Oct 31, 2007

Rocktober 28th - Choral Arts Society of Washington@The Kennedy Center

Geez. Will Rocktober end already? I'm so sick of these horrible music reviews I keep writing. Can I get an Amen on that one? I believe this is the last one, unless you count the High Heel Drag race I went to last night wherein a concert was playing in my head of Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman (its all in meeee)". But we won't count that.

So, yeah Teen Heartthrob knows what I like apparently. He surprised me and bought tickets to see the Choral Arts Society of Washington on Sunday night and that was even BEFORE I watched Dr. Zhivago, so he totally knew what was on my mind. Russia. Dismal, harrowing despair. Minor keys. English horns. Resonating baritone voices. HUGE opera lady in pink flowing gown past the floor, I don't even know how she walked around without tripping. Composers names whom I cannot spell.

Anyway, TH played this game with me and made me guess where we going, and it took me three hints. First he gave me a picture of this:

I thought the game was to figure out what it was. So me and my untold skills of search engines found the name of the place within an hour. The Novodevichy Convent in Moscow. I'm awesome. No, seriously. Give me a picture of anything and I will FIND IT ON THE INTERNETS(sic).
Then he gave me a few other pictures that led me to a Russian cultural events of DC website, which is where I discovered that he was treating me to a night of culture and hobknobbing with DC's finest Soviets. I'm so lucky. What more could a girl ask for, besides a nice bowl of borscht?

Russian music has always been one of my favorite genres. Most of my favorite composers are Russian, including Rachmoninoff, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Bach(haha just kidding Johann!). The music is so powerful and chill-inducing. The concert was amazing and guest conductor was a great flamboyant spectacle. They first performed The Bells from Rachmoninoff. That was amazing. Apparently it wasn't performed for a long time because it wasn't initially well received when it was introduced in Russia in the early 20th century. The choir then followed the intermission with different popular pieces from Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and others. It was great. I loved them all.

I think my favorite part of the concert was at the end, after a standing ovation, the conductor asked everyone to stick around for a Hymn to be sung in dedication of very religious Rostropovich, who recently passed (the entire concert was actually dedicated to his name). The choir sang an acapella version of Ave Maria. It was overwhelming, I honestly felt like his spirit was in the room with us and a voice in my head kept repeating "I believe in God". It was very strange. I felt very loved. Tears were flowing. TH and I left the concert, barely able to speak because of the overwhelming feeling. It seriously blew me away. I love that music can do that to you. I am so affected by music, so perhaps I should listen to more uplifting music that does testify these amazing truths.

So - Choral Arts Society of Washington, way to drive the point home that we are all loved and you can, in fact, leave a very lasting impression on this earth.

Rocktober gives The CAS 10 out of 10 stars, because I can't feel the way I did and not give out a perfect. Job well done.

Oct 30, 2007

Rocktober 26th - Bearfoot@The Kennedy Center

The Millennium Stage is a small stage that offers free concerts at 6PM every night, 365 days a year. Did you hear that? FREE concerts ev-e-ry night! Even on Holidays! And even on rainy rainy Friday nights.
I think I may have been to a concert or two at the Millennium Stage, and it was some world music that I came into the city to see. Now that I literally work a mile from the Kennedy Center, it seems ridiculous that I wouldn't take complete advantage of this event every night at 6! Or at least once a month, my goodness.

The concert that brought me to The Millennium Stage again, after a 5 year hiatus, was Bearfoot Bluegrass. They are an Alaskan band, which is actually how I've heard of them. I saw them play at a concert on the lawn of University of Alaska - Fairbanks. They were good then, and they were great on Friday.

Every concert is archived on the Kennedy Center's website, so you can check them out. They put on a very lively and entertaining show for all us water-logged Washingtonians. Chill-inducing harmonies and intricate fingering on the guitar and mandolin were the highlights of this show.

Bearfoot is a bluegrass band, sure, but its more of the Newgrass school. The average age of the band has to be about 22. They are young, and they all met at Bluegrass camp in Cordova, Alaska. They've all been playing their instruments since elementary school, some even before that. The thing I find really interesting about this group is that they all learned bluegrass at the same camp, but their sounds are all so different. It makes for a varied show, because as they all take turns singing their songs that showcase their style and talent, the songs change pretty dramatically. So what can I say about this band, then? They were all great and I enjoyed most of the songs, some of them even gave me the goosepimples. But, I felt conflicted because I think I'd rather have one show staying within the boundaries of bluegrass, rather than branching out to soul and pop music.

