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Topics - the_in_betweens

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General Board / Salsa
« on: September 07, 2005, 12:26:24 AM »
I'm pasting in a re-written version of my salsa story (referred to in the thread on the Tour board which I'm too lazy to link to, partly because it gives away the punch line). Those who saw the (lost) original might notice that the tone is here is different--the old one was probably a bit drier and edgier, while this is a little more foofy and whimsical. Or something. I guess my writing style's evolved, though I won't claim it's improved--the original may have had more punch. I'm certain its grammar was better at least. Ok, enough apologizing. Here goes.


It was a cold autumn evening, and I had trekked to my local La Salsa, where I tended to eat once or twice a week. I had had a busy day, and was a little frazzled, and very hungry, and the place was sort of crowded, but there was just one woman in line in front of me--a large woman with a three-ish year-old child--and the super nice guy behind the counter who always has the friendliest smile and would usually have to apologize for forgetting my name, he looks at me and smiles and nods, before taking the woman's order, and despite my befrazzlement, I'm feeling patient, and I smile back. The woman pauses, studying the menu like an astrophysics textbook written in Swahili, and then stops and contemplates some more. Eventually she finally opens her mouth.
"Can I get a combo plate?"
"No, madam, the shrimp burrito was a special; it's no longer on the menu." The cashier is graceful and smooth as ever in his Rico Suave accent.
"Umm, why isn't the shrimp burrito there?"
"It was a special for last month, madam, that is no longer offered. We have other specials now."
"Errm, Hmmm....ok..."
She pauses for a couple more minutes, straining to solve the conundrum of the menu yet again before uttering another Entish incantation. When she finally finishes ordering, and begins to hand the cashier her Discover card (they only take MasterCard and Visa), she remarks, "Isn't it awfully cold in here?" while gesturing towards the open front door. I resist the temptation to comment that the season has moved on to winter since she started ordering.
In the fullness of time, it would finally be my turn, and the friendly cashier was apologizing profusely, several times over, and he even remembered my name on this occasion. So I'm still a little frazzled, and maybe a little less patient, and a lot hungry, but still composed and at peace with the situation. I place my order and wade through the crowded tables to the salsa bar, and fill a couple of cuplets of salsa. Right as I turn to find a table I can carry them to, a rather large man bumps into me, and a good couple glops of salsa go flying. I manage to avoid their trajectory for the most part, and they spill harmlessly to the floor. The Bumper moves on without a word, as if completely oblivious to the collision.
I stood dumbly for a second, contemplating the couple of glops of salsa at my feet. I'm not even sure I expected anything as deep as an apology, but the lack of even a look of concern or acknowledgment from Mr. Bump grated once again on my frazzled nerves. A man sitting at a table nearby had a rather startled look on his face as he observed me standing dumbly, but that was the only evidence I had that the tree had even fallen in the forest.
I shrugged toward him, notified the friendly cashier that there was a mess that needed attention, refilled my cuplets, and set out to find a table. This was when I noticed a couple of notables: Mr. Bump had taken a seat next to Ms. Seasonal Orderer and their perfect toddler. And it was at my usual favorite table--a small, high one against the wall, conveniently near the salsa bar and fountain drinks. And the family were sitting in just such a way as to take up so much space that I had to take a long, awkward path around the logjam and through the crowd to the last empty table in the far corner, knowing that I'd have to repeat this dance again when the food came.
At this point, I was finally, officially, unequivocally irritated. This one obnoxious family had seemed to find every possible way to light my fuses, without exhibiting any hints of awareness that I existed.
I sat down. I got up. I got my food. I sat down. And then something happened.
It seems our perfect toddler was warbling his little toddler hands around on the high table, with enough momentum that it would seem that Daddy Bump's nearly full bottle of Budweiser did not posess the inertia necessary to resist. The bottle tipped, and beer poured out all over the table, cascading down to the floor. Judging by Mom and Dad's reaction, you would think he had lit the place on fire. Shrieks and hollers, jumping away from the horror, desperately grasping to salvage a food item or two, crying for help. And those were the adults, mind you.
I surveyed the chaos as a bit of a cheshire cat grin started forming itself on my face, and a schadenfreudian satisfied chuckle may have quietly escaped my lips. But it was another person, the nearly forgotten gentleman at the other table next to the salsa bar, who had carried that quiet but startled and come to think of it, rather disdainful look upon witnessing the earlier salsa spill, that would become the surprise hero of the night. He turned toward me, looked me squarely in the eyes and uttered the greatest one-word sentence I'll ever hear:
At this point I could no longer contain my laughter and mirth and fist pounding on the table. That the overgrown, rotting tree had so quickly fallen was satisfying, but learning that it had in fact made a noise was the stuff of dreams.
When I finished my meal, and the place had cleared up a little, I had a chance to chat with my observant hero. He started eagerly,
"Wow, you always know people will get what's coming, but you usually don't get to see it happen so quickly!"
"I'm so glad you could appreciate that. I didn't even know what happened when he bumped into me, like if I should apologize or what--"
"I couldn't believe that guy! Slams into you and then just takes off like nothing happened. What was that all about?"
"Heh, you should have seen his wife trying to order dinner..."
* * *
A couple of months later, I ran into my new friend at the same La Salsa. He recognized me immediately. "Hey...Karma guy!"
We chuckled and chatted. He told me that he's a grade school teacher, and that he makes it a point to tell each of his classes about what he witnessed that night.
"What goes around comes around. Every kid needs to know this."



