My Amazing Night at The Fox: 2Cellos

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or are familiar with my blog, then you might have heard me mention 2Cellos a time or two. More often than not it’s me sharing a song that’s inspiring me, creating fantastic images in my mind that I have to write down; sometimes I just love watching them play and then fuel that same passion and love they have of playing their music, into my own writing.

When I was writing my novel for NaNoWriMo, there were many pages hastily written after listening or watching Luka and Stjepan play over and over again. In the midst of my frantic search for more of their work and information on them because I was curious (they’re from Croatia, which endeared them to me all the more; a friend of mine that died a few years ago was also from Croatia), I found that they were playing at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta in February, on the 9th.

I had little hope of being able to go, The Fox not generally being in my price range, but I had vague hopes and intended to try. To my surprise, my mother, at the persistence of my sister (thank you both!), gave me a wonderful Christmas present: Two tickets to see 2Cellos when they came to The Fox!!

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So last week, an old friend of mine joined me, and we went to see 2Cellos at The Fox!! I have never been to The Fox, despite having lived in and around Atlanta most of my life. The entire night was an experience (especially for this homebody introvert.)

So how was it?

At the end of the night, I absolutely enjoyed myself, which was in great part due to my friend, Grim, who took the anxiety of driving in the damned city and need to budget the energy for it out of the equation for the night, which was wonderful and helped a lot.

We arrived, in the freezing cold with wind quite capable of blowing me off course mid-step (no exaggeration), at The Fox, a solid 45 minutes before show time because you never know what Atlanta traffic will do…and parking…parking can be a nightmare. We were able to park across the street from the theatre, which was infinitely grateful for, and we arrived.

We bustled through the doors amidst the throng of other freezing people vying to get in. We each had our tickets ready, following the crowd through this large hall until meeting another set of doors. Through here was the carpeted theatre lobby, at the foot of the large staircase that would lead us up to our seats.

We went straight to our seats and had this fantastic view while we waited:

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We were there early, so we spent some time taking pictures of the theater around us from our seats.

 

And of course:

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We were there early, the show started 15 minutes late, and the theatre slowly became packed with people. It was interesting to hear snatches of conversation, see people who recognize each other from seats across the aisles; I was enjoyed some people watching while we waited, what author doesn’t?

By 7:45, the lights dimmed, and Luka and Stjpan took the stage with confidence seen in people following their dreams. Their smiles lit up the theatre, the bright lights were unnecessary. They greeted the audience and regaled us with the last time they played at The Fox, it was opening for Elton John. After saying that they’d made it back to the same stage on their own, they claim that Elton John will be opening for them next time they return 😉

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It was a joy getting to see some part of their personalities; they had a fun sense of humor, but more than that, there was the love of their music, which was intoxicating and uplifting. Soon after their greeting, the fingers were flying at the strings and they warmed up with a little classical, showing off their years of skill and technique.

Things didn’t take long to heat up, Luka and Stjepan’s bows shredding as they played; I cannot begin to describe the awe and appreciation I have for such skill and talent and such love and enjoyment of music as shown by 2Cellos.

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In between some of the songs, Stjepan or Luka would take the mic and speak to the crowd. Often time it was to make the crowd laugh. Stjepan, in his dramatic and rugged way repeatedly mentioned how “beaut-i-ful” the music was, and as the flirt he is, dedicated the beautiful music to the beautiful ladies in the audience.

It was so easy to melt away in my chair listening to them play. I wished I could have done more actual watching them play, but unfortunately, the lights continued to arc right into my eyes, particularly during the fast paced songs where I pretty much kept my eyes closed instead of accidentally meeting with the brutal flares.

We didn’t stay for the entire concert, an accumulation of reasons equating to the final decisions to leave sooner than the end. A booming and sensational rendition of Thunderstruck, which included adding a drummer and some pretty serious sounding bass, heralded a switch in music style. The drummer stayed, and between the bass making my heart feel it would explode within my chest cavity, a headache beginning from the unfortunate and continued glare of lights in my eyes, and a general escalation of energy, my skin was practically sizzling and I was very much ready to be in a more reclined and relaxed position, as much as I was reveling in the music of Luka and Stjepan as they played live.

We did manage to snag this picture before heading out

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Pay no attention to the frightened animal look, I did enjoy myself!

I enjoyed hearing songs I knew, and ones I had not heard before; truly it was a fantastic experience I was not sure I would have. I cannot say enough how thankful I am to my sister for championing this desire of mine, my mother for this heartfelt gift, to Grim for joining me, and for two sensational musicians to while the night away with.

