I really should be in bed right now. Andrew, the Dead 2 Red teammate with the backup truck, is going to be picking me up in 3 hours from now, and I only now just got done cleaning up the kitchen downstairs from the Second Annual Dead 2 Red Spaghetti Dinner (it’s a mouthful, pun intended). Instead, I’m drinking copious amounts of water and taking some aspirin to settle a headache. Probably stress related instead of anything else!

I was at work late today setting up a new computer, which directly led me to be late getting home to start on the spaghetti. I brought down all the pots, pans, and spices, as well as a few cans of tomato paste I’d purchased last autumn. Daniel was helpful in saving me by chopping onions, as I was trying to keep track of too many things at once and sliced open my index finger pretty badly. We saved the onions, don’t worry.

The interesting thing happened right after Omar and Rami arrived…I took the can opener to the small, six-ounce can of tomato paste and without any warning whatsoever the thing exploded with a sound like a dozen pop cans opening at once. Rami, a few meters away from me stirring the meat, looked at me in shock as his black jacket is covered with tomato paste, and I wiped chunks of it off of my chin. This has got to be a new record for an exploding-can-of-tomato-paste because it not only reached about 10 meters horizontal distance, but did quite well going straight up, too.

I can only be glad that Philip wasn't here to see this (if you're reading this, don't worry, I stood on the table with a sponge afterwards!)

I can only be glad that Philip wasn't here to see this (if you're reading, don't worry, I stood on the table with a sponge afterward!)

That mishap aside, most of the paste stayed in the can, and the rest of the dinner proceeded deliciously and without issue. Although Andrew wasn’t able to attend, Micha came a little later and we all got to try on our Intracom-sponsored jerseys to make sure that they fit…not that we’d have time to do anything about it if they didn’t, and they were one-size-fits-all anyway!

The Intracom team chows down on some carbohydrates

The Intracom team chows down on some carbohydrates

In other news, Dozan had another choir concert last night, all the way on the other side of Amman in al-Hashmi Shmali. Apparently there’s a weekly concert with classical muwashahaat (folk music) instruments and singing. This time, Dozan was invited as one of the acts. We sang four songs in Arabic, with titles like “White Pigeon” (possibly dove, actually, I don’t know if I translated that right), and “Raise Your Hands” while accompanied by instruments like the six-stringed, guitar-like Oud and what looked like a harpsichord. We also had backup singers too, although they were more like the regular singers, and we were encroaching on their turf! They were docile, friendly looking middle aged and older Arab men, many placidly clutching prayer beads which they twisted absentmindedly as they sang their low, ululating tones. They had a soloist, too, who sang Arabic love songs in a beautiful baritone and really milked the audience.

For their part, the audience loved it and went wild for all of us. As wild as 70 elderly people can go, clapping gently along with us and nodding and smiling happily, sometimes snapping their fingers and waving their arms shakily in the air. It was all quite adorable, and I wish that Dozan could have sang for them longer.

The only problem was with the sound system, which appeared to have been set up by monkeys that only knew how to go up to “eleven” – they put our group in the corner of the room to wait, right next to these massive speakers that crackled ominously with way-too-much reverb and barely-contained power. After the concert started, it seriously felt like my ears were going to start bleeding at any moment, and most of us crowded away towards the other side of the room to try to escape, probably a futile effort.

Only 2 and a half hours until Andrew arrives. Time to put the camera on the charger and get to bed. Personally, I’ll be happy if we can beat 8 hours and 12 minutes, our team’s time from last year. Wish us luck!