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Just logged into a travel site for the first time in ages and came across my profile description. I think at this point I’d only ever been to Dallas, Nashville, and San Francisco (other than choir tours, Boston, and family vacations) but hey, it was all true. And still is - I, now with my boyfriend, love to plan 3-night trips to big cities, pour over hotel reviews to find one closest to city center, and spend tons of money on food and drink. I’m in a different tax bracket now, but I still love a great travel bargain.
Still haven’t taken a tropical vacation! That needs to change soon. Unlike 22 y/o me (or however old I was), 28 y/o me would loooove to lounge on the beach drinking an umbrella drink.
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George Zimmerman was arrested today for “felony aggravated assault with a weapon, misdemeanor battery-domestic violence and criminal mischief.”
Let me be REALLY clear here: I am white, and I am a woman. I am not, in any way, shape, or form, saying that domestic violence isn’t a massive fucking problem. I am not saying that Samantha Scheibe wasn’t absolutely right to fear for her life, call the police, and press charges. I am 100% on Samantha Scheibe’s side—but the point I am making is not about her.
This is a man who, as I’m sure you can all *recite* by now, saw a black teenage boy named Trayvon Martin walking down the street, at which point Zimmerman followed Martin in his car, called the police, stopped his car and got out, taking his loaded gun with him, to follow Martin, and shot him to death. Martin was walking home from the store with Skittles and an iced tea.
Shot him to death. Police couldn’t give a shit. They let him go. You all know the rest of the disgusting story, racist story.
The guy points a gun at a white woman? He’s arrested, booked, and held without bail.
C’mon, FOX News, hold another fundraiser for the guy’s legal expenses!
I DARE YOU.
No one is going to call me an Iron Chef any time soon, but damn I love whipping up on-the-fly dishes with my man. At some point last week, whatever we were having for dinner seemed a little lacking so we made cornbread. Yes, I just have cornstarch laying around.
Dinner this week has been basically seeing what we can do with a Costco rotisserie chicken ($5!) and whatever we have at home. Tuesday it was BBQ chopped salad. Last night it was oven baked nachos with black beans and whatever other toppings we could rustle up. Tonight it was pulled chicken braised with sirracha and bbq sauce, and I pureed sweet potatoes and then threw in whatever ingredients sounded good - maple syrup, butter, and pepper. Then for dessert we had apple slices with cookie butter. It was all so damn delicious and fun to cook on the fly. Best $5 Costco chicken ever.
I went to Seattle three years ago and then again last weekend. This time it was with my exceptional boyfriend. It was my friend’s 30th birthday party and people were coming up from Portland and LA, including a couple who flew in as a surprise. As Helen Chance put it, it was like Rian was having a wedding to himself.
Saturday we headed to LAX for a Virgin America flight. God DAMN, I wish I could take every flight on Virgin. Everything about it was pleasant, even when we missed the boarding call for group A. We landed in Seattle, took the train to downtown, and got picked up by Nick and Heidi. We stopped at Ballard Pizza Co for inaugural Seattle beers, then headed to Nick’s apartment to freshen up and drink. The air felt and smelled amazing. At the appropriate time, we headed to Gainsbourg in Greenwood for the party. The night was an endless parade of hugs, drinks, catching up. When we arrived I fell right into conversation with a high school chum who had moved to Nashville after school but currently resides in Portland. I hadn’t seen him for years - I made a couple trips to Nashville and a friend and I even stayed at his place, but that was 2007. There was so much reminiscing and catching up. Seattle friends came by too, people that I know through Rian and Helen, and as a surprise another couple had also flown in from LA (I knew about it in advance) and it was like a big reunion of past and present, only with people you actually give a damn about. I made Rian play “All My Friends" and we all danced and formed a giant bear hug during the "WHERE ARE YOUR FRIENDS TONIIIIIIIIIIGHT?" It was incredibly late when we were done, and we passed out on the air mattress.
Sunday I’d been talking about a hangover brunch and was happy to get texts from people indicating that they were down for it. We agreed on 11-ish at the Hi-Life and stopped to get coffee at Caffe Fiore. Seven people at brunch, and a pitcher of mimosas helped us all feel a little more human. It was raining, and though there had been talk of Oktoberfest, we all decided to meet back up for happy hour later and go our own ways now. E and I headed to the Experience Music Project, spent a couple hours there and walked around Seattle Center. Then we headed over to the free Olympic Sculpture Garden, and the rain picked up so Nick came and got us, then we all headed to Ray’s Boathouse for happy hour. After a couple of rounds there, we went to Ballard and headed to King’s Hardware, then a forgettable pub called the People’s Pub, then we caught the bus to Rian’s to watch the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad. Nick came and got us and we went back.
