Friday, July 31, 2009

Book time

I haven't written a long saga in more than a week. For those that missed it (all one of you), I will try to make up for it just a little.

On the 20th of July, the year 2009, I prepared as best I could for a Kutless show that was looking like it might be cancelled, then it was on again/off again since it was scheduled to happen the day after my return from Creation NW in WA. I was to be there bright and early at 8 a.m. I also had a ticket and meet and greet for Switchfoot the same night, so the plan was to have friends hold a place in line while I worked and then to cut out early for Switchfoot's show. I had some of the food items and the water for Kutless and company, gift bags for Esterlyn, and other things laid out and ready on the table. As for my trip to Washington state, I really hadn't had the usual time for planning and it just really snuck up on me. I made a list and did the best I could and started throwing everything in the car. The plan was to leave on the 21st, drive about halfway to Ontario, OR and sleep a few hours at the local Motel 6 and leave for The Gorge at 4 a.m. I knew 4 a.m. was going to come really early (doesn't it usually?)

On the morning of the 21st, I got up and finished loading the car and coolers, made a pit stop at Smith's for ice, dry ice and gasoline and headed out: Creation or Bust. Since I did not plan to return to my tent during the day, I hoped dry ice would last a bit longer than the regular variety. (It did only slightly, and not enough to make it worth the extra expense, really.) Then I finally headed out on the road. The drive went pretty smoothly for the most part. The first half of the trip is really a pretty straightforward drive. I stopped in Twin Falls for gas, and something to eat and then headed back out towards Ontario. Once I arrived at the Motel, I checked in, put a few things in the hotel and headed over to Wal Mart to get something to eat, and a few small forgotten items I thought I'd need, like a bathing suit and cover up. I picked up some Double Bubble for Luke of Esterlyn and some Lemonheads for Joel, as well. The hotel is pretty convenient being within a short walking distance of Wally World. LOL I had hoped to get to swim a little, but by the time I finished my trek to Wal Mart, eating and showering, it was 8 p.m. and time for some sleep. As I mentioned, 4 a.m. came early. By 4:30 a.m. I was on the road again (cue the Canned Heat tune....)

The last half of the drive is trickier. There are all sorts of smaller highways and byways I had to take to get to my destination. A few are pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The only hitch on the way up was one highway where the directions said to take 225S instead of 225N, but I was sure I was going the right way. I stopped at a "Desert Oasis" (I think that was the name of it) and asked direction, but the gal had no idea. I noticed a real estate office just behind the gas station/convenience store and a guy outside. I figured they'd know the area. He directed me, and I was going the right way. IN fact, I wasn't that far off from the next freeway entrance (90) and not all that far from The Gorge, really. I arrived at The Gorge about 10:30 a.m. which is right about when I'd hoped to get there. Of course, there was a long line of cars in waiting, as there usually are. The plan was to have my tent set up by noon, and make it to the gates and be first in line (as I have been every year that I've been so far - since 2006.) I was on a time table. I had everything ready to go. Imagine my dismay when I was told to park in the shortest line near the end of the stretch to be behind three vans who were not at all ready. They still had to fill out forms, pay and figure out what they were doing. Staff kept going back and forth to their vehicles. This all took 1/2 hour while the other three lines kept moving. So much for the shortest line. LOL That behind me I headed off to park and set up my tent. I pulled in and was instructed to go around the corner and told I would then be directed to my campsite. I kept driving and saw all of the people in the orange vests in one big group. No one directed me. I saw empty lanes, and the exit coming up. All I knew was that I missed the entrance the first year and they made me start over at the beginning. That wasn't in my plans, so I turned around. They fumbled a bit and finally directed me to a lane behind a small group with two vehicles. They were setting up camp, so I proceeded to put my tent up behind them. Just as I pounded in the last stake, we were told that our tents were on the wrong side. I had to pull it up and move it. I wasn't feeling terribly Christian at that moment, trust me. LOL

