Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Plan

There will be a three month delay in the plan and a few other minor changes. A few of you already know that. A few more of you have a clue as to what I am talking about. The rest of you just wish I would get on with the explanation already. Well here goes.

For a while now Melissa and I have had this idea to move back to New Orleans. Sure we had no idea what we would do once we got there, but that was a bridge we would cross when we came to it. Before we moved home, we would quit our jobs, sell our house, put our belongings in storage, and tour Europe for three weeks. After the European Vacation, we would then take a road trip to visit people we hadn't seen in a while, mostly the Vaths and the Greys. All of it was theoretical of course, but though the plan slightly scared us, we liked it.

Then, in the words of Chris Rose, The Thing happened.

A few months later, Melissa and I decided to implement the plan in spite of, of perhaps because of, what had happened. Plane tickets were purchased. Handyman work was done. Meetings were held with Realtors. The house was even staged in preparation for going on the market. And then, we took a step back and wondered if things were moving too fast.

Why was the plan for Memorial Day? Did that timing still make sense? We both looked at our current work situations and talked to our parents about New Orleans and decided that a delay of about three months would be a good idea. It was a tough decision since in my head for some reason moving the date once makes it seem movable again, but that is what we decided.

The plan now has us vacationing in Europe in September with me taking actual vacation from work while we are there, and then moving back to New Orleans sometime after the trip as housing and jobs line up.

Any questions?

Monday, April 24, 2006

It's good to have you back again

It's a cool 72.9 degrees inside the house right now, even though it's around 80 degrees outside. You might think that's a waste of electricity, but when you've been without AC for three weeks, it's nice to be cold. Yes that's right no AC. Oh and last week the highs were right around 100. Thank God Jerry has a spare bedroom. Hopefully when we go to sell the house someone will value a new air conditioner, cause man those things aren't cheap. Anyway, as you can tell by the temp, its working just fine. And its a much higher efficiency unit so it'll pay for itself in oh say ten years or so. They have to come back next week to replace some ductwork and blow in some more insulation in the attic. Sure that didn't need to be done, but with the rebates from Austin Energy, it seemed like a good idea. We really do have a good electric company here in Austin, well except for the those rolling blackouts. Whatcha gonna do?

Friday, April 07, 2006

my wife loves rock stars

Saturday, March 18th – Night shows

Like I said before, I have been waiting for this night since the first line up of SXSW was announced in January. That is because Dashboard Confessional is playing at the AMH. Oh, how I love this band. More like how I love the lead singer. He is just hot. Sorry, Chad, but I think you already knew this. More on DC later. I get back to the house and Chad suggests we eat at Rudy’s. We call all the peeps and they suggest Pok-E-Joe’s. That sounds just as good to me. I haven’t had a hot meal in 3 days. We head over there to meet Taylor, Carrie, and Jerry. In the middle of the restaurant, they are showing the LSU basketball game. Yep, I forget March Madness coincides with SX. The good news is LSU wins!! GEAUX TIGERS!! As we are sitting at dinner, Taylor asks me who I am going to see. I tell him I am not sure at first, but I definitely want to see Dashboard Confessional. He tells me to enjoy the crowd of 16 years olds, and he is absolutely right. This venue will be filled with teenagers. Hmmm, maybe I should go see someone else. I have seen DC before, at ACL ’04. But it was a quick set and I was sitting so far away. Well, I have the entire show list for the night in my purse so I can quickly refer to if I want to go somewhere else. I see on the schedule She Wants Revenge and We Are Scientists are playing at Fox and Hound starting at midnight. Now, that would be a great show to see. I’ll think about it as the night goes on. So, after dinner, I get up to leave around 7:30. Chad tells me goodbye and to “come home tonight.” The entire time of SX I call him every so often to let him know where I am and when I am coming home. If it is 4 am and I am not home, you can then start to panic. That is our agreement. When he says come home, I know he means don’t meet a dark haired, tattooed guitarist who sings emo and run away with him. I promise not too! :)