After talking with Teen Heartthrob about this debacle, we decided it might be wise for all the members to take their careers and RUN. Here is the advice I have to dole out:
Kate Hamre, acoustic bass: You are a darling girl. Obv very talented, but you were in the background too much. You seem a little more laid back and unsure or shy about performing. Your voice is so dainty and soft, but I bet you would really shine up front. I want to hear more.
Mike Mickelson, guitar: You've got that whole Big Man, Deep Voice thing going on. Go with it. You had an amaaazing old country vibe to all your songs and I would love to see you go somewhere with that. You were the result of many of my chills.
Jason Norris, mandolin: Wow. Seriously, wow. I've never seen anyone pick the mandolin with such gusto before. Granted, I could count the number of times I've seen a mandolin player on my 2 hands, but still you were great. And for how young you are, you need to be somewhere to really feature your style of Cajun music. I loved the Cajun portion of the program.
Angela Oudean, fiddle: You're great. You've got some side projects going on. I loved your Loretta Lynn piece. Such finesse with the fiddle. Keep on going.
Annalisa Tornfelt, fiddle: I liked your sound, really. But it doesn't belong in bluegrass. There, I said it. You are a soulful singer and I think you should pursue that, because its where you really shine. Bring the fiddle to vary it up in the soul/pop world. Good luck.

Check out their sound. I liked them in Alaska, and I still do. But apparently, moving back to DC has made me somewhat of a critic. Maybe if I were up dancing around and doing the Boot Dance, I wouldn't have noticed all the little intricacies I did. Note to self: more dancing, less critiquing.

Rocktober gives Bearfoot 8 out of 10 stars.

Oct 26, 2007

Rain rain, make me a millionare

You know what would be a brilliant marketing scheme for an umbrella company? Or even just an idea for a business - Umbrellas to your Doorstep.

I don't have an umbrella and it's pouring rain right now. I would pay a pretty penny for an umbrella to be delivered to my office. Seriously, does anyone want to start this business? It would clearly be great in a place where it doesn't rain too often and people aren't prepared for rain. Or a city full of Nomadic Gnomes who are too cheap to buy umbrellas and only realize the importance of them when they have to ruin their beautiful shiny hair in an unending thunderstorm.

*Le Sigh

Now recommending...

I'm going to share a secret with you, dear readers. If you are Iggy, Teen Heartthrob or Red Head sister, you already know this. But for everyone else, let me introduce you to the world of The Best Hair You've Ever Had:


I bought this haircare line a few months ago, despite the warning from a certain girl we'll call Heddo. I'm pretty sure it was either her or her doble who told me to never ever buy Redken because it will screw your hair up and make it sticky and disgusting. Well, I took a chance, Heddo. And I'm supposing we have different hair types, because it did the opposite to my hair. It made it all smooth and manageable and softer than the gold threads that Rumpelstilsken himself spun.

If you want amazing, shiny, flowing locks - do yourself a favor and invest in some Redken. RedHead sister - I assume you are using it since I recently left it in your shower. I really hope you are, I would hate to see it wasted. That's like burning money or pouring liquid acid on a diamond.

The Reds and Whites

Happy birthday to my brother, Roberto Rigoletto!! (yesterday)

I have been out of the loop for the past few days. The boss came back to the office and its been a whirlwind of work and kissin ass. Something that I've become better at over the past few years (but still have no real vested interest in).

It's been raining here the past few days. A cold front has moved in and its so refreshing and delightful! This is what autumn, October days are supposed to be about! So last night, after a tough day of work I went home to relax...and I spotted it.

From across the room I saw the 2 video VHS made in 1960-something classic. I'd been waiting for a dark, and cold dreary day to watch this movie. Dr. Zhivago. I'd seen another version before, but it was starring Keira Knightly. I mean she was just suPERB in pirates and pride and prejudice(read: nearly unwatchable) but I had a hard time taking her in that movie. Although, I love her in Love Actually. Maybe because she has a smaller part?

Anyway, Dr. Zhivago. I loved it. Winner of 5 academy awards. It's so loooong and telling and full of war and freezing, starving Russians. Not to say that I like watching people suffer, but there is something about the dismal "every song is in a minor key" land of Russia. I love epic type movies that follow people throughout their years of development. The beginning is full of so much hope, but also so many foreboding and dreadful events that you can figure out This is Going to Get a Little Complicated.

