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I’ve been noticing very recently that it’s much easier for me to clump all of my thoughts into lists. I enjoy shortening my thoughts & ideas into short blurbs, rather than write while whole posts about nothing. I’m not that clever. Hey, I’m not Jerry Seinfeld. (*chuckles*)
- I love apples. Fuji apples are my favorite type of apples, but I especially love them when they are cold, crisp, & juicy. Yeah, I love to eat juicy apples. I’ve been eating apples more often lately, mostly because my mom likes to use apples as a food offering to her Buddhist shrine whenever she says her Buddhist prayers. We always have a good amount of apples in our kitchen leftover from my mom’s weekly prayer offerings. I especially enjoy eating the apples after my mom has already used them as an offering to her mini Buddhist shrine. I kind of feel like the apples have been blessed by the Buddhist statues after they’ve had their share, which to me, makes them taste even sweeter.
- Piggy-backing off the previous bullet point, I don’t think I’m a strict, devout Buddhist. My mom isn’t really one either. Well, she’s more of a semi-devout Buddhist. She performs many rituals & prayers to her carefully displayed shrine in our home. She even believes in the power & energy of carefully selected Buddhist relics. However, she does not regularly visit a temple or celebrate much of yer Buddhist holidays. I kind of, sort of loosely follow the parts of Buddhism my mom teaches me that is important to our family. Like my mom, I say a few prayers, I light incense, I provide offerings to our home shrine, but I don’t do much other important or significant rituals associated with it. I wouldn’t call myself devout to any one religion. My mom grew up in a strict Christian family before she converted to Buddhism along with her siblings. My dad was raised Catholic through & through…even going so far as to sign up for the priesthood, before dropping out to get married early & start a family. Neither of them pushed any sort of religion on any of their children, but I’ve been loosely following a few customs of the Buddhist religion because it interests me & brings me closer to my mom.
- I have an easier time writing my blog posts when I’m at my local big box coffee shop. Today I’m writing in a different coffee shop location. I hate this location, but at least it gives me a change of scenery from the coffee shop down the street from my house. The coffee shop I’m sitting at is right next to a high school. Once school lets out, all of the super annoying teenagers come swarming in to get their stupid frappy, iced berry, sugary sweet drinks. They come in packs & annoy the masses with their obnoxious jibber-jabber. Like I said, I hate coming to this location because it’s always crowded with annoying teenagers, but I need a change of scenery from my usual blog writing place. At least this place is still very close by to my house, & the baristas here don’t muck up my order. At the big box coffee shop next to my house, the only thing they get right is the spelling of my name on the cup. Other than that, they’re always forgetting one thing or another, like forgetting my drink altogether, or forgetting my food order until I’ve been standing at the counter for well over 5 minutes. The baristas always apologize for the mistake, & always mention that they recognize me as a regular customer, but every time I go there, they always treat me like I’m a stranger, even when it’s the same barista serving me a few days in a row.
- I’m so incredibly excited, chuffed to bits, to be going to London next month. I wish I could speed up the date of my departure, but I also don’t want time to pass by so fast. Jian & I have been almost meticulously planning out all of the things we want to do & places we want to eat at or drink a cocktail at, but we also want to let things happen naturally. Before most of our major vacations, we tend to carefully plan out all the little details of our itinerary, but more often than not we end up doing things spontaneously, like on the fly. We talk & talk & talk, make up spreadsheets & checklists, I make up little travel scrapbooks (with my amateur Photoshop skills), but mostly make up stuff as we go along our trips. I guess that’s the fun part, finding lots of random, local things that isn’t written in some stuffy, glossy guide book. Everyday our list of things to do & eat grows & grows. We only have 7 days to explore London, & we want to make the most of our time there. I want this adventure to begin, but not to end too soon.
