Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Festival Folk

Emerging from the woods after a weekend long camping excursion can be a truly gratifying experience. Unplugging from all forms of electronic devices and taking in all that nature has to offer proves to be an eye opening practice. After venturing to the music festival known as Shakori Hills last weekend, I will say that while the wonderful sounds and smell of nature were quite enjoyable, there is something to be said for the visual side of things. Let’s begin with the basics, at any given music festival it is pretty well understood that you will run into a few certain kinds of folks. To start, there are the avid campers who come fully loaded with every Coleman and various REI product known to man. There are the semi-serious nature enthusiasts who really like to get out there but are also fine enjoying the comforts of indoor life. Scattered amongst the crowd you will find a spectrum of ages and races but I personally find the most interesting group to be the hippies. Yes, I know that the term hippie can be rather broad and cover a lot of various aspects of nature-loving people but the particular clan I am referring to seem to be in a league of their own. Take for example last Saturday afternoon- I am sitting by the camp site enjoying a nice meal when this barefoot and somewhat confused individual comes meandering along. Not really seeming to notice us sitting there, or the dozens of other campsites for that matter, this young man approaches and starts to pet a nearby tree. This continues for about five awkward minutes until he suddenly seems to have gained all necessary non-verbal communication and wanders off to another grassy area. To be honest, this was not extremely unusual considering the above disclaimer revolving around festivals but it still rather amusing. This same man showed up again about thirty minutes later with what appeared to be a large boulder in his arms and proceeded to do some sort of squat-prayer routine which I would imagine is unaffiliated with any sort of organized practice. Needless to say, musical gatherings tend to bring a rather eclectic crowd and provide almost as much entertainment and yes, joy as the performers themselves.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Commercial Presentation

While I have gotten used to paying an exorbitant amount to see a movie in theatres, there is part of me that will never truly accept the amount of commercial bombardment that goes along with it. After paying four dollars for candy and selling one’s soul for a jumbo soda is it really necessary that a moviegoer sit through an advertisement for the latest spinning toothbrush? I am pretty sure that dental hygiene falls low on the list of interest when someone steps into the movie theatre. Furthermore, if I have to see that clip about Rosa Salazar and her Facebook friends one more time I might just boycott social networking sites all together. The bottom line is, I venture to the theatres to enjoy the MOVIE, not to feel like a captured case study for the world’s worst commercials. Many of us can remember a simpler time when the safety announcements for the nearest exit were the only thing between the viewer and the start to the much anticipated previews. Then came the rather obvious no smoking messages and reminders to silence your cell phones, pagers and noise making devices. The rest is just a downhill slope into a world of commercial overload. It seems we should all just do ourselves a favor and take the movie show times as strictly suggestions and arrive a good twenty minutes after the printed start time. Personally, I know that the desire to see a movie on the big screen will never fade so I’ll see you all out there- just don’t worry about making it on time!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Life of Warren

Similar to growing older in people years, the lifespan of a car can be directly linked with its corresponding quirks. Take for example my ten year old car Warren. Named for the county in which this speedy Toyota Camry gained two tickets, this car is starting to show its age. First there was the trunk that mysteriously stopped opening and can now be accessed exclusively by the lever on driver’s side floor. Then came the check engine light that has a mind of its own and despite the investigation of several mechanics, has decided to add its own special glow to my dashboard on a permanent basis. Add in a door handle that snapped off in the dead of winter and you have a car that is in need of some assistance. Yes, I am lucky to have a automobile and one that performs so well however, there’s nothing like getting sketchy glances in a parking lot as you try to jimmy your way into your own vehicle’s door or trunk. This car was handed down to me by my father who as everyone in my family is well aware, keeps his cars in “excellent condition.” You will not find a shred of tissue or even a straw wrapper in his current car and while Warren may have encountered some growing pains since he was handed over to me, I will say that this knack for cleanliness was also passed down. Despite the mentioned battle wounds, I have been known to surprise people with the spotless interior of this vehicle. Yes this car may be ten years old but in some ways, he does not look a day over four. Lights and lock ups aside, Warren has been a reliable transport and I am hoping that the speedometer has many more ticks before this ride is retired. See you on the road- but please be advised that if you are driving behind me in Warren County – do not expect to cruise higher than five miles over the speed limit.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Guitar Dreaming

