I've been busy in the best ways possible. I'm really not sure how to properly express so much in hopefully not too long-winded blog-post, but I sure will try.
First things first, the Dallas Mavericks became the NBA champions a couple of weeks ago. It was a sight for sore eyes for Mavs fans all over the world following the unexpected collapse in 2006 that made Dwayne Wade a household name for all the right reasons and Dirk for all the wrong ones. Dirk and the Mavs are all validated at this point, as well as their fans to a certain extent. I could not be happier for a more deserving bunch organization. My initial reaction to the win was a bit more understated than even I would have expected, but I was in a semi-emotional stupor from about the final two minutes onward. I'm not going to sully the Mavs' accomplishment by talking about the Heat, but I will say that the better team won, the Heat were not the most classy bunch throughout, and it was weird to suddenly be part of such a majority group of "Mavs fans" who were simply rooting against the Heat. I guess we all got what we wanted, but I was proud to root for the Mavs rather than against the Heat.
I watched the game in Baltimore with the almighty patriarch of Birdland himself, Nick Pappas. We had an awesome time, and the royal family is always very generous and welcoming to me. To have such an influential family still be so down to earth is refreshing and I can't thank them enough. It was a lesiurly Sunday spent watching the Lord play softball in the morning, shooting pool in the afternoon (shot terribly for the first time in a while), and shooting hoops with He and his brother Dom, who is apparently allergic to shirts. One might say that I proved to "still have it" on the court and made up for my poor showiing on the felt. We were hit by a sort of flash monsoon. Fortunately, the only casualty was Nick's phone which he had accidentally left outside. Except for that minor hiccup in levity, the trip was all positive and I hope to do it again soon.
I was in Maryland in the first place to see Phish perform in Columbia with some friends from LI. It was an incredible time, as anticipated, and the consistancy of this group to muster epic performances time and time again is absurd. For those who care, Run Like An Antelope was definitely the high point, but the whole show was really top notch.
Prior to the show, we made an impromptu excursion to the fabled rhombus of Phish-lore. The rhombus is a former chill spot of Trey's where apparently a few songs were written and is an active portal to Gamehenge. If I'm not mistaken, "Divided Sky" is about this place. It was a pretty spiritual quest. My man Ben Kraus put a lot of research into the visit and he was really happy to find it, which was cool to see from my perspective. With that said, I got a little chuckle at him being pretty nervous to come down from a height that wasn't very intimidating. Also, when we entered the place where the rhombus was (which I don't think I can mention due to a code of honor) we stopped at an information booth to get directions to the specific rhombus area (lxwxh...kidding). A very exubarent Ben said, "Don't worry, I'll bet they get this question all the time." Emily imidiately deflated him as only a sibling can by saying, "No, Ben, I bet they don't." The delivery of such a chilling line had the whole car in stitches and still makes me laugh when I think about it. Emily was right, by the way.
Now, I'm not nearly as upset by this as I'll probably sound, but it is an observation of mine that I do feel the need to mention. One the special things about most any concert, especially a Phish one, is kind of the underground marketplace that forms. Cats looking to buy and sell tickets shirts and drugs. To have interactions and a trade system so informally and, honestly, pretty cool. Now, I don't do drugs other than some occasional drinking in any context, but I have good friends who do. If I had my way I'd legalize pot and whatnot. Drug use is all about managing yourself, which, sadly, some can't do effectively and it ruins it for others. I only bring this up to underline the fact that this is not a rant on how drugs are silly or bad, just not for me.
My frustration lies in a few conversations I overheard from those around me. Phish is in the middle of rocking the house and people are talking about the quality of their buzz, when to take more, etc. We're not talking a quick, "How are you feeling?" we're talking full blown conversations. Like I said, I have little issue with drugs as long as you're not driving or doing something dumb, but the fact that some people were valuing their buzz over the great tunes being created was kind of annoying; not pinfuriating or anything, but it didn't entirely sit well with me. Drugs are fine, but as soon as they become a priority over what's right in front of you, I consider that a very important line to be crossed.
I flew from Baltimore that Monday, it was quicker and cheaper than a train. I didn't have bags to check, so it was one of the smoothest airport experiences of my life. While I was on line waiting to board a young couple was in front of me. The gentleman had earphones on that were apparently a little loud because he was unintentionally shouting to his wife, "Is this the right section!" She said, "Yes." He appeared to be unaware of her response due to his out of control earphones and said, "Yeah, but is this the right section?" Her response made my week. She said, "shh, yes." Her tone was such to say, "shut the fuck up you idiot, I just said we're in the right place," however, it was still a tone of unquestionable affection. It was an infectiously charming moment that I instantly fell in love with. The three of us shared a hearty laugh over the situation, as I couldn't mask my staring, and indeed grinning, at that point.
It was a great trip with great people. Look for a post within the next couple of days about my trip to Astoria. I don't want this post to be longer than it already is.
Song of the Day: Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes- Paul Simon
Jazz Song of the Day: First Time Long Time- Medeski Matin and Wood.