Here Comes Success

Pressure. Nerves. Stress. Anxiety. We have all felt those, I suspect. Those feelings are pretty common when it comes to buying concert tickets, right? Strange that what I have learned buying tickets now help in the middle of a pandemic.

My usual tactics before buying tickets include doing some research. What is the venue like? I try to find a map with individual seats, if possible. Usually, then, I print it out, make notes about where I would want to sit the most. Then, I even try to find pictures of what the stage looks like from that spot. Next, I make sure that I have all information for the pre-sale. Is there a password I need to use? If so, when will it be released? How many tickets can I buy? (This, of course, requires a plan with my friends.) What ticketing operation will be used? Do they have a way to line up early, virtually speaking? After all that, I make sure that the ticketing agency has my information recorded with an account of my address, credit card, etc. Anything that I can share ahead of time will make it easier at the moment the sale goes live. Lastly, I ask around about how the pre-sales on that site works. Is it a situation where I need to refresh frequently or need to be prepared for refreshing a lot more than just five minutes? I try to get as much information as possible.

On the day of the sale, I try to get ready a few minutes ahead of time, making sure that I’m logged in. Of course, I also bring out my credit cards in case the pre-saved information did not work. I make sure that I have all of my passwords handy for the weird situation that a credit card would not work. Then, I take a lot of deep breaths, check in with Rhonda or any other friend who is also trying for tickets. I give myself a lot of self-talk about how I can do this, how I have done it successfully in the past while reminding myself that getting in the venue is most important. This statement is usually followed by another reminder about how I could always try for better seats later with the secondary market. Overall, I tell myself that it will all work out as I take many deep breaths and will my stomach to settle.

In thinking about pre-sales, I cannot even begin to count how many I have done over the course of my life. All of my experience came in handy this past week and not because I bought concert tickets (oh, how I wish I could!). No, it helped me to buy groceries! Yay, groceries. Oh, how much things have changed!

Here’s the deal. I will not let my parents go to the grocery store right now. On top of the fact that they are elderly, my dad is immune-compromised. He is in the greatest at-risk group. So I could go for them but…I worry that if I get sick, I cannot help them if they need something. This led us to try to figure out a different way. Through research, we discovered that our grocery stores allow customers to order online and pick up the order. Cool. That would work. My mom decides to try it. She fills her cart with groceries she needs, proceeds to pick out a time and nothing. It was exactly like that moment when you refresh for concert tickets and the VIP package you covet is sold out. Frustrating. Upsetting.

The next day, Mom and I do a little research. She calls the store. I look online for tips and suggestions. Is there something she could or should do differently? The store tells her to just keep trying and that tomorrow slots might be available. This leads us to wonder if the slots get filled earlier in the morning than when she has been trying. Brainstorm! What if midnight is like the time when tickets go on sale? We decide to try it. Again, she filled up her cart and waited for the magical time to select a pick up time and….drumroll..success! Yes! So, yesterday I picked up her order and after our Zoom party today, I will pick up mine.

Speaking of our Zoom party today, remember that it is at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern. If you have the Zoom app, click on it at that time and you will be prompted to enter a meeting number, which you’ll need to contact us on either Facebook or Twitter to receive. Once you are in, you will see everyone else but will be muted. Please find the chat on the toolbar to talk to all of us and this will allow us to hear the video playlist. Then, we can “talk” about what we are watching as much as we want. Feel free to bring friends and a beverage or two of your choice! I, for one, am looking forward to it! It will be the best way to spend the last day before I go “back to work”!

-A

Silver Linings?

On Monday, I return to work. No, I’m not physically entering the school building but I will be trying to figure out how the heck I’ll be teaching 120 students virtually with lots of online meetings. I honestly cannot say that I’m looking forward to it. Don’t get me wrong. It has been over two weeks since I last saw my students and I’m genuinely missing them. No, I’m happy to reconnect with the kids but I’m struggling to concentrate on anything and wonder if the focus right now should be grades and content.