All the characters are so unrealistically beautiful, especially for people who are supposedly starving and freezing to death in the harsh winters during the civil war of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

Maybe it goes back to my History major in college, but I love historic wartime. It's so interesting to watch the desperation and suffering that these wars support and cause. I always tend to wonder what makes a person rationalize killing people, especially innocent children and their parents. The brainwashing of soldiers has to come at some point, I just wonder when that happens.

Anyway 3 1/2 hours later, I have to recommend you all watch this movie. The old one, not the new version with Keira Skin-n-Bones Knightly. It will make you believe in the power of survival.

Oct 23, 2007

And one more item of business for today

Read the People magazine spoof here.
I love that even Voldemort has a reaction.

Haha. Oh, Harry Potter...it's too bad that Dumbledore's outing is being overshadowed by all the wildfire blazes in SoCal. Talk about bad PR timing.

A few of my favorite things

A guy plays one of my favorite songs from Amelie. Amazing!

Jump around, jump around. Jump up, jump up and get down! Reminds me of Robby and the story reading.

And finally, we all wonder why they're all screwy now. Check out all their dance videos. I'm so scared. Their bodies flail about as if independent from each other!!

Oct 22, 2007

The post with all the feelings

Sisters. Sisters. There were never such devoted sisters.

You'll notice (if you know my family), that a certain red headed sister is missing. No, we didn't shun her because of her red hair. She chose to shun the Sister weekend by attending an unnamed function with the new found Love of Her Life. Every time I talk to Red Head, she has a new story about the LoHL. In fact, last time I visited her, she came into the room with tears in her eyes because she just couldn't believe how wonderful this boy is and how much she loves him and how much he loves her, etc, etc.

So why am I writing this exposé on my RedHead sister? Look, I'm not, ok? Back up off me. I am merely trying to figure out what it is that makes some people so sure and absolute in their relationships, while others flounder around, wavering like a Jenga tower, trying to understand their feelings.

I am of the school of the Jenga Tower.

As I become older and wiser (read: fatter and untrusting) I realize that love at first sight and falling hard and fast for someone all depends on a persons mindset. If you are a romantic person, you will more readily dive head-first into a relationship, whereas the jaded 25 year old girl will tip toe around in her relationships, waiting for the ball to drop.

Maybe I've gone through so MANY relationships (albeit, a few good ones, but mostly stressful and unnecessary), that the thought of finding "The One" just seems like a made-up story. If you've found The One, I'd love some feedback on this. To me, it seems some people just find a person that they can really get along with and who is their best friend, and then they just commit to live their lives together. That should take awhile, right? I mean, is that what happens? What happens to these people who fall wildly in love instantaneously and marry quickly? What is the divorce rate for these couples? Success rate? I'd like to know.

Red Head Sister, I love your love stories. Even if they are mushy times 20, it's nice to hear about other people's adventures and tender tender luv. Just call me if you need some advice on putting on the brakes. I've got plenty to pass around.

Oct 19, 2007

Today is a day of nothing in particular

Because I have lost my battery charger to the same place all the socks go, joining up with sticks up butter and being replaced with an overABUNDANCE of mugs (seriously! What is the deal with everyone always having too many mugs? I've never been to a house where this hasn't been a problem. I guess it's not a problem, as much as the fact that I don't have enough hot chocolate to constantly keep the mugs filled).
ANYWAY - I was planning to have my first installment of something which required my camera, but the battery is totally dead and I am left with questions and a furrowed brow, and I'll be honest, I'm a little scared.
So in no particular order, here are my most pressing thoughts for the day:

1. Because I am totally BROKE and can't afford any more extravagant Rocktober events, I am relegated to spending my time on the world wide web looking for freebies in the DC area. If you know of any, please pass them along. The Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center has free performances every day at 6, but who wants to pay $15 for parking or take that stupid shuttle? Clearly not Gnomie. 12 days left in Rocktober and it will NOT beat me.

2. I realize I'm only 25 and it's not that old, but I'm sorry I cannot bring myself to dress up for any more halloween parties. It's too much for me. Maybe if I was going to some ball or a great gatsby type costume party, it would be fun. But
a) I've always sucked at coming up with costumes
b) I don't want to surround myself with this years "cats", "bunnies" and "mice" with the ears and make up and tiny-little I'm Cute costumes. No thank you.
c) I just want to spend the holiday with kids who have no idea what is going on other than the fact that if they dress up like something and do what their parents say, they will receive copious amounts of candy. Like not even funny.
So, suck it halloween. I won't be participating this year.

