Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Unit of Measure

New Unit of Measure

My dog’s name is Kuro. No, this isn’t one of those boring blogs about how cute someone’s dog is. Admittedly, Kuro is unbelievably cute, to the point that I tell people that’s his superpower. Kuro uses the power of cute to get everyone he meets to do his bidding, like a little evil dictator. Kuro was the inspiration for Peanut the Wonderdog and his human counterpart the Amazing Ashley in the Damson Dragon diary. However, it is not Kuro’s cuteness that I’ve been thinking about lately, but his weight. Kuro is large for a Pomeranian, about 11 pounds.
When I flew back to Austin after working in Raleigh, NC for a couple of weeks, I hadn’t weighed myself in quite a while. According to my home bathroom scale, since I started my new job 4 months ago, I have now lost about 11 pounds. When I told my husband that, with an espression of frustration about how slow the process has been, he picked up Kuro and handed him to me. “You’ve lost a whole Kuro,” he said.
Hmmm. I hefted my dog, got my face slurped, and thought about carrying him around everywhere, all day long, no matter what I was doing. Wow. That really puts the whole weight loss thing in perspective.
I haven’t been dieting exactly, just eating better and exercising a lot more. I’ve got a lot more energy these days, too. Considering I’m not hauling around a whole dog’s worth of weight everywhere, that’s not too surprising I suppose.
I have to keep telling myself that about one pound a week isn’t too bad for weight loss.  I am a deeply impatient and somewhat obsessive person. When it comes to getting in better physical condition, I can be a bit … focused. However, I have had problems in the past with going on diets, being very strict about it, losing 4 – 6 pounds a week for a few weeks, then getting dog sick. Like, antibiotic resistant bronchitis that lasts for a month kind of sick.
This is a lot better for me in the long run. The trick is going to be making it through the holidays without putting that Kuro back on my hips and waist. I like that I’ve dropped a pants size. I like that I was looking all curvy in new, one size smaller jeans, when I got my pic taken with Christian Kane. I like that I can swim a mile if I feel like it. I like that I’m over 30 situps a minute in my boxing class. Mostly, I like feeling better, lighter, and stronger.
If I stick with it for another six months and drop another Kuro or two, I’ll be wearing my sexy leather skirts from college again.
Must learn patience.
And skip the pie.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I met Christian Kane!!

I'm behind on writing projects. I haven't answered emails in days. I haven't posted a Damson Dragon update in 2 weeks. Life, as usual, has gotten a bit out of hand. My writing time has been nill lately. Now, I have some, and what am I doing? Writing a white paper? Writing a technical article? Writing a short story or book review? All of which I could actually get paid for. Oh no. I'm blogging about being a fangirl.

Some things just won't wait.

This past weekend, after 2 years of near misses and watching on line as other folks sqeee'd about how awesome it was to see Christian Kane at a live concert, or meet him in person, I got my chance. I'm working in Raleigh, NC this week, and CK was playing, not one, but 2 concerts, Fri and Sat in NC.

I drove an hour and a half to get to the Fri concert. I knew I'd have a long drive late at night to get back to my little apt in Raleigh where I stay when I'm working on this project. So, I limited myself to one beer. But I didn't bring cash and they wouldn't run my card for less than 10 bucks. I know CK drinks Jack Daniels. Every CK fan knows that. So, I bought a double shot of JD. No way I was going to drink it, I'd be likely to wrap my car around a tree going home, but it did have a nice smokey scent.

My little gamble paid off. I was about third person back from the center stage. When CK got to the song, Whiskey in Mind, he asked the audience if anyone had any whiskey. I stepped up and handed it to him. Yes, his fingers brushed mine. Fangirl sigh.

