Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I would call myself the Incredible Shrinking Woman were it not for the measurement of my thighs...

Today, I put on a dress and rushed out the door, to work.  Drove all the way here, made coffee, settled in, had a twenty minute conversation with a delightfully snarky person in Cincinnati (I'm not sure, but I think he may have insulted me...), and eventually took a coffee break.
It was during the coffee break that I realized that I was SWIMMING in this dress that I'm wearing.  As in, it's HUGE.  As in, I don't have enough body to fill it up.  Hell, I don't even have enough boobs to fill it up.  That part is a little disappointing... 
Clearly, it's not something I wear a lot, or I would have noticed this before.  OK, the more accurate statement would be that I haven't worn this dress in years.  Years.  Believe it or not, as it happens, the last time I wore this was documented right here on the blog...  I was meeting Will Steger at a fancy dinner where he gave a talk about global warming. 
Years ago.
Apparently, I was hugely fat at the time.  Yikes.
Going by the fact that I'm not thin enough for my taste even yet, I can't imagine what kind of body image denial I was in back then.  Or other kinds of denial.  Yeah...interesting times.  Funny thing about waking up--eventually, you have to take everything in.  Even your clothes.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I would like a reduction in the "Stuff I Need To Know For Work" category.
My God...I know a lot of stuff...
Would any of the stuff I know be useful to you or I if, say, we were stranded on the roadside with a broken-down car?  Or caught in a rainstorm?  Or a zombie attack?  Or been wounded in a knife fight?
No, not a bit of it.  It's almost entirely pissy, unimportant crap.  Crap like "average market costs" and "peer decile ranking".  Woo.  Is it any wonder that at the end of the day, I'm gung-ho to stupify?
While you do have to be a smarty-pants to do this, I have found that an attitude is more helpful than a degree, especially because most of the people I work for are at least 2 college degrees ahead of me.  When someone with WAAAAY more formal education than I have uses their degree as a shield against reason, in order to be successful, I have to be more stubborn and tougher than they are.  I have to be a bulldog who still uses big words.
It's exhausting.
What one discovers when speaking almost exclusively to people with WAAAAAY more formal education than you have is that, among other things, smarter doesn't make you nicer, and, also doesn't make you competent. 
No surprise there, eh?
But it does make you THINK that you are nice, and more competent.
As such, it becomes doubly exhausting to have to be smart and tough and stand toe to toe with people who are smart while also being stupid--stupid enough to think that their smart outweighs their stupid, even though it doesn't.
Beer me. are some random observations based on my work lately.  Sort of a Random Wednesday, Work Edition
  • I have never spoken to, assisted or worked with any bonafide jerks name Jose.  I've dealt with total bitches named Sherry, assholes named Robert, complete pricks named Jeffrey, thoughtless bitty's name Gretchen.....I've dealt with awful people of every name, but one.  Everyone I've ever met named Jose?  Completely nice, without exception.  I just noticed that on Friday.  Weird, right?
  • By the way?  Jose says I deserve a raise.  He's nice like that.  And he's also smart, so, you should listen to him.
  • The walls in front of my face (right behind the computer monitor) are papered with important data with names like "Confidence Interval Range"  I don't look at them nearly as much as I thought I might, which is an indication that I'm keeping far too much math in my head.  I tell my children that the only advanced math I ever use is converting knitting patterns, and that is true in my life's application; however, I can now rattle off enough math-sounding bullshit to make my high school algebra teacher want to nudge his colleagues and say, "You see that?  I did that!"
  • How many databases do YOU look at every day?  Me?  At least a dozen.  Spreadsheets?  Another couple dozen.  How about some useless data?  How about some gossip?  Some crap-talk?  How about, "Person X behaves/spends money/performs a task the same way 99.83% of the time per our data, BUT I also heard that even though he is a great guy (per our data) that he dinged his car backing out of a parking space, his wife is having an affair, and his only son is failing Geography"  See?  Much more fun.
  • I think I'm still waiting for the part where the days go faster when you're busier.  Has anyone seen my Time Acceleration Device?  If only my desk were a Tardis.
  • Wait a minute....if my desk were a Tardis, I could jump back in time and fix all of the stupid problems that we're solving now, before they occur!  Then I could take vacation days instead of wondering what how Person X is behaving, per our data.  I will present this idea to the higher ups, and hope that one of them is named Jose...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Torturing Teenagers Is My Business. And Business Is Good.

