03 May 2010

The Last Rodeo

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to see some legends of country music on their last tour.  Brooks & Dunn are mainstays of the scene for two decades and I've never before seen them live.

Being able to see such industry icons was a rare treat. I did not however wear a cowboy hat.

The opener was Jason Aldean a musician who has grown on me. He worked at his show but definitely hid behind the microphone a little much. That didn't stop the crowd from rocking out though. His crowd pleasing singles warmed the place up well.

During B&D there were some cool historic videos and a great tribute to the armed forces which included bring some servicemen out to be applauded and praised. That is always a cause for hooting and hollering and generally showing your pride in America.  And since it was a country show, the crowd played their part smashingly.

These remarkable performers won't be around forever so catch them while you can.

20 April 2010

Coachella 2010

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Coachella Music Festival in California. It was an amazing adventure with some good friends.

The question I keep trying to answer is: "Who was the best show?" And there really isn't a clear answer.

Festivals are not like the concerts for I normally write reviews (disclosure: the reviews are how I get paid!). The atmosphere, the venue, the scheduling, everything about a festival is different than attending a regular concert. Concerts have a single headliner that attracts and to some degree homogenizes the crowd. The point of a concert is to build the audience up for the headliner, give them a ride through the big performance, and then usher them out the door sated. Festivals don't build and peak and then stop. They build and peak, build and peak, and build and peak. They are an endurance race, compared to the sprints of a single show.

The best experience for me then was sitting on an overlook dancing to Tiesto. It was after Muse had played and at the end of a very long, very satisfying day. But the crowd definitely peaked. When the beat dropped, the crowd was illuminated for one long moment and this seething mass of gyrating bodies simply exploded. From where I stood I felt the music crashing through my bones and the only thought my mind could hold was that finally I understood the definition of bliss.

Of course, Muse was amazing and Jay-Z was fantastic. You don't go through either of those experiences without being changed. The cathartic chanting chorus during Uprising went beyond inspiring becoming an irresistible force capturing the crowd. Every line that Jay-Z rhymed tilted the world and righted it again in a single breath.

There were many other notable experiences and I learned a ton about the proper way to enjoy the festival, providing a whole new chapter for the upcoming World Experience & Travel Guide.

No write-up would be complete without a shout out to my good friends D & C who made the weekend more than just fun, they made it truly unforgettable. You guys are the best!

12 April 2010

It Takes Balance to Dance

I've written before about being faced with new relationships. Shenanigans amongst my friends recently reminded me to expand this post to cover how different friend types also impact on-going relationship decisions and difficulties.

Your friends respond differently for new prospects then for prospects that are turning sour, for when relationships that should be dead, linger, or when the relationship you thought was dead, shows a spark of new life.
The Ejector
We all have that friend who is just laser-focused on pointing out that the alcohol-soaked napkin with the lipstick-scribbled number of your latest Saturday night crush on it, should really be lit on fire. As you unfold more and more of the tidbits your booze and make-out influenced investigation have gleaned, they are ready and waiting to call foul and throw in the towel on your behalf. They might genuinely be looking out for you, but more likely they're just cynical because they haven't had enough lip-locking of late and this new contender could never possibly measure up to their version of The One. Having a few of these you can check in with from time to time will often balance the scales of your hopped-up libido.

The Romantic
On this one, I am guilty as charged. We like to smell the freshly laundered sheets and we think that the latest 8 word text from a lost love is a sure sign you are getting back together. Like many out there, I want to believe that things will work out for my friends and that each new prospect has a shot at the big Happy. This is partly why people like myself need friends out there who are cynical and who are quick to slam down the eject button. The hopeful ones out there like me thrive on sunshine, the power of a wink, and the idea of The One. And we'll wear our gleeful little love blinders over each new relationship speed bump as we totter on our merry way. A big challenge of course is that we don't want to get too wrapped around a particular conquest that we can't see The One that is right in front of us. This is the stuff that RomComs are made of and until I land in one, I'll value my friends who aren't quite so fluffy as I.

The Ignorant
We all have friends who simply don't listen, or in some cases, don't actually care. They might just spout our own words back at us, parroting what they think we've already decided. They might not be listening, or they might be apathetic and self-absorbed. Regardless, they keep us ignorant and our wanderlust then goes unchallenged. In some cases, they might actually spur us towards silly choices simply because the faster things go awry the faster we'll be back under their wings with the status quo preserved. They are ignorant of our happiness, and perhaps a little sad. So whether they are hoping to salve your wounds by allowing or even encouraging rash behavior, or they are just mindlessly mirroring, neither is helpful. Not that we all can't use a cheer-leader from time to time.

