Archive | April, 2010

“Bon Jovi: Good Medicine”

26 Apr

This last Thursday April 22nd was one of the best nights of my life. It was the day when I saw for the first time (And I honestly hope this is not the only time) Bon Jovi, my favorite band ever, perform live. It was an incredibly awesome experience. It is very hard for me to talk about this concert or about this band without sounding like a 13 year-old-girl. So be prepared to read the word awesome multiple times in the following paragraphs. In case someone who doesn’t know me well is reading this, maybe I should guide you here so that you understand how it all started. It only took me 15 years to see them in concert after I became a fan! Only 15 years to make one dream come true! But it did come true!

The concert was in Charlotte, NC which is an awesome city by the way. I would dare say it is much better than Raleigh. I went to the concert with my good friend Angie who is the best person to take to a concert because she is up for anything and has a lot of energy. Angie rocked too! So I met up with her sometime before noon and had lunch together on our way to Charlotte. We had a delicious dish of Ravioli di Portobello at Olive Garden. And the waiter was totally hitting on me which was fun and a good omen for concerts, according to me. But a lot of waiters hit on me during that trip which was odd because I was not particularly feeling pretty.

Anyways, after driving for almost 4 hours, we got to Charlotte. Angie had already warned me that concerts in the U.S. are nothing like concerts in Colombia in which you have to arrive to the stadium or wherever it is at least a million hours before the show begins and wait in line for another million hours while you’re pushed and stepped on while the staff people do nothing. Concerts here are a breeze. The staff people are actually doing their job, which is simply awesome. One of the things I love about the U.S. is their organization. We actually sat down at 7 PM and people kept arriving even after 8 PM. Every one was calmed and no one was fighting. And they were even selling cocktails! How fancy is that!

So when we got to Charlotte, it was only 5 PM and the Time Warner Cable Arena opened their doors for the show at 6:30 PM. So how do two girls kill time? If you guessed shopping, you guessed right! We stopped by Target and bought “necessary” concert items like, two pairs of ballet flats, a cute, beige messenger bag, and some underwear which I forgot to pack. We also got water, peanuts, M&M’s and Band-Aids. Then we drove to the Arena and found a parking garage for 15 dollars! There was a group of middle-aged women sipping wine and blasting Bon Jovi music in the parking lot. We parked right next to them. And right there I started to get really excited! From that moment on, I kept squealing and jumping up and down every 10 minutes and saying: “I’m going to see Bon Jovi, yay!”

Dashboard Confessional opened the act and honestly they are a pretty decent band. But in my mind, I kept telling them to go away because I wanted to see Bon Jovi quick!

The lights went off and then the band was on stage. I was so excited at that point that all I could do was scream and jump. I didn’t utter a single coherent sentence during the first 4 minutes of BJ’s performance. I knew the words to the first song but I could not sing along because I was too excited. They opened with “Happy Now” from the new album. But all I could say was: Wooo! Or Ahhh! The lady next to me gave weird looks that said something like “Is this your first concert or what?” And then I gave her another look that said: Well, for your information Lady, it IS my first concert! So I am just going to say Wooo! one more time and ignore you! Ha!

I didn’t sit down during the entire concert except during two songs which I don’t know the lyrics by heart. So I took those two songs as a break from the jumping and dancing. I was so happy I didn’t feel any pain in my ankle. But the next day, my ankle took revenge by hurting worse than it has since the day of the sprain. It still hurts like hell as I write this! It was totally worth it!

Another thing worth mentioning is the vast amount of old ladies that there was in the concert. I am talking gray hair old. Seriously, one looked even like my grandma. Angie and I found that hilarious and even took pictures of them as they danced to the guys’ tunes.

If you asked me what I liked the most about the concert, I would have to say Jon’s energy on stage. That was awesome! He sang for almost two and half hours without stopping. I only saw him stop once to drink water and change his shirt. Oh and his smile! Man, what a smile! That guy is so hot! He looked like he was actually thrilled to be there. He irradiated happiness and that happiness was contagious and I think that was the reason everyone gets so euphoric at their shows.