I was looking at my movies by mail queue this morning and realized that there are a lot of good movies on that list that continue to be trumped by "OK" movies that are more popular, or, that the kids want to see more than I do.  Or, as is often the case, the movie that I would like to see is a "serious" movie and it gets side-swiped by an "El-Freaking-Oh-El" comedy with less substance. 
Like, Milk v The Hangover.
OK, that's kind of an extreme example....
Soloist v Night At The Museum?
Anyway, you get the idea...the kids want to watch All About Steve, and meanwhile, I haven't even seen Doubt yet, and I give in to the comedy, but feel like less of a human being because the list of award-winners that I haven't seen is growing longer every day.
The queue is jam-crammed with "quality".  Lots and lots of "quality"--some of which, as you may have noticed by my examples, is a couple of years old.....Yikes.  What happens is that the handy feature that allows me to put a particular movie at the top of the queue gets used at the urging of two teenage girls, and you know their taste doesn't necessary run to somber.
Understanding that I have every intention of watching Coco Before Chanel, one wonders why it has lingered so long in the queue. 
Sometimes I forget to act like I'm the boss of this place.
So I decided that much like the Every "Yes" Must Be Pre-Paid* ruling of last week, that I do have the power to declare things in my household.  As such, from this day forward in the queue, every comedy must be accompanied by a NON-comedy, and/or every blockbuster must be prefaced or followed immediately by a NON-blockbuster.
I suppose I could supplement that ruling by adding that every time I have to watch New Moon that I get to watch three movies with sub-titles (and not just some foreign language dubbing of New Moon, either), but, I'm not going to be greedy at this point. 
If I ask myself the question, "If I were sitting in this room alone, what would I prefer to watch?" and apply all due respect, it still wouldn't be The Hangover...not that I wouldn't enjoy that movie--I don't know anyone who has seen it who claims to have hated it.  I'm not a movie snob--if I was, the queue would look a lot different.  But because I am paying for this, after all, I think it's perfectly acceptable that it be more of what I want and less of what I'm accepting just because everybody else wants it.  I say, if I have to sit quietly through a succession of bad/questionable TV/Movies inflicted upon me by teenagers, that they can do me the courtesy of not loudly complaining during Sunshine Cleaning or Valentino: The Last Emperor.'s an experiment.  We'll see how it goes.
*Every "Yes" Must Be Pre-Paid:  You know how kids promise to clean their room, or do the dishes, or sweep the floor, etc?  And you know how those promises come hot and heavy when they want you to do something for them or buy something for them?  And how easy it is not to keep those promises once they have the thing they want?  Well...I know all about that!  I know more than you would even want to know!  That's why I implemented Every "Yes" Must Be Pre-Paid, to allow the children to become familiar with the American way--that is, if you want something from someone, you gotta butter them up a little.  Want 20 bucks to go to a movie?  How about you wash the car, or clean the bathroom?  How about you do that FIRST?  So far, it has been a smashing success.  For me, that is...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Woot Random Wednesday! (St. Patrick's Edition)

