5.17.2010

4,828.032 kilometers from Graceland

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After having grown tired of searching for the music scene here in Bavaria, we’ve decided to just create it ourselves. The buddymollys added another notch on the ol' gig belt Saturday when we played a few ditties at an open mic night.

But maybe I should qualify the term “open mic.” For most people, open mic means a smoky pub with a microphone stand and a random assortment of poets and folk singers. In this case, the only similarity was the word “random.”

Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some talented folks there. One guy rocked an a cappella rendition of an R&B song; another did a hilarious impression of Prince’s “Kiss”; and a girl aroused the entire audience with a sultry, dancing-singing number from “Chicago” (wow); but as the night wore on, we began to realize it really wasn’t an open mic at all.

Instead, we had stumbled into this parallel universe where one of the high school drama students had stolen a key to the auditorium and they all decided to have a party to rehearse their lines and get “wacky.” Except we’re not in high school, and karaoke isn’t open mic.

This became overtly clear when the majority of the performers came back on stage to give what was left of the audience some “improv” comedy.

Despite all this, though, we were still happy to be able to play few more songs and work on reducing our stage fright. We sang a folky version of “Prince of Bel-Air” and followed up with the Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun” (see partial clip above).

I even made my solo debut with a poem called “Damn” I wrote 10 years and finally put some chords to (the solo album is still being mastered in the studio).

All in all, we had a blast and hopefully if we continue to build it, the music scene will come.

5.10.2010

When Swans Attack: A River Story


 It started off as a lazy Sunday adventure. Jeremy and I teamed up with Jeb and Tad (not their real names …) for a five-hour canoe trip down the Pegnitz River. Jeb and I represented “Team Awesome” in our inflatable, yet surprisingly sound canoe, while Jeremy and Tad coined themselves “Swantasia” drifting next to us in the slow moving current.

We paddled nine kilometers, through various climate changes and landscapes, over three dangerous “.5” river rapid sections and quite a few portages. (Luckily, we all have freakishly strong upper body strength, so lifting and carrying the boats to the next put-in point was easy breezy.)  

It was smooth sailing until a run in with a fearless swan.

We saw the two swans up ahead, noticed how ridiculously large they were and muttered “aren’t they beautiful!” amongst ourselves.

We held on to this false identity of beauty until we approached them.

And then it happened. And THEN it happened.

The male swan turned into a six-foot fire breathing beak-fanged monster and refused to let us pass. He floated in front of us, hissing and spitting as we paddled left, then right, then left, trying (and failing) to get around him.

Mama swan sat pretty the whole time.

Jeb and I somehow created a diversion on the right side of the river as Tad and Jeremy hauled ass on the left in an attempt to pass.

This only angered the swan-monster. 

He took off at a rapid speed, chasing the two, narrowly missing the boat as they screeched like six-year-old girls. The brave boaters leaned to the side, ready to use their paddles as weapons if needed, but mostly trying to avoid the disapproving monster-swan.

They successfully made it to the next portage, jumped out of the boat and pulled it safely to land.

With one enemy boat out of the way, the swan turned around, eyes red with vengeance and headed straight for our boat. I leaped six feet into the air as our boat neared the land and pulled the canoe to shore, Jeb still tucked inside, frozen with fear. (Of course, this is after Jeb talked me into safety with his superior river-guide knowledge …)

A German woman on the bank explained that the swan had a nest nearby and all Papa was doing was protecting. (Well, we understood two words – egg and nest, out of the numerous words she spoke, so that is what we gathered.)

So yes, noble swan, you protected your offspring and succeeded in scaring us into fits of laughter.

Tad said it was the second scariest incident with an animal he had ever experienced. I believe that says it all …

Not to mention this swan incident surpassed my then current scariest swan memory watching my older sister being chased and eventually attacked by a similar large beaked bird during my childhood.

 … What I am saying is, there is nothing funnier than watching your sister being chased through a cemetery by an angry swan. (Sorry about your kneecap, Shannon.)

In comparison, the rest of the day was uneventful. You know, your basic breathtaking landscape, hidden caves, fields of wildflowers and small, unnamed towns. Nothing as noteworthy as successfully evading an animal attack, but a storybook ending nonetheless -  for mere seconds after we packed up our gear and headed to the nearest biergarten, the torrential downpour began. I believe the sky was weeping with joy at our narrow escape from the ninja swan-monster. In all honesty, we wept a little, too.