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I'm not a big concert goer. I know some of you out there are, and you send wonderful photos across LJ showing which group you are seeing tonight. Some of you out there are bleeding edge, going to shows of bands i've barely heard of. Me, I'm less likely to put money out to see anyone that i haven't heard a few songs out of, unless it's at a festival. the recent trips to Austin City Limits Fest have been good for the new music discovery. I'm kind of sorry we won't get to go this year.

My parents weren't big concert goers either. I can't recall us ever going to see a musical act as a family, or the parents hiring a babysitter to go see someone. My parents also seemed to have a very boring musical sense. They didn't have a lot of rock and roll albums, even from their high school years in the 50's. I'm guessing their parents discouraged that. My dad has remarked on liking Bobby Valle and the Supremes, but I know that the only Beatles album they owned was a cover album of Beatles songs by pianists Ferante and Ticher. Very square indeed.

My first concert 0 barring if you count a 4th of july celebration with the singing talents of Dale Evans, we the police in 1984. It was also the first time I was allowed to drive the family station wagon the 40 miles into Houston, to the Summit, which some 15 years later would be next to where i worked for AIM, and is now a mega-curch.

I wonder if they had to purify the Summit before turning it into a church. I know Ozzy Osbore, Marilyn Manson and kiss have played there.

The Police concert was amazing. I was on first tier, and I had waited in line for ticketmaster tickets from a record store in Conroe. It's a little like waiting for an iPhone. It's odd that people don't have to wait in line for tickets anymore. While you don't have to wait in line anymore, ticketing has gotten worse, not better with the use of phones and internet with so many scalpers. I think I'd rather be in line where someone actually has to hire someone to get the tickets.

If there was an opening act for the Police, I don't remember it, but I do remember that Sting had spiky blonde hair and that red yellow and blue rag jacket that he wears in one of the Synchronicity videos.

I've had the ability to see most of my favorite bands over the years. I've seen U2 and the B-52's more than once. I've seen Better than Ezra and Barenaked Ladies several times, and for both bands, I've never seen them in the same venue. I've seen the Monkees on one of their reunion tours for my 20th birthday.

I was annoyed that Chrissy hind of the Pretenders wouldn't shut the hell up about PETA. I've been amused that Ryan Adams encouraged everyone to get stoned. I've been passed a joint at a Jimmy Buffet concert. I think the only concert than Buffets that had more ganja floating around was when Ziggy Marley opened up for the B-52. the haze dropped when Ziggy left the stage.

I've been turned away from a small club show by then up and coming Ben Fold Five. I've had lawn seats for Duran Duran where my sister and I were given tickets for seats by an unknown attendee. I've danced along to Scissor Sisters and sat quietly to a Billy Joel/Elton John show. I've been to shows in The Astrodome and Rice Stadium, the Cotton Bowl and seeing the Dixie Chicks in the American Airlines Arena.

I absolutely hate the concert "sheds". Those outdoor venues that have awful lawn seating, and in texas are hot as hell. The acoustics, while better than the Astrodome, still leave a lot to be desired. There's one at Six Flags, and the Starplex (now known as the Smirnoff) here in Dallas, then there was Southern Star at astroworld and the Woodlands Pavilion. the nice thing about the Pavilion was that it's damned close to my parent's house, which for most Houstonians means its a very, very long drive.

The biggest act that I never seem to catch is Madonna. There's always something that prevents me from seeing here on the few tours she does. I'd still like to go someday. I've seen Sting solo, and found it lacking. I like his music, but it's a boring show. The closest i've ever been to an artist was a small show at the Gypsy Tea Room here in Dallas, seeing Liz Phair. My sister got to go backstage and meet Duran Duran, but not I - still, she's the bigger fan. The furthest away was seeing a very tiny Van Morrison half a park away at ACL.

Besides the three-day tickets for ACL, the most I've paid to see a concert is about $80. I really am not enamored enough to pay $250 to be on the floor. I remember 20 years ago seeing Paul McCartney and the ticket was $40, an un-heard of sum in those days. I can tell you it wasn't really worth it, but it's the closest thing i've seen to seeing the Beatles. Now with ticket scalping so rampant, it's easy to pay $100 just for the cheap spots.