  • No, I'm not just Irish for the food.  Besides, if a lot of Americans were introduced to "real", day-to-day Irish food, they probably wouldn't like it as a consistent diet.  The stuff we are scarfing today is kinda like eating Taco Bell and calling it "Mexican Food"--it's really just a hint of a whisper of the actual thing, altered for your comfort.
  • Also?  I'm not wearing green.  I wear my name every day, that will have to do.
  • Having said all of that, yes, I'm totally cooking the food, and drinking the beer!  Duh!  But I'm not going out anywhere, because why?  Because St. Patrick's Day is one of those things we refer to as "Amateur Night".  Be safe, everybody!!!  Taxi drivers need love, too!
  • Feeling a little wonky at work--really just wonky about everything, in general.  A couple of years ago, I was all "Steady as she goes," but right now I'm very "What was I supposed to be doing?  I forgot."  Problem identified, problem eliminating weaponry at the ready. (OK, basically I just have to tell a couple people to f*ck off, but, "problem eliminating weaponry" sounds so much nicer...)  The thing is, I never developed the "skill" of goofing off and/or work avoidance....I wish I had!  Then I could be just like everybody else at work.
  • MyGawd I miss smoking.  Seriously.  I'm blaming the inability to stomp out of a room and go have a cigarette to 'cool off' as the prime reason I'm being such a doormat lately.  I'm not rebelling against anything!  I'm healthy and socially acceptable!  How BORING is that?
  • OK, kids....I think we're going.  You going, too?  Maybe you should.  I'm talking about The Blast.  I don't normally attend, but, as Cursing Mama will attest, the one-two punch of both Martin Zellar AND BoDeans may simply be too much to resist.  It'll be fun.  Maybe we'll run into that lumberjack-looking guy from First Ave who was very worried about Sammy's hair.  Or the Charlie Brown Dancers that we met in Stillwater.  Or any of the fine and funny people I've been telling stories about for all the years I've been attending BoDeans concerts.  Or maybe there will be some new people.  Or maybe it will be me that's funny, and you can write on your own blogs about the half-drunk sometime-redhead who laughed all night, and kept trying to smoke cigarettes amid the protests of her friends.  (They don't have ticket info up yet, that I can tell...I'll check back later...when I need yet another thing to distract me from wanting to smoke...)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Purple-y Goodness

These socks? I adore.

Yes, this was my Olympic knitting project. Yes the 2010 Winter Olympics are long over. Yes, I just finished them. No, I didn't really actually watch very much of the Olympics. (Hmmm...maybe that is why these took so long?)

Anyway...finished! And it should also be noted that I quit smoking somewhere during and/or immediately before starting this project, so please feel free to file your Shelly For Sainthood noms with the Vatican (or wherever you do that...I'm not actually Catholic, so I'm probably not invited to that club, anyway...) because not only did I quit smoking, but I also quite smoking while trying a new technique, using teeny-tiny yarn and needles, making up a pattern and design as I went along, and, the clincher, cabling. Lots and lots of cabling. Did I mention that I hate cabling? Yeah...

Call this the "I'm A Bit Fuzzy On The Details" detail shot.

Use your Sharp Focus imagination to picture the pretty cabling and yarn-overs and picot edging and stuff.

Next up? Cover Hat from Knit Simple Mag, in black, for Punky. By the way, you can win a cover hat kit, just follow that link to enter, but the deadline is TODAY, March 15th, so you should hustle!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Last night was Fabulous Burrito Night at our house.  That's when, after having spent the day cooking insanely delish and perfectly seasoned pinto beans for the purpose of scarfing them in bean burritos, we feast like a bunch of starving animals, slurping beverages, going back for seconds, thirds and fourths.  

About mid-afternoon, those beans start to smell so good you want to cry, mostly because you know that they're not done cooking yet, so eating them would be a bit, uh...crunchy.  When they finally reach textural perfection, I lay out all the other tortilla stuffings and sauces and call the kids to start building, an announcement which is followed by the usual happy noises and sounds of feet scurrying to the kitchen.

My daughter's friend, who was visiting, asked, "Do you guys always eat like this?"  I told him no, that beans from scratch were usually a weekend project but he clarified: "No, I mean, are you guys always this laid back?"

It seems that at his house, what he called "family time" or, "dinner time" was so formal a thing that people barely spoke to one another while it was happening.  The idea that there would be laughter and joy and relaxation associated with it seemed novel to him.

I couldn't imagine it.

Most of us (grown-up) spend a lot of time out in the world in some kind of work situation in which we have to dress a certain way, be careful not to say certain things, arrive at a certain time, leave at a certain time, etc.  Even if your work life is fairly informal, there are still expectations associated with it--even someone who paints Velvet Elvises for a living has some kind of schedule, some kind of deadline.  If they didn't, they probably wouldn't produce enough to continue in that line of work.  A guy who plays guitar in a coffee shop still has to get to the coffee shop--you have to show up, and you have to have some kind of tangible product worth people giving you money for.

Life is like that.  I can't imagine why anyone would insist that family would have to be like that, too.  

