Saturday, March 8, 2014

Muse dream with a Mozart ending (Warning: adult language)

I was sleeping in my dorm room. I awakened to the sound of someone getting in bed next to me. I could've pretended to stay asleep, but I wanted to know who was here and why. I turned and saw that it was Beth, one of my best friends from college. She and my senior year college roommate, Jennifer, were coming back from some kind of gathering. Then I remembered--it was Jennifer's birthday and I'd missed her party. But I was sick and hadn't been feeling well, hence my being in bed. It was dark outside and I tried to read the alarm clock. I think it said it was 5:30 in the morning. They had been partying hard, and they weren't done yet. Apparently they were just taking a break, and were returning shortly to play some kind of game. I was feeling better (and also feeling left out) and wanted to help celebrate Jennifer's birthday. So I asked what kind of game they were playing. They explained, and I decided to join them.

The game was being played in a large symphony hall with the usual slanted floors that went lower as you got to the stage. It involved using controllers that looked and felt just like real guitars. Apparently the game was kind of like Guitar Hero but with an actual band and orchestra on stage. The band on stage was Muse, much to my delight. A lot of my friends were there, including Julia, another best friend. Most of the players were in the audience (or maybe they were just spectators?) but for some reason I was on stage in front of the orchestra, stage right. I was being silly and dancing around like some rock guitarists do. It caught the attention of Matt (Muse's guitarist) and he smiled at me. This made me happy to no end, and I gyrated more with my guitar controller.

At one point, Matt and Dom (Muse's drummer; but if you know me at all, you already knew that) were yelling out something about someone named "Grace." They were doing it in time to the music and it was pretty funny. Julia, who is a relatively new Muse fan, asked me "Who's Grace?" She was pretty far away from me so I mouthed to her "She's a fan of the band." She couldn't understand me, so I mouthed it again. I didn't want to actually yell it because the music was very loud.

When the game was over, I didn't want to leave. I also wanted an excuse to get near the band and ask them where they were hanging out after they were done with this (apparently they were rehearsing with the orchestra for something). Morgan, the guy the band hires to play with them when they tour, was stage right (which is odd because in real life, he's always stage left), sitting at an upright piano (what, no grand?!). I noticed someone's guitar controller on the floor and saw my chance. I picked up the white guitar with black control knobs and looked for a stage hand to give it to. I found one, and mentioned that I found it and thought I should turn it in. The guy took it, and now was my chance because I was only a few steps away from Morgan. I screwed up my courage, and just then the conductor of the orchestra spotted me.

The conductor stopped the rehearsal and called me out. He yelled at me, saying that I was disrupting the rehearsal and bothering the band members. He humiliated me in front of my peers in the audience, the orchestra (which included colleagues of mine), and my favorite band on the planet. I turned to see Morgan looking right at me, a mix of anger and pity on his face.

I'd had it. The conductor was completely out of line and blew things way out of proportion. I stormed to the front of the stage, turned to the conductor, and yelled at the top of my lungs "You...are an asshole!" The audience met my outburst with rousing applause. I bowed graciously, then exited stage right. They continued applauding as I walked up the center aisle of the auditorium. Once I got to the top (the entrance to the hall), I had a wonderful idea. I swung open the doors, leaned over, and stuck my butt out toward the direction of everyone on stage, a la Mozart in the film Amadeus. I think I also shook my butt a bit for good measure. I was met with more applause as I left the hall.

Once outside the hall, I saw people seated around the area. I told several groups of them what had happened as I walked by and they all met me with smiles and pats on the back. I felt vindicated, and it felt good.

The End.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Kids, The Best Audience

My friend Lori asked me if I would visit the school where she teaches and tell the kids about what I do. They had several visitors throughout the month and each person did something to help the community. Lori wanted to include someone who wasn't exactly a policeman or fireman or doctor, but who still helped the community. I thought it was a great idea and I was free during the times that they wanted visitors, so I made my way to Ridge View Elementary School one Tuesday morning.

First things first: I am not a morning person. Add to that the fact that, on Tuesdays, I don't have anywhere to be until 2:00. So it was kind of a big deal that I was getting up early enough to be somewhere 45 minutes away at 9:30 am. It's good for me to get out in the community and spread the joy of music, so it was worth it. Also, the kids were super adorable so that helped make it worthwhile, too.

The drive was a pleasant one, and I found the school easily. I was buzzed in. I checked in on the computer, stuck my badge (sticker) on my shirt, and then followed Lori to the classroom. I would be talking to mostly kindergartners but also a 4th grade music class.