3. Why do I have 3 bottles of white out at my desk? I don't think I've even used white out twice since the start of my job.

4. Seriously, where is my camera battery?

5. Shopping this weekend!!!

Everyone have a fantastic weekend.

Oct 18, 2007

I fell off the wagon

Remember this?

Maaaaan, it had been a really long time since I partook of the evil caffeine monster.
Then last week I had a great idea:
Self: Wow, I'm a little tired today. I wish I could sleep...but I have so much work to do!
Other Self: Hey Gnomie, remember when you used to drink monster all day and it would help keep you awake?
Self: Hmmm...yes...I DO recall. Oh yeah that's right. I would drink it in lieu of breakfast and lunch. I was so awake!
Other Self: Yes. You were awake and you were thin!!
Self: Yeah! I was thin! Land sakes, I should start drinking it again! Just for a couple days.

Fast forward to today:
I can't stop making silly jokes to my boss cause I can't wipe this goofy hepped-up grin off my face. My coworker just walked by and adjusted my dress strap which was falling off my shoulder making me look like a raging slutbag. This is in addition to my ill-applied whore-red lipstick in efforts to make my appearance more Put Together. I've got Crazy Eyes cause of the caffeine. You know - tired on the inside (bags) but wide-eyed and a little shaky (inability to focus).

Self: Maybe I should stop now while I'm still kind of ahead?

Other Self: Bottoms Up!!!

Oct 17, 2007

Call me sentimental...

I've been listening to Consider the Lilies Mo Tab album all day. It is a perfectly warm and sunny autumn day. I am wearing corduroy. I'm going here for lunch. Today is beautiful!

Rocktober 16th - High School Orchestra practice @ posh private school

Ok...maybe this one is kind of a stretch. But stay with me on this one.

Last night Teen Heartthrob and I went to visit our friend who works at a boarding school for the ultra rich. She invited us for dinner and a walk around the campus. Being a public school aficionado, I had never been exposed to the lives of the rich, famous and well-bred. This campus was amazing. Wouldn't even compare to my high school with it's florescent lighting, linoleum floors and stained glass windowless-library. Thinking back to my high school after last night, I can't help but think I must've grown up in a 3rd or at least 2nd world country. Poor unfortunate me.

After a lovely dinner of braised carrots with savory rice and some chocolate cake, we made our way over to the Field Looking Over the River. Do all private schools have these? It was dark, so we couldn't necessarily see anything, but we knew it was there. The three of us sat down in comfy chairs and proceeded to contemplate religion, human nature and relationships.

In the background, we listened to the sounds of the Boarding School Orchestra. The BSO played such hits as Rhapsody in Blue, a very hearty rendition of Stars and Stripes Forever, as well as other tunes I can't quite recall. But they were cranking them out. And they were good. And a perfect accompaniment to the evening sky and talks with great friends.

After the Boarding School experience, we went to the grocery store. Since I don't get to make it to the store very often, I was pretty excited for this event. I went in for one thing and ended up buying over $30 worth of food. It's okay, considering I haven't been grocery shopping in over a month. I tend to get the same things. I always have nacho materials, pancake materials, and a little bit of fresh fruit and veggies. This trips pick was a golden delicious apple and some green beans, which I plan to eat tonight alongside some curried salmon. Yum!

Totally great night. I'm so excited it's getting colder and I can put my sweaters and jackets to work. They've been so bored all summer!!

Oct 16, 2007

Rocktober 15th - Cat Power/The Childballads@9:30 Club

I've been debating on how to spin this post. Should I write about the beautiful music, or should I write about how messed up everyone was? Should I write about Chan's adorable dancing shoes, or should I write about the fight beside me and the ice poured down my back?

Let me address both.

The music was good. Cat Power and the Dirty Delta Blues: Wow. Chan Marshall really has a deep folky-soulful voice.
She is just a little pixie girl, but you can see and hear the strength in her. Her voice was soft and whispery, but bold and commanding at the same time. She sang a bunch of short 2-3 minute songs, including old standard covers and some songs off her new album, The Greatest.
I got to the show halfway through The Childballads performance. They're music was kind of old to me. To me they seemed like another Brooklyn band, lower-east side mullet wearing, fashionista type. Which is fine...the music was okay. It was nothing I haven't heard before. You know, drum drum drum, a guitar riff, a drugged up completely-unaware singer, blah blah indie lyric. Sorry guys, but I couldn't even focus on the music what with all the drugged out bandmates/punching audience/Nag Champa fumes blowing in my face/random girls dancing the cha cha on stage...

