Total Pageviews

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ben Folds Concert

Okay, I should have finished this and posted it the night I started writing.

I got my Christmas present on October 27th (2009):

I went to see Ben Folds in concert at Liberty Hall in downtown Lawrence. A $35.50 ticket, and completely worth it. I've been a fan for years, and seeing him in concert was fantastic. I went with my friend, Mike Colvin. He wasn't very familiar with Ben Folds' work, but he came out calling Folds a genius, and I had to agree.

His opening act was Kate Miller-Heidke. Fantastic. Bought her CD. The CD is fairly heavily produced, but tonight it was her and a guy with a guitar, and they were great together.

Looking back ten months later, it was still worth the money ($35 per ticket). When we moved back to the USA, I had high hopes of seeing live music. Ben Folds is the only concert I've attended, if you don't count jr. high band and choir concerts. (Incidentally, if you do count them, for the most part you shouldn't. However, Central Jr. High had a pretty good choir, and their band and orchestra were not too bad, either. I fear that switching to a middle school format will blow that out of the water.)

Back to Ben Folds. He was fun to watch. It felt like he had just come over to my house to play for me and some friends. The first thing he did after sitting down at the piano was to take his cell phone and keys out of his pockets. He set them down on the strings of the piano, as it was propped open and the music stand shelf had been removed. He then realized that would cause problems, so he picked them back up and fumbled them around a bit before a stage hand could come out and take them.

He played and sang for a good three hours. I knew, or at least recognized, a lot of it, though I am still a couple of albums short of having his full catalog. The parts I didn't know were as fun as the parts I did. The amazing thing is that I think Ben himself had as much fun as the audience.

Folds sometimes caresses the music out of the piano, and sometimes he pounds it out. He reminds you that it is in fact a percussion instrument. I hope they checked afterwords to make sure the stage didn't have a depression where that piano got seriously beaten on.

It is common at concerts for the audience to sing along, but at a Ben Folds concert he insists on it for some numbers, and teaches them some special parts to sing. This clip of Ben singing Army catches the mood quite well. (Warning, he uses some naughty language in this song.) Right there in Liberty Hall, in downtown Lawrence, it felt like everyone in the room was singing as though they were by themselves in the car, driving down the highway with the windows down and belting it out along with Ben. Incredible energy.

So if you have a chance to see Ben Folds in concert, GO. You will come out bouncing and humming and thinking, "This guy is amazing."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Me, getting used to Quinten

Though perhaps I need to turn my title around.

I'm not sure for whom it is a more difficult adjustment. Presumably it's more difficult for him, as he has also had to adjust to being outside of the womb, eating, breathing, wearing diapers and dealing with all these weirdos. I'm pretty much used to all that stuff, except for the diapers. I just have to get used to having one more little person in my life.

I haven't written here for many months, with some very good excuses which will carry no water with anyone interested in reading this. Here's a quick rundown:

1. My Baker classes. I made hash of the summer class. I was absolutely sure that it was a four week class, and the way it was displayed on the website fed this belief, the same way you give extra garbage to the goat just before festival time. (C'mere, you plump, tasty-looking goat!) It was a rude surprise a month later when I found that I had skipped the last four weeks of the class. I can't quite believe they waited a month to contact me, but that was fine. It gave me something to do during...

2. ... the first three weeks of school. Yes, I started the school year doing four weeks worth of Baker assignments in three weeks. And while the first weeks of school are much easier during one's second year, they are still not easy. I had a couple of weeks of just teaching, then the fall Baker course started. I've just finished the fifth of nine weeks.

3. Summer vacation from school is actually the only kind of vacation my wife gets. Since I was home most of the time, she could actually take some time away from Quinten to get work done without having to get him to sleep first. She used a lot of that time to sew, giving a much needed financial boost to our household. I enjoyed having time with Maxine and Quinten, but found it almost as tiring as spending the day with teenagers. Next thing I know, school is starting and I have more homework to do.

4. Waking up in the middle of the night makes the rest of the day seem shorter. Quinten was actually sleeping six or seven hours most nights for a while, and I decided to capitalize on this. When he was younger, Horyon would go to him and feed him in the night, as most babies require. But after a few nights of Quinten actually sleeping, we decided that on the rare occasion when he did wake up, I would go to him. That way he would not be subject to the temptation of nursing. When Horyon goes to him, he figures it's meal time. So I take care of him at night. Sometimes that means not much, but recently I've been getting up three or four times. This makes for long days.

When I was younger I could handle it. I worked for a man who had Parkinson's disease. Two or three nights a week I would stay at his house and help him take medicine, go to the bathroom, and roll over in the night. No problem. I would go home, shower, and go to class. Fast forward 18 years, and waking up in the middle of the night just twice leaves me groggy all morning. I am not overly happy to see Quinten at 2 a.m., no matter how much I love him.

Which takes me back to Quinten. I got to spend a big portion of time with him every day during vacation. I still can't do the breast-feeding thing, but we managed to bond anyway. There are still times when only mommy will do, but those are largely feeding times.

When I come home from work, I get the biggest, two-tooth grin from the cutest little guy. When I talk to him, he bounces up and down and makes happy noises. When he is unhappy with someone else, he cheers up with me.

We're definitely getting used to each other.

A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.