Saturday, January 31, 2009

One of Those Days...

We’ve all been there before. Some miniscule, yet annoying event (say, tearing a hole in your socks while pulling them on) tips you off that just maybe, this is going to be one of those days. Call it a premonition, or perhaps an ominous portent (to steal of phrase from John Hogdman), but you sense that this day will not go your way.

Next thing you know, you’re on the subway and next to you is a person talking loudly on the phone while two people across from you are prattling on about the tedious events of their weekend. And so it goes. People aren’t walking fast enough. Lines are too long. Your coat gets snagged on a branch. Everything is piling up. You desperately yearn to be back in your home. A place you have complete control over. Sit down, watch TV, and forget about the day.

But it doesn’t stop there. You drop your keys when you go to unlock the door. The mail falls out of the mailbox and scatters across the ground. The Internet is out and it’s too damn hot in the apartment. Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you (though I don’t know anyone who has ever eaten a bear, which doesn’t bode well for, well, any of us).

But how much of the day is really that bad? That one tiny event at the beginning of the day dictated our mindset from the outset. We were looking for the bad and annoying things. Most of the days setbacks were mild inconveniences at most and would typically be disregarded as a nothing moment. Surely there was some humor to be derived from the inane subway conversation. Bushes sometimes snag clothing, nothing to get upset about. But the mind sees what it wants. The days where things seem like they are piling on are just like any other day, we just choose to seek out the bad.

Unless, of course, you decide to reheat some pulled pork on the stovetop and as you are shifting it around to cook, some pork comes up with the spatula, falls off, and lands right in the hole in your sock. You bend over to pick the pork off of your big toe, leaving behind a BBQ saucy smear on the nail and think, “I was wrong, this really is one of those days.”

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Brief Thought On Look-a-Likes (A Parenthetical Journey)

It began slowly, with my aunt. But since I moved to Boston, it’s been happening more. The gaps between occurrences are shortening the longer I’ve lived here. What is it? The numbers of people who tell me I look like Seth Rogen. In fact, a friend of a friend started conversation with the question, “All right, let’s get it out of the way. What is it that people usually ask you?” I said it was either my great, big, bushy beard (a three month project at this point), or if I realize I look like Seth Rogen. His question regarded the latter.

?? ??
When my aunt brought it up to me, it was funny because she had just seen Knocked Up and kept seeing me instead of the character. And I couldn’t deny a certain resemblance, especially with my hair a bit longer. But the more it happens the less I’m inclined to agree, but since it happens more, people must be seeing it more. Maybe it has to do with being around people that haven’t known me very long or the fact that Rogen’s exposure has risen considerably since his pre-Knocked Up days. I don’t take offense to it. There are worse people to look similar to (and it’s tough to say who looks like who since we’re essentially the same age) and at least he’s funny (though some would debate that).

At least I don’t get anyone mistaking me for him. I have a friend who upon our first meeting, my first thought was, “he looks exactly like Dominic Monaghan.” And someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember a story of mistaken identity regarding the two (him for Monaghan, I doubt that Monaghan would know what was going on if it was the other way around). Another friend of mine looks and acts remarkable like Jeremy Davies (another Lost cast member, maybe they all have doppelgangers).

We all notice when someone looks like a celebrity. I’ll die believing that musician Johnathan Rice (currently dating Jenny Lewis and opened for her band Rilo Kiley… nepotism much?) is the spitting image of a young David Gilmour (Pink Floyd for the philistines). This was confirmed by the out-of-place, middle-aged gentleman standing next to me (he would know, he was alive when Pink Floyd was huge). But we notice it with friends and acquaintances and all sorts of other people who have made some impression in out lives. Each time I’ve moved from one place to another (which is exactly what happens when one moves anywhere), I see familiar visages that would be impossible to belong to someone I know. After all, I left that person behind.

How are there so many people that look alike? Are there really that few human designs out there? If you believe in God, do you blame him for running out of ideas? How can two completely different couples create essentially the same physical being (and sometimes with the same voice or the same gestures)? If we switched these couples, would the children still look the same?

