there was a week or two of spring subtly rising out of the leaf-cevered depths, a growing warmness to the air….and then summer exploded. yesterday i awoke to clouds and thunder, which eventually became a cloudless, sticky 80 degrees. and today was much the same. this is legit summer weather for bellingham, the usual spring fare here. summer is going to be lots of fun. i realized that my memory recalled all the wonderful things of spring a year ago, like riding a bike and many sunny days and nights around a crackling fire in the backyard. but my memory forgot to recall and remind me that in the heat and stickiness i become really sweaty at the drop of a hat. oh boy.
this last tuesday steph and i borrowed a car from josh and katie and went up to chicago to catch the lonely forest, one of my favorite bands from anacortes, washington, open for the band the joy formidable. but we had never heard of the other bands, we went up to see the lonely forest! and as we were eating at our chosen eating establishment just a few doors down from the venue, steph looks out the great windows and points, excitedly saying, that’s them, that’s him, that’s john van deusen (being the lead singer of the band)! we watched as they climbed into a van parked across the street. and then, by the suggestion of stephanie, i crossed the street and introduced myself. i asked if they were who i thought them to be, to which they replied in the affirmative (as if i didn’t already know). i then said that i loved their music and that i was from bellingham, washington. to this their four collective faces lit up in smiles and shouts of excited exclamations. they happily all shook my hand and we chatted for a bit, only cut short by an interview that i had almost interrupted. but it was an amazing moment in which i met the members of one of my favorite bands. but it got better. we were right up front as the played away their half an hour set of wonderful songs. they hung out during the rest of the show, and we were able to chat with the band members more and more. we rocked out to the joy formidable, and as they were playing their last few songs, we stepped out and sat down with john the lead singer and talked about ray bradbury and isaac asimov (two authors we have both been reading much of lately), and talking of mutual friends, and firwood. he went their as a kid and one of his earlier memories is driving down the twisty, dusty, endlessly bumpy firwood road and a man in a gorilla suit running out of the forest and scaring the…er, well…stuff out of him. small world.
what was interesting and not at all unexpected were things like references made to puking the night before from drinking too much, or the scent of pot on the bassist’s breath. i have no illusions about their lifestyle, and am glad i am not like a middle schooler having his hero hopes dashed upon the rocks of reality of mild to reasonable substance abuse. they are from the northwest after all. still it was great to meet them and connect as real people (they aren’t quite famous enough to forget all us little fans), and they said it was great to hear from some one or two coming to the show just for them. they were floored and encouraged. all in all it was a fantastic evening.
…minus of course the fact that i had to work the next day and got way under the recommended hours of sleep. oh well. it was worth it.
as a fundraiser for our romania trip coming this may, the axiom crew put on an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast on saturday. i got the great pleasure of making pancakes packed with strawberries, blueberries, and/or bananas. others made traditional swedish pancakes and dyed batter for amazing designs of pancake art. we didn’t have as many as we had hoped come out, but still raised a considerable chunk of change. and i like making pancakes so i wasn’t angry about the situation.
this weekend was mom’s weekend, the strange and awkward time of the year in which mothers and families come from all over to be with their sons and daughters for some special quality time….and hit the bars. out on the streets friday and saturday nights, josh and i had to wade through the bizarre stream of parents mixed in with all the usual revelers. the whole experience was one of the more ridiculous things i have ever witnessed. neither of us understand situations in which mothers will go to seedy dives with ear-crushing and terrible musics, and drink the night away. we don’t really understand why students would want to show off this life to their mothers. and yet for one reason or another here are a bunch of moms and the occasional scattered dad being led along by scantly clad sorority girls and staggering fart – i mean – frat boys. some of the mothers seemed a bit out of their elements, while others were happily getting just as tipsy. some nice parent-child bonding time, i guess. depending of course upon what you consider good bonding time.
an axiom crew comes out on the warm friday nights and passes out hundreds of free water bottles to their peers. it is a great way to start conversations with people. and it may actually help them a bit in the night’s revelry. i am told that it was some mothers that were skeptical of the water and wouldn’t let their daughters take it. over 500 water bottles were passed out and some good chances to encourage and share. it is nice seeing the familiar faces out there on the streets, as well.
josh and i were pleased to see one of the bars we pray over with less and less patrons these days. though there are many others, this one at least makes one less frequented hub of drinking activity. that coupled with the fact that probably the dingiest of the bars in the area closed down a while ago, we are encouraged. but then we turn a corner and see another new bar open for business with the loud music screaming and the libations flowing. well, time to pray some more.