Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Atlantic City Doesn't Deserve Madonna

In fact, I think she should change her tour next year and come to Kansas City instead. That town would be too polite to ever SIT DOWN during a Madonna concert.

I'll start off by saying that this was my favorite Madonna concert, having seen the Drowned World Tour and the Re-Invention Tour previously. I'm not sure if I liked this one better because it was better, because let's face it, she's 50 and dancing less than she used to, so you'd think that would be upsetting, or if it's because I actually had people shell out the money and attend the concert with me. I think it's likely the latter. And I'm sure I wouldn't have seen her this year if I didn't have friends to go with.

That being said, the people in Atlantic City ruined this concert for me. Madonna was brilliant. Amazing. But, c'mon people... what is your major malfunction? If you wanted to see a concert, you should be happy to be there. You should not spend $150 on a ticket and then expect to sit in your seat.

While we were sitting waiting for the concert to start, a DJ came out to basically 'open' for Madonna. I thought that was kinda weird because no one has ever opened for her before, but since I knew that she'd make us wait, I was happy to have something to entertain me. Meanwhile, the people behind us started talking about how they were happy they got the seats that they did rather than the ones on the floor (could these people afford floor seats!?) because they we're going to have to stand the whole concert. At this, I laughed. Sure they were. Everyone would be standing the entire concert. Haven't they ever seen Madonna? I certainly knew better. They would be disappointed; they were sitting behind me.

At 8:55 (for an 8:00 concert) she finally started. People stood up and cheered and then everyone in my section (214) SAT DOWN. I looked at Brenda and was flabbergasted. "People are sitting!? I'm not sitting!" And we didn't. Carolyn did, however. She said she felt too guilty standing because there was a young kid behind her. (Side note: who brings a kid to a Madonna concert? Don't they realize that she'll likely do something... inappropriate?)

She opened with Candy Shop which actually has the words "get up out of your seat" in it. In the second song, The Beat Goes On, she sang, "Get down, beep beep, gotta get up outta your seat." I was standing this whole time even though no one around me was besides Brenda. I kinda felt guilty about it especially since Brenda leaned over and said, "They want us to sit down." Apparently someone behind her had asked. I refused. Yes, I defy you crazy people behind me, sitting at a Madonna concert. I defy you!

Human Nature began and I sang really loudly, "And I'm not sorry!" Okay, maybe I'm an asshole, but the whole thing blew my mind. Who were these people? Besides, had they been sitting in any other section, they would be standing. People to the left and right of us were still standing. If everyone stood up, we'd all be able to see! (Don't worry, no one could hear me singing that I wasn't sorry. The concert was very loud. I couldn't even hear me, which is why it was okay to sing the whole time.)

Fourth song: Vogue. Let your body groove to the music, people. The video screens were pretty during this, there were eyes with cool makeup and lace and niftiness. I started to forget about the people behind me and enjoy the show.

Then she sang Die Another Day. Okay, that's a lie, she didn't sing it, there was a video thing and the music and she was off changing a costume or something. Brenda loves this song. I know because every single time it came on in the car during the trip, she stopped whatever she was doing and said, "I love this song!" So, we were just a bit sad that she wasn't actually singing it... but then, this dude behind me got our attention and asked us to sit down. Carolyn expected a throwdown. She pretended she didn't know us.

"Can you sit down? We can't see."
"Stand up! It's a concert!"
"I'm 6'4", if I stand up, no one behind me will be able to see."
"That's not my problem."

Yes, that actually happened. No, I didn't sit down. Yes, I am a big fat jerk. No, I do not care if I ruined the concert for them because the feeling is pretty much mutual. Madonna does not want you to sit at her concerts. I know. Trust me. You cannot persuade me to sit down with your faulty tall man logic.

The next song was Get Into the Groove. Madonna sings, "Get up on your feet, let's dance to the beat," and I screamed along with her, adding in my own, "Yeah people! Get up!" along with it. Have they never heard her music? Have they never been to her concerts?