I know what you are all thinking. That this little essay is about to stray down a Freudian path discussing the Uncanny and Doppelgangers and that if you meet your Doppelganger, you will die. Well, you’re wrong. Because I’m not nearly intelligent enough to do that. But given that doubles (triples? quadruples?) seem to be out there for us all, at the very least, if we don’t get rich and famous, maybe our look-a-like can, and we can share their glory, if only a little.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Movie Trailers

Creating a movie trailer is an art, and sadly, a neglected art. These days, trailers give away nearly the entire film. We know the end before we see it. Part of that has to do with genre conventions (where the audience knowledgeable enough regarding the genre to know what to expect), but a lot has to do with the content of the trailers. It makes sense from an advertising perspective to show the funniest, most titillating, and eye-catching images in a trailer, but in film, those are generally the very things that should remain a surprise.

Take the trailer for The Uninvited (a somewhat tricky example since it’s a remake of the phenomenal A Tale of Two Sisters, but I’m confident that most haven’t seen that Korean film): it shows clips from a majority of the scared in the film. A hand reaches out and grabs someone from under a sink or cupboard. A bizarre-looking humanoid figure with its spine protruding moves in a slinky, disturbing manner. These images have a lot of power, but not nearly as much when the audience is thinking, “here comes the hand!”

A recent trailer that I think is fantastic is the one for Taken. It gives away very little of the story, focusing mainly on the plot and what the audience can anticipate on seeing. The use of a single scene in the film is highly effective, especially with Liam Neeson sounding so badass. It still has some of the pitfalls of other trailers, but it hooks you and amps up the mystery. I want to know how this story is going to play out.

Trailers take away a huge part of the cinematic experience. The studios don’t care because their main goal is to get people in the seats for the opening weekend, but we should care. I mentioned in a previous post about going to see a movie knowing nothing about it. I did that when I was in England with my cousin and we went to see The Descent on a whim. I had seen a few still online from it, but that was all. The film was a complete adventure for us. No preconceived notions or biases. That kind of purity is rare (and unprofitable).

However, audiences need to be aware of what’s coming out. They are spending their money and want to know that the experience will be worth it. All right. Fine. Then there needs to be some sort of meeting in the middle, and I have just the thing: substitute teaser trailers for the current model. This way, the audience can get to know the tone of the movie, perhaps get introduced to some characters, and have an idea of the quality of the film. A recent example of a great teaser comes from the bastion of all that is good in cinema, Pixar, with The Incredibles. Everything we need to know about the film is contained in this very funny teaser.

Of course, the king of trailers is Alfred Hitchcock. Much like his films, the trailers are imbued with a wicked sense of humor. His trailers for Psycho and The Birds are works of pure genius. His juxtaposition of the horrific with the comedic is inspired. Again, everything you need to know without giving away any of the surprises. Of course, Hitchcock was a master showman and understood the audience perhaps better than any other director in film history. But if he were to be taken as an example, we would all be better off.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Up the Creek (A Familiar Argument)

We’ve all heard the phrase “up shit creek without a paddle.” And to be clear, the phrase doesn’t refer to a creek named “Shit,” but a flowing stream of shit, instead. This is a pretty important distinction to make, as I will discuss. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get people to come to my point of view on this topic. So what do you do when no one agrees with your argument? Talk louder! No… not really. Air it on the Internet to see if a new audience will support you.

The crux of the argument is that if you remove the adjective “shit” from the phrase, then it loses all meaning. If you are up shit creek without a paddle, then you are truly screwed. However, if you are a the creek without a paddle, you have options!

If I’m floating along in a creek filled with water, I just may bend over the side and paddle with my hand. At least paddle to get me to the shore if I don’t want to fight the current. So my hand gets a little wet. Big deal! Or if things are a bit direr, I might just hop on out of the boat and swim to shore. A bit of water is not stopping me from saving myself. Even Garfield swam to shore when he was stuck on the haunted island in his Halloween special (ok… so Odie had to save him and swim him to shore, but he tried).

So, the water… not such a big deal. And don’t tell me that it could have alligators or piranhas or anything like that in it. The phrase doesn’t mention them, so they aren’t there. It’s not “up alligator creek without a paddle.”

On the other hand, I have seen being covered in shit played for comedy (Slumdog Millionaire) and for shock (Salo, which does far more than cover people in shit), and let me tell you, neither seems fun. In fact, there is just about nothing that will get me to touch the flowing river of feces, let alone get in it to try to save myself. And I’d rather not think about what the smell would be like. I can picture myself laying on the bottom of the boat until I whither away to nothing rather than come face-to-face with that wretched river.

