Blue Angels / Thunderbirds

Looks like they’ve sprung for cameras like the 360 cam I’ve got for each of their cockpits… πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒπŸ€“

It’s a shame that people on Twitter and on the news had to take something nice / distracting like this and poop all over it though. You’ve got one group of folks that are talking about how much it cost to do the performance, saying how the money should have been spent on PPE for the hospitals and doctors… and then the second group is mad because the mayor of NYC scolded the Jewish folks who held / attended a funeral in which hundreds of people attended, flouting social distancing rules… and the bitchy people complained that the folks who went outside to watch the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over weren’t scolded in the same way for their supposed “gathering” to do so. 😐 Because those two things are apples to apples and definitely make for a perfect comparison. (Note the heavy sarcasm in that last sentence please.)

Quite a video though… those guys / gals are brave / nuts. 😊

Oh, and as for the cost of the show, and the hospitals needing supplies… I can almost guarantee you that not a single hospital or doctor is going to ask for PPE or supplies and be told, “Well, we would have been able to get you that extra ventilator, but we had that airplane show the other day, so…” πŸ™„πŸ˜…πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I mean, let’s be real. The hospitals and doctors are going to get the help that they get. The Blue Angels / Thunderbirds show isn’t going to reduce whatever help those folks would / are able to get from the government any more than Pence’s trip to the NIH did, or Trump’s flights back and forth to his properties. πŸ˜’ Let the people have some fun. You know how many kids were probably thrilled when they stepped outside and saw that stuff? 😁

See? The grumps even tainted my viewing experience, and I wasn’t even there. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Barfing Out Paragraphs (BTS)

It’s probably been a couple years ago now, but sometime back in the recent past Cassi introduced me to BTS. At first it was almost like a hostage situation πŸ˜… where when I would visit she would play different videos of theirs and “make” me watch. Then after I warmed up to them she’d just send playlists, knowing that I’d now watch them without her having to watch over me to make sure. 😏 It’s a difficult thing… getting someone to give “your music” a fair chance… and even more so when most of the lyrics are in Hangul. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

But I quickly started to see what she saw in them. The lyrics of so many of their songs are filled with meaning… not typical pop music schlock, for the most part. And with seven members in the group, their choreography in their live performances and videos is definitely on point. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ And then there’s that general feeling of being impressed at how hard they work to record their songs, produce their videos, learn the insane amount of choreography, going on tour, etc… meanwhile, most of them are also trying to learn English. 😧 The amount of dedication to what they do is ridiculous.

If you ever find yourself interested enough to watch some of their videos, make sure that you have the English captions turned on… or find someone who has made a Hangul / Romanization / English lyric video. After a while, it’s surprising how many words you’ll find yourself picking up and being able to repeat. πŸ€“ And as for listening in the car or elsewhere… once you’ve gotten the vibe of what the song means from the videos, you can kinda take that with you without having to understand the language.

But since the time that I was “forced” to watch their stuff, to today… when I’m probably as big of a fan as Cassi is, if not more… I’ve definitely taken to them, and I’ve got a BTS / K-Pop playlist on Spotify that’s probably 60 songs deep. 😁 I’ve been absorbing the language, watching travel videos from SK, giving other K-Pop artists a chance as well… it’s surprising how much interest I have in all this stuff that I hadn’t even thought of just a few years ago.

But BTS is huge now… and their fans, who go by “ARMY” … those of us old enough to understand, you’d call ARMY folks “Beatles Level” fans. 😏 Most of them are young girls, but there’s a growing percentage of ARMY that cover all ages, all nationalities, boys, girls, men, women. πŸ§’πŸ»πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦°πŸ‘±πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘©πŸ»πŸ‘±πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§”πŸ»πŸ§“πŸ»πŸ§‘πŸ»πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦³ We’re definitely outnumbered by the screaming and crying young girls, heh… but we still count.

