Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloweener!

Halloween is definitely a holiday full of traditions for me. The most important one includes partying with my sister in Hotlanta, GA, which will commence this Friday at 12:30 EST. This year's party is off the effing hook - there's an actual website promoting it, advance tickets are being sold on Paypal, and more than 200 people have been invited. I will not be surprised if most of them show up.

The theme this year is Carnival of the Dead. I think some of this shit is secret, but I can tell you that I've been asked to play the roll of the fortune teller, which I think could be very well enhanced with vodka. Although...I practiced last night on Marc, trying to read his palm at the Paradise, and it didn't go very well. That was about 6 drinks in, and I don't think I finished a single sentence. Although I did talk about my BFF to him and how "back in college something something." Whoops a daisy. We'll see how this goes.

Anyhow, Halloween traditions...Another tradition I have is talking way more than teaching at work. I guess this is kind of an every day tradition, but it's way enhanced around Halloween. I love hearing from the kids what they plan on dressing up as...here are some of the things from last year:

a boy scout (a girl is dressing as this)
a television
a jedi (except he said "jodi" on accident and then laughed a lot)
an ice cream cone
a guy on the swat team...no, for real. this is the ice cream cone's brother
a ninja
a goddess...so she can get one of those tiaras from claires
two hippies
an elf
"probably just some kind of animal...i'm not sure yet"

And from the year before:

a bug
a hippie
a soccer ball
the dead crocodile hunter
"whatever power ranger i havn't been yet. maybe blue."

This year, I was feeling a bit worried. So far, I haven't really heard many ideas, but today helped me get caught up a bit. It was one of those days I was so happy to have gone to work. It could have easily gone the other way - last night was Peter's birthday and some of us went out, and some of us (me) drank eleven million drinks. My hangover this morning was so bad that my teeth were aching. My teeth. It would have been the perfect day to miss work. Thankfully, I experienced these gems with the kids today:

"I'm going to be a soccer ball, but I also have this scary skeleton mask, so I don't know...maybe I'll be a dead soccer ball." Then she showed me how she could play her songs with the mask on. We also discussed how the mask smelled like white chocolate.

The four and a half year old brother of some of my students was running around acting like a choo choo train (duh - what else is there even to do?). I asked him what he was going to be for Halloween and he replied "A princess!" His mother yelled in from the kitchen "No, A. You're going to be a monster from Monsters Inc. We already bought your costume!" to which he replied "No, I'm going to be a princess. It's prettier."

Other costumes for this year:
Austin Powers
The Spirit of Sesame Street (made completely from those muppet-looking scarves...pants and all)
Three black cats. Seriously.
A bluebird
A girl gangster (this one made me mad for some reason)
Mother Theresa
"A mermaid. No, maybe a monster. Whatever, it doesn't matter."

I'm not too impressed with this year. As usual, I've had several suggestions from the kids that I be a witch. But this year, I got a few others. Grace (Lacy's awesome daughter) told me I should be a skeleton that can sing and dance. Grant (Lacy's awesome son) told me I should be a Goobley Goobley. The four year old sister of some of my students told me (while we were at a baseball game) that I should be a baseball. Then a swingset. Then a scarf. Yeah...she was saying all the things she was looking at. That was pretty awesome.

Also here is what one of my students said today, even though it has nothing to do with Halloween:

"This song reminds me of an avocado. It's like...you start eating it, and it's not really that good, but the taste makes you still want to eat it. That's how the song is...it's not good, but I want to keep playing it."

Also, she asked me why the letter A looks the way it does. Like why they didn't shape the lines differently. Brilliant.

So, as my sister says, Tis The Season to be a Halloweener!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'd only be BFFs with such a smartie...

Hey! Remember my BFF Sarah?? Well, she's basically a genius. And now she has a blog! It's her reviewing beer. She's clever and informative! What a genius! 

Check it out

And if you need a reminder of how awesome Sarah is, check out this video and pictures...