And that’s my point. On the one hand, you have a minor inconvenience that may get you a little wet. Who hasn’t been caught in the rain without an umbrella? It’s something that you can and have dealt with. On the other hand, you have a debilitating problem that will take a lot of brainpower and gumption to solve. The next time someone tell you that you’ll be “up the creek...,” you just tell them, “thanks for the warning, but I could use a nice swim” and walk away knowing that trouble is not in your future.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Football American-Style

I don’t have much of a relationship with football. I played for nine or ten years when I was younger, but I don’t really care about the sport much these days. There are teams I like (the Eagles, mostly because I like Philadelphia and the fans are funny) and teams I don’t (the Steelers, mostly because I’ve been around loud Steelers fans for much of my life – the fact that I’m from Pennsylvania has little to do with the teams I chose as examples). I watch games to be able to converse with friends, but I don’t know all of the players’ names.

I’ve always been a baseball fan (and being a fan of the two sports is not mutually exclusive, by any means). The reason I bring that up here is because baseball has been undergoing a very interesting statistical revolution. Many of the older baseball writers are reluctant to acknowledge the usefulness of these new statistics, but they are slowly taking hold. As someone who is very interested in the new statistical movement, my mind has been altered to think about sports differently in general.

So, to the point. I think I have finally pinpointed the reason that I can’t give myself over to football. Every other major sport has teams play series of games between teams to establish some sort of hierarchy. Of course, baseball, having 162 games a year, has the highest number of divisional games between teams (18). Football, on the other hand, practices “fun with small sample sizes” (a personal favorite phrase of mine). The nature of the game only allows for one or two games to be played between teams and it’s an unbalanced schedule (this goes for college and professional). How can there be any decisiveness in rankings when there is always a 50% chance of a win or a loss (and yes, taken individually, baseball games are also 50/50, but throughout the season, it becomes apparent that one team is better than another and the records show it, skewing the percentage [unless the teams split, then they are evenly matched]).

It should be no surprise that a 9-7 team (Arizona) has sneaked into the playoffs. There are just too many factors that go into a game for it to be a decisive outcome. In theory, the lose of the game could be projected to win 99 out of 100 contests between the teams, but if that one loss is the first game, then that is the only one that matters because it’s the only one that will get played. This problem is magnified in college football, where it’s not structured like the NFL. That one loss could, and usually does, ruin a team’s chance for a championship bid. It’s this sort of ambiguity that puts me off any real rooting interest in the sport. It’s bad enough to get beaten, but to know there isn’t a chance to show that you are the better team is even worse.

I’m willing to acknowledge that the very thing that I don’t like about football is also the thing that many people love. It offers the chance to debate who really deserved to be in the playoffs or should have had a chance at the championship. Since it’s unanswerable, the debate can continue forever. It gets the fans involved in the history of the game. Regardless, I think there is one thing we can all agree on: the 2008-2009 Detroit Lions sucked!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cars (and I don’t mean the Pixar film)

When I was in high school, I lived about four blocks from the school. If you were to walk to the corner about 50 feet from my house and looked down the street, you would be able to see my school. My hometown is about two square miles. Yet for some reason, I felt the need to drive to school every day. I would drive to all of my friends’ houses. Obviously, this is completely ridiculous, but I was young and excited to have a driver’s license.

Having been without a car and in a city (Boston) for nearly two years, I find that that is one of my biggest regrets in life. I find I value riding my bike and walking a great deal more these days. In a city, walking slows life down and allows me time to think, whereas riding my bike is nearly as fast as driving and much faster than the subway. My relationship with cars is much like my relationship with cell phones: can be useful, but I kind of hate them. But how necessary are cars, at least in a city?

I ask, because it’s been one week since our last significant snow and two weeks since the one before that. Outside of my apartment alone, there are at least three cars that have yet to be dug out, with many more around the neighborhood. Some of these date back a fortnight (sorry, had to use it). Aside from showing how lazy the owners are, it also shows how unnecessary the cars are for them.

Far be it for me to tell people what to do with their money, but if these people don’t need their cars when the weather is at its worst, then why bother paying the insurance, parking, upkeep, etc (I recognize that this is a college area and many parents are probably paying that stuff, but the point remains)? The car is a mild convenience and a huge burden on whomever may be paying for it. And as far as mild convenience goes, Boston offers the Zipcar, which is a rental for however long you want it and much cheaper than the yearly costs of a personal car.

If people really thought about it, I think they would realize how little they need a car. If each of the snow-covered cars were taken off the road, there would be more parking available, less fuel consumption, and more money in the owners’ pockets. When confronted with the choice of hopping into a car a zooming off someplace or walking/waiting for the subway, many will choose the car for the perceived convenience.