The next song was Heartbeat, from her new album. I think this songs is really beautiful, but it's slower and my standing comrades in the sections adjacent to mine started sitting. I was loosing people. The video screens, which could move by the way, were showing graphics I really enjoyed. It would be a cool tattoo design, if I ever thought that I wanted a tattoo.

Then she brought out her black guitar, the one that made me love the song Candy Perfume Girl (Before the Drowned World Tour and seeing her perform that song live, I absolutely hated that song. It was the guitar that made it awesome.) So, she's there with my guitar, and she starts singing a rock version of Borderline. Her vocals were lower, thankfully, and it was a really awesome version of this song.

The next song, She's Not Me, was my favorite part of the concert. On the video screens there were old 'versions' of Madonna, and then her dancers came up from under the stage dressed as her during different periods: Like a Virgin, Blonde Ambition, Material Girl, and Open Your Heart. She ran around and took off a piece of their clothing, a shoe, a veil, etc, and threw them. She kissed the Like a Virgin bride a la Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and it was super fabulous. I loved this so much, especially knowing that her divorce was finalized the day before. I heard it took eight minutes. I was hoping it would only take four.

The next song was Music,and I mostly thought about how different this crowd was than when I saw her perform it in Washington, DC. She closed the show with it for the Re-Invention Tour and it was so great to have the crowd on their feet and singing along together. Music didn't bring the people together Saturday night. Atlantic City sucks. The bourgeois behind me would not join the rebels (me and Brenda). I mean, people were happy for the song and screamed and stuff, but some were still seated - namely those in my section. I kept thinking, "Get up, people. Madonna is 50 and sweating her ass off, the least you could do is stand up."

The next bit was a costume change, the music was a mix of the Eurythmics, Here Comes the Rain Again and Madonna's Rain. Madonna was no longer on stage and Carolyn somehow convinced me to sit down. So Brenda sat when I sat. I wasn't really happy about it, but figured I'd just stand back up when she came back out. Madonna emerged from under the stage on top of a piano. She sang one of my favorite songs from the new album, The Devil Wouldn't Recognize You. It was slow and pretty and not really energizing enough for me to legitimately stand up again. I had made a grave error. I was sitting. How was I going to justify getting back up now?

Rain and water flowed down all the video screens. I was really happy that I didn't have to pee. Then she sang Spanish Lesson. It was an upbeat song and I thought about getting up, but didn't. It wasn't quite exciting enough to stand. And then, it was like Madonna could hear my inner thoughts and she did the most amazing thing.

"This is not a sitting concert! Get up out of your seats!"

So, I did. And I screamed a whole lot. "Thank you, Madonna! I didn't think it was a sitting concert, either!" Brenda and I were the only people in our section that got up. Surprise.

The next song was Miles Away, followed by La Isla Bonita. I was sure that Carolyn would get up for La Isla Bonita, but she didn't. It's one of her favorite Madonna songs, but if she was happy in her seat, that was okay. I certainly wasn't happy sitting. During this song they weaved in something else Spanish or Greek or something. I'm a cultural moron, so I don't know for sure, but then they took a shot of something alcohol-like on stage and it was pretty sweet.

The next song was You Must Love Me. It was her and this mariachi type band on stage, with some other stringed instruments and whatnot. They showed video from Evita on the screens and it was really beautiful. The best part is that she missed her intro and said, "This is where I'm supposed to start." Then she went on to say, "It's kinda smokey in here. Are you going to continue smoking your cigarettes? That's really annoying." Seriously, Madonna should never go back to Atlantic City. Ever.

Then she sang 4 Minutes (to Save the World). The biggest hit from her most recent album... and you guessed it, people were sitting. During it, they had movable video screens on the floor and had sort of life sized Justin Timberlakes singing with her, which I thought was kinda neat. It was like he was performing with her.

