Friday, October 26, 2007

Away game

The past couple of nights have been great fun in the old neighborhood. Wednesday night I got to my neighborhood to find the fire department, emergency services and the mounted police all pulling vehicles up on the green space across the street from me as helicopters circled the stadium.

No sooner had I got in the door and fed Alice than my work cell phone began to ring. All I could think was, "What asshole is calling me at 5:30!".

"Hello, Sweetpea!", it was La Simpatica. "I was thinking about you. I'm over here in the Fenway. I've been stuck in traffic for at least a half hour. EVERY asshole in Boston is out on the road."

The poor woman was caught in the log jam that is Boston traffic on a game night because she was trying to get to her daughter's high school to pick her up after cheerleading practice. We chatted for a few minutes and tried to figure out a route that might be less crowded for the return to the North End.

After we hung up, I started dinner, blasting Die Walkure. Finally, it was time for bed and getting out the lovely new ear plugs I had picked up at the drug store I headed off to dreamland. It kind of worked. I didn't get woken up until the game let out around 1:00 a.m. It then took 2 hours to get back to sleep. Needless to say, when I dragged my sorry ass out of bed, I was not going to the gym.

After I had poured a sufficient amount of coffee into myself so that I would not be a danger to myself and others I headed out and stopped at my second favorite coffee place for a cup of motivation to get me across the river. I know the kid behind the counter who goes to Mass Art and we chatted for a bit. He lives right down the street from me and was telling me that there were buses from the department of corrections lined up in front of his building ready to take away any overly enthusiastic fans.

Last night as I approached my house I was greeted with the sight of all the emergency vehicles again with the added attraction of trucks and trailers from the department of corrections and officers in flack uniforms! It really reinforces the idea that sporting events are a wholesome, fun filled activity for the entire family. Bring grandma and the kids! (my tax dollars in action)

I'd like to think that tonight peace will reign in the Fenway. Saturday may be a whole different kettle of fish. Harkening back to the last time the Sox were in the World Series after an away game, thousands of people converged on the darkened stadium because... well it was empty... uh... and it was, ya' know, like the stadium. Besides it was as good an excuse as any to go on a vandalism spree and set a few cars on fire, cause ya' know, they were excited. C'mon! Where's your team spirit?

I sincerely hope the Sox win the next 2 games or whatever it takes to end this and keep them the hell out of town till next spring. Then once the rioting is over and however many weeks it takes before all the news outlets in town tire of repeating that the Sox won the world series (just in case you were trapped at the bottom of a well or in a coma and missed it) life can get back to what passes for normal and I won't have to put up with this horseshit again until next spring.

Maybe by then I will have managed to find a new job that will enable me to leave the country.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, go sox.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Update with illustrations

Early this morning, I was telling Monkey about my day so far. I said something about the woman at the counter and my speculation about her probably complaining that her order was taking too long and that you could see it coming a mile off.

Monkey said something about a truck, I said yeah a truck full of stupid. Monkey then suggested a tanker full of stupidity, being driven by self importance. I told Monkey I liked it. He drew me a picture and I thought I'd share.

Morning report

EG in gym, attempting to kick own sissy ass with shoulder routine.

New guy: What about those Sox?

EG: (nobly refraining from braining straight boy with free weight) Meh.

New guy: Oh.

Score one for self restraint.

EG at regular morning coffee stop.

Woman with yoga mat in front of me insists that the counter person recite the varieties of smoothies that are not only posted on the overhead menu board, but are also on a special menu of their own, taped to the counter. Asks at least a dozen questions regarding said smoothie, orders smoothie, changes mind, changes mind back, pays for small smoothie, changes mind again, pays extra .85 for large smoothie. Walks away from counter. Counter waiter begins to pour coffee for EG, is interrupted by smoothie woman again who is beginning to express doubts about smoothie choice. EG pays for coffee, grabs purchase, (leaving tip, of course) and hurries away before smoothie lady has a chance to start complaining that she is in a hurry and wonders in loud voice why a simple order is taking so long. (You just know it was waiting to happen.) EG refrains from tearing smoothie woman a new one, on behalf of the poor counter help)

Score 2 for self restraint.

I've still got the rest of the day to get through. Whooo boy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It has begun....

Last night I got home from work to chorus of news helicopters hovering over Fenway Stadium. I can only guess that, rather than use stock footage, they wanted to assure the viewing public that the stadium was still there. And empty. And they each needed their own man on the scene to reassure their viewers that no miscreants had walked off with the stadium and no one was actually on the field or in the bleachers.

I won't be at all surprised if they are back tonight for some more exciting shots of the empty stadium, to help build up the suspense. Weds. and Thurs. nights are going to be hell. The news helicopters and the advertising blimps are suppose to maintain a minimum altitude, in order to keep the noise down. Yeah, right.

