Some thoughts on this year

I don’t think I even need to do much talking about 2016 except for thank fuck it’s over and done.

On one hand, I’ve seen a lot of people arguing how it’s really not that relevant anyway and it’s not changing anything – I beg to differ. It’s all about the mindset, and while I don’t buy into the “think up your own reality” a la Rhonda Byrne and The Secret, I am very much a supporter of the thought that at least 1/2 of the possibility of success depends on the attitude a person has in approaching the goal. And hope counts for a lot!! of things.

You can’t expect humans to not be human. Hope, cycle, ritual, and motivation are all very human things. So seriously, can you just please STFU about how “it won’t make a difference because calendar and whatever”? Seriously. STFU. It may not matter to you, but to a lot more people, it does.

My friend Andrew brought up a question: What’s worse, false hope or no hope at all? The answer is thus: having no hope is infinitely worse because it drains the person to a hollow shell. False hope, however false it is, is still a motivator. No hope has the polar opposite effect.

Motivation is something we are going to need.

In 2016, we lost a lot of our favorite cultural icons. Carrie Fisher, whom we knew best as Princess Leia, and her mom, Debbie Reynolds, whom every child who has ever seen Charlotte’s Web will recognize by voice, died within a day of one another. And Prince. David Bowie. And Alan Rickman, our beloved Alan Rickman. And on and on… and it was a deeply wounding experience. Like it as not, we will always mourn our icons, because they helped us learn more about ourselves as people and about the world through their art. But they have left us, and left us with…

…well, having to face a President Donald Trump.

These words were typed with the worst contempt I can feel towards a person. This election has been a prime illustration of the child being put in charge of the nursery. The metaphor is even more apt if you consider that his Twitter tirades all show the basic manners and maturity of a toddler; if you think any part of what he’s doing is “presidential”, then I question your own maturity. Sorry and not sorry.

Unless Congress’s Hail Mary attempt today pays off, we’re looking at having this lousy excuse for a human being sworn in on January 20th, and ladies and gents, that motivation I was talking about? This is where we are going to need it. Because unless we are ready for a long and exhaustive battle, there’s no telling just what sort of damage we are going to have to undo down the line.

Already, they’re talking about repealing the ACA and in the same breath, defunding PP (more on that later). Already also, the coal miners who now have insurance thanks to ACA for their pre-existing black lung are now waking up and realizing that hey, the “Obamacare” they were brainwashed to hate is actually something they benefit from! They’re all going to be kicked off their insurance! So now they’re all gung-ho against it because it never once occurred to them that the ACA that they benefit from and Obamacare are the same damn law.

Mitch McConnell deserves a new title: chief hypocrite. After years of proudly blocking every Supreme Court nominee that Pres. Obama put up for approval, he actually turned around and said that the American people wouldn’t stand for such obstruction as the Democrats blocking the GOP nominees. I guess McConnell has no idea where hypocrisy or irony are in the dictionary, never mind being completely unaware that his picture is next to both as an example.

Yes, it’s a false hope that Trump will be ousted, even though constitutionally, there’s ample grounds for his impeachment  already. But it’s hope enough to motivate everyone to fight back against this bullshit excuse of an “administration”.

What amuses me, and by “amuse” I mean “dishearten”, is the talk about the how the Dems and the liberals need to be more “understanding”. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong some more. The liberals already understand the rural white America. It’s rural white America that insists on clinging to the middle of the 20th Century when the world at large is well past ready to dive into the 21st.  We know what motivates them to feel as they do – they do not want to even stop to think about changing where they are. Their rules and laws are rigid to the point of where there are more than a few similarities with cult mentality.

The “coastal elites”, or basically, anyone who either got out of the rural white America or left the mentality of rural white America, already see and understand it. What we are seeing is an entire swathe of the country not seeing the forest through the trees. They don’t embrace any change even though that change just might give them what they really need: employment, education, independence. If it means they cling to their glory days, people are prepared to bury their heads and play the ostrich, grossly unaware – or unwilling to acknowledge – that their arses are still exposed, and in a much better position for reality to kick it.

