Category Archives: Music

What is UP?!

Geez, anti-chatty, much?

Well, you can tell when I came back to California. In rural Australia, there’s pretty much nothing to do other than knit, watch very bad TV, and write blog posts about the few things you do that are actually interesting. It was nice to have some time to chill with the knitting needles, but near the end I got kind of antsy, like I was just spinning my wheels on the whole business thing. So when I got back to California, I hit the ground running. Here’s the quick synopsis of my life since early May:

1. Arrive in SLO. Awesome surprise greeting party of all my favorite peeps. Tail-gater in the airport parking lot, complete with sammich, beer, and fondling sub-15-micron merino fleece.
2. One hour later, take off for Phoenix, spend time with family, and help spread my grandmother’s ashes. Go through tons of pictures with Dad, and realize that the act of going through physical pictures is probably going to be obsolete by the time I die.
3. Two days later, back in SLO. Say hi to kitties that I’ve missed very much.
4. Felicia’s sweet wedding – she wore red cowboy boots under her dress and had the wedding & reception at a wine bar. Dinner was biscuits and gravy. Totally perfect. Oh, and the groom is pretty cool too. :)
5. Spinning at the Winery in Livermore. Nice event, met nice people, lots of spinners, chatted with the cool vending folks (Shari and Morgaine mostly, but met the nice people behind Shaggy Bear Farms and got to talk to another natural dyer!) Also tasted the wine – Retzlaff Winery has some pretty nice wines.
6. Shearing at the Pronsolino Ranch! Year two, I learned quite a lot from Year 1 and had a better setup. An actual shearing table this time (instead of a sheet of plastic on the dirt), I talking my friend Marya into helping, and I picked much better fleece. It’s still a ton of work – you go through about 100 fleeces in rapid succession in an afternoon.
7. Dan gets back from Australia, yay!
8. Dan’s sister’s wedding – back up to Northern Cal for a bigger event this time. Yes, I wore the same dress that I wore to Felicia’s wedding a few weeks before. It has also made an appearance the wedding of another 2 friends, and I think those are all the separate friend circles that I have, so I think the dress will now be semi-retired.
8. I actually begin honest work on my website.
9. Then we find an awesome house for rent about a mile away – it has a 1-car garage plus storage space plus workshop plus backyard. It’s in a nice little neighborhood instead of a fishbowl bordered by obnoxious students and obnoxious adults with screaming kids. So we decide to move.
9.5. We add 2 big planter boxes to the 2 big planter boxes that are already at the new house. We plant stuff. This is cool, I’ve never had a garden before. Dan’s convinced I’m going to kill everything, so he sets up a fully automatic irrigation system. We buy organic seeds, plus some grown-in-an-organic-manner plants from a local nursery called Growing Grounds, which works with people suffering from mental health issues. I could not possibly feel more awesome about the garden!
10. We pack stuff.
11. I get rid of stuff.
12. We move stuff.
13. We unpack stuff.
14. We fix stuff.
15. Move, move, move, moving, moving.
15.5. My cat Bandit goes missing. :( Tears, inability to sleep, worry, and feeling like a failure.
16. More unpacking.
17. Buying storage stuff.
18. Assembling storage stuff.
18.5 More fixing stuff.
19. Figure out where the hell to store stuff.
20. Getting rid of more stuff.
21. Isn’t moving fun?
22. Deep fried food, chocolate-covered bacon, ice cream, and overpriced beer at the county fair.
23. and AEROSMITH!!! Totally rocked, this time we saw them from stage right (two years ago we were stage left).
24. Deep fried food, chocolate-covered bacon, ice cream, and overpriced beer at the county fair…..again!
25. and WEEZER! Holy crap, like 8th row! Awesome concert, and as all concerts do, makes me want to be a rock star when I grow up. This experience was brought to you by the letters J-A-S-O-N, otherwise known as Felicia’s husband who bought her an awesome birthday present to share with friends. :)
26. Frantic packing from 11pm after the Weezer concert until 2am. Packed for being gone for 2 weeks, 3 separate trips.
27. #1 trip – backpacking in Goddard Canyon! 44 miles in 72 hours. A personal record, but the last day kind of sucked ass. Wore the 5-fingers KSO Treks and totally loved them. Best trail shoes ever, even though they blew out a hole in between the big toe and index toe.
28. #2 trip – camping and climbing in Tuolumne! Totally awesome, the entire freaking LA crew was there due to two of my friends doing a once-in-a-lifetime climb. Jan and Andrew did the Bachar-Yerian. For those of you that don’t climb….well, I really don’t know how to equate it to anything. It’s pretty much the boldest and most impressive thing you can do, requires physical ability and mental focus that is super-human. And Andrew led it with a veritable circus of 20 of us below watching. Insane and brilliant. Dan and I stuck to easy-peasy stuff, I felt killer on knobs and Dan felt good to be out climbing after 2 years and 2 more shoulder surgeries. Yay!
29. I get news that my cat was found, but was dying. I have to make the call to put her down while I’m away. Tears, inability to sleep, and feeling like a complete and utter failure.
30. #3 trip – Golden Gate Fiber Institute! My brain has to degauss from going straight from climbers to fiber freaks, but the potty-mouthedness, insanity, and intensity carries straight on through. So does the sleeping bag, as it’s at the YMCA camp on the Marin Headlands. Also a strange mix of past and present – fiber arts at a place that was once used for missile defense. It was the most killer week I’ve ever spent with fellow fiber freaks, learned new and cool spinning tricks & skillz, and made some awesome, awesome new friends that I’m totally stoked to keep in touch with and see again at other fibery events.
30. Home again! To an overflowing washing machine and screwed-up dryer. Yep, home sweet home. :)
31. Immense spoiling of remaining kitty. Immense gratitude to my friend Eileen who was with my other kitty in her last moments. I enjoyed making her an over-the-top yarn care package – you just can’t put a price on what she did and it was the least I could do to show my appreciation.
32. Immense freaking out when I saw “a thing” on remaining kitty’s neck a few days later. Turns out it was just an abscess and the vet drained it and she’s just fine. Well, occasionally trailing blood and pus around the house, but just fine.
33. Work on my website finally continues in earnest. I made a commitment that I’d be up on September 1st, and that’s what’s going to happen. So I don’t update my blog again for a little bit…..well, I’ll be at the computer working on the real site. :)