Sadly, Americans love their cars. After all, what is at the core of American Graffiti? It’s all about cruising the streets. Car culture runs deep. It’s deeply ingrained and is going nowhere. What’s sad is that there are some simple solutions to some big problems in the world that take slight (apparent) sacrifices. I, for one, hope to put off owning a car for as long as possible. I may have been irresponsible in my younger days, but it’s not too late to make up for it.

Now, if someone could just help me down off of my soapbox…

Friday, January 23, 2009

Print Media and the Internet

I should preface this by saying I have done zero research on this subject and am operating solely on hunch. Feel free to judge harshly and criticize openly if there are any holes to be found in my logic. And excuse the somewhat poor writing of the piece. It was largely stream-of-consciousness.

The print media industry is nearing a crossroads. Newspapers and magazines are becoming obsolete in the face of the Internet (I’m sure some would argue they are already obsolete). There’s a pretty simple crux to the issue: why pay for information that you can get for free online? With growing numbers of people using the Internet as their main source of information (not to mention the number of 24 hour news channels on TV), there isn’t the need to subscribe to anything. By the time a magazine or the newspaper gets to you, the news is practically ancient history.

As a result, many in the industry are losing their jobs. Articles are being pulled from wire services and some more “frivolous” areas are being covered by fewer everyday, like film critics. Part of this issue won’t be solved easily. Those who cover news are safer than those who traffic in opinion. The Internet is, after all, the place where anyone can espouse his or her mind candy.

Here is what my (possibly not-so) educated guess as to what will happen. People will continue losing jobs until a few things happen. The powers-that-be must forego tradition and accept that print media is dying. Of course, not everyone has access to the Internet on a regular basis, but this too shall change. It won’t be economically viable to continue printing for a continually smaller volume of people. One mustn’t be afraid to step on a few toes to stay afloat (is that a mixed metaphor?) Lots of money will be saved on supplies, utilities, and all the other jazz that I’m not entirely familiar with all that goes on in a printing factory.

The Internet can no longer be free. Already, many sites are subscription based (and not just pornographic sites). Subscribers to magazines will have no issue paying for it online. In fact, being online only allows for daily updates and interactive content unavailable in magazine or newspaper form. And there will be no need for the typical pre-issue crunch times to get everything together.

The big issue is all of the successful non-subscription sites out there. They make most of their money off of ads. With the big names in publishing finally embracing the Internet, the question that remains is will advertising revenue be enough for these sites to compete? Especially if they continue to grow. It may not even matter in the end. Free papers and subscription-based papers have co-existed before. Part of the price of subscribing to something is to have access to great writers.

Anyway, once the transition is made, I believe that the former print media will find they have extra cash lying around and be able to hire back people who have been let go or hire people to fill those positions. People want to read well-written, thoughtful pieces. The shakeups in the industry are due to the transition (I guess I can’t write-off the economy, either). There will be an upsurge in the near future. It’s not the content people don’t want, it’s the vessel carrying it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hypocrisy, Cognitive Dissonance, and Me

This topic could probably fill a composition notebook with my introspection alone. I’d rather not think about how much more others who have to deal with me every day could add to it. Since it’s such a vast subject, I’m only going to discuss it mostly in regards to something I do nearly every day: walking.

I have such an incredibly low tolerance for inconvenience while walking. Part of this stems from the fact that I walk much faster than most people (a secret source of pride when I’m walking alone and I’m told walking fast is good for the heart). I’m also bizarrely competitive when it comes to having people a few feet in front of me. The thought that they may eventual become an obstacle for me to overcome drives me not to want, but to need to pass them. God forbid there is a group of people stretching across the entire sidewalk. Needless to say, I’m not the cheeriest looking person while walking alone (especially looking as gruff as I do now).

Given my state while walking, one can imagine my reaction to people not paying attention to what they are doing. Cell phones (items I kind of hate in general) and iPods draw my ire instantly if I catch a person staring down out them instead of watching where they are heading. My biggest pet peeve is when people don’t understand that they should walk on the sidewalk like they would drive on the street: keep to the right. It just makes things simpler. That way, us speedy types don’t have to slalom through a see of distracted pedestrians. And don’t get me started on having to walk behind people who swerve all over the place

Of course, I’m really no different than any of these people. I catch myself on the phone (damn it for its usefulness!!!). I’m always checking song titles and if I’ve rated a song on my iPod. Hell, I even slip up and end up walking in the middle to left side of the sidewalk (I try my best to us the seams in the sidewalk to guide me on a straight and true path). So clearly, I’m a hypocrite. How can I get so annoyed at people for doing stuff that I routinely do as well???