The real problem, honestly, is education – or better yet, lack thereof, and lack of people being taught to think critically. This is what we get when we encourage children to pick on the nerdy kids at recess – and to note, not punishing them does count as encouragement. This is the direct result of people using intelligence as an insult, or as a demerit. I’ve heard, often, the question of “Why do I have to learn algebra if I’m never going to use it?” – because it teaches you to think, if you actually pay attention to the material. There’s a reason it’s taught in schools since the dawn of math education, and if one is just not able to grasp the material, or the concept behind the material, how’s it the fault of the material itself? Algebra, like critical thinking, didn’t do anything to the person who’s unable to grasp either of the two.

After a certain point, the understanding and the compassion just plain run out, and we all collectively say, “You made the bed, now go lie down in it”. That’s more or less where I am right now. That’s where a lot of us are right now in regards to politics and in regards to everyone who’s voted for this guy and is slowly waking up to the reality that they’ve gotten conned. You’ve done it – and you’ve done it to yourselves. You’ve shot yourself with the foot, and only now are realizing that you’ve packed buckshot in that instead of a measly little nine-mil. The problem is, you’re taking the rest of the people around you as you go crashing to the floor, and that right there I have a problem with. If you make a decision, etc. – that’s fine. What’s not fine is when your choices have an effect on the innocent bystanders. And unlike whatever you believe, no, you don’t get to escape the “I told you so” when your choices backfire on you after people warned you it would. Action = consequence.

Just right now, as I’m writing this post, guess who’s really paying for the Mexican wall: the US taxpayer. The rich still get a tax cut. The rest of us pay up, regardless of whether or not we can afford to. And we all knew it was going to go that way – but who listened to us?

As we’re heading into this year, I can’t say it’s going to be all rosy. We entered this year just relieved that the Grim Reaper put the scythe away for a moment. But now that the mourning reprieve is over, we have to stand up, square our shoulders, tip up our chins, and go to battle. This isn’t the time to get complacent.

Personally speaking – I am glad for the new year to be here, because it gives me the opportunity to take a deep breath, reassess, and prioritize. And there’s ample room for new adventures, which means that I can, once again, consider a trip outside the country. Mallorca is calling. Maybe Algarve – for the jazz festivals. Hell, maybe even Rio de Janeiro because why. the. hell. not.

It’s a personal thing for me; there’s a saying I’ve grown up with that I’ve shared here a few times: how you start a year is how you’ll live it. I started it with music and telling the previous year to firmly fuck itself with a double NY Salute. I’d like to think that, if not as great as some recent years have been (prior to 2015-16), I would at least have a half decent turn at this one.

At least I may grow some basil this summer. Tasty bruschetta.

K.G.

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Two more weeks…

I will admit, last year I did not think that I would have a worse year than 2015.

Dear gods, when will I ever learn? Do not tempt Murphy’s Law, it will give you everything you ask for, and add interest on top.

Yeah, I had a worse year than 2015, but in retrospect, it was still an important year. All political BS aside, it was a learning experience, and some of the biggest lessons I learned were how to take responsibility for my own part in certain things – a work in progress – and how to draw a line on what I tolerate in my life.

If anything, there’s a lot of things to be said for the art of drawing boundaries, and sometimes, there’s something like a national election that reaffirms what your boundaries are.

I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a liberal, and nor will I hide any part of it. And this is not going to be the time where I opine on the current election results; done that already. But the fact is, this election taught me what sort of behavior I tolerate in my life and was only one in a series of reminders to get a lot firmer about what I let slide, why, and from whom.

And frankly, I’ve gotten way too lax about allowing people to get away with shit, and not just in terms of politics. I’ve allowed too many people to walk over me, and have almost ended up $1,200 in the hole at the start of summer because someone thought it’s A-OK to take advantage of someone’s generosity and then turn around to shit all over their efforts.

Look, I’m one of the nicest people out there. Really. For all the acerbic NYC bitchiness that I have, if you come to me and tell me you need help – get out of a bad situation, not sure what a contract says, have a doctor/person who doesn’t want to listen – I’ll help you. I’ll ask people who can refer me to someone in the position to help, or pull a favor if someone owes me one. However: do not ever turn around and try to accuse me of shit because of it. This is the real world; information and resources do not come from a vacuum. Either you find it yourself, or – like in a LOT of situations – you go to someone who can.