You can certainly find yourself playing one or more of these roles as the seasons change, and no doubt see these traits in your friends when the light hits just so. It takes a balance to do the dance properly and without the pull and push of these conflicting perspectives, where would we find all the drama that makes happy hour so interesting?

07 April 2010

Angels & Airwaves

On this special day I went with friend to see a favorite band of mine.

The opener was Say Anything and they were super fun. I hadn't heard them live before.

Angels & Airwaves did bring the crowd to a boil though.   They have a loyal following and it's for a reason. They rock.

The live versions of A Little's Enough and Everything's Magic were simply amazing.

A great way to spend a special evening.

06 April 2010

The Lady Winter

I wish I had an excuse for this one. . . But I don't.

She comes with rain soaked steps beating sleeting numbing
A clear so cold she brings the light of new when not amidst
The dancing bright of white and fog

When bitterness displayed is her countenance as wind and water
Our refuge only in flame and cup and comforters caress
Is found if companions quit or fevers find

Should your face uplift some special few each one in twelve
And should her darkest breath have numbed your major covering
A shower of silver unspendable will be bartered
For a few silent drops of inner salve

Unplacable her empty hollow laugh
Surrounds and coats covering and cleansing
And like its twin in mirth is just as quickly vanished

She leaves you rested, whole but often heart-sore
From a tumble shared and at last springs forth a new

25 March 2010

The Rock & Worship Roadshow

After weeks of anticipation I finally got to spend some quality time with @supergwen.  Well, if goofing around with 6000 other people at a concert can count as quality time.

The opening band was Sidewalk Prophets and followed by Remedy Drive. We'd never heard of either band and neither have you. It's likely you never will except perhaps in passing.  Remedy Drive had too much gimmick and zaniness.  They were clearly trying to have a much bigger presence than they had. Perhaps with better percussion and another guitarist they'll sound as big as they're stage theatrics.

Next up was Fee and they did a great job rocking the house. I wasn't sure what to expect but I really enjoyed them.  Frankly, after this performance, their discography deserves another listen. Later in the show, Steve Fee came out to lead a very small worship set.  Whoever gets this amazing talent in your Sunday service give thanks!  He's quite the leader and I'll admit I'm a little jealous.

In a mildly awkward change of pace, Francesca Battistelli performed next.  She had really solid vocals and some slightly catchy ditties but was otherwise unremarkable. Not having heard her music before I will definitely give her a more thorough listen to see what her recording presence is like.

And then came Family Force Five. At first I just laughed at laughed at their obvious rip-off of so many secular club-bangers.  But frankly, they had a great stage presence, very mature sound, and an all around polished act.  It was entertaining and amusing.  And if I wasn't supposed to be at a worship concert I probably would have cut loose and danced too.  The purple shirts with huge epaulets were a real visual treat if not entirely original.

David Crowder Band is a very hard-working and extremely talented group.  I would love for a chance to hear them perform a more extended worship set.  I also didn't realize how shy on stage he acts.  He constantly hid behind the microphone or turned away from the crowd. Perhaps it is a sign of his humility, but this aspect of his presence let me down.

Mercy Me closed. They are a reliable, mainstream, Christian band.  You get exactly what you expect.

The only aspect of the show that detracted was the usual shilling for Compassion International and repeated harping about the cheap tickets.  In my opinion, this type of commercialism detracts significantly from the experience.  I would have gladly paid twice as much to not have had such messages littering the event.

If this roadshow is coming to your town, check it out. The people watching will be great and you will h

20 March 2010

Hellogoodbye & Co

After a hard day navigating the Mouse House with the family, we enjoy some snacks at HoB before the show.

Now I am enjoying the sweet aural candy that is Hellogoodbye.

In a few minutes I will have sat through Saves The Day again to earn another amazing set from New Found Glory.

Talk about your great days...

12 March 2010

New Found Glory

My favorite band of all time was playing tonight in Seattle at the Showbox at the Market.

