Sunday, September 26, 2010

Staying awake

I am sitting at my computer desk trying with all my might to stay awake; and wondering if I should just give it up and take a nap at 7:30 p.m. A song runs through my head... ah ah ah ah staying awake, staying awake, complete with the Bee Gees harmony. But first things, first. Translated, that means bloggin before sleeping.

In the last episode, I was hoping to be furloughed on Friday August 20. I had hoped to take annual and leave a little early so I could be well-rested for Candlelight Serenade. I did almost get my wish. I was furloughed on August 20, but at the close of business which means I was not given an option to leave early. SO, it almost worked. Instead I worked late, stayed up even later and had about 3-1/2 hrs. of sleep. When driving in the morning for an hour or more, it isn't the best of ideas. Still, I made it up (slightly later than planned) and was at the venue bright and early. I was, in fact, the first in line even though I was only there an hour before door times. It was not too long before a few people showed up, but even when the doors opened things were pretty laid back which was rather nice actually. I had a vip ticket (not the one with the tent and food, just first entry and best location) and did not have any camera problems even without stopping to get my photo pass first. I never did collect it. In hindsight perhaps I should have, but things worked out well. The only stipulation was no flash and I was definitely okay with that policy.

The first part of the day, I was front and center at the barricade and had no idea where the vip people were supposed to be. Neither did anyone else from what I could tell. Someone suggested by the sound booth which didn't seem likely as that would have been a downgrade from where I was. LOL After the first few bands played, they did finally divide the grassy area into thirds, and the middle section was for VIP.
I was really impressed with ALL of the music on the main stage and enjoyed every artist. Making April and The Fictionist were really good. I had never heard either band perform before and I was definitely impressed with them both.

Some of my favorites performed (though not in this order at all), Sherwood, Relient K, Vedera are bands I have seen a number of times, and I am always impressed with them. Kristen's (Vedera) vocals were so good.

I enjoyed Priscilla Ahn's set. Prior to Candlelight, I'd only seen a video clip on Candlelight's facebook. Her song about "boobs" made me literally laugh out loud, and I looked it up online and shared it with my darling husband the day after.

Third Eye Blind was really good, and they are rather a guilty pleasure of mine. Stephan Jenkins made a comment about all of his lyrics being dirty. It wasn't literally 100% true, but not that far off. But I have to admit to loving it anyway, just not 100%? LOL

I really loved Steel Train's set, especially Bullet. It's a great song!!

Neon Trees really gave the crowd their monies worth for the day.

John Allred was amazing as always (even though he was pretty sunburned. LOL) Next time he plays outdoors, I'm bringing sunscreen (which reminds me, thanks to the girls who let me borrow their's when I walked out the door and left mine sitting on my desk!)

I was holding up rather well, for most of the day, but started to falter a little during Relient K's set. It figures, with Relient K being my favorite band and all.
About 2/3 of the way into their set, I started feeling queasy and had to sit down. for a song, then back up, then back down, etc. Everyone around me was very nice, and helpful!! The people around me offered to hold my spot so I could eat and go to the bathroom. I hadn't had food in a long time, or moved from my spot, and I guess that was a bad idea. I managed to find some cinnamon almonds, purchased them, and ingested a few (not normally on my diet) before finding some more "dinnerlike" sustenance. It was chicken, couscous, and spinach. It was really very good, but there was enough for 3 people! There was a little bit of a language barrier, and I ended up with a full meal when I was just asking for chicken and rice. I paid her a dollar more than I thought I was supposed to and there was no offer of change, and I didn't care but thought it odd. It was a lot of food. Later when I looked at the photo, I realized what happened, and I probably paid her a dollar too little, which made me feel bad. She didn't say anything, just that I would like the food. I did.

I ate as I walked back to the barricade. I managed to make it back just as Chris of Dashboard Confessional started his set. He was fun, funny, engaging and the music was good. I felt much better, although it took a little bit before I was back to feeling somewhat normal. I was relieved.

After Chris played, the 311 brothers performed, and they were amazing. I'm not a huge 311 fan, but I left rethinking that since their music was incredible performed live. Come to think of it, I should go back and take a complete relisten to their tunes! :)

Throughout the day, during set up times, there were a few speakers that spoke about child slavery and prostitution. It was such a heartbreaker. It never ceases to amaze me the depravity that some people get into, and how much it hurts people.

At the end of the evening, everyone was given a small candle (the flameless variety) and the artists came back on stage to sing John Allred's song that was written especially for the event.

I picked up my trash, walked back to the merch tables and had a nice, long chat with Scott Cannon. It's been a while since we could talk very much, and it was good to finally be able to chat. I did feel a little helpless when he was getting the merch straightened. I offered to help, but then he seemed to have his system down and I didn't want to mess him up by interrupting. It was awkward, a little, but he didn't seem to mind. Somewhere in the process I bought a candlelight tee, although there were no small's, so it's a bit on the large side.

Finally, I headed out to my car and braced myself for the drive home. It was a long day, I was exhausted, but it was a good day.

