Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ramblings For the Evening (2/24/2007)

The theme of tonight's Ramblings is people. Unexpected or otherwise.
Let's do it.
So, without further ado: DESTINY HAS CHEATED ME!
Getting Older:
My wife and I went to see Frank Caliendo last weekend (more on that later). With our neighbors watching our son, and with some time before the show, we decided to head to Solera to grab a drink. Now, I haven't been out to a bar since a few weeks before my son was born. It's not like riding a bike. From the moment we walked in, I felt uncomfortable. Why? I don't know.
Maybe it's because it's been so long since I've been at a bar.
Maybe it's because of the noise.
The more I think about it, however, I think it's because of the faces of the people. The place reeked of a desperation. Hmm...that's not right. It reeked of a need.
The place was packed, so my wife and I made our way to a corner of the bar. One stool was open. As we made our way, the young gentleman sitting next to it turned, saw us, turned back, and threw his jacket on the other stool.
"Are you saving this?" I asked already knowing the answer.
"Yes. It's for a friend who isn't here yet."
"No problem," I said.
My wife and I stepped next to him and ordered our drinks, then we moved to the corner.
It became obvious to me (and a lot faster than my wife) that this guy didn't have a friend coming. How did I know?
-Body Language: He was scoping the bar
-Drink: Certain drinks say, "I have a friend coming." His drink...didn't.
-Position: If you have friends coming, you try and get a position where many people can gather (near a corner or tables). He was in the dead center where he could oversee everything.
The noise was horrible. I used to frequent bars when I was in college. It's how I know I've become older: They don't appeal anymore.
I watched people attempt to pick up other people (oh, and FYI: the final way I know this guy's friend wasn't coming...he ordered a drink for another woman at the bar, who was sitting near my wife and I, and asked the bartender to ask her to join him. When she moved, the jacket went away. Smooth), I watched people use alcohol in order to talk to each other.
The highlight, however, was that my upbringing took over, and I invited an older couple with nowhere to go to join my wife and I at our table. They were nice people, a couple from Rochester taking only their third trip to Minneapolis. Turned out they used to be teachers, so we talked about that (mostly horror stories).
I found it odd. Am I just an old fogey now because I don't want to cram into a noisy bar for overpriced drinks? I can get better wine in my house. I can make better cocktails in my kitchen if you need it.
It's probably just me. After the drink, my wife and I headed over to the show.
Lack of Sophistication:
I like comedy alot. Hell, I try to use it when I teach. Frank Caliendo is a very funny man...usually.
Beyond learning that I can no longer really do the bar scene (God help me if I'm ever single again), I also learned when a comedian has an off night, it makes them lose their magic.
In order to get to this show, my wife decided to buy tickets for a birthday present. By sheer luck, she managed to get us front row center. It made the anticipation almost unbearable.
First up was the opener Mike Lucas. The man was incredibly funny. He told a story about being seduced by your bed and hating your alarm clock.

Then it was Caliendo's turn. He's a very funny man, but he was, in all honesty, either drunk or sick this night. He just was off. At one point, he lay down and pretended to be a muppet (and showed off his gut and underwear). This was odd (and he mentioned how the audience should leave), but then it got stranger. He sat up and said, "I forgot the rest of my act. Seriously. I can't believe I forgot my act...." It was unfortunate.
My wife was almost mortified by the fact that Caliendo noticed my laugh and did two things:
1. He noticed it and said, "Some guy over here gets it."
2. He said, "I love this laugh. You're hired."
But the night was not all odd choices and laughs. The audience was not the best, and I was quite frustrated at times.
First, there was the couple who sat next to my wife. They arrived late. Very late. As in ten minutes into Caliendo's act, which means 40 minutes after the show started. The guy was a cheeseball who smelled of bad Stetson cologne and kept pawing his date. And boy was his date interesting. She was obviously a trophy, and had the boobs to prove it. Yup, she really enjoyed showing them off (and she kept tugging at them. How do I know? Because Caliendo made mention of it). The cheeseball also kept grabbing at them and told the security guy, "Best money I ever spent. They're my new best friends." Awesome.
Then there was the rest of the audience. There's heckling, and then there's a rudeness that makes you shake your head in shame. Caliendo did his Madden impression and mentioned Brett Favre. The crowd didn't laugh...they started booing. At one point people started shouting who they wanted the comedian to imitate.
"William Shatner!" one guy screamed.
"No," Caliendo said back.
"Jack Nicholson!" someone else screamed.
"I already did it."
"Yeah," the guy said back, "I was in the bathroom. Do it again."
The best, however, was some guy who was unhappy. As Caliendo was doing his schtick, this idiot yells, "Hey...HEY! Be funny, jackass."
Caliendo just laughed and said, "I think the rest of the crowd knows I have been."
Still, what the hell is wrong with us as a society? Can't we just enjoy what these people are doing without having to act like idiots?
Could you imagine someone going to the symphony and yelling, "Play better!" at the violin section?
It's like watching people go to the theatre in blue jeans. I understand that times change, but it's an event. You should be dressing up.
Maybe I'm too old-fashioned.
Sliding Away:
I'm concerned about my students. They are sliding. Yes, the year is almost over (only about 15 weeks left now), but many of them think that they can just do the minimum and get by. It frustrates me as a teacher because many of them still have a junior high mentality. What do I mean?
Do nothing all trimester, and then come to me and BEG for help at getting the grade up. I can't do it. Responsibility means that you deal with the mistakes you made. It's time to grow up kids. Deal with the consequences of your actions.
And finally:
Single Parent Goodness:
My wife is leaving for a while for work. Instead of dealing with the snow and cold (like us), she's off to Ireland and Amsterdam for work. This means it's my son and I...and no one else. On the one hand, it'll suck. I'll have a harder time getting work done unless he's asleep. On the other hand, it'll be good for me to understand what some of my students have to go through on a daily basis. How do you balance school and a child? How do you balance the child with anything else? This will be an interesting test.
I look forward to it.
Then again, what do I know? I'm just a crazy dude trying to steal another man's mojo. I could be wrong.