One of the main lessons out of this year, and that particular little fiasco, was this: don’t let others’ lack of regard of your skills in any way diminish your value for having those skills.

I’m not going to stop helping people if they ask. That would be completely contrary to everything I stand for. Yes, under any other circumstances, this would have made me say “screw this shit, I will not help anyone again, ever” – but that’s just not me. And considering the way that the current climate is, it’s kind of extra important to be able to provide support to people.

But I also won’t stand for ingratitude and I will certainly not stand for being used in any iteration. Already, I give too much of myself away in terms of support, resources, knowledge, time, energy, talents, etc. And last time I checked, I can’t pour from an empty cup; if you want to benefit from association with me, then please at least let me refill the cup once in a while. Rest, solitude, music, travel, real friendships with real conversations, support, exchanges of ideas, learning, etc. – that’s my recharge. And my definition of friendship is a bit different than most people’s; loyalty and communication are two things I set a huge store by.

Yes, this year was ridiculously bad. In retrospect, and keeping with the adage of how your year starts is how it flows, I should’ve realized that it was going to be bad when we lost Alan Rickman. Collectively, we artistic types – and HP fans – knew we were in for a hard year with 2016. Myself, I entered the year grieving and with a keen awareness that I would have more losses coming – precisely what happened. But I can’t say it was all a waste if there’s any sort of lesson out of it.

As far as lessons go, taking responsibility for myself, drawing boundaries and standing up for myself are certainly beneficial refresher courses.

Two more weeks of this particular stretch of the calendar… and then maybe we can breathe easier.

Stay focused, friends.

K.G.

Posted in The Usual

Time does funny things

When you spend a certain amount of time trying to not deal with something, it will present itself to you in a repackaged format so that you can learn the same lesson. And might I add? The lesson gets worse every time you try to dodge learning it.

But time also does a lot of things as far as perspective is concerned, and that’s the direction in which I want to steer this blog post.

Brace yourselves for this: this will get personal. And it is in one part for my own cathartic purposes to put this down, but in another, I am writing this to also right a fair few wrongs that I have done. Because I know how easy it is to find info, I feel that if I have to own my misdeeds, I may as well do so outright. I have no problem with admitting when I was in the wrong.

Read on, if you dare, and if you’re not comfortable finding all this stuff out, I understand.

Continue reading

Posted in The Usual

The Roundup…

Well, it’s been an interesting week. By “interesting” I mean I’ve been a nervous wreck and barely slept more than a couple of hours at a time.

The national outrage is growing.

There were protests all around the country today. The protest in NY was, contrary to most people’s belief, actually peaceful, and no destruction of property that I know of. I was not there, but certain people I know were. They are safe, and I’m glad for it, and here’s to hoping they made their voices heard.

There was also a surge of hate crimes around the country by people who are emboldened by the election results.

God, this goes right to my soul right now… Just like post-9/11, but worse. And what about the people I care about? I have a diverse, vibrant circle, and I fear for them all.

I’m not linking this time around just on the account that I’ve seen enough. There’s a point where someone just can’t take much more. You can Google if you want to know what I mean.

One thing for sure: the country is not happy. And contrary to whatever spin you are sold, Hillary has won the popular vote hands down. But – this country doesn’t decide the president on the popular vote.

People who are genuinely confused about why people are protesting, may want to have a look at this quote by Andy Borowitz:

EMPATHY CHECK: It seems like an appropriate time to bring up the topic, seemingly obscure these days, of empathy.

Trump supporters are having a difficult time understanding why people are protesting.

Trump has said that he would send troops door to door to remove millions of people from their homes and then from the country.

This is not an exaggeration. There is video of him saying it.

I would ask Trump supporters: if you and your family were facing such a threat, what would you do?

You might protest.

I know: EMPATHY SUCKS.

What I will say, however, is this: you cannot expect cooperation and “coming together”. Trump ran on a platform of division and marginalization, and people actually expect the very same groups that were divided, marginalized, discriminated, etc. to come together and sing kumbaya at the campfire? No, no, no. Reality doesn’t work that way. For every action, there’s a consequence, and words are never, ever, ever “just words”. There are consequences to the speech. And you don’t get to push someone away, accuse them of being “criminals” – which has  been recorded on tape – and then expect their support. This is just one such example; there’s many more.

