Friday, September 26, 2008

Concert Review, Concert Preview and the Interconnected Subtle Romance of the Live Music Scene

"...I am trying to say
What I want to say
Without having to say..."

Last night I was treated to watching another "indie" (if there's a better more accepted term, please tell me) band from Canada.
The first indie act I saw was Feist, and the next is coming up very soon (but more on that later).

Last night Stars performed at The Vic Theatre. This is Stars:

But I don't want to comment on the musical aspect of this show last night. Oddly, and at no fault of the band's excellent performance, the more interesting aspects of the night had little do do with the main set.

I know of Stars because a coworker thought I'd like them after I couldn't stop gushing over Broken Social Scene. Stars, like Broken Social Scene, is on the Arts & Crafts record label (the Belagio of Canada's "indie" rock scene). The two bands also have The Vic Theatre in common. Broken Social Scene is scheduled to play there Thursday October 9. Therefore, I was able to purchase tickets for BSS at the Vic box office and avoided any Ticketmaster "ass poundings" (as Mac may say).

This put me in a great mood walking into the venue, and I must admit it preoccupied most of my mind. Now that Radiohead is off my "Bands to see live before I die" list, BSS is only topped by Bjork.

The other note about last night I want to mention is the apparent surplus of attractive and (seemingly) single women who enjoy Stars. I saw pack after pack of three or four good-looking-girls with no apparent male significant other marking territory. I am well aware at the likely hood that these GLGs were significantly with each other. After all, we're talking about Canada's Independent Music Scene here Ladies, Gentleman, Lesbians and Gays. A keen taste in music is a great quality in a significant other, and sometimes tough to find in the GLG genre.

How is that ice supposed to be broken? One would think it would be easy. By mere mutual existence in that venue you have something important in common. If you are willing to spend money on a weeknight concert on a Canadian band that doesn't get radio play surely you would have more to talk about? Maybe you have to have even numbers. What I mean is: a sufficient supply of Wingmen that can give you equal numbers. If I would walk up by myself to that group of four girls last night, trying to talk to one of them, a plethora of bad events may transpire. Anything from abject ignore to hostile cockblockery. Not to mention the obvious time crunch. There's no talking during the set and after the show is a mad dash for the fresh air beyond the exit.

You've got to go in there with a plan.
Get a team together.
Quickly assess the situation
Advance on targets
Enjoy the show as a large group under the guise of a very cool group pre-date.

But people don't want to plan for some sort of massive ground attack of flirting and other romance related carnage. I won't find people to plunk down $25 to see a show with me with an indirect female-focused goal.

(That being said, me and two of my friends just spend $35 for something this upcoming Wednesday)

If I mentioned it before, it's definitely worth mentioning again:
NPR's All Songs Considered is immaculte
On a recent episode they played a song from Land of Talk
They're a band from Montreal.
Yeah, you can see where I'm going with this.
But what was great news to me is that they are the openers for Broken Social Scene!
That's going to be a wonderful night.

(And I didn't even get into the fact that the night immediately after the Broken Social Scene show I'll be seeing My Morning Jacket at the Chicago Theatre!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

September 22, 2005

If you have met me in the past three years,
or maybe reconnected with me in that time,
you may not know that I have a metal plate in my head.

For this night,
I am typing this on September 22,
is my three year anniversary.

The following story begins on the night of September 22, 2005.
In 2004 and 2005 I spent most of my Thursday nights playing basketball.
I was in a local park district league with some friends.
Our team name was "Loose Balls."

I usually played center.
Most often, I was the taller guys on the court.
Playing down by the basket didn't bother me.
Even though as a youth I loved playing around the arc.

I was accused of "flopping" too often.
That is, trying to draw charging fouls from the opposition.
When there wasn't much contact.
On this Thursday night in 2005,
There was too much contact.

Facts are still in question.
Exactly who hit who
What hit what
This is what we know.
A guy I was not guarding made a hard drive to the hoop.
I slid over to take a charge.
There was a collision involving the driver,
my teammate guarding him,
and me.
The whistle blew.

I did not get the charging call I was hoping for.
But that didn't matter to me at the time.
The collision was intense.
It knocked me straight to the floor.
I was unable to get up.
Instead, I said in an oddly calm voice, "Sub"
(calling for a substitution from the bench)
I pushed myself out of bounds across the baseline.
Literally sliding my ass across the court with my arms.
As if I was paddling a boat without oars.
There, on the baseline, back up against the gym wall, I stayed for a while.