As it turned out, I still made it to the gates at around 1 p.m. and was, in fact, the first person in line. I waited, and waited, met people, talked to anyone who wanted to chat, took turns on potty breaks, and tried to stay as cool as possible while lathering on my sunscreen. Finally, it was time for the gates to open. There are two gated areas before you enter. When the first gate opened, the crowd rushed and knocked me to the ground. I picked myself up and still made it through to the front of the tape, barely. Once you get almost to the bottom, they turn everyone loose and people are instructed not to run, and people always do. The hill is so steep at that point that you almost need a "runaway truck ramp" to stop. I am old and slow, and made it to the barricade, but barely. I keep thinking there has to be a better way, and I will give it some thought, but not sure what it is. Sending runners to the back of the line like first graders crosses my mind. LOL

Anyway, I was in place now, a bit more relaxed and ready for the concert to begin. It was hot, but there was at least a little bit of a breeze. be continued...

Relay for Life

This afternoon is the American Cancer Society's Relay for life here. I am

You can support me and the ACS here:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Playing catch up

It's been an extra busy week for me. NO, I haven't done anything one might consider even reasonably productive, but I have been out and about. I'm thinking this is my usual July "mini tour".

I left for Creation NW on the 21st, stopped in Ontario, OR and slept a while at a hotel there, showered, and left at about 4:30 a.m. Spent 4 days in the hot sun of the Gorge (at least there were breezes during the day this year) drove to Ontario again on the 26th, swam, spent the night and drove home; and arrived back on the 27th a few minutes before 5 p.m. Then on the 28th, I waited a good part of the day at Salt Air to see Switchfoot.

While I was waiting, my daughter was having false labor issues. I was getting a bit nervous!!

I will write my usual books about the events sometime this week. In the meantime, I saw a lot of this being filmed:

I'm in that crowd somewhere.

Now time for a little bit of sleep.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This has been a very busy weekend indeed! Friday evening I went over to a park near my house since I found out that John Allred was playing a show there via his facebook. I was kind of excited about it since the show could not have been any closer unless it was in my back yard. LOL My husband dropped me off at the park and went home to just take it easy. I was planning to walk, but since I had all my camera gear and it was probably 90 degress out, the ride seemed like a pretty good idea.

Just as I got to the park, I spotted a booth for Life Community Church and started a converstation. I had flyers for the Kutless show on the 28th and they agree to put them out for me. That was pretty cool. :)

Once the flyers were in place, I looked for a shady spot to sit down and organize, and as I went to sit down I noticed that John was sitting in the shade under a small awning. I really didn't know it was him at first which was kind of funny. So we chatted a bit about all sorts of things, mostly music this time, until he had to set up to go on stage. The stage was actually pretty large, and it was set up oddly in that the chairs were a longs ways from the stage. I sat in the grass with Katie and we would both get up and stand to the side and take photos as well. I told her that it was really weird walking over to the stage because I felt like I was in people's way and very noticeable. LOL I do think I got some good pics, though. I really did like John's set, as always, but I especially liked The Tomb. Jason was accompanying John on the cello and it always sounds so pretty.

Anyway, here are a few pics from the show:

After the show I talked to Tiffany and friends. I knew she would be at the show from her comments to me on facebook, but it still didn't click in as soon as I saw her. I tried to get her to talk to John. I finally had a photo taken with John, and went over to see how the folks from the church were doing, inquired about fire works (none on Friday, they were saving them for Saturday.) Since there were no fireworks planned, I just had Tiffany give me a ride home. Then I went home, and worked on photos and made sure my point and shoot was ready for Saturday.

Saturday morning my alarm was set to 7:30 a.m. I woke up at 7:05. It wasn't long enough, but I at that point going back to sleep didn't make sense. I got up and got ready to go. I left for USANA and a little over an hour later I arrived at my destination. I was the almost the only one there and the only non-employee that was there until noon when a couple of security guys showed up at the gate. We had several really good, long chats before the night was over. At two, he went ahead and wrist banded me for the show. At around 3-3:30 a couple of big Jack's Mannquin showed up and we chatted. Shortly after the line grew exponentially. Lauraless go there I think between 4:30 or 5. At a little after 5:30, the gate were open and people were running. I'm too old for a long run down hot cement. I made it to the front at the barricade.