He took a tiny sip and went to hand it back, but I told him it was his. I'd bought it for him after all. He looked at the cup kind of dubiously and set it down. Some other folks gave him little airplane bottles of a different kind of whiskey, and he thanked them profusely. Said they were lifesavers. He drank all of it, including mine eventually, one slug at a time in between songs. He usually brings his own bottle of Jack, but he didn't this time. He uses the alcohol to keep his voice clear. His voice was undoubtedly awesome, but the sound system was a bit hinky and up that close, the speakers practically deafened me.
I really didn't give a damn. I had an absolute blast, even though I was on my feet for 5 hours straight, most of it dancing my ass off, in brand new boots with no insoles. My feet felt like they'd been beat with hammers by the end, but I barely noticed while I was there.

I met a bunch of fellow Kaniacs, including some folks I knew from Twitter and such. Every one of them said they were going to the concert the next night in Raleigh, too. And they did. It was cool seeing familiar faces. One nice lady who stood next to me in Winston-Salem had her meet and greet pass. She was a nervous wreck. She'd been waiting 10 years to meet him.

The next night, it was my turn to be a nervous wreck. I arrived 10 mins after the doors opened, meet and greet pass in hand. I was so nervous my hands were shaking and I kept dropping things, and all those ladies I'd met the night before were there ahead of me. They let me get up front and sit on the stage while we waited for the concert to start, in order to save my aching feet for the dancing to come, and they saved my spot four people back from center stage while I went upstairs to wait my turn to meet CK.

Just by coincidence, I was third in line for the meet and greet. Then the lady who was first had to leave. A blind girl was the only one in front of me. She was signing along with one of the songs. I told her I used to teach at the Texas School for the Deaf. She said her sign skills weren't as good as they used to be. As her vision faded, she couldn't follow what other people said anymore. They moved too fast.

The girl behind me was showing off a bunch of very cool tattoos in a pretty dress, and all but dancing in place, not because she was excited, but because she had to go to the bathroom desperately. She absolutely refused to yield her place in line for a mere potty break, though.

The opening act started playing downstairs and I saw the man himself standing not 20 feet away right by the upstairs speakers. Someone said that CK was just over there, and the blind girl heard it. She asked me if it was really him, and was all nervous about being first. I told her, yup, it was really him. She said, "I can't see that far anymore." I grinned and told her, "You'll be a lot closer in a few minutes."

But the security guy still held us back, while letting a bunch of other folks through. I remembered that the website had said local radio station VIPs and contest winners would get to go first. No big, they must really want to meet him too. We'd get our turn. They milled around, then lined up in front of us. The last lady ended up right in front of me and the blind girl who had been chit-chatting with me.

The lady said, "I'm just along for the ride. My boyfriend works for the radio station. So, who is this guy anyway?" And I wanted to slap her. I realized all those folks in front of us had no idea who CK was and were just networking. Oy.

After a few minutes, that lady in front of us, watching CK shaking hands with strangers with a forced smile, said, "He's just cute as a damn bug, aint he?"

Heh, you have no idea, lady.

Finally, the radio execs and their friends left and the blind girl went up, all nervous and babbling.

I'd been sitting on the floor about half meditating a fair amount of my wait time, so I could chill out, stop dropping things and stumbling over myself, and behave a bit more like a human.

Then it was my turn. I set my stuff down on the table and turned to CK.

He stuck his hand out, wearing signature fingerless gloves and said, "Hi, I'm Christian Kane." Oy. He'd met a few too many networking execs who had no clue who he was.

I laughed, hugged him and said, "Darlin, I know."

He laughed too, and gave me a quick hug.

I told him I was Paige, and he had me repeat it. The band was loud and we were shouting into each others ears to hear. We posed for the picture. Snap, flash.

He stood stiff until it was done, then relaxed and asked me, "What have you got here?"

I picked up the folder I'd brought and pulled out the color portrait I'd done of him.

I told him I'd drawn it and I'd like it if he'd sign it. He spent a few seconds just looking at it. If I'd not been so spazzed, I'd have asked him what he thought of it, but I didn't really give him a chance to comment.

He signed it, and I put it back in the folder and thanked him. (It's already in a frame. Squeee!)