This was followed by Like a Prayer, my second favorite part of the concert (and favorite Madonna song). This was really beautiful, as the screens had different sayings about religions and spirituality, and treating your neighbor as you wish to be treated. It made me happy to be part of the human race, regardless of the fact that the people sitting in front of me were obviously robots. (WALL-E has more heart than they do.)

Then she played the opening bars to Ray of Light and Carolyn screamed, "I didn't know she was singing this!" and she stood up. (I think she was happy to sing that it felt like home, being back in NJ and all... even though Atlantic City obviously sucks.) When she did, the woman next to her stood as well, saying, "None of my friends are dancing, so I'm going to dance with you!" Obviously too many people succumbed to the guilt of standing in front of those sitting behind them. I wonder what that says about me... (I am selfish.) Meanwhile, there were really weird motorcycle helmet wearing dancers on stage with her.

At the end of the song, a single spotlight was on her alone on stage, and she made shadow puppets on the wall who fought each other. I laughed a ton. It was probably my favorite moment, it all its hilariousness and made Madonna more human that the super popstar that imagine her as.

She then talked to the audience again and said she would take a request. She asked a man his name and he screamed, "Everybody!"
"That's an unusual name."
"Amir? Where are you from?"
"New York."
"Really? What do you want to hear?"
"I don't remember all the words to that."

So, she sang one line and had us sing the next, although no one, including me, knew all the words to that song. She wrapped it up by saying, "You sucked, I sucked, we both sucked." I love her. She made us clap forever and kept yelling, "Keep time, people!" The worst part about this was the song that Amir picked. I mean, really? Everybody? Why not pick something better like Don't Tell Me or Cherish or Holiday (which would have been great since she's claimed she'll never sing that song live again) or a ton of other songs that people would have actually been able to since along to? Dumb Amir. Why can't I afford seats in the second row?

She continued to have a conversation with a different man in the audience, asking if she was keeping him awake, if it was past his bedtime, if she was boring him. Which I thought was kinda funny. You could tell she was totally annoyed with people, as I was.

Then she sang Hung Up. There was a chess game in the background. I wished I knew how to play chess. She said something about the Queen, and I think we cheered for the queen, and then she won. I was happy she was singing my ring tone. The next song was the last - Give It 2 Me. It was the big party ending, although there was no confetti like the other concerts. It wasn't quite as exciting as the ending of the other two concerts I've been to, but it was more fun than previously. People were finally standing. It was finally a party, now that it was ending.

All in all, I had a good time. I got over the fact that people weren't standing after awhile and realized that I had the best view I've ever, or will ever, have at a concert because everyone in front of me was sitting down.

So, thanks, Atlantic City, but on the same token, screw you.

End Blog.

(ETA: Check out Brenda's blog about this event. It actually talks about the concert, her thoughts, and things other than people sitting, unlike mine.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Superfabulosowonderific Start

It's 10:00pm the night before the big road trip. My suitcase is packed, but nothing else. Remy has refused to gather her things, once again using her lame excuse about not having opposable thumbs. I'm packing the rest tomorrow - all the electronics (Garmin, phone, chargers, etc.) and all the bathroom type things. Carolyn's bags are ready to be put in the car already and Brenda said that the Madonna concert tickets are already in her bag.

There's still stuff to do, and I'm sure that one or more of us will forget something, but I'm really excited. The camera has charged batteries, tons of room on the memory card, and Remy's been resting up. (Or sleeping all day like normal.)

If I get a chance, I'll blog on the road.

To the batmobile!

End Blog.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Remy!

Today is Remy's birthday, so before I went to work, I made sure she got a super great Birthday Bone!

Birthday Girl

I think she was pretty happy about the bone and surprised I even remembered and had a present for her. I'm sure glad I have her around. Look at that puppy!

Meanwhile, I'm having a party for her tonight, but the attendants don't really know it. We're gonna order some dinner and watch a movie, but I'm thinking of it as a party in Remy's honor. Because she totally deserves it.