After I'd been at the barricade for a little bit, Nicole and friends found me, and I went up and drank half a large cup of ice water and stole a piece of ice. It was heavenly. We chatted for a bit and the pit was beginning to fill up a little, so I went back to my spot that Lauralee was holding for me.

Before too long, The Fray and Jack's Mannequin came on stage and introduced Meese. Of course, the crowd loved this. :)

I really enjoyed Meese's set:

After Meese finished their set, the set up began for Jack's Mannequin. Things were rearranged, and the best laid plans failed in relationship to getting the best view from of the man behind the piano, Andrew. :) But he was pretty good at popping his head up, leaving the piano for a bit and travelling the stage, and even standing on top of the piano. Jack's Mannequin played a good, long set, and that included my favorite, Swim. In fact, I heard the sound check from the gate, and they played it during sound check, so I actually was able to hear it twice, which was definitely a plus.

About half way through Jack's Mannequin, this guy in a blue shirt came over and told me that I really wasn't supposed to be using my type of camera (but that he wasn't going to do anything about it unless Production Management said anything.) I had been told at the gate that point and shoots were o.k., just no interchangeable lenses. I figured that and I brought a point and shoot. It has a good optical zoom, but it is still not even close to a pro camera capability. For one thing, the largest print (if it's perfect) you can get is 11x15 compared to over 42" (again if the pic is perfect.) Pics at concerts, handheld in the pit are rarely perfect. When I said that it was a point and shoot he asked me if the lens went in and out, and I said "yes" then he said it was a telescopic lens and telescopic cameras weren't allowed. By his definition no one would be able to use a point a shoot. Most point and shoot lenses (except phones) go in and out and have a 3X optical zoom. Anyway, the only thing he suceeded in doing was ruining about three songs of the show for me. I barely remember them. I'm still trying to figure out what the point was. All night he kept looking at me, and it was making me nervous. I don't get it, really. Maybe someday venues will get this figured out. I may just get fed up and avoid certain venues. I paid over $60 for a ticket, so I want a good pictures to enjoy after the show. Shoot me? Sigh... I am going to save up and buy one of the small point and shoots with 10X and they won't be able to tell anymore. I bet they still find a way to single me out. It's written on my face or something.
I can't tell you how many times people have asked me not to video tape when I wasn't, but three of my neighbors were. Sigh... it's exasperating.

Anyway, I finally recovered and enjoyed the rest of JM's set immensely. Afterwards, Andrew tossed his set list and it fell on the ground. The security guy hesitated a sec, and I said he should give it to the girls on the other side from us. They are huge fans and she had gone to the Vegas show as well. Someone snatched it out of her hand in Vegas. I was really happy she got it. Then one of the stage guys threw another, and I grabbed it, as did the gal next to me. IT was practically on her shoulder. She said I could have it, so I thanked her several times and asked if she was sure. I thought that was pretty cool of her. :) So I was able to get the set list.

The Fray took a while to set up, but the wait was well worth it! The lighting was really cool. Once they took the stage I was in total awe of the vocals. I am talking goosebump good on The Fray's vocals. Their whole presentation was pretty good, and the music was amazing. There was good crowd participation, and when they sang How to Save a Life, you could hear people singing every word. At the end of their set, they came back for a long encore (I think it was three songs.) I would definitely go see them again anytime!!

Once the show ended, Lauralee and I went to the merch booth and I spent too much money on a Fray tee, a Meese cd and a The Fray cd. Then we just killed time for a good, long while waiting for traffic to die down. We listened to music, and chatted in the car with the air conditioner on. :)

Finally I made it home at 1:01 a.m. I was beat! I fell asleep editing a few photos, then went to bed and slept pretty soundly until the alarm went off.