I've seen Ben Kweller have a nosebleed so bad that not only did the keys of the piano turn red, but he couldn't finish his short set. I've seen the Bangles and Huey Lewis and the News as they were the acts opening up sections of a Houston tollway. I've seen Michael Stipe of REM forget the words to "It's the End of the World (as we know it)" despite having them on a music stand near him.

All in all, not a bad track record for the last 20-plus years. I've seen Willie, but not Waylon. I've seen Lyle Lovett, but not Steely Dan. I still haven't seen Cyndi lauper, or seen Gloria Estefan (just because we played all of her songs in marching band). One day maybe Alanis Morrisette will return. There's a ton of bands i'd like to see, but likely won't just due to time, money or the fact they've broken up, but still, I think I have a much better record of getting out and seeing music than my folks. I guess I just need to keep going and seeing new stuff to keep it from all becoming stagnant.

Music is good, and I love it in my life, even if it's going to a Drum Corps show (when is that coming up again?). I should get out more. I should try something at our new House of Blues, since that seems to be getting all of our concerts now. Good times.
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Hello LJ Land! Long time no see.

I guess I should just get this off of my chest first, since it seems to be the most important thing that's happened lately. Today, somewhere around 5:30 pm, I became a licensed general securities representative. I still can't sell you anything, because there's a state sales license that I would need, but hey, I'm one step closer.

I'm just going to re-phrase it all and put it into bigger letters: I Passed the NASD Series 7 Exam!

It's a really big relief. Although my current job wouldn't have changed had I failed, many more jobs open up to me now, and that's a good thing...the other good thing is that I shouldn't ever have to take this whole damned thing again. No, it won't be the last license exam I'll ever have to take if I keep going forward, but it is one of the biggest hurdles.

Now I know someone who remembers back to my last post might be saying, "Weren't you supposed to take this test two weeks ago?" The answer is yes, but when I actually got a mentor to teach me most of what I didn't know/understand about options, she looked at me and asked me if I was really ready for this test. I honestly said that i wasn't, and she asked if I still had time in the testing window. The test is scheduled, you have to take it in a certain period of time, or you have to pay to set up another time window. I said I'll look to see if I could postpone. Luckily there was one date left at not the original testing site, but the one off in Ft. Worth. So that's when I moved it.

Since rescheduling, I really finally learned what I was supposed to know. Seriously, two weeks ago I had some knowledge, but I really would have bombed the test. No, I didn't get more mentorship, or help from the company, but I did get to borrow a book that made sense (not the one the company provides) and I got busy with the online trial tests that really did give me the information I needed. Apparently much of the reading I did in the other books was a waste of time, and I plan to tell our training department that.

I feel really good about this, because I did it mostly by myself. I could have done more to look for help, and probably should have, but in the end, I scored a 75, which is two points higher than the national average. You need a 70 or higher to pass. Think about that folks, most of the financial advisors of the world passed with a C- average. Makes you think about your money.

The whole thing is something I've done before when I took the Series 6 eight years ago, you sit in a little cubicle with a monitor and a mouse, and choose the best answer of the four choices given. The difference is that you get a lunch break because the test is just that long. The testing center was next to a Buffalo Wild Wings (BW3) and normally i'd get a trivia box and play, but after punching answers 1-4 for a few hours, I wanted to get away from answering more questions.

The waitress at BW3 asked me if I was taking the Series 7. I said yes, and she said that they get several people for lunch who are taking it. Apparently it's the most common test with a lunch break. She asked why I wasn't huddled over books and papers, trying to cram for the second half. Apparently many of the afternoon patrons are looking for the littlest edge, but I said to her, "I either know it or I don't. A few more minutes of trying to dredge up trivia isn't going to help me much."