I told them that I teach college, perform around the community, and teach privately. I played lots of tunes for them. It was so cute because, when it was time for questions, most kids who raised their hands didn't have a question--they wanted to request a song. Also, some of them just wanted to tell me random facts about their lives.  A couple of the kids told me that they played guitar. I just kind of went "...all right...that's great! Any other questions?"

Some of the requested tunes: the Alphabet Song, Twinkle Twinkle, Baa Baa Black Sheep (and yes, all three of those use the same tune), several songs I didn't know including What Does the Fox Say (*groan*), Wagner's Bridal Chorus (since I play weddings), Mary Had a Little Lamb, Jingle Bells, and the Twelve Days of Christmas. I agreed to play Jingle Bells but I put my foot down when the Twelve Days came up. It's freakin' February, people!

The kids were well-behaved at the beginning but I think they got a little restless toward the end. Still, they were pretty much as attentive as I would expect kindergartners to be. And they sang along with several of the songs I played, including Rocky Top (you know I had to play that one).

After several requests for things I'd already played, Lori intervened and said "Okay, only raise your hand if you have a question to ask Miss Robyn." Some of the questions were good, like why was I wearing all black (I wore my concert black), when did I start playing, and why was the viola bigger than the violin. The cutest part is that some of them would raise their hand, wait patiently to be called on, and then just stare at me in silence when I actually called on them. Oh, and I got a good chuckle when I called on a boy by saying "Yes, in the purple shirt" and he looked down to see if he was indeed wearing a purple shirt.

All in all it was a fun time. They clapped enthusiastically after every tune I played (I wish all my audiences were like that) and one kid even shouted out "Bravo! Bravo!" a few times. It was great when the kids sang along, and I'm hoping that some of them go home and ask their parents/guardians if they can start violin or viola lessons.

Do you remember any of the visitors that came to your school when you were little? Who was your favorite?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dream: Aliens take over, but at least they like Eminem.

I was typing up this dream recollection as a status update on Facebook. But I kept remembering more and more details, and it was getting way too long. So here you go.

I dreamt that the world was taken over by an oppressive alien force. We were herded like cattle into a large meeting hall. On the floor, I found a couple of large coins. I thought they were silver dollars, but there were actually too big. There was the image of some alien ruler on one side, and some worshipful sayings were engraved on both side. I noticed that part of the coin was hollow and transparent. The large hall was decorated with sayings and more images of (what I guess were) alien leaders. I held up the transparent part of the coin and looked through it at an empty space on one of the walls inbetween some sayings and leaders' images. That's when I discovered that there were hidden messages on the walls. I found two separate ones, and I guessed that they were messages from a previously oppressed people on how to survive and/or overthrow the new government.

I'm not sure how we got the message but we were all instructed to wear tall boots to the meeting hall. A lot of people either didn't get the message or couldn't/wouldn't comply. I followed the instructions and put some knee-high leather boots on. Everyone was lined up and we stood and waited to go through some kind of processing center. While we waited, a bunch of ducks came into the room and starting nipping at our heels and biting people. That's when I realized why we were instructed to wear the boots. While other people were attacked and mangled, I was simply annoyed.

When my turn came up to enter the processing center, I was a little confused as to which window to go to. Someone was calling the name "Annabelle" and I wasn't sure if that was my name or not--I had found some credentials at some point and was carrying the papers with me. Either I was instructed to take on this new identity or I had decided to on my own. So I scrambled to find the papers as the alien (who, if I remember correctly, was humanoid and didn't look too other-worldly) continued to call out for Annabelle and looked at me questioningly. The name on the papers was something like "Abbe Abhe." I decided that perhaps "Abbe" was short for Annabelle and I walked up to the window. I explained to the alien that I was used to being called "Abbe" and was confused when I heard "Annabelle." Next I was at an empty window, looking at some large, paper-towel-roll-looking things at an alien desk. I picked up one of the rolls and there was some cool sound effect as a coffee pot was revealed to me. I suddenly realized that I shouldn't be messing with the aliens' stuff so I quickly put the roll back. Next we were informed about our new lives: clothing, curfew, and whatnot. Then we were taken to our new homes (men were to live on one side of town, women on the other) in large vans.

Before we got into the vans, we were standing outside, enjoying what we thought might be our last moments of freedom. I walked up some steps, barefoot in the snow (they took my boots for some reason, and I think some of my clothes, too). The snow wasn't as cold as I was expecting it to be. There was music playing, though I'm not sure where it was coming from. It was Eminem, and the musical sample that was played over and over was taken from a video game I play called My Singing Monsters. I was bouncing up and down and dancing with this guy as we ascended the stairs to the street. "At least we still have music," I noted.