August 2010 was nearing a close, but it wasn't over yet. There was still Avalyn's first birthday to look forward to!!! It was definitely a busy time. I'm still playing catch-up, but I'm getting there. :)

Peace out,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Forward

It's about time that I finally sit down here and pull my thoughts together over all that has gone on in the last month or two. I've been keeping pretty busy, but still probably goofing off a little to much in some respects. I sleep hard when I get to that point, but generally not long enough (rarely 8 hours), so I have definitely been tired. I think this needs to come up next time I have a physical, which is due about now. The problem with feeling tired, is that I tend to get less done, feel less alert, think less clearly, get into more trouble, lose and forget things. A case in point, I am missing a 50 mm. lens, one set of keys, and a remote trigger currently. At least I know where the remote trigger is if I can remember to inquire about it when I'm at church. I hope it's still there, anyway.

In August, I was called back to work after a very short furlough, and the callback was rather brief as well. On August 13, I had tickets to the Waking Ashland Reunion tour at Kilby Court and I was working. Fortunately I had know way ahead of time and it was already on my leave calendar. So, on August 13, I was able to rest a little, take the day off and head down to Salt Lake City to see Jonathan and company at Kilby. On the way I stopped at the Gateway to see if Miss Corey still needed a ride, so we visited shortly, and I headed to the venue.Kilby is a very small venue that is something akin to a very large garage. It possibly holds about 200 people or so. It's really cozy. The stage entrance is outside near the entrance, so it's pretty much near impossible not to meet with artists that play there. There is a "courtyard" of sorts with a fire pit (although it wasn't being used on the 13th, since it was summer) and a shed where merch is usually sold. For some reason the merch tables were set up outside in the "courtyard." There were a few waking ashland tees that were pulled from storage in someone's garage, and cd's. I purchase a cd and a couple of tees that were reasonably priced. Several of the openers were there when I arrived, but I didn't see Jonathan anywhere or Jason of Feet, Feet, Feet Parachute, and I had something for them. Eventually I caught up with them and Naked Juice and Bananas (Really, Naked Juice is a drink, look in the stores. LOL)

Larusso opened with an acoustic set, and I always enjoy Aaron's performances.

After Aaron finished his set, The Trademark took over the stage, and the whole venue for that matter. Riley is a bit crazy on stage. The music is a bit on the screamy side for me sometimes, but one cannot say their show is boring. It did seem an odd fit with the other bands, though. At the start of their set, the Trademake guys all were wearing fake mustaches, but Riley just couldn't get the thing to stay on for more that a minute or two. I think that has become sort of a "trademark" for the band, and perhaps I'll ask how that all started sometime. LOL

The next band to perform was Apple Horse from Idaho. I was really impressed with their set and liked their music quite a lot. The only caveat was a song they did having something to do with a unicorn. We were told that there was going to be a piano song, but it was being changed, and it turned out to be my least favorite in the set. It wasn't bad, it just didn't grab me like the others. I do think I'll be purchasing some of their music in the near future. After Apple Horse finished playing, I asked for the set list and was able to get a copy.

Feet, Feet, Feet Parachute was setting up to play next. Jason De la Torre is the lead singer for 3Feet Parachute (like the nickname?) and he also plays with Jonathan's band, We Shot the Moon, so I've seen him a few times before. Last time We Shot the Moon played, he performe one of his songs and I enjoyed it. I have the cd, and I have to say his vocals don't sound quite the same as in the live performance. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't like it, but to the contrary I enjoyed the set a lot.

Then it was finally time for Waking Ashland to play. I had never actually seen Waking Ashland before, though I've seen Jonathan solo, and We Shot the Moon a number of times. Somehow when the original band was together, the timing never really worked out. They played the entire Composure album from start to finish and I loved every minute of it. I took a lot of pics, although with lighting being what it is at Kilby getting anything sharp was difficult at best, so there weren't many I consider publishable. I very rarely record shows for a few reasons, one being that most artists don't allow it, although some that say it obviously don't seem to care and even mug for the camera. I was pretty sure Jonathan didn't mind, so I had the brilliant idea of recording one of the songs. Jonathan has a great voice and great keyboarding skills, and is just such a joy to listen to. (I do wish the vocals had recorded a bit louder.)

After the show ended, I hung about a bit, talked to Corey, Jonathan, and several other people. I had my photo taken with Trevor (drummer for WSTM and FFFP) and Jason
and they showed off their "guns". (Not sure I'll ever get used to that term. It makes me laugh.)

I waited about a bit until I could get a photo with Jonathan before heading for home.

If I recall correctly, that was the night they had freeway (and/or) lane closures and it took a little extra time to get home. Still I made it home sooner than I would have had I gone to work, albeit not by much.

Monday it was back to work, as usual but I had another show to look forward to the following Saturday, August 21. Candlelight Serenade with some of my favorite bands and people all for a good cause. I was excited about it. I didn't need to request the day off, since it was a Saturday, but I did really hope to be furloughed by Friday because sleeping is a little nice sometimes and the doors opened at 10 a.m.

I almost got my wish...

(end part one)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

It's soapbox time again...

