Can a Peon Score Adele Tickets? Mmmm…Yes

Can a Peon Score Adele Tickets? Mmmm…Yes

Ahhh, Adele. There hasn’t been a voice like that since Celine Dion.


Personally, I’m not a fan of Celine’s, but what a voice, right?

Before Celine was Christina Aguilera.


I adore her voice but Aguilera leans toward the explicit. If I want to be red-faced while listening, I’ll chance a new song by Christina.

Now we have Adele ebeil2ol

and I’m obsessed. That voice! Those lyrics! she was scheduled to appear in my city so tickets were a must.

Before tickets went on sale I read all I could about buying tickets for a hot concert. My take-away was a short, simple list. Use two computers.We have Mac and Dell laptops. Also, use two browsers. I had Safari and downloaded Google Chrome. A Ticketmaster app on an iPhone may be the best way to buy tickets, according to “them.” I have an iPod Touch but no iPhone, so I waited. “Whatever you do,” they said, “don’t wait in line. You could get a slow salesperson and would lose your chance.” OK, got it!

The day of the sale I was ready. About 30-minutes beforehand, I finally downloaded the Ticketmaster app. To buy tickets one must click on the artist as a “favorite.” I tried but got an error message. I rebooted and tried again. Error message again. My first glitch. With two laptops and three browsers (including Internet Explorer), I was confident I wouldn’t need it.

With palms sweaty and breathing quickened, the countdown to the sale began. I was using a Mac and Google Chrome because it was the fastest, I learned. Immediately, I got in but had a 20-minute wait. I tried the Dell computer. It labored to even get me in line. My 20-minute wait on the Mac shortened. I was advised to not refresh the page, so I didn’t. I was down to three minutes, then 1, then back to 5 minutes. What?

I tried the Safari browser. It never allowed me to get in. Why not? I was finally in on the Dell computer. I had to enter a phrase, then a second time, then a third time, then a fourth time until a phrase appeared with a matching font it would accept and I was in! No tickets available. “Search again.” Ordered to type another phrase, then another, then another. Forgetting this I tried the audio version. A distorted voice called out numbers and letters as I struggled to correctly type them in. “Not accepted.” I tried again and again with similar results. Forgetting this I went back to typing a phrase. It was accepted and then a picture grid. What? I had to check all the pictures with pasta. Then a second time with different pictures and different matching requirements. Finally, I was in. “No tickets available.” “Search again.” More phrases and more picture grids.

Meanwhile back on the Mac, I got into a “search again” frenzy. I left the “Standard Seating” and tried the “Bronze Seating” then the “Silver Seating” then back to “Standard Seating.” No luck. By now the time was edging toward 30 minutes. I was feeling defeated.

At my last stand on the Dell computer, I was at a screen that said to copy this 10-line code with numbers and letters and “paste it below.” I did this but it did not accept it. I tried again two more times. I even studied the code to make sure everything was identical, including line breaks and dashes. No luck. At 45-minutes past, I knew it was over. Feeling teary I succumbed to plan B: scalpers.

To make a long story short I went with Ticket Liquidators who had the best price, if you can call it that. I had MANY fears going with this unknown online purchase, including stolen identity, a website made to look legit but wasn’t, you name it. Their FAQs said that the tickets could be a paper version with the seller’s name on them. The bar code was all one needed. I dreaded this because of the price I had paid. In the end, the tickets came by FedEx, as promised, and were made of cardstock. They’re beautiful and I’m happy.

Can a peon, such as myself, score good seats to a hot concert by traditional means? My answer to this is no. According to Ticket Liquidators, promoters often hold back large numbers of tickets from public sale and instead distribute or sell those tickets exclusively to connected groups – industry insiders, fan clubs, business partners, and so forth. Ticket-selling agencies pay good money to gain entry to such exclusive ticketing channels so that they can access special tickets and offer them to the public at large.”

The prices of these tickets are steep because sellers pay face value plus additional fees and/or have fee-paying memberships in special fan clubs that allow for wide ticket access. Some ticket sellers even pay their own mark-up fee by buying tickets from other resellers rather than from direct ticketing sources.”

In other words, the general public is not a promoter’s or, perhaps, even an artist’s first priority, it’s the top one-percent of ticket buyers.

So, I have my tickets to Adele and a tissue for my nosebleed. I’ll be saying “Hello” to her next year. Just wish I could say it closer, like I had planned.




What Is Compassion?

Our local news did a story not long ago about a baby who needed a heart transplant. One of the channels, which teeters toward the sensational, showed Baby Andrew’s picture and posted a video of him laboring to breathe.  As I viewed the tubes crawling from every tiny place imaginable, I turned away in anger. What kind of life are these parents so desperate for Baby Andrew (and small fighters like him) to have? He will be dependent his entire life, not to mention in and out of hospitals. Andrew may not fully understand what all the fuss is about now. He’ll know that he has a bad heart, but as he sits inside, for most of his life, and watches children play or athletes practice, as he is reminded by someone to take his 20 medications, as he lives in fear at every new pain, as he battles other health problems caused by medications, as he undergoes more surgery, maybe he’ll become a little angry too.