In the vans there were cartoon instructional videos playing on small TV screens. The first scene was about how to treat a paper cut. It showed the scenario and then asked how we should handle it. The narrator asked "What would you do if, after a few days, the cut was worse?" and "What would you do if, after one day, the cut was the same?" The dark-haired cartoon woman was shown peeling off her bandaid to reveal a worse cut, and then a cut that was the same. One of the choices for how to treat the cut was "Bite it and die." The woman was seated in a bathroom. She removed the bandage from her knee (who gets a paper cut on their knee?), bent over, and began to feast on the wound.

The next thing I remember is being in a dormitory which also had classrooms. I knew there had been exams going on earlier that day. I was poking my head in the classrooms, seeing what they looked like post-exams. There were mannequins in the seats (or perhaps they were eerie, petrified students?) and they each had sheets of paper in front of them with problems scribbled from the board. I looked at one student's sheet and was deciding if their answer was correct or not.

Next I was in my dorm room. It was a small, square room with plain white walls and no decorations. I don't think there was any furniture either. For some reason all of the clothes I'd been wearing had been taken. It was early in the morning (I knew this because it was still dark outside, but I'd apparently been asleep for a while). I wondered if the classroom across the hall from me was empty. I don't know why I wanted to get in it, but for some reason I did. I guessed that, because of the hour, the room would be abandoned and no one would see me in my birthday suit. Also of note: I didn't have my glasses on and I'm very nearsighted. So I tiptoed across the hall. I gently opened the door and squinted as I looked around, trying to see what was in there. Then I noticed light coming from a lamp to my right and a blurry figure that might have been a person. I gasped softly and made my way back out as quickly but quietly as I could.

Later on in my dorm room, which was suddenly the size of a decent apartment, I was with my friend Kady and we were talking about something. We were both clothed, thankfully! Kady tried to open the blinds by turning some kind of knob on the wall near the top of the window. I went "Are you trying to do this?" and grabbed the stick you use to open and close blinds. As I turned it, the vertical blinds in the middle opened (there were also some horizontal blinds on the sides) and she went "Yes!"

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I couldn't make this stuff up, y'all. I'm a decent writer but I'm not that creative! What's the weirdest dream you've ever had?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Perfect Timing

So, I've had a standing date with Wil Wheaton every Wednesday for a couple of months. No, not the real Wil Wheaton (I wish!). But his voice. I have a 90-minute commute on Wednesday nights for work (90 minutes there and 90 minutes back, 4 hours later) and although I have plenty of CDs I could listen to, I figured music would get old after a while. So I decided I'd listen to audiobooks. Now, which ones to listen to? I went through my iTunes folders and found a couple of Wil Wheaton audiobooks. I purchased them a while ago but then my iPod bit the dust and I kind of forgot about them. Anyway, I absolutely adore Wil (he was my first celeb crush EVAR), so it made perfect sense to start my weekly treks (har har) with his books before moving on to other items on my to-read list (the Harry Potter series is next).

I started with the audiobook for Just A Geek, which is the first of Wil's books I ever owned (thanks to my beloved brother for buying it for me all those years ago!). It took several weeks to get through the whole thing, as I expected. I had to stop and start it many times, and backtrack in some places. Like the time I had Winamp on shuffle for some reason and it jumped from like, chapter 3 to chapter 9.

I'd been worried that I'd finish the book mid-trip and not be able to switch to something else. I was listening via my tablet, which I'd plugged into the AUX port in my Jetta, so changing to another book while driving wasn't as easy as grabbing a new CD and switching it out for the current one. Thankfully I didn't have to worry about this at all. After listening to the FAQs and the interviews and the bloopers, the last track ended just as I pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex. It was the perfect end to a wonderful journey (Journey's End, BAM! Didn't even plan that one!). Sometimes it's the little things in life, like an audiobook synching up perfectly with my trip home, that make me smile. :)

What's made you smile this week?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why's everybody always pickin' on me?

Okay, time for another weird dream. For those of you who aren't Musers, Dom = drummer of Muse. Chris = bass player of Muse. Matt = lead singer and guitarist of Muse.

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I dreamt I was second row center for a private soundcheck for Muse. The first thing I remember though is being in a diner-type room with my mom. There were lots of different sodas to pick from. We were the only ones in the place; it's like it wasn't even open. It was in the backstage area of the soundcheck. I think I chose an orange soda.

