iWorld

December 22, 2009 at 3:40 AM (Happenings, Musings) (, , )

It was about 9.30 A.M. on a Tuesday morning, and I was on my way in to work, courtesy of our fabulous MBTA.  Given the three espresso shots I had all but taken intravenously, it was hard not to glance at everyone within my line of sight, what with my caffeine-induced nervous twitch and all.  What was also hard not to miss was that two thirds of the train would not have noticed if I had decided to shout obscenities: that majority was equipped with headphones, listening to podcasts, tunes and television episodes, totally lost to the world that was trying to stare them in the face.

Then I got to thinking about how much of life those people may have been missing because they were too busy listening to Lady Gaga.  Okay, that wasn’t my immediate next thought, but I eventually got there.  Allow me to elaborate.

Sitting on my right was an attractive gentleman.  He was attractive enough that the romantic in me kept hoping, “Oh, wouldn’t it just be so lovely if he had some reason to strike up a conversation with me?”  The romantic in me would then be beaten into a depressed submission by the realist in me who would point out that strangers just don’t talk to each other any more, not when they have the luxury of staying in touch with their friends via their smart phones.

Then I got to thinking about how much of life those people may have been missing because they were too busy listening to Lady Gaga.

We live in an age of “iWant it now and therefore iHave it now.”  Social media is truly an awesome thing, allowing us to access anything we want, whenever we want, but at what price?  We are sacrificing a kind of uncontrollable spontaneity that we experience from interacting with the unknown outside of our iComfortZones.  We don’t much talk to the person sitting next to us on the train any more, or at the bar, or waiting for the bus, or in line at the grocery store.  Instead, we are texting our friends, telling them how bored we are in said train, bar, bus station or grocery store.

The pretty man sitting next to me was one of the few passengers who was not wearing headphones that morning, and as a result, both he and I bore witness to the T driver’s eloquence.  We had been standing by for 15 minutes or so, and finally were graced with this gem over the train’s intercom:

“Once again passengers, there is a disabled train in front of us.  We’re just waiting for it to move ahead of the platform so we can uh . . .”

We waited.

“Uh . . .”

We continued to wait.

“Uh . . . yeah . . .”

He and I laughed.  We were the only ones on the train snickering like the schoolchildren in the back of the class.  And then something crazy happened: we exchanged words.  It wasn’t anything life-altering – just something like “Oh my God, that was brilliant!” – but it was enough to remind me of the fact that yes, there is life outside of  the iWorld.

Tonight’s Tunes
“Have You Made Up Your Mind,” Paul Weller
“Here With Me,” Dido
“Toxic,” Yael Naïm
“The Sweetest Love,” Robin Thicke
“Symbol In My Driveway,” Jack Johnson
“Holiday Inn,” Elton John
“Roll If Ya Fall,” Barefoot Truth
“Don’t Look Away,” Joshua Radin
“Joan,” Timmy Curran
“Hide and Seek,” Imogen Heap
“Vanilla Twilight,” Owl City

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A Social Experiment, Continued

December 2, 2009 at 2:31 AM (Happenings, Musings) (, )

Unfortunately, PlentyOfFish deletes all messages 14 days’ old, so my favourites don’t exist any more.  In the future, I’ll have to copy and paste the good ones into a continuous Word document.  I still have a few tidbits that I managed to save, though.

The site certainly doesn’t lie: there are plenty of fish indeed, and almost as many kinds.  There are the ones who just out for one thing (and it likely doesn’t involve any follow-up phone calls).  There are the ones who probably aren’t bad people, but are incapable of stringing together a coherent question (or are simply too lazy).  There are the [much] older ones who think they still have the charm from their 20s.  There are the ones who are still in their 20s and have let their charm turn into arrogance.  There are the ones who try too hard to be funny.  There are the ones who are probably hysterical, but are way too nervous to show it.  And then there are the ones who are simply too shy to send a message.

Brittany FalconerAnd then there’s me.

I’ve received messages of all kinds, ranging from “how are you” to “i cannot stop appreciating your beauty.”  I copied and pasted both of those.  At least four people have assumed that my sporting a pirate hat means that I am defenseless against pirate jokes (note: I’m not).  I’ve been referred to as an “older woman” by a 20-year-old.  I’ve learned what it’s like to read a poorly written college essay.  I’ve received a note that looked very similar to one my roommate received.  Scratch that – we alternated reciting it from our own inboxes.

Now, that’s not to say that any of these people are losers (okay, maybe some of them are), or that I’m way too cool for anyone on this site.  Au contraire.  Some people have messaged me that have merited responses, and I would even go so far as to say that conversations may have budded.  I will even admit that I have messaged some people, and – gasp – they never got back to me.  And perhaps most shocking of all . . . I’ve actually met a fish or two (and I wasn’t kidnapped!).