Is there a concert or show you have attended that you were particularly excited to see? Or one you’re looking forward to? Tell me about your experience!

 

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A Special Word of the Day : Amalgamology

First blog post of the New Year and well on the way to my first full year of blogging…I can hardly believe it. So much happened the last half of 2015, and I’ve managed to find myself in an excellent launching place for the start of 2016; a lot is going to happen this year.

But first! For those that have been following and perhaps wondered, or those new and curious, a special word of the day: Amalgamology. What is it besides the name of my blog? Well, first, it’s not technically a word (as in not in the dictionary)…yet (that’s right, I’m channeling Shakespeare  and Dr. Seuss here). I fused two words together, as many words are. First there’s amalgam, which is a mixture or blend, and then ology, or simply, the study of a subject or branch of knowledge. So what does it mean? Here’s my definition:

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Amalgamoology: the study of a mix of blend of thoughts and ideas

 

The easiest way I can explain why I call my blog this is because…I don’t do the whole niche thing. There are many fantastically talented writers that have one area their platform is known for or raised on, or one topic in particular they focus on.

I completely understand the benefits involved with having a niche and working within that scope, a lot of things become a lot easier for marketing, finding your audience, much more. However, if I tried to pin myself down to only one aspect of….almost anything, I think I might combust.

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The same thing happens when asked about my favorite book…singular

My interests are many and varied. Another way to say it is that I’m eclectic. I have a handful of useful “go-to” answers to the question of my interests, but if I were to give my full list, it would overwhelm anyone, including me.  In fact I will, most begrudgingly, admit that I probably will not have enough time to delve as deeply into everything that I want to in this lifetime…there are just so many amazing thing to read, learn, see, do!

Admittedly, a good chunk of what you will find on here is writing or literary related, but why choose when you don’t have to? I understand what is typical, but this is me forging my own path and I don’t think I should start changing that about myself now…I’ll save you any possible suspense, but me choosing one focus, topic, interest, otherwise, is not likely in the cards. I’m okay with that, I hope you are too! Who doesn’t like to shake things up occasionally? Believe me, there will still be plenty of writing related goodness (have I mentioned I’ve got plans?) 😉

If you’re curious about what topics might be on the horizon, or just in general where some of my interests in and out of writing and books lie, then here you go:

Writing– competitions, tips, useful resources, updates on my own, sharing of others’, etc. the list could go on. (stay tuned for an influx of fiction to be shared as well..plans, you know?)

Languages– this could come in many forms, I love languages and wish I spoke others as fluently as English. I know some German, a little French, bits of Russian, Italian, Spanish, Latin, ….the list I want to know encompasses and goes beyond these….(I said  a lot right?)

Awareness/Causes– many issues that could use attention including mental illness, abuse in all its many forms, Lupus and a few other medical issues close to my heart, etc., posts to raise awareness, combat stereotypes, offer help, and more are likely candidates.

Art– paintings, drawings, sculptures, mixed media, photography, artists I know, artists I’ve newly found, and more! Any way that I can slide some art in, you can bet I will.

Travel– it’s a big world out there, so much to see and experience, so much to learn! Places I want to go, sharing interesting tidbits from research, either for my books, or my own inte-…okay same thing, my interests, varied as they are.

Books– anything to do with books, reviews, suggestions, etc. also this and travel may overlap in the area of libraries, but you can definitely expect books.

Crafting– this could involve sewing, knitting, jewelry, clay, stuffed animals…anything that comes to mind when I’m in a crafty mood.

Anything!

Really, I could probably be here all day but you get the picture: I have lots of interests, and I couldn’t choose just one or even two to focus on. If I end up doing so naturally, that’s perfectly fine, but I won’t purposely restrict myself to a few topics to suite a niche. That feels too limiting.

Thus, Amalgamology is the name of my blog (if you were curious). Does your blog have a specific name, word, or phrase for a reason? Please share what you named your blog and why in the comments.

