Monday, May 25, 2009

where giving the middle finger is apparently a sign of affection

an odd post on memorial day, particularly considering that my last post was on mlk day and actually had something to do with the holiday. this one does not. it does however have to do with an experience from this weekend...friday night, may 22nd, 2009.

also known as the night i paid too much for concert tickets (thank you ticketmaster inconvenience fee), i went to the first "buzz under the stars" concert at city market. i really wanted to see anberlin and alkaline trio (two very different bands) which both were great. no lazer light shows (it was still daytime then anyway) - they played their music, actually sang, and rocked the faces off the people who didn't come to see them. i would've liked to have seen both of them play way longer than their allotted times and in smaller venues, but there will be other times in my life for that...

while alkaline was playing, an older fellow (who i'm sure has seen a few great concerts in his day, and was in major need of a dentist) approached me and asked me about one of my tattoos. the conversation went a little something like this:

man: "so my friend and i were talking. 'becoming.' now is that in reference to the song by pantera or to silence of the lambs?"

me: "um, neither actually. it just has personal significance."

man: "what's the significance?"

me: "well it's just in reference to me becoming more of the person i want to be in life."

man: "all right. what do you want to be?"

me: "well, i have a job and everything - it's really just about the process of me growing as a person. it's not about pantera or silence of the lambs. besides - i can't even watch horror movies because they freak me out."

man: "silence of the lambs is not a horror movie. that's real life. there are some f***ed up people in this world."

me: (laughing) "yeah, i guess there is. i still don't like watching those movies though."

man: "but you gotta tell me that you f***ing love pantera."

me: "um, i like pantera."

man: "that band is awesome. (his friend came up behind him - a short, stout fellow that looked like he'd belong at the beach - he didn't speak and was a little socially awkward) well you had me and my friend fooled then with that 'becoming!' not about pantera or silence of the lambs dude. well you have a good night. nice talking to you. hey, do you smoke weed?"

me: "no i don't, sorry."

man: "okay then. well you have a good night."

me: "thanks, you too."

love it.

since i wasn't in to the other bands there that night, most of the night was really spent people watching. it was a pretty fantastic environment for that. while the used was playing (or as the band announced themselves, "the f***ing used" - which i thought was rather redundant of them) my friend maya and i stood back with the less, well, with the older and wiser crowd and had a hay day observing everyone around us between the porta-potties and beer stations. during taking back sunday (whose music i don't mind, but were NOT good live - the lead singer cannot sing (or at least didn't demonstrate it that night) and sounded to be honest, like a dying cat - he's in great need of some good vocal hygiene says the speech pathologist in me), maya and i sat on the curb, and oh did the array of personalities and lifestyles pass before our eyes. mom jeans mixed with teenie-bopper texters, to the over 40 crowd that probably just paid a lot of money to hang out and drink $5 miller lite. the extreme overabundance of "that guy" wearing the band t-shirt that they probably just bought at the merch table, to the tall lanky teenage white guy with glasses wearing a "crunk state university" shirt. the group of people that i think thought they were vampires that came out after the sun went down, walked very slowly in a small group and sported lots of corsets and long black capes, to the middle aged couple that looked they they had just gotten done with a 10 mile run, but probably were out moshing with kids (they were chugging and bathing in the water out of the pump by the porta-johns).

i love diversity.

the offspring was the "headliner" band of the night - i did feel obliged to stay for part of their show, and we lasted through probably 5 songs. i didn't think i was well-versed with their repertoire, until they started playing. i guess i hadn't realized number one, how long they've actually been around, and number 2, how they've basically made a living creating a bunch of would-be one-hit-wonders. the lead singer's voice is quite memorable, i'll give 'em that. i'm not going to say that some songs didn't take me back to yesteryear, but there were also songs (aka pretty fly for a white guy) that i didn't really need to re-live. no one REALLY does.

in reference to my title and in conclusion... i found it odd when i believe alkaline was playing that there was one guy that kept flipping them the bird instead of applauding. i couldn't figure out if that was a good thing or if he hated the band until the used started playing. it's quite a sight seeing thousands of people simultaneously extending their middle fingers in approval; still, unless provoked (as the masses were), is it really a good idea to do that sort of thing out of context? i guess i'll that leave that decision up to you. you like this post? you hate my guts? flip me the bird. that way your bases are covered.

post. script. if you're really curious about the pantera reference, i'll let you investigate that on your own. i did, and well, if that would've been what my tat was in reference to, those of you that know me would probably be very concerned right now. the thoughts and lyrics of pantera are not indicative of this blog author. listener discretion is advised. however, the fact that said man above thought that was my inspiration makes me way more badass (or maybe just more of an ass) than i actually am. not gonna lie - i kind of felt a little more awesome. perceptions are crazy things...