Good times. :)

Peace out,

(in progress.. to be finished and pics to be added.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Two Amazing Days

It was finally Monday the 13th. I had been waiting for the 13th with quite a bit of anticipation. The days and dates had become rather jumbled, so I was also a little apprehensive that I would just forget. Fortunately, I remembered. I got up earlier than usual and headed out for Red Butte Gardens even thought I was at least a full hour later than I had planned. I was also hoping I wouldn't have any trouble finding the place. I had no trouble at all finding the venue, however that was not the case when it came to parking. After driving around for 15 minutes and watching the line to see Death Cab for Cutie growing before my eyes, I went down the road and parked in a time limited visitor's spot in hopes that I could secure a place in line and come back to find a spot later. Fortunately it worked out. Things have a way of working out, I've noticed. I was meeting Lauralee there, but she was coming much later. She had been able to get an extra ticket for me to see Death Cab by getting a membership to the venue and going through the presale. The tickets sold out so quickly, the general public didn't have much of a chance. I felt blessed. Around 2:30-3 o'clock, Death Cab's played a few songs/partial songs and people (myself included) stood on the hill, watched and cheered. They played No Sunlight, a favorite of mine; and when they played a portion of "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," the small crowd errupted in applause. Finally around 4:35 p.m. Lauralee arrived with the tickets, and about an hour later we were headed inside the venue. Red Butte is a gorgeous venue, although the stage was set back from the crowd.
I found a spot in the front (barely large enough) of someone's blanket, and then security told me I could come forward and I ended up at the barricade nearly center.
After waiting for setup, the show started. First up was the band Ra Ra Riot. Lauralee said that she thought I would like them and she was certainly right. They have an electric violinist and an electric cellist, which really had an incredible sound live! Andrew Bird wowed the crowd after Ra Ra Riot's set with his whistles, violin, and violing "picking", his amazing back up band, and his looping machine. He really was outstanding.
Set up for Death Cab seemed to take a very long time indeed, but they did finally take the stage and proceeded to "knock my socks off." IT was the 4th time I'd seen them and the best of the 4. Ben was the chattiest I've seen and seemed very happy. He said that he had gotten up early and planted all of the flowers for us, and got a wicked farmer's tan. (The stage was surrounded by flowers and plants.) Death Cab played a great set, and it was over far too soon.

Afterwards, I tried and failed to get a set list, but I did get a photo of it, so I have a copy of sorts. :)

I went over to the merch tables and bought a few cds, some Death Cab buttons, and was all set to have Lauralee take a pic of me with 2 of the guys from Ra Ra Riot with my cell phone. It died just as she took it. C'est la vie.
Lauralee and I made the long walk back to our vehicles. I waited about 10 minutes for traffic to finish clearing and headed for home. It was a great day.

On July 14, I got to start over again. I was looking forward to seeing Sherwood again, although I was less excited about making a second trip to Salt Lake in as many days. At least I didn't feel I needed to be there quite as early. For some reason I was thinking it was The Avalon, and it was at In the Venue (aka Club Sound), and even though I usually go earlier, most of the time people do not arrive at The Avalon before 4 p.m. About half way to the venue, it hit me that I was thinking of the wrong place and looked at my ticket. I'm glad I figured it out before I got there. LOL I made it to the venue a few minutes after 4 p.m., which ended up being perfect timing for parking reasons. I saw Sherwood's bus (and later found out that they had arrived shortly before me.) I got out of my car, crossed the street to the venue and ended up saying a few hellos and chatting with the guys, too. Not too long after I saw Amanda, and I ended up going with her to give someone a ride to the airport. Then we just hung out at the venue for a while and eventually ended up going to dinner at a place called, The Counter, at the Gateway Mall. IT wasn't particularly cheap, but the food was good and also enormous. It's a burger place, and you build your own burger and the selection was for 1/3 lb. or 2/3 lb. I opted for the grilled chicken. Joe ordered a peanut butter milkshake, and the 2/3 lb. burger. The thing was so huge, he couldn't pick it up to eat it. There was so much left over.

