The first time I ever smoked weed was in, I think, 1976 or 1977. I was in seventh grade and had somehow persuaded my parents to allow me to tag along with my older cousins to the Led Zeppelin concert at the San Diego Sports arena.
I had just started letting my hair get long and was getting into the whole surf hippie thing. This was my first concert. In fact, I only owned three albums at that time Jesus Christ Superstar and two Bill Cosby records.
My cousins, rotten bastards that they were, ditched me as soon as we got inside and I was on my own. Even before the concert started the lights were down and recorded music was blasting as laser lights played against the already smoke-filled arena.
It was “general admission” meaning that all the good seats were taken. My head was splitting from the noise and smoke but I was entranced by the spectacle. I finally found a place to sit in a back row next to a group of serious stoners, “heads” we used to call them.
After a few songs, the guy next to me passed a “joint”. A little tiny hand-rolled cigarette with some brown stuff on the paper. He mumbled to me “hash oil” and nodded. I had no idea what to do. He sensed my unease and mimed what to do.
So, I took a huge hit. Held it and coughed my lungs out. He grinned like the Chesire cat and said: “oh man you’re gonna feel that”. He was right. In about ten minutes my mind was like a spinning top. I thought I was going to pass out. I decided to get up and move about a little.
I walked down the aisle toward the wings of the stage. Lights flashing and popping, lasers, strobes and noise, Jesus, so much noise. Everything seemed so weird. Where I was standing I could only see part of the stage but it was the part where Jimmy Page was playing.
He was dressed in his famous wizard suit with a smoke in his mouth and a bottle of booze on the amp next to him.
The lights dimmed. It got quiet. A spot hit Jimmy and he had a violin bow and a theremin in front of him.
A theremin is this weird device that changes pitch depending on where you break its field. You don’t actually touch it. The band started playing “No Quarter”. It starts slow and Robert’s vocals were howling with the theremin in this strange echo effect.
The song speeds up, Jones is doing some kind of weird magic on the keyboards and Jimmy starts to bow his guitar and play the theremin at the same time like some kind of rock and roll wizard. Plant is moaning and groaning and doing all of his rock god poses driving the girls nuts.
I was seriously trippin’ balls at this point and all of the paranoia had left me. Now it was all about the music and the spectacle. It was amazing. Simply amazing and I saw it all so close that I could have tossed a penny and hit the stage.
To this day, after all these years I cannot remember ever having a better time at a concert. I guess one consolation for being old is that at least I got to see some of the great bands when they were in their prime.
Are you taking prompts? How about one where Kara left Catco telling everyone it's for her art career but actually it was because it hurt too much to be close to Cat knowing she could never have her (which isn't the case). Lois stops by at Catco and then Kara's place. It's the perfume that gives it away. Cat says it's her custom scent. Kara looks lost for a second before replying it was a gift from a friend. Lois tells Lucy about her discovery and they decide to low-key play matchmaker.
Sorry this took so long! :D It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to go about this, and then I got stuck a few times. I know this is probably not exactly what you were looking for, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. :)
After a long, and rather revelatory day, Lois lay reclined on the sofa in her sister’s living room. She swirled the remnants of red wine in its glass as she contemplated how to share her day’s musings with Lucy, or whether or not she should.
“Spill it, Lo. What’s on your mind?”
Lois looked toward her sister who sat with her legs tucked under her, sipping her own glass of wine. “What makes you think anything is on my mind?”
“Well, other than the fact that something is always on your mind, you’ve been staring at the dregs of wine in your glass as if they hold the secrets of the universe.” Lucy gestured with her wineglass. “And, believe me, I’ve stared into, and consumed, many a glass of wine, and there are no secrets there. Seriously, though, something is up. You can talk to me.”
“I think Kara has a crush on Cat Grant.” The words rushed out, and Lois blushed, embarrassed that she even cared, but the thought of her sweet, gentle Kara developing feelings for that cold viper of a woman confused the hell out of her. It also worried her. “And, I think Cat has one on Kara, too.”
Lucy laughed. “Is that all? God, Lois, I thought it was something serious.”
The Beatles, along with Murry the K, some press, and their entourage, travel by train from New York to Washington DC instead of plane, as originally planned, due to an East Coast snowstorm. The band arrived at Washington’s Union Station and were greeted by 2,000 fans who braved the eight inches of snow on the ground.
The group and their entourage stayed at the Shoreham Hotel, where they took the entire seventh floor to avoid fans. In fact, one family refused to be relocated so the hotel staff cut off the hot water, electricity and central heating, telling them there was a power failure and they had to move.
The Beatles’ first US concert, at the Washington Sports Arena, was watched by a crowd of 8,092 fans, most of whom were girls. The band took to the stage at 8.31pm, and performed 12 songs.
While the concert was going on, George Harrison’s microphone wasn’t working during the opening song, and he was given a faulty replacement. It didn’t dampen the audience’s appreciation, however; they responded with typical screams of Beatlemania, causing one of the 362 police officers present to block his ears with bullets. Many of the fans pelted The Beatles with jelly beans, after a New York newspaper had reported The Beatles discussing their liking for them.
I’m tired of being hesitant to go into a venue that has more than 10 people in it. I’m tired of brainstorming the best way to get out of movie theaters, shopping malls, concert venues and sports arenas. I’m tired of catching myself subconsciously looking for things to hide behind. I’m tired of thinking of the best way to get my loved ones out of an active shooter situation.
