Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bryan Adams at the Orpheum

When my friend A called me up to ask me if I wanted to see Bryan Adams in concert, I almost said "no". I mean, really? Bryan Adams? Is he even still singing? What was the last thing he released? Is he even alive? But I said "yes" because at the end of the day I enjoy spending time with her and I figured what the heck, it can't be as bad as sitting through the warm up acts for Nickleback right?

So we met up at a pseudo-Italian restaurant prior to heading to the concert. I say "pseudo-Italian" because while they purported to serve excellent spaghetti (and accompaniments), they were less than stellar on the delivery.

The side salad was a handful of iceberg lettuce, a few shreds of purple cabbage and five croutons. I got my dressing on the side and thank goodness for that as it was about a half a cup's worth. If they had dumped that much on my salad I would have had iceberg ranch soup.

I kept it simple and ordered spaghetti with meat sauce. It showed up within about five minutes of ordering which is suspicious at best. The spaghetti noodles were somewhat gummy which I can only assume is because they had been cooked some time prior and kept warm. The sauce was okay. Not great, not horrific, just okay. It had an odd taste to it that I couldn't quite place. I'm sure it was some spice, just not one that necessarily belonged in any sort of spaghetti sauce.

But the best part came when I went to top my spaghetti with some powdered Parmesan (is it that much cheaper than shredded?) Because before I tipped it completely over, something in the container caught my eye. Turns out it was a rather large bug. Poor fellow had apparently aspirated on the powdered Parmesan and died an untimely death. Lovely. And appetizing.

While the delivery of the food was rapid, seeing and catching the attention of our waitress in order to get new Parmesan was not. She flew by our table several times like she'd been shot out of a cannon. Her eyes were fixed on the kitchen door each time so there would be no way to catch her eye. I didn't feel like yelling to get her attention as that is crass at best. Eventually she served the table next to us and made the mistake of turning in our direction so I was able to catch her eye. Anyway, long story short, she replaced the buggy Parmesan and thanked us for bringing it to her attention.

That's a pretty big lead in for a post labeled "Bryan Adams at the Orpheum" isn't it? Sorry, I get a bit long winded occasionally. But wait, there's more!

We left the pseudo-Italian place to drive 1.3 miles down the road to the theater. It took us thirty minutes. To go 1.3 miles. Not even joking. The problem seemed to be that the parking garage was directly past the traffic light and there was a backlog. So, every time the light turned green exactly ONE car would go through it. Oh. My. Holy. Hell. I was ready to get out of my car and start ripping the other driver's heads off. When it came to my turn, I made a radical move and actually turned right. Onto the street. And then I (gasp!) drove down the street and found a place to park. Apparently the other drivers couldn't figure out what those weird posts sticking up out of the concrete in the sidewalk were. You know, parking meters. Goodness gracious. The best part was that since it was almost 8:00 by the time we got there, we didn't even have to pay to park. Bwahahahaha all you fools clamoring to pay money to park in the garage!

Okay, so I'm rambling again.

So we park. And then we walk two blocks to the theater.

The Orpheum Theater is a small venue with only 1364 seats. Originally built in the late 1920s, it retained it's ornate, Spanish Revivalist roots after a major renovation in the 80s. It's cozy, comfortable and beautiful to look at. What more could one ask for? Oh that's right, the main act!

For those not in the know (read: me) this the "Bare Bones Tour". Which means effectively no band, no special effects, no "show". It's just Bryan with his guitar, harmonica and microphone accompanied about half the time by Gary Bright on the piano. I didn't know this because I never bothered to look anything up once A asked if I wanted to go. She had the tickets so I just showed up. Seeing nothing but a piano and a mic on the stage once we got seated was a little worrisome. What if Mr. Adams, in his advanced age (joking), couldn't sing like he used to? What if the songs lacked the fullness that a band adds. What if I just wasted sixty five dollars to hear some old man waver through a bunch of songs that I didn't recognize? Mostly, what if this sucked?

But you know what? It was awesome! Bryan's voice is nothing if not powerful. It's still the same gravelly goodness it always was. The songs sounded just like I remembered them. And I remembered them all. Best of all, it was such an intimate setting that it felt like I was hanging out with a bunch of friends listening to another friend serenade us. It was really cool.

I honestly can't remember what song he started with but he worked his way through the last thirty years of writing and hit all the good ones. His stage presence in this cozy setting was, again, like having someone you know up on stage. He spoke with people in audience. He had us laughing. And singing. Out loud. As a minor side note, while I belt out songs in my car on the highway, I generally don't sing out loud at concerts. I'm an introvert at heart (you just shush!) and self conscious enough that I don't want to bring any undue attention (seriously, shush!). But I just could not help myself, I had to sing. I forgot that I knew all the words to most of his songs. I forgot how much I enjoyed Bryan Adams.

But I remembered it all last night. It brought back a lot of memories. Memories of high school dances. Memories of listening to albums repeatedly, of trying to tape songs from the radio without the dj screwing it up with chatter. Memories of dancing with Mister C to "Everything I Do"after watching Robin Hood. Great memories of great times.

It was awesome.