By the time we got back to the venue, Larusso was playing. I got my camera out of the car, and promptly left my ticket. Amanda was on the guest list (plus 1), so I just used her extra to get in. I had no problems with my camera at all, and I think I actually got some decent shots. I don't really think we missed much of Larusso's set, which was good since I think they are quite good. Mury played next, and they are always good as well (although the language on stage can be a tad colorful.)
Then Sherwood set up and had some issues with Mikey's keyboard, but they finally got things working enough that the show went on. :) I can't say enough about Sherwood's set. Suffice it to say that they, too, "knocked my socks off" (please pardon my unoriginality there. LOL)




Afterwards I chatted to everyone for quite a while before heading for home.
I left tired, but happy. I'm hoping I can Sherwood again when they come back
on August 3 (depending on when my granddaughter decides to make her grand entrance into this world.)

Hope one and all are having a great week.

Peace out,

P.S. will be adding photos... keep checking.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

New Pet Peeve

There really are a few things that just really bug me enough to call them a
"pet peeve". Number one on my list is basically just tailgating. Cars cannot
defy gravity in an emergency and stop in time if there are only two inches to the car in front of it's front bumper.

I've decided that there is another "pet peeve" of mine that just really fries me, and that is someone expecting you to follow some rule without bothering to tell you what it is. Maybe it stems back from childhood, or perhaps because it is not really right to expect someone to do what's right until they at least know what it is.

Enter Facebook....

I dozed off at my desk.. I mean really dozed off. My hands were almost asleep, my little fingers were tingling, the works! I awoke more than 1/2 an hour later with the following message:
"Your use of our Wall Post feature indicates that you may be in violation of Facebook's Terms of Use. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your account being disabled. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page."

So, I went to the handy dandy FAQ link, which pretty much didn't tell me what the abuse was, or how to avoid it. There was one question I looked at about "overuse" and the FAQ basically says they can't tell you ANY parameters (different words, but that's basically the gist of it.) So I went to join a club, and when I put the message in that typically goes with joining, apparently it was a "Wall" feature, so now I am blocked from Facebook. Maybe facebook would prefer it if I just deleted my account?

This is the same sort of thing that bugs me about camera policies. Is there some reason one cannot get the camera policy at a show or venue more than 5 minutes before the doors open? Or, you find out ahead and then after you are told "no" and put your camera away, everyone else gets to bring theirs in.

I am all for following the rules, but I'm not too keen on the idea of trying to guess what they are. As far as frustration level goes, I think this may even top tailgating.

At any rate, I am blocked for now. I haven't died. Seriously thinking about deleting facebook. Maybe if we all just deleted facebook until they fixed this, they'd stop and at least tell people what's up. No people=no advertisers=no income.

O.K. Rant over... for a few minutes at least.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Brandon Heath

Tuesday, July 2, 2009 - a day that will live rather fondly on in my memory -- or what's left of my memory lately. LOL

I left my house to head for Calvary Chapel Salt Lake City around 11 a.m. or so with plans to stop at Smith's for ice, and a couple of items I'd not purchased for dessert and cornbread stuffing I was making. Everything went pretty smoothly until the north side of salt lake city, and then construction slowed traffic way down. I thought for sure I was going to be late by a bit, so I called Eleanor to warn her. I ended up just leaving a voice message. As it turned out, I was only three minutes late, so there were no worries. I got things unloaded and we set up for lunch which was a potato bar. It went over well. I did have to make a store run for some ranch dressing as what we had had been left out a bit long last time around and I wasn't about to serve it. I had forgotten that we had a vegetarian (and I really didn't plan the menu) so I felt badly. I would have brought a few more things to add to the salad for protein (like Kidney/Garbanzo beans,sprouts,etc.) if I had remembered.

At any rate after lunch, I did dishes and cleaned up and then I had some more help and I had her start putting desserts on plates for dinner and I prepared other things. Susan had made a lot of things ahead (turkey, mashed potatoes) and I put together the stuffing. Liz was good to cut up the onion for me. I cry too much. LOL
But the details are probably boring. Suffice it to say that everyone was quite appreciative of the efforts and loved the "Thanksgiving in July" meal we served.