But if any of you are in doubt, the stadium is still there and it is still empty. Film at 11.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Night at the Opera

At a mere 80 minutes Ainadamar was about 20 minutes too long. I was not alone in this opinion, my regular opera buddy Wahz and I felt about the same.

Certainly, there was a lot good about the production. The set, 3 walls and the floor, painted as a mural by Gronk were spectacular. The lighting design was terrific and produced amazing visual drama and enhanced rather than distracted from the set and the performance of the singers.

Dawn Upshaw once again demonstrated her range and ability to sing just about anything. Jessica Rivera was impressive as Lorca and Jesus Montoya as the disembodied voice of Ruiz Alonso was downright eerie at times.

Peter Sellers production was, well Peter Sellers production. The man definitely has a signature style, which whether it is setting le Nozze di Figaro in Trump Towers or Aiandamar in a dream/nightmare scape he pulled it off. And the restraint in costuming and the highly stylized movement of the chorus helped reinforce the sense of this being a memory or a dream or a bit of both.

I think my major complaints are that the piece is really a cantata and I would have enjoyed the music just as much in recital setting and that the last 20 minutes of the production, to be blunt, dragged. Margarita Xirgu rose from the dead at least twice. I mean, give a soprano a good death scene and I am ready to get out my hanky, however once Violetta gives up the ghost I am not sure anyone wants her to get back up and give you a recap of the action. The material at hand, the Spanish Civil War has enough possibilities of the grand guignol to satisfy even the most blood thirsty opera goer, yet I never really got an overwhelming sense of dramatic imperative. The music explored flamenco, gypsy, kleszmer and sephardic music and on the whole was effective and interesting yet as a piece it didn't seem structurally to hold together.

Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled that Opera Boston is willing to take the risk to mount new productions instead of dragging out the same 3 warhorses year after year. I was pleased to have the privilege of seeing and listening to Ms. Upshaw and as I said the show was not without its merits or moments of enjoyment. If the show as a whole was not something I would go racing back to for a second helping it did have the merit of bringing something fresh to the Boston Opera scene. Next operatic stop, Handel's Semele. Like I said at the beginning of the post one of Ainadamar's virtues was that it was only 80 minutes, Semele on the other hand will try even the most firmly padded backside. I'll let you know how it goes.

Red Sox Nation

It would seem that the Red Sox are going to the world series, or bringing it here, or whatever the process is. woo-hoo. My enthusiasm knows bounds.

I have been giving my deep burning hatred for all things Red Sox some thought. Aside from the rampant vandalism and general asshattedness and I think I have figured out why my disdain is so rabid. It's because they won't leave me alone.

It's sort of like Paris Hilton or fundamentalist chrisianity. Sure, it's there, but why do you have to keep bringing it too my attention. Why, indeed, should I have to care.

To quote the bard, "There's the rub." You can not live in Boston without caring about the Red Sox and you can not live a relatively peaceful life during ball season (which seems to get longer every year) unless you love the Red Sox. You have to be able to listen to people gabble on ad nauseam about baseball and at least affect some interest. Telling someone you really couldn't care less leads to long diatribes about the magnificence of an activity, if something as inherently dull as baseball can be considered an activity,and that there is something intellectually and morally wrong with you if you cannot dedicate yourself heart and soul to THE TEAM. For me baseball is a sport that has all the thrills of watching uranium metamorphose into lead. You know it will happen eventually, but it takes time.

Sox fans also refer to themselves as the faithful. It actually is appropriate. They exhibit a zeal that would have left Torquemada in tears with admiration and joy. Sox fans are like inquisitors or jihadists actually. There is no room for the unbeliever. They also seem to have a fondness for torching things. During the last World Series they burned several cars. Walking to the T station this morning I noticed that the first of what will be many trash cans have been set alight. (Who ever decided that plastic was an acceptable material for public waste barrels?) I suspect that if they could, they would start burning Yankees fans and anyone else who hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid as heretics in order to purify the world for "the faithful". And somehow, this is all acceptable because it's "just high spirits".

It will all be over eventually. For now, I will just have to live with the noise, the crowds of brain dead fans and mornings where the sidewalks which on normal post game days are a slurry of regurgitated stadium food and beer and broken glass has the added attraction of horse shit because they decided to deploy and extra 1,000 policeman, at the tax payers expense mind you, to try and keep the fans under control.

In the final analysis, it is like a plague of boils or Celine Dion. There isn't anything I can do about it so I am just going to have to live with it until it's over and try and take what joy I can in the knowledge that it isn't permanent. I bought some ear plugs to block out the noise from the stadium, the fans out on the streets who are standing around staring at the stadium as if they are waiting for it to levitate and transport them into heaven and the helicopters and blimps that will be droning over the area. Now, I figure if I can somehow score some valium I will make it to the end of the series without any unnecessary bloodshed.