Here are the people who know you better than anybody--They know that you like to put off doing the dishes until the last possible second, or that you run around in your bra in the morning while looking for a shirt to wear, or that spend hours on the phone loudly kvetching about crazy people, or your plants are neglected, or your cat needs a bath.  They know the very core of you.  They live with you, after all--they have a front row seat to all of your bad habits, wrinkles and warts.  Also, all of your triumphs.

Never mind the fact that I think of food as something to be celebrated.  What I want to know is, why would you apply first-date formality to any meal or time spent with the people who know you best?  Why pretend you don't know everything there is to know about each other already?  Isn't that just denying yourself the chance to delight in your family members victories, or laugh at their funny foibles, or help them through the low times?  Don't you WANT to be that resource for them?  I mean...who would be better at it than someone who knows the very core of you?

I believe very strongly that my home is my sanctuary.  It is the one place I can truly be myself, never to worry about what people think about me, what they're going to say about me, am I going to get fired for doing that, etc.  This notion doesn't strip away the necessity of treating everyone with kindness--in fact, my home is the one place where I can be as unabashedly kind as I want to be, like, spending an entire day lovingly preparing for the business of watching my kids and their friends play Guitar Hero while we all sit around eating burritos on the living room furniture (gasp!).  I will never, never, ever sacrifice that for any formality, any dreamt-up "have to" or "must".  I don't believe in "have to" or "must" except as it pertains to the importance of being good to other people.

So, to answer the question....Yes, we DO always eat like that.  We do everything like that.  I wish everybody did.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hard Pill To Swallow

Hives.....cursed, cursed Hives. 
Not THE Hives, the band who's music gets under your skin (I love!)--I'm talking actual hives.
Imagine, if you will, that you had hives every day.  Every day for almost a year.  Do you think you'd be ready to kill someone?  Like, literally rip someone's forehead open?
Welcome to my world.  A few months into it, I started to feel a bit like Job, only not as patient.  I was covered with the modern equivalent of boils, after all.
I have to believe that in our time of science that there is a better treatment for this problem than a daily time-release antihistamine.  Really?  I have to take a pill?  Every day?  For the rest of my life?  And if I don't, I get itchy hives, no matter the season?
What. The. Hell?
Everything about that is wrong.  Everything.
What about the time when I was perfectly fine, never got hives, had no allergies of note, and DIDN'T have to take a pill every day to keep from ripping my skin from my flesh?  What about that?  Can we get back to that?
Here's the thing...last Spring, I had a staph infection, and was treated with a boatload of antibiotics.  Since then?  Every day, hives.  Itchy, annoying, "I'm gonna kill someone" hives.  Call it the old "hard to tell the poison from the cure".  Antibiotics killed all the stuff that used to prevent me from getting hives every single day.  Now I have to take a daily antihistamine, just to keep from losing my mind.  I don't know about you guys, but I find it hard to believe that we haven't yet figured out a way to revive these bad-ass killaz so they can get back to the business of PREVENTING DAILY HIVES.
You know what bugs me the most?  When I went to the doctor and (in my usual style) very emphatically exclaimed that "OHMYEFFINGGAAAAWD! I GET HIVES EVERY DAY!  EVERY DAY!  DO YOU GET THAT?  EVERY DAY!!!"  And the doc was all, "Just take an antihistamine" and I'm thinking "EVERY DAY?  ARE YOU SERIOUS?"
On the long list of "things that cause hives"?  Cold temperatures, Hot temperatures, Sweating. in Minnesota.  Or anywhere.  Getting up, walking around, moving.  Or not moving. 
I REFUSE to believe that there is no cure.  I flat-out refuse to believe it.  Period.
I don't really buy into the "better living with a daily pill" thing.  I've been offered all kinds of pills in my life--"just take a pill!"--and I can't help but think....Really?  In 2010, we're such a bunch of mutated losers that in order to NOT be uncomfortable, we have to take a pill?
Again....that's just so damn wrong.  WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Only For Us Tough Guys

I know I'm late posting this, but I'm literally just reading my Sunday paper right now (and would like to THANK that person in my building who has been stealing my paper lately for letting me actually look at this one, considering that I do pay for it, after all. P.S.: You Suck. Thank you).
I hope this isn't too weirdly formatted to read--just forwarding an email. Enjoy.
Hats (and socks) off to a skillful soldier

Staff Sgt. John Sorich of Eden Prairie is grateful that everyone in his unit returned home safely 10 days ago. But he's a little pensive because they're no longer together. His was a more close-knit group than many.