The next day was Monday. We got up and took the bus to 3rd and Pike, for our own personal food tour of Pike Place Market. We’d been considering going on an official one, but that was kind of expensive and we figured we could spend less and sample exactly what we wanted to. We ate soooo much. A bagel, a pork sandwich, cherries, flavored honey sticks (which I hadn’t had since childhood and E had never tried), then just outside the market for Beecher’s mac and cheese and Russian piroshki, which I’d never tried or heard of. I observed that it looked very European riiiiight as we turned a corner and noticed a small alley with people sitting in bistro tables. Speaking of Europe. We got ginger beer from a specialty place, then had the clam chowder. After that point we didn’t have a ton else to do before walking about a mile away to the Seattle Underground tour. It was informative, and (as we know) I’m a sucker for tours of any kind. Once we were done there, we caught a bus to Ballard as Heidi wanted to try out her new grill. Probably the funniest thing that happened there was a spontaneous group sing-along of Gotye. “But you didn’t have to CUT ME OFF!” Later we headed to Rian’s DJ gig at Gainsbourg. It was dead, but we enjoyed the low-key atmosphere with some good food and drink. Brittney and I started a small dance party and things wound down, and we headed home.
Tuesday, we had one last brunch at a place in Ballard called Ridgeback. Eight people, seven crepes (and one breakfast burrito). From there, Nick drove us, Rian, and Bradley to the Ballard locks. It was such a goddamn beautiful day, and some nice lady gave us her parking sticker, and we went and saw the fish ladder before bidding the dudes adieu. Nick dropped us off at the light rail and we rode back to Sea-Tac, caught our plane, had to sit separately and I watched a shitload of Modern Family reruns.
Man, what a vacation. There is something great about having that kind of weekend, with so many group hangouts that materialize spontaneously. I never get that at home but it was amazing to have it with people who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like, in a gorgeous city, with my dude.
1. Aggressively anti-choice propaganda
2. Shitty self-promotion - if it’s posting about a show for your band or your gallery opening, that’s one thing. If it’s something for your corporation or whatever pyramid scheme you’re doing, stop.
3. Fitness/diet freaks. Special hat-tip to the people who combine this with #2 on the list and do a fitness-related pyramid scheme.
4. I am bothered that every woman changes her name on Facebook the day after she gets married. You’ve been with a guy four years, you have your own career. Then suddenly you want to be called Mrs? I don’t get it.
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In a weekend that included an AYCD beer crawl downtown, the Breaking Bad season premiere, and some other stuff I can’t write about here, a rock show was the highlight. A show at the Greek Theatre. A show that energized me in a way I don’t think I’ve experienced for a while.
I never gave a damn about The National before my boyfriend and I started dating over two years ago, but they became one of my favorite bands pretty early on. When we saw them at the Hollywood Bowl (2011) they played “Slow Show” and we sighed and leaned in with our heads together and said “This is our song.” (We’ve since changed our minds on account of the weird lyrics/dick reference, but that chorus is still delightful.)
For the Greek show, we got lucky during presale. The “Golden Circle” aka pit tickets. I texted my friend Sareene “We are totally gonna touch Matt Berninger.” It was March with 5 months to go until the show.
When you’re in the pit the Greek, they scan your ticket outside and then you go get a wristband. We got beers (Tecate tall boys) and headed inside to the sounds of openers Daughter. We kept walking closer to the stage, somewhat incredulous that we were… allowed… to be there. The security guys glanced at our wristbands and waved us in. There was room against the barricade, so we stood there. Grinning, looking around at the huge venue, incredulous that we were in the company of so many pretty people and here we were at the front of it.
Sareene asked me what song I “had” to hear them play. I said “Slow Show.” She said “Vanderlyle.”
The show began with a trailer for the documentary “Mistaken for Strangers.” Then they came onstage, one of the Dessner brothers directly in front of us. (I’m a piece of shit.) We were taken on a two-hour journey of amazing music. Here is the setlist along with commentary when applicable:
I Should Live in Salt
Don’t Swallow the Cap
Sea of Love
Afraid of Everyone
* Have you ever experienced shouting the cathartic refrain of “Cause I’mmmmm eeeeeeviiiiiiiiiil” at a large outdoor venue on a beautiful night? You should.