The title of this and the last post is “A Social Experiment,” but if I remember my grade school science classes at all, the scientific method requires an educated guess as to what the outcome will be before experimenting.  Admittedly, I never really went that far with my planning process.  In fact, I don’t think planning actually crossed my mind when I created the account in the first place, but I don’t consider it a disadvantage: I’m not constrained by what I think is allowed or is not allowed to happen with this . . . online dating thing.

Wish me luck.  Or a cool experience worth blogging about later.

Tonight’s Tunes
“Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,” Billy Joel
“Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin
“Love Song,” Sara Bareilles
“White Daisy Passing,” Rocky Votolato
“Dreaming of You,” The Coral
“Romeo and Juliet,” Dire Straits

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Checking Out Boston Gigs: Eclipse (Meeting Some Of the Band, Or Part II)

April 14, 2009 at 4:02 AM (Friends, Happenings) (, , , )

Copied from 10.57 A.M., April 11, 2009

(What on Earth am I talking about?)

Walking in the rain for 10 minutes to the Eclipse gig (See: Pink Floyd tribute from Berklee College of Music) from Kenmore’s T station made me glad of three things: 1.) I hadn’t bothered to style my hair, 2.) I had bothered to find my rain boots, and 3.) I really don’t mind walking in the rain when the precipitation isn’t so cold that I wonder if God is in cahoots with the Abominable Snowman.  As I walked though, I couldn’t help but pray that my recently developed sense of direction (which I attribute to living in Boston) wouldn’t fail me.  Don’t get me wrong: any other day, I would be happy to wander aimlessly through Fenway in the rain, but last night I had people to meet and music to experience.

Luckily my prayers were answered quickly: not only was Cask ‘N Flagon right across the bridge, but Nez was outside having a smoke.  Not only was I thrilled to see him, but now I was saved the mild unease of wandering through yet another foreign venue in search of a familiar face.  Shortly after exchanging hellos, I learned that my Power Prep had been totally unnecessary:

“So we aren’t playing at 11.00 after all . . . “

My insides deflated.  Eclipse was originally supposed to play at midnight, which, even on a regular night, is upsettingly past my bedtime (and I know Nez wasn’t thrilled, either).  The morning of the gig, I was thrilled to discover via Facebook that Eclipse had been pushed to 11.00.  I’d still be out past my bedtime, but less substantially.  No longer.  Drat.  And here I’d barely bothered to brush my hair in fear of missing “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”

Oh well!

Nez introduced me to a couple of his bandmates who were with him, Mike (guitar) and J.C. (keys/ samples).  J.C. and I got to talking and eventually began describing our hometowns (both of us used the terms “small,” “predominantly white,” and “conservative”).  When I mentioned my town’s name, Mike jumped in:

“Wait, [Small Town]?”

“Yeah . . . in [my state].”  It’s relevant to note that my hometown shares a name with a region of Greater Boston.

“[SMALL Town]?”

” . . . [MY state]!”

Repeat one or two more times with slight variation, until . . .

“Yes, I know [my state]: I lived five minutes away from you.”

There is a moment of shock and disbelief on my end.  My next question was obvious, so Mike saved me the breath: “Have you every heard of [Another Small Town]?”

Heard of it?  Almost half of my extended family lives there.  My suave, sophisticated response?

“OH MY GOD WE’RE TOTALLY NEIGHBORS!!”

I have never considered Greek life, but at that moment, I wonder if I experienced the equivalent of discovering a Greek brother or sister in an obscure setting.  In order to understand the unlikelihood of the situation, consider this: my hometown holds fewer than 2,000 people, and I personally knew less than a handful.  I went to private schools outside of my region, so all of my classmates were geographically distant from me outside of classes.  My high school was two-thirds boarding.  I knew no one from my town, and one person in my year from Mike’s town.  Meeting Mike at this gig was about as probable as meeting someone from BU while away on vacation in Spain: possible, but highly unlikely.

While we reminisced about the wonders, or lack thereof, of our respective small towns, Nez excused himself, Tim showed up after a long day of surviving the work force demanding a drink, and Deeg texted me from inside asking where I was.  Oh, and it was still raining.  I took my cue to head inside.

Today’s Tunes
Dark Side Of the Moon, Pink Floyd
“Another Brick In the Wall (Part 2),” Pink Floyd
“Echoes,” Pink Floyd

Today’s Distractions
Captain’s announcement: we’re landing.
Pittsburgh: I can see it!
“Please turn off all electronic devices.”  Good bye, Tunes.
Touchdown.

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Just Say “No.”

