Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Can you rescue an out of focus picture?

Delorean @ Lincoln Hall. April 2011
For the most part, I don't understand why people spend money on a concert ticket to watch more than half of the show through their cell phone camera (or video camera).  It's a fault I too am somewhat guilty of because I just want one picture of my own per show (often leading to multiple attempts to try to get the right shot).  At almost every venue, there are multiple professional photographers taking high quality pictures with more skill and with better equipment.  For example, I always hope there's a representative from Lost In Concert present whenever I happen to be.

The iPhone, at least my 3GS model, is an overrated camera.  It's primary benefit is that it eliminates having to bring another electronic device to concerts.  But one of the following usually exists to make my pictures unsuccessful: I'm a long distance away, the tight crowd around me limits my ability to stabilize, the subject is not a statue.

The National @ UIC Pavilion. April 2011
Which is why I've come to throw any picture I take at a show through crazy filters on my Instagram app.  It's a free app for anybody too cheap to spend $2 for Hipstamatic.  A lot of photographers (for example ones from Lost In Concert) loathe these apps.  Their disgust is very reasonable and understandable.  However, to argue in favor of these apps, I don't think it's a threat to their livelihood.  At least from my pictures there isn't any competition from me.  Nobody is going to rely on an iPhone for any important event in which a professional photographer is needed.  These gimmicks, while they are certainly such, are increasing the interest in taking photos - which is a good thing.

Of course, I can't imagine how insulting it must be for any film taught photographer who spent a career crafting compositions and distorting images though tedious and careful developing techniques.
Arcade Fire @ UIC Pavilion. April 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Did I say "Thank You" humbly enough?

Last Sunday I typed a very bragging post about how I had a social life to be envied.  Standing upon my pulpit of blogisicsm shouting to as many as 6 followers that I'm hip and cool.  This week was very humbling, and allow me to bore you by bringing you up to date, because I do have some rather sincere sentiment I'd like to bury in this post.

Here are Monday's highlights: Called in sick, slept for over 12 hours, leaving the condo only for a trip to the grocery store where I bought a gallon of milk, 2 cartons of Orange Juice, 1 box of Oreos and 1 box of Fudge Stripes.

Very Thankful
On Tuesday I finally wrote Thank Yous to an incredible amount of people.  (Some of you who may have received them and have already complimented me on either the humor or class of it.  Since some donations are still coming in, I don't want to spoil what was enclosed in those envelopes.)  If you don't know what I was thanking people for, you might want to check out a post from February.  And if you happened to read the post many people thought was the better story, I'm happy to tell you that I did write a personalized note to Nolan.  This whole thing is becoming more real by the day... Many are asking if I'm getting excited but I'm kinda nervous.  This is my one good deed for my life and I don't want to blow it!  By the way, nothing made my life feel as full of friendship as seeing the large stack of envelopes I had to shove into a post office box.

On Wednesday I polished off whatever milk and cookies were left from Monday's self medication purchase.  That's the rough thing about living alone - You look down into a grocery cart of many cookies and realize that every single cookie will be devoured by only one person: yourself.  Later in the week I humbly bragged to a coworker that I could empty a gallon of milk faster (in the non Jackass sideshow method) than any normal person.

Thursday was supposed to be a running day.  Yeah, I'm trying to run again. (Last year around this time I started training for a 5K - completing it was one of the highlights of my 2010, but I promptly stopped running immediately after the race.)  I won't go into the reasons why I'm running again, mainly because I'm not sure I know myself.  By the way, I ended up crashing asleep before 7 pm on Thursday and never got out there to run.

Friday night was my first non profitable day of poker in 2011.  Thankfully it was also the lowest buy-in of 2011 as well.  Most importantly, the money was lost to a struggling artist who's music I enjoy.

Saturday I took down my holiday lights.  For those of you scoring at home, the date this past Saturday was April 16 (well beyond the accepted 12 days after Christmas / Epiphany deadline).

Finally, I ran today.  Completing the 3rd week of my "Couch to 5K" program. This past week was the first week I ran to non Girl Talk music - instead opting for Delorean, for I'll be seeing them this Tuesday at Lincoln Hall.  On the running playlist for the upcoming week: Arcade Fire, who I'll be seeing a week from Monday!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Will April Shows bring May Lows?