As I try not to stress out about that too much, I do want to acknowledge the weird silver linings, though, that have come about as a result of being “safer at home.” While, yes, I do appreciate the time spent with the cat and the extra sleep, there are other things that come to my mind. First of all, I have communicated a lot more with various friends than I would have normally. A number of friends seem to be checking in with me daily or almost daily. In some cases, it is to talk about the spring campaign or work related emails. In other cases, they are just checking to see how I am doing. Even Rhonda and I have “chatted” more than we had been. I love each and every message and I love each and every friend I have personally heard from. Likewise, my family also “checks in” everyday. In many cases, we meet virtually to play games and have agreed to watch a movie “together.” All of this helps me feel not so alone and keeps my anxiety as low as possible.

Beyond the personal connections I have been loving, I have to admit that my attention to Duran Duran and Duran Duran fandom has also increased, which I would have never imagined. I have had a lot of Duran activities that have popped up in my schedule, including watching Sing Blue Silver, following the Friday chats, hanging out with an amazing DJ Set by Jason and more. On top of that, Rhonda and I are hosting our own party tomorrow, at 11:30 Pacific or 2:30 Eastern. We will be using the Zoom app so if you have not downloaded it on either your phone, tablet or computer, you definitely should. Once you log in, you should be able to see our YouTube playlist playing. While you will be muted so that people can hear the playlist, everyone should use the chat function to share ideas, thoughts, comments, etc. That will be the fun part! I will share the Zoom meeting number for everyone to join in just before. I’ll edit this post, share it on the Facebook event page (https://www.facebook.com/events/430201534462995/) and on our Twitter. I, for one, am looking forward to it! The zoom meeting number is: 456-745-218

So despite this truly awful time, I, for one, am finding some joy. It doesn’t totally outweigh the horribleness but it helps. It makes me think that once this is all over (see my positive thinking there!) I want to keep many of these silver linings in place. After all, I have learned what really matters to me.

-A

Thought I Heard You Talking

Today marked the second Twitter chat with a member of Duran Duran. This week Roger participated and it went much like it did last week with Simon. Fans used the given hashtag and asked question after question or, in some cases, gave declarations of love, shared pictures, etc. You can see it all for yourself in the blog that Rhonda shared with screenshots of the questions/answers. As I watched the proceedings, I was left with one very strong feeling and wish. I want more of a conversation rather than a competition.

If I jumped on Twitter or another social media and my friends saw me or my post, what would they do? They would respond to what I said or say hi or something similar. Then, I, in turn, would react to them and vice versa. It would look like the normal give and take of a conversation. Of course, on social media platforms like Twitter, tweets are usually public so other friends might also see and join in. For example, I saw people in our Daily Duranie timeline talking about some poll Duran was in against the band, Wilco. Some commented that they were shocked that they could lose against that band (they didn’t) and others wondered who Wilco even was. Every tweet was part of what felt like a normal conversation.

Yet, with these chats with the members of Duran, there is no normal conversation. Fans are not interested in talking to each other much or so it seems. Instead, they tweet questions at Roger or whatever band member is present, hoping for a response. Then, he picks out a few questions to answer. For me, personally, this format does not work for me. Even if I have questions, it feels so unnatural of me to jump in and try to be “heard” or “seen” over others. That is not how I roll. I am pretty comfortable with being beyond patient. After all, I teach for a living. Now, in saying that, I am not blaming the band member present, DDHQ or the fans.

Last week, one of my friends suggested that maybe there needs to be a better or different way like getting the questions ahead of time. I could see why that could be a good alternative. Maybe the band member could answer more questions. Maybe they could search for frequently asked questions and respond to those. That said, I still wish that it could be more like a conversation. Do I have an idea for that to really happen? Not really. I, for one, would love if band member would come in and say, “Hi everyone. How is everyone doing? What is the status where you are?” Then he could share how things are where he is and with the rest of the guys. Honestly, for me, I really just want to know that they are doing okay. Then, people could respond to that opening or fans could respond to each other. I know. It’s not going to happen. I’m an idealist but dreams are free.