Video of "The Private Dancer Singers:"



Sarah and I in New Glarus


Before a bachelorette party - we ditched it to go to Taco Bell.


High-fiving after ruling at DDR.


Before Cody's wedding, in a hotel, ooh!


Waiting impatiently, bored, but god, how hot are we?


Ben and Jerry met in grade school because they were the two slowest kids in the gym class. Sarah and Reem met because they both had to go to a meeting for music scholarship winners. Nerds all the way!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bando Goes to the Dorkestra

I kind of can't believe my facebook status update from yesterday...

Reem is actually torn as to whether to go to the symphony or watch the Packers game. I never thought this would happen..

It's true. I was torn, for about a second. Thankfully, I came to my senses and went to the symphony. About three years ago, I realized that you can buy tickets with a student discount (keep your ID!) and sit in the back section where all the other slackers sit for only $15! Everybody up there puts their feet up on the seats and throws their jackets around and has a good time. If anybody was going to maybe sneak some booze in there, they'd be sitting in this section. The people up there actually relax...it's really nice. So it's something I've enjoyed doing, with others or on my own, for the last few years. Today was special because the orchestra was performing The Planets by Gustav Holst. While perhaps looked upon as a bit overrated and contrived by some music critics, it holds a special place in my classical music loving heart...

I've always thought of The Planets as kind of a big "Fuck You" to classical music. Or at least to its rigid confines. It's divided into seven movements (one named for each of the planets, excluding Earth and Pluto), which is way more than the usual three, four, or (rarely) five. The individual movements do not follow any of the traditional forms that classical composers used back in the day. And he was writing about astrology, for chrissake. It wasn't about war, and it wasn't about nationalism, and it wasn't about Napoleon. It was about astrology. Take that, classical music!

Another hilarious thing to me about The Planets is that Holst, in his composing, used every single orchestral instrument he could get his hands on. Usually it's strings (violins, violas, cellos, basses), woodwinds (clarinets, oboes, flutes, bassoons), brass (trumpets, trombones, horns - French or English, tuba) and percussion. But this isn't enough for Holst, apparently. He had to have more! The usual isn't enough! I can just imagine him writing the list...

I'll need all the usual instruments, plus a euphonium, celeste, organ, two timpani players, two harpists, and how about we make a guy climb that ten-foot ladder and hit those big pipes with a hammer so they sound like a clock chiming? Why does he have to be on a ladder? Because the two pipes are about eight and nine feet tall, respectively. He's wearing a black suit and nice shoes? He's fine - just tell him to climb on up and hit that shit.

Yeah. I can totally imagine him saying that. But you know what? It works. Those pipes were haunting and perfect.

The Planets is an incredible work of music. I think it really appeals to a wide variety of listeners...some classical music is kind of hard to "get," but The Planets...people get it. For the first three summers I lived in Madison, I was a camp counselor at nerd/indoor kid/art camp. I was the music teacher, duh, and that's where I met Tara! Every year (I have to assume that it got old at some point) I would do a project with the kids. I'd put on "Mars, the Bringer of War," and tell them that the title was "Mars, the Bringer of Something," and that they would have to figure out what the something was. We'd listen to the piece, which is louder than most rock music I know, full of insane drums and brass. I'd invite the kids to write words or draw pictures on the board of what they were hearing. I remember even the six year olds writing things like "marching," "red," "anger," "sad," "fighting," and even "war." At the end of the song, we'd vote on what we thought best fit in the title. Nine times out of ten, the kids would get it right on the first try. I think there was only one time when they got it correct on their second guess. I did the same for "Venus, the Bringer of Peace" and "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity," and the same thing happened. Well, instead of "jollity," they'd vote on "happiness," which is basically the same thing, right? Kids are smart!

"Jupiter" has always been my favorite of the entire work. I nearly laughed out loud when reading the liner notes in the symphony program yesterday (although I got all teary-eyed a few seconds later when the music turns into this growing, swelling build thats almost too beautiful):

Holst described Jupiter as "...one of those jolly fat people who enjoy life."