I'll admit that the last month or so has really gotten me off my stride as I retreated from the online world a bit, trying to use that time for a better cause, but I didn't stay a total hermit. I have watched the bigger season finale episodes of shows and Chris and I have been out to see Spiderman 3 and Shrek the Third (I could have waited for both - doesn't bode well for Pirates 3), and we saw Better than Ezra at the Wildflower! Festival (click for a blurry photo).

Still, my workout schedule is all screwed up, and my work ours have gotten jostled as I tried to pick up overtime hours and still study, and sleep. I look forward to getting back to normal, and perhaps cooking a little more because our eating out budget has gotten out of hand, and dang it if gas didn't finally hit $3.00 a gallon this past week.

Chris took me out to Texas Land and Cattle tonight to celebrate. I was quite happy to be celebrating, and quite happy to see what comes next. Right now I'm more excited to be able to read a normal book, one that's fiction, and has nothing to do with my job, investments, or anything dealing with the number 7.
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Good weekend, beautiful weather, and running around trying to get things done before this week's TBRU festivities. Chris and I got our pre-run haircuts. We didn't spend as much time as we should have cleaning the house for our incoming guests. Especially bad as Joey has totally eviscerated a rope chew toy and there are strings all over the house.

I spent much of the day yesterday watching Chris play softball. I felt kind of awkward as I'm not on a team. I felt even more awkward as I don't know anyone on Chris' team, and most of the people we played with last year were playing a field over. I spend most of the doubleheader with my nose buried in a Series 7 book, studying the driest material ever. Did not make for a lot of fun. Perhaps I made the wrong decision about softball, but I didn't hear anyone clamoring for my poor playing skills.

As I had a lot of trouble with tickets for The Police, I'm kind of wary to buy tickets to the Cindy Lauper/Erasure/Margaret Cho tour - the one I'm calling Gays take over the Smirnoff Pavilion. What a great venue for a super gay tour. It's not so much the tickets price or the acts, but that the tour supports the Human Rights Coalition (HRC). I'd be much more interested if it benefited an organization that I felt did more for the community than make little stickers, have big, fancy fundraisers, and build itself new headquarters. I'd much rather support GLADD, NGLTF or Lambda Legal.

OK, in my way of trying to be the person who ends memes by doing them last...go ahead, ask me questions. I'll try to answer them soon, and it will get me up and writing. I've been kind of silent of late.
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I'm a little upset that I didn't get tickets to go see The Police in concert. Tickets went on sale this past Saturday and while I was at work, actually working, I forgot to log on and slog through the site to order tickets. There's also that thing about a concert in late June that kind of makes me forgetful about it on a day in March.

By the time I remember that they had gone on sale, it was Sunday morning and the first show was sold out. In a 20,000 seat arena. And they added a second show. And it had SOLD OUT as well! I was actually kind of stunned. I didn't think that the police were thought of so fondly, and I didn't think they'd get such a response since a). those who want to see Sting with a lute would be disappointed, and b). most people under 30 have never heard of the group since they broke up in 1986.

I then decided to take a look on the secondary market, and there were all of the tickets. Ticket speculation is just as big of a market as PS3 resales were - for about a week. Something tells me that if you can get tickets to shows easily, you could make a good living on the resales of those tickets.

I didn't need good seats, I just wanted to be there, but when the furthest seat in the arena was now going for twice the original $50 selling price, I decided that this was a concert event I was just going to have to miss. It's sad in a way, but then again I have seen The Police before. It was my first concert, and the first one that my parents let me got into Houston for. that was the 1984 Synchronicity tour and it was at the Summit - now Lakewood Church. Sting wore the big red, yellow and blue outfit from the Synchronicity II video. Ahh, those were the days.

I really have better things to spend my money on, but it would have been fun to see the same group...several years older. perhaps they will come again. Heck, the Stones still tour.

Personally, I'm looking forward to more new acts, like seeing the Scissor Sisters next week!


Otherwise, my friend Jerry ([ profile] goofycubb) sent me some questions to answer...