Clearly, other fans are also positive thinkers, too, based on the number of times I saw fans ask Roger about when they are planning to come play at place x. Obviously, they are hoping that this horrific pandemic will be gone and settled down soon. I would love for that to be the case, but I suspect that it won’t be. In case you missed the news yesterday, the Isle of Wight Festival has decided to cancel for this year. I was not surprised by the news. It still makes me sad to see things like this in print even when I think this is the right thing to do, in order to keep people safe. So, as much as I appreciate fans’ desires to see the band play live, I cannot imagine that any concerts will be scheduled anywhere for quite awhile. That said, I totally get wanting something to look forward to. I, for one, cannot wait for the day that I don’t have to utter or think about the word, pandemic.

So, maybe, on that note, what I should be focused on wishing was different is not a silly little chat on Twitter but that people who are fighting this pandemic on the front lines get what they need in order to stay safe themselves and others.

-A

DD Chat with Roger

Today, Roger took 30 minutes to answer as many questions as he could on Twitter. I counted (yes, I really did), and there were over 500 questions submitted from 3:30 UK time on, and out of those, he replied to 22.

Even more difficult to follow than last week, many found that they were unable to really find all of Roger’s replies. So, I took screenshots and will put them here. I think I missed one or two that were just shout-outs, but the good content is here. Enjoy!! (They are not in order – I’m good, but not THAT good!) -R

A Crack in the Ocean

Hello, world. It’s Thursday, March 26. I’m still surviving. At my house, the sky is brilliant blue with a few scattered clouds in the distance, and it’s about 46 degrees (F) this morning. I’ve already been out, feeding my chickens and breathing some fresh morning air. When I go outside, it seems unthinkable that there’s a pandemic. The world almost feels normal, and I can nearly trick myself into believing it’s just a regular day. Only when I come back inside and see the belongings of my oldest strewn throughout, notice the time – it’s well past when I would have normally driven Sabrina to school – and hear my husband on a conference call in his office, that I stop to think about the enormity of what is going on. It’s not just my family, my city, or even my state or country. The entire world is fighting.

Surely, this is a once in a lifetime experience (and not a good one, I might add). Not that long ago, I might have said that living through the days of 9/11 would be the one “mark” on my life. It would be the one “thing” of my generation. Never in my dreams – I mean sure, I watched the movie Outbreak, and I’ve even watched the cable show “Doomsday Preppers” enough to know that some people plan for this sort of deal. I just never did. I mean, not really. A global pandemic just seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie. And here we are.

The good news, if there is any to be had here, is that we really are all in this together. Right now, we’re really all one another have. I know that when Jason came up with his brilliant idea to host a DJ session later today, and when Amanda and I talked about hosting an online video party, our thought was to try and connect with fans – or to provide a vehicle for fans to connect with one another. Most people are social – even if only to a limited extent. It is bizarre to go for weeks on end without really seeing a single soul, even if it’s just to see someone when you’re out shopping for groceries. Which is why each and every time someone comes up with a new idea to pass the day – we jump at it as though it were a lifeline.

Yesterday, one of those lifelines was thrown to us by Duran Duran – DDHQ – as they suggested we watch Sing Blue Silver together as a community. The idea was simple – watch your own copy of SBS, or find it online somewhere, then use a hashtag to tweet about it. Follow the hashtag, and join the conversation. Commune with your fellow DD fans. Easy, and fun! These online events don’t have to be a big thing. We’re pretty self-sufficient – we watch a video, chat about it, and suddenly the day doesn’t seem so darn gloomy. And it didn’t.

I was having a tough time yesterday, and to be fair – I’m having a tough time period. I am thankful I have room to walk here (although I question my intelligence in buying a property that is so damn hilly as I struggle to make my way up to the mailbox or front gate for a wine delivery. (thank goodness our local wineries have started a delivery service – it keeps them in business, not to mention my own mood!) Food? Who needs food? Wine though? Listen, I have seven people living here (including myself), four cats, two dogs and 20 chickens. I’ll take the wine, thank you. So, when DDHQ sent out the tweet about this vaguely familiar type event, I was giddy.