Since my Washburn and I have been involved in a steady relationship since 1994, the thought of throwing myself into guitar shopping seemed more then foreign. I am not quite sure why this thought did not occur sooner, but nonetheless- I have started guitar dreaming. Some magical passageway has been opened and I find myself suddenly thinking of new gadgets and wondering, I would like to know what this does. Actually practicing this instrument would be helpful as I do not wish to sound like one of those ridiculous Creed-bashing videos but still, the interest has returned. This inspired thinking reaches past my currently quiet experience with acoustic guitar playing. Thoughts of my electric guitar currently residing in Baltimore make me think of my early days of musical exploration. I was given a bright red Fender Strat for Christmas one year - complete with a practice amp, and to my delight- a whammy bar. For the weeks to come, the sounds being attempted in my room seemed to mimic those of a low budget 70’s film production. My parents, who also were the gift givers of this awesome piece of craftsmanship, were more than patient. It was interesting though how quickly a pair of huge headphones were placed on my bed as a subtle hint. Hey, you have to start somewhere even if that means playing Tuesday’s Gone like it was going out of style. May have missed the boat on that one but in my mind, I was ROCKING. In the years to come, I had a guitar teacher with obscenely long finger nails and I performed at our high school Friday night Coffee House. A few can recall noise complaints surrounding loud versions of select Weezer and Radiohead jams in college dorm rooms. The ice blackout freshman year was the perfect time for an impromptu serenade and my performance was greeted with loud noises against wall next door- obviously out of appreciation. I do realize that I need to break through the comfortable set of chords that I have regurgitated over the years and branch out into more challenging assignments but rest assured, I am always available for a spur of the moment crooning.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Never Ending Teeth

It is my belief that there are few things more frightening and fascinating than the adaptable creature known as the shark. Throughout history this beast of an animal has morphed and adjusted to fit the changing oceans without losing status as one of the most lethal killing machines out there. What other several ton organism has an endless supply of dagger sharp teeth? How about having a protective layer over your eyes in the rare but dangerous occurrence of having an attacker aim at them? Let’s not forget about the brute strength of the muscles comprising of a sharks dorsal fin alone. It is probably in everyone’s best interest that I now mention I took a severe liking to Shark Week. Mind you this was not the first airing, this was via Netflix but within several says I had gained enough knowledge to live and breathe shark. Growing up, I was obsessed with The Little Mermaid but still had nightmares about the creatures that lurked beneath the waters. I then made the foolish decision to watch the movie Open Water one night at a friend’s house in Asheville several years ago. Queue the flashbacks of a dull nausea every time an underwater movie or deep ocean scene came on TV. Always having an active imagination, I decided that rather than let my thoughts of fanged companions get the best of my summer swims, I would face this demon head on. Enter Shark Week. In several hours, I had overcome my intense fear of these underwater giants and had formed a somewhat strange appreciation and admiration for sharks. It was as if through understanding the way they functioned, they somehow seemed a LITTLE less terrifying. While I do intend on swimming some laps this summer and perhaps venturing to the beach, you will not find me darting around in reefs littered with caution signs. Have a nice swim everyone.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Friend Request Accepted

While on a trip to Atlanta this past weekend, a good friend made a silly but somewhat accurate statement: If it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen. Sure, this was said in jest in regards to the whole Facebook phenomenon where casual stalking turns into an everyday occurrence but where else can you find out about engagements, children, new jobs or even just random and probably useless facts about people you were once close to? That’s right, for those of you inclined to scroll through the various faces of your former stages of life, enter the Facebook postings. Just the other day I learned that a childhood pal had passed the BAR and that another acquaintance is allergic to peanuts and had to be rushed to the E.R. I could have picked up the phone or composed an email, but finding out these day to day activities of those you hold close – or as far away as possible- from your heart works best online. In fact, as a test of this theory- I am going to start a little experiment. If you are friends with me on various online sites and start seeing outrageous posts of swimming with sharks (my extreme terror regarding this subject will be discussed later) or a sudden urge to acquire body art, think twice. We will see just how many people believe that if it is on Facebook, it DID happen. Happy stalking!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Game On

While I once basked in the happy oblivion to anything related to organized sports during lunch, I will say that I have since reformed my opinion. Originally, spending my lunch hour getting super competitive around coworkers seemed like my personal idea of hell. I mean think of every stereotype of work associate you could find and mix in score keeping and a strong drive to win- no thank you. After laying low on the structured sports radar, I took the plunge last week during a game of ultimate frisbee. Interestingly enough, I have to say that my ideas were extremely skewed. My fears of having my office mates shoving my face in the mud for missing a catch were nonexistent. In fact, everyone involved in the game had nothing but positive things to say- at least when aimed towards this newcomer. Sure there was the occasional trash talk but it was usually in good fun and was seldom laced with four letter obscenities. No one broke into a fist fight in the middle of the field of swept someone with a tackle after the play was over. All in all, I enjoyed the abundance of high fives and the congratulatory commentary. While I do enjoy the solitude of my midday runs where I can churn over my own thoughts, I have to say that I will definitely be responding to the next email involving an ultimate game. Count me in!