dan instant messaged me at 3pm with an invitation to go see the white stripes at the tsongas arena in lowell. cymara was sick, so they had a spare ticket that needed filling, so i went. i left work an hour early and headed down to kendall square, but not before buying some earplugs at the dtx cvs. i'm slowly losing my hearing, i don't want to make it anything worse than it already is. besides, i'm not a big fan of loud music, it's an issue of quality versus quantity.

i arrived in the always nostalgic kendall square area and gave mike a call on his cellphone. i was instructed to met him and dan down at petco opposite the galleria mall in 15 minutes. i saw them in the pet store, looking at the fish, dan thinking what to get next for his freshwater home tank. i took a peek at the critters display, the millipedes, the spiders, the scorpions, the snakes, the toads, the lizards.

cymara arrived at the parking lot with the car. we three guys piled into the vehicle while cymara went home via taxi. we then drove to lowell (dan drove, mike navigated with print out directions), a town (a city?) i was visiting for the very first time, having never had the pleasure before. we get there, and park at the first place we see, $10 for the night, which seemed to be some makeshift school parking lot tranformed into concert parking by some entrepreneurial minds. little did we know, tsongas arena has its own parking for only $5, doh!

dan thought there'd a lot of hipsters at the concert, but i had a feeling there'd be more young people of no particular hip denomination. there were some hipsters here and there, but they were vastly out-populated by the younger crowd, most of them looked high school age, or perhaps in that awkward immature collegiate stage, and some looked as young as junior high. there was amazing people watching for sure, and my fingers itched for the click of the digital shutter, but alas, i was told "no cameras, you're going to have to put it back in the car or somewhere else" by the security guard frisking me at the entrance, so while dan and mike waited, i ran back to the car with the camera and then came running back. i vowed to get a cellphone camera, so this wouldn't happen again, or maybe a camera so small and so unassuming, that it could easily slip through security. some people also came dressed for the occasion, wearing the prerequisite red and white striped outfits.

tsongas arena i've been told is currently used to play college hockey, so beneath the seemingly solid floor crowded with young spectators who enjoy standing for hours to be "one closer" to the objects of their adoration, there is actually ice, which makes a cold surface to be on for such a long time, but the people in the pit didn't seem to mind. the more timid folks sat on the stadium seats, bodies turning to the side to face the stage at one end of the stadium. in the center was the audio control setup, racks of blinking and flashing audio equipment, surrounded by metal barrier gates. being there, surrounded by unbridled youth, made me feel old, and i made old jokes throughout the night. it made me remember a dream i had last night, a mirror that would reveal your true self. i looked into the mirror and my face was all wrinkly, much to the suprise of some spectators. apologetically, i turned around and told them, "i'm old, i look young, but i'm really 29." please don't laugh if you're older than me and think that 29 is young. remember how you felt when you were 29 appraching 30. and if you're younger than me, i'll see you when you turn 29.

as soon as the opening act started, i slipped in the ear plugs. the music was so loud i could feel it inside my body, and i wondered how my poor organs felt. for me, it was more about the physics of sounds than the enjoyment of it. the music got so loud that i could feel it in ass, and even with the ear plugs, the sound still came in. the opening act was utterly terrible, some no name band, how the white stripes would associate themselves with this group is embarassing, and i hope it was a concert promoter decision and not theirs. the band composed of three guys who basically screeched through 45 minutes worth of their supposed "music," just nasty horrible sounds, towards the end they started announcing how many songs they had left to do before the white stripes came on, as if they themselves knew that the audience were growing restless with their songs and couldn't wait for them to get off the stage.