They sang so many great songs, the oldies, the hits, the ballads and of course the new ones too. He went, “Is there a doctor in the house?!” and right then everyone knew he was going to sing “Bad Medicine”. People went crazy when they played “You Give Love a Bad Name” and he had everyone sing the end of the song. “Runaway” was awesome. That song is as old as I am. Then the floor of the whole Arena was shaking when they sang “It’s My Life” because every one was singing and jumping. And there wasn’t one person who didn’t sing along to “Wanted Dead or Alive”

But when they sang my favorite “I’ll Be There for You” I was ecstatic. It was so awesome! I think I was the only one singing it so loud and passionately. I was really surprised when they sang “Diamond Ring” because it was never a really popular song when it came out on the “These Days” album. But it was a nice surprise. And the last song they performed was “Living on a Prayer” which is pretty much like the band’s anthem I think. To me the set list was perfect. I would have made only two changes. I would have included “Always” and “Love is The Only Rule” which both mean so much to me.

I made a few videos and posted two of them on Facebook. I’m aware that I made a total fool of myself in one them but I do not care. That concert made me so, so happy.  I was in the best mood that I’ve been in so long the following two days after the concert. I can’t wait for the next one! I’m even going to write them a song. And I’m going to call it “Bon Jovi: Good Medicine”


How It All Started

26 Apr

Here is my attempt at explaining how and when I got hooked on Bon Jovi. It all started back in 1995 when I was only 11 years old. I spent most of my free time reading a Spanish-English dictionary (what a nerd, I know), watching HBO, listening to music on my Walkman (ha!) and trying to get my hands on any type of English grammar book. The reason I was doing all those unusual activities – for an 11 year-old at least- was that I was obsessed with learning English. Don’t ask me why. I really don’t know the reason. The only thing I knew was that the words in that language sounded so cool and I wanted to learn them all.

One day I was watching T.V. and I saw the video for “This Ain’t A Love Song” and I fell in love with Jon Bon Jovi’s voice (and his looks too!) right away. I begged and begged my mom to buy me their “These Days” album. I asked her to buy me the “These Days” cassette, to be precise. When she finally gave in, I could NOT get enough of Bon Jovi. I would fall asleep listening to that tape until one time when it got stuck on the player because it was so used-up. I translated, word by word, each one of their songs using nothing but my intuition and my beat-up Oxford Dictionary.

That all happened some time before June in 1995 which was the year and month when the band went to Colombia for their first and only concert there. I asked my mom to let me get on a bus to go to Bogota for their concert. Let me remind you I was 11 years old then. What can I say? I’m a big dreamer I guess. My mom laughed at me when I asked her. And since I didn’t understand irony too well back then (I still don’t actually) I kept asking her until she very seriously said no. 😦

Back then, they were really popular in Colombia, you know because of the concert and all. So I managed to somehow find a way to get all of their past records and then I became a zealous fan because the more of their music I discovered, the more I loved them. As I grew older and became a teenager, my Bon Jovi obsession remained the same. I kept all their albums in a shoe box which was decorated with pictures of the band members cut out from magazines. I even had a Bon Jovi notebook in which I wrote all their songs and pasted more pictures of them. I knew the title of every single song they’d released and I could tell you exactly the story of how the band was formed. When we had slumber parties, my friends would ask me to tell them that story to get them to fall asleep. One time I really got carried away and did a Bon Jovi collage which I pasted on my 8th grade school binder. Needless to say, I was the object of mockery and derision because of this, but I didn’t care. I had a bunch of their posters in my room, mostly posters of Jon with whom I was deeply in love. But not really in love, you know, but the kind of “in love’ that you are when you’re a teen and can’t even imagine what the word love means. But still, to me he was the boy of my dreams. Most people would assume it was his blue eyes, blond hair, hairy chest or muscular arms what made me like him so much. But no, it was actually his voice and words. He was a poet to me and I’m a sucker for a guy who can write. I never really got crazy enough to join a fan club, mostly because the majority of the fan club members take things too seriously and talk about the artists as if they personally know them and that’s definitely too much for me. So eventually, I had my first boyfriend and realized what I felt for JBJ was just a high school girl crush. So I stopped obsessing about the guy but continued to love the band and their music. So one day when I was in college, I decided I had had enough of the Bon Jovi obsession and that it was time for me to grow up and be more mature so I decided to throw away all their stuff. Not their albums, of course! I still keep those back home. The rationale behind my doing that is that I was too old to be emotionally attached to a notebook with a bunch of pictures and magazine articles. I kind of wish now I hadn’t thrown that stuff away so I now I could look at it all and laugh at how ridiculous I was back then. Ha!