What a jackass! But still, so brilliant. Here is a video I attempted to take of the main theme in Jupiter, i.e. the jolly-fat-enjoying-life kind of theme...listen and see how jolly it is:

video

Also, one night, about 8 or 9 years ago, I was out with the cousins. We'd been celebrating, I'm sure, which always results in feeling a bit happier than usual, a bit spacier than usual, a bit...oh, I don't know...more wasted that usual? We went back to somebody's house and Laith put on a video of a drum corps performing sections from The Planets. It blew my mind...it was the first time I'd ever really watched a drum corps perform. And by the way, according to Laith, watching the movie Drumline with Nick Cannon does not count. Period. "It's so fake!" he'll say. "The judges would never allow this kind of excessive flashiness! This is nonsense!" Anyhow, drum corps is kind of like a tightened up marching band. Everybody wears a uniform, they play lots of instruments, and march in formation. In addition to that though, the drum corps form shapes and wavy lines across the football field upon which they march. Fascinating...

Check out this video of The Cavaliers doing the finale of The Planets, specifically "Jupiter." The dancing lads with their gold hoops and rifles are something else:



If you have time, and I strongly suggest that you find it, watch the whole thing. They do Mars, Venus, Mercury (I think), and Jupiter:



This shit is insane to me! If you're not impressed yet, take another look. See all those little moving things? Those are people! People playing difficult orchestral works on complicated musical instruments. Oh, also, they're running around in extremely even lines, forming shapes and letters, and trying not to run into each other. And they sound effing good.

So that was that. I went to the symphony. And when I got home, I watched a little bit of the Packers game, and then I remembered that I mostly only care about football if I'm watching it with a big group of people who care about it. And maybe there's booze, or I'm at a bar. Football versus the symphony? How was that even an issue?

Please go find yourself a copy of The Planets, and then have Genia or Gwen read your chart. It will totally rule. Just like Mars rules Aries. Or something...

Hearing Voices

I'm sick of the election. I know who I will be voting for, and I've known for months now. I can't watch the debates anymore. The commercials are annoying. I'm done. I wish it was over with. With it working out in favor of the candidate I will be voting for, of course.

I don't know if it's because I'm so sick of it all, or if it's because my brain is trying to find some entertainment or humor in all of this, but something funny is happening. Usually the sight of John McCain makes me squeamish and uncomfortable at best (barfy and terrified at worst), but something hit me during a commercial the other day. It was his voice. All of a sudden he wasn't the frightening Republican presidential candidate I've come to know him as; for some reason, at that moment, I heard him narrating Christmas movies in my head. I don't know why, but that's what happened. Here, try a few out in his voice and see what you think:

A Christmas Carol:
No. Tiny Tim did not die. And Scrooge was like a second father to him. (a faraway look in his eye) He became as good a friend, as good a teacher, and as good a man, as any person could hope to know.

And another:

In fact, a lot of people laughed at him when he changed, but he let them laugh, and didn't pay any attention to it; I think he was smart enough to know that nothing good ever happens in this world that people won't laugh at it -- at first. And that it's better to make people laugh than make them do some other things I can think of. His own heart laughed: and I think that was good enough for him.

Or maybe even something from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas:
And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches plus two.

I don't know. I'm not coming up with much right now. Maybe it's just that I can hear his voice in my head saying something about shaking his belly like a bowl full of jelly. I don't know why! But it's taking the edge off slightly, and that actually helps. Now, instead of feeling physically ill when I hear McCain's voice, I feel a stupid little smile creep onto my face as I tilt my head back slightly and soak up the joyful memories of Christmas movies from my childhood, and forget all my political troubles for just a few moments.

Also, just so you know that my brain is being diplomatic, I can also honestly say that when I hear Barack Obama's voice on the television, I frequently assume it's Montel Williams.

Let's hear it for President Williams two weeks from now!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Inevitable Family Tendencies - Part One: Meat and Television.