Here’s where the cognitive dissonance helps. Unlike everyone else (bust out your sarcasm detectors),I have reasons to break my own rules. Since I’m walking fast, I must be in a hurry and don’t have time to pull off to the side to talk on the phone, or worse, send a text message. If I’m on the wrong side of the road, clearly I was over there because I had to make an adjustment at some point. No one else on the sidewalk could possibly have a reason to be (unconsciously and unknowingly) inconveniencing me.

Fortunately, I’m not alone. Everyone is a hypocrite and everyone needs a little cognitive dissonance to get by. We all know that we wouldn’t normally act against our normal principles unless we had a really good reason. Cognitive dissonance helps to keep the world running. As someone who values efficiency, I can’t argue that it’s more efficient to walk and talk than to walk then talk, or vice versa. So everyone, keep doing as you do and ignore the surly redhead zipping by you muttering profanities under his breathe. He’s just coming to terms with his conflicted mind.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blind Buying

Even in this era of Netflix, iTunes, and BitTorrent, I have a compulsion to purchase CDs and DVDs without having heard/seen them before. Part of it stems from my desire to own hard copies with the packaging, but mostly, it’s because I can’t say “no” to a good deal. In fact, I rarely pay more than ten dollars for a DVD, with the exception of Criterion releases (for some reason, CDs are still more expensive than DVDs even though they have less content. Perhaps that shall be discussed in a future post). But why do I feel the need to buy something that I can just as easily and cheapily (if that’s a word, and it’s not) get without risk? After all, I have a Netflix account and have obtained music by nefarious means in the past.

Generally, I have an idea of what I’m getting myself in for. I don’t blind buy something that I’ve never heard of or haven’t already developed a reputation in my mind. Occasionally, I let gift-giver assume the risk for me, but given my propensity for buying on whim, that’s a low percentage of the time. Part of it is the excitement of the unknown and discovery. Sure, you can discover something by downloading it, but there is more cache to having the hardcopy. Somehow, it makes you seem like a real fan. I won’t lie, it’s an ego booster if the blind buy turns out to be a winner. Plus, if it is really good, the middleman is eliminated. Really, it’s a time saver. I won’t have to go out to get it, let alone remember to get it.

To put the excitement in other terms, it’s like going to a movie that you know nothing about. You haven’t seen any trailers or advertisements. The plot is a mystery. The only information you have is the title and the genre (or a vague idea of the genre). It’s getting harder to experience this, these days, but it happens. You’re financially invested in something that is a complete mystery. If the film is exceptional, you feel like you’ve won the lottery. That’s what blind buying can be like.

If you know what you like, then it really isn’t all that much of a risk. Of course, there are exceptions. As a horror fan, I know I should like, nay, love the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but I don’t. I actually hate it. A lot. So that’s the risk of the blind buy. Wasting money. I know, it’s a shocking revelation. But this brings me to the real reason I’m discussing blind buys: are we inclined to like something more since we bought it?

Certainly, there is a vested interest in liking it. We want our investment to pay off (and for our pride to not take a hit). I know there are movies I own that I act like I like more than I actually do. Again, some are genre films I’m “supposed” to like which I think I just need to watch again. But others are movies I have no interest in either way after buying them. The feeling is multiplied with the Criterion DVDs because I spent a lot more for them. Yet, I find myself looking for reasons to like the films instead of at the obvious reasons for dismissing them.

There’s another side to the story here. While I may justify my purchases to myself, I am more likely to listen to or watch the CD/DVD (mostly with CDs) again to solidify my opinion. Again, it’s obvious but not often thought about, but you notice more the more you experience something. And usually, especially with music, it grows on me (unless the off-putting element is something big like the singers voice). What starts as trying to rationalize a misguided purchase frequently turns into a valuable discovery that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t made the initial financial investment.

Then again, maybe I’m still trying to save face.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

... in 3D

Until recently, I was completely opposed to the use of 3D in narrative cinema. I failed to see the use of something that, by it’s very nature, takes the viewer out of the film. My opinion was changed slightly with the release of My Bloody Valentine 3D. Finally, I realized exactly what 3D technology was good for: mindless fun.