As Waters Recede, Serbia’s Worries Turn to Disease
By Rick Lyman, NY Times, May 21, 2014
OBRENOVAC, Serbia–For five days, as rain pelted the Balkans and the waters rose, Jovanka Sreckovic, 85, waited in bed in her tiny house, barely a hut, beside the Sava River. Ms. Sreckovic, unable to walk, had no food, no water, no medicine and no electricity, and felt herself sinking into sickness with nothing but a children’s book about Jesus to pass the time.
And then, on Saturday, a squad of frantic police officers from neighboring Montenegro bashed in her front door and snatched her away so fast that she had no time to grab a pair of shoes. She even had to leave her precious cat, Rosa, behind.
“I had not been able to get out of my bed, even to look outside,” said Ms. Sreckovic, a retired schoolteacher. “So I was shocked to see that the water had come to within a few yards of my front door. I would have drowned in less than an hour.”
The worst of the waters have receded, for the moment, even here in the Serbian town hit hardest by the record-smashing floods. But with temperatures in the mid-80s and rising, concerns are now shifting to an almost inevitable outbreak of disease in the coming weeks.
“We are preparing ourselves for the worst,” Zlatibor Loncar, the Serbian minister of health, said in an interview on Wednesday. “It could be pretty bad.”
Contaminated water has covered homes, towns and fields, turning much of Serbia’s most fertile agricultural region into a poisonous stew of toxic chemicals, rotting carcasses and disease-carrying insects. So far, there have been no epidemic outbreaks, the health minister said, but that will almost certainly change–intestinal ailments, respiratory infections, skin diseases, hepatitis, perhaps worse.
“That is what is going to happen,” he said. “We can’t predict what kind of disease, but if people return to their homes too soon, as many will, before the contaminated areas can be cleaned, it will naturally come to that.”
Ms. Sreckovic was one of the last to be evacuated from her village, in a final military truckload of the elderly. By Wednesday, she was resting comfortably on a mattress in the Kombank Arena, Belgrade’s gleaming sports and concert facility, which has been transformed into an evacuation center. Young doctors and nurses, all wearing surgical masks and rubber gloves–just a precaution, they said–were walking through the grid of sleeping figures on their battered mattresses, surrounded by sad piles of soiled possessions.
Ms. Sreckovic clung to her walking stick, a plate of oranges and that same children’s book, “Where the Lord Lives.” But at least she is getting her medicine again.
“I am so worried about Rosa,” she said, melting into tears. “I don’t know what happened to her. She is my only friend. Maybe she is in the attic?”
Efforts this week to safeguard the massive Nikola Tesla power plant outside Obrenovac, which supplies nearly half of the country’s electricity, appear to have been successful. But there are worries that a second wave of flooding will hit the region by Friday, perhaps inundating some of the towns and villages that are just now beginning to dry out.
The second wave, which is not expected to be as huge as the first–the largest since records began to be kept 120 years ago–could still be devastating. It will be caused by a mass of water moving down the Danube from Germany and Austria, which had heavy rainfall from the same system that socked the Balkans.
The powerful Danube is expected to handle the flow with ease. But its passage is likely to cause the Sava and other tributaries to back up yet again.
That is why Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic, the Serbian military chief of staff, has spent the last five days taking personal command of efforts to reinforce a 15-mile sandbag wall outside Sabac, which, with 120,000 residents, is the largest city in the region. Sabac is also home to a huge Elixir Zorka chemical plant built right on the river, which, if overrun, could spill agricultural minerals and toxic fertilizers into the city.
A drive through the chemical plant, where a skeleton crew struggled to pump water back into the river, showed that most of the facility was flooded, but that its most dangerous chemicals were still safe in tanks built a few yards above ground level.
General Dikovic swatted at swarms of mosquitoes as he stood atop the levee and watched more than 2,000 workers–soldiers, foreign relief workers and volunteers from nearby towns–pile a fresh layer of sandbags to reinforce those that have grown waterlogged and useless. Already, more than a million sandbags have been placed on this single two-mile stretch of the wall. Still, water was seeping beneath the levee and spreading into nearby corn and wheat fields.
“The dripping from the sponge has to be stopped,” the general declared. “After we have had this flooding already, to have Sabac flooded would be a catastrophe.”
Here in Obrenovac, the main park is still underwater, as are the surrounding houses and apartment blocks. The town’s soccer stadium, too. Only the tops of flamingo-necked streetlights peek above the water line.
Obrenovac is an eerie ghost town now, many of its streets finally drying out, but hundreds of houses still submerged and probably never to be inhabited again.
Still, Serbia’s interior minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic, on the job just three weeks, said he was proud of the work the local teams had done in pumping water, evacuating citizens and building barricades.
“We have managed to stop three rivers in their tracks,” he said.
Now, though, the hard work begins. At least 2,100 miles of roads were damaged in the floods, the minister said, plus untold numbers of homes, bridges, rail lines, schools, hospitals. It will take years, and billions of dollars, to rebuild.
Ivica Dobrojevic, an architect in Sabac who was among the thousands to heed the call to help, rested wearily beside a stack of sandbags beside the Sava. Despite the scope of the disaster, he found himself encouraged.
“I had almost given up for the future of our country, because everyone was in apathy, concerned only about themselves,” said Mr. Dobrojevic, 42. “But now, no one is asking who you are or where you come from, not even the young people. There is unity now. Something has woken everybody up.”