So what is compassion? Is compassion forcing a child to live and beseeching others to give so that their child can have a chance at “life” or is it allowing the child to naturally go and be with God? This particular story has a happy ending because Andrew got a new heart. It is a happy ending for his parents, but is it a happy one for Andrew?

How Do You Handle Anger?

“Anger creates identity. Through it we are known.” The Voice of the Heart (Chip Dodd)

In my experience, anger has been destructive. Aside from two angry parents and a very angry brother, I’ve had my own struggles with anger. I’m a yeller. I have yelled at the sometimes deserving, like my husband, although he would probably disagree, and the undeserving, like a youngster. I have slammed doors and phones, pushed things off tables and desks, and blown the car horn probably beyond what was necessary. In the moment, I usually felt powerful and justified, but later I often felt much shame and guilt. So, through it all, to believe that anger is something to be treasured is like telling me the moon is really made of cheese.

Chip Dodd says that anger is a gift, probably one of the most important gifts we have: “In truth, anger is possibly the most important feeling we experience as emotional and spiritual beings because it is the first step to authentic living. It shows our yearning and hunger for life.”

Don’t gifts usually bring pleasure to others? I dare say that my anger has brought pleasure to anyone and most assuredly not to the giver: me. I have regretted angry outbursts…so much so that whatever I demanded be changed, I have recanted and gone back to living the scenario that made me angry in the first place or worse have been too quick to apologize.

So anger has been a rather frightening, troublesome emotion both as a receiver and a giver of this “important feeling.” I haven’t felt any real satisfaction in my “hunger for life” nor have I felt any closer to an “authentic self.” What about you? How do you handle anger in your life? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being really bothered by your own anger and 1 being not so much, where do you fall on this continuum and why?

Do You Wonder As You Wander?

“Outside almost any door, miracles abound. Yet do we stop and recognize them, capture them, embrace them, celebrate them? Or do we just
plow through, getting to the next dot on our connect-the-dots calendar?” Laurie Beth Jones

When I read this, I found the first sentence hard to believe. I find miracles in many things, sure. The sun dipping into the ocean during a
sunset leaves me speechless, for instance.
The sweet and unique fragrance of a mighty magnolia makes me stop whatever I’m doing outside and take notice. A centuries-old oak tree with its huge trunk and craggily branches spreading far and wide against a blue sky makes me think about its strength and history, but everyday life…most of the time I’m just trying to get through it.

Summer is here, finally. I adore spring and summer for not only are the days longer, but the fruit and vegetables are scrumptious. Recently, I had the best corn-on-the-cob I’ve had in a year. Sinking my teeth into the cob, its little kernels popped with juiciness. We cut a fresh pineapple today and its fruit was alive with sweetness. Summer with all its bounty is enjoyable and welcomed, but it brings with it drought, both literally and figuratively.

I’m in education, so all means of employment stops or dwindles to a slow, steady drip. Looking for other work requires joining the ranks of fellow high-schoolers, which is degrading on two counts: salary and the age gap. Time on my hands brings boredom and boredom brings a robotic movement through life, pausing only for summer events, like vacations and family get-togethers. Every day is a sort of Groundhog Day, with one day oozing into the next and the next. There’s no wonder in any of this only low expectations.

So maybe I’m a glass-half-empty kind of person. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say, for I come from a long line of glass-half-empties, but seeing each day with hope and wonder seems impossible. “You should be grateful,” you’re probably saying, and I am. I’m grateful for my health—extremely grateful. I’m grateful for the people who love me, and I’m grateful for my Lord, who keeps me in His embrace when life squeezes too hard, but to see wonder or miracles in the everyday? That’s a tough one.

So how do you do it? How do you see wonder in your daily life?

“Doubt” Gives Way to Truth in a Marriage

We sat and watched “Doubt” last night. In case you haven’t seen it, it involves a priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is wrongly or rightly accused by a nun (Meryl Streep) of an impropriety with an altar boy. In the movie, Father Flynn (Hoffman) gives one of two short sermons, during mass. The second one is about a parishioner, who is having trouble with a gossipy tongue. Likewise, Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Streep) gossips with Sister James about a doubt she has about Father Flynn. Together they blame him for something they think he may have done.  The doubt grows and festers and eventually takes over the life of Sister Aloysius. She simply can’t quiet the doubt until it brings the results she wants.

Doubt, gossiping, blame: those are some interesting bed fellows, aren’t they? They have wreaked havoc in my own life and marriage. I have doubted my husband and his love for me. I have talked over this doubt with others. I have strung the pieces of doubt together, like a poorly-made garment, called them facts, and then blamed him. The doubt took over my life as well, causing sleepless nights, and depression. During this period of ugliness, our marriage suffered, and my husband suffered. He took my blame on the chin and never retaliated, which is his nature. Then it occurred to me, “Perhaps, I am partly to blame.”

In a poignant scene, Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius were in a similar situation. He asked her if she had ever done anything of which she was ashamed and if she had asked for forgiveness. She said that she had. He responded with guarded enthusiasm that this made them the same. She said that it did not and continued with her campaign against him. Some marriages can play out like this with one giving into the lure of self-righteousness at all costs. Sometimes the cost is high.