- In a couple of weeks I’m going to a concert I’d never imagine going to for a second time in my life. My all-time favorite band, SAVE FERRIS, has reunited after nearly 20 years & is coming back with a vengeance, releasing a brand new album & doing a U.S. promo tour. SAVE FERRIS was the very first band I ever saw in concert back in 1998. They were performing in a relatively small music venue alongside a very new, not-so-well-known band called Incubus, who was merely the opening act for SAVE FERRIS. Also co-headlining the concert was my other favorite band Goldfinger. That concert changed my life. I had told my parents I was having a sleepover at a friend’s house, & since she lived on my street & my parents were cool with her parents, they totally bought it. Luckily for my friends & I, the parents of the friend were totally easy-going & cool & allowed us to stay out late for a concert. I was so obsessed with SAVE FERRIS that I got a fully autographed poster & a concert tee which I wore almost every day. One time my cousin went to one of their concerts too & was able to get the bassist of the band to write me a birthday greeting on a piece of paper which I framed & kept next to my bed. I’ve got all this memorabilia tucked away somewhere in the far outer reaches of my storage closet, & one day I might take it out to reminisce. For now, I’m going to enjoy this upcoming concert, listening to songs new & old. I never really thought I’d ever see this band in concert more than once, but I was able to see them perform at the Van’s Warped Tour that same year back in 1998. Seeing them live for a third time in my life is just blowing my mind away. I can’t wait!!
Today’s song of the day:
“Wasting Time” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
I completely forgot that today was Halloween. I had been thinking about this holiday over the past few days, & I was even debating on wether or not I should wear a costume. One thing leads to another, & the thought had entirely slipped my mind. It wasn’t until I was out spending the day in The City with my mom & Jian that it finally dawned on me. I had seen a few people dressed up in costumes at the barbecue restaurant we ate lunch at. At first I was a little confused, but it slowly crept into my mind that it’s Halloween. All week long, we had been worried that we didn’t stock up on enough candy for the Trick-Or-Treating children in our neighborhood, but we weren’t even home the entire day; so we never even got a chance to pass out a single piece of sugary goodness. It was fun seeing so many little children in The City dressed up in costumes. The best costume I saw was this little girl being pushed by her mom in a stroller. The little girl was dressed as Vanelope von Schweetz from the movie Wreck-It Ralph. Her stroller was decorated to look exactly like the candy race car from the movie, complete with working lights & music that played every time the stroller moved. The mom was dressed as the princess, the dad dressed as Wreck-It Ralph, & the big brother dressed as Fix-It Felix…all characters from the movie. It was so creative.
So, Halloween came & went uneventfully for me. I didn’t get any candy (I don’t really like to eat candy anyway). However, I did get a pair of holiday rock concert tickets. One of my local radio stations puts on an annual winter holiday concert called “Not So Silent Night“. Every year I think about getting tickets, but one of two things always comes up: 1. I don’t want to go by myself & most of my friends flake out on me, or 2. I am not interested in the bands performing. This year, I bit the bullet & bought tickets. I will be going with Jian, & I’m pretty stoked about the band lineup. This will be the second time this year that I will be seeing WEEZER live in concert. I am the most excited about that. There are other bands that I’m also excited to see in concert for the first time, like: Death Cab For Cutie, Chvrches, Bastille, & X Ambassadors. There are two other bands & artists performing at this concert (Silversun Pickups & Halsey), but I’m not interested in seeing them as much as the other bands. I’m still super excited to be going to yet another concert this year. I’m currently trying to convince Jian to go with me to see CAKE in concert for New Year’s Eve. He doesn’t really know much about this band except that their song “Short Skirt /Long Jacket” was used as the theme song for his favorite TV show “Chuck” (starring Zachary Levi).