Sorich, 26, served for a year with the Army Reserves' 401st Bridge Engineer Co., stationed at Victory Base Camp in Baghdad. While trained as a corrections officer, Sorich made his mark by facing the stresses of daily duty in a creative way: stockinette stitches.

Sorich knows his way around a knitting needle: winter caps, gloves, socks, even a pouch for his M4 rifle (the latter made with parachute cord). He shared his skills with a growing number of bemused fellow troops who stopped ribbing and started stitching. At one point, 10 soldiers, all but one of them male, joined him in an occasional knitting circle, many sending home their creations to surprised loved ones at Christmas.

Sorich arrived home Feb. 25 with 10 knit caps he had made for buddies, two wristlets and the world's longest sock. He ran out of time to make its match. All totaled: 62,000 stitches and countless kudos.

"Wow! Army Strong knits!" blogged Meghan Dunn, co-creator with Victoria Higgins of the Canadian-based vintage-knitting blog, Handmade by Mother, (

"If anyone is still under the illusion that knitting is only for little old ladies ... just look at all these rough and tough American soldiers knitting in Baghdad, Iraq!"

While Dunn's blog typically pokes fun at the most ghastly patterns of yore (the complete name is "Handmade by Mother so you damn well better wear it!"), the reaction to Sorich was closer to awe.

"My reaction was, my gosh, this is fabulous. I have to write up a post for you," Dunn said. "We were honored that he had contacted us and told us what he was doing."

Sorich wasn't looking for fame, though. Just help. A longtime member of the Historical Reenactment Society at Historic Fort Snelling, Sorich hoped Dunn could lead him to World War II British military patterns or pictures of knit items created during the "Knit for Britain" program. She posted his request and will forward responses as they come in.

Sorich's fascination with wartime knitting began at Eden Prairie High School (he's a 2002 graduate), but its roots go far deeper. He's John IV in a family of military men. His great-grandfather John served in World War I, John Jr. in World War II. His father, John III, served in Vietnam. Sorich joined the Army Reserves six years ago, while studying corrections at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He works as a juvenile corrections officer at the Hennepin County Home School, a state-licensed residential treatment facility for juveniles ages 13 to 17. Not surprisingly, Sorich noted, almost everybody there, from staff to students, knits.

After his deployment in 2009, Sorich had no desire to knit, especially in 120-degree heat. As the weather cooled in October, he pulled out a knit cap he had brought with him. "One of the guys in my unit saw the hat and asked me about it."

Sorich started to knit again, causing quite a stir. "At first, it was, 'You're knitting?' No one could understand why I wanted to do it. I said, 'This is weird? You play World of Warcraft all day.'"

He told the guys it was great stress relief, and a new skill they could be proud of. It was also relatively easy. The impressive caps require only three stitches, "pretty basic stuff," he said. "They could instantly zone out and relax."

Soldiers started wandering over, asking, "You guys going to knit tonight?" Sometimes a few joined in, sometimes as many as 10. Many left their computers behind when they headed to other bases, but not their yarn.

Speaking of yarn, most of it arrived in Iraq thanks to Sorich's sister, Naomi, who made regular trips to Needlework Unlimited in Minneapolis, buying skeins of a replicated olive-colored yarn that is modeled after an original World War II glove knit by members of the American Red Cross. (Knitters out there: It's Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers, color #9459.)

Joe Torkildson, 29, of Arden Hills, also assigned to the 401st, is a longtime friend and fan of Sorich's handiwork. Sorich gave Torkildson one of his signature caps a few years ago. "I said, 'This is sweet, man.' When we were deployed and he started knitting, I thought, 'I've gotta learn this.'"

Torkildson knit a scarf for his wife, Kendel, twice. The first attempt was a disaster, which he ended up unraveling. "It was sad, actually." He tried again. "It was ridiculously ugly," Torkildson said, "but when you wear it, it actually looks pretty cool." Kendel loved it, he said, mostly because, "I had 40 hours into this thing."

Sorich heads to New Zealand on vacation this week. But he made an important stop first. Needlework Unlimited manager Laura Schelde was thrilled when Sorich came into her yarn store Wednesday to show her and other employees one of the caps he knit in Iraq with their yarn.