Happy Birthday!

I was only slightly late this morning because I obviously hadn't planned on making a happy birthday singing video before work... but I did. The good news is that the trial run for taking videos and getting videos off of my 16GB memory card worked, so the road trip is going to be superfabulosowonderific now.

End Blog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keith Olberman on Prop 8

Why is it that we had to wait for this until after Prop 8 had already passed? Why didn't I see anything like this before the elections? I mean, don't you think that Keith Olberman could have swayed a few more voters, just with this speech alone?

Maybe not. I mean, only the liberals are watching MSNBC. It's not like you'd ever hear anything like this on FoxNews.

Apparently Keith thinks that gay is the new black, too.

End Blog.

Happy Random Day Off

It's Veteran's Day which means that I don't have to go to work. And I got three D days for my grandfather's death and will be traveling to and from Pennsylvania for the next three days, which means, I only had to work one day this week. Seems really odd, especially since I have a scheduled 10 day vacation coming up.

Anyway, I thought that I'd get my car all ready for its drive to Atlantic City next week by getting an oil change and tire rotation... which I'm totally doing. I just couldn't get it into Firestone until 5:30pm. So... there isn't that much to do right now.

I booked my flight and have already checked in because Continental called me and asked me to. It was weird. They now have an automated voice ask you questions and then you're all of a sudden checked in and all you have to do it print your boarding pass from any airport kiosk. I'm thinking about carrying on my bag, but I don't know how small the plane is going to be from Newark to Harrisburg, and I would need to get travel sized shampoo and whatnot. I also have to look up what they need me to do for my medications.

I had planned on using this day to do some damage control yard work since small trees have grown along my fence line and I have insane ivy-type climbing vines all over the place. But, as it turns out, it's cold and raining, so I'm not going to do that.

Which leaves me only with packing, cleaning up the house, and... playing video games. Or maybe catching up on some Dexter or True Blood episodes since I've fallen miserably behind.

In other news, my fantasy football team totally eeked out a win last night, by 8 points. Kurt Warner is my new hero. He got over 31 points alone. He threw for 328 yards and completed 76% of his passes! The funny thing is that I have Peyton Manning on my team, sitting the bench. I have a 5-5 record, which isn't all that wonderful and am in 4th place overall in the league (out of 8), but oddly enough, I am the total points leader. I guess that's something to brag about, even if I'm not winning games.

Sorry for the randomness, but I was looking for something to do on this rainy day off.

End Blog.

(Hey, look, it's 11:11, make a wish!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Flesh Eating Face Bacteria

I have decided that I am five years old, and I'll tell you why.

I had what I thought was a pimple under my left nostril sometime around Monday night or Tuesday morning. And, being me, I couldn't leave it alone. So, I somehow got it infected. The sore got bigger and even with an over the counter antibacterial ointment, I couldn't seem to get better. On Saturday morning, I woke up to gross clear-yellow crustiness, so I figured it best to go see someone about it. I went to the Minute Clinic at CVS because I knew I'd be able to see them on a Saturday morning. The nurse practitioner there told me that I had impetigo.

Awesome. Impetigo. In case you don't know what that is, because I didn't until Saturday, it's a Staph infection that little children between 2 and 6 usually get. I suppose we all know that I am a child, but I didn't need this sort of confirmation of the fact. Someone could have just bought me a box of Legos and it would have proven the same point. (In other news, I bought myself Lego Batman for PS2 to make me feel better.)

I can't tell you how sick I am of not being well. I thought I had beaten the whole back pain thing, and now I have to deal with a super awesome infection to boot. Apparently it's highly contagious, which must be true because I spread it from the spot under my nose to my forehead before I got medications. Hooray!

Speaking of medications, I'm on a oral antibiotic three times a day for ten days, and I have an antibiotic ointment that I am also supposed to use three times a day. I'm hoping it all clears up really soon.