The real world doesn’t work like that. You sow something, you reap its direct results. You run your mouth, you get to see the fallout.

I’ve gotten a lot of media-blaming for this… but honestly, let’s not blame the very vehicle that got us to this point in the first place. I don’t watch television for a reason, but even I couldn’t miss the disproportionate airtime given to the current elect. You see the media pushing someone in front of people’s faces, broadcasting every word he said, and then you want to blame the media for portraying him negatively? What you see is what you get, and shooting the messenger is ineffective.

Everyone has the right to have an opinion – but everyone else also has the right to soundly reject it. The Ninth Amendment of the US Constitution basically boils down to “Your rights end where mine begin”, and it seems that too many people forgot that.

This is a something I’d like to restate.

You know, there’s one silver lining to consider in the fiasco of this election…

You get a hell of a lot better at drawing boundaries.

Politics and crises bring out the best and the worst of people – that’s always been the case. But the one thing that it never fails to do is show what priorities people have, and show what they find acceptable in their lives. And based on that, you can make the decision on whether or not you find those things acceptable or not.

And according to that line of thought, you can get seriously good at drawing boundaries on what you tolerate.

And I now know where a lot of people in my life – whom I thought well of otherwise – stand. In some ways, I was pleasantly surprised. In other ways, not so pleasantly.

Look, you have your opinion, that’s fine. That’s your right. But your right ends at MY right to not allow your opinion into my life. If your opinion is wrong and factually proven wrong, more so. MY right to reject your opinion is exactly equal to you having it. Apart from the very basic tenet of the First Amendment, it’s also called “consequences”. People have the right to boot me from their lives too – lord knows I’ve had that happen often enough! But – you don’t get to weasel out of the consequences of your opinion, your actions, or your words. That’s just the way the real world works.

One good piece of news is that I got to know who my real friends are as of this election. Because where I stand as a woman, as a woman working professionally, a woman who travels in many diverse circles and thus exposed to many, many, many different lives and views and priorities, these next four years are very. damn. important.

And I plan on being a better friend to my people in light of this. Even if it means that some folks have to get out of my circle to make room for the people who will need me in the future.

I will admit that I lost my temper with a few people, because they couldn’t grasp the above concept. I asked someone to put themselves in the protesters’ shoes, and their response was “LOL, yeah right” (paraphrased). Really? So basic empathy isn’t even necessary? Oooo-kay.

It’s perfectly fine to remove people from your life. Trust me, it is. Because as I found, for every person you remove from your life, there’s a much better individual in the wings waiting for a chance to show themselves to you.

Politics has and will always expose the best and the worst in people. But I find that if someone’s not capable of basic empathy insofar as asking, “Why do they feel the way they do?” and asking that as a genuine question, rather than a reason to laugh at them for being “sore losers” (this has been making my BP rise the past few days, for sure), then their reactions tell me a lot more about them, than about me for finding that unacceptable.

People really lost sight of the saying, “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes”. This is a tenet old-school moms have been trying to teach their kids since time immemorial, but I guess the lessons don’t stick, huh.

In the coming months, and years, there will be people who will need me. If some folks have to be jettisoned to make room? I’m okay with that.

K.G.

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House of Horrors

That was the Daily News headline this morning, and it captures what I feel very succinctly.

Dear mother of God, what have we done.

What. Have. We. Done.

Look, people. Put aside the fancy slogans and the “USA!” chants, and just look at what the hell happened last night: we elected someone who is as grossly unqualified for President as one can possibly get, who ran on a platform endorsed by the KKK, who made absolutely no qualms about whose lives he was going to make hellacious. Hint: it’s all of us.

If you’re not (1) Rich, (2) Male, (3) White, and (4) “Christian” – by which I mean the fake cherry-picked Christianity that’s practiced to cover for hypocrisy, you are fucked. You are fucked to beyond belief. You are going to lose everything that matters to you, and no, I’m not exaggerating. The GOP had a clean sweep in the election results last night, and this does not bode well for anyone except those who long for the “good old days” of the 1950s – which we know exist only in people’s imaginations.

