Monday, June 29, 2015

Mixtape Review

So, remember I made those tshirts for the Mixtape festival?
I made them in February and we finally got to wear them yesterday!

Bottom left is supposed to be "LOVE"
We left 20 minutes late because it takes a long time to pose properly for candid pics.

See how our shirts match the sign????? Except the sign is orange, which I hear is the new black.

So here's the recap of the concert for you:

Salt N Pepa opened - we only caught the last bit because we were a little late, but they sounded really good! And we heard Push It, which is the quintessential song from them.

Then rain and a little wind.  And a break between acts.  

Then Sugar Ray.  Confession:  I thought Sugar Ray was the lead singer's name.  It's not.  His name is Mark McGrath.  I thought that was a motocross racer.  But that's actually Jeremy McGrath.  It was raining and I was sitting on a garbage bag.  I didn't want to stand up for Sugar Ray because I didn't want my garbage bag to get wet for my least favorite act of the show, plus I thought I might be tired later and want to sit down on a dry seat.  But quickly I realized that to fully enjoy MixTape, one must stand up and sing along.  So I did.  And they did some covers of other songs that were fun and actually, they were pretty good.  And it was raining really hard and he was wearing white pants. Props to Mr. McGrath.

Then rain and a little more wind.  And another break between acts.

Then Nelly.  Nelly likes to talk instead of sing.  Well, he doesn't really sing when he sings either. But I give props to Nelly because it was raining really hard when he performed and he went on with the show, which is more than I can say for TLC.

TLC decided to not perform and word in the cheap seats was that it was due to the weather.  I guess TBoz and Chilli (with 2 l's, not to be confused with chili, the spicy, meaty stew eaten with cornbread)....I guess they only sing about waterfalls in the studio.  When actual water falls, they're out.  Boooooo, TLC, booooo.  You are old, but you're not made of sugar and if Salt N Pepa can get out there, so can you.  I was really hoping for a hologram of Left Eye, but I guess I should have just hoped for the living members to actually appear.  Very disappointing.  Crazy, Sexy, NOT Cool.  At the very least, you could have skyped a song or two from your tour bus and just told us the truth.  "Dear fans, we don't want to get wet.  Our weaves are very expensive and we have 2 more concerts in Canada beginning tomorrow, which means we cannot get our hair wet today."  

The line-up online showed that Vanilla Ice was the opening act, but he had not performed yet.  We wondered if he had gotten himself arrested again for stealing plywood or shingles again.  There was another wait, so we decided to brave the bathroom line.  It was long and slightly disgusting because of the smell from the crabcake vendor nearby, but we made it.  

Then it was time for the main event, NKOTB.  They were about 50/50 for me.  

On the negative side:
  • They sang a good many slow songs, which aren't much fun when you don't have someone to slow dance with. 
  • There was a lot of pelvic thrusting.  One or two is fine.  10 in a row as a feature in the opening song is a little off putting.  Maybe it's just me.  

On the positive side:
  • They sang the classics and they shot confetti.  
  • They had a quick change cam, which was kind of funny.  More subtle and classier than the pelvic thrusts, imo.  
  • A shirtless Joey sang a cover of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams".  I would have put this in the negative column, because he was my least favorite and his performance was not only shirtless, but included a push up.  However, his voice sounded good, his hair looks much better now and I like the Eurythmics, so I decided it was a positive.
  • The dance moves.  NKOTB is kind of like the Temptations.  Smooth moves at the back up mics.  And lots of show choir-ish hand gestures.  
  • Vanilla Ice came out in the middle of the NKOTB set and performed.  I had forgotten about Go Ninja Go, but mercifully, he only sang part of that I think, and then he moved on to Ice Ice Baby.
  • Donnie Wahlberg.  I mean, I could have just listed his name in the positives and it would have outweighed the negatives, am I right?
Other highlights included:
  • Seeing old friends from back in the day, especially my middle school BFF.  We haven't seen each other in many years....We live about 500 miles apart and it took this concert for our paths to cross.  
  • Being called "sir" at a Denny's inside a truckstop at 1 am.  Completing my order with a straight face while my friend snickers and snorts next to me.  You probably had to be there for that to be funny, but it was.
  • Realizing how old we are compared to my friend's 14 year old daughter.  She was a trooper, but there was a small window of time where she hunkered under her poncho and played a game on her phone instead of taking in the show.  Also, she didn't pretend to not know us when we were dancing, even though she probably wanted to.
  • Not dying on the way there.  It was a torrential downpour and we saw no less than 3 cars and one tractor trailer in the median, plus a very close call on the part of a guy behind us who almost bit it when we had to slow down.  Props to my friend for driving us safely and also driving up and back in one day.