But that’s the concert that I got the tickets for. 😳 They’re doing a world tour, but unfortunately no stops in Ohio. πŸ˜’ It was funny, on the Ticketmaster site, after waiting in the presale queue – once I was able to see the seat map to try and pick two seats, all of the blue dots (seats) were turning to gray (taken) so quickly it was like someone was playing a sped up version of whack-a-mole. πŸ˜„

Being a bucket list concert, I went for two seats (on an aisle… heh) in the first level of the bowl seating. No nosebleed seats, where you’re so high that you feel like if you stumble you’ll fall and disappear into the depths of the stadium, never to be seen again. πŸ˜―πŸ˜… I actually tried to get tickets last year, but they sold out before I could even pull the trigger. And this year, Cassi actually has a boyfriend now… but that’s hopefully only a slight complication. πŸ€”

I actually like the d00d, and I think he’s generally okay with me, and half of the time when I see Cassi now I also see him, so that makes it easier to try to plan something out where everyone is happy. πŸ™‚ He knows what a big fan Cassi is, and how much this concert means to her, plus he knew coming into it that there was a chance I’d be getting me and her tickets this year if possible. And he’d go to the concert, but he’s not really a fan fan, and the tickets were expensive… so he’ll likely just come along on our road trip and be a part of everything except the show. πŸ™‚ I think it’ll be fine…

And like I told Cassi… he has every right to put the kibosh on it if he wanted to. Not many guys would be okay with their girlfriend going to a concert with an ex, let alone on an overnight road trip – so I bought the tickets with the idea that he’d be going too. But that’s if his schedule will allow it. 😯😬 So if he can’t go, I’m not sure what will happen… but I told Cassi to let him know there’d be no hard feelings if he was like, “Umm… no, I don’t think I want my girlfriend going away with her ex for two nights alone, without me. Yeah, uhh… no.” πŸ˜‚ No hard feelings from me, anyway… but woo would Cassi be upset if she didn’t get to go to this concert.

Wow… I rambled quite a bit here. πŸ˜³πŸ€“ It helps though… helps me start mentally putting the pieces in place, keeps me excited and looking forward to it, and also keeps me on top of the situation so everything will go down with as few hitches as possible. πŸ™‚πŸ€žπŸ» But my life is so sedate, and I do very few “big things” anymore… and this is a big-ass thing, so of course I’m gonna be a little anxious about it. 😏 But right now my anticipation and excitement is far outweighing those thoughts.

Terminate Background Process?

I feel almost silly for realizing this only just now, but I’ve figured out why my sleep got screwed up… why I have been feeling a little off. With as “aware” as I am regarding my struggles with anxiety, you’d think that any new potential issues would be immediately apparent. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Nope. 🀨 For whatever reason, I typically don’t recognize an inciting moment until it’s already had enough time to have an effect. Like walking out of your house into a rain storm and then wondering an hour later why you’re soaked.

Not wanting to bury the lede any further, I’m pretty sure that ordering concert tickets the other day was what put me a bit out of whack. So you can maybe see why I wouldn’t have suspected that as the cause. Since, on its face, that concert is something that I obviously think will be fun, something that I want to do, something that I’m choosing to do. πŸ™‚ So the anticipation of waiting to see if I’d even be able to get tickets, and then managing to get really decent seats – all of the “Yay! πŸ˜ƒ of that masked the subconscious concerns that I always have when it comes to attending a concert these days.

I’ll make a separate post about the show, but yeah… when just this past year I skipped a Skillet concert that was less than 30 miles away because it was a general admission show, and I didn’t want to risk how beat up I’d feel afterwards – committing to a much, much bigger concert, and one that will require hours of travel time just to get there, it’s kind of a big deal for me. 😳πŸ₯΄

So, without me even realizing it, I think my brain was running a background process that was contemplating all of the various issues that could pop up. πŸ§ β€ΌοΈ The main concern, obviously, is how I’m going to physically feel… before, during, and after. The long drive, the masses of people, trying not to “bop around” too much during the show… 😏 and then the long drive back home, which will likely feel even longer than the drive there. When I can’t predict how broken I’m going to feel on a day to day basis here at home… it’s just giving quite a bit up to faith that it’ll all work out okay. 😟

Now, despite all that I’ve typed here… I’m not sweating it as much as it probably sounds. 😏 I’m still excited about it, still glad that I have something to look forward to, and planning it all out will even be fun. Figuring out the best travel routes, of course staying over the night before and the night after, checking everything out on Google Earth, and then the concert itself… I really am looking forward to it. I’d say I’m like 90% “Yay! πŸ˜ƒ and only 10% “Ugh… this could be a nightmare 😳

More details soon… πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŽŸοΈπŸ’πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŽŸοΈ Β  πŸŽ΅Β πŸŽ€πŸ§πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘πŸ»πŸ‘¬πŸ»πŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘πŸ»πŸ‡°πŸ‡· 🎡

Disappointed, But It’s Alright

Made it through most of the day without thinking about it, but tonight was the night that Skillet performed at Express Live in Columbus. 😟 Indoor show, general admission, standing room only. 😬 It’s those last two bits that got me. (I hate to admit it…) But I made the right choice by not going. Today hasn’t been a great day when it comes to my neck bothering me. Standing, getting bumped around by an appropriately enthusiastic crowd, for a few hoursΒ (Alter Bridge was performing as well) just wouldn’t have worked. πŸ˜•

(But I also know that I’d feel even more disappointed if I made an attemptΒ to go – and then ended up having to leave before the concert was even over because of my oush. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Sigh… it is what it is.)