Last week when I was visiting the family in Chicago, I realized all these things that happen each and every time I see them. It's too long for one blog, so I'm dividing it up into a few. Here's the first one:

Let's just get one thing straight. I know my family very, very well. It's not that they're predictable at all...they just have, well, tendencies, I guess. Sometimes these tendencies lean towards hilarity, other times they lean towards being over-the-top, and occasionally the tendencies include screaming at each other in public. I may not always predict the stuff that happens when I spend time with my family, but when it does happen, it's rarely a surprise. In fact, there are certain things that I think are bound to happen on a weekend trip to Chicago. Allow me to expand upon this...

Last weekend, I traveled to Chicago to see Tina Turner with my mother. In terms of family time, it was a pretty efficiently handled weekend; within about 48 hours, I got to see ten different family members, plus Mladenka (Emil's girlfriend) and Josh (Laith's "wife." Long story...). Saturday night, all the cousins got together at Emil and Mladenka's apartment to hang out and get dinner and drinks. After complaining about how starving they all were for about 30 minutes, arguing over what kind of food everybody wanted for another 15, and then aimlessly walking down Division St. for about 10 minutes, we settled on a bar/Chinese restaurant.

It was at this establishment that a couple of the inevitable events occurred. The first of these events was that somebody broke something. In this case, it was the floorboard of the restaurant. Whoops a daisy...I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but all I remember is seeing Luai scooting over on his bar stool, and then Luai and the bar stool together shifting downward. Surely enough, the leg of the barstool cracked through the floor. I have no other explanation about that. The floor just broke.

The second thing that happened that I should have expected was in regards to meat. Meat is a big deal in the family; it's like in that movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding when she tells her parents that her fiance is a vegetarian and doesn't eat meat, the mom says "No problem, I make lamb." For awhile when we were teenagers and my sister was eating vegetarian, I honestly think my aunts didn't know what to do with that. They'd stare at her, confused, asking "What about chicken? Chicken isn't a meat." I don't know how she got through that. Even my cousins, who are all about my age, are puzzled by the idea of not eating meat. Selam, for example, had his mind boggled, apparently, when he found out I was eating broccoli and tofu for dinner. It started by Laith asking me what I'd ordered...

Laith: What did you order?
Me: This broccoli and tofu stir fry thing
Laith: Tofu, eh? Hippie.


Imagine a sly smile on his face.

A few minutes later...

Luai: What did you order, Reem?
Reem: Um...just this broccoli sitr fry thing
Luai: Broccoli? With what?
Reem: You know, just the regular stuff
Luai: You got tofu, didn't you. Hippie.


Please refer back to the previous sly smile.

Then after my food arrived, my cousin Selam, who is 18 and just started college, looks at my plate, bewildered.

Selam: What IS that?
Reem: Broccoli and tofu dude. Everybody give it a rest.
Selam: What is it? What does it do?
Layla: It's a soy product that picks up the flavor of whatever it's cooked in (Thanks Layla!)
Reem: Do you want to try some?
Selam: Ugh...I don't know about that. It looks pretty weird.


He reluctantly tries some, chews it for awhile, looking thoughtful, then bothered.

Selam: What is this even supposed to taste like? Why didn't you just get meat? It's like...a waste of food!

Also later in the night, after telling Luai that I get 6 regular channels on my television, plus two god channels, he says "You've really assimilated to the Madison lifestyle, Reem. What happened to you?"

The fact that I am the person in my family who is looked at as being the hippie is hilarious to me. I watch a shit ton of television! I just don't have a giant TV that's bigger than most pieces of furniture and takes 4 burly men to carry. And once in awhile I get grossed out by the idea of chicken, and tofu tastes good, so I eat it. Totally regular, right? And don't forget the fact that I'm deathly afraid of snakes and bats, and I've been camping like three whole times in my life, and this summer, every time I visited Genia's garden with her, I would just happen to have my cell phone and giant sunglasses and an effing latte or something with me. And I'd stand there, watching her till the ground, and I'd complain about bugs. What kind of hippie is that?