I get down to the AMH around 8 pm. There is no line outside, so I just walk in with no wait. Well, there are barely any people there. As Taylor would guess, about a handful of teenagers are standing around. I am so glad I rushed down here. I hang out for a bit and then sit down on the ground in groups. Ok, I can’t stay here til 12:30. I will be so bored. There has to be another group around I can go see. I pull out my schedule and my map. The Fox and Hound is just a few blocks from here. I decide to walk over there and check out the showcase. There is band playing called Whirlwind Heat. They look like they are about 12 years old. Three guys, dressed alike, singing rock and roll. I am under a tent at Fox and Hound. You are not inside the venue. It is cold and windy so I don’t think I can stay here all night unless I start drinking. I don’t want to drink too much because I want to be able to pay attention to the bands and be able to drive myself home later that night. The weather is cold and rainy. Standing under the tent, I am not sure how long I can hold up. The band is not that great. They sing a song called “Donating Sperm.” Um, maybe I should leave this place. I wait until they finish their set and then decide to leave. Now, where should I go? Luckily, I have the entire schedule in my purse! I am on the very end of 6th street, so getting to most of the bars is quite a walk. I don’t want to go to far away since I want to be back at the AMH for the final show. I realize I am 2 blocks from La Zona Rosa. I check out that line-up and it looks pretty good. Morningwood, The Stills, Lady Sovereign and Ghostface Killah are playing the rest of the night. I decide to catch Morningwood and the Stills sets. I get to LZR and actually walk right in, no waiting in line. That is a good sign. It seems the last band just finished so most of the crowd thinned out to go to another venue. There is still a good number of people in the place. LZR is a music hall, so it is much larger than a bar and can hold more people. I hang out in the back waiting for the band to come on. I have never seen or heard much music from Morningwood. They have played a few showcases during the day this week, so they must be popular with the crowd. As we stand around, verizon has tv screens by the stage that are advertising people to send text messages to a specific number and it will be shown on that screen to the whole bar. A few pictures are shown and so are some text messages. My favorite one is “Yes Ben Gibbard, I will marry you!” That one made me laugh. Finally, the band starts around 10 pm. Morningwood is three guys and one female lead singer. This lead singer, she is CRAZY!! I mean, CRAZY!! She is bounding from one end of the stage to the next, screaming at fans, telling dirty jokes and swearing like a sailor. She tells the crowd that they have been the house band of SXSW because this was their 4th show in 4 days. Wow! Their music is a pop rock sound, and she is very entertaining. She has cheerleading props she uses during certain songs. During the set, she tells her tour manager to find her a nice piece of a** to bring on stage. So, I assume she means a guy. Well, I was wrong. She tells the crowd, “Hey Texas! You know what time it is? It’s naked time!” Then she pulls this tiny woman on stage to dance with her. When I say dance, I mean strip and grope. (Jerry, I thought of you the entire time) The lead singer (I never did learn her name), starts taking off this girls’ clothes. The shirt comes off and she is standing on stage in her bra and pants. So, the lead singer just starts groping her boobs, putting her face in them, the whole deal. Wow, I have never seen this before. Now, the song she is singing is called “Take off all your clothes.” I guess it was appropriate for the girl to take off her clothes. She tried to get people in the crowd to strip as well. There was no nudity on stage and I did not take any pictures. It would have made me feel dirty! After that song, she starts telling all the guys in the crowd, “Yeah, I touched her tits!” Nice, it seems she has no problem with that. Well, that was the most entertaining set I had seen the entire time! If anyone gets a chance to see Morningwood, you have just been warned! I think another interesting fact about that show is that no one under 25 was in the place. It was all a bunch of older adults!

