December 2009


Erin came home all a-twitter last week when they found out that the spring musical will by Bye-Bye Birdie which of course I had never heard of.  I’ve never heard of any of them.  I always enjoy them though.  We bought the 1963 movie so Erin could familiarize herself with the story and decide what part she wants to audition for.  Erin has won parts in every production her drama classes have ever had but she’s almost always been cast in the comical old-lady roles.  Such a role exists in this play too but she’s hoping to get something else.

It was a toss-up this year:  go see Manheim  Steamroller or Trans Siberian Orchestra.  Several years ago, a video was emailed around to everybody on the planet (you probably saw it) of a house with lots of flashing Christmas lights synchronized to music.  A bit of googling quickly revealed the source of the electronics you can use to do the same thing as well as the identity of the music – by Trans Siberian Orchestra.  I’d never heard of them before so gave them a listen in iTunes.  Then some guys at work told me that the live show is full of lasers and fireworks. 

That sold me.

So I bought four tickets.  Mel and I went and took Erin and her boyfriend with us.  What follows will probably sound like I didn’t like it but I really did – a lot.  But it was a bit pretentious, with some guy coming out to recite bad poetry very badly (or at least with way too much of an attempt to sound like James Earl Jones) occasionally.  In any given musical event, I can always dispense with spoken word poetry. 

The show was like every rock show cliché from the 70’s and 80’s but with a string section:  smoke, animated lights, lasers, elevating platforms, belching flames (multicolored!), and fireworks.  All rolled into one glorious sensory overload.  Indeed, I think the band unapologetically elevated the show in importance above the band itself since most of the time, you couldn’t even see the band members.  There was the usual guitar wizardry as well.  Plus, it’s not often that you get to see a violinist who also head-bangs.  Erin’s boyfriend left the arena with a headache from all the flashing lights.  WIMP!

As I was enjoying the waves of heat on my face from the bursting balls of fire, I could not keep from my mind the imagined words of an old friend; one who never had any time for anything but the music and even then only music that sported some originality.  This sort of glitz would have definitely given rise to some snarky comments which I was on the verge of coming out with as well.  During the poetry readings, Erin looked at me and rolled her eyes so she was probably leaning the same way.  But the lasers made up for it.  Lots of lasers.  We’re talking room-filling laser beams of all colors. 

Another thing that I kept thinking about was Jack Black in “School of Rock”.  TSO followed all his lessons such as the “power stance” for a guitarist and the smoke and lasers during the show.  I kept smiling while thinking of the parallels.

I enjoyed the show a lot.  I’m old enough now that I question whether anything is worth what I pay for it but this would certainly come close.  Plus the BOK Center is a really nice place – somehow getting in and out was not a big deal unlike most venues.  The fact that it looks like a crushed pop-can can be overlooked because if this I think.

Friday night:  Trans Siberian Orchestra at the BOK Center. 

Saturday night:  Singing Christmas tree at the local Baptist church.

Sunday morning:  Christmas musical thing at my church.

I love Christmas music.  The one thing I could change if I could would be to chain all pastors to their pews and stuff a gag in their mouths.  They should just shut up and let the people sing.  Nobody wants to listen to a “message” at that time – no matter how cleverly (or not) it is concealed.  In my opinion, there’s no more “turd-in-the-punchbowl” moment than when a pastor grinds the musical to a halt to say something.  Let it go pastors!

Erin found out that she made a 222 on her PSAT.  This has a good chance of putting her in contention for a National Merit Scholarship. 

Wow.

This is kind of like winning a lottery.  We have to manage the success as carefully as any other aspect of our lives.  Hope we can parlay this into a free ride or nearly free ride some fine university.

Most success in life comes from hard work but if your work hard AND are really smart her limits should be much higher than mine.  I hope we advise her well.

I don’t even remember where Erin was Friday night.  She was definitely out with her BF but their plans changed so many times, I’m not sure of the details except that dinner and entertainment were involved.  I believe they went to a local restaurant that serves breakfast all the time because Erin likes bacon and then they went to a fellow dramanator’s party with a Hanukah theme.  I’m pretty sure that’s right.

Mel and I stayed home and watched the final episode of “Monk”.  Yes, we’re boring.  I think that’s well established and I don’t care anymore.

Mel came down with a head cold Saturday.  It came upon her pretty suddenly but it gave us a valid reason to ditch church Sunday and sleep in.  Erin spent the night with the girls in her small group and so ended up at church with them anyway.  Again – Erin is out socializing as often as she can.  I don’t see how she ever accomplishes anything.

Mel and I got started on wrapping some of the gifts and now our tree has stuff under it.  Nothing really spectacular yet but it looks better with goodies under it.

I think that maybe – just maybe – my back did not hurt quite as much yesterday.  Here’s hoping.  Of course the pain manifests itself in my butt and sometimes on down my leg but I get more understanding from saying my back hurts.

Erin is on pins and needles waiting for the PSAT scores to come out and at the same time waiting to find out what the spring musical is going to be.  It’s a toss-up as to which thing she’s most excited about.

At the checkout.

Checkout girl: “Do you have kids?”

Me: “Yes”

She: “Here’s a tip.  If you want them to keep believing in Santa, wrap the gifts from Santa in different wrapping paper so they don’t look like the other gifts.”

Me: “That’s a good idea.”

She:  “So, how old are your kids?”

Me: “16 and 19.”

She: “OK…  I feel like an idiot.”