Ok, so enough about concerts. Let’s talk about pillows! What a great topic, pillows!! Yes, I am pumped up about pillows. I just got a new set of pillows for my bed, & I am so in love with them. Just in this year alone, I’ve probably gone through at least four different pillows. None of them gave me good neck & shoulder support, or kept their generic shape. I was growing increasingly frustrated with my lack of good quality sleep & my stiff neck. That was the case until I found my perfect pillows. These pillows have just the perfect amount of firmness & fluffiness. They retain their shape very well, & they support my neck & shoulders so well. I have been getting such restful nights of sleep that for the past few days I’ve been going to bed early & waking up an hour before my alarm clock rings. My pillows are so comfortable that I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning because I just want to lay on them a few minutes more. I admit, I am enjoying snuggling my pillows in the morning. They make me so happy. I think I am going to “test” my pillows again…Cheers!
Today’s song of the day:
“What You Know” by Two Door Cinema Club
So last week I finally went to the Bramdon Flowers concert. I had purchased the tickets months in advance, so the anticipation was making me antsy & excited. Since I’ve only seen Brandon Flowers perform with his band The Killers, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect stage performance-wise. I knew he was going to sing songs from his two released solo albums Flamingo & The Desired Effect, & I had a feeling he would perform a few of his band’s hit songs just to ramp up the crowd’s attention. I never knew I could admire him so much as an artist & a songwriter.
Brandon Flowers really knows how to engage his audience & fans. He really made us feel like we were all one big group of longtime friends who haven’t seen each other in a while. He took the time to explain a few of his songs, likes how the inspiration behind the song Magdalena came after experiencing a spiritual Mexican festival focused on musical celebrations. The entire audience erupted in rowdy cheers when he asked the question “Do you think he’s innocent or guilty?” then proceeded to perform a spirited rendition of Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.
The theater of the concert was pretty small, but it didn’t feel small until I got to my seat. I was sitting quite high up in the second tier balcony section. Yes I could easily see everything on the stage, but it was hard to get a clear view of the Brandon & band. It was difficult to spot Brandon, but that was because the stage lighting was so bright & harsh, so he was constantly being overshadowed by the set lights.
I try not to take too many photos or videos during concerts anyway, so I didn’t bother taking good quality photos of Brandon.
After the concert, Jian complained that the acoustics & the sound in the theater was not that great, but I didn’t think of it one bit. I was too busy enjoying the atmosphere, the music, & dancing in my seat. I was clapping so hard the entire time that I actually made a small bruise form on the palm of my hand. I didn’t even notice it until I got home & was in the shower, then I saw the purple & blue spot on my palm. It didn’t hurt at all, but that’s how I knew I had such a blast…being so enthusiastic. I absolutely enjoyed the mix of songs from both of Brandon Flowers’ solo albums (more songs from The Desired Effect than Flamingo), & peppered inbetween were a few of The Killers’ songs as well.
I had such an amazing time at the Brandon Flowers concert. It kind of made me wish I could go to a Killers concert some day. I’ve only ever seen The Killers perform at music festivals, so I’d like to go to one of their standalone concerts. Well, next month I’m going to yet another concert (at the same venue no less!). This time I’m going to see Franz Ferdinand perform with Sparks & debuting their hybrid group called FFS. I’m so excited to see my favorite Scottish band in concert!! I can’t wait. This is going to be the year of concerts for me, even though I am super bummed out that I missed Outside Lands this year, but there’s still more of 2015 yet to come. Cheers!
Today’s song of the day:
“Still Want You” by Brandon Flowers
I don’t know why I waited so long to watch Weezer in concert, but I finally did it. It was truly a night to remember. I don’t know what I was supposed to expect, but this concert was everything I dreamed of & more. I know lead band member Rivers Cuomo is a pretty quirky & mostly reserved guy, but I feel like he “let his hair down” a bit that night & let loose…about as much as he was willing to. I overheard a lot of fan feedback
complaining, lamenting saying that the concert was too short. I thought it was just right, yet I can see how the concert would be perceived as short, with no breaks In between playing songs & not much talking/messing around between the songs & instrument changes. It almost felt like they just breezed through their greatest hits & sprinkled in a few songs from their new album as though they were in a hurry to get to someplace else. However, I quite liked the no-nonsense pace of the concert. Don’t get me wrong…I am not cool with all-business-no-pleasure, but I also don’t like when a band veers too much off track or takes too long to set up between songs/sets. Everything was packaged neatly with a nice Pink(erton) bow.