I can't think of a clever way to tie this post up, but let me just say that when I saw the weather forecast, I wanted to back out and not go.  But I bought some rain boots, put on a poncho and had a really good time.  It's a life lesson, really.  You can choose to be negative and look only at the rain or you can choose to dance like a fool in the rain and have a memory that you will always treasure.  

I should probably post a link to a relevant song here, but I'll just post this because I like the leg move they do in the video.  It was before MC Hammer.  That's old. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

in spite of spite

This rhododendron was a gift to us on our last night of Awana, two years ago.  I have not watered it, pruned it, fertilized it, or done one thing to it.  But it spite of me.

Sometimes I wonder if that is how God is working in my life right now.  I have not watered, pruned or fertilized my faith in quite awhile.  That is to say, I have not been going to church.  Nor have I been reading my Bible. Nor have I been praying. But still, God has been watering, pruning and feeding spite of me.

I've been reading Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans.  She's a writer who grew up in the evangelical church, stopped going to church, and found the church again in a way she did not expect. It resonates with me, but not in a way that has made me take any action.  Yet.

Church has always been a part of my life.  I liked going as a child.  I liked going as a teenager.  I liked going as a young adult.  Now that I am 39, I'm not liking it so much. I don't mean to say I don't like God or believe in God anymore.  I do.  I am just tired of church in the way that I have experienced it.  Sunday morning.  Sunday night.  Wednesday night.  Picnics.  Meetings.  Softball games.  Weddings.  Funerals.  It feels more like a social club than a living body.

I know I need the church.  I just don't know if I need church.

I don't need to fill in the blanks of a 5 point sermon.   I need my soul filled by God's spirit.

I don't need to give my tithe in the offering plate.  I need to offer my life and everything I have to God.

I don't need to wear my best dress and heels to show my respect in God's house.  I need my soul to kick off it's shoes in the presence of God who is holy.

You get what I'm saying.  I'm at a place where I'm just tired of bullshit.  I can't sit in a pew surrounded by it and pretend it doesn't stink.  I just don't have the poker face for it anymore.  So I've moved my seat.  Out of church. (If you are offended because I just said bullshit, sorry.  Sorry you are more worried about that than you are about lots of other way more important things.)

Have I made the wrong decision?  Probably.

I know I need to be a part of the body.  I'm not sure what part I am.  Probably an index finger.  I'm pretty good at pointing.  I might be an eyelid or a toenail or something, but whatever I am, I know I cannot stand alone.

Seeing that rhododendron today made me think maybe it's time to come out of my dormancy and bloom.  We'll see.  Until then, I'll trust that God will provide rain and sun for spite of me.

Post script:  I wrote this post a few weeks ago, when my rhododendron was actually blooming.  I hesitated to actually publish the post because....well, just because.

I changed my mind tonight because I wanted to add this to it:

VBS is this week.  I asked Superfrykid if she wanted to go and she said no, she was too old for VBS. I said fine, secretly grateful that I would not have to drive her every night and even more grateful that I wouldn't have to face the dear ones at my old church who would most certainly ask, "Have you found another church?"

The wind changed and Superfrykid asked to go.  So I took her.  The first 2 nights I spent chatting with my friends, avoiding the questions (mostly), and pretending to help in the kitchen.  The third night, I went to visit my grandmother aka "The Don", who lives pretty much right next door to the church.  Tonight, I accompanied my daughter as her own personal chaperone to each station as punishment for misbehaving and generally acting a fool the night before.

It sounded like a good punishment at the time, but I quickly realized that I had signed myself up to attend VBS.  Since I have been avoiding church in general and specifically avoiding my "old" church, this was particularly prickly to me.  But I told Superfrykid this was her punishment, and so I went.

The first station was the Bible Story.  The lady who teaches at this station is a woman who could talk the socks off of any person on the face of the earth.  We'll call her "Miss Cathy" after Chatty Cathy.  Miss Cathy had things for the kids to touch and hear and see and they all listened to her as she told them the greatest story ever told.  At the end, she ran out of time and, as the kids left, she told them, "Miss Cathy loves you".  The kids were already half way out the door, I don't know how many of them heard her.

As the night went on, that's all I could think about.  "Miss Cathy loves you."

You see, after the first couple nights, I asked Superfrykid and one of her friends which VBS station they liked best.  They both said the Bible Story.  I thought it was odd.  What kid says the Bible Story is their favorite?  I figured they'd say snack or games.  Both of them, independently of the other, said emphatically, Bible Story. After tonight, I realized why.  I asked Superfrykid if the reason she liked Bible Story was because Miss Cathy told them she loved them.  Her eyes crinkled and she nodded.  I could tell that I had hit the nail on the head.

I'm not saying this will make me return to my old pew this Sunday.  But it was a little drop of much needed water to this old rhododendron with curled up leaves.