"He was serving our country and knitting at the same time," Schelde said, getting teary-eyed. "It's especially nice to have a little hero come back and say, 'Look what you helped me do.'"

Gail Rosenblum • 612-673-7350 •

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Be Mine

This morning, while walking from the parking garage into our office building, I looked over and saw that someone had written "Be Mine" in footprints in the snow in the large grassy (snowy) area adjacent to our building. Not only that, but they had also stomped a heart into the snow, right next to it.

I wonder how long that's been there?

One assumes Valentines Day. Or at least I do. But here it is, March 4th, and, that's the first time I saw it. Can you imagine if it was meant for you and you were me, and, you didn't see your very special and labor intensive overture until almost three weeks later?

Yikes. That conversation pretty much writes iteself.

"Uh....I didn't see it!"
"Didn't SEE it? It was 20 feet tall! How could you not see it?"

What if they broke up because one was thinking that the other never makes a gesture, and, so, the other made the huge snow gesture and then got pissed because the first person didn't acknowledge it? BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T SEE IT??? I can totally see that happening because, well, a guy not making a gesture is the kind of thing that annoys me, and also? I didn't see it. Until today.

What if a guy was making some last ditch effort to get a girl to pay attention to him and convinced himself that his midnight stomping escapade would be just the ticket, and she, like me, DIDN'T SEE IT?

Oh dear....that's really too sad to think about.

Hopefully, it was a sweet, corny, hokey thing where the person who did it called the other person and told them "Look out the window" and they ended up rolling in the snow in laughing celebration of how awesome it is that they have each other.

Those Jerks! Flaunting their happy like that...! annoying would that be to us single people? Us single people who are too busy to see the gigantic signs right in front of us. Hmmm...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


My horoscope says "You have an admirer, Shelly"
You're not just messing with me now, are you?
Oh, horoscope, horoscope...don't tell me that I have an admirer unless you can also tell me, "He's cute, his name is _____, and his phone number is __________.  Oh, and also, he doesn't appear to be psychotic."
See, those are the things I am curious about....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Deep Thoughts, Important Questions, and Scientific Observations

Pay attention, now, this is serious.
  • Did anyone ever use the word "fantabulous" before Van Morrison did it?
  • Does anyone now?
  • The Michael Buble "thing" from the closing ceremonies last night....anyone?  Anyone?  I mean, when I saw him standing there, singing, dressed as a Mounty, I thought, "uh, that's kinda lame".  THEN I saw the backup singers file onto the stage, in their semi-tarty "mounty" (read "Mount Me") costumes.  THEN Buble tears away his own Mounty uniform to reveal that he's actually Bobby Darin!  Holy Sh*t.  I have no comment about giant inflatable beavers or moose--all of what came after Buble seemed perfectly appropriate by comparison.
  • This is good.  I mean, it's cool in a chill, black and white, behind-the-scenes sort of way.  AND, from what I have heard of it (snippets, only snippets), their new album really is quite exciting.  Very....awake.  Yes, that's a compliment!  Shut up!  In a month, when it's finally in my hot little hands, maybe I'll say some more nice things....
  • I had a hilarious time on Saturday night.  While searching for live music, and, not wanting to drive around the city all night, my friends and I ended up standing in front of a Motley Crue tribute band.  Now...I'm not about to judge anybody doing whatever in order to make a living--hey, as long as you're happy and you're not harming anyone, what the hell do I care?  The irony, pointed out by my friend, is that by paying an $8 cover charge to see this tribute band, we (he) paid more to see them than we paid to see the real Motley Crue when we were both in radio.  I realize that it is absolutely wrong of me to have very little concept how much a concert ticket costs.  I have bought some recently, so, I'm not a completely awful person, but, talking me out of a hundred bucks so I can look at someone famous is kind of a tough gig.  I've seen some really, really famous people and some really amazing shows, but not many of them were as entertaining to talk about the next day as the Motley Crue tribute band.  The audience alone was about a weeks worth of blog posts--you can't make this stuff up.  Besides, I think we have seen, from previous posts, (Here, Here, or Here...just to name a few) that the audience is usually just as, if not more, interesting than the band at any given show.