By the way, not only does this infection make me five years old, but it also makes me a rockstar because if you google image search impetigo (which is not recommended because it's way grosser than what I actually have on my face) you come back with a bunch of pictures of Amy Winehouse.

So... like... don't let your opinion of me match your opinion of Amy Winehouse. I'd rather you think of me as five years old and buy me a big box of Legos for Christmas.

End Blog.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Rest in Peace, Pap

George A Bareika
Born in Frackville, PA on Nov. 3, 1925
Departed on Nov. 7, 2008 and resided in Hondo, TX.

George A. Bareika formerly of Frackville, PA of Hondo, TX went to be with the Lord on Friday, November 7, 2008, at the age of 83 years.

George was born on November 3, 1925, in Frackville, PA, the son of Anthony & Sophia (Digruis) Bareika.

He was a member of St. Ann's Catholic Church, Frackville Area Senior Citizens, Knights of Columbus, Fr. James A. Hogan Council # 2580, all of Frackville and Schuylkill Assembly, Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus # 0923.

George was a veteran of WW II having served in the US Navy.

He is preceded in death by his parents; wife, Helene (Walukiewicz) Bareika; sisters, Helen Bareika, Florence Bareika, Stella Ryder; brothers, Albert Bareika, John Bareika.

George is survived by his daughters, Dolores Rickert and husband Bruce of Hondo, Elaine Blackwell and husband Raymond of Longview, Christine Barge and husband Ed of Fairborn, OH; granddaughter, Bethany Blackwell, Nicole Blackwell; sister, Anna Brennan of Frackville, PA; brother, Leonard Bareika of Ocala, FL.

Funeral services will be private. Interment will be in St. John's Cemetery #2, Hamburg, PA on Thursday at 10 a.m.

I didn't know my grandfather as well as I should have and I suppose that will always be something that I regret, to a degree. His body is being shipped back to Pennsylvania to be buried with his wife, and though there will be no formal services, I feel the least I can do is try to get there for it. I'd really like to say goodbye, and be there for my mom, if nothing else. Flights are surprisingly a lot cheaper than I thought they would be. We'll see how it goes - I need to talk to my boss and reschedule some things at work tomorrow, if possible.

End Blog.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Gay is the New Black

I was happy with the election results for about twelve hours. Sure, Missouri finally went for McCain and was wrong about the new president for the second time in voting history, but that isn't the reason I'm bummed out over the state of affairs in the United States. Yes, the world reaction to Barack Obama's election was positive. It was fabulous to know that the world respects our country just a little more these days. And I was proud of this country until I got up this morning and started figuring out what happened in the elections beyond the president. And now I'm upset with Americans.

In particular, I was looking at the ballot initiatives in four states: California, Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas. Now, I know there isn't much to do about the 27 other states who had already voted on some sort of same-sex marriage ban or defining marriage between a man and woman, but when Proposition 8 came up in California this election, I was sure - certain - that it would be voted down.

That didn't happen. Proposition 8, which will eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California, has the support of 52 percent of voters. If it is to pass, it would override a state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage not all that long ago. I mean, something like 20 thousand couples just got married! So what - now they're just going to take it away? Again?

They're still counting votes so let's hope that I'm wrong about this. Let's hope that Californian voters can restore my faith in all of America.

Similar things passed in Arizona and Florida, where voters decided that marriage is only a union between one man and one woman.

Not only that, but 57 percent of voters in Arkansas supported a measure to prohibit unmarried partners from adopting children or from serving as foster parents. The measure specifies that the prohibition applies to opposite-sex as well as same-sex couples. WHAT? Because there are SO MANY foster kids finding good homes that there just aren't enough to go around to second class couples who aren't married? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? Why would marriage make you a better parent?

Whatever happened to those old American ideals about equality for everyone and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Many news outlets are reporting that we've broken racial barriers, I mean, we have a new African-American president for goodness sakes, so we must have overcome our racial bigotry. Right? What else is it going to take for people to realize that homosexuals deserve equality, too?