"Someone who addresses their views with an amount of passion is said to be
standing on their soapbox. In public places like London's Hyde Park individuals can advocate one cause or another. Some speakers in these public forums will bring a 'soapbox' to project their voice and to be seen by those who might cluster around.
If you would get off your soapbox for a minute, you'd hear what I have to say."

In 1989 I purchased my first personal computer (my first computer was actually an old CPM) in the form of an IBM 386 from Sears. It served me well publishing a prolife newsletter until I decided that I wanted to try the internet. It wouldn't work, so I upgraded to a newer IBM 486, and subsequently signed up for Prodigy with my 1200 baud dial-up modem. It was on Prodigy that I learned how to stand on my soap box without carrying it around with me. The prolife issue was probably the one issue nearest and dearest to my heart, and I spoke out often. Eventually, I carried that over to the World Wide Web, debated on numerous newsgroups and bulletin boards (especially Yahoo's boards.) I could probably debate with the best. I wasn't easily offended, and I always attempted to be civil. As abhorrent as I find abortion itself to be, I do realize that at least some people have their reasons for supporting it's legality. After a time I stopped going to the boards as I just grew tired of the name-calling, mischaracterization and general disregard for others (and sometimes for logic.) It could be exhausting at times.

Words are certainly an important thing. And I would never suggest that one not
choose their words carefully. Nor is it likely that anyone will ever find me saying that terminology is irrelevant. Many years talking about the prolife issue have most certainly convinced me of that. On the other hand, sometimes semantics are just that - semantics.

Just to define the terms here, this is how Merriam Webster defines semantics:
"3b : the language used (as in advertising or political propaganda) to achieve a
desired effect on an audience especially through the use of words with novel or dual
meanings." In my lifetime, it seems semantics is also the language one must not use as it relates to social change (as in propaganda for a cause - good or bad.)

For a time it was "politically incorrect" to call someone a postman, or a woman Mrs.
Perhaps, Mrs. is still out of favor with many. There was political pressure applied.
Terms for people of different racial/cultural backgrounds changed and what was once acceptable became perjorative. In all the changes, I didn't necessarily see hearts changed. The terms changed, the issues and problems remained. It's not that some things did not change over time, but there seems to be a huge disconnection between the two. So recently I got in trouble with someone over just such an issue. And because I stated my opinion polititely (but publicly) about the efficacy of their approach. Since I expressed an opinion about a particular method, it somehow made me a traitor against the whole cause. Nothing was (or is) further from the truth.

But this is not something new. I am the sort of person that speaks my mind when
motivated to do so. I try hard not to just agree with people I love and respect just to keep the peace, but I am not normally looking for a fight, either. It is my feeling that if we are friends, then our friendship will be enhanced by our differences and strengthened by honesty. I never intend to be brutal. I attempt to be civil and hope others can be the same. I also strive to find areas we CAN agree on. For instance, I may not think that most abortions should be legal, but I have had friends that think they should be available on demand: we can usually agree that women in difficult pregnancy situations need supportiveness even if we still disagree on I on how it would be carried out.

I have never been one to subscribe to political correctness on any side of an issue. I do tend to lean towards a more conservative viewpoint, and often wish both those with a more liberal political bent and those who are conservative leanings could exercise more charity - especially with those who disagree with them.

People who are "conservative" are not stupid, uninformed, misinformed, uncaring,
against charity, or bigoted, at least not any more than people who are "liberal." People on the other side of more conservative views (e.g. liberals) are not stupid, uninformed, misinformed, or unpatriotic loons. Certainly in any population of any size one can find examples of people who exhibit those traits, but in general, it has not been my experience.

Yet, I have had friends that post regularly on facebook and other places that explicitly or implicitly suggest that conservatives are just what I described, and I also know conservatives that have delved into name-calling as well. I am not resentful of it particularly, but I cannot say that it doesn't hurt sometimes, because sometimes it does. And it usually leaves a lasting impression - it just may not be the impression that was hoped for.

And when I think that people who sometimes straddle opposite sides of the political
fence are brothers and sisters in Christ, it saddens me. There is one way to salvation, and it has nothing to do with anything other than one's relationship to Christ.

So, this is what Christ has said:

John 13:35 (New International Version)
"35. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Romans 12:10 (New International Version)
"10. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."

So my challenge is this:
Do really read what people have to say, and if they disagree with you "agree to
disagree" respectfully. Do find out what they care about as you probably have more in common than you think. Do work towards common goals. Do treat the other person
with the respect you would want to be treated, and Do more to love. Loving others is
a choice and a committment. On the flip side: Don't take disagreeing on an issue as a personal affront. Most likely it isn't. And resist the urge to do anything but love unconditionally.

This is my soap box for the day, but before I stand completely down I want to say this: Intelligent, caring people can disagree. They can even disagree greatly.
Disagreeing with someone, even publicly, is not hateful nor the definition of hatred.
If I had a nickel for everytime disagreement as been interpreted as hating, I'd have a small fortune. I love my children. I don't always agree with them. I love my husband, but sometimes we don't see things eye to eye. I can disagree with you and love you. For Christians it should be the norm.

God's blessings,