I Need My Girl
* Even though I am a straight woman, I identify with this song. E and I held hands during this one.
This Is the Last Time
Baby, We’ll Be Fine
*I don’t get this song.
* When I heard the opening chords, I got excited. (I have a prenatural ability to know what song a band will play next based on a note or two - always have - so I had to wait for E to catch up). Berninger walked out from behind the mic a few times and during that last refrain “You know I dreamed about you, I missed you for 29 years” - came over and stood in front of us. Looked at us holding hands over the barricade and sang to us. Sareene nudged me. It was awesome.
* Berninger came back over. I was singing along.
*Berninger walked in front of us along the barricade and we all copped a feel (of his shin/arm/whatever). I love it when artists do that.
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks
* Acoustic audience sing-along. I made eye contact with whichever Dessner was in front of us and we both grinned. It was a perfect ending.
Forgot to mention that we saw the Dessners and their wives milling around before the show. Out like normal people.
Anyway. I’m getting to this age. 28. Which is kind of close to 30. Which is an age where I always pictured myself not caring as much about music, or at least making a change in the way I experienced live music. The Hollywood Bowl, Disney Hall, even the seated section of the Greek - that was fine, but “shows”? I thought I’d be done with it at a certain point. I definitely don’t go to as many concerts as I did, say, in college or right out of college when I had friends playing in Echo Park every weekend, but I haven’t stopped giving a damn about going to shows. Sometimes the energy is a lot different now. I have less patience for drunk/loud idiots; I complain about staying up too late or having to stand. I will say that the chances of me going out to a show at 10pm on a Tuesday - things I did easily a few years ago - are remote at best, unless it’s something incredible.
But. The teenage punk girl who loved mosh pits? The person who used Livejournal to score tickets to the Arcade Fire’s 2nd ever LA gig in 2005, and who used it again to meet up with a stranger and trade Radiohead tickets in 2006? Who saw Slint in 2007 and then didn’t listen to them for months out of respect for the show? Who kept a list of every concert she went to for years including an elaborate rating/ranking system? Who’s now seen multiplatinum rappers at Staples AND the departed D.C. band Supersystem play to 14 people at the Middle East upstairs in Cambridge MA? That person is still me. I still have all that excitement and enthusiasm and energy when I see live music, and it just takes a talented band to shake it out of me. Because I’d forgotten what it’s like to be high for days after a show.
Thank you, National.
picture by me.
You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart.
(on a sidenote, this was one of my karaoke jams. One time this dude was my Courtney Cox backup dancer. I encouraged it. I’m to blame.)
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Have I ever really helped anybody but myself? To believe in the power of songs. To believe in the power of girls. Though the point we’re making is gone, played stripped down to my bone.
I’ll shut up and carry on. A scream becomes a yawn.
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You asked “Can we keep her?”
I said “What kind of man would I be?”
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I wrote this for normal people who want to go to Coachella. Not starlets who are rolling VIP and whose sole involvement in the festival is watching the headliner from backstage while swilling a vodka cran and texting. Not party people who never leave their Palm Springs hotels. This is for the music fan who is probably a little bit sensible. The one who’s a little bit anxious. Maybe you’re in college and have always wanted to go. Maybe you went a few years ago. Hell, maybe your kids want to go and you want to take them. You want to see some good music and have a kick-ass experience, but you don’t know how you’re going to survive or what it’s going to be like.
I’m 28 with a full-time job and grownup responsibilities. 2013 will be my 8th Coachella. My way ain’t for everyone - some people drop E at 9:00 am and spend the day dancing in the Sahara. I’ve been neighbors with those people. They’re great, but that is just not who I am. I want to see great music, make friends, have stories to tall - and I want to remember it. This is how I’ve made it work for 7 years.
I carry a Ziploc bag with some essentials – sunscreen, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, Advil, moleskins, baby powder, and mini TPs. Those mini TPs are a godsend if you can find them (look in the travel section of Target or a drugstore). Just knowing that you’re always covered regardless of what porta potty you step into is awesome.
You need a towel. YOU NEED A TOWEL. You can sit on it, dip it in water, dry off your hands, use it as a blanket or pillow - the options are endless.
