Friday, October 29, 2010

Sing! Dance! Howl?

This weekend (because I've made Mondays part of the weekend now) I was in Anaheim for one of the best shows: Shakira en concierto!
I had to drive my ass to Anaheim because La Loca is boycotting Arizona. Therefore I have the following:

Dear Governor Brewer,
I am sending this note along with a copy of two gas receipts for my recent trip to and from Anaheim, CA. I am requesting reimbursement in the total amount of $63.45 from you due to the fact that, had you not signed law SB1070 I would have walked from my place of work over to the Shakira concert instead of driving five hours each way. Thank you for your attention on this matter. Go Suns!

I've been wanting to attend a Shakira concert for years. Among the people I want to see in concert before I die (or worse, before they die) are Madonna, U2, Vicente Fernandez (who is playing in Los Angeles around my birthday if anyone wants to get me a kick-ass gift), and Eminem.
The day of the concert was, as always, stressful. Homework, e-mails, check-in at work, have lunch with bro, visit the new baby. Adding to this I forgot the shirt I was planning on wearing and the camera. I had to borrow a shirt but the camera was sad because now I have to depend on someone else to take a good picture of me (not easy). THEN we leave late. So late that the line of cars to find parking was all the way around the block. Because we are fat kids we decided to pay $20 instead of walking a long way.
Big mistake.
It took us approximately 30 minutes to reach the two idiots manning the line, all so they could tell us that there was no more parking. Either we shell out another $10 for VIP or we save $10 and walk. I may be a fat kid, but I'm a cheap fat kid. So we walk. And walk. And walk. The parking was (no joke) on the other side of the freeway.
Thankfully, the concert had not started. In fact we arrived with time to spare.
From this moment on I don't want anybody to give me any bad news. In fact, I left the phone at the house. I spend all day willing the phone to ring, except for right now. I shelled out a pretty penny for this seat and damnit I'm gonna enjoy this! While I'm on this tiny subject can I just say how annoying it is to stand next to someone who is sitting down with a sour look on their face. The woman is doing a half-naked bellydance and the guy next to me acts like he's watching The English Patient (aka a boring movie). I'm pretty sure the only reason he finally got up was because he was tired of my big butt in his face.
Okay! The concert was awesome. First, because Shakira came out from the tunnel where we were standing. That's right, we got to see her from super-close. She was wearing this huge pink ensemble a la Lady Gaga and walked slowly from the tunnel to the stage, saying hello and stopping to greet her fans. Then, it's time to dance bitches! At least for most of us because my neighbor had to keep both hands on his lady's purse.
I think if I look at my iPod I can tell all of the songs that she sang. But I'm not going to do that. So just trust me that there were about 3 or 4 from every album except "Piez Descalzos" which is a great album :(
During the second set the music calmed down and we got a great rendition of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" acoustic-style. Plus, some Flamenco dancing that was pretty intense. My complaint, because I must have one, is the lack of Spanish spoken and sung. If there was a version of a song in English, then she sang it in English and all of her comments were in English.
It's not really fair but consider this: The other day a letter was sent to the Arizona Republic complaining about the ballots being in English and in Spanish. The writer asked why this was necessary if people should pass an English test to become citizens.
That's what you call the other side of the coin. In my opinion Shakira should have made a bigger effort to make her show more bilingual.
But back to singing and dancing.
We howled to the moon with She-Wolf, rocked out to Whenever, Wherever, and danced to Loca. The best part was during Ojos Asi (sung, surprisingly, in Spanish). She walked to the center of the stage and did a bellydance that left the crowd with their jaws hanging and some men with saliva on their chin. I'm going to go on the record and say that I suspect Shakira is double-jointed.
Now you might think that I perhaps envy her beauty, talent, and ridiculous ability to move her hips, but I don't. It's not about what Shakira can do and I can't, it's about what I can and she can't. Such as eat an avocado-bacon-cheeseburger with onion rings on the side; I'm also a good two inches taller so I can reach things she can't; and... let's be honest, I'm a better translator. Take note boys, take note.
The show ended with a shower of confetti and all of us singing that summer tune Waka Waka. At least it was the summer tune for the World Cup watchers, don't know what the rest of the world was doing.
We came out of the Honda Center feeling very content and apparently we were also hungry. I didn't notice it until the delicious smell of hot dogs wrapped in bacon (I wonder if Shakira can eat these? If she can't then add one more thing to the list). We got to one of the vendors and asked the price. Four dollars.
Okay, here's the thing. I thought the price was insane but almost a week later I realize that it's actually not a bad price. Consider that we were at an event, I had just shelled out $10 for parking and $25 for a souvenir. $4 was actually not that bad.
But wait! There's another lady selling hot dogs. Without asking for a price I requested a dog and handed over a $5 bill. I'd like to mention that my good luck began and ended with the concert, because this particular hot dog cost, not $4, but $5. Yep, I sure as hell felt like an idiot asking for my ONE DOLLAR change. Cuz I wasn't getting it, lol.
We headed home, feet sore, our ears pounding with the ghost of the songs we'd just heard, our cheeks hurting from smiling. It was a great night :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tip #5 Para Sentirte Mejor: Baila con Shakira