Needless to say it was one of the most fun times I've ever had with my clothes on.  There were a couple of openers who did a good job of warming everyone up and made it quite the rowdy night. The first opener was Fireworks followed by Hellogoodbye, Saves the Day and then NFG.

The venue was pretty full, way more crowded then the last time.  My friend @madscientist and I got to mosh a bit to each of the openers, include the favorites Bonnie Taylor Shakedown and Here in Your Arms.

When New Found Glory came out, I was the second row of people from the rail and it was absolutely nuts!  They played the entirety of their original self-titled album to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.  Which means we got to rock out to all the old favorites non-stop.  Then they played some of the new hits.

For the encore, they came back and played every other hit (which is a lot!) and ended with My Friends Over You.  I made some new mosh-friends, @jwalking lost his shirt, and the girls almost got in a fight.

This is not a night, I'll soon forget.

08 March 2010

Wiggling The Worm

It seems that spending even a small amount of time on your own terms, dateless, means that you will die alone, a bitter shadow of a soul that no one will miss.

Or at least that appears to me to be what the majority of the people I've run into lately believe.

Now I'm hardly a player, but I'm pretty good with chatting up some nice stems when my the mood strikes my fancy. I just haven't really been using my fancy very often lately and I've been getting bitched at like it's a crime.

The most recent example was a rather nice lady who is soon to be grandmother and one I've always allowed to pry into the particulars of my somewhat monotonous life. We were discussing the dearth of socialization I'd been waking up from and she had the tenacity to tweak my nose over a few recounted adventures. Namely, she thought I wasn't playing the game enough. (I think she's just flaunting her soon to be matriarchal status.)

I'm no stranger to the game, mind you. But I have some reservations when it comes to dipping my toes in that particular river. I've never seemed to be truly lacking in companions, and my submissiveness means I often overlook someone taking advantage of me out of intention. These make me less than properly prepared for partaking in playtime.

My friend however, laid into me with quite the rant about how I much better my relationships could have been. How much quicker I could have moved along, how much more balanced things could have been, if only I had been willing to play the game more. Evidently, I made it too easy or I gave up too quickly. (I'm still not convinced this was all just about her tea being too warm.)

So with much hard reflection (okay, laid up with the flu provided ample time to think) I realized there might possibly have been something to this crazy theory. After all, the last few forays I've endured haven't exactly panned out, or would be even be considered fair play. When applying a friends advice it is possible to consider how many more adventures I could have engaged in if I'd only played the game a little more. How many different dates would I have had? How much less time would I have invested? How many more trips to gym could I have fit in? How would things have been different if I let someone else buy me drink once in a while. Or gave me the backrub. Or just took the hint when her hand was on my butt.

I guess I can't get around the notion that if you love someone, let them know. If you enjoy someone, spend time with them. If you don't feel these things, politely move along.

Evidently such simplicity is all wrong.

According to my kind lady friend, and everyone else I've ever known, we don't want anything that is easy for us to acquire. We start to doubt when that person we set our eyes on just jumps right in after us. We get bored when the unknowns and newness of our relationships starts to fade. Our thoughts wander. Or so I'm told. (Supposedly I live "too much in the present", for me to notice this says the cranky old broad.)

So maybe I need to learn to "wiggle the worm" a little and not be so direct. To leave a little mystery and "let the fish come to you". I'm not so sure I'm keen on having my love life compared to a fishing expedition, but I try to listen to advice when well intentioned.

03 March 2010

Where's The Music?

Last night I couldn't sleep while I slept.

Don't look at me like that! You know what I mean! I was asleep, but I wasn't really sleeping. Instead I was fitfully tossing and turning with dreams and random thoughts bouncing around my cranium.

I'm not someone who typically remembers my dreams so it was disconcerting to wake up in full sweat with a vivid memory of the horror in my nightmare. Specifically, I couldn't find my music!

What happened is that I was at some function/party/gathering. And we needed to dance. So first I pulled out an iPod and kicked things off with "Bedrock" by Young Money. And then I couldn't find any other dance music. Nothing. Nada. It was was all emo and mellow and not appropriate for the rumpus we were trying to instigate at all.

Thinking quickly, I conjured up a MacBook (huh? I don't own a MacBook...) and proceeded to try and navigate my usual playlists to keep the party bouncing.

