Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Arcade Fire

Early and empty
We got there early!

On Monday, I went to Red Rocks with ten other music lovers for the Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem concert. I almost couldn't believe I was actually going because I bought the tickets so long ago. The show was really great and despite a storm warning, the weather was perfect. Seriously, it was one of the best live shows I've seen in a long time. Both bands sounded great, but my heart belongs to the Arcade Fire. They were so fun! I can't believe I've never seen them live before.

Actually, what I can't believe is how long it took me to become a fan. Way back when Funeral was new in late 2004, so many people recommended it to me and said it was something I'd love. I think I bought it on one of my CD buying binges at Sonic Boom because it was on sale. It sat unopened and unloved for a few months before I tried it out. It's hard to believe now, but when I finally put it on, I didn't think it was anything special and would only occasionally put it on as background music. What was I thinking?

It wasn't until I was driving my new car from Seattle to Laramie in August 2006 that I finally really listened to the album. As you might know, radio between Eastern Washington and Southeastern Wyoming is pretty scarce, so I relied on the few CDs I'd grabbed at the last minute to get me through two days of driving alone through the west. This is how I burned out on Death Cab's Plans album. Anyway, as I was driving east out of Spokane and the sun was setting, I can remember turning up the volume on the car stereo and really listening to Funeral for the first time and being absolutely blown away. I've been in love with the Arcade Fire ever since and can't believe I wasted two years I could have been listening to them. Neon Bible is amazing, of course, but Funeral is my first love and you don't get over that.

It's hard to describe a concert. I took lots of pictures, but not many turned out well. I have a really hard time holding still enough when not using the flash, so lots of them came out blurry. The best of them are on my flickr. Cass's turned out a lot better, and she put some good ones up on Wyoming Beat.

I only recorded one clip, but it's from one of my favorite songs:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sort of homesick, sort of not

Tonight I will be missing the Dinosaur Jr./Band of Horses show at Neumos. I'm mostly happy to be back to my regular life, but I read the Seattle papers online and listen to KEXP, which continues to make me wistful and a bit sad to be missing fall in the northwest. The PNW spring means gray whales and the fall means grey, drizzly days that are cool but not cold, perfect for holing up with a coffee and a book. It's the opposite of here, with a long, mild fall and a short winter. The past two chilly mornings have been reminding me that I get to look forward to a short fall and long, drawn-out winter. In preparation, I busted out my cold-weather clothes this weekend and took stock. I'm going to have to start wearing socks here pretty soon, and that makes me sad.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The most boring post ever. You've been warned.

I'm in the coffee shop that won't let me access the Googles, but I cleverly fixed that problem by remote desktopping into my work computer so I can use their non-blocking network. Weird network issues aside, this place has a much nicer atmosphere than the other coffee shop. Kaijsa FTW! It was nice to triumph after a day of technology besting me. My DSL went out again at home because the phone company turned off the wrong account. Hmfh. Mysteriously, my phone still works, so I don't know if I buy that explanation. Also, the local Direct TV subcontractor postponed my install indefinitely at the last minute because of some alleged new regulation in this state that's limiting their ability to hook up more people. I'm betting it's because they suck. So I'm going with Dish Network. Maybe this time I won't take half a day off for no good reason.

Anyway, I'm back home and at work after my non-restful vacation. It was hard to sleep while I was there because it was so warm and muggy. I grew up in the PNW and like some moisture in the air, but it was ridiculous this past week. My hair was so curly that it tangled like mad and all the little short pieces near my face were always rumpled up and making me look bed-headed. Between the humidity and the excesses of time I spent in the car, I was tired out. I left my parent's place way too early yesterday morning to fly out at 6:00am. I got to Denver around 10:00 (because of the time change) and drove into Laramie just before 1:00pm. That gave me just enough time to drag my stuff into the house, shower and change, and get to the reference desk by 2:00. By the time I got off the late desk shift at 10:00, I was exhausted but so wound up I couldn't sleep. I ended up watching three episodes of Big Love. I was up for about 22 hours straight and still didn't sleep well. I get this way sometimes.

My insomnia is nothing new, but traveling makes it worse. When I get to this level of sleep deprivation, it screws with my appetite, too. I forget to eat, which probably adds to my fatigue, but I just don't feel hungry. As soon as I get a good solid chunk of sleep in I'll probably want a pizza or something terrible for me. I'm not drinking anything with caffeine in it after noon, but need my coffee in the mornings.