I'm serious, the show was crazy. All the antics really detracted from the music and made it hard to appreciate. After seeing the show I came home and googled the Childballads.
Apparently the lead singer, Stewart Lupton, predated Julian Casablancas of The Strokes as the "guy who was always messed up but still managed to sing into the microphone and sound ok". But his previous band split due to his heroin addiction. Well, I can say with pride that I have now seen someone on the effects on heroin. I think. I mean, I don't normally hang out with hard drug users, so I've never seen it in person and movies about drugs make me nauseated, so I haven't really seen it in the movies. All I know was that Stewart was effed up.
See Stewart? He's the one with the haunting, lifeless look and sunken cheekbones. He was stumbling around the stage, incoherently muttering between songs, holding a burning ciggy in his hand that I SWORE was going to catch his crepe paper scarf on FIRE. He knocked over the mike stand and at one point, someone (I think his manager) came over to the stage and gave The Sign to his bandmates that I assume meant, For the Love of God himself, please end this show - before our boy passes out or hurts himself.

After their set ended, the girl behind me punched another girl in the Chevy Chase and threw her drink in her face. The drink splashed all over me. I stood there thinking "I should probably leave", notwithstanding the fact that I had come alone and was a little nervous to be in a bad neighborhood late at night. This was just increasing the paranoia. Anyway the guards all came over and people dispersed, but it was really weird.

Soon enough Chan and her buddies came on stage. She was sick, but was a doll and apologized throughout the show for sounding like crap. Which she didn't, she sounded amazing. She had on these cute white shoes and moonwalked across the stage the entire night. No wonder she is crowned as the Indie Darling. She was like a walking ad for Urban Outfitters. And she alternated sips from a coke can and tea. It was really endearing.Like these, but white.

I really don't know what to think about everything. I'm still a little tired from all the antics from The Childballads. I'm sad Cat Power didn't sing any of other old songs at ALL, because they are so deliciously good. He War? Nothing. Good Woman? Nothing. Still, she put on a good show and the Dirty Delta Blues were really great. I was entertained, even if I didn't get what I bargained for. Actually, I was bargaining for a little stage drama, because Chan is known for breaking down on stage (I think we were all kind of waiting for that to happen), but I had no idea the drama that Stewart would bring. He had enough drama to pass around for the whole of the DC metropolitan area.
But combined into the total package...

Rocktober gives Cat Power 6 out of 10 stars.

I'm tired. Who needs a drink?

Oct 15, 2007

Rocktober 11th - Matt Haimovitz@Iota Club and Cafe

Ok, we are halfway through Rocktober and my wallet is really feeling the effects.

Last Thursday's performance was perhaps the most affecting of all the shows I've been to in the past 2 weeks. Matt Haimovitz is a classically trained cellist. His schtick is playing not in the usual concert halls, but instead in the small dimly-lit rock/grunge halls of America.

The Iota is nothing more than a simple stage, 1 foot off the ground. 2 rows of chairs were set up, and every seat was filled, along with all the bar stools for this particular show. We were ready to believe him.

Matt is a musician. I'm not talking about a person whose voice lilts and floats throughout a rock show, or whose guitar strums along to a drum-backed rhythm. I'm talking about a musician. Matt knows how to manipulate his instrument to make music like I've never heard before. The cello resonated so deeply and his bow grazed along the strings with such precision. His callused fingers danced up and down the fret board for 2 hours as he presented Bach Cello Suite No. 1, along with many avante garde pieces. I was near tears and was truly silenced and immovable listening to After Reading Shakespeare. He read poetry from Shakespeare in between the pieces styled after the sonnets. Or whatever.

Listen, the thing is - from the moment I walked into that room, I was totally under Matt's spell. Looking at him play, it is easy to look past the exterior. The exterior that screams "I play Dungeons and Dragons and will totally judo-kick you under the table", complete with black clothes, long hair and pale skin. When you see him playing the cello - the lines of anguish and musical passion that form on his brow...the veins the bulge out of his hands and forearms from playing so robustly...you can't help but fall under the spell.
He played The Star Spangled Banner - the Jimi Hendrix version -with 2 mikes on the cello, volume turned up to 11. So cool.
He plucked and bowed the cello simultaneously, while playing music so drearily sad, you'd think he'd been to Auschwitz, communist camps, and the site of 9/11. It was heartbreaking.
He recited Mark Twain and played several 3-4 minute pieces in between the Twain, with an amazing sense of humor and tenderness.
Check him out. Be amazed. Enjoy the classical music and if you get a chance, stop by to see him. He is touring worldwide. I love Matt for having the brevity to screw the classical music halls and bring classical music to the masses, for an affordable price and for bringing such an unforgettable experience to the Rocktober experience.