after they finished, it was another 30 minutes before the white stripes finally came on. jack white sported a pair of half white half red spandex pants which prominently featured a suspicious bulge, even from where we were sitting, midway in the arena. jack and meg both had really bad frizzy hair, like their hotel room didn't have a blowdryer, none of that stylish coif i'd seen in promotional photos or television. the price of stardom also seemed to be taking a toll on jack white's ass, because he seemed to have some junk in the trunk. why am i telling you all this, and not about the music? because frankly, i'm not a white stripes fan. i've heard some of their songs, but i only like a handful, and that might actually be a generous estimate. why did i go then? just for the experience really, also because the last and only concert i went to was back in 1992 (the cure, disintergration tour), and i was hoping i'd get rocked again. was i rocked? only in that some of my organs seemed to have shifted their alignment from all that heavy sound waves bombarding my body. out of their repertoire, i only like three songs: "you're pretty good looking for a girl," "cold cold night," and "seven nation army." everything else was noise to me, jack's voice is all screeches and hard for me to hear the lyrics above the guitar and the fact that i had ear plugs in. "cold cold night" was the only song i liked that i never heard before, only because meg was singing (i like female vocals more than male vocals) and it was a slow song and i could actually hear it (i even took out the ear plugs for this one). after jack finished his set, he threw his mic down and left the stage abruptly, with meg in tow, the arena drowngin in feedback, a roadie dressed in a black suit (with a matching black hat) had to come out and turn off the mic. it was all a show, anyone with an ounce of concert sense would know this, so i was surprised to actually see some people leaving, like they've never been to a concert before, like they don't know about the obligatory encore. minutes later, jack and meg came back out to even more applause. "you guys really to get this show started?" jack asked the crowd. "no!" the crowd answered back. okay, that was a lie. the crowd just responded with cheers.

so when i wasn't watching the performance, i was scanning the audience, people watching. there were people really into the music, twitching their body to the rhythm, gesticulating wildly with their arms, pumping fists into the air, singing along with the band, occasionally pointing at the stage, as if telling an imaginary friend, "this way to music, mi amigo." a blonde sitting in front of us would on occasion jump out of her seat and wiggle her body around to particular songs that she liked. i wish there was a channel where all it had was women dancing. i'd totally watch that. who cares about the concert! sexy ladies dancing, more more more! also in front of us was two mod couple, he looked like the "can you hear me now?" commercial guy, she looked like the "can you hear me now?" guy's girlfriend. like me, they too had ear plugs on. earlier, before the show started, he'd been digital masturbating, clutching his pda in one fist, rocking it back and forth on his lap while he was reading something. his girlfriend was very understanding to the fact that he would rather play by (with) himself than play with her. then during the performance, they didn't seem to be really into it, almost like they were the recipient of free tickets and were just here for the experience, like myself, and not too much for the music.

and i totally predicted that "seven nation army" would be the final song, it was the obvious choice. when the concert was over, everyone plowed through the exits. it was bumper to bumper congestion, made noteworthy by three boys who kept on shouting "yankees suck!" i dislike the yankees as much as the next red sox fan, but baby, the season's over. eventually we made our way out of the arena, and drove back to boston. we got lost a little bit, but dan's a careful drive (read: slow driver), so there was no danger.

earlier, at work, adam finally came back to the office after a week and a half hiatus taking the train down to florida for michelle's grandfather's funeral (somebody in their traveling group doesn't do planes, hence this mode of transportation). he was eager to talk about his nightmarish trip, with details of overheated sleeper cars, cabins flooded with fecal waste, disgruntled amtrack attendants, and even a naked woman convulsing from a drug overdose while her boyfriend tries to slap her back into consciousness. and that was just on the train. at least he got to swim with dolphins, which personally i wouldn't do because 1) i can't swim and 2) dolphins aren't the oceanic darlings that people think they are, they can be pretty violent and mean just like other mammals.

kristine and i went running again, temperature was 50 degrees, which is warm enough for t-shirt and shorts, at least it is for me; kristine went with t-shirt and pants. compared to the rest of the people we passed in boston, we were very much underdressed, as most folks are bundled up in winter jackets this time of the year. i admit, i kind of like showing off the fact that i seemingly appear impervious to the weather, but believe me, i get cold too! just that when i run, i heat up real quick, and when i'm done, i usually feel very warm (except my hands, which are like ice). during the run, i continued to ask questions about kristine's newfound vegetarianism, a fact that she revealed to us today at work, which made me groan loudly from my corner of the office. if you really love food, how can you experience the whole spectrum of culinary delights when you limit yourself to just vegetables? as much as i think the cruel slaughter of animals is a fate unworthy of our domesticated friends, until they can come up with a viable substitute for meat that has all the nutrients and the flavors and the textures (i know about advances in tofu and gluten technology, but they're still not quite the same), i will be unable to change my omnivorous ways.

after the run, i went with kristine to look for mushroom soup for her pasta, while she came with me to burker ging, where i got the chicken tender meal "king" sized.

the white stripes - cold cold night