Once again, it seemed there was no dance music to be had. Anywhere. A complete dearth of bass-pumping beats, techno-thumping, or booty-shaking hip-hop. I found lots of Taylor Swift and Matt Nathanson, a sprinkling of Dashboard Confessional and reams upon reams of New Found Glory. But no Britney, no MGMT, not even a little Selena Gomez remix to get hands up and hips moving.

The sheer panic and distress this caused me was terrifying. I was on the verge of tears that all the music was gone. I felt like Captain Jack on the island ready to weep for the rum! And then I woke up.

My alarm was beeping and I was sweaty and cramped. Let's hope this never happens in real life.

24 February 2010

The Rescues

After a social hiatus of reasonable length I chose an evening out with the
performers of a favourite song of mine "Breakout".

The acoustics and staff of the Troubadour were as always excellent. The
show was a great way to get back in the music scene.

The opener was Lucy Schwartz a talented musician of diverse gifts. And I
would say that even if she hadn't been nice enough to chat after the show.
(Turns out the lady flirting with me was a friend of the band. Small world.)

The best part was the harmony of "My Love". This group has such a powerful
steez that it takes my breath away.

Along the way the took the opportunity to showcase their many talents by
switching off vocal leads, harmonies and instruments. It's quite a talented

In the end, it was memorable night worthy of jumpstarting my membership in

Well done guys. Well done.

22 February 2010

Getting To Know. . .Me

Lately, I've found myself ruminating on, well . . . on me.

When you find yourself alone in the quiet and not particularly happy about it, it is common to second guess all those choices, preferences, and habits that make you who you are. And let's be clear, I am definitely a product of my mistakes, misadventures, and missteps at least as much as all the blessings and boons I've bumbled into.

This post is about me. If knowing me doesn't interest you, I suggest you skip this one. I won't be offended but I won't forget either. *wink*

I'm an opinionated, loosely educated, violently disciplined, and thoroughly unsophisticated little boy routinely but not always occupying the space of a large black man. I love good conversation more than good food, and find wine to be prop albeit a tasty one. I don't particularly enjoy beer, but am always down for a round of beer pong. An exception to that rule is Kiltlifter (yummy!).

I loathe exceptions, choosing to adore instead the sweeping generalization. Happy pop punk music, Shakespeare In Love, girls who wear Converse and biting are all tops in my book.

Why yes! I am indeed a hopeless romantic and it is generally understood that I would do unspeakable things to have a modicum of musical ability. If you don't dance, I don't consider you to be alive and I pity you when you aren't looking. If you don't sing, I'll sing loud enough for all of us. Secretly I dream about inviting Jordan Pundik and Cyrus Bolooki over for tacos and Rock Band. And I almost always cheat at Nertz.

Where do I live? A question I hate. Mostly I spend time in a hotel just down the street from you. Or it would be if you lived in LA, Phoenix or Seattle. I once heard LA described as an upholstered toilet, which is a claim I have yet to dispute. Seattle still hasn't figured out it's a big city which explains the slowest light rail known to man and the distinct smell of granola. Phoenix is familiar and fun to drive in, but otherwise un-noteworthy in this particular forum.

If you mention hiking, running, camping, or skiing in the first 3 minutes of any conversation, we will not be friends.

If you want someone to go with you clothes shopping, you should know that I am widely recognized as a fashion-genius, as long as you can ignore the slovenly way I dress myself.

Am I religious? Absolutely not. However I am a committed God-follower and vastly educated in theology; loosely adhering to the practices of contemporary, non-denominational Christianity. Worship, prayer, and community are important to me, even though I find religion as a sweeping generalization to be abhorrent.

I am a deeply infatuated with brunch and dry humor. Quirky people fascinate me and I believe that an honest embrace is the most powerful natural force ever welt by mankind.

For work, I prefer the tech industry to finance, and people over process. Fun problems with interesting people will win over better money, constricting policy, and idiocy, every day of the week and twice on Sunday. The best part of my day would usually involve a whiteboard and someone smarter than I who has time for a lively discussion.

You won't find a faster friend or more ineffective enemy. Just ask Wolfgang Puck who's at the top of my nemesis list. And yes, I keep lists.

I am a counting person by nature and habit. It comes from the long practice of NLP. At any given time, I usually know how many people are in a room, how many times someone recently fidgeted, and certainly how many times you've been deceptive in the current conversation.