Mi primer concierto fue ir a las fiestas de Mayo en Vallarta a ver a Ricky Martin. Historia verdadera. En aquel entonces el usaba su pelo largo y unos aretotes redondos. Me pasaron al mero en frente y canto "Susanaaaa, Susanaaa, me muero por tu amor..."
Ayer, mis primas y yo fuimos a ver a la artista Latina mas grande del mundo: nuestra amiguis la Shaquis (o sea Shakira para ustedes que no son del circulo de confianza).
Pero antes de que les cuente como nos fue, regresemonos un poco, porque Shakira sera la artista Latina mas grande del mundo pero este blog se trata de mi.
El dia del concierto todas nos despertamos con mucha anticipacion. Pero yo tambien traia cansancio y estres. Tenia muchisisisisima tarea que terminar, un e-mail importante que mandar, y, como siempre, tenia que tener un ojo abierto para los muchachos solteros. Despues de dos horas sentada en Starbucks fui a comer con mi hermano un burrito gigante a Chipotle :) Media dormida y con la barriga de tres meses de gestacion, nos regresamos a la casa pero como no habia nada en la tele me fui a visitar al nuevo miembro de la familia. El pequeno Jacob se desperto por aproximadamente diez minutos y decidio que no hay nada interesante en este nuevo mundo y se volvio a dormir. Nos fuimos a la casa a arreglarnos y fue cuando me di cuenta que la blusa que me iba a poner estaba a 300 millas de distancia.
Tambien se me olvido la camara y mi nueva chamarra :(
Pero al menos no se me olvido el boleto (Gracias a mi mama).
Como suele suceder en nuestra familia, ya ibamos tarde. Llegamos a la salida del freeway y vimos un anuncio que decia "Parking $5".
"Pero tenemos que caminar un chingo! Mejor pagamos los $20. Que al cabo entre todas no es mucho."
Pues vamonos. Duramos mas de media hora en una linea eterna de carros administrada por dos individuos que no conocen otra velocidad mas que la lentitud. Cuando por fin llegamos se nos informa que tenemos dos opciones: Pagar $10 mas y estacionarnos donde estamos o pagar $10 menos y caminar varias cuadras.
Decidimos caminar. Que tan lejos puede estar este otro estacionamiento?
Nos dijeron que encontraramos al muchacho con la lampara y cuando lo encontramos tuvimos que gritarle "Hey, where is the $10 parking!"
"Oh, take a left until you see another guy."
Pues toma tu "left". Tuvimos que pasar por debajo del freeway para encontrar al otro individuo.
La hora es 8:45! Una de dos: Shakira va a empezar el show tarde (cruzen los dedos) o ya nos perdimos una buena parte del show. Por suerte los conciertos nunca empiezan a la hora. Llegamos todavia con tiempo de sobra. Si, nos dolian los piezitos porque corrimos como media milla, pero llegamos a tiempo.
Y empieza el show. Primero, vimos a varios trabajadores salir justamente del tunel donde estaban nuestros asientos. Se juntaron las manos y un camarografo se puso en pose.
OMG Shakira va a salir de aqui!!!
Bajan las luces y sale del tunel vestida de rosa fosforesente cantando "Pienso en Ti". Mientras que llega al escenario saluda a su publico y hasta se para a que le tomen fotos y a dar la mano. Desde ese primer momento se creo una conexion entre la artista y su publico y no se solto. Hubo varios sets, desde el Rock, al Flamenco, al Club Mix (o pues lo que se llame cuando uno baila en los clubs), al baile Arabe, y finalmente el Waka Waka.