Then I gave him a copy of one of my books. This is one I wrote under a different name, a very wild book of vampire erotica. I'd already signed it "To my favorite kind of knight." I told him, "I know you travel around a lot and figured you could use something to read."  I also figured since he has to sign stuff for other folks all the time, I should return the favor. I know he gets all kinds of stuff from folks that he doesn't need. The blind girl gave him a monkey toy with flashing lights in it, but he was gracious anyway.

He looked at the book and said, "Thank you."

"It's pretty wild," I warned him.

He grinned. "I like it that way."

As I collected my stuff and my jacket, I half shouted into his ear to be heard, "I've got to ask you one question. What's your favorite kind of whiskey?"

He said, "Well, everyone knows I'm a Jack Daniels man, but I also really like a good #### when I can get it." I totally missed it. There was too much noise and he'd ducked his head a little like he was embarrassed. So, sorry, I can't tell you what kind of whiskey he likes even better than Jack.

"I gave you a shot of Jack last night."

He laughed. "I know."

"I wondered because you didn't seem to like it."

"Well, I just never know when someone hands me something like that. I have to be careful."

"That makes sense." Of course, I could have been some psycho. I could have slipped him a rufi or something. Now I get why he preferred the still sealed bottles even though they were the wrong brand and clearly snuck into a bar.

"Well, I'll see you down there."

So, that was my meeting with Christian Kane. He was gracious, self-effacing, sweet, considerate, and generally just awesome. Not to mention incredibly attractive and built to make greek statues jealous, although the lighting sucked up there. He was also a bit shorter than I expected. I certainly wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers.

The sound was far better at the venue in Raleigh, the City Limits Saloon. I'd been there dancing before. They have line dancing classes on Fridays that one of these days I'll make it to. The sound was, in fact, fabulous. Cool place.

One unique aspect of the City Limits Saloon is a close line strung from the second floor balconies above the dance floor. It has bras on it. All kinds of bras. They'd been shoved over to one side so they wouldn't block the stage view of the folks on the upper deck.

CK, in the middle of the concert, stopped and looked at that line and said, "I gotta ask one thing. How do you get a bra up there?" Two bras flew out of the audience to him within seconds, one red lacy one from the lady standing next to me on the left, and one large white one from a big lady about arm's length from me on the right. I saw them both do the unhook and slip over each arm thing.

CK snatched a bra out of the air effortlessly like everything that was thrown to him on stage, panties, bras, mardi gras beads.

Steve Carlson, CK's friend and co-founder of the band Kane, bet him $50 that he couldn't get one of those bras up there.

CK then channelled his Leverage character, the supremely badass Eliot Spencer, and made it on the second try. Someone filmed it from up on the second floor and put it on Youtube. I think it was AliKat, who I wish I had met. She makes the best CK videos. If you look close, about 4 back from center stage, you can see the back of my head, asuming you can tell which blonde head is mine.

I brought my sometimes rommate, who shares my apt when I'm in Raleigh and has it to himself when I'm in Texas. He had a blast. Loved the music, particularly Kane's version of Luchenbach Texas. He also loved the 10 to 1 ratio of women to men. He is a guy. I gave him my House Rules EP CD. New fan created.

Brian Nutter rocked the house, too. I ran into him on the way out at the end, and tapped him on the shoulder and told him, "Good show, you were awesome."

He thanked me with a big grin. He strikes me as a really cool guy, too, and an amazing talent.

Of course, Kane, the band, nailed it in a big way. Those guys are so good, they make it look effortless. Except Jay. He always looks like he's giving birth or something when he's wailing out guitar godliness. Or he looks like Cousin It when he's leaning forward. He and Will Amend, the bass player, nearly collided on stage at some point, which was amusing to them as well as me. Great show, guys. You all rocked Raleigh's world.

I bet travelling with that wild bunch is a hoot.

That was definitely a weekend I will remember. But I had to write it all down just to be sure.