Finding the positives… πŸ€”Β Okay… I’ve seen Skillet plenty of times, and there’s always the possibility of seeing them again at the right time and right venue, so it’s not like I missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And the show? They’re touring on their newest album, and don’t tell anybody… 🀫 but this album isn’t exactly one of my favorites. And if I don’t count “missed the Skillet concert” then I’ve otherwise had an okay day.

Genesee and Sarah upgraded their security system, so a couple of weeks ago she sent me an extra camera that works with my home security setup, and today I found a place for it and added it to the network. πŸ“ΉΒ So I now have five active security cameras keeping an eye on my house. 😏 A house with hardly any visitors, and even fewer “suspicious” people coming anywhere close to stepping onto my property. It’s the same theory as having the dashcam in my car. Having video cameras installed somewhere almost magically prevents anything worth capturing on video from happening, and that’s a good (yet boring) thing.Β πŸ€“ Touch wood. 🀞🏻

But I kept today low-key, much like yesterday. I did start watching more of the political news coverage… and woo boy… πŸ˜―πŸ˜…Β Whether you believe that the fuss is all justified, or you believe that it’s a witch hunt that’s wasting the government’s time, energy, and money – stuff is sure heating up quickly. πŸ”₯🍊πŸ”₯Β It makes you wonder how any normal, functional, useful “government-ing” gets done. But I think my DVR also caught today’s NASCAR qualifying for me, so after O’Donnell I’ll click over and see how that went. πŸπŸš—πŸš•πŸš™πŸ’¨

I’m not even sure what track they’re at this week. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ (… said the formerly enthusiastic fan of the sport.)

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena. 😊 I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. 😳 But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all.Β πŸŽ€πŸ‘΄Β It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him.Β πŸ₯πŸ˜Ž The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this. 😯 (Oh, and he plays piano too πŸ™„) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw GenesisΒ in The Shoe at OSUΒ (26 years ago… holy shitballs)Β but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets.Β πŸ˜ƒΒ (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in…Β πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘«πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­Β … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though.Β πŸ˜• The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt. 😣😒 It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended. 😟 I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again.Β πŸ™‚

Ranter’s Gotta Rant

Woke up today and checked Twitter to discover that Republicans and Trump supporters are losing their damn minds over an incident that Senator Al Franken was involved in about a decade ago. People are calling him disgusting, repulsive, a predator, a monster, and of course – almost all of them are calling for his resignation. This is the “blood in the water” that folks on the right have been waiting for, and they’re going to attack whether it is justified or not. And just like the accusations against Trump and Moore, it’s not up to me to decide whether or not the claims are truthful.

But what I will say, is that two of the main complaints from Tweeden are that he kissed her – while rehearsing a scene from a USO skit where the two would be (you guessed it)Β kissing… and that he “groped her” while she was sleeping, with her evidence being a photo where he was cheezing for the camera and acting like he was going to grab her and startle her awake. It appears that he wasn’t even touching her flak jacket, let alone “groping her breasts in her sleep” as she claims.

If she was actually asleep, and he thought it would be funny to do that pose, then obviously, if the two weren’t the type of friends where goofy shit like this was the norm, it was a bad idea. I only say that because I know plenty of people who pull tasteless jokes and gags on each other, but it’s never more than just that… a joke. I’m sure that I’ve joked like I was going to grab someone’s ass, just as I’m sure that someone has joked the same way towards me. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that when Franken wanted to rehearse, her reply was “Okay, whatever.” Why is he the bad guy when the skit was written that way and she agreed to rehearse it?

But anyway… it’s not so much that I’m trying to excuse the behavior, it’s that I’m finding it hard to equate the things that Franken is alleged to have done to the things that Trump and Moore are alleged to have done. (And in Donald Trump’s case, bragged about doing.) The GOP pitchforks and torches are now out for Franken… meanwhile President Pussy Grabber is in office, and the wagons are being circled around Roy Moore in hopes to protect that senate seat. They are both accused of preying on women or girls (and many of them), getting them in situations where there were no people around, and then forcibly touching their genitals or otherwise molesting them. There was no skit that was being rehearsed, there were no cameras around to cheeze for, and if the allegations are true – you know exactly what Trump and Moore were doing to those women. I’m sorry, but that’s significantly different from rehearsing a scene that involved a kiss and then taking a dumb faux “grabby” pic that never went anything beyond that.