Soon it was time for the show to start, so I grabbed my camera and headed over to my seat at the front. People for Christ Ministry did a drawing for a couple of cd's and then it was time for Josh Rosenthal to sing. Josh sounded terrific.

After Josh's set it was time for Brandon's set. Brandon sounded amazing as always. He is so much better live to be sure and he has a great voice. JoJo on the keyboards (Joe Moralez) has a pretty good voice as well, and he harmonized really well with Brandon. Anyone that knows me knows how much I love good, tight harmonies. Brandon was so sweet the whole night, even on stage. At one point he brought up Erica who came from Las Vegas to see him and he sang happy birthday to her. She was 7. Then he set up to sing "Give Me Your Eyes" and Erica was in the bathroom, so he just tried to kill time until Erica came back. Then he joked about it blowing his set up. LOL IT was really cute and sweet and very memorable. I moved over to a seat on the side for one song to try to get a pic of JoJo and a different angle,

and then went back Erica and family were at my seat. I told them no problem (Everyone was standing anyway) and the guy next to me put his daughter on his lap and made room for me, which was also a very nice gesture.

Anyway, Brandon finished the set, came out after applause for and encore and did three "Love" songs. He played quite a long set, but it almost didn't seem like it at all. Then I went over and snagged a setlist (I confessed later. LOL), bought merch, and took more pics. Then I went back to the kitchen to help with clean up.

While we were back there, Diana had brought out a birthday cake earlier for Brandon, and even though his "official" birthday wasn't until July 21, we celebrated the UT version just a little early. Brandon told me he loved birthday cake. The cake had cool sparkler candles. There were a few things that needed to be done, so he promised to come back to cut the cake. It was nearly forgotten, but finally they took it to his dressing room, and he blew out the candles there. Eric lit the candles and he had to blow them out again. Then Brandon cut and served the cake. He tried to give me some with extra icing. LOL It wasn't on my low fat, low sugar diet, and I had already had a small piece of dump cake. It did look good, though.

Finally Brandon, et al., for the hotel since they had a really early flight. IT was so very, very cool of him to stick around and meet and talk to everyone after the show (he did an autograph table for quite a while) and for those of us who were working also. He had to have been tired.

I continued to work on clean up and packing my things, and was able to load it into my car with a little help from a new friend. Then I went back inside. I ended up staying to help with promo and tickets for two more upcoming shows. I ended up leaving after 2:30 a.m. I made one pit stop at my P.O. Box on the way home and didn't get to sit down at my computer until 4:03 a.m. and wanted to look at the pics before getting to sleep. I was a bit disappointed and nothing was as sharp as I like, but I did get a few decent shots. I hope you enjoy them.

Love, peace & good times!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Brandston Revisited?

There is a song by the group Brandston called, "Nobody Dances Anymore." I've decided to change a few of the words...

"Nobody comments anymore. Nobody posts feedback anymore."

Maybe I'll write an entire parody later. If you haven't heard the song, you should check it out sometime. Great song. :)

No one ever seems to comment here, or too many places for that matter. I've noticed a general trend towards ignoring the blogs of others while posting our own, posting photos, but not commenting on anyone elses, and lots of twittering. Still a lot of commenting on facebook, though. I'm really a fan of two-way interaction. LOL I'm not posting this necessarily to get comments to my blog. It's just that the whole thing puzzles me. Are we just all overwhelmed? Too self-centered? Too busy? Apathetic? (which brings to mind a Relient K song ;) ADD in full force here. LOL)
Anyway, I love feedback, so I try to give lots back. I hope that doesn't annoy anyone.

Nobody comments anymore.. nobody takes chances anymore...

Take a chance. Comment on someone's blog, photo, etc. today. IT doesn't have to be mine. Interact! It's so much better to really see and get to know the people behind the posts. :) AT least, that's my perspective on things.