February 25, 2009 at 6:04 AM (Happenings) (, )

I don’t think I’ve ever turned someone down so quickly and directly.  I was closing at work, a rare occurrence for me.  Working during the regular nine-to-five hours usually spares me the nuisance of dealing with large quantities of less choice customers, but last night I was out of luck.  Our 10.00 P.M. closing time was fast-approaching, and the only people who seemed to have any interest in buying coffee were a few lads who may still have been hungover (or stoned, or in some other residual, mind-altered state) from earlier in the day.  After making their coffee purchases, they all milled around the bar, waiting for their drinks.  Suddenly I, and the activity in which I was engaged (emptying out a closet), was fascinating to these gents.  One character took particular interest in my chore, and took a stab at conversation with me.  It was cute, really: he leaned on the bar for support, slurred his words a little, and couldn’t seem to keep his eyes focused on much of anything.  I politely responded to each of his statements (okay, so maybe I was a little snarky, but I doubt he’ll ever remember me), but was thankful when my manager pulled me away from the interaction to put me to work.

Upon emerging from the depths of the storage closet, my newest fan was still hanging out at the bar.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get you in trouble or anything.”

“Don’t worry about it.  It happens.”  I focused on relocating the supplies in my arms to their appropriate shelves.  He relocated from the bar to the shelves that were receiving the majority of my attention.

“You must be really cool to hang out with.  I’d like to do that with you some time.  Would that be at all possible?”

I paused, either to process if this guy was serious or to collect myself to avoid bursting out laughing, or perhaps both.  Sir, you can’t stand independently right now.  I didn’t think I’d have to include “sober” among my standards, but now I know.  I simply shut my eyes, and shook my head: “No.”

Nothing more.

“‘No’?”  He emitted something between a grunt and a laugh before he lumbered off with the rest of his pack.  I chuckled under my breath as I went back to supply-shifting.

My manager found me in the supply closet grabbing an armful of coffee cups.  “I’m sorry if I was harsh with you before.  I wanted to make sure that guy wasn’t bothering you.  Was he bothering you?”

I looked at her and grinned.  “Not any more.”

Tonight’s Distractions
The temperature.  Yes, inside.  It’s 62 degrees in here!!

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It All Began with a Cheese Craving

December 20, 2008 at 11:21 PM (Dance, Happenings, Musings) (, , )

Speaking of cravings . . .  I love Little Britain, particularly “Lou and Andy” and “Fat Fighters.”  Using “Craving” in this post’s title made me think of a “Fat Fighters” skit.

A touch of Americanised context: “Fat Fighters” is the English SNL skit poking fun at “Weight Watchers.”  The leader of the support group is a delusional piece of work, to put it lightly.  It never fails to put a smile on my face:

Hopefully you chuckled, too.  Back to our irregularly scheduled blogging!

Last night, in yet another successful effort to procrastinate (and of course to let the world know what I’m up to), I decided to update my Facebook status to “Brittany craves cheese.”  It was interesting enough when someone I don’t usually chat with via Facebook commented to offer cheese.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t local (and the weather was beyond frightful), but I had successfully procured cheese from my own fridge (that was NOT mouldy, thank-you-very-much), so it all worked out for me eventually.

Even more interestingly was when someone with whom I NEVER speak outside of when I see him, which is rare, sent me an instant message: “Did you find your cheese yet?”

What did I learn last night?  Well, for one, I learned that cheese is an excellent conversation-starter.  I will keep this in mind for future cocktail parties.

Cheese aside, my acquaintance and I actually got into a pretty good conversation.  He dances professionally, and we got to talking about my competition schedules, etcetera.  Eventually I mentioned that I had a lot of work to do with my dancing, but that I couldn’t complain about my results because, frankly, I haven’t been practising too much as of recent (that whole college education thing keeps getting in the way . . . you know how it goes).  Before I could dive into my man-made pool of stress, he reminded me of something pretty crucial:

“Just remember to have fun.”

The advice shouldn’t have made me think twice, but it did.  I don’t get paid to dance.  The second I stop enjoying it, it’s not worth the money (granted, it looks kind of cool on my résumé, but not THAT cool).  My school work can be stressful.  So can my job search.  And family illness.  And relationship complications.  NOT my hobbies.

We didn’t linger on the topic for too long (the conversation was not destined to be lengthy and in-depth), and soon enough moved onto topics as riveting as cheese: Back to the Future, Facebook poking, the weather, and so on.

So, I actually learned two things last night: the cheese thing, and to remember that my hobbies are not my job, and should be treated as such.  Mostly the thing about cheese, though.

Tonight’s Tunes
“Sundress,” Ben Kweller
“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” The Beatles
“Good Times Bad Times,” Led Zeppelin
“Can You Believe,” Robin Thicke
“Anything You Can Do,” Annie Get Your Gun – 1999 Broadway Cast
“Candidate,” David Bowie
“Montana (Tom Mandolini Remix),” Venus Hum
“Vegas,” Sara Bareilles
“Soul,” Matchbox Twenty
“The Heart Asks Pleasure First,” Ahn Trio
“Brother (Album Version),” Murder by Death
“The Song Is You,” Frank Sinatra

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