Cars that don't have lights that turn on automatically are stupid. Roller coasters are the most fun you can have partially clothed and movie trailers are the highest form of art. I have the attention span of gnat when it comes to trivia, holidays, or anything involving sports.

I don't cry unless you hurt me, or at night when the emptiness looms largest. I think Dill is an under-appreciated spice, and every meal should involve cheese. I prefer to do the cooking, and have an inexplicable love of doing dishes.

There's lots more where that came from. Let's hope I don't feel the need to spew like this again for a while.

03 February 2010

Moving Day...

With the decision by Google to discontinue support for outside hosts for blogs, I've had to migrate my various and sundry blogs to use Google hosting and custom domains.

This turned out to be less onerous then I anticipated, even though I'm still not cool with the idea that I don't have copies of my files sitting on my servers.

In reality, who cares were the files sit? Google promises to allow me to export them at any time, and I assume (as most of you probably do, let's face it, only geeks read the fine print in the EULA!) they'll show good faith with my data and my sites. It's not like I'm really trusting them with anything new anyway. I'm just another step removed away from my files. *harumph*

When it's all said and done, I understand they've got a business to run, and they seem to be making the right noises to reassure the restless inmates (myself included!) who tend to run generally amok in this particular zoo.

Feel free to point out broken links, missing images, or other things that seem odd. Except about my writing of course. That has been and will remain, very, very, very odd.

27 January 2010

Her Pants on Fire, My World Ablaze

What hurts the most is that she doesn't call. She doesn't write. She reaches out to me not at all. She says she will.  She says she wants to.

But she doesn't. Ever.

Life just keeps rolling in some fake parody of normalcy, everyone just smiling and pretending everything is fine. They say the words, and courtesy, but the secret is there behind the eyes.  When we are alone, then she can make me believe her words. And once goodbye is said, I'm right out of her mind again. With doors closed I feel her gentle touch and tight embrace, once gone I don't even have her words for comfort. Her grasping reach for me is always and only when we part, and then only when alone. I lie to myself that how I see her move is only confusion.  That she does care for me as she says, and the lie shown in her lips and limbs are the raucous feelings she keeps in check and tensed.  After all, she said she would call, she said she wants to.  Surely soon she will.

But she doesn't. Ever.

I want to call. I want to be with her again, but how I can trust. Words and actions must align.  Truth is in the talking and the walking.  While she shows a double-face and worries more about others than about my heart, I can't give it to her for safe-keeping.  I physically restrain myself from calling her again. I cannot be the one to close the gap again. It comes from her this time, or not at all. She claims me, or I was never hers.  And so I roll-over and hug myself and tell myself she said she would, she said she wants to, surely soon she will.

But she doesn't. Ever.

Our leavings are such awkward things now. Our meetings few and far between and only at my urging.  The expanse of time between contact is filled with gossip from her fun filled life, and secondhand news from shared compatriots.  I see her more in pictures now then I do in any space in front of me.  I know her life now more in the stories told by others, and the tweets and posts of others.  All details and images about a life I once knew well. The shared experiences faded, her words no longer guide me to my bed at days end.  The phone no longer brings her voice to me. She said she would call, she said she wants to.  Surely soon she will.

But she doesn't. Ever.

18 January 2010

Save Your Breath

Yeah, it's that time again.

I've done some decent writing for posts in other places, but this morning I just felt the need to vent a little. In actuality, I only use the words of others when I'm really floundering so badly I can't write my own.

It's disgusting how often that happens these days. . .

Save your breath this time around
You're too beautiful and it's late
There's nothing left to say
I've wasted all this time on you
On you

It's all the same, we all make mistakes
And if you didn't notice, I'm taking this for all its worth
If it's a game, and these are the stakes
I know I got the best shot, for taking you out of the race

And every time I think of him it makes me sick
And I don't wanna know just what happened then
In the van right in front of my house
That's where you sold me out, girl
You didn't have a clue

You sold me out
What'd you think about when you were telling all your friends
about how your lips were pressed against his tightly
And I hope you (had your eyes closed)

And every time I think of him it makes me sick
And I don't wanna know just what happened then
In the van right in front of my house
That's where you sold me out, girl
You didn't have a clue

What'd you think about when you sold me out?

Every time you go to sleep at night
I wonder what you hide behind closed eyes
What else could you be keeping from me?
What else could you be keeping from me?

-- Save Your Breath by Hit The Lights

Yeah, you know who you are.