Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hotlanta Funtastic Music Fest

Okay, telling you about HFMF is way overdue, but I've been out of town a lot lately or busy. So in an effort to not be sitting here all day writing about a FUNTASTIC week, I will make a list of fun happenings.

1. FFF and I stayed with her cousins in Atlanta which totally helped amp up the ability to have more fun (because mo' money=mo' fun and not mo' problems as Biggie is wont to tell us). Her cousins have two girls (10 and 7? 8?) who are adorable and hungry for life. They EAT IT UP!

2. The night we arrived, we went to Stone Mountain, the Mt. Rushmore of the South, apparently. It's an impressive dome of exposed granite with Southern Heroes Lee, Jackson, and Davis carved into its face. We left our sheets at home (if you know what I mean). The reason we went there was to see a laser light show. That was NOT funtastic. Well, I guess it was funtastic in the way that Triple F and I made fun of it the entire time. Do you remember this SNL skit? Watch and return. The laser light show was JUST. LIKE. THAT. in that the projected images were very literally interpreting the songs being played. I'm not being dramatic or hyperbolic or anything but completely truthful when I say that at one point in the show, I leaned over to FFF and said, "Shoot me in the face!" So I just laughed really hard when I watched that video and Tim Meadows said the same thing. It was awful and manipulative. I don't need to hear the Lee Greenwood Anthem and see images of soldiers and national monuments to feel patriotic. Just because your gut wrenches, it does not mean you're a patriot. I don't know how many times I need to say this.

3. Our first full day there was a lazy and beautiful one. We woke up and took the girls to their neighborhood pool for a few hours. Triple and I made each other laugh really hard at our AMAZING ability to out-wit children. FABULOUS! We played Sharks and Minnows into which game we invited some strange children. The group included that one kid you always hated playing with because his favorite word is "TIME!!! I CALLED TIME!!!" After the pool, it was home to play a couple hours of Karaoke Revolution Party on the X-box. For a first timer, I did pretty well. I totally plan on auditioning for American Idol because the game told me I had many a perfect run. IT IS AWN! The day ended with watching Freaky Friday, the one with the more innocent Lohan.

4. The following morning, we went into the city to the MLK, Jr. Historic Site. It's a National Park, by the way. Right there in the middle of Atlanta! With PARK RANGERS! Ranger John gave us a tour of MLK's birth home. I know this is STILL unpopular for a southern white girl to say, but I greatly respect the family he was brought up in and his life's vision.

5. On our way out of the city, we passed by a museum that advertised an exhibit of some of Annie Leibovitz's work. I love her photography. She's got a great eye. One photograph, in particular, grabbed me and held my attention for well over 10 minutes. It wasn't a picture of a very famous woman, although, she was a writer, I think. I don't know anything about her, but when I saw her picture, I knew she was a wise and gentle woman. I saw her, and our spirits connected. It was a strange, powerful moment for me. You know those moments? I wish I had that picture. I wish I could find it online.

6. The Honda Civic Tour, featuring Fall Out Boy with Cobra Starship, Paul Wall, The Academy Is..., and +44. Cobra Starship kicked off the show. They're the group that did that fun "Snakes on a Plane" song called "Bring It". They were MY FAVORITE group that night. They were a ton of fun and hilarious and crazy. Triple bought a fantastic t-shirt boasting their band. It includes images of unicorns. She and I walked around during Paul Wall's set because I'm not a big fan of the rap. I'm just not. The Academy Is...okay. And +44 is nothing but Blink 182 leftovers and nothing to write home about. And then...FALL OUT BOY! It was a great show. Triple was going to go to the show alone before we'd planned HFMF, so our tickets were not near each other, BUT THAT DIDN'T MATTER!!! We spent the entire show sitting together in the front few rows because THEY WERE EMPTY!!! It was amazing and FUNTASTIC! I spent much of the show watching her act like a 12-y.o. girl and laughing at her. It was definitely HER show because I don't spend a lot of time listening to what the emo kids are listening to (not that I haven't been doing that very thing these last two weeks).

7. We took the girls to see "Nancy Drew" Friday morning. It was cute. Afterward, Triple and I were lazing on the couch when the girls were called upstairs. We could here the younger one telling her mom about the movie. It was a play-by-play account. I don't think she omitted one detail. It was very cute, and FFF and I chuckled when we heard mom say, "Okay, you don't have to tell me everything. How did it end?" These girls are such angels. If I ever have children, I want them to be just like these girls. I'll have to email their mom and ask her how she did it.

8. Triple and I were kind of exhausted from the previous days' adventures when we went to Friday night's show. It was Feist, whom I love. The opening band was called "Grizzly Bear"...maybe it was plural...I don't know. What I DO know is that it was awful. The only way that music would have been good is if it was 3AM, I was high, I was getting higher, we were on a beach or in a meadow, and naked. I was embarrassing Triple with my loud exclamations of how I felt about the Grizzlies, but she was overruled by the masses sitting around me who agreed with me. I swear they only played one song, and most of that song was improvised. Seriously, I had to crack on them just to stay awake. After their set, I went to the bathroom where someone was getting high. If I'd only known...

Then Feist came out. She sounded good, but it wasn't really the show to go to when you were already very tired and the warm-up band was more like a lullaby. In the middle of her set, she played two very slow songs back-to-back, and I thought, "Triple is going to be OUT!" I looked over, and she sure was head-bobbing. Poor baby! Feist ended her set with a GREAT performance of "Sea Lion Woman". OH YEAH! And in the middle of the set, they did some crazy bird-chirping shite for about FIVE MINUTES! You know what I'm talking about? You know at 5AM, if you wake up, and you hear an entire FOREST of birds SINGING OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW?! AND YOU WANT TO KILL THEM ALL? Have a listen. That happened for FIVE MINUTES!!!