Next I went to the soundcheck. For some reason Dom wasn't on the drums. The guy who was on drums wasn't playing them--he was playing a bass that wasn't plugged in. But someone was playing drums because I heard them during the song! And Chris was missing too--some other guy was in his place. At first I was talking to a roadie near the diner and asking where Dom was, saying he was my fave or something. The roadie walked away after a while and I was like "Hey, you're cute, too!" Too little, too late, haha! Then I was sitting down and Matt (a young Matt) was talking to us and having contests to win stuff. This guy behind me was harassing me. Like, a lot. Flicking snot on me, spitting on me. Finally Matt said I could move to the front row and that security could take that guy out. Then the guy tried to touch my face and I snapped at him. The security guy was like "Did he touch her again?" and everyone around me went "YES!" I went to get a drink from the diner and when I got back I decided to stay with my friends on the second row instead of taking Matt up on his invitation to sit on the front row. I also took my hair down. Unfortunately security hadn't taken the annoying guy away. I felt him pull my hair once I sat down but ignored him.

Next I remember being in a mall and looking all over for a water fountain. Once I finally found one I was told it was for employees only. I asked where a public one was and the guy didn't know. I asked if I could take a cup from the employee area and use it you get water elsewhere. He said no. I was like "What if I give you a dollar for it? I'm sure it cost like, 7 cents to make." He was like "I didn't pay for the cups." So I countered "Give it to your boss and he can give it to whoever buys the cups and they can handle it. I'm offering to pay you for a cup that no one is going to miss." It was getting ridiculous. I don't think I ever got the cup.

Next I was being harassed again, this time by three young white guys, maybe early college age. I think the water fountain guy sent them after me. Anyway, I thought Maybe if I just leave the mall, they'll leave me alone. But once I was outside they still bothered me. By this time I was starting to wake up so I had some control over the dream. I beat the guys up one at a time, taking the last guy's shoes. He said he wanted them back so I spit on the sole of one and offered it to him. This might have been the guy from soundcheck who spit on me.

They finally left me alone and then I was outside, in the dark, looking for my car. I hadn't come out of the mall where I entered; I was just trying to get away from those guys. As I wandered around the parking area I ran into this group of young black guys (3 or 4 of them). I asked if I could walk with them while I looked for my car, in case those other guys came back to bother me again. They said yes and then I started bragging about how I'd beaten up the guys. Then I woke up.

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Weird one, huh? And why was everybody after me?!?!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Dream: Meeting Chris Wolstenholme of Muse!

Okay, so I was in the bar of some restaurant (I'm assuming I was in Knoxville, my current place of residence). It was dimly lit and I was walking around looking for a place to sit. I looked up at one of the flat screen TVs to see Muse performing "Uprising" live on an awards show. Of course I geeked out a little on the inside. But then I turned to see the Wolstenbeast himself walking around the bar area. I went up to him and asked "If you're here, then who's playing bass [with the band]?" I thought he'd say "Morgan" but he said some name I didn't recognize. Apparently this instantly made us friends because he let me hang around him like a little puppy. We stood and talked a little bit and he also took pictures with a few other fans. Then I got my brother to take a picture of us with my camera. The other fans just kind of stood next to him but I pulled a Lisa "Bellamy" Smith :) and wrapped my arms around his neck. He was sweaty for some reason but I didn't care (okay, maybe I minded a little bit, but I got over it quickly because it was the WOLSTENBEAST). He leaned over a bit (he had to, or I wouldn't have been able to reach around his neck) and went "C'mon camera!" because my brother was having trouble taking the picture.

With the picture finally secured, we sat down at this table we'd been standing near. We talked about some other things, most of which I've forgotten now. But I know I confirmed that his and Dom's birthdays are in December and then asked him how old they were (even though I already knew all of this). I was remarking on how most of the bands I like have members way older than me or way younger, so I was glad I'm in the same age range as the members of Muse. I mentioned how I'd love to meet the rest of the band but they wouldn't be showing up here because the awards show was in a different city. Chris said "You should come to our show on Thursday." I asked where it was going to be, thinking he'd say Nashville or Atlanta. "Livin," he replied. [Those of you in real life know this is a fictional city; however, Dream Robyn knew that this was a city in the UK.] I was like "Chris, I can't afford to go all the way to the UK just to see you guys! I'm a poor teacher!!" Then I changed my tune and said something along the lines of "Unless I can be Dom's girlfriend and then he would probably pay my way...and then I'd definitely meet all the guys..." I don't remember Chris's response to that but soon after he had to go. I was thinking about asking if we could exchange phone numbers so we could text (I thought he might actually say yes), but I didn't get up the courage to do it. By this time my mouth had become full of some kind of white, crusty substance. I mean, literally, my mouth was full of it, and it was making it hard to talk. Oh yeah, and if I was talking to you, you could totally see the stuff. So of course Chris was all WTH and I'm trying to talk around it. But it just kept getting worse; it was like the more I talked the more stuff showed up. I quickly turned around and tried to spit a bunch of it out (gross, LOL) and then continue talking, but it didn't help much. Now Chris was walking away (he didn't even say goodbye) toward a back exit of some kind and I was chasing after him. He went through a set of swinging double doors (like he was entering the restaurant's kitchen) and I went through them as well. He had disappeared though. I yelled into the darkness of a long hallway "My name is Robyn, by the way!"