Rocktober gives Matt Haimovitz 10 out of 10 stars.

Oct 11, 2007

Cold day: Creamy Tomato Soup

The usage of quotation marks here reminds me a "little too much" of my "mother's dirty quotation habit", but still makes me laugh. What exactly is "soup" anyway?

I had some seriously good soup today at Luna Grill.
It was a little spicy, a lot of tangy tomato, and lots of zest! This has inspired me to create my own tomato soup recipe. Don't get me wrong, I love myself a good bowl of Campbells, but the time comes when you have to create your own soup recipe. It's like Choose Your Own Adventure, but for soups.

Anyone have good soup tips?

Rocktober 9th - Josh Ritter@9:30 Club

Thank you SO much for bein here with us taniiiight!! This is the biggest show we've ever had in the States. This is so excitin'.
--Josh Ritter

Was I prepared for the madness of a Josh Ritter show earlier this week? No. No, I was not. I knew he was from Idaho, but I had no idea he had retained his Idaho roots with such fortitude. In between his hootin and hollerin, Josh regaled his captivated audience with tales of potatoes, writing songs to potatoes, naming potatoes, and riding a lawn mower home with an older cheating lover.

Josh came on stage with a smile as wide as Nebraska and it rarely left his face throughout the 1 1/2 hour set. His energy was extremely contagious and he played with a seemingly drug-induced happiness the entire time. But, Josh was not on drugs, I'm 99% positive. After studying him for awhile, I realized he was just a geeky Idaho hick boy who was all riled up to be sharing his music with his newfound friends. Seriously never have I seen any musician so excited. They're usually so subdued and trying to play it cool. Josh, however, had no business in involving himself in this charade. Loved it.

The music was amazing. He really knows how to paint a picture with his words. He is an amazing lyricist and his band plays really well off one another. There were even some saxaphones and trumpets for a few songs, which made the entire experience that much more enjoyable, because I felt like I was watching Home Alone and Kevin McCallister was having his fake party in the house, moving all the Dancers like a well-trained puppet-master. Jingle Bell Rock, ya'll.

Anyway, if Josh ever blows through town, don't miss the opportunity to see him. Thoroughly entertaining, introspective, and slap-yer-knee rockin good time.

Rocktober gives Josh Ritter 9 out of 10 stars.

Oct 5, 2007

The trip with all the snow

So many great things have happened and I've only been here for a day and a half.

Look how BIG Lizzy is getting!She loves playing hide and seek.
She also loves going up to day trips to Montana, so we figured we would indulge her and give her what she wants. If that is not what an Auntie is for, well then I don't know what to tell you.We decided we would go up to West Yellowstone to visit the Bear and Wolf sanctuary.
A few things:
1. It was snowing.
2. It was freezing cold.
3. We saw a bear fight!
That's right. I got some cool footage. If you ask me nicely I just might share the first hand account. I am a witness.
This is me and my seester Jen and Lizzie. We are so cute, making a frozen Lizzy sandwich.
After we left West Yellowstone and all its' tourists, we stopped by the famous Frostop diner. Of course the only reason we stopped was because of the huge rootbeer mug. Put a big roadside theme item outside your place of business and you can ensure my patronage. I promise you that right now.They had yummy rootbeer and very very fried foods. And tots. Lots of tots.
And on a totally unrelated note, this is Lizzy being sad. And cute at the same time. I don't know how she does it.

We went to the store yesterday and Jenny saw a block of cheese that boasted "Aged 9 months". She looked at Lizzy and said, "Hey, Lizzy - this cheese is older than you!"
It was so adorable. Babies and cheese. Heh.