But the meat thing. This is a big deal. This means something in my family. I bet if I were a dude, they'd call me "Sissy Boy."

Friday, October 10, 2008

This is why I carry my camera around everywhere I go

I found myself at Factory Card Outlet this afternoon. I buy stickers there for my kids - they have a good variety there. And I always like to check out the Halloween collections at various stores at this time of year. There's sometimes some good makeup in there for pretty cheap...

Anyhow, I walked in, and it was basically Halloween Headquarters. Well, that's what they called it there. There were costumes everywhere...hundreds and hundreds and hundreds. For men, women, children, babies...it was ridiculous. I let my eyes skim over these casually, and a few really caught my attention. Costumes have gotten weird, man. Look at some of these...

Here are some catchy, creative costumes, complete with amazing alliteration - how bout it!


This one confused me. It was simply titled "Blind Referee Costume"

Here are some sexy Halloween wigs!



Please notice the difference between "witch" and "sexy witch." Huge difference...

This was just gross to me:

Hey! Racism is hilarious!!!


And here are some options for the kids...

Do you want to be a zombie, a skeleton zombie, or...a COMPLETE zombie?!?!

Okay, I actually thought this was very cute and it reminded me of Doug Heffernan.

"Oh yeah. Hey. Yeah...I'm just a banana. No, it's just the costume my mom picked out. Yeah...a banana. Hey."

ZOMBIE SKATE PUNK!!!!
I don't get it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tommy Used to Work on the Docks



I got him in 2001. The man at the dealership in Skokie was on his second day on the job. He was really annoying and kept trying to hug me and saying that he had to call his mom because he'd made his first sale. I wondered if I was making a bad decision...

I have been trying to remember the big moments or the memorable things that I've been through with this car, but to be honest, not too may are coming to mind. There was nothing monumental. There was nothing huge. But I'm still sad that Tommy left me today.

Tommy is the name of my car. He definitely got his name by default. First off, I say "he" because the symbol for Volvo is the male symbol: the circle with the arrow pointing diagonally upwards. Also, that's the sign of the planet Mars, which supposedly is a male planet. Right? I don't know. Anyhow, when my sister bought her car, she named it Gina. Gina the Jetta. And as some of you may know, there is a very famous song about Tommy and Gina called "Living on a Prayer."

Tommy used to work on the docks - union's been on strike, he's down on his luck - it's tough. So tough
Gina works the diner all day - working for her man, she brings home her pay for love. Ooh, for love.


And such and such. A match made in heaven. Hence, my car being named Tommy. It just worked out.

Tommy took myself and Johnny and Tucky down to see the Derby five years ago. We left at 12:30 am and drove through the night with Harvey the Dog in the way back and Johnny the Drunk in the regular backseat. Neither of them drove a single mile. But Tommy got us there and back in about 36 hours.

There was the morning my sister and I realized we could no longer drink gin. Tommy drove me to work the next morning. I believe I was wearing smelly brown corduroys and a torn tshirt that was too tight on me. I pulled over on a side street off of Regent, opened the driver's side door, and barfed onto the street. One of the classier moments Tommy and I shared.

Tommy had to be towed out of that stupid driveway near Mickey's once. Remember that?

When I worked at that awful school near Chicago, where I spent all day restraining kids and being sworn at and having things thrown at me and seeing not a bit of education happening in the classroom, I'd come to Tommy every evening, get inside, and take a deep, shaky breath. And there was that one awful day that E., the one that I'd worked on/with for months and months, the one they said could only connect with me, the one who played his cello for me, pushed me up against a wall and really hurt me. I could barely hold it together for the rest of the school day, and finally after I got in the car, I knew I had to quit. I sat and cried for probably twenty minutes, miserable and guilty and conflicted. I probably could have sat in there for hours.