Monday, January 19, 2009


With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

*pictures taken today from murals in the 31st and troost area kc,mo

Sunday, January 11, 2009

an alarming story

i was listening to "this american life" on my way to church this morning and heard a captivating and yet alarming story. listen to "babies buying babies" and see what you think... my how this world will stop at nothing to embrace the familiar and reject that which is "other," even when it involves something as seemingly trivial as baby dolls.

p.s. after reading/listening to everything else on this author's website, i'm kind of obsessed with her. elna baker could be my first "new favorite thing" of 2009.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sushi I ate, I went on a date, I met a girl named Kate in 2008

I thought about trying to make an alphabetical list of words/phrases that described my year and rhymed with 2008, but I quickly realized that would not have been enjoyable to read, or for that matter, create (ooh – that’s a good word though… *rethinks original decision, and then comes back to reality*). No one would want to read about how I did not fish with bait, how I moved a crate, or how I didn’t really get irate (except for that one time where I almost did). Still, I am going to write the say goodbye to ’08, say hello to ’09 blog post, because well, there’s a time of year to do that sort of thing, and that time is now. That’s reason and um, rhyme enough.

I had good intentions of trying to change my blog up this year and ask questions on it rather than just type my nonsense. Apparently questions extending beyond the ever-perplexing “Shalinn or Shaolin” bits don’t fly with you people. That’s okay though – I’m not bitter or anything… Side note – I’ll likely resume the whole fortune cookie vs. fortune kookie thing later – I’m obviously just not good at keeping up with the whole updating the blog thing. I blame that on my return journey back to facebook. That, and triangles. Don’t worry though; I have another stellar blog contest to embark upon. You’re gonna love it. Aside, complete…. Anyway, here’s some high and lowlights of the year that was… last year. I won’t make you answer any questions, I promise.

*My family said goodbye to my 106-year-old great-grandmother on January 17th of this year. She would’ve been 107 today actually. I’m sure she’d have something to say about the current financial state of the world, the fact that I’m still single, and that we’ve got a new president (yeah!)
*I continued the journey for a brief stint and met a wonderful guy. Circumstances and life as it happens left us as friends. I didn’t know that I could feel so honored by someone voluntarily turning off the television to talk to me. He's taught me more than he may ever know.
*Leaving one job, interviewing and taking another one. I am happier now with what I am doing and perhaps what that may lead to in the future. I’ve gotten to see improvement in the lives of children and in some ways have gotten to see more clearly the circumstances that can work against them. It’s not fair, but is perhaps a greater opportunity for triumph.
*The Mexicants. Maya and I finally made it happen after over a year of talking about it. It’s fun and life-giving and one of these days we’ll perform our own music…and move beyond Grandview, MO (hopefully).
*Time off from work can rejuvenate a person and help them realize what other opportunities are available to them. I’m so grateful that I got to take the time to work with the wonderful children at Christ Church during VBS and at Christmas. They were wonderful and inspired me with their sweet hearts. Plus, they sang awesome. Getting back to teaching piano lessons was the right decision for me – my students remind me why I love music and why I love seeing people discover what they’re capable of. I literally sleep better at night because of this last summer.
*Obama. I took part in my first political campaign this year by volunteering and contributing. I’ve never watched as much news coverage as I did this year, and I never thought I could talk politics with people, especially people I didn’t know, but I did. What a growing experience it was for me to see what people in this city are passionate about and to see how things played out. I can only hope that no matter what happens from this point forward, people will start to care about something other than themselves. If we’re lucky, the U.S. can hopefully lead the way….and with any luck, listen and learn.
*London. Seriously. Need I say more? I got to go to London. I loved everything about it and can’t wait to go back to Europe.
*Weddings…oh my. I’ve seen some of my very best friends from past and present get married or engaged this year. Lots of sweet babies have been born (and created!) too, including the sweet baby I found out about last night ☺. I can’t wait to be aunt Shalinn (not biologically, mind you)!
*On a sadder, different note, I’ve seen more than one friend tragically lose their fathers, seen those I care about be abused, seen dreams and expectations shattered, seen illness and injury plague friends and family, and seen hearts break, including my own. I’ve seen people that won’t get out of their own way, and seen people that don’t realize who they really are and all that they could become in light of that. But perhaps the greatest tragedy is that of seeing the lonely not knowing they are loved, and me knowing that I can’t or in some cases don’t love them like I should or like I wish I could.

Well, New Year’s day is quickly coming to an end and I’ve written and re-written this last paragraph a gazillion times now, though no would know that since I decided to scrap it all just now. Bottom line, the word “I” was in it too much, and that just won’t do. This world is not about me or what I think or what I know or what I’ve learned this last year anymore than in previous years. And yet we’re all in this world here together where there’s beauty and tragedy and love to be found and experienced. Oh that Moulin Rouge line – the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. Let yourself be loved and love, even when it’s hard (on both fronts). Thanks for the grace you’ve extended to me this year readers… Happy 2009.