I didn't know it then, but I suffered a concussion.
The gym wasn't exactly "spinning" in my mind.
But the feeling wasn't too far from that.
Finally, I got myself up and walked back to the bench.
I didn't go back into the game.
I drove home.
I went to sleep.
I woke up.

When I tried to brush my teeth
I realized something was wrong
Something seriously out of whack
I was unable to get my toothbrush to my back teeth.

That next day,
Friday morning,
I arrived to work on time.
With a dented face.

I was able to talk
although my teeth couldn't separate enough to slide in a toothpick.
I was in no pain.
Just a slight feeling of uncomfortable
Not unlike when you wear a button down shirt with the buttons one-off
The shirt is still wearable, just doesn't fit right on your body.
That was how my face felt.

People had a tough time looking at me that morning.
My right eye was also bloodshot.

You may be asking why I didn't go to an ER?
The answer is unique for our times.
I'm a member of an HMO.
I've had a lot of battles with HMOs over my short life.
Basically, unless I need someone to stop bleeding.
Like, from a GSW...
I'm going to my "Primary Care Physician" first.

After securing an early afternoon appointment
I told my boss that I was taking a half day
After seeing my Primary Care Physican.
I was sent off to the hospital for an X-Ray.
After my P.C.P. saw the X-Ray,
I spoke to him on the phone from the hospital's waiting room

He said, "Well, the X-Rays came back negative, but I saw your face... It's broken... I'm sending you to a specialist."

The doctor I met next, instantly recognized what happened to my face.
He was a surgeon, and informed me that I had an orbital bone fracture
(that's my eye socket)
and a zygomatic bone fracture (that's one of the bones that form my cheek)

He explained the surgery that I needed very clearly.
It was not needed to be repeated.

It would reqiure two incisions.
One under my right eyelid, to slide a titanium plate to reset my cheek bone.
The second cut would be on the inside of my cheek.

The second cut was because my zygomatic bone had slid down and was blocking my jaw muscle.
(This is why I was unable to open my mouth)
Which was great news to me, I was fearing a broken jaw bone, with a wired solution.
But this second cut was needed to allow the surgeons (plural) to insert the medical equivalent to a crowbar into my face...
To pry my bone back into place...
In order to have the titanium plate - oh and four titanium screws - set it back into it's original location.

And although I understood how it was going to be done, I still had a few questions.
Just before I was sent off to get a CAT SCAN, I had the following dialogue.
I remember it today, three years later, word for word.

TQ: Does this plate come out after the bone's healed?
Dr.: No.
TQ: (after a slight pause) Are you saying that I will literally have a metal plate in my head the rest of my life?
Dr. Yeah, but it's small.
TQ: (after a slightly longer pause) Will it set off metal detectors?
Dr.: (after a short pause) I don't know.

To hear this surgeon say, "I don't know" was gravely unsettling to yours truly.
Fast forward about ten days.
The morning of my operation.
I'm lying down.
Wearing a glorified tablecloth.
Already pierced with the IV needle into my left hand.
My Father next to me, acting stoic.

The surgeon enters the room.
This is the first time I've spoken to him since our last unsettling conversation.
He informs us that he has brought in his boss to help him with the procedure.
(That makes me feel more comfortable)
He then offers this gem of a comment.
Again, I remember it verbatim.
"I've seen the CATSCAN... And on a scale of one to ten, it's severe."

He walks away, and I couldn't help but laugh.
I ask my dad, "Does severe mean a ten? or an eleven?"
My dad also laughed, but it was a different sort of a laugh.
I was laughing more out of disgust.
My dad's laugh was more out of uncertainty - not wanting to respond with silence.

Obviously, I came out all right.
The doctors did excellent work.
Nobody can tell that I've had, what I call, major facial reconstructive surgery.
For a solid year after this, people would ask me what's new...
You know, not really wanting to know what was new...
But I would tell them, in a blank and matter-of-factly as possible...
"What's new? Probably the titanium plate in my head, what's new with you?"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trophy Tease

Once I get the rest of the pictures, I'll explain how I WON this trophy.
One of the greatest nights of my summer.
Stay tuned to learn the story behind the prize.