Tour Board / August 21, 2005: San Diego
« on: August 22, 2005, 01:39:11 AM »
Greetings all, familiar old faces and newbii (meaning those who joined in the last three years or so)...

I saw Ben tonight, and was blown away. I was more blown away when I realized that it was the tenth time I've seen him (with or without the five). I suppose that since I've been a bit out of the Ben loop lately I may have forgotten the totality of the magic that is Live Ben. But to be blown away, the tenth time I've seen someone, is something that I doubt will ever happen with another artist.

Here's an attempt at the set list:

Eddie Walker
The Ascent of Stan

[with band]
All You Can Eat
You to Thank
Careless Whisper [with Rufus Wainwright]
Bitches Ain't Shit
Philosophy (with Miserlou and bass and drums)
Zak and Sara
Not the Same

One Angry Dwarf


Summary: I'll shyly admit to feeling lukewarm about Songs for Silverman. While it  clearly ratchets Ben's songwriting and production skill up to another level, I did find myself missing the boyish, tongue-in-cheek energy and irony that Ben's always had. The album struck me as mature, but subdued. So while I was psyched to see Ben, I wasn't expecting the same level of performance I've seen in the past.

I'll never make that mistake again. I was wrong on three accounts: 1) While Silverman may be subdued, Ben is not. Careless Whisper and Bitches ain't Shit permanently branded that message into my brain. 2) I had forgotten Ben's ability to make my less favored album songs sound incredible live. I first learned this on June 3, 1999, when Narcolepsy gave me a wake-up call (cue bad-joke drums). Fitting that he busted that one out tonight, after Bastard and You to Thank made me rethink my ambivalence toward Silverman. 3) As phenomenal a performer as Ben's always been, more or less every time I've seen him, he's added new twists and improved his skill. Not the Same's three-part sing-along harmony squared itself and became a nine-part composition. And while I can see that he mixes up his set list from show to show, the flow and transitions between songs were razor sharp. Boxing was probably the last song I would have ever expected him to open with (oh yeah, and he made it rock). From there it was a crescendo throughout.

That reminds me, I was also unsure how the Reserved Seating at Copley Symphony Hall would play out. Ok, sitting down for most of the set was a new thing, but I was still doing the happy dance in my chair the whole time (Being in the center of row E didn't hurt). And when Philosophy started, one brave woman ran down the aisle and started dancing in front of the stage. Halfway through the song, another succumbed to the same inclination. Then a slow trickle ensued, which turned into a small flood--maybe 150ish people, myself included, ecstatically dancing in the glow of Ben's aura. Remarkably, security had the sense to see that this was not some violent mob that had to be stopped. It was, in fact, a cadre of very happy, very respectful fans who wouldn't have trampled a fly.

It was also a fantastic climax to a fantastic performance.

At this point I'm fairly confident that somewhere around my 76th birthday I'll be dragging my grandchildren out to see Ben play. If anything, I'm more likely to fail on my end of the bargain than he is (I should get to work). Can't wait to see what he comes up with in 2048.

~TIB, "Back in my day, that's what they used to call me..."

General Board / Yo!
« on: May 05, 2004, 11:22:52 AM »
For those old-timers around here who still remember me...

I went to Coachella 2004 this past weekend. Absolutely amazing and very hot (it's out in the middle of the desert). During one of the headline acts on Sunday I found myself in a completely entranced Ben craving. You see, Ben played Coachella last year and rocked the middle of nowhere in the 100ish degree weather, and that was really the one thing missing this year.

So I got all sentimental and Ben cravy and had to poke my head in and say hi to the ones who get me.

Hi! I haven't forgotten, so don't consider me gone. Here's hoping a west-coast Ben visit brings some of us together again in the not-too-distant future.

~TIB, sentimental

Tour Board / just wanted to say...
« on: August 02, 2003, 10:48:45 PM »
I was painfully unable to attend tonight's concert due to prior obligations. So JBJ called me on her cell phone and I've been listening to the whole set.

He's just starting into RTS right now.

I'm a privileged man, to be befriended by the goddesses.

And Ben, like, freakin' rocks.


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