Tuesday April 5: The Mountain Goats w/ Mega Fun @ The Vic
Thursday April 7: Todd Barry w/ Brendon Walsh (Stand Up Comedy Show) @ The Hideout
Friday April 8: Cut Copy w/ Holy Ghost! @ The Riv
(Bonus After Party Show: Holy Ghost! (DJ Set) @ Smart Bar
Saturday April 9: Park Ridge Chorale @ St. Luke Church

Most of you have realized that this blog is more of journal that I'm just too lazy to make private or too conceited not to share.  Weeks like the one that just ended are the kind that I need to document for myself.  It's going to make me smile down the road when I remind myself just how my crazy April 2011 began.

I don't think I'll ever have as socially diverse of a week.  Each one of the 5 above listed events required a purchased ticket - for reasons almost as random as the acts:

The Mountain Goats
A friend on Facebook was staring down the idea of attending a concert solo.  Having done it once, I know it's a tough proposition.  Although this friend is easily strong enough to carry out such an idea (I'm sure she's done it before), I think my gesture was appreciated.  The Mountain Goats didn't exist on my iPod when I bought my ticket (although that quickly changed when Amazon listed their latest album on their 100 albums for $5 this month).  The highlight of the show is when they brought out the opening band to join them for a song at the end of their set.  This is an act I wish every headliner would do more often.

Karma quickly came back around in the positive two days later when a different friend agreed to attend a comedy show at The Hideout.  Especially seeing how the early show had sold out, I know I wouldn't have driven into the city through that night's rain to attend the late show.  I had seen Todd Barry's act not too long ago, but the opening comic (Brendon Walsh) had left a great first impression on me from a Conan routine.  When we had left the venue that night, we saw Mr. Walsh just outside the door smoking.  After a quick pause (to make sure it really was him in my mind) I complimented his set.  Even though this man is a professional comedian, his snap response of "Thanks" sounded sincere.

Cut Copy
I've now seen Cut Copy three times - and I'm especially happy I saw them this time seeing as how I will be elsewhere when they are in Chicago next for the Pitchfork Music Festival.  Cut Copy also holds a very important role in my "concert going lifestyle" because when I saw them previously The Metro I made a pledge to myself that I would wear earplugs at every show going forward.  Some dufus lady made a snide remark before the encore to me saying, "Is it too loud for you?" while pointing at my earplugs.  Maybe the old saying is true for me, but one of the first things my friend said to me when we exited was, "I won't ever hear that frequency again."

The wristband from The Riv show got us into Smart Bar for just $7 more to see the Holy Ghost! DJ set.  Of everything that I experienced in the past week, the revelation of just how much I like Smart Bar might be the most significant.  And I'm saying that even after knowing full well how large my bar tap was at the end of the night.  Now stick with me on this next statement: I enjoyed Smart Bar to a level that makes me happy I live in the suburbs... If I lived a CTA card dip away I would spend way too much time and way too much money down in that glowing basement of fun.  (By the way, there's a track from the new Holy Ghost! album available for free download on iTunes)

Finally, I found myself sitting in a Lutheran church listening to a choir sing (among other selections) show tunes.  It was the perfect Week of Shows capper.  For a week that started helping out a friend who wanted to see a show, I was at a show to support a friend who had auditioned for the Park Ridge Chorale and was excited to be performing with them for the first time.  In a week that included some extremely foul language and worse subject matter for the purposes of invoking laughter, I also saw a show that was suitable for a newborn (although the Father felt otherwise, I didn't think bringing a crying baby into a choir concert was a good idea).  Then, of course, there's the fact I sat quietly and respectfully composed in a church pew just 17 hours removed from being a sweaty dancy mess.

There are at least 3 more shows I plan on seeing before this awesome month ends.  The second half of the month will have a tough chance matching this first half in diversity, but it does have a chance because not included in those 3 shows is a birthday party for a five year old girl and a poker night with six dudes all younger than I.

I can't wait.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Did your April Fools gag yield any results?

If there's one thing you can depend on in this world, it's that you can always count on someone to read a Facebook post out of context.  I hope you all had a non-annoying April Fools Day.  I'm pretty sure I survived without a scratch.

You see here what I did.  I had a fear in the back of my mind that it would turn into something bound for the someecards blog, but thankfully nobody took the opportunity to post a viciously cruel response.

When I saw my Aunt "like" the relationship change I knew I had to act quickly before she got the family phone tree working overtime to plan the next Family Reunion.  Although, I probably should have held out until getting a call from my Dad.  I can hear it now:

"I heard you got engaged on Face Page?"