See you soon!

I think it’s gonna rain……WHEN I DIE!

Every now and then, you just gotta rock out. When my friend John texted me that tickets were on sale for Alice in Chains at the Palladium, I had just gone to bed. This is exactly the kind of emergency that you need an iPhone for. Didn’t have to get out of bed, and twelve minutes and some sore thumbs later, we had 4 tickets. Oh yeah!

It’s funny, everyone’s music tastes change as they go through life, but I think you’ll always have a special love for something that was popular during middle school and high school. Somehow, even though I grew up on an island surrounded by soca and reggae (with a slight Jimmy Buffet and classic rock influence from the boating crowd), I totally love hair bands and grunge. I’m not entirely sure how it happened — MTV was new and rad, and since I didn’t have cable TV at my house, it totally attained mythical status and I was glued to it whenever I could get a fix. Maybe I can blame it all on Adam Curry. In any case, during middle school it was totally Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Poison, Guns N Roses. Then one day, I was at a friend’s house (who OMG was so lucky, she actually had cable!), and I remember seeing this crazy video with a janitor dancing with a broom, and this guy had his hair all in his face and was screaming and mumbling. And it freakin’ ROCKED. Enter an obsession with all things Nirvana and grunge. Seriously, I was so into grunge that I wore flannel and jeans practically every day in the Caribbean. But unfortunately, rock bands don’t visit small islands in the Caribbean. So I never got to see any of my idols live, and by the time I was in college, many of them were dead. Bummer.

So when Alice in Chains first got back together with a new lead singer a few years ago, I was pretty skeptical. I mean, Layne Staley was so distinctive and crazy with his vocal warbles – how could anyone imitate that well? And if it wasn’t imitated, well, it just wouldn’t sound like Alice in Chains. So when we headed to a Velvet Revolver concert that they opened for several years ago, I was excited, but my expectations were pretty low. Well, turns out that they were really good, and Scott Weiland freakin’ sucked. (enter rant about Scott Weiland here – I have wasted my money on his sorry vocals 3 times – twice with Velvet Revolver and once with Stone Temple Pilots. He sounds great in the studio and just cannot carry a tune live. I really hope that Velvet Revolver reforms with another better singer because the rest of those guys rock. End of rant. For now.)

Anyway, the day of the concert came around, and John and I headed down to LA on Saturday afternoon, majorly stoked! We met up with two of John’s friends from high school. Much reminiscing, drinking, and shenanigans ensued, and then we went to the concert. I was doubly triply excited that it was at the Palladium – it’s just about the best venue you could ask for. I saw Garbage there in 1998, just after their second album, version 2.0. It’s in the middle of Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, completely enclosed, and pretty small. No TV screens – you just don’t need them because it’s standing room only and you can see the stage from anywhere. There was the normal forgettable opening act, through which it was necessary to drink more overpriced vodka & Red Bulls and beer, and then Alice in Chains came on and totally rocked the house. Old songs, new songs, everything sounded great. I mean, no one is Layne Staley, but William Duvall is fantastic in his own right, and splits the singing with Jerry Cantrell, whose vocals have really come to life these days. And both are great on the guitar. Here’s my crappy iPhone picture of the whole shebang:

Alice in Chains at the Hollywood Palladium

The whole experience was awesome – being with a group of fun friends, the drunken singing and screaming, the smell of pot gently wafting over the crowd, the elbowing pushy dudes who are trying to get in front of you out of the way, the midnight stop for chili cheese fries and a milkshake. A great memory for sure.

The next day is never so great, however. The scratchy voice, smelly clothes, headache, upset stomach, and 200 miles of driving, half of which were in complete stop-and-go traffic. I felt bad for John who was in worse shape – so much worse that I actually got to drive his hotrod VW R32. But we freakin’ ROCKED!!! Woooo!

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