There were two opening bands before Weezer took the stage as the headlining act. The first band was Young Rising Sons. Before this concert, I’ve only heard one of their songs on the radio: “High“. Normally at concerts, I don’t really pay attention to the opening acts, but I quite liked this band. They reminded me of a catchier, pop-ier version of The Black Keys. I’m not going to lie. I was first drawn into their music by the attractiveness of the lead singer Andy Tongren & the clothing fashion of lead guitarist Dylan Scott. I also liked their music.
The second band to perform was Kongos. You may have heard them on the radio with songs such as “Come With Me Now“. I don’t have much to say about this particular band, as I am not attracted to their music in any way. I’m sorry, but this band just doesn’t get my motor running…even if they do have a cool accordionist. Also, I just couldn’t get over the lead singer Daniel not wearing any shoes & traipsing around the stage barefoot. The only thing I could think about during this set was “I hope he doesn’t step on anything sharp,” & “I hope he doesn’t get into a bed with white sheets later tonight, lest he leave black footprints everywhere in the bed.” Yes, those were very bizarre things to think about during a concert, but nevertheless I was thinking them. I’m not a germaphobe per se, but dirty feet, well actually feet in general, gross me out pretty seriously. That’s why I think I’d be a terrible nudist.
Finally, let’s get on with the good stuff…WEEZER! Yeah, the band members were all pretty chill & AWESOME. They started their set right away with their oldie-but-a-goodie My Name Is Jonas & shut down the house with their extremely popular song Buddy Holly. In between they performed the following songs (in no particular order): Perfect Situation, Beverly Hills, (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To, Undone (The Sweater Song), Say It Ain’t So, Island In The Sun, Pork and Beans, Dope Nose, Hash Pipe. Weezer also performed two new songs from their new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End. I can’t remember the exact song titles, but I believe one was “Ain’t Got Nobody”, & the other was “Go Away”. This was the first time both of those new songs were performed live. Aside from Rivers Cuomo changing up a few lyrics here and there to cater to the audience, there was not a whole lot of playfulness from the band. Only two instances stand out in my mind. One: when a fan rushed onto the stage & danced around a bit before the security got a hold of him & escorted him off stage. Rivers made a few jokes about that guy joining the Olympic track team. Second: when Rivers was introducing the other band members in the middle of the song “Pork and Beans” & he got them each to continue singing the rest of the lyrics as he introduced them one-by-one. Other than that, he made a quick reference to Weezer’s latest album “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” & how it’s available on iTunes. Yes, the set was short but sweet. Most of their greatest hits were performed, with the exception of a few true gems (i.e. El Scorcho, The World Has Turned and Left Me Here, Keep Fishin’, Troublemakeretc.). Yet, I feel they pretty much covered all the bases & did a job well done. I can only just begin to believe that I was in the presence of greatness & legend that night. Cheers!
Almost immediately after returning from Portland, OR (I will write about that trip shortly) I was whisked away to San Francisco’s annual music festival Outside Lands, held over 3-days in Golden Gate Park. This wasn’t really a planned event; I kind of planned all of this at the very last minute. My travel companion & I wanted to go to Outside Lands ever since we saw the music lineup for this year, but we were very skeptical to shell out big bucks for tickets, since we were originally planning a vacation to New York & needed to save our moola for that massive expense. So, we decided at the beginning, on not buying tickets. Plus, there was a small discrepancy on which tickets to get. My concert buddy only wanted to go for one day, & I wanted to go all three days. My concert buddy only wanted to watch The Killers on stage, but for me, there were so many other bands/artists I wanted to watch perform (ie. Arctic Monkeys, Bleachers, Capital Cities, Grouplove, Death Cab For Cutie, & my secret love…Big Freedia).