My mother depends on Social Security and Medicare, because she’s retiring. And how’s she going to retire now? On what? Am I even going to keep my job? How am I going to support a household of two in NYC on one salary with costs of living out of control already? Three, if you count my brother.

And health insurance? How many of us will lose it if we got it thanks to the ACA? How high will our medical costs be before we are flat broke?

I wasn’t going to announce this until I was actually closing on something, but just the other day, I got news that I had a mortgage pre-approval. I could actually buy a house, like I dreamed of for years. And now? God, now I can’t even think about it. Right now, the idea of owning property is galling. No equity will be worth it…

This is a man who has casually bragged about sexual assault. A man who had wiped his feet on the backs of small business owners and smilingly bankrupted them to build his properties and brands. This is a man who made no bones of agreeing with a lot of what Hitler had to offer – not a Godwin argument, kids, he has been reading Hitler’s speeches for years. His business ventures have failed. And somehow, the US population thought that he would somehow make everything better?

You may tell me to “have a little faith” – but I can’t. My family, in the country of my birth, has already had to go through something extremely similar. I already know just how all of this turns out. And history, obviously, does repeat itself, and what is killing me at the core is that we could do nothing to stop it. We had an opportunity to stop it, but our best efforts were, obviously, not enough. My grandparents, thankfully, are neither of them alive to see this. And I am glad for it, because I cannot possibly imagine having to tell them that the very thing they’ve survived and fought a war to overthrow is about to happen again.

Don’t even start me on the protest voters. Don’t. Just don’t. This is precisely why I say that Isaac Asimov spoke prophetically.

And I should’ve known better than to underestimate bigotry, stupidity, and hate in large numbers.

I guess the only thing we can do now is buckle down and get through it. Somehow. But here’s the thing: do not expect me to acknowledge Trump as president. I don’t care that he won. If the conservatives got away with not acknowledging Obama for 8 years, believe you me, I can avoid acknowledging this fiasco. Don’t ever question that unless you want to be called out for a hypocrite, and I am very good at public shaming.

And because I know who reads this – thank God for whoever invented IP trackers – and my audience is global, I have a few messages.

To the rest of the world: We are so, so, so sorry for putting you through this. If you believe in a deity, start your prayers now, we will need them. And please, please don’t be afraid to check the US as needed, because good mother of all holy, we. are. going. to need it.

We will not back down without a fight, though. We will not stand by and let this country go to the pits without putting up a hell of a fight. We just won’t. That’s not what we do.

To my friends, majority of whom are nonwhite: Stay safe. Stay in touch. Stay close. We will need one another to get through this. Nothing is going to be more important than staying united, even if nothing else in the country is. Right now it’s on us.

And I know, I know that now is not the time to think about it, but… while the stock market is bottoming out, buy some stock. In about 4 years, you will see why I say so. Trust me. Opportunities will be growing few and far between, but this may be a great time to grab what little stock you can. Even if it’s one share.

To my mom, in the event she ever finds this blog: Mom, I tried to warn you. I tried to tell you. This is not how I wanted to say “I told you so” – not at this cost. I am sorry that this is happening. We are really going to be in a bind, and I hope you have enough family stories to get us through this, because my faith is gone, gone, gone.

To a former friend in TN, who I hope will read this: Look – whatever personal clashes we had, please stay safe. I won’t budge on where I stand, and nor will you, but certain things are more important, such as survival. You, being in TN, are at a huge disadvantage in what’s coming, and if anything, I am just as fearful for you as I was before all this. More so, actually. Regardless of where we stand, I still want to know that you’re going to be OK. And that’s all I’m asking – just be safe. I’ve asked for very little in the years I’ve known you, and I’m asking this completely regardless of whether or not we’ll ever speak again. In fact, I’m fine if we never do, but I still want you to stay safe in the coming four years. If you want to touch base with me, you know how. I didn’t block your number.

Oh, and the Trump supporters who are reading this?

Save your gloating. Seriously, save it. I don’t want to hear it. I already heard the victory gunshots in my neighborhood last night. I do not want to hear your damn voices in my little corner of the web.