I am an unapologetic supporter of cheesy horror movies. Getting a group of friends together for a schlocky horror marathon and drinks is a recipe for great times. 3D is perfect for these types of films, especially of the slasher variety since objects are continually being thrust at and into people (a professor of mine once said that pornography was the ideal genre for 3D effects, but really, slasher films are just porn with a different bodily fluid).

My Bloody Valentine 3D is a terrible film. I wouldn’t even go as far as saying it’s bad in a good way. But 3D is the only way to see it. Valentine is elevated from a standard slasher to an event to be seen with a large crowd. It’s not often one goes to a movie where the audience screams and jumps, not the normal scare flinches, but real bodily convulsions. The audience is a part of the experience.

However, there are a few problems with the 3D technology. It changes the way filmmakers have to frame action, something I’m not sure they realize yet if my small sample size of one movie is any indication. 3D effects work best when an object is shooting from the center of the screen because the edges of the frame don’t get in the way. Several times in Valentine, the frame cuts off part of the image, so instead of it popping out of the screen, it looks like the audience is peering down a tunnel from a distance. Hardly effective at making us flinch.

Another issue is the brightness of the image. Something needs to be done during filming or at the theater to bump up the brightness of the image. Certainly a brighter bulb could be used in the projector. The problem lies in the lenses of the glasses. It’s essentially like wearing sunglasses in the theater; so dark scenes are nearly unseeable.

And speaking of the glasses, my research (which consists of my opinion and asking the two people I saw the film with) shows that the glasses and the 3D effects mess with your eyes. While mine didn’t go crossed, it sure felt like they were trying. Feeling like that for an hour and a half is less than ideal.

So, even though there are several directors interested in making 3D films (including big-namers like James Cameron), I don’t see it altering the futures of films. Lord knows that people have tried before, interestingly, nearly always in the horror genre. The technology is simply not designed to maintain any sort of investment in films other than the thrill of stuff popping out at you. This works in horror (see slasher films again) because no one really cares about the people in the film. The audience wants over the top carnage. There is no reality.

Of course, I could just be another person underestimating the possibilities of technology like all of the sound and color naysayers from back in the day. At the very least, I’m now on the record for future generations to mock.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Flying Solo

I went to a concert last night by myself (Department of Eagles, for the curious types). It was the first time that I’ve gone to a concert sans company. Typically, I’m the guy who has to scramble around last minute trying to find people to go to a show with me because I bought extra tickets even though I hadn’t gotten guarantees of interest pre-purchase. As it turns out, I had a pretty great time and it got me thinking about the typical perception of the person who goes to concerts (or movies, or any public leisure activity) alone. I know I’ve been on the other side, thinking it to be kind of sad that someone couldn’t find friends to go to a show with. This line of thinking is pretty unfair and reductive, and I’m going to try to put a stop to it (at least for myself) both in action and thought.

Before I knew anyone when I moved to Boston, I began going to films alone and really enjoyed it. I never had to confer with anyone’s opinion on what to see. I didn’t have to wait for someone to get ready. It was my schedule and my time. Transferring this thought process to concerts never occurred to me (though the events are inherently different, what with concerts being a one-and-done occasion). Going to a concert alone was out of the question. I missed concerts by some of my favorite bands that I’m kicking myself about now. All this because friends, understandably, didn’t want to pay to see a band they didn’t care about. Now I sit around checking to see when they will appear in Boston again only to see they are touring in Australia for the next two months.

It’s silly that more people don’t go to concerts alone. What’s the worst that will happen? The show will be bad (in that case, it would have been bad regardless of company) or there won’t be anyone to talk to about the show. Plus, I’ve had shows ruined for me because the people I was with didn’t want to be there to begin with. I would have been better off alone. The more social types have no trouble striking up a conversation with someone, especially since there is already a point of mutual interest. For the more socially reserved (like myself), there’s the fun of people watching to go along with the show (that is, if you ignore the feeling that everyone is staring at the weird, friendless person, because they aren’t).

The opening band for Department of Eagles was very good. I immediately bought their CD after the set (the band’s name is Here We Go Magic). They were playing their second show ever, and had I not gone alone, I’d never know anything about the band (given that they are opening for an already obscure side project of another band). Immediately, I started thinking about all the missed opportunities of discovery because I was too timid to show up to a concert alone. No more. Flying solo may not be ideal, but neither is regret.