Oct 3, 2007

On Notice: Alamo

I rented a car today from Alamo. They had the WORST customer service I've ever received. The person who helped me acted like I had interrupted her date with Jake Gyllenhall or something. She was making comments about how stupid all the renters had been that day and how they didn't understand anything. Then she said I couldn't rent a car without my flight itinerary and pointed to their 1 inch sign that said so. I calmly explained to her that I had my flight itinerary and she should ask for it before turning me away. Then she gave me the wrong rental dates and it took twice as long to go back through and change everything. Man, that was the icing on her cake.
Sorrrrrreeee, lady. Go back to the back office and watch your General Hospital and eat your twinkies and frito pie.

If I have any problems returning the car, I'll...I'll...well I don't know what I'll do, but it'll be good!!

Alamo Rent-A-Car, you suck. Get better staff who actually offer a smile to weary-eyed travelers, or you just might become Dead to Me.

Rocktober 2nd - Rocky Votolato@The Rock and Roll Hotel

Last nights show was...AWESOME! Like spit on your face, kick you in the gut fantastic.
Go buy the new album from Portugal the Man. Their music is fabulous to dance to. Stop reading this right now and go buy it. Also buy Rocky's new album, The Brag and Cuss. I already have it and it's fantastic.

I'm not really going to blog about Rocktober 2nd, because Iggy already did a pretty damn good job of it. And afterall, I don't want to be redundant after all. So go check out her blog, by clicking on my side link, The Best Friend. I can't seem to hook my links today.

I'm traveling. I'm actully sitting in one of my old favorite hang out spots in Salt Lake City, Nostalgia Cafe. It's so...nostalgic. Actually I've only been here 2 or 3 times, but they have really really large sandwiches. And amazing molasses cookies. No, I'm not even kidding. They are chewy, they have a sharp flavor, they are sprinkled with sugar. And if you check out yesterdays selection of cookies, they are only 50 cents! Woo! Wooooo!! Yah!!

I'll be here until next week, mid week. But I still will be blogging intermittenly. You don't have to stop reading, because I'll be hanging out with my sisters for the next week and interesting stories are bound to be blogged. Bound to be blogged, that's right.

Want to know how dedicated I am to skipping out of work for a week and having laughy times with my family? I woke up this morning at 3:15 AM. I walked 15 minutes with my suitcase to the train station. Took a 4:00 AM train to the airport (I love trains! Why haven't I taken them before??) Stretched out on the empty row and fell asleep on the first plane. Had a layover in Houston. Fell asleep on a chair by my gate. Luckily a woman was kind enough to tap me on the shoulder when the plane was boarding. Then I tried to watch Trainspotting on the flight to SLC. Oh my gosh, don't ever EVER watch that movie if you are as averse to drugs as I. Drug movies make me seriously nauseated.
3 things I don't like/scare me:
1. Spiders
2. Drug movies
3. Very tall people

Anyway I made it to Salt Lake by noon, 2pm EST. It's baby time. And whore time. Wow. That sounds bad. Sounds like I'm going to be having me a lot of lovin time, which is totally untrue. I'm going to be spending time with babies and whores. But not together. Oh geez. Never mind.

Oct 2, 2007

Rocktober 1st - Carol Bui@The Black Cat

Carol Bui is a beautiful and extremely talented lady. She had her CD release party last night of Everyone Wore White, and celebrated turning 26.
So we ate chocolate birthday cake as we nodded our heads to the lyrical stylings of Carol. Miss Bui if you're nasty.

Carol opened her show last night with a vocal solo of a traditional Vietnamese song. It was perfect to engage the listeners and familiarize them with the reachings of her voice. Carol is a mix between a more resonating Fiona Apple, a higher voltage Rachel Yamagata, and maybe a more post-punk version of Joni Mitchell. I only give the Joni reference because she does a great job crafting her songs and lyrics.

The show went on late for a school night. Library Chick, Iggy and I quickly went from looking like this:
To this:

Carol kept us awake and entertained by singing a few older songs from previous CD's but she mostly stuck to her new songs. Her sound is really haunting, dark at times, but the rich vocal tones and the cello keep her music from sounding like a neolithic skeleton parade. Any time there is a cello in the band, there is a strong to quite strong possibility that I will love your band. Her band was really powerful and they played really well together. Carol is another emerging artist on the DC scene with comparisons to Mary Timony and Jeff Buckley. Give her a listen. She'll rock your world.

Oct 1, 2007

Ushering in Rocktober

I kicked off Rocktober this weekend by doing what any good music loving snob would do.
I went to 3 shows, barely slept, and drank energy drinks to sustain myself.

This weekend was seriously action packed. From the minute I left work on Friday to late last night, I was in a constant state of motion. Like an atom or space matter.