And that's how my dream ended. Oh, well. Chris was really nice up until that crusty stuff showed up. That's happened to me in dreams before but not in years. It was funny when I woke up but I was MAD in the dream!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Muse: Live at Olympic Stadium REVIEW

Since I don't own any official Muse tee shirts (yet) I donned my "#1 Dom Fan" shirt and headed to Franklin, TN (which is outside of Nashville).

First of all, I expected to see more people there. The show started at 8:00 and I got there at 7:15 in hopes of getting a good seat. When I walked in, there were four other people in the theater. The mother cheered "Yay, another Muse fan!" and I responded "Yay, Musers!" She said they'd been there since like, 5:00 because they expected a crowd, too. Eventually the theater filled up with more people. I'd say maybe 40-50 total?

Anyway, I chatted with the lady and the three younger people (I almost called them "kids" but I'm trying not to do that to every young person I see) for a while. They were at the Nashville show back in September like I was. They also saw the guys in Nashville a couple of years ago. When the woman asked me if I was there, I had to admit "I didn't know Muse existed then!" It feels like I've been a fan forever, but it's really only been a couple years.

Carmike designated the smallest theater with the smallest screen for the showing...losers. And the sound was not loud enough. Also, I couldn't tell you if it was in 4K or not. It looked really clear, but I have nothing to compare it to (haven't seen a movie in ages). Oh yeah, and I found out that tickets were only $8 when they first went on sale. When I bought my ticket Tuesday afternoon, it was $12.50. Not cool.

Okay, onto the show. Is there anything Morgan Nicholls can't do? He sang a lot (like in Madness--he's doing the "m-m-m-mad" part) and also played guitar, cabasa, drums, tambourine, and glockenspiel. And probably other things I didn't even see. I totally have a crush on that man sheerly because of his skills.

I finally know during which songs Dom comes out and plays drums on the thrust. I've asked several fans on their pictures and no one ever gets back to me. It's for Guiding Light and Undisclosed Desires.

I'm so glad (but also jealous) that they played Animals! I've never heard it live and it's one of my favorite songs. I thought the visuals were really cool, and the guy throwing money around was cool, too. But it was weird when he fell on the floor and pretended to be dead, and then Chris walked up and played Man with a Harmonica.* It was just awkward. I also wonder when the guy got up and left (of course they didn't show that).

During Guiding Light, an acrobat was dancing around while hanging from a light bulb. The dancing was awesome. The light bulb was a bit cheesy in my opinion. Oooh, Guiding Light bulb. *ba-dum-ching*

I was glad they did Feeling Good, but the dramatization with the lady drinking gasoline at the end seemed out of place. Was it supposed to be ironic?

After the first barrier run in Undisclosed Desires, Matt went under the stage and sang to the Animals man and the Feeling Good woman, who were lying in coffins propped up. Um...weird?

I looked for the infamous Lisa (Muser who's been to over 100 shows!) but I never spotted her. I've heard she made an appearance in Starlight, so I'll be sure to look for it when I get the DVD.

I totally didn't know that Matt used a 7-string guitar for Supremacy and Survival. Sooooo cool. Oh, and in Survival he sang the octave at the very end (the high note from the album)! I had to contain a squeal of delight...

Even though I saw it live in Nashville, it was still so awesome to see the armies of Matt, Chris, and Dom during Uprising. I wonder how long it took Tom Kirk to put all that together? Oh, and speaking of the visuals, seeing President Obama and the Pope dancing to Panic Station was great. I was cackling the whole time, as was the lady next to me.

Back to Morgan for a bit--he played several parts that I thought Matt would play. For example, the guitar in Starlight. At the end of Uprising, Matt handed his guitar to a stage hand and I expected him to get another one in return. When he didn't, I started wracking my brain trying to think what other songs there were where he doesn't play guitar (since they'd already done Undisclosed Desires and Follow Me). So when Starlight began, I was a little confused. I was thinking, "Are they not going to have guitar on it at all?"

I thought it was so cute at the end when Dom took pictures of the crowd with his iPhone. And that's my remembrance! Hope you enjoyed it.


*Does anyone else get bored during Man with a Harmonica? What is the big deal? Chris plays two whole notes. Whoop-de-doo. Am I missing something??