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Falling for Autumn: 10 Reasons to love Autumn


It’s a week into September and I can already feel the whispery touch of autumn in the air. While out on my balcony as the sun begins to set or rise, I can feel the change in season, and it’s nearly my favorite time of the year. It hasn’t quite enveloped us yet, but every summer haze that is overtaken by crisp autumn winds brings us ever closer. Nearly everyone has a favorite season, a time of the year they look forward to the most, and apart from the true feeling of Christmas come winter time, autumn is my favorite time of the year. Here are 10 reasons I love autumn:
1.       Change in Weather-
Aside from the fact that I have no tolerance for the heat or humidity of the summer here and eagerly await the more habitable change in temperature, it’s that shift in the weather where it’s cooler outside but not cold, and there’s a crispness on the breeze that you can smell and feel tickling your skin announcing autumn that I adore.
2.       Coats and blankets-
I *love* trench coats, in the varying cuts and styles available, and fall is an excuse to break them out without dying from heat stroke (as a teenager, I used to wear a big heavy trench coat even in the summer…ah, youth…).  Blankets take up station over laps in the mornings while sipping coffee or settle over tired shoulders in the evening while enjoying the clear night air with the slight chill that comes with the season. The reason autumn wins over winter in these aspects is that they become mostly necessary in winter time, leaving the novelty or enjoyment to make way for the desire to not freeze.
3.       Lighting-
As we learned somewhere around fifth grade in science class, the seasons are caused by the changes in Earth’s proximity to the Sun and the differences in weather because of it. Somewhere between around the end of September, the lighting for outdoor photography, to me, is wonderful. October is my particularly favorite month, lighting wise. There is an ineffable quality to the light in the autumn afternoons and evenings that I find irresistible for photography purposes and am often most inspired in the fall months.
4.       Leaves-
Of course, anyone else who appreciates the fall knows that I would have to mention the change in leaves. When the colors of the trees begin to change it’s almost a magical place to me, something from a fairy tale or a story, picturesque in its beauty. More than that, I love the sound leaves make as they crinkle and scrape against the ground, the way they appear drifting through the air on the breeze. Autumn scenes depicted in pictures and paintings fill me with inspiration and wonder.
5.       Ray Bradbury-
The genius that gave us Fahrenheit 451 and gems like The Illustrated Man and Something Wicked This Way Comes, and so much more, is integrally linked in my mind to the autumn season. Ray Bradbury, may he rest in peace, is the man who brings the season to life for me with his words…no one writes autumn or that Halloween feel like Mr. Bradbury, as an example, I give you : ”October Country. . . that country where it is always turning late in the year.  That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay.  That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun.  That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts.  Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . . “
6.       Halloween/ Dia de los Meurtos-
Ah yes, the time of the year where you dress as something other than what you are, and also remember our loved ones that have passed on the Day of the Dead. I have a great love and respect for this cultural celebration, and adore the art and beauty that comes with it. There’s so much to enjoy and respect about these respective holidays that adds to the appeal of the autumn season.
7.       Home Decor-
Something about this time of the year brings out some wonderful items for around the home, the types of things that make it *your* home. This is helped along by Halloween because often times it is Halloween décor that often becomes the daily décor for my home. Sometimes it’s lights (okay, often times its lights), but sometimes its candle holders or wall/door hangings, I’m never sure until I see it, but this time of this year is the best to find something I like.
8.       County Fair/Carnivals-
Hay mazes, hay rides, petting zoos, rides, games, funnel cake, cotton candy, and all the rest that comes with a county fair or carnival is synonymous with autumn. Children run around with coats unzipped, rushing from one ride to the next with bright cheeks and chilly air in their lungs as they plunge through the crowd with smiles painted on their faces as their parents call for them to slow down. Even as an adult, some rides still hold their appeal, and there’s nothing like watching the pure enjoyment of those around to remind our hearts of childhood merriment.
My favorite ride since childhood
9.       Pumpkin Bread-

No one was more surprised than I to find that I enjoy pumpkin bread…I was at a friend’s house one autumn evening and he and his girlfriend had made some pumpkin bread. I wanted to be polite, so I decided I would at least try it, even though I’ve never been a fan of anything pumpkin. Low and behold, it was delicious, and so I found something new I enjoyed this time of the year.  You can keep your pumpkin spice lattes or whatever, I will just take my pumpkin bread come the fall.

10. Family-
Even though Thanksgiving comes near the close of autumn, often right before or as winter gets her chilly grasp into us, it is a time I look forward to because of family. I see so many people and it’s a time to hear what everyone is thankful for, to see what the year has brought us, and what we can all look forward to next year, in between inwardly suppressing the urge to kill them all because while we love them, family is frustrating sometimes too; it’s part of why we love them.

So there you have it, ten of, I’m sure, plenty of other things to love about the autumn season. Please feel free to add anything that may be special to you about this change in the year and mark of passing time, or any favorite memories you have from this time of year.