Friday started off with what I thought might be a bang. Unfortunately, I was very wrong.
Exhibit A:
Brandi Carlile.
Man, I had such high hopes for this show. The opening band was A Fine Frenzy, who've been getting a lot of good press lately, but the stage presence wasn't really enhancing their semi-weak sound. The vocalist had this brilliant red hair and was a very soulful singer, but it was clear that they were still not completely comfortable in front of a large crowd. And it was a large crowd that showed up for Brandi.
Brandi, why must you torment me? Your voice - it's amazing. It's so rich and deep and you totally could channel Janis Joplin. But you don't.
I think the thing with Brandi Carlile is she plays the same song over and again, just with different words. Her voice is what sets her apart, but she really plays it safe with everything. I would definitely recommend buying her next CD, in the hopes that she would've developed her sound a bit more. Maybe she wrote these songs for the label -- I'm not sure. But I would love to see her take a few more risks and really explore her voice. That being said, the best part of the show was this song, which I think showcases her voice very nicely:
We left the show early because it was that boring. Got some cheap Chinese food and ate it on the street next to a very talented street musician playing the saxophone. Totally made up for the crap concert.

Saturday TH and I woke up at 6:30 am to get to the garage sale at REI. We had to get in line early for the big sale. The merchandise that is sold at these garage sales are things that have been returned. Some have minimal damage (like a broken strap that can be replaced) or just a little wear. I scored a Thermarest for $30, a laptop case and some rock climbing shoes. All that for less than $85. Not bad.

We got a delicious breakfast at Wegman's, which is a ridiculously huge supermarket. I don't think I'll be going there anymore. It's too big and I feel overwhelmed. It seems wrong and strange to have so much perfect looking food under one roof. It was like a Martha Stewart sponsored grocery store, only without all the prison stuff.

Lunch was at Checkers. I ate fries, which is about all I can eat there, unless you count cherry coke, then I also ate that. So good, but so gross.

After a very hectic morning and afternoon (keep in mind I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep) we ran over to 9:30 club to see my boy, Sam Beam.
Sam Beam, of Iron and Wine
This is the 3rd time I've seen my boyfriend, Sam. We have a great relationship, it's just long distance because he's always on tour, you know. Iron and Wine just came out with this great new album, The Shepherd's Dog. Check it out, ya'll. The honey laced, gentle voiced Sam Beam leads the 7(?) piece band, with backing vocals done by his sister, Sarah. I love his new songs - Boy with a Coin, Carousels, and Love Song of the Buzzard are all beatifully melodic. But his older songs are the ones that really resonate with me. He sang a quicker version of Upward Over the Mountain and I actually cried. The song is directed to a mother, written from a son's perspective. The part where he slowed down had these lyrics:

Mother remember the night that the dog had her pups in the pantry
Blood on the floor and the fleas in their paws
And you cried 'til the morning

So beautiful and haunting. My love affair with Sam continues.
Oh, the opening band for Iron and Wine was Arthur and Yu. Check them out. They're a Seattle based band, and actually labelmates with the band we rushed over to see after Iron & Wine had finished playing.

This is probably the longest post of my life, and maybe yours. But there is only one more thing.
Le Loup. They had their CD release party on Saturday at the Black Cat! Finally! I have been waiting for their CD since I saw them in the spring at the Velvet Lounge for their first show.
I've seen them at the Black Cat before and the sound there is unparalleled. They were amazing on Saturday. It's easy to see the confidence they've gained after playing many shows around town and as far as the midwest to open for Andrew Bird! They sounded so powerful, even during the slow moments of the songs. At one point, the keyboardist/french horn player started chasing around the lead guitarist with her drum sticks. The band was having a blast and we were all so excited to see how well they've developed as a band, and how quickly they've cemented their place on the DC music scene. The Black Cat was totally packed. Nicole and May sold me their CD. They are both adorable and totally cool girls. Can we hang out sometime, guys?

The show was amazing, but I have to say, reluctantly, that the CD doesn't really showcase their talent like I hoped it would. It still sounds like Le Loup, but very bare. Still, you can download their music on iTunes, and I totally recommend you do. But definately get to their show to get the real Le Loup effect. Thank me later.

I'm so excited for Rocktober. If you don't like music, you might not enjoy reading my blog for the next month. But - deal with it. I hope you will check out some of these new and emerging artists. I'll totally help you stock your iPod.