Ok, so I was giddy for a couple of reasons. First, it was something new to break up the monotony of the day, and who doesn’t want to watch Sing Blue Silver? As I tweeted yesterday, I have seen that movie probably a hundred times now – and yet there are moments I still forget about being in there. I never get tired of seeing it! Second, I’m not going to lie, nor will I mince words – watching videos online together and chatting via Twitter? Yeah, that’s Daily Duranie territory. We have been doing those parties for a long time now, and it made me happy to see the band use the idea and put it to good use. We weren’t so crazy for thinking that kind of thing was fun after all, I guess.

Naturally, real life doesn’t stop here. The aforementioned full house keeps me kind of busy. Right as my clock struck two and I clicked on the link to SBS (YouTube), I was working to shape some dough into hamburger buns for dinner. Yes, I’ve taken to making my own bread rather than run to the store – more on that another time. Then there was a tussle between the two dogs. My dog Gizmo seems to have lost most of his eyesight now, and so noises scare him, as does Mallie, my daughter’s sweet Alaskan Husky. It’s my job to keep them quiet and happy. I forget what else was going on here, but it was very hard for me to take more than a glance or two at the television while I ran around the house, but I managed. I’d do it again in a heartbeat just to give myself a little bit of normalcy and levity, that is for sure.

This afternoon, I will be doing more of that, as I tune in for the live streaming DJ session that my buddy Jason (Velvet Rebel) will be hosting. I may not be able to have it turned up as loudly as I might like, but I’ll definitely listen while I clean up around here. He’s going to post the web address to his stream a bit later – look for it. Come hang out and enjoy!

I’m a little sad this is my last blog for the week. It’s the one way I consistently connect with people beyond my family. Last night I got a text from our neighbors and nearly cried – they’ve become such close friends of ours that we would routinely meet up after dinner, or spend time on the weekends doing anything from wine tasting to listening to records, and I miss them. This blog has come to serve as my major connection to the outside world. Thank goodness there is our Zoom video party to look forward to on Sunday! Hope to see everyone there!

-R

You’ll Come Out of it All in Time

I’m getting later and later with this…

I have to say, I’m sick of my house. Tired of the whole thing, including cooking. Never have I been so happy as to have room to walk around outside in my “yard”. That said, the other day I was outside, and a text came through from my neighbor. She was very concerned as to why Walt and I were outside.

For the record, we were checking on our apple and fruit tree orchards, feeding our chickens, and doing all the things that need done. Those things don’t stop because of a pandemic. I felt kind of strange when she asked though, because as the texts went on, she shared her concerns that Walt and I weren’t following the rules or distancing ourselves. Anyone who knows me, should already see where this was going – I value my privacy, and I don’t like having to explain myself, or defend my choices. I haven’t left my gate since Sunday of last week – and that was only to go and pick up groceries to last for several weeks. It was an awkward conversation that I managed to keep friendly, and oddly – not long after that text exchange, I saw her husband outside, working hard to clear a dead tree that had fallen during a winter storm.

Meanwhile, the news is enough to drive my anxiety to new, dizzying heights. I’ve found that I can only listen for a short time, before needing to change the channel or find a distraction. It is hard to imagine our world ever returning to normal. The longer it goes on, the more I wonder what “normal” may look like when the time comes.

I find a bit of comfort in the small things, when I stop and think about it. Music still works, thank goodness. The internet helps me remember that there ARE other people here besides my family. Being able to sit for five minutes and do something other than watch the news is good…but don’t ask if I’ve taken any time to practice my clarinet lately. I don’t know why, but I don’t have the heart to even pick it up right now. I’ll get there (probably when I find out we’re rehearsing again and realize I’m screwed unless I buckle down…) but at this moment, I don’t know what is wrong with me. As I am writing this, I just got another email from my band, reminding us that rehearsal is cancelled tonight. As I read the email, all I felt was sadness. I miss playing, and picking up the instrument to play on my own just isn’t the same. I dearly, dearly loved being in a band again. There’s not any way I can explain it other than to compare it to seeing Duran Duran in 2001.