Today, I am still a huge fan and I still love their music very much. And I’m not ashamed at all to admit now how much I love Bon Jovi!

Is it clear now why their concert was so important to me? So important, that I ditched a date night, a party with coworkers and a beach day with my friends.

That Tendency To Complain

20 Apr

It is so hard to understand why we feel the way we feel on certain occasions. And it is even harder to understand why we have the need to understand how we feel. The intricacies of the human mind and its thoughts and emotions are a mystery far too complicated for me to even attempt to figure out.

Still, some of us can’t help to wonder and ponder. We question our existence, our purpose in life, the choices we’ve made, God, the Universe and a plethora of other things.

One constant thing I’ve noticed we all have in common: that tendency to complain.

About almost everything.

Take me, for example. Oh, how much I wanted to get away from little old Barranquilla. How much I criticized its filthy streets, its ridiculously humid and hot weather, its nosy and somewhat ignorant people. Only to miss it as terribly as I miss it now.  How much I wanted to travel and get out. Only to want to come back as badly as I do now. How fickle of me. I must have told my friends how much I wanted to live alone like a million times; I’d had always wanted to be away from my family so I could be free and independent. Honestly, I do love the sense of freedom I get from living by myself. But then Sunday night comes and I feel so alone. And I complain. Or I cry on my bathroom floor. Or I do both.

And oh, how much do I complain about my job!  That rant about work deserves a whole three-page essay. Sometimes I laugh at myself when I think back on how much effort I put into getting me where I am now. I feel like going back in time and telling myself: “Yo! Silly Girl! Don’t stress too much about getting this job, you’re going to end up hating it!” And then I remember my friends who are still in Colombia trying to go abroad. And I see how badly they want it, and that’s exactly how I felt two years ago.

Take a more mundane thing. Like having plans for the weekend. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with all the things I want to do, like read, watch movies, organize my closet, or give myself a manicure or pedicure. And then I’m home with no plans on the weekend and I start to complain again. I get depressed thinking: “I’m sure if I were home, I could just call a friend and do something fun” I do nothing but wallow in my misery.  I try to shake off the negative feelings by focusing on all the good things about my life. Sometimes it works. Other times, not so much. How unfair of me to complain about my life when I have so much compared to others. How selfish of me to say I’m unhappy when I am still alive and breathing.

Why is it that we are never happy with what we have? Is it simply our human nature to always want more? To be naturally greedy? Why do I keep wishing for everything to be different? How do I find contentment in what I already have, which according to some people is a lot already? Should I listen to my mom and start going to church? I doubt I would find answers in a concrete building. I sincerely doubt God resides in such a cold place. Should I see a shrink then? Should I take Prozac? Should I just smile and pretend things are fine while I pour myself another glass of wine?

I don’t really know the answers to those questions. Can someone please explain it to me? I also don’t know if there is a purpose for writing about all these personal things. I guess I just needed to vent. I needed to let out, once again, my tendency to complain.

Spring Break 2010: The List

13 Apr

Ah, the excitement of traveling. Don’t you just love packing for a trip? I know I do. Unpacking is a bitch though. But still traveling is one of my favorite activities ever. I planned this Spring Break vacation with great care. Before it arrived, it was all I thought about while at work. And now it’s over! And it went by so quickly!