Mis partes favoritas fueron, primero, cuando se calmo el ritmo y se juntaron Shakira y sus musicos a tocar "Nothing Else Matters" de Metallica en forma acustica. Despues de eso se puso a bailar al son del tambor como esas culebras que se mueven al tono de la flauta. Mi unica queja (porque nadie es perfecto) es que cancion que tenia su version en Ingles fue cantada en Ingles. Incluyendo "Gitana" que es la cancion que considero personalmente mia (quien mas puede puede decir "aprovechame hoy que si llegue ayer me puedo ir manana"?). Mi teoria es que se hizo asi para los fans que no hablan nuestro bello idioma. Si estuviera viendo esto en Mexico o Colombia me imagino que todas las canciones serian en Espanol (o al menos espero que asi sea). Cualquiera que sea la razon, no entiendo ni papas cuando oigo las canciones en Ingles.
La segunda mejor parte del show, fue durante "Ojos Asi". Si se ponen a pensar esta es la cancion que cambio todo el ritmo de Shakira. La diferencia entre el album Donde Estan Los Ladrones y Laundry Service es que 1) se cambia el pelo de negro a guero y 2) hay mas baile y menos ropa. Pero en fin. Durante la cancion Shakira se pasa en medio del escenario y baila en ritmo arabe, ahora las culebras hipnotizadas somos nosotros. No creo que haiga habido alguien que no quedo con la boca abierta. Si en ese momento hubiera llegado el tan esperado Gran Terremoto de California, a todos nos hubiera costado un momento reaccionar. Cuando termino la cancion todos los hombres pensaron tristemente lo mismo: Mi novia no puede hacer eso. Y todas las mujeres pensaron tristemente: Yo no puedo hacer eso.
Pero yo pense alegremente: Yo no puedo hacer eso, pero si pudiera estaria hecha de puros huesos y, como dice mi mama, las gorditas estamos de moda ahorita.
El show culmino con todo mundo bailando el Waka Waka (en Ingles) y con confetti lloviendo del techo. Shakira nunca perdio la sonrisa ni la increible energia que carga. Hubiera querido oir mas de las viejas canciones de cuando traia el pelo negro y cargaba su guitarra (en vez de ciertas canciones), pero no se puede tener todo.
Al salir del show, como siempre, no faltan las personas con ingenio para sacar un dolar. Estaban los vendedores de camisetas que antes del show costaban $10 pero despues del show estaban a mitad de precio. Y tambien llegaron los vendedores de comida, especificamente de hot dogs. De esos que estan envueltos en tocino y tienen cebollita y jitomate dorado. Si, esos.
Pues nos llego el olor y nos fuimos directamente al vendedor mas cercano.
"Cuatro dolares."
"Que?! Eso es un robo!"
Me fui a otro vendedor que tambien me dio el mismo precio y para esto ya mi estomago estaba pidiendo que le mandara algo de comida. Como dure mucho en decidirme el muchacho atendio a otros, entonces me di la vuelta y encontre a una mujer que apenas estaba llegando.
"Deme uno"
Me avento mi hot dog, le di un billete de $5, y siguio a atender a mi prima que tambien le pago con un billete de $5. Cuando volteo conmigo le pregunte "Y mi dolar?"
Y ella me contesto "Cuestan $5"
La leccion: Pregunten cuanto cuesta algo antes de pedirlo.
Nos fuimos bien contentas con nuestro hot dog de $5 y chupandonos los dedos porque parece que las servilletas tambien estaban en venta. Pero no le hace, terminamos la noche contentas, roncas de cantar, cansadas de bailar, y muertas de la risa.