In other news, I only looked at my work email a couple of times while I was gone and it exploded. That's one of the reasons I'm here and online. I can power through emails in the evenings and sometimes that's easier than trying to catch up at work.

Ugh, they're closing. I told you this would be boring.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

End of vacation

I spent Sunday and Monday mostly just hanging out with family. On Sunday, Dad and I visited Grandma and then went to see Pirates 3 at the Crest, the second-run theater in our old neighborhood. I don't always get to spend time alone with Dad, so that was nice. My mom and I did a little shopping, but I was pretty good and didn't go crazy this time. Today, SJ and I had breakfast in my hometown and hit the outlets on the reservation. I didn't buy anything, but spent time fondling lots of purses and fancy cookware. Then Mom and I ran a few errands and returned half of the stuff I bought yesterday (buyer's remorse). I'm only coming home with four tops and some shoes. Last time I was here, I had to borrow a suitcase from my parents to get everything home with me

So nothing major happened in the latter part of vacation. Dad and I rode bicycles around the neighborhood on Sunday, and I played with the dogs. Although we ate out several times, I didn't manage to have Indian, Vietnamese, sushi, or Dick's. I did have that Thai at the Seattle Center, but it hardly counts. I also had zero lattes while I was here, which is extra unusual. I complain all the time about not having a coffee shop I like in Laramie, then I get to Seattle and only drink diner coffee a couple of times. Never thankful for what I have.

I kind of feel like I didn't make the most of this trip in more important ways, too. I didn't make a lot of plans before coming to town because my family always thinks I spend too much time with friends and too little with them, but if I'd lined things up I might have been able to see more people. I didn't even call two of my close childhood friends because I knew I wouldn't have time for a visit. I always feel like a jerk when people find out I've been in town and didn't call them, but there's no way I can visit everybody in a week and still spend time with the family. Now that my parents live in a more suburban area, I pretty much have to borrow a car to get around because the buses take so long and stop running pretty early in the evening. I'd hoped to see my grandma one more time, but kind of ran out of energy and time today.

What a complainer! As I told a friend a while ago, it's actually a good problem to have. I shouldn't complain that I have lots of people in my life who care about me and want to spend time with me. It just feels crappy to disappoint them.

I'm leaving for the airport in just under four hours, so I might need to get a little sleep. I'm crossing my fingers to bump again because I'd really like to nap in a more comfy chair on the way home. I have get to be on the reference desk at 2:00pm and for the late evening shift.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bumbershoot

Mel and Me
The happy Bumbershooters

With some regret, I decided to go to Bumbershoot for just one day this year. I chose Saturday because the lineup looked most appealing to me, but there are a few things I'm sad I'm missing today and Monday. And like most years, the schedulers created really annoying conflicts for me, so I missed Carrie Akre, The Cops, The Lashes, and Menomena. I didn't even try to see any of the comedy after watching people stand in line all day last year.

I started off the day at the mainstage at Memorial Stadium for back-to-back Crowded House and Shins action. I met up with Melanie and Shannon in the stands and we sat back to enjoy the show. Crowded House sounded wonderful and almost everything they played was a hit. Stupid VH1 called them one-hit-wonders in one of those lame specials a couple of years ago, which still makes me go ballistic. They were hit machines! Anyway, it was a lovely show. Three Imaginary Girls reports that Eddie Vedder joined them for "Something So Strong," but I completely missed that. It was hard to understand the stage patter, and I was a ways from the stage, but it's funny that I was oblivious to the guest star. I did make a little video.


Don't Dream It's Over

Shannon took off for the comedy stages and Mel and I joined her friend Erin on the other side of the stadium for The Shins. We'd seen them once before, also at Bumbershoot and before they were big, and they were really great. They played the Key and were talking about how it was the biggest venue they'd been in and asked the crowd to to the wave. We did. This year's show was good, but I kind of think their music got lost a little outdoors. It's all certainly pretty, but they're not that interesting to watch and I kind of spaced out while listening.

The Shins
The Shins

After that, we wandered into the Center House to say hello to Michael, who was working an arts and crafts booth for Art With Heart, an organization with which he volunteers. After catching up and crafting our wish hearts, we grabbed mediocre Thai food and found our friends Elizabeth and Jasper, who I hadn't seen in too long. The four of us went out to Mural Amp and caught the last half of the The Avett Brothers, a quirky bluegrass/country/rock band. They were very good, and I'm interested in hearing more from them. Evidently, I'm the last to hear about them because the biggest crowd I can remember at that stage was there.