The relationship doctor, Dr. David B. Hawkins, speaks to this in a letter entitled, “The Futility of Blame.” In the letter, there is an email from someone whose marriage was torn apart by blame and how the husband wisely chose to step away from the battlefield. Like him, I have made the same choice. I no longer share with others the ups and downs of our marriage and I have given blame a rest. Today, our marriage is better. There are still problems and, occasionally, Doubt will come pounding at my back door. Instead of letting him in, however, I don’t answer and trust that my Savior will fight those battles.  God is love, afterall, and who among us is better at creating and mending love than He? No one.

Are You Good?

I weighed in on a discussion online with a mom, who was choosing to raise her daughter without the influence of the church. She, along with her husband, had been hurt by religion and chose to reject that path for their family. They were basically good people, she said, and could adequately teach their child right from wrong or how to be good. But can they? I’m not saying that this couple isn’t nice. I’m sure they are nice law-abiding people, but are they good?

As I read the comments from others about this topic, many admitted also to being good and that they didn’t need God or the church and were going to let their children grow up and choose a faith on their own…or not. Their reasons were that they had been hurt by religion and, as a result, had either chosen no faith at all or had chosen something like agnosticism. Many encouraged this young mother to keep her daughter away from the church and choose, instead, another community, like a mom’s group of some kind, say one that meets at a park regularly.

I know that this is the way of contemporary society and I think it’s sad. There are countless people who have been hurt by religion, I was one of them. My parents used religion to discipline, invoke fear, and squelch self-expression. Too, I once worked for a Christian company and was betrayed by the same people who said that they “loved” me. But, you know what? I now know that that is NOT who God is.

For me, God is loving and forgiving prone to jealousy, yes, but always has my best interest in mind. This doesn’t mean that I will not face hardships or that people I love will not face hardships, like death, addiction, divorce, betrayal, but it does mean that God is there waiting for me, always, to come to Him, abide with Him, and seek comfort in His care. It’s not an easy relationship, and it’s confusing, and it’s often not what I want, but it’s reliable and steady.

I think I’m a good person. I volunteer, I give to charity, I tithe, I obey the laws, but that’s probably a few hours out of my week. What about the rest of the time? The rest of the time I have, on occasions, been spiteful and mean to the people close to me. I have rejected those who needed my friendship. I’ve succumbed to road rage. I have lusted and have wanted to leave a loving environment to “find myself,” I mean, come on people, are we really THAT good. No, we’re not and we can’t possible teach another how to be good, especially a young, impressionable child.

The BEST that we can do is to teach a child in the ways of his Creator, to teach him or her about His church and its people, and pray for forgiveness for the rest. Without that, what do we have to offer our children…really?

Live Like You Are Small

Occasionally, I have the opportunity to substitute teach in the public school system. One day I was standing at the door greeting the children and one precious little 2nd grade girl with strawberry curls looked up at me and said, “I like your clothes, and your belt, and your necklace, and your (painted) toes, oh, and your eyes.” I blushed a little, smiled and thanked her, then began my day.

I thought about that little girl later and how loving she was and without any apologies. Then, I thought, she, along with her classmates, will grow up. They’ll grow up, become adults, and look the other way when they see you coming down the hall, just to avoid speaking. They’ll talk to everyone at their table but you. At a lunch outing, you’ll share with one of your “close” friends an intimate moment about your life—a struggle you’re having—because that was the topic of the day and then you won’t hear from her for months. All attempts to email or make additional lunch plans return to you void. Sometimes, they’ll profess their admiration for you and how much you mean to them and how glad they are that you are friends, and then they’ll never write or keep in touch. All attempts to stay connected are up to you.

Like the little girl in curls, I’ve had similar encounters with boys. They don’t really notice the appearance thing, but they will hang around my desk. They’ll ask me if they can help with anything (on a good day), tell me stories about their weekend, each competing with their buddy to tell the better story, ask me to come and see something they have built with blocks or Legos, ask me to help settle an argument between friends, and so on. Then they grow up.

They grow up and become men. They become men who will also profess their love and adoration for you, and then never call or come by again. They will do something nice for you, without being asked, but then will point to their “selfless” act later and want recognition for it. They’ll offer to do housework, which will spark much pride and love in your heart as you see them vacuuming or washing the dishes, only to find out later that they forgot your birthday.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had many cherished moments with adults, but what if we could love like little children. What if we could walk up to anyone and say, without apologies or wanting the compliment returned, “I like your voice, your eyes, your concern for others,” etc. What if the men in our lives would tell us something intimate about their own life and without shame? What if they would ask to help with housework not because they want a “trophy” for it or because of guilt, but simply because they love us?

I think that is why Jesus loves the little children, because their hearts are big and full of love. They trust without suspicion, they’re curious and full of wonder at the world around them, they’re eager to help with anything or to lend a comforting pat when we are sad.  They’re truly interested in us and our lives. What if we all would take a cue from them? How much better our lives would be if we would live like we are small.