Wednesday, November 16th was my sister Holly's 50th birthday. For the next month and a half we will be the same age. In order to celebrate her birthday I went to a concert. That's a lie. I went to the concert because I wanted to go, but since it was on her birthday I pretended that there was some correlation. Actually, if Holly had been in town she wouldn't have wanted to go to the concert and I would have had to stay home because it was her birthday. Probably a good thing that she lives so far away.
The concert was They Might Be Giants with Jonathan Coulton opening. I have seen both of them preform before. Okay, that's actually an understatement. I've seen the Giants preform so many times that I no longer remember how many. At this point they are one of the groups/performers that I've seen the most. There are three performers that fall into the "Can't remember how many times I've seen them" category: TMBG, Sparks, and Joe Jackson. I've lost track enough that I can't tell you which one I've seen most.
Point is, clearly, I love the Giants.
As for Jonathan Coulton, I met him last year at Neil (Gaiman)'s 50th birthday bash, and then went on his cruise at the beginning of this year. We saw him perform on the cruise. He was fantastic.
On our way to the concert (which was in Anaheim and hence a long car ride away) I got a text from our friend Krystal asking if I was okay, and saying that she was so worried about the girls. This really confused me. Winter was in the car with me and Sky was off at college. I had no idea what she was talking about. I texted back "???" (very clever of me, I thought. I was driving after all). I gave the phone to Winter and asked her to call Scott and see if he knew what she was talking about. Between Winter checking Facebook and Krystal texting with more info, we discovered that Sky was in San Francisco at one of the Occupy protests.
For the rest of this story I'm going to tell you things as they happened, despite the fact that I didn't know all this at the time...
Sky was with a group from school. I knew that she was going to be doing this, but I thought it was something that they were doing in town. Evidently it was always going to be in SF, but I missed that somehow. Sky was with her best friend who was live tweeting under the handle kendrayukiko (hence Krystal being worried about the "girls"). It was how we all were keeping up with what was going on. A screen shot of Kendra's feed made it onto Boing Boing!
Mind you, while this is happening, I'm stuck in traffic. I have our friend Sally sitting next to me, and Winter behind her. Winter is on both my phone and hers; texting people, checking FB and Twitter and talking to Scott. Scott let Kendra's mom know what was going on. Both Scott and I had the same thoughts: as long as she's safe, then, good for her. We were not too worried.
Finally I managed to get us to the concert. We were hungry and had a while before the doors opened, so we ate at House of Blues (which is where the concert was being held). Food was good, but I spent the whole meal catching up on the Twitter feed. I was far more enlightened at the end of the meal then when we arrived.
Eating there got us the added bonus of getting in the doors early. Winter and I went upstairs and found ourselves a place to sit. Not a very good one, but it was better than it could've been. And sitting. That part was nice. While we were sitting I called Scott and found out that both girls had been arrested. Trying to figure out how to get Kendra released had Scott worried (she's not 18 yet, so was in a different facility).
Both girls were fine. Sky was put in a paddy wagon and brought to an outside holding area. When the police questioned her and told her she shouldn't be wearing her sunglasses, she explained that she was blind and needed them to see, and they were instantly apologetic and conscientious. She was treated fine. Her big complaint was that it was cold and the toilet had no privacy. She has all sorts of stories, but the important part is that in the end she was released and there was a bus waiting for her and all the others that had been arrested. There was someone to rescue Kendra and the other underage student as well. Everyone made it home by 11pm safe and sound. Sky has a court date next month. She'll be back home by then, but if it doesn't get cancelled, she was told that she could transfer it to a court here, so we don't need to go back to SF during Winter break. The whole event was well-organized.
Meanwhile, back in Anaheim, we (meaning the three of us plus the several people we'd met up with, because we are geeks and our friends are geeks so it's hardly surprising that we would bump into bunches of people we know) were all having a great time at the concert. The biggest complaint was that Jonathan Coulton's set was much too short. He only played for about thirty minutes. Too too short!
TMBG was, as usual, also excellent. They got to play for awhile. Their very last song was one of my all-time favorite songs ever. So I was happy.
When the concert was over, I went to the merch table and was surprised to find that Jonathan Coulton was hanging out there signing things and getting his picture taken, etc. He recognized me (which is always nice) and we chatted for a bit. I think my favorite moment of the night came when I was talking to him. I asked if he had met Winter (I wasn't sure if he had, since I'd missed much of Neil's infamous party which is where I'd met him. I knew Winter had not been around the other times we'd met). He recognized her. I mentioned that my other daughter had just gotten arrested. His reactions was to look all sad and say, "Drugs?" then, looking a bit less sad, he added, "or protest?". I laughed, and proudly said, "Protest!" To which he replied, "good for her!" Which is exactly how I felt.
The next day, the students at UCDavis were pepper sprayed while sitting on campus in protest. Sky goes to a UC school. I thought she was going to be doing something on campus or in town. When I found out she was in SF I was worried, because I knew she'd be safe if she'd be on campus, but in a major city I was was more worried. The protest that Sky took part in was in a bank. They were trespassing. Getting arrested was expected. Sitting on a sidewalk peacefully on campus should've been safe. I don't know why I thought this. I'm old enough to remember Kent State.
Sky is fine. Her friends are all fine. I'm really proud of her for taking a stand in something she believes in. It scares me to think that we live in a world where peacefully taking a stand can get you hurt and I'm so glad that she didn't (get hurt).
Wednesday had been an awesome day. I had a great time at the concert. The only thing that made me sad is that the reason that Winter got to go (I'm really glad that she did, mind you) is that my friend who was supposed to go stayed home because her father was very sick and in the hospital.
On Thursday, Rosalie Lightning, the young daughter of Tom Hart, one of the nicest people I know, and his wife Leela Corman, died in her sleep. I can't even pretend to understand how something so tragic can happen. I don't know anyone who deserves to have something so horrible happen to them, but Tom even less so. (Leela as well, but I've only met her briefly). There's a fund set up to help them deal with the tragedy, if you'd like to help, here's the link to the page. My heart goes out to them both. I'm still numb thinking about this.
On Saturday my friend's father, the one in the hospital, died.
So, Wednesday? Really good day. Rest of the week. Not so much.
Tomorrow I go up to Santa Cruz to pick Sky up and bring her home for Thanksgiving. My siblings are all getting in town Thursday or Friday. We're doing our Turkey on Saturday when we have the whole gang, and then I bring Sky back north on Sunday. My siblings and their families are in town for about a week. We'll celebrate Holly's birthday late, and have big meals and lots of fun. Then they all go away and a few days later Sky will be back for Winter break (we get her a whole month!).
I'm not likely to be posting anything between now and Thanksgiving, so here's wishing all of you who celebrate, a very happy Thanksgiving.
Regardless of whether or not you celebrate, I'd like to thank you for being in my life. Thank you for reading this blog. It means a lot to me. Thank you for all the comments over this last year. Thank you for telling me that you read this when I've met you. Mostly, thank you for being there and listening (figuratively) when I needed it. My life is better because you are there.
And for all the people that I know, and the ones that I don't know, that are dealing with the tragedies of this week. I'm so sorry. My thoughts are with you.