Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rio Girl Finally a Duran Duran VIP: Part One

The first love of my life . . . John Taylor of Duran Duran. Followed closely by Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor. Sorry, Andy Taylor not you. I became a Duran Duran fan back in 1982 (I think) when Planet Earth came out. I'll admit that I've been a Duran Duran fanatic since Rio hit the charts back in 1984. My sister and I plastered our bedroom walls with posters and clippings of the Fab 5. (Yes, Andy Taylor even you made it up on our walls.)

Waiting in the VIP line
I have all of their albums—some on vinyl, some on tape, some CDs and all now loaded onto my iPod. I've seen them in concert with my sister in tow for all of the shows. Back in 2005 for the Astronaut tour, we scored seats in a luxury box at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Minnesota, soaring high above the John Taylor side of the stage. While the rest of our skybox comrades sat and ate the complimentary food, we stood and danced and sang and screamed for the entire show. Simon LeBon sang a line or two in my direction while I was highlighted in a fuchsia spotlight. How can I top that experience? Well I  did.

Good Friday this year truly took on a new meaning for my sister and I. My Duran Duran Fan Club membership truly paid off and we were holding 2 of the 32 allotted tickets for the VIP section of the All That You Need Is Now tour at the Epic in Minneapolis on April 22nd. It was an absolutely nasty afternoon. Pouring rain. We pondered staying in our hotel for an extra 30 minutes but grabbed our raincoats and umbrellas and headed to the Epic. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity after all! We arrived an hour and an half before the doors were set to open and ended up 5th in the VIP line. The girl who was first in line got there at 1:30 pm so we felt pretty good about arriving at 5:30 and being fifth in line.

Roger Taylor's drums
Growing crowd behind us.
(Yes they are all old like me!)
The pouring rain turned to sleet. They cancelled the Twins baseball game across the street. The lines grew longer. Desperate Duran Duran fans, who clearly were not nearly as smart and savvy as us, tried to sneak into the VIP line. It didn't work. Our names were on a list. Not just any list—THE list! (I've never seen my name on such a list before.) Finally after enduring the rain, sleet and driving wind, the doors opened. We literally ran for the front of the stage and put ourselves right in between John and Simon. Here we were, two grown up Duranies from Spencer, Wisconsin in the front row for Duran Duran. Not only in the front row, but up on a platform. Elevated above the rest of the crowd. Did I feel bad for those fans behind me who could not see because I was now towering over them? Not a single bit. No guilt. We SO deserved this!
Girl Panic!

 After being absolutely freezing for hours, we were now feeling the heat from the growing crowd behind us. John Taylor tweeted that the band had just landed at the airport. We shed layers of clothing as more and more fans crowded into the club. We had a united front with a few of the other VIP fans and let no one up to the front of the stage. I befriended one of the security guards by chatting him up and offering him gum. It paid off to have a security guard on your side as he let me take pictures with the flash on and record parts of the concert.

At 8 pm All You Need Is Now started blaring from the speakers. The crowd went wild! But the crowd behind us did not have the inside knowledge that we VIP Duranies had about the band. They weren't Facebook or Twitter followers of John Taylor. They didn't know that the band wasn't even at the Epic yet. They didn't have a security guard friend telling them that the band plays a 45 minute video before the show—the entirety of their new album. The crowd managed to figure it out after 20 minutes of video and demanded the band. We learned that show was oversold so by the time the videos ended the place was teeming. Women were passing out around us. It was hot, loud, and the front row was more than ready for Duran Duran!

Next up . . . "What It's Like in the Front Row at a Duran Duran Concert" or "JOHN TAYLOR I LOVE YOU!!!"

Check back soon.

Clothing Sizing: The Expanding Lie

Have Americans had a massive growth spurt over the past few months? Can someone please tell me what is up with clothing sizes in all of the mainstream stores? Everything is HUGE!

I made a quick run into my GAP Outlet last week to pickup a few necessities that my kids had outgrown since my last trip to the GAP Outlet. Running late as usual, I just grabbed the next size up in their T-shirts, shorts, and polo shirts. I discovered once I unloaded my GAP haul at home that all of the sizes seemed to have changed—all of the new clothes were sized much larger.

The polo I bought for my 8-year old son would fit me! His new cargo shorts had a generous waist and fell nearly to his ankles. I realize that the boys do wear their shorts long but this is ridiculous! I have a hard time believing that my youngest son is the same size 5 that he wore in Kindergarten. An XS junior top for my daughter was literally falling off of her and far too long. The Medium polo shirt for my 12-year old son would fit a large man. I kind of thought something was up when I couldn't fit into a size 0 pair of GAP shorts—they were too BIG! I may be petite but I'm not that skinny.

I've made yet another run out to the GAP Outlet to exchange all of the clothes for the next size (or two) smaller and remarkably everything fits. My daughter did insist on keeping the black XS yoga pants that were again falling off of her frame. (Although she even doesn't do yoga.)  I've learned over the years that I am really good at accidentally shrinking clothing in the laundry. So deliberately washing the yoga pants in hot water and drying them on HIGH heat did the trick. Perfectly fitting yoga pants. It is kind of sad that I have to deliberately shrink clothing to get it to fit.

Now that I do stop and think about it, this is not happening only at GAP. Many clothing companies have resized their lines of clothing and the fit is much roomier. Adults as well as kids. Are Americans waistlines really getting so big that the clothing industry now has to change all of the sizes to make us feel thinner? "I used to be a size 8 but NOW I'm a size 4!" Get real. It's a scam to make us feel better about ourselves! It's just a number after all.

Bear vs. Suburbia

Who loses? Unfortunately it looks like the bear. You may be wondering what ever happened to my neighborhood bear friend. I'm wondering the same thing and have been chasing down the latest bear rumors. 

I do have one solid fact: the bear has not been sighted in my neighborhood since November. Here are the rumors I've heard:

  • The police shot and killed the bear last fall on the land of a local farmer.
  • A black bear was hit by a car on Birch Street last month. It took six shots by the police to take down this massive black bear.
  • The bear wandered off and is now menacing someone else's neighborhood.

I've not found any evidence to back up any of these rumors. However, a large black bear was shot by the police last weekend near Oakdale. That's 20 miles from here but potentially in our bear's roaming territory. Could this be our bear?

Since I've not seen any bear footprints lately and no one I know has been startled by a black bear while out for a run, I think it's safe to assume that our bear is gone: either shot or moved on. I'm still keeping a watchful eye on the woods and the ponds while I'm out walking the dog.