Ok, back to the original topic, my re-cap. I was really quite impressed with the way the event planners handled the whole festival. Everything was well-organized & clearly marked (I was expecting massive queuing lines & disgruntled concert-goers), except I wish they had done better bag checks because too many people were able to just waltz right in with their own alcohol & party drugs without one single staff member even batting an eye. I think what surprised me the most was 1. The very short lines to the Port-o-Potty bathrooms & 2. Everybody from the shins down was covered in dust & dirt from kicking up all the soft earth while walking on the unpaved footpaths. (I felt like I was camping like I used to do when I was a kid.) What surprised me the least was there was no TP in any of the stalls…oh & girls dressed in skimpy outfits.
Proper WOMEN’S attire for Outside Lands:
cut-off denim booty shorts, slouchy vintage t-shirt, boyfriend-style plaid shirt (to show off how grunge &/or bohemian you are), ankle boots, Ray-Ban wayfarer &/or aviator sunglasses, plenty of unnecessary jewelry (that says I’m trying way too hard to be girly AND edgy) & pasted-on makeup.
Proper MEN’S attire for Outside Lands:
vintage/graphic t-shirt or tank top, chino pants, Van’s sneakers, Ray-Ban wayfarer &/or aviator sunglasses & a haven’t-washed-my-hair-in-weeks hairstyle.
Other than the music (obviously), I loved all of the food & activities at the festival. Oh my stars! I could just spend an entire day sampling all of the food from each of the food stalls…So. Mouthwatering. Good. (I’m getting hungry just thinking back on all the food!) FYI, to eat I had the pork fried rice from Chino, beer-braised chicken soft tacosfrom Tacolicious, & a cheese tamale from Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas. To drink, I had lemonade, Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale beer, Bulleit Bourbon manhattan cocktail, & Coke.
One of the highlights of my entire music festival experience was the charcuterie break dance-off. Yes, you heard it here first…a break dancing dance-off featuring two butchers from 2 local charcuterie/butcher shops. The break dancers would dance at the front of the small stage while in the background, the butchers were chopping & slicing up a whole pig. The day’s guest butchers were from Fatted Calf Charcuterie & Avedano’s Holly Park Market, both from San Francisco. This, by far, was the most weird yet interesting live events going on at the festival. I had so much fun watching this. The most fun part was watching the butchers carefully hacking up a pig’s head. The break dancers weren’t so bad either. At the end of the show, all of the pork cuts that had been made on stage were not going to be wasted. They were going to be used to feed all of the volunteer staff (the guys picking up trash, passing out maps, etc.).
Now on to the music…Various artists & bands were performing on stage throughout the entire day, but the main event we were there to watch did not go on stage until the end of the night. So, we mostly wandered around the park for most of the day, soaking up the enormity of the festival. We got ⅓ of the way up to the stage just in time to watch THE FLAMING LIPS perform right before our favorite band THE KILLERS shut the house down. I’ve known of The Flaming Lips for many years, but am not really a fan of their soft, ambient rock music. Let me just start this off by saying Wayne Coyne is pure magic. He is also full of rainbows & sunshine, literally. No, I’m not joking, he invited a number of costume-clad guests up on stage during his set (including, a grassy hilltop with a rainbow-haired woman lying inside & peeking out of it, a 2-person manned rainbow, butterflies, a giant sun, 2 mushrooms, an alien, & I can’t think of the rest). I didn’t quite “get” Wayne’s outfit, a flesh & muscle depicted bodysuit that made him look like a character from the Attack On Titan anime with silver string tassels hanging from the crotch like a Japanese fundoshi (loin cloth). I enjoyed this set. I only recognized two of the songs they played, but I was still captivated by the eclectic stage show & Wayne really knew how to engage the crowd. However, I spent a fair amount of time trying to explain this band to my concert buddy who didn’t know who The Flaming Lips were at all & didn’t take a liking to their more Avant-Garde approach to music.
