once so we would not need to bother the couple again each time we wanted to open a bottle. This would have worked perfectly had we not been so pressing in our re-corking of the freshly opened bottles. One of our reds had the cork returned a little too much. Then trying to remove the cork by hand, the little thing tore right off. But the nice couple retained their nice trait and lent us the wine opener again. (We even gave them cookies to as an offering of our gratitude.)

At one point in the evening while we were still enjoying our wine and cheese, and before the sun had completely set and Norah had come out, there was a bug that had chosen to nestle in my hair without my consent. I didn’t care because I couldn’t feel it. My sweetie-baby-cutie-pie on the other hand did notice it and felt very adamant that this bug was crossing the social etiquette line. So in response she reached up and swiped at the bug to get out of my hair. The bug was a trifle petite and suffered from an incredibly weak constitution and from Angela’s little swipe jumped out of my hair, landed in my ear and proceeded to instantly die.

At this point Angela began laughing and tried to get the dead bug by sticking her finger in my ear, hence pushing the newly deceased insect deeper into my ear. I then acquired the disposition of an ex-junkie with a permanent tic having an acid flashback. I started out with shaking my head from side to side. The dead bug remained. Next, I started banging my head again my open hand while tilting my head so the ear with the bug in it was facing the ground. Then I started fanning my ear with my hand in an attempt to create a small breeze that would dislodge the bug and let it slide out of my ear. Eventually this, along with the occasional banging my head against my hand freed my ear of the deceased intruder. Angela was kind enough to continue laughing though this entire debugging process.

Finally, Norah joined us all and came out on stage. Spirits were high, and two bottles were now completely empty. As her set played on, I did notice something, as Norah was playing her set I was enamored with the songs she was playing. They were from her newest album, which I’ll admit I’ve not listened to as much as I would have liked. Then, when she got to her tried and true songs that people who listen to her know and love, I wasn’t nearly a smitten. I enjoy her recent stuff a lot more than the music that got me hooked on listening to her in the first place… I’m not sure that has ever happened to me before.

Then at one point during her set, as she finished one song and the audience started clapping, and cheering, and woo hooing, one of the friends we were with, would had topped off most of the third bottle all by himself at this time, belted out, “I love you Natalie!” This was followed by his wife briefly explaining to him that Norah Jones was on stage and not Natalie Merchant, which was followed by a round of giggling from our corner of the audience.

The only mishap apart from the bug in the ear was when I finally got to my car during the mass exodus after the show ended. The white SUV I had parked next to was long gone by this point, but they had been kind enough to leave a white strip of rubbed off bumper along the driver’s side of my car. If ran the length of both doors. I guess the driver was lacking in the “backing straight out” skill that helps compile the “competent driver” skill set that I thought was necessary for people to get their drivers license. Wishful thinking on my part I guess. The white bumper streak wiped off pretty easily though, and since my car is a tool that gets me to work and back and not something I pamper and wash once a week, and weep when it gets violated as such, I’m not all that emotionally attached to it. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Still, it certainly added to the overall experience of evening.

All in all, it was a great night and a brilliant concert. If you get chance, by all means check out one of her shows. I recommend three bottles of wine per four people, but feel free to play with that number depending on your budget and your consumption level limits as a professional drinker. Oh, and don’t forget your cork screw!

What was one of your more memorable concerts?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: Red Butte Gardens, Swiss Army knife, bug in ear, Norah Jones, and bad drivers.

A RiffTrax Reefer Madness Review

A RiffTrax Reefer Madness Review

So last Thursday, the 19th, I and a few of friends, made it to the RiffTrax Live! performance at one of the local theaters. Now usually when I mention RiffTrax I have to give a brief history about what RiffTrax is. If you already know, feel free to skip the next paragraph. If you don’t, a little history never hurt anyone… except all the people that were harmed in the making of the history involved… right! So about the history of RiffTrax, in order for me to do that I need to first tell you a little about their origins.

RiffTrax is essentially the love child of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) and short lived Film Crew. MST3K made a cult name for itself doing the very thing that we all do when watching something “sort of” to “epically” lame on the television, which is… making fun of it with your own open commentary. MST was a show about watching people watching bad movies while making fun of it. After the show ended, the three guys that finished the series started a new venture called the Film Crew. After a few hang-ups there, namely MST owner Jim Mallon (who, in my opinion, is kind of a douche bag) told the distributor of the DVDs that he would pull all future MST title distribution unless they passed on the Film Crew series, the Film Crew ended and RiffTrax began.

I know, it’s a lot of exposition just to get to the point, but I think it helps those who have no idea what RiffTrax is. A RiffTrax Live! event is where the RiffTrax crew do a live performance in a theater where you get to watch them on stage making fun of a movie. In some cases they broadcast this live event to a bunch of other theaters across the country. This is what I went to and enjoyed last Thursday.

Having been to a few of these broadcast events now, and being an MST3K fan that treads somewhere around of the edge of the “devoted” to “ludicrous” waters, I always know I’m in for a good time. One of the best things about these events is that you are surrounded by like-minded and like-humored people, people who are there because they too love MST. The audience is full of that ready to laugh energy. It’s infectious and it makes the whole event that much more entertaining. The experience did offer two new additions that I had not experienced before, namely Frank and Dwight… two of the friends that join me for the show were pretty much MST virgins.

Ok, so maybe Dwight had gotten to second base with an MST episode or two before, but that’s about it. Frank had heard about it, but I don’t think he’d ever had a full and true MST experience… which, technically, he still hasn’t, but he will. I can say that neither are RiffTrax virgins anymore. Not that it was ever on their “bucket list”, but at least now they can now put it on the list and cross it off at the same time. Also, both are newly devoted fans to the riffing on movies experience. I must say, there is something incredibly satisfying about introducing friends to one of your favorite things in the world and having them become fans of the art that is MST.

It felt a little like saving the Oompa-Loompas’ from total destruction and introducing them to a new life filled with songs and candy… and what really kind of comes across as slavery… hmmm, ok bad example. I guess you could say it’s more like smoking… minus the disgusting, smelly, smoky, cancer causing affects. What I mean is when a smoker meets someone who is also a smoker there is a sort of bond, an unspoken connection to that other person, I guess the same could be said for scrap booking… and I know I feel the same way when I learn that someone loves MST3K.

So what did we watch? Reefer Madness… in color no less. If there is one thing this 1930’s propaganda film can teach you about pot, it’s how to laugh at people who smoke too much of it. It really was a grand time, accompanied by a few really crappy special effects and some “crazy eyes” camera angles that will keep you giggling for a good two or three days after. Frank and Dwight loved it, which I loved because, guess what that means? Yep, I’ve got some MST/RiffTrax/Cinematic Titanic parties to plan. One universal truth about MST is that, even if they are fun to watch, they are so much better when you are watching them with friends that are enjoying them as well.

The point I wanted to make with all this is this… tomorrow, August 24th they are doing an Encore performance of the Reefer Madness RiffTrax Live! event. If you are a fan, but missed it, or didn’t even know about it, tomorrow is your chance to check it out. If you enjoy MST3K at all it’s well worth the price of the ticket. I just hope you live in a town that will be showing the Encore performance. Hope you can make it.

Click here to check and see if it’s playing in a theater somewhere close to you.

If you did happen to make it to the show, what did you think?

Google Images, key words: RiffTrax Live, second base, and Reefer Madness.