Keep applying sunscreen throughout the day. You know that already.
Finally, be good to yourself. There will be some times when you’re so exhausted that you just want to sit down with a frozen lemonade and not move for a couple of hours. You might feel pathetic, but let yourself do that if it’ll help you feel better. Coachella isn’t the time to have a mentality about what you “should” be doing.
*Unless you’re missing the Postal Service. In which case, you monster. Stand up and power through it.
Coachella is uncomfortable for everyone. Maybe not for the people who show up at night wearing black leather. But everyone who shows up while the sun is out will be uncomfortable.
Your best bet is to wear something breathable, lightweight, and light in color. In real life I favor black, red, and brown, but in real life I also don’t have the sun beating down on me for 14 hours. A long dress is ideal because you can move freely in it, and it’ll keep your legs covered when you sit down cross-legged. I’ve also worn gym shorts and graphic tees or tanks. Shoe-wise, some people swear by flip flops but I tend to go for sneakers (double up on socks or use insoles for extra support) or ankle boots.
One thing that the dudes have been doing for years is wearing a bandana around the neck. I’ve finally seen ladies starting to do the same, and it’s a lifesaver. You can and should soak the bandana in water as much as possible to keep your neck cool and protected from the sun.
A hat is another no-brainer. Do it and you’ll have shade wherever you go.
On the purse front, scholars have debated about this for years. At normal shows, I carry only the necessary items in my pockets, bra, or boyfriend’s pocket. However, this is Coachella where I’m some sick hybrid of Inspector Gadget, MacGyver, and Mary Poppins. I’ve previously mentioned the big Ziploc full of supplies. Add to that a wallet, cell phone, camera, and bottle of water, and that’s definitely more than you can haul on your person without the aid of a bag. I usually rock a huge bag that I should have thrown out years ago but save exclusively for Coachella each year. It’s not super comfortable, but I like having all of my creature comforts at my side each day.
There’s also the option of renting a locker if you can get to it before they sell out. Plenty of people swear by this, though I’ve never done it myself. If you’re buying a lot of merch, or will want a sweater for later in the evening, you should do this.
FOOD AND DRINK
It helps to have a plan. When you’re on the field with a dizzying array of entertainment options in front of you, you can easily forget to eat in all the excitement (or worse, realize mid-set that you are going to die instantly if you don’t get food immediately). Plan meal breaks during set changes or when there’s nothing else going on.
Coachella has a myriad of food options and there will be something for everyone. I am a fan of lean protein with carbs, like Mediterranean wraps or teriyaki bowls. I love Spicy Pie and never have a bad reaction to it, but I can’t in good conscience “recommend” that anyone else eat it. Oh, and for breakfast one day last year my boyfriend had some sort of bowl concoction with bacon, potatoes, eggs, and god knows what else. Yikes. Ordering that while drunk in the Jack in the Box drive-thru I could see, but at a festival in 100 degree heat? Didn’t seem smart to me.
You should drink as much water as possible throughout the day, multiple bottles if you’re marathoning several sets in a row. Frozen lemonade and date shakes should be purchased in the afternoon when the sun is at its most merciless. Finally, never purchase only one bottle of water at a time. Get two, just in case.
I’m not going to get into this here, since there’s no way I could cover everything you need to know. The Camping section of the messageboard is a great place to get information and ask questions. As a camping veteran, the only words of wisdom I have are to bring shade. Seriously, you cannot go without some sort of EZ-up.
Take advantage of the things that are available to you. On Day 1, do a walk-through and be aware of every shaded space, cool down zone, and corporate tent. Know where the bathrooms, beer gardens, and charging stations are. I’ve seen tons of people crowded around charging stations when next door, one of the air-conditioned corporate tents had their own charging area which no one knew about.
Don’t be a jerk. Most people at Coachella are really cool. Don’t mess it up.
Re substances, PLEASE don’t pick Coachella as your first time to try a drug. Know your limits and don’t overdo it. You want to remember the experience, right?
Try to have a good attitude. In the days before Coachella, you might have a sense of anxiety. Just trust me that once you get there, the good vibes will wash over you and you’ll be filled with excitement. Some stretches of time will pass and you may feel bored, exhausted, or overheated for parts of it, but I promise you that on Sunday night as you exit in the crush of people, you’ll be so sad it’s over and you’ll miss it so much.
2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
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