Nota: Esta es la primera vez, y tal vez la ultima, que escribo un blog en Espanol. La razon numero uno por la que nunca lo he hecho es que es mas dificil para mi. A pesar de que este es mi primer idioma y lo hablo todos los dias, me cuesta trabajo sacar mis ideas. Desafortunadamente tengo que pensarlas en Ingles y despues traducirlas. Esto es porque la mayor parte de mis estudios han sido en Ingles, y aprendi a pensar en este idioma. Increible como funciona el cerebro humano. Creo que por eso no me gustan las canciones de Shakira cuando son en Ingles, porque no creo que es posible que las escriba con la misma emocion que en Espanol.
La otra razon es que no encuentro como poner la enye y no soporto que algo este mal escrito.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fear Factor

I've heard that the thing that people fear the most is speaking in public. Frankly, that's never bothered me. I don't even have to pretend that they're in their underwear. Public speaking - not a problem. Job interviews - piece of cake, I've never failed one job interview.
But talking to one person, one on one. Yeah, that chills my bones. What the hell am I supposed to say to a total stranger? "What do think of this weather?"
See speaking in public and interviews are easy because I already know my audience. I know what my future employer wants to hear from me, I know the attitude they're looking for. But a person that comes up to you let's say at the grocery store? I have no idea what they want to hear or why they're even approaching me.
This is what happens in my mind when someone says hello: "Oh God, what does this person want? Why are they talking to me?" That is followed quickly by "Do I want to talk to this person?" The answer is usually "no".
But let's say that the conversation is about more than the weather. Let's say that said person says "Want to get a cup of coffee?" (For those of you that haven't seen Sleepless in Seattle you should. The rule is you invite a person for a drink, not dinner because you could realize half-way through dinner that you want to run away very very quickly.)
Now what? Here are a few pieces of advice:
- Ladies: Offer to pay. Men: Do not let the girl pay. There are exceptions to this rule but I've never much paid attention to them.
I'm kidding! Have a sense of humor. Both of you should offer to pay, only one of you should win and the "battle" shouldn't take half an hour.
- Never, ever, and I do mean ever talk about politics or religion. I'm serious people. The person sitting in front of you could be a totally nice and lovable human being. Do you really want to find out on your first cup of coffee that he/she thinks Obama is a foreign-born Muslim? No!
Disclaimer: Eventually, you will have to talk about these things. But don't do it when you are trying to make the first impression. Save it for later, when you realize that you can deal with certain differences. Because, if you think about it, politicians are temporary, love is forever.
- Do not start any sentence with "I hate". It just makes you seem like a negative person. Instead switch the words around and instead of saying "I hate the Lakers and Kobe Bryant" say "I would love for the Suns to beat the Lakers in the playoffs this year." See that?
- Don't lie! Because you WILL get caught and after you get caught the person you told the lie to will always remember that you lied. They may not even remember what you lied about, but you will be labeled a liar FOR-E-VER. Just tell the truth, always. FYI: We all live with our parents.
- Men: I don't care how much cleavage I'm showing, they don't talk. So eyes up.
- Ladies: Keep the cleavage to a minimum if you want someone to pay attention to what you're saying.
- Don't pick your nose. Don't scratch your private parts. Don't burp.
- Yes, you are allowed to eat.
- Yes, you are allowed to touch the other person. But just know that even the slightest grace means volumes, so plan accordingly.
- If all you can think of to talk about is Who Played Batman Better? then that's ok. (It was Keaton, btw).
- Before you start showing your really really weird/funny side make sure this person gets the joke. Otherwise they might think you have some kind of mental disability and that's why you keep yelling PENIS in between the conversation.
- If there is more than five seconds of silence then you are not interested in this person and they are not interested in you. Run away as fast as you can.
- Save the dirty talk for another night or for a more appropriate venue.
- The part where you say goodbye is the most awkward part of the entire evening (unless one of you actually yelled PENIS, and even then it's kind of a tie). But remember, it's not a business meeting, don't shake hands and say "We'll be in touch".
Once you get past the initial extremely scary, and possibly unnecessary social ritual then things should go smoothly.
Actually, things should go smoothly after the initial "Hello", but the trick is to get over our fears and say it back.