I got my heart broken for the first and only time while sitting in the driver's seat of Tommy, my hands tight around the steering wheel and tears running down my face. My heart got broken in Tommy because I refused to let it happen in the Denny's we'd been sitting in previously. Sorry, but I just couldn't let that be a part of my life. I knew it was about to happen - he's a wonderful, beautiful man, but at the time I wanted to murder him. I threw money on the table, stormed out, and headed straight to Tommy. It wasn't until I was inside the car that everything changed from anger to sadness to reality and I totally broke. And he got in the car with me and held my hand and all I was full of was hate and love that seemed like it would last forever.

I would always test out mix tapes and mix cds in Tommy to make sure the flow was just right. He has carried me over 120,000 miles throughout the country. I've seen a thousand sunsets and maybe five sunrises with Tommy. I listened to DeVotchKa for the first time ever inside Tommy. He took me to see DeVotchKa twice, and Tina and Alice Cooper and STYX and Cheap Trick and a billion other bands. He took me through a lot of drive thrus at bar time too. Tommy was quiet inside when I wanted him to be. Sometimes I wouldn't even put on music. He was where I could pull myself together.

I breathed easier than I usually do in Tommy.

But this glittery blue thing is looking pretty good to me, what with my Saturn returning and everything...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Better Than All The Rest

I have never put my finger on exactly what it is about Tina Turner that made me feel so drawn to her. I remember the first time I ever heard her. When we were kids, we had this video tape of all the Grammy nominated songs from the year and their videos. Sara, you're going to have to help me remember here, but I know it included "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, "Material Girl" by Madonna, "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince, "Hello" by Lionel Richie, "I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper, and some boring some by Chicago. We would always fast forward that one.

Also included on the list was the one and only "What's Love Got to Do With It." It had to have been in 1984 - what a great year for music! I was either four or five years old then, and given that I don't really remember much from when I was a kid, I find it pretty remarkable that I remember this videotape as well as I do. It must have been because of Tina...or maybe because Sara and I watched it twice a day for years...

I remember her miniscule leather skirt and her jean jacket, and her hair. Oh god, her hair. I remember the effing twirl she did on the bridge when she walked past that one guy. I remember when she balled her fists in that video. I remember how her voice sounded gentler when she sang "sweet old-fashioned notion." I loved her so much. I think about it now, and I realize that I absolutely wanted to be Tina Turner.



Some time later, I saw the video for "We Don't Need Another Hero," yes, the one from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. It's hilarious to me now, but at the time, it terrified me for some reason. Maybe it was her long white wig, or those insane giant earrings. It couldn't have been that haunting, brilliant tune, could it? But yes, I was terrified. Yet still transfixed on Tina...



Tina has definitely been in my life since then, but not as much in the forefront. In the summer of 2005, however, my friend Lia helped me resurrect my love for her via a synchronized swimming routine done to the song Simply The Best. I'm not quite sure how it all came together, but I'll credit Lia's impressive resume of choreography and 6 plus years of jazz and tap, along with my ability to do a handstand under water. We had a complete routine with moves that complimented the lyrics. When Tina sang the word "heart," we put our hands over our hearts. When she stated that she would "hang on every word you say" I jumped on Lia's back and she swam me around. When Tina sings "Baby, I would rather be dead," yes, you guessed it. We did the Dead Man's Float. Genius. We rocked that shit.

So when my mother called me about 5 months ago to tell me that Tina was going on tour and would be playing in Chicago, I didn't really have a choice. I set my alarm for a Saturday morning and got online and bought us tickets. Me and moms. Seeing Tina Turner. Unbelievable.

The show was insane. I stupidly did not sneak my camera in, so here is what I got on my phone. They're not all that impressive, but you can see both her and her image on the giant screen on some. On others, she's being raised up on a platform...