I’ve seen The Killers in concert before, but somehow this performance was so much more high energy & exciting for me. Maybe it was because the moment had finally arrived, & I was ready to get the show on the road. It was such a relief when the lights turned down & the band ascended the stage. I truly believe the light show nearly stole the spotlight from Brandon Flowers (who killed it on vocals, by the way). You could tell that the light show was an homage to their Las Vegas roots, a bit of a nod to the flashy Vegas Strip. One of the things I love the most about The Killers, other than their strong family values & bonds, is their love for their hometown. In a lot of their songs lyrics or album cover art, you will notice the tongue-in-cheek homage to Las Vegas, at once making fun of the touristy glitz & honoring their beloved city all at the same time. This set was particularly memorable for me (as well as for my concert buddy) since it was more like a Direct Hits (<—a nod to their CD’s name) set list.
The Killers played all of their hit songs & then some, really amping up the crowd between the lighting choreography changes. I don’t think I have ever sang along or screamed so loud at a concert in my life (except at the Save Ferris concert back in 1998). It was a good thing I had a drink with me the whole time, otherwise I would’ve lost my voice by the end of the night. I have to admit, the greatest moments of The Killers’ set (& there were 2 separate moments) were when they performed two cover songs in between playing their own hits. They first performed a cover of Credence Clearwater Revival‘s song “Bad Moon Rising” (a nod to a classic Bay Area band). Then later on, they performed a slightly altered cover of Otis Redding‘s song “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” (which is a song about San Francisco). They changed the lyrics “…home in Georgia” to “…home in Las Vegas” and the lyrics “…heading to the ‘Frisco Bay” to “…heading to Outside Lands“. Those two moments really stood out in my memory. The Vegas boys started their set with the oh-so-popular “Mr. Brightside” & ended on a roaring bang with “When You Were Young”. In between were a sprinkling of Hot Fuss, Sam’s Town, Day & Age, & Battle Born top hits. I kind of wish they had played their newest singles “Miss Atomic Bomb” and “Just Another Girl”, but I was still happy they performed almost all of my all-time favorite songs. By the end of their set, I was grinning from ear-to-ear.
In the end, I was exhausted & very sweaty from A. the whole day’s exertions (did I mention we parked 10 blocks away from the venue?), & B. people pushing
shoving you just to get 1 inch closer to the stage (with lame excuses like, they have to meet their “friends” at the front of the stage). There was absolutely NO space for anybody to move even half an inch, but you’d still get pushed & squeezed in every direction. I can’t tell you how many times I got jabbed or groped by someone’s elbow or backpack right in the chest, or how many times my feet got stomped on ( practically steamrolled right over my feet). I was, in the most extreme way possible, harshly shoved, squeezed & quite frankly barreled over by the most rudest concert-goers I’ve ever encountered in my life, & trust me…I’ve been inside a rowdy mosh pit at the Van’s Warped Tour back in the late 90s when there weren’t so many laws against trampling over people at concerts. The event staff was great at policing the kids who thought it would be cool to sneak in a water bottle filled with tequila, or catching cheapskates not wanting to buy full-tilt cocktails at the festival & sneaking in bum-sized bottles of Fireball whiskey (which tastes appalling, in my opinion). They were also good at catching kids trying to hop fences & bum-rush the stage, but other than that, nobody could police the courtesy, civility or manners of the general concert-going population. While as patiently as humanly possible in that situation waiting for The Killers’ set to start, all I could hear around me were smug talks of the last time that person tripped out on ecstasy (more affectionately known as “Molly”, a word made popular by the incorrigible Miley Cyrus) or of all the marijuana smoking going around. It made me sick to my stomach, that these kids would try to glamorize the copious & very public use of “Molly” and “Mary Jane”.
One of the main reasons people were being so unbearably rude at the music festival was because they were either highly intoxicated on drugs, alcohol, or both…on that day, it was both. Aside from all of my ranting & hollering about the rudeness of the people, I would definitely go back to Outside Lands next year. Although, I will bring some sort of non-weaponized stick next time, so I can poke others in their butts if they try to cop-a-feel. Eh, maybe not. Cheers.