I understand that right now the politically correct thing to do is to always believe any accuser/victim that comes forward. Especially if many of them come forward about the same person. That’s the way it is, because you certainly don’t want to be the person that doubted the claims of someone if they end up being verified as true. And if you believe someone, and their claims end up being false, you still look good – giving someone the benefit of the doubt, and then having become a “victim” yourself for believing them and getting played. But when someone claims they were groped, and not because they know or remember that it happened, but because they saw a photo of someone pretending to sneak up and grab them – you can call it tasteless, but I don’t see how you can call it sexual assault. It lessens what those words means for the women (and men) who have been through much worse. And when you’re complaining that someone kissed you without your consent, you can’t then say that the kiss was part of a scene that you were rehearsing and that you agreed to that rehearsal.

I know, I should just keep my mouth shut about all this so I don’t offend anyone myself… but hell, everyone is offended by everything now – to the point where people are afraid to say or do anything because of the social shaming risk involved. I’m sure more info will come out about the Franken incident, and there have already been unconfirmed reports that Tweeden was “in on the photo” at the time, and that it was some gag that they mutually decided on. That’s scary if it ends up being true… and again, nobody likes to doubt a “victim” but there’s always a possibility that even if he wasn’t being set up at the time, since she’s a frequent guest of Sean Hannity (Fox News) – so it is possible that something relatively innocent is being turned into something much more sinister for political reasons.

People really need to stop forming their beliefs based on political affiliation though. Investigate every one of these incidents that have happened, and punish people accordingly if the facts call for it. If you’re a Republican and you haven’t been outspoken about the allegations against Trump and Moore, then take it down a few notches with all of your outrage against Al Franken. And if you’re on the left and you’ve been vocal about Trump and Moore, you can’t just ignore the incident with Franken. And whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or whatever… you have to acknowledge that every “case” isn’t the same, that none of these things are black and white, and they can’t be treated as if there should be a “one size fits all” way of handling them.Β And you have to understand that if these folks truly believe that they’re not guilty, they are going to take a stand against the accusations – just as anyone would do if they were being falsely accused. It looks awful if you don’t believe them, but what choice do they have?

I probably wouldn’t have even bothered making this entry if it wasn’t for the dozens and dozens of sanctimonious politician assholes that are speaking out about Franken, with all of their hyperbole and incredulousness – as if all of them have been 100% straight shooters their entire lives, and have never done anything that someone might find objectionable. The “holier than thou” bullshit that everyone sees for what it is, just another way to further their party and agenda. It’s all fucking sickening.

But yeah, investigate the Franken thing… and investigate the Trump and Moore accusations with just as much enthusiasm. Let the chips fall where they may with any/all of the people who appear to have been caught doing whatever sketchy thing that they’ve been accused of – and if the facts dictate that they be punished, let the punishment fit the actions regardless of political party. Fuck… nobody should even have to say that last part, but sadly it does need to be said.

Alright, I suppose that’s enough rambling to give everyone a reason to angrily disagree with me. 😏

Hooey

It was actually last weekend that I did this, but since I’m back up and running here I figure I’ll reach back a few days to something good for my first real post. A concert that was pretty high on my “must see before they die” list, Huey Lewis and The News performed at the relatively new Rose Music Center just outside of Dayton Ohio. It’s a perfect-sized venue, essentially like Riverbend but without the lawn seats. And since it was just me going, I woke up early on the day the tickets went on sale and actually got myself a front row seat.

I met up with Jim and Adam there as well. They also got their tickets early, ending up only a few rows behind me. If I would have known he really was gonna pull the trigger I’d have gotten us all seats, but it all still worked out. I knew I’d be feeling pretty beat up after everything was done, so I went ahead and got a room in some shitty nearby hotel. That was somewhat of an adventure, but it gave the trip some extra personality. And even though she wasn’t interested in the concert, I took Cassi with me for company before and after the show.

One the second day we decided to visit the National Museum of the USAF near Wright Patterson Air Force Base. What an amazing place… and free admission, believe it or not. Neither one of us are in top physical shape, so walking the expansive buildings was a bit of work, but we managed to hit all of the attractions. Very kewl to be able to walk through a plane that served as Air Force one for many years and carried eight different Presidents at one time or another.