Yeah, I get that my iPhone takes crappy pictures and I couldn't zoom in. But look how close he is! How cool is that?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I went back to visit a good friend in Omaha a week ago. On Saturday, we took our cameras out and toured the city. Or at least the older areas of the city. One thing that Omaha has plenty of is history. I love the old brick buildings, the castle-like churches, brick paved streets and the advertisements that still adorn the sides of buildings. It's a photographer's haven. I'm not a great photographer, but I sure like to try.

Kountze Memorial Lutheran (est. 1857)

First Presbyterian Church (est. 1860, this building was built in 1915)

Memorial Chapel at First Presbyterian

The Rose Theater, originally opened in 1927 as the Riviera

Advertising on several of the buildings in the Old Market.

Lion at the Hindu temple (the temple was completed in 2004)

One of two elephants at the steps to the Hindu temple

Monday, September 13, 2010


This is how the kitten (whose name nobody likes) spends some of his time with either of the older cats...

Isn't that sweet?

I have yet to get a clear shot of how he spends the rest of his time, but it's something like this...

Also, there's a lot of head biting that goes on. Aren't kittens fun?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

All who gave their lives and all whose lives were taken.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


So I hit the local Ikea store with my friend A this morning. I've never been there before as I tend to avoid large, overly populated shopping excursions. Especially on the weekend when the rest of the universe heads to them. Really especially on a holiday weekend. But A asked me if I wanted to go furniture shopping with her so I gamely went along.

Truth be told, when we started out, we were going to another furniture store called "The Dump". After going through the place, I do have to wonder if they get the irony of that name. Anyway, this store has annoying ads on the local television stations periodically about how they're some sort of "overstock liquidators". So that's where we headed first. Turns out we didn't appreciate The Dump nearly so much as some people seemed to. It seems to be less of an "overstock" situation as it is "Holy crap, that is an UGLY piece of furniture!" So after making a complete circuit of the store and doing a whole lot of cackling, we headed a mile down the road to Ikea.

Ikea is packed, as expected. You walk in the door and there's a line of parents dumping of their children at the care center. That's actually a really cool concept. I used to love shopping at one of our local grocery stores because I could leave Master J in the class cage and shop much more quickly. Believe me when I tell you that it was worth the little bit extra I paid to shop there. So I totally get why there was a long line of parents waiting in that line to shed themselves of their offspring. Right past the drop off zone is an escalator that takes you upstairs to where the shopping starts.

While I am not totally enamored of everything in the store, I can see why people might shop there. There is a ton of different styles of every item in the place. Looking for new dinnerware? There's about a hundred different styles and/or colors. Need a new cutting board? Here's twenty to chose from. They have every type of kitchen tool you can imagine, bowls of every size and lamps by the dozen. And most of it is inexpensive. I picked up a half a dozen bamboo place-mats for $1.99 each.

In addition to everything you need to run a house, they also carry everything you need to furnish it. There's entire rooms of couches, chairs or tables. There's a whole area of nothing but beds and the the things that go with them such as sheets, duvet covers and pillows. They have rooms set up completely as say, a bedroom complete with pictures on the walls and books on the shelves. They even sell entire kitchens, from the cabinets on out. It's pretty impressive to say the least.

In fact, the only thing I wasn't overly impressed with was the furniture itself. Specifically the living room type furniture. Now, I'm not saying I think it's poorly made or anything like that. I'm not even saying it's uncomfortable. I have no way of knowing if it was or wasn't. Because I didn't sit on one single piece of it. Why not? Because it's all tiny. Seriously, the furniture is miniature sized. I felt like Alice after she eats the second cake. I was towering over the petite couches afraid to sit down lest I break their spindly little frames with my apparently overgrown self. It was kind of freaky feeling to be walking through the room of smaller than normal furniture. Have you ever had a dream where you can't stop growing? That's what it felt like. Like I should probably start heading for the door before my head pops through the roof.

So in summary, cool place to shop for a bunch of fun stuff to put in your house. Not so cool snack size furniture.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wait, what?

I picked up Master J after school today and we started talking about his day. I asked him how it was (Good!), how he did on his spelling and vocab tests (Great!), how was his lunch (Okay, it wasn't the right one). Anyway, the kids have a six day rotation schedule of music, art, p.e. and library and today was a p.e. day. Annnnddd....

Me: So what did you guys do in p.e. today?

MJ: We played football.

Me: Cool. Have you done that before?

MJ: No. Today we learned how to play it. We learned how to punt, how to throw the ball and how to hike it.

Me: Did everyone get to do everything?

MJ: Yep. I'm not very good at throwing the ball. It's aerodynamic but it's hard to throw. Some kids already knew how but I've never thrown one before (oh my goodness, what kind of parent am I?)

Me: Oh, that's too bad. But at least you got to do it. So did you punt it?

MJ: Yeah and I did okay with punting it.

Me: Uh-huh. And did you get to hike it?

MJ: Yeah. I'm not a very good hiker.

Me: Why's that?

MJ: Because I get out of breath too easily going uphill.

Me: Really? Why would...wait, what?

MJ: Ahahahahhahaha!

Me: For the love think you're pretty funny don't you?

MJ: Yeah! I'm the punniest kid on the team! Hahahahahahaha!

Me: I'll bet you are...