Phantasmic Links 4.26.10

Final reminder: If you haven't already, please vote for your favorite bracketed TV characters! The first week's results will be up in just about 24 hours....

My father needs to learn the difference between “doctor's orders” and “doctor's suggestions”; I'm not even sure the latter is actually a thing. Two weeks after open heart surgery, he already did a load of laundry when my mom wasn't looking and carried the basket upstairs. He's not supposed to lift anything heavier than a carton of milk for six weeks. And if she didn't hide his keys last week, he would have driven himself to church. “Ahh, that's just a short ride!” I had to be up early this Sunday anyway for a gig in Brooklyn, and I'd missed mass on Saturday because my mom left while I was still mowing the lawn, so it all worked out with me taking him to his early mass.

My mom accompanied us to Brooklyn for the first time, since I wouldn't be able to watch my dad at all times and make sure he didn't try to follow the whole three hour procession. We kind of lucked out with the inclement weather though, since most of these churches and societies don't like getting the statue of their saint wet. So after playing a few hymns for mass, we simply led the statue in to the adjoining gymnasium, and played a few tunes while the parishioners enjoyed their brunch. Up to that point, I was having a good day.

After the gig, the band leader called me and two of the regular trumpet players aside with a grim look on his face. “I got a real problem,” he began, as he explained the band was on probation for an upcoming job, and that he'd gotten a letter with several complaints. For various reasons, the job last year had run about an hour late, which didn't make any of us happy. I think what made it worse psychologically was being told we'd be back by a certain time; they really should tell us we'll get back later than they expect. So if we think we're getting done by 3 and get back by 2, we feel a lot better than if we were told we'd be done by 1. In any case, our bass drummer was very vocal about the whole thing, yelling and cursing, and obviously the society wasn't too happy. They also claimed about 12 guys were late which was a bit of an exaggeration. I know there was at least one gig I got to late because it was on a weekday and the LIE traffic in the morning was horrendous. Even worse, they procession started a half hour earlier than normal. The society counts bodies not sound, so even though there were enough musicians for the band to sound good for those first 3 or 4 songs out of a 6 or 7 hour day, it didn't look good.

I get all that, and appreciate my leader's dilemma. I'll make an extra effort to get to that job on time this year. But I wasn't one of the ones complaining, and that particular drummer happened to be absent, away on a cruise when he was telling us all this. “Why's he telling us?” laughed one of the trumpets after the band leader stepped away for a minute. “Please guys...work with me,” he begged when he returned. “I don't know when these jobs are gonna end all the time.” He also returned to an old tune that always bothers me, the guilt trip that he calls us first all the time so if any of the other bands we play for call us, we should check with him first to make sure our calendars are free. I have a hard time with that. There are definitely some dates that are annual. I know he always has something the last Sunday in April. I know he always has a job on July 16th. He knows there are dates like July 4th on which I'm always booked with a marching band. But outside of dates like the examples I listed, if my calendar is free then I'm obligated to whomever calls me first. Too many times he's had me save a date that wasn't definite, only to later claim the job “fell troo.”

I'm not unsympathetic his personal woes. His regular job doesn't pay much. He's close to losing his house. His perpetually unemployed son lives at home with a wife and two infants, and recently bought two computers somehow. This “kid”, who's 36, a few months older than me, also has a minivan sitting in the yard that they pay insurance for but no one in the family can drive. So I shouldn't take anything personally. On the other hand, every time I got a word in edgewise and mentioned that my dad had open heart surgery a few weeks ago, I got a dismissive, “yeahyeahyeah,” and then it was back to “me me me.” They didn't even question why my mom tagged along. And since they don't drive and take a train everywhere, and the regular bass drummer was on his vacation, I ended up carrying the bass drum there along with my not small brass instrument. When we were leaving, I asked the son if he'd at least carry the drum to my car. He asked where I was and only agreed after hearing it was a block away. If it was two blocks would he have said no? As we walked and he complained about how his legs hurt him when he wakes up in the morning, I knew he very well might have.

I joked with one of the other musicians on the side about what the world would be like if our day jobs were run the same way these guys run their band. Thank God my company doesn't say to show up and then let us know whether or not weather is canceling work for the day. We know we'll get paid at the end of each week and won't have to wait for the bosses to get their money first. We know the work day (usually) ends at 5 PM, and not “whenever we get back”. I never complain, so I guess that's why it bothered me so much to be one of the ones getting the lecture. I know he's worried about losing another gig, but he needs to talk to the drummer who complained. And that drummer wasn't wrong in complaining, just in the very public and profane manner in which he chose to do it. I give up plenty to help these guys out, and I hate that they assume other bands are the only reason I might not be able to make a date. It already looks like I'll have to miss ComicCon this year because it was moved to Columbus Day weekend. Maybe that's why I got so worked up, thinking about the things I give up. Or maybe after a week of dealing with deadlines and knowing what was ahead of me at work, I needed a relaxing weekend playing music, and a lecture made my hobby feel like a real job. When the band leader appreciates me, I might get an extra $20. When my company appreciates me, I get a five figure bonus, 8% salary increase, and a promotion. So in the grand scheme of things, what the band leader has to say should not be important enough to bother me.

Sorry for that rant; I needed to get it out of my system. I guess this is one of those weekends where going back to work on Monday will actually be more relaxing. Maybe some mindless PHANTASMIC LINKS will clear my neurotic head even further:

(1) How absolutely beautiful is this anime style Super Mario poster? I'd love to see an entire animated series rendered in that style.
Hat Tip: Rey.

(2) Shocking but true: when it comes to men's fashion, George Costanza was ahead of his time.

(3) Learn how a prison cell spared the life of one man from a volcanic eruption while 30-40,000 were not so lucky....

(4) In the “We're all going to Hell” category, here's a dance remix of that girl with the neurological disorder caused by the flu shot that permanently messed up the way she moved when she wasn't running or walking backwards.

(5) Bored? Maybe this will help.

(6) You won't know what a true screen villain is until you look upon The Many Faces of Alan Rickman.

(7) The Formula is some truly freaky 3D animation.

(8) When I was younger, I never realized Riverdale was such a filthy place.

(9) There was once a time when a movie didn't have to be a comic book movie to have some great comic book moments: here are 12 of the best examples.

(10) Roboblast is my favorite game of the week! Use your mouse and keyboard to help a little robot defend itself in an arena full of increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Fortunately, you can upgrade him with better and stronger weapons as the game and your levels progress.

Have a link to a game, movie, article, or anything else you think might be “phantasmic”? E-mail me and it just might appear in an upcoming PHANTASMIC LINKS!



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