24 July 2010

Some fantastic, I know it's true

Thursday night, a happy congruence of unusual events ended up with me meeting three of the four members of my favorite band.

Excuse me just a moment, won't you? ... *fan girl squeeeeeeeee* ... Okay, sorry. I haven't quite got all of the giddy out of my system just yet.

It's no secret that I have some serious love for Barenaked Ladies. I've been to several concerts and I'd hoped to attend at least one more this year as they came through California on their Summer Tour. But I didn't expect to meet them.

And I almost didn't.

Here's how it went down:

Several months ago, I made arrangements to take off work this Friday and Monday in the hopes of visiting a friend in San Diego and going to Comic-Con together. Later, when BNL announced they would be performing in San Diego the same weekend, I thought: Kismet! And hoped to attend the concert as well.

But, for several reasons, those plans didn't work out. Still, I decided to go ahead and take the days off.

So, when BNL tweeted Wednesday that they were giving away free tickets to Thursday's concert at The Greek, I entered on a whim. And I won.

I was pretty chill about it, of course.

Ahem. Anyway. That left me with this little problem:

So, I texted my girlfriend who's a BNL fan. She couldn't go. Then I texted another friend who loves BNL: Not free. And then a third ... and fourth ... and fifth ... See, most of my friends are working moms like me. It's not so easy to just drop everything to go to a concert several hours away on such short notice.

Not to be deterred, I hit the road anyway on Thursday afternoon for the 4 hour drive to L.A. If I couldn't find someone to go with me, I'd go solo.

On the off-chance that he just might be free, I also left messages for my brother, who lives in Ventura, not too far from The Greek. But, since he's always got a packed schedule full of work and play, I didn't hold out much hope for that.

So, I was very pleasantly surprised when he called back and said he'd meet me there.

What?! It was a long drive with just me and my iphone for company.

So, with my brother about 10 minutes behind me, I got to The Greek and went to The Box Office.

Where I had a mild heart attack when the lady couldn't find my tickets at Will Call.

Fortunately, it was my iphone to the rescue again: I showed her my Tweets from @barenakedladies and she got me all set to rights.

Just about then, my brother drove past and gave me a honk and a wave to let me know he was going to the parking area and he'd be right over ... 20 minutes later he showed up, sweaty and out of breath. He'd accidentally gotten in the wrong lane and ended up parked up on the hill near the Griffith Observatory. Quite a hike.

We missed the opening act (No big.) but we had plenty of time to hike allllllll the way to the upper nosebleed section to our seats before BNL took the stage. ;)

The show was GREAT. (If you're a BNL fan, watch that to the end. Seriously.)

After the encore, my brother and I waited for the crowds to clear and then I drove him back up the mountain to his car. When I drove past the theater again, the traffic was mostly cleared out. So, I had a clear view of the few stragglers. I caught a glimpse of a face that looked familiar. But the time I got to the bottom of the hill, I'd figured it out - it was someone I "knew" on Facebook - through a mutual friend and as a fellow BNL fan.

Now, I'm not usually much for socializing-with-strangers, but I decided to turn around and go see if I was right.

Turns out, I was. He and his wife are big BNL fans and have been to tons of shows and met the band members several times. They were hanging out to see if the guys might come out and say hi to fans, as they often do. Surprisingly, they were the only ones there. So, I stayed and chatted with them. Another guy who had sat next to my new FB friends during the show wandered over a few minutes later and joined the conversation.

We had a great time chatting for about a 20 minutes or so and then, out of the shadows of the trees, Ed Robertson meandered up to say Hi.

Now, I have to interject here: I am a professional communicator. The word communication is actually in my job title. Further, I've never been one to faun or fuss or otherwise go gaga over celebrities. Just not my thing.

But, when Ed walked up and started chatting, I'm pretty sure I came across as maybe two steps up from a babbling nitwit.

But, hey, can you blame me? I've been a fan of BNL - and had a total fangirl crush on Ed - since 1992. That's 18 years - literally half of my life. There's not much else I've done or been for 18+ years, except maybe "female" and "breathing". Okay, and "smart ass". That's a staying quality.

Moving on.

So, yeah, with Ed standing two feet away, all smiling and friendly and charming and just so darn nice, well, my lungs kinda jumped up and strangled my cerebellum just a little bit.

I'm pretty sure I managed to form complete sentences. And they might have even been in context.

We chatted about the show and the tour and Robert 'Tiny' Menegoni and Comic-Con and tattoos and kids and  ... well, it's a little bit of a blur. Cuz, you know, oxygen deprivation to the brain and all that.

Then he signed my new friends' ticket stubs and offered me a personalized autograph on the album booklet my FB friends had just given me. (Yes, it's already framed.) And the very sweet female half of the couple offered to take a photo of me and Ed. He very graciously agreed. I was smiling so hard, my face hurt.

After Ed had, again quite graciously, taken his leave, Jim Creeggan and Tyler Stewart each wandered over for a few minutes to chat, as well. They both signed my booklet and Jim also took a photo with me. I'm sure Tyler would have, too, but I was so kerfuffled by that point that I forgot to ask. Jim mentioned that Kevin Hearn had already left. So, I hope maybe I'll have the opportunity to meet him another time.

I have to say, the word that comes first to mind about all three of the band members I met is: Nice. That seems like such an understatement, such an under-rated word, but it's still accurate.

I know they're not the only artists who do it, but I still think it's nice of them to take the time to meet with fans after a show. But, beyond that, it wasn't just a sign-this-pose-here-move-along kind of thing.

They all - Ed especially - were so very down to earth and friendly and genuinely interested in the conversation. They didn't treat us like "fans" ... they talked to us like people. I was pretty impressed by that.

So, let's recap:

If I hadn't ...
  • Made and then canceled plans for Comic-Con ... 
  • Then decided on a whim to enter the Twitter contest - and won ... 
  • Then couldn't find a BNL pal to go with, and so called my brother ... 
    • Who just happened to be free ...  
    • And who accidentally parked so far away ...
    • Which meant the crowds were all gone when I drove by ...
    • Which meant I had an unobstructed view to see my FB friend over by the trees ...
  • Then decided to turn around and say hi
  • And then found them to be so nice, that I decided to visit for a while ... 
Well then, I wouldn't have my new favorite thing in the whole world ...

Here's to happy accidents,

17 July 2010

What I did on my Summer Vacation

Didja miss me?

I took a couple weeks off of work this month and we borrowed a friend's condo near the beach on the Central Coast.

The weather alone was worth the trip: Lovely 60 degree mornings and evenings and beautiful cool breezes all day long. Coming home to 100+ degrees was such a shock to the system as to make one weep. I so need to move there. I wore a jacket, people. You just don't do that in July 'round these parts!

We played on the beach, went on fun outings, did the whole sight-seeing thing and just chilled out. It was totally relaxing and exactly what I needed before heading back into a soon-to-be-super-busy time at work.

Oh yeah ... and the Spartans enjoyed their Summer Vacation, too ...

So, are you doing (or did you do) anything special this summer? What's your favorite vacation spot: City, country, wilderness? Beach, mountains, plains?