That night, which now that I think about it was 19 years ago this month, I felt myself come alive. That show reminded me of something I’d misplaced, yet didn’t know was missing until I had it again. That’s exactly how I feel about band. The sting I currently feel is particularly pointed because we were getting very good. We had a thriving clarinet section for the first time in many years (or so I’m told). I knew exactly how to play the pieces we were given, and my confidence was growing each week. Until of course, it all came to an abrupt end.

Just as Duran Duran has concerts scheduled for the coming weeks and months, I do too. My community band is currently set to play a concert on Mothers Day, and we have an entire summer of weekly (yes, weekly) concerts-in-the-park coming up. I was looking forward to them. I liked the challenge of perfecting an entirely different two hour concert of music each week. So to have all of those things just stop….well, it’s a bit much. Every single one of us has lives that, for a large part, came to an immediate stop. There’s no reboot button in sight.

Overall, it is hard to look away. Sometimes I want to stop reading and watching the news – and I do stop – but inevitably after a day or two, I feel like the whole world could have disintegrated and I wouldn’t know, so I check again. Sadly, the news is never better. I can hardly wait until its good news. Will it ever be good news again? I know that at some point, it has to be. Yet sometimes, in those quiet moments at 2 am where everyone but the worriers are sleeping, I wonder.

I think it’s normal, under these circumstances, to have bad days. Maybe this is one of mine. I’m not sure. I just know I’m very, very tired. Not sick, mind you – but tired.

-R

Look out of the Window

Is anybody bored yet? To be fair, I’ve had quite a bit to do here at home. Cooking and cleaning for the family proves to take up quite a bit of my day. I can’t say I’m all that domesticated, but you know – I really have no other alternative at the moment. Woe is certainly not me when I look around and see that I have it far better than most.

Even so, boredom is a thing. I mean, one can only disinfect so many times, right?? I have learned to crochet – the one thing I can truly say that most females on my mom’s side of the family kind of passes down from generation to generation. Up until now, I’ve been incredibly resistant. But this year, I decided I wanted to learn how to both crochet and knit before I turn 50. Let’s just say I’m “practicing”, and leave it at that for now.

I also had kind of a spur of the moment meeting of sorts with Amanda yesterday. It was the highlight of my week, although at the time we were working the kinks out of an idea we’re putting together for next weekend!

Collectively, a few of us have ideas of things to do to help console one another through this unusual period of time, and also help others at the same time. While I won’t give away details and steal his thunder, be on the lookout for an announcement from Jason (VelvetRebel) – he has a great idea to keep you singing and dancing. In addition, Amanda and I are working on another Daily Duranie video party to take place next Sunday.

How can you be filled with doom and gloom while watching Duran Duran videos, interviews and other assorted gems, all while chatting with other DD fans? Our hope was to find a site that would allow us to watch videos and chat all in the same window – that way we wouldn’t have to mess with Twitter or use a hashtag to keep everything tracked and organized. We tested Zoom yesterday, and it seems like that’s going to work well for our purposes. If you’re interested in participating, you should go ahead and look into downloading the program/app now so you’re ready. We’re hoping to do the party in the middle of the day California-time, that way perhaps getting some people from other parts of the globe involved too. Be on the lookout for details as the week rolls on!

Along with all of that, of course – is Duran Duran. If you were online last Friday, perhaps you were treated to the sights of Simon attempting to answer questions from fans at rapid fire pace for about 30 minutes. It was amusing to watch just how quickly Twitter can go!! The questions ran the gamut from suggesting a good cocktail for pandemic lockdown (admittedly that was from me and no it did not get answered) to requests for Simon to be someone’s lockdown buddy. (no comments needed from me…or Simon, as it turns out!) All joking aside, there were also questions about his favorite B-side. (after a few other mentions, he settled on Secret Oktober, which of course as far as I’m concerned – is the correct answer!) The one thing that struck me, was how quickly Twitter devolved from being more of a running conversation right back to a firing line of questions and even demands from fans. When the band is online, it’s a tough situation. One of them, thousands of us – you can see the problem. I wish there was a better way.