Here’s the deal: I know history a hair bit better than most of y’all. I already know what will happen to your hero. Time and karma equalize all, and enjoy your moment of victory while it lasts. What I hate is that you’re making the rest of us suffer through what’s coming.

Good gods, give me the strength to get through to next year’s Capital Jazz Cruise… I don’t joke when I say this may be the only thread to sanity I will have left.

K.G.

Posted in The Usual | 3 Comments

A quick follow-up to prior.

I’m sure my fellow CapJazzers received the letter from the production in their production.

My assessment?

Well done, Capital Jazz!

I truly mean it, well done.

They acknowledged what happened, they formulated a solution, and offered a goodwill credit in an effort to make things right. And it may not seem like much, but consider this: the amount of the goodwill credit is equal to almost the full amount of one person’s port taxes/charges/fees. That? Adds up.

This is excellent crisis management, and gets points for both promptness and content.

Bear in mind, please, that this could’ve gone very differently. But – the most important thing, at least to me, is that they have taken what happened and learned from it. This is what a good production does. This is what happens when someone wants their customers to be happy, who knows when something has gone wrong and takes the time to acknowledge and learn from what’s gone wrong and then tries to make it right.

This is exactly what I like to see from a production.

And this is, again, why I am a loyal patron of Capital Jazz.

K.G.

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CapJazz X: The Day After

First of all, CapJazz knows about this post, and I fully expect to hear feedback from the people there about it.

Second, I had an absolutely nightmarish experience flying home, wherein a flight that’s 2.5 hours on a good day turned into nearly seven, and between not sleeping at all on the last night of the cruise (very choppy waters) and flight issues, I’m sure you can imagine my temperament. So far, I’ve taken a mental health morning – sushi and sake, mani-pedi – to get myself back into gear. I think this is the second night in the past week that I got halfway decent sleep, and I don’t think there’s enough wine in the world to banish that experience from memory.

Now, here’s the nitty-gritty.

I won’t repeat the complaints that people had on board CapJazz this year. I do agree with them, and I will say they were valid. But I have another outlook on it and will dissect a few things here, and how correct I am or am not – y’all tell me.

But here’s the thing: I think CapJazz’s only error in this case was contracting with Norwegian for this year’s (and next year’s) sailing. The frustrations with the reservations, the itinerary changes – that’s much, much more on Norwegian than it’ll ever be on Cap.

Allow me to explain why I think as such.

First things first – this is not Norwegian’s first go at a charter cruise. Sixthman is on Norwegian and while I’m not too into the sort of events that Sixthman has to offer, this does tell you that the cruise line has experience with the process.

Second: the format of the ship is just not conducive to the scale of the production. For those not familiar with the history of the cruise, at Carnival, there’s one enormous theater that can seat close to two thousand people. The theater on the Norwegian ship is 1/3 the size, and the premise of it is multiple shows to accommodate everyone. Not just the early/late as we did before, but more shows. Think 3-5 shows instead of just the two.

I’m sure that on the pre-cruise – it’s standard for charters to pre-cruise to see how the logistics would work out – the cruise line was singing the praises to the skies of streamlining and offering more variety, etc.

The problem with Norwegian is that they were just simply not prepared for the demand.

Here’s the thing. Because Norwegian thrives on variety, you’re going to have multiple venues and a lot of it is “reservation required”. Just like on Carnival, you’d book a spa appointment or a steakhouse meal in advance, similar applies to the Norwegian shows. You have all these fancy screens at every stairwell where you book your stuff. You can book it through your stateroom TV as well. Or a pretty handy app.

Except – demand. You have 3,500+ people trying to book at the same time.

The booking system crashed.

The app wasn’t working.

Nor were the TVs. Everywhere you go, you got “Denied” “Denied” “Denied”.

And of course, they didn’t tell us that the dinner-and-show venues had to be booked elsewhere altogether. People were in line for hours and still ended up getting locked out.

Norwegian just. simply. was. not. ready for this.

CapJazz, in retrospect, may not have known about the restaurant-reservation tables for dinner seating. And of course, when asking questions, one finger pointed at the other.