I am having a hard time deciding which adjective to use to describe this trip. I’m debating between awesome and sucky. Awesome things happened and not so great ones happened too. You know I love lists so here goes Spring Break Vacation: The List!

  • Our plan was to stay in Philadelphia for two days and then in NYC for 5 days which was exactly what we did. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites. The hotel was awesome. I can’t complain about the hotel because they gave us hot breakfast and free parking every single day. Plus, they were housing a team of cute baseball players which was great eye-candy. 😛
  • I really thought Philly was cool. Our hotel was actually in Plymouth Meeting which meant we had to drive into the city every day which also meant having to find parking space every day. We visited a lot of historic places like Independence Hall where they signed the American Constitution. The city also had a million murals that lent an awesome artsy feeling to the colonial architecture of the town. However, my esteem for Philadelphia suddenly changed after I got a parking ticket! You see, the parking system in Philadelphia has these irrational rules which I really cannot explain. And apparently I parked in the wrong spot and an officer (Thank you wherever you are Officer Lewis!) gave me a cool ticket for 76 dollars! Right there the nickname Shittydelphia was born. Needless to say, the rest of that day sucked and we didn’t do much. Except going out for dinner and me having the best salad ever! The next day, we decided to try our luck one more time and give Suckydelphia another chance.  This time Crappydelphia kind of lived up to our expectations. We got on a tour on a bus that turned into a boat and got on the Delaware river. We went to a museum, saw the famous Liberty Bell and walked on one of the coolest streets in Philly where we had the famous Philly Cheese Steak! It was delicious. It got really hot that afternoon so we had frozen yogurt before we headed to NY.
  • The drive to NYC was kind of stressing. Gigi, my GPS, would get lost every half hour. And she kept instructing us to take the ramp ahead when there was no ramp at all. So we figured she actually meant “Take crap ahead” because crap is the right word to describe traffic on the NJ Turnpike. When we finally arrived at the hotel, I was so grumpy and tired I didn’t even want to take my luggage out of the car. When I saw the hotel, I felt a little better because OMG, what a nice hotel it was! We were starved but it was Easter Sunday which meant all restaurants were closed. So our dinner was a spinach and artichoke dip with chicken popcorn at the hotel bar.
  • The hotel had a shuttle to take us to Greystone station where we could catch a train to Manhattan. Our stop was Grand Central Station. Until now I didn’t know what that cool crowded place they show in movies and TV shows was called. It turns out that is the famous Grand Central Station. Here’s a picture of it:I have to clarify I didn’t take that picture. I stole it from the Internet. I really was there I swear! The thing is the day I was there I was so distracted (by a really hot guy) I forgot to take a pic and the ones my friend took kind of suck. If you don’t believe me here is some evidence:
  • We had like a million things planned to do in NYC. We actually only did a couple of them because on the second day there, I fell down and sprained my ankle! I know! On vacation! And I blame it on Lady Gaga because I was staring at a picture of her on Broadway when it happened. Needless to say, that was the end of our planned NYC activities.
  • Things we did get to do in NYC: See the Statue of Liberty up close, ride on the ferry to Staten Island, take pictures of the Empire State Building, spend a nice afternoon in Central Park, try Bubble tea, which I hated, eat NY pizza, buy a scarf in Chinatown, have an awesome lunch in an non-fancy Ecuadorian restaurant and go to the Palisades Mall. 🙂
  • Things we didn’t get to do in NYC: Go to a Broadway Show, visit the Museum of Natural Science, go to the Bronx Zoo, go to the Botanical Garden, go to Queens, have a picnic in Central Park. 😦
  • Something odd happened on this trip: Towards the end of it, I got tired of taking pictures. Weird.

I will wrap up by uploading some photos that I couldn’t upload on Flickr because I have exceeded my uploading limit for this month. I need an upgrade pronto!