Mural Amp is crowded
Packed Mural Amphitheatre for Avett Brothers

After a quick spin through Flatstock and a free sample of pumpkin Frappacinos, we went back to the Mural Amphitheatre for the Gourds. As expected, they were super fun. Mel and I agreed that we 2/3 love them and that certain people we know would love them for exactly the 1/3 reason we don't (jam-bandyness). The crowd was definitely lacking in hipsters, which is kind of refreshing. Maybe I've been in Wyoming too long, because I kept wanting to move the emo bangs out of the kids' eyes all day. Or maybe I'm just getting old. Anyway, the Gourds were entertaining for sure. I wish my video of "Gin and Juice" had turned out better, cuz I'd link it. Instead, I'll tell you that in the picture below they're singing about fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and titties. As you do.

The Gourds
The Gourds

After the Gourds, Mel and I hoofed it up Mercer to where I'd left my car. I had wanted to see Devotchka, but I was both tired and satisfied and it was kind of nice to get out of there before dark. I had a good, if too-brief Bumbershoot experience this year. We totally went the non-indie rock route this year, so it's no wonder I never ran into King Jumpsuit. If only I'd gone to see Menomena! Next time...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Two and three

I kind of slacked off on picture taking yesterday and today. It got kind of grey and sprinkly today, so I wasn't outside looking around as much. But on with my boring saga.

I slept in a little on Thursday, which felt nice, then lazed in bed reading for a while. I'm reading JPod and loving it, but I only get to read little bits at a time because of vacation busyness. Mom and I went to the salon for pedicures and brow arches. This time my manicurist (who's also a reflexologist and gives awesome massages) put a heated pillow under my neck, which was just fabulous. Between that and the lavendar eye pillow, I pretty much dozed during the whole treatment. I picked a great color, too.

Afterward, we went to lunch and did a little shopping. I tried on approximately 73 tops at Nordstrom, most of which were on sale. I ended up buying two that were not on sale. Hmph. I did manage to resist the scads of cute dresses on amazing half-off sale and will likely regret this. Most of them were sundresses or sleeveless, but it's not like I wouldn't wear them again next year. But we'd been at the mall for over an hour and that's about the point where I always start getting a headache and the extreme urge to run away. I think it might be a combination of the fluorescent lights and the lack of air in there. My mall allergy also saved me from caving in and getting the most awesome clutch in the world. I can't get it out of my mind, seriously.

After lunch, we swung by Grandma's and visited with her and her caregiver. For those of you not in the know, after Grandpa died, Grandma built a new house next to the original house and my parents bought the family home and lived there for several years. Almost two years ago, they sold it and moved to a smaller place. The new owners tore down the garage and shortplatted the lot again (it was originally a triple) and are building a GIANT house next to the old one. It looks ridiculous. North City is full of little post-war two and three bedroom homes built by working class families. The new construction just sticks out like a sore thumb. I guess that's what happens when Seattle Magazine proclaims a once-modest neighborhood "hot." It's gross.

It was nice to see Grandma and Barb, but Mom and I had to run back down to Northgate to meet my brother and his family and Dad for dinner. There's been a lot of running around and eating in restaurants already.

Friday (today) was fun. I started my day by going out to breakfast. SJ and her kids picked me up and took me to the Pancake Haus in Edmonds. I had Swedish pancakes, bacon, and awesome company. I can't believe how much the girls have grown up, especially Franny. She wasn't even two when SJ and I met and now she's a second-grader with wicked style and the ability to make great conversation. Of course SJ and I can't get together without shopping for something completely ridiculous, so we hit Fred and between the two of us, bought gold sandals, plastic jewelry, and socks with skulls on them. I always have fun with her.

Immediately after I got home, Mom and I left for West Seattle. Courtney had invited us over for lunch. Yes, it does seem like all I'm doing is eating, but with the time it takes to get from the suburbs to the city and all over the place, my meals really are spaced out okay. Traffic was the pits on the way home, but I actually find it comforting to see so many people in one place.

I ended my day by getting together with four of my girlfriends for dinner and chat over at on of their places. We ordered a goat cheese and sundried tomato pizza and drank limoncello, followed by lavender ice cream. So girly and awesome. I've been ordered to move back here. Believe me, it's tempting sometimes. We also vowed to resurrect the beauty blog and start a group movie blog. That group of women always comes up with the best book and film recommendations and it was fun to throw out suggestions to one another. It's also really cool that they always arrange for all of us to get together when I come to town, and all of them are busy, busy people. My friends are so smart and awesome and fun.

Tomorrow is Bumbershoot time!