1. Do you miss Houston? Me? :) LOL

I'm finding hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I was last in Houston. My parents worry about me!
I don't miss the city so much, but there are a few places - namely Beck's Prime and James Coney Island. I also miss the ripcord and wish I could move all of those places up here. I also miss driving on Memorial Drive. As for you, I really wish you were here to watch the Amazing Race with! Or just to hang with. Those were good times. When are you coming to visit us? :-)

2. Will you ever go clean shaven again?

Well, most people who know me these days have never seen me clean shaven. I think the last time was 1994, and i have no plans to do it again.

3. What is the strangest thing that someone has said while you are in bed making whoopee?

Generally I'm the one who comes up with the bad puns and such! I guess it was the mutually crazy conversation about Bears releasing genetically enhanced pheromones on a dance floor, triggered by thumping dance music. It was at TBRU, and the sound created for this - "Paaaft!" -became a catchphrase for the weekend.

Let's just say that mixing the two of us in bed was not only fun, but also a lesson in non-sequitur thinking.

4. What is under your bed?

Occasionally Joey, but otherwise it's the surge protector outlet strip that powers the CPAP.

5. Did your mom ever catch you masturbating?

Thankfully no, thanks to a lock on the door, but occasionally she did try to open the lock with a coat-hanger. This would normally be when she was mad at me for something. I'm not so sure what she would have done if she caught me with a Muscle and Fitness magazine in one hand...
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Yesterday started well with a trip to the Magnolia Cafe on South Congress where I had some yummy gingerbread pancakes. We had to wait a while, but it gave Chris and I plenty of time to talk to Scott ([ profile] xkot) and Peter ([ profile] texaspenguin) and allow John ([ profile] gtijohn) and David ([ profile] metacub) to arrive from the northern location, where they went first.

Lines were longer to get out to the park today, and the crowd had swelled. Where on Friday there was a different crowd from one stage to another, yesterday there was more of a mass that just turned from stage to stage. A big deal is made out of grabbing territory, but there's a real difference in people, some sit down early, if possible, try to get a good comfortable space, and others like to run in in the last second and take up any remaining space you carelessly tried to control a few minutes ago. Case in point, we set down chairs about half an hour early for a band, and we were the only ones there for a while. The crowd comes in like a tide and suddenly there was a person sitting right where my legs would go. A minute later, this thin cowboy is actually using my legs for a seat back. If he was cute...but he wasn't. As it is usually with these guys, halfway through the set they were bored and gone.

David and John had it bad for the Shins set where a gaggle of pot-smoking teens descended in front of them. These kids were talking, tripping, calling more of their friends over to the already small space. They seemed to have no reason to be there, because they weren't into the band. I had to tell one of them to shut up when they were yelling for their friends to come over.

Again it was hot, but not too hot, and some welcome clouds came over for Aimee Mann's quiet acoustic set. We had occasional visits from Ben and Nakia as they hopped about the park, and saw some other bears as well.

Here's what we saw:
Phoenix - good and energetic of a early afternoon show
Ben Kweller
The Shins
Aimee Mann
Kings of Leon
Willie Nelson
We caught a little bit of Massive Attack, but we found them a little boring - probably because we were about ready to go.

I have to say that Ben Kweller is a real trouper, as he came on stage late because of a nosebleed - well, two nosebleeds. He tried to make it through a few songs, but the nosebleed remained, and he was not only reddening a towel, but also his guitar. We're talking gushers here. At one point he asked for, and was given a tampon from the audience, but couldn't make it through the song before it had expanded and was unusable. We were in the audience thinking, man, this is going to be his last show, ever. He got through one more song, this time on the piano, which when he begged our forgiveness, had also been stained with an octaves worth of red keys.

The audience was happy he tried, but happy to let him go get some medical attention, too.

John and David (photo by Chris) joined us for dinner (or might I say we kidnapped them). It's been really nice getting to know these guys and I hope they will come back next year.

My allergies have been on overdrive. Let's just say that having to go for Benadryl at 5:00 so you can sleep is entertaining, but not entraining enough that there is a story there.

Still one more day to go here. There's not as much going on, but I'm still interested to see KT Tunstall and the New Pornographers.


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February 2013



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