Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Devil’s Dance Floor!

Her breath began to speak
As she stood right in front of me
The colour of her eyes
Were the colour of insanity
Crushed beneath her wave
Like a ship, I could not reach her shore
We're all just dancers on the Devil's Dance Floor

Well swing a little more, little more o'er the merry-o
Swing a little more, a little more next to me
Swing a little more, little more o'er the merry-o
Swing a little more, on the Devil's Dance Floor
Flogging Molly~

I am completely and totally in love with the band, Flogging Molly. They are my favorite thing in the world right now—I listen to them over and over again. I have three CD’s in my car and pretty much all the time I am singing along and trying to dance while I’m driving. Many a traffic-jammed and gridlocked night have I gotten through with a smile because of the Mollys. Their brand of Irish Punk is just the thing to touch my heart and soul.

I recently saw them at the House of Blues in Anaheim—my second concert alone, and both of solo jaunts have been for the love of Molly. This time I wanted to get close to the band so I could watch them play and see their faces as they were working their magic. I decided to stand at the fringes of the pit, right against the sound booth. It had been a long time since I’d been in any pit—since the 80’s to be exact! But I wanted to feel the closeness and the passion of the music. I wanted to live and breathe the music with the crowd around me—dancing and flowing with the rhythm.

I had to wait almost 3 hours in my spot while the two opening bands played but it was worth the wait. Finally the show started. I was hot and dehydrated by then, but I didn’t care. The center of the pit swirled with madness, like the eye of a hurricane. The serious punks were dancing and gyrating to the music. I saw flashes of people before my eyes—like a movie where they show the heart of battle with all the noise and confusion. It was hard to focus on any one thing; there was so much going on at once. Through the whole thing my compatriots and I kept things moving. Push, push, PUSH! to keep from being crushed under the weight of sweaty angst-ridden fans. Dancing when I could, I spent most of my time pushing the punks back into the fray and let out the occasional “oomph” when someone crashed into me a little too hard. I was glad I had the wall at my back and this was a fairly tame crowd for a punk band.

A lust for life and love for the music filled the room. Push, push, OOMPH! Sweating and laughing the whole time as I pushed, I was in another world filled with wondrous hard-hitting Irish jigs. My face was red and I was sweating from exertion, but I felt alive and ready for anything. I felt a bond with every one there, especially the ones working the wall; I felt like our exertions served to keep the band playing. It was hard to dance but I managed a few steps now and again whenever I could catch my breath! Push, push, JIG! I could make out glimpses of the band as I was screaming along with the lyrics. The room took on a dreamlike quality as I saw the punks dancing and circling in slow motion to one of the ballads; they never stopped their expressive, almost violent movements; just slowed them down to match the beat. Push, push, LAUGH! As I smiled and felt the true joy of the music empowering me, I felt drunk from the pure joy of it all.

I enjoyed the camaraderie with my fellow-pushers. Some of the punks we’d let rest near us for a few moments. Then their time was up and they were ready to go back to the whirling steps of the melee. Some punks we tried to push back immediately—we wanted no part of them in our little haven. A small man with curly dark hair kept pushing against us. I christened him “Carrot-top” for his long shaggy bush of a head. The girl next to me and I both grimaced each time we had to push him away because we hated touching his sweat-drenched hair. Her boyfriend aptly re-named the guy “Chia-pet” and we all tried to keep him away from the wall. We gasped when a huge man came into the pit. He looked like a Sumo-wrestler and we knew we could never push him back into the circle. Luckily he didn’t come close enough to put us to the test. We quickly pushed away “too-drunk-to-dance” guy, hoping he wouldn’t lose his whiskey before he got away from us. We helped “tattooed guy” off the floor. We pushed and pushed and pushed in time to the music. We sang along and had a blast.

I picked up a lost shoe and tossed it into the center where hopefully its owner would find it again. I swayed and hopped and laughed and sang. I was definitely enjoying my time on “The Devil’s Dance Floor” as they sang pirate songs and sailing songs and Irish songs to touch the heart. Finally the time was up and the band had to leave. I was drenched in my own and others’ sweat. I was exhausted from standing and pushing, but my heart was full. I staggered to my car and drove home with merry tunes in my head to keep me company. I can’t wait ‘till Flogging Molly comes back to town so I can dance and feel alive again.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Sorry if everyone thought I dropped off the face of the Earth. I've been sick for the last two weeks and I feel just BLAH! For two weekends I did absolutely nothing! I read some and made a few cards and that's it. I ate lots of toast because heating up soup was too much work. Luckily, Matt took care of me and made me lots of hot tea, listened to me coughing, and slept on the couch with Random a few nights so he wouldn't disturb me if I finally was able to sleep.