By the way, California also passed a ballot initiative for egg laying chickens so that they don't have to be in cramped cages. So, apparently the hierarchy of things goes something like this:

Men of any color
Women of any color
Egg Laying Chickens
(oh my goodness, don't even mention bisexuals or transgenders!)

That looks a whole lot like equality to me.

Le sigh. You win some, you lose some.

Let's hope this new administration takes notice to the injustices still evident. It'd be nice to pass a federal amendment stating that you can't vote discrimination into a BILL of RIGHTS. Hopefully the Supreme Court will get involved and fix this... someday. Maybe when I'm 100 I'll be crying tears of joy over an election just like Jesse Jackson. There's still hope.

Eng Blog.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

Today is your last (or maybe only) chance to vote. Make sure you do it because if you complain about the President or any other leadership, and you didn't vote in the election that hired them, you will be killed in your sleep.



If you want to bitch about it, you gotta get to the polls. Belinda agrees.

Or you can listen to a bunch of famous people saying the same thing. (Including my Halloween costume.)

End Blog.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween 2008

I found the perfect costume. It didn't require a lot of work, effort, or time to put together, and it was probably the most comfortable I've ever been in costume on Halloween. There were several other costumes Friday night that also looked very comfortable, but I was the only one not wearing pants. Because I was Tom Cruise in Risky Business... or anyone in a Guitar Hero commercial. And I was very pleased about the no pants thing. I'm pretty sure it's all I talked about. (I also bought men's underwear for this because you can't do this costume without them.)

Beth was turned into a zombie before the big dance and gnawed on her boyfriend Steve's arm all night. She was pretty fabulous posing for pictures.

She attacked people all night, until the most frightening costume of all arrived and kicked her butt. Her name was Sarah Palin, but I called her Tina all night.

We also had Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus show up together. I was waiting for Clark Kent and Superman to do the same, but they never did.

Battlestar Galactica also had some crew members in appearance: Starbuck (Dany) and Boomer (Brenda). These ladies actually put effort into their costumes, so kudos to them. They were pretty awesome. Brenda shot you if you tried to shake her hand. Even Steve got shot.

Alex had another comfy costume, although he had to be hot because I wasn't... and I didn't have on pants. In case you missed that part.

Comfy costume number three was actually one of my favorites. The only thing that would have made Waldo better was if Tom had made it his personal mission to get in every single picture.

Also, Zorro was there. I'm pretty sure Carolyn thought she was Dracula though because she kept posing with her cape all night like she was a vampire.

The Prom Queen of 1992 was also murdered, but came to the party anyway. I think Belinda, Beth, and Paul were the only ones with fake blood all over them. They were pretty cool.

Suppose the doctor can save Beth?

Carolyn's brother Bobby and Cherylann came as military and we had a fun trip to the army supply store to get their costumes. Sadly, I couldn't get them to buy a hand granade.

This is stewardess Linda. Her name tag said something about the Mile High Club because she's awesome like that.

Ashley and Daniel were both farmer types in overalls or flannel and fun hats. Not that Dan is in his here.

Candra came in the most ridiculous outfit of all - a designated driver. (Dan's hat is on his knee.)

And somehow I ended up with Belinda's prom queen crown. I think it looks good on Tom Cruise, don't you? Man, that popped collar is so awesome. As are my super white legs.

And Steve ended the night passed out in the candy pot.

It was a super great night and I had a lot of fun. I love the annual Anderson Halloween Bash.

Also, this took me forever to post because I got a new 16GB memory card for my digital camera and my computer couldn't read it even after I updated all my drivers and card readers. My camera had no problems with the card, but my computer's mind exploded because of it. I had to get a usb cable to hook my camera up to the computer to finally get the pictures off, and even that didn't go very smoothly. But I got them. Finally. And now I am able to share them with you.

I hope they were worth the wait.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

End Blog.