But honestly, no. It was Norwegian. They just weren’t prepared for the demand that CapJazz brought with it. Sixthman Productions has a smaller, more traditionally designed fleet pledged for its shows, but Cap has a lot more attendees and requires a lot more from its ships. Norwegian probably thought, “Oh, it’s jazz, it’s just like Sixthman, so we can X and Y and have done” – except no. It’s not just like Sixthman. And it is jazz – but the party style of jazz

As a result, tempers frayed, and it showed. Believe me when I say I was just as vociferous as most other people. The balcony cabin I decided to splurge on and book was a saving grace; I am so, so glad that I put out the extra money to have that (tiny) balcony. Sitting outside in the daytime listening to the waves was truly essential to my sanity, especially after the last two years.

In retrospect, looking at the shows I’ve earmarked and the shows I’ve actually attended, I missed a grand total of no more than three shows.

Honestly? That’s no worse than the previous sailings.  In the grand scheme of things, frustrations aside, this turned out to still be the cruise production I have grown to love over the years.

But the reservation thing is for the birds.
keycards
In this pic is what I call my “adventure bundle”. These are the keycards from all the cruises I have been on so far. The X on the white card in the back is from the Celebrity Century ship, the All Star cruise by Haven Entertainment, and the only card that’s not from CapJazz. And I was wrong: I said on the ship that the 2016 sailing was my sixth. It’s actually my seventh.

So. Six great years with Cap on Carnival versus one iffy year on Norwegian? Guess what: the stats are still in Cap’s favor. And here’s the other thing: I have yet to ever hear of Capital Jazz Productions not setting things right.

Those of you who have been in attendance with Cap from 2010-2012 probably remember that they used to have the midnight jams in the back lounge. That changed to the theater. Why? Demand and complaint! Ken Ford was put into the back lounge, and the effect was similar. There was a traffic jam on every staircase around the lounge. Again: lessons learned. Bottom line: complaint does work, and I know Cap sets it right.

I don’t work for CapJazz, but I do know this: they will set it right for those of us who were there. How, I don’t know. That remains to be seen. They took a hit, and they are taking the punch and rolling with it. But I know they will get right back up and do something for those of us who were there.

I am booked for next year – and staying with it. Issues aside, this is the only week out of a year where I feel like I can be myself and enjoy seeing people I’d ordinarily not see at all.

But – here’s the one thing I’d like to see happen:

I would like next year to be the last time that CapJazz is on Norwegian.

And if it’s possible at all for this year to be the last time we’re on Norwegian, I would love that.

If there is any chance for a parting of the ways for Cap and Norwegian, I’d like to see that, for sure. Norwegian did not deliver, at all, if they were promising an experience of more variety. No, they couldn’t have predicted that the rezzy system would’ve gone splat, but I got the sense that there was a lot of miscommunication between the staff at Norwegian and the Cap staff as to what the boat was capable of providing, and whether or not that fit in with the expectations that CapJazz had for its production.

Moreover, the main feature of the cruise isn’t the variety. We already know the variety is there. We know it in the months preceding when they tease us with the lineup. We get it – and that’s why all of us keep coming back. But the biggest thing that CapJazz attendees love is accessibility. On Carnival, we knew that we’re lining up only to get the first bite at the good seats. But with Norwegian? We didn’t have that sense of security. We were lining up not knowing if we’d even get in.

And again: it’s not Capital Jazz. Have you, in the past, ever heard of Cap not wanting people to see as much as they can see? Personally, no. And come on, let’s be logical: their work is concerts. It’s in their best interest for people to have plenty of access.

So don’t be too harsh on them. Yes, this year could’ve been better. And next year, I’m sure it will be, because now they – and we – know what does and doesn’t work.

But I would certainly like to not come back to Norwegian past 2017 if I can help it. The cabins are tiny, and the beds feel like bricks. For someone with a questionable L5 disc and insomnia? Not a good mix.

And the lighting techs for the venues at Norwegian need a slap upside the head. Seriously: turn off the fucking blue filters!!! I don’t want to have a mess of photos where everyone looks like a smurf. It’s the same in the big theater too. Turn. The blue. Filters. OFF. It’s not too much to ask.

The music is still tops, and despite this, Capital Jazz Supercruise still remains the charter that I will cruise with.

K.G.

Posted in The Usual | 4 Comments