9. I was in a weird mood on Saturday. We went to Athens. I was in a weird mood=I was in a bad mood. We did stuff. I needed a nap. But I was TOTALLY EXCITED to see Mika that night, and HE DID NOT LET ME DOWN!!! FFF and I decided that we needed to be on the floor for this one because it was going to be an ass-shaker! If Honda Civic was HER show, this one was MINE! I was jumping around and screaming and dancing and sweating. Mika is so HOTT! AND HE COVERED SWEET DREAMS (ARE MADE OF THIS)!!! AND IT WAS AWESOME!!! The show included MANY very large, colorful balloons blown into the crowd, lollipops, confetti, and a crazy dancing man in the seats. Crazy Dancing Man was a favorite of the camera men, and at one point the camera men took a long break and just left the cameras on Crazy Dancing Man (during a set-change, of course). Also, Crazy Dancing Man was assaulted by Crazy Dancing Woman. Cover your eyes, children, because a nightmare was unfolding in front of our very eyes! I used ASSAULTED for a reason! Anyway, Mika was definitely my favorite show during HFMF, and it is one of my most favorite shows that I have ever been too. I really hope that he comes back to the states for a proper tour because I would love to see him again.

10. Sunday, FFF and I got up and packed up the car to leave. Sadness. But we would not be separated for long because we would be together again on Tuesday for Girls Camp!!! Maybe I'll write something about that shortly.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

What I am is what I am.

I wouldn't consider myself a disloyal person, but I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a loyal one either. It's true that when it comes to my family and friends (the ones I love with all my heart, the ones I am in love with), I am fiercely loyal. But when it comes to things, ideas, places, etc., I probably hold no loyalty whatsoever. One way this is manifested is by my lack of hoarding for nostalgia's sake. For example, one day I threw away all of my trophies that I incurred as a younger person because they ceased to mean anything to me. What am I going to do with the pieces of plastic that said I won the Black History Something Something Award or that I was on this soccer team, that basketball team, various softball teams? They were just taking up space. (I have, however, kept all of my swimming medals because they're cooler and take up way less space because they're flat and stackable.) Another example is throwing away most of the ceramic things my grandmother painted and gave me because, again, what am I going to do with that? The only exception I can think of is the tiger she gave me. I fiercely loyal to tigers. In fact, I throw away a lot of things if they're useless and just taking up space and I'm never going to do anything with them ever again...except for my He-Man action figures. I was so in love with him. I can't let go. However, despite being in love with 2/5 of the New Kids on the Block, I threw away my large collection of buttons and collectable cards and such a few years ago before ebay was invented. I guess I choose He-Man over Jonathan Knight, but he kinda turned out to be a wimp and Donny turned out to not be Marky Mark. HELLO!

Where was I going with this? I wasn't writing this to say I don't have a heart. What was my purpose?

Oh yeah!

So, the other day, I had an epiphany. Have you ever heard someone talk about how they've lived in, say, New Orleans, Louisiana, for 20 years, however they are still not accepted as a Louisianian and neither are their kids because they are not originally from Louisiana? I'd never really gotten that; it never made any sense to me. Surely, twenty years is enough to earn the title, "Louisianian", right? Well, Wednesday, I got it! It clicked. I was sitting around with friends, and we were talking about a certain business that's been in Monroe (this city I live in) for decades...generations. The business USED to be something that it is no longer, and for the sake of anonymity I'll say it used to be a candy shop and now it's a clothing store. It used to be called Gary Alton's Candy Emporium, and now it's called Gary Alton Clothier and Sweets. Got it?

So my friend Maddy LaFleur (names have been changed) was saying that several years ago, she'd gone into Gary Alton's Clothier and Sweets looking for um...fizzy cola bottles. Since Gary isn't into selling candy so much anymore, the fizzy cola bottles he had were old and hard, however, he was selling them at premium prices. So Maddy told one of Gary's employees to forget it because she could buy a case of fresh ones at amazon.com for $12.50. She told me that Gary's employee looked at her incredulously, like, "How dare you say that in GARY'S store. GARY!" And then Maddy said, "Well, who is GARY, anyway?" And my other friend, Kentucky Woodwind, Maddy's niece, joined in, "Yeah, who IS Gary?" Befuddled, I looked at them in disbelief and told them, "Gary is Weezer's dad. Gary's dad opened Gary Alton's Candy Emporium over fifty years ago. It's kind of a big name here." And it hit me: Maddy and Kentucky's families have been in Monroe for over 20 years now, but they aren't REALLY from here. How can one be from here and not know who Gary Alton is? Sure, Monroe has gotten bigger and crawled out into the further reaches of the Parish. However, not only do Maddy and Kentucky's families live BLOCKS away (3 and 12, respectively, to be precise, and I mean they live ON THE SAME ROAD) from Gary Alton Clothier and Sweets, but he has ads on every local channel in town. It's a name that is tied to Monroe in tradition and loyalty.

As I was saying earlier, I'm not an especially loyal person. I don't like living in Monroe because I need more than it has to offer, but no matter where I go, I know where I come from. I know the dark history (which I absolutely love. Dear Country Clubbers, the black people serving you are listening to ever secret you're telling each other, and they are telling me! Keep telling those secrets because they ARE JUICY!), I know the people who built this city, I know the traditions and the celebrations, and I know why real Monroyans and real West Monroyans hate each other and it has nothing to do with football, and I love it. No matter where I go, and no matter how long I am there, I am a Monroyan.

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