Ah--I was hoping I would bypass the normal cold and flu season, but hopefully this will be it for the year. Now it's off to try to get through another day at work whilst wishing I was home in bed! Can you believe it--I've been up since 5am and now it's almost time for me to leave for work and I haven't even showered. Off I go!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh Craps!

Friday night I learned how to play craps. Maybe I should be honest and say that I played for three hours and still don't understand how to play! Working in the Internet department doesn't usually allow for lots of perks unless you count hanging out with troll-like programmers a benefit. But since I am in charge of the Advertising Operations for the site, I got invited to our annual Advertising Event. This is where we entertain Media Planners for different ad agencies and have a forum to answer questions about our site. The daylong meeting is followed by a fun event where we get to know each other a little better.

This year we got to take a cruise of Newport Harbor and practice our casino skills. The last casino night was our company Christmas party and I did an abominable job at roulette, so I decided to jump in and try my hand at craps. Our cruise started at sunset on a beautiful fall evening. I could see the rosy glow of the light playing on the sparkling water. The buildings gleamed and a thousand fairy lights created the mood. I could smell the fresh sea breeze and a hint of boat fuel added to keep things real. I had a drink in my hand (Sapphire & Tonic; extra lime!) and a smile on my face.

That's the last I noticed about the scenery or the boat—I had found the Craps Table! Luckily the dealers at these events are patient and will show you what to do since nobody's using real money. He was explaining all the ins and outs of the game, but I didn't have time to listen. I was the girl with the dice. What I did learn was never say the word "seven" at the table: It's unlucky. To be safe, I didn't say any numbers, just in case! I didn't want to ruin anyone's luck. I put some chips on the table where he told me to, and then I rolled the dice, added chips, and rolled again. This was fun. I'm good at rolling dice. I got to roll for a good while before it was the next person's turn. So I learned the routine. Put some chips, wait for the dice, place more chips, have the dealer place more chips. I'm not sure what any of it means, but I learned to yell whenever they called a good number. Especially when they called one of my lucky numbers and I got more chips. Woo-hoo!

I had so much fun and wasn't the only person at the table who ate standing up while watching the dice and cheering. Three hours flew by and I couldn't believe it was time to stop. As I turned in my chips for raffle tickets, I thought about Vegas. Now that I'm an expert I should try my luck there. Or maybe I'm better off going home and kissing the cat!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Do You SHABU!?

If you've never tried Shabu Shabu, you're in for a treat! It's a Japanese meal where you cook your own dinner in boiling water. Of course, since you are doing all the work you will pay for the privilege, but it is worth it to try something different for a change. You've probably never heard of Shabu before, but if you're near a large city there might be one nearby that you never even noticed. We have driven past California Shabu Shabu numerous times and even ate in the restaurant next door several times. We never knew Shabu existed! That is, until we went to Japan and got to try this tasty meal for ourselves.

Last week we finally went to our local Shabu shoppe and had a great time. The owner is from Osaka, Japan so he's friendly and he really knows what's up! Traditional Shabu is finely sliced beef, but the Cali version can also include chicken, pork, or scallops. You are served a plate of your meat of choice, along with some fresh veggies and tofu. The meal is simplicity itself—dip your piece of meat into the boiling pot using your chopsticks and swish it around until it is cooked. Then you can dip it into one of the two sauces provided and enjoy. When you're done, there are noodles you can cook in the meat-flavored broth and they are tasty too! Of course, since this is a Japanese meal you are served rice and a bottle of Kirin beer will go nicely too.

Shabu is a perfect date because it is unusual but not too creepy or scarey. It's also great if you are on a low-carb plan and tired of the same old meats and veggies. It's fresh and healthy and enjoyable, despite the good-natured bashing it got from the movie "Lost in Translation." Try it for a change and see if you agree that cooking your own meal can be fun. The best part is that you don't have to do dishes afterward!