My mother was adorable. It was her first big concert ever! She kept turning to me with her mouth wide open, hugging me and throwing one arm around my shoulders as we danced together. We made friends with everybody around us, especially the people in front of us, who, fortunately, were not the Kings of Douchebaggery that my sister recently encountered. These guys...they were more queenish than kingish...beautiful. We both wore earplugs, but she kept turning to me and exclaiming that she could "feel the music" in her heart. I could have cried. I may cry right now.

One thing that's kind of off the subject is that it was totally the night of celebrities. Previous to the show, we met my father, Emil, and Mladenka at Lago for dinner (go there and get tortellini with meat sauce...omg). It was packed there, with a ton of people watching the White Sox game, including...Julia Stiles! Hilarious. Then at the concert, there was a big ruckus near the front of the floor. "Oprah's here, Oprah's here!" people were exclaiming. And there she was! With good old Steadman, who just looked confused for the whole night. And THEN! During the intermission, there was yet another big commotion near one of the skyboxes. "It's probably effing Tom Cruise or something," I say sarcastically to my mother. "Actually, it is Tom Cruise!" says the guy selling beer in the aisle. "He's up there with Oprah!" And there he was, giving high fives, waving, jumping over chairs...basically acting like a crazy person. What a boner.

Anyhow, back to Tina. She played for a good 45 minutes, took a half hour break, and then came back and played for over an hour. She played everything I had hoped for, including covers of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer, and a beautiful, acoustic rendition of "Help" by The Beatles. It actually made me like The Beatles a little bit! And that's rare. She did "I Can't Stand the Rain," and "Better Be Good to Me," and did a 20 minute version of "Nutbush City Limits" as an encore. She had about 7 costume changes, four backup dancers, a full band, backup singers, and people doing capoeira on stage. Platforms rose up fifteen feet in the air and went over the audience while she danced like a crazy woman. Her voice was magnificent. She sang with passion and love and power, dancing around the giant stage and way more than holding her own with the dancers who were probably 45 years her junior. Even when she was sitting during the few acoustic songs, her legs were moving; feet tapping on the ground, legs swinging...how could she stay still with a voice like that? And when she sang "Proud Mary," I was immediately humbled. Never in my life did I think I'd witness that. It was magical and historical and meant the world to me.

So what is it, then, about Tina Turner? Yes, she's a phenomenon. Yes, she's the only 68 year old I've ever heard of, besides maybe Jack Lalanne, who is able to move like that. But there's got to be something else...Maybe it's the fact that I would probably wear everything she has in her wardrobe. She mostly wears black with a ton of silver glitter. That's my look, man! Its my favorite combination ever! Or maybe it's that she does stuff I'm afraid to do, like wear wigs. I'm sort of terrified of wearing a wig. Maybe it's because, and I say this without an ounce of sarcasm, because I really mean it, she is a survivor, and I need some of those ladies to look up to. 

Or maybe, just maybe, it's the fact that she has expressed in her lyrics everything I've ever wanted to say to a dude. "Be tender with me, baby," is what I mean to say. "You better, you better be good to me. I don't need another hero..." Yeah, that's probably it. From now on, I'm taking my inspiration from Tina Turner lyrics. Don't be surprised when I tell you that I'll accept deutchmarks or dollars for my private dancing. I'll do it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

In The Face!

Okay, so thanks to Daniella, I have yet another time waster. You know how you can make your own "avatar" or whatever? Well, I've never given an eff about it before, but for some reason I tried this one. I think I was avoiding writing some stupid work emails. So yeah. Here you go...

This is me, duh. Check the cleave!

This is Genia! In her red Sarah Palin blazer.

And yes, this is my father. With a sort of mad face.

I tried to make one of my sister, but she just ended up looking like me. Sara, you want to try? And I couldn't get my mom's hair right. And my brother just looked like every Eastern European guy you've ever seen, for some reason...I may try these again though. You should try!

I just tried to make Weird Al, but it didn't work very well.

ADDENDUM
Tara made herself - apparently they have no nose ring?


And here is my sister, Sara, who made a much more valiant effort than I.


Here is cousin Luai, complete with a thumbs up! Genius...