Meanwhile, I have baby chicks to raise, and a couple of banners to photoshop – so I’m off! Remember to be on the lookout for fun fan things to do online this week! Stay safe, wash your hands, and keep the space!!

-R

There’s No Sign of Life

I live off a main street that leads from the outskirts of my city into more of the downtown region. On top of that, the view outside my window includes the far off expressway that one would take to cross Wisconsin. Both have seen a significant decrease in traffic as more and more people are ordered home or choosing to shelter in place to keep themselves and others healthy and safe. When I think about the lack of traffic or the fact that I have not talked to anyone in person in almost a week, I get a little weirded out. Or a lot weirded out. But, for the most part, I’m doing okay. I consider myself lucky. While I am not at work this week (or last), I have what I need at home and means to communicate with others.

Since this whole situation has started, I have found myself seeking out my friends and family in a much more consistent fashion. I am asking my family members to check in on a daily basis. Yes, I’m obsessive with the idea of making sure that they are staying healthy, especially my parents. On top of that, there are a few friends that I look for on social media so that I know that they are okay, too. If I don’t see them, it is not uncommon of me to send a message to check on them when in normal circumstances I wouldn’t. On top of knowing that everyone is as good as possible, having that contact, even though it is electronic, matters to me. It makes me feel like there are signs of life and that I’m not alone.

Last night, I participated in an interview with a reporter out of New York City who is doing a piece about people living alone in this pandemic. One of the questions she asked me was ways that I have been coping. It is a good question. One of the things I stressed was the need I have to look forward to something. My family, for example, has been playing games through the use of Zoom. It has not been perfect as there are, at times, miscommunications and a struggle to figure out how to adjust and adapt the rules of various games. Yet, not only does it offer a distraction but it also gives me something to anticipate in a positive way. That matters. I am also making plans with friends to do “virtual” happy hours in which we have a drink at our respective homes but chat via FaceTime or whatnot. Every little bit helps.

Speaking of that, Rhonda and I have been chatting. (Scary, I know!) We are planning on doing something ourselves to help give people something Duran to look forward to. Likewise, it sounds like Jason has something cool as heck up his sleeves, too. Details are still being worked out but I am excited just thinking about doing something fun and Duran related! (In typing this, I recognize that not everyone will think this is what we *should* be doing because this is a serious situation. Let me be clear. We are not trying to minimize or belittle what is going on. It is our way of coping, of having hope, of making a horrible situation a little more tolerable. It isn’t to disrespect anything. If this is not something that works for you, we get it and will understand when you choose not to participate.) I know that I need it and am willing to bet that I’m not alone in that. So on that note, watch this space along with our social media!!!

-A

P.S. We are going to be using Zoom for our festivities so we recommend downloading/getting the app if you don’t already have it.

Question of the Week: Astronaut Tour Representation

It is Saturday! That means that it is time for the question of the week. If you have been following along, the theme of this current set of questions is the song that represents each tour. By the end of the set of questions, I am hoping that we have a song for each tour Duran Duran has ever done. When we started this set, I opted to go from most recent to least. Our results so far are:

Paper Gods Tour – Pressure Off

All You Need Is Now Tour – All You Need Is Now

Red Carpet Massacre – Nite Runner

Now, it is time to vote on a song that best represents the Astronaut Tour. When creating the poll, I looked the songs the band played in 2005 as they played most of the songs then. Now, before I share the poll, I want to warn you that the band played more than 40 different songs in 2005. Will it be hard to choose? Without a doubt. To ease your struggle, pick the song that grabs you first. Then, next week, I’ll do the same question, narrowing to just the songs that were chosen. This way if you change your mind, you have another opportunity to vote. On that note, happy voting!

-A

Coming Soon
Which Song Best Represents the Astronaut Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Astronaut Tour?
Which Song Best Represents the Astronaut Tour?

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!