Now, onto the Stills. They are a band from Quebec. They didn’t rock out like Morningwood did. Their music is ok, not like the Arcade Fire, my favorite Canadian Band. For one song, the lead singer of Metric came onstage and did a duet. She had just learned the song the night before, so she kept a piece of paper with the words on it in her hand to read the lyrics as she sang. Their set was enjoyable, and I might check out some of their music. They have a new album coming out in April I think. After the Stills, the rest of the set at LZR was all rap. Lady Sovereign is a 20 year old white girl rapper from London. She is compared to Eminem here, although her style is a little different from rap in the states. I hear she is pretty good, but I decide not to stay. It is not about 10:45, so I head back to the Austin Music Hall. I get back to the AMH and it is still pretty empty. One band has just finished, I am not sure which one. The next band on is called Say Anything, then Saves the Day, and finally Dashboard Confessional. Since it isn’t very crowded, I got and sit against and wall to wait for the next band. I don’t have a burning desire to see either of these bands. I really only care about Dashboard. I do notice most of the crowd is young teenagers. The thought then again enters my mind to ditch and head over to Fox and Hound. I decide that I will stay here for the night. Say Anthing does come to the stage around 11 or so. This group is a bunch of guys, I think from California, who sound a lot like the Fall Out Boy, Hawthorne Heights, Panic at the Disco sound that has been on the radio. I am not the biggest fan of this music. I need to sit through the opening act to get to the main attraction. After the short set, I sit back and chill by myself. A lot of people realize there is room to sit by the wall, so more people sit down next to me. One of them is a single female, about my age. She asks me if anyone is sitting next to me. I tell her no, and she pops a squat also. We start talking a bit and she asks me if I am from Austin. I say yes, by way of Louisiana. She is from LA. She works for a major advertising company there. Her office is in Newport Beach (HA!). She does a lot of work with youth culture and she was getting paid to hang out at all the parties and attend all the showcases. Man, I am in the wrong profession. She says SXSW does seem to be oriented towards young people. She says she hasn’t talked much to locals. I told her it was spring break at UT, so all the youth is done at South Padre Island. We started then talking about all the different shows we have seen. She was at the Morrissey and Subways show that I attended. She also was the last wristband to get into the Beastie Boys show. Damn, go her! She also made it to the Arctic Monkeys show. She said she was impressed. She was trying to see if they lived up to their hype. I never did get her name. Oh well! We realized we were definitely older than the rest at this show, but we decided we needed our emo. It was a quick conversation, but nice. It helped the time pass. We finished talking right before the band came on. Saves the Day, another group not really worth mentioning. The lead singer had hot pink hair. That was the most thrilling part of the set. It is not the type of music I am into, but definitely the type of music that is popular right now. Most of the younger crowd knew the band and got into the set. All I keep thinking is, “Get off the stage and bring on Dashboard Confessional!!!” Finally, that did happen.

The band was set to come on at 12:25. About 12:15 the lights dim and I moved my butt to get as close to the stage as I could. I wasn’t up against the stage, but close enough to see. The band comes on around 12:20. Oh god, he is so freaking hot. He comes to the mic and starts to talk. He tells everyone he is sick as a dog. You can hear it in his voice, you know that sexy chest cold voice. Phoebe used it to sing “Smelly Cat.” He tells everyone the show was going to be old school, he will play the song, and we sing. I am thinking oh no, what if he sings one song and cancels this show. What the hell am I going to do? I will step over every single emo 16 year old in this place to high tail it over the Fox and Hound to get into that show. Don’t tell me I just wasted my night for a show that won’t happen. Anyway, he starts the first song, “Remember to Breathe.” He completely croaks the first line. Barely a word comes out of his mouth. NO!!!!!! So, then the crowd just completely sings the rest of the song. He didn’t need to say much. For anyone unfamiliar with Dashboard Confessional, the band is mainly the lead singer, Chris Carraba and he has this cult like following of young listeners. They sing louder than him. The only other artists I have seen do something like this is Jimmy Buffet. Go to a Buffet show, he says the first line and the crowd screams the rest. Well, that is a lot like Dashboard Confessional. His lyrics are very heart on your sleeve. He has been burned by some evil women in the past and it shows through his songs. That is why he is so popular with the teenagers. He has some heart wrenching break up songs. He does manage to get through the first song. After that, he starts asking everyone what they want to hear. Of course, a bunch of people scream “Best Deceptions!” He tells them he needs to work up to that one. I really don’t know how he can sing that song at every show. It is so depressing. One girl screams at him, “I love you!” He screams back, “I love you too, but I wouldn’t kiss me right now.” No comment. I have always wanted to do that, especially to Dave Matthews. Chad knows why! :) He sings a few more songs and he sounds like he is getting better, at least his voice does. The one thing I realize is that he probably won’t sing any new songs. It has been almost three years since his last album and I came to the show to hear new songs. Well, it doesn’t look like he can sing any. He does a few more songs, then finally does “Best Deceptions.” The entire crowd is screaming and I am sure some are crying. After a few songs, he tells a dirty joke. I really don’t want to post it. It was rather dirty and very funny. About half way through the set, he does sing a new song. YAY!! He tries to get us to follow along, and the crowd does pick it up. I was so glad to hear something new. He doesn’t mention when the new album will drop, but I am pretty sure it will be in May. He sings a lot of older songs, which is fine by me. He does sing “Vindicated” from the Spiderman 2 soundtrack. I actually didn’t think he would sing that one, but he did and it rocked. He didn’t sing “Sharp Hint of New Tears” another one of his more depressing songs. I did take pictures, but they come out rather fuzzy. I think the AMH can’t have a show without a smoke machine so that messed up my pictures. I have A LOT of pictures of him because he is just so damn cute. The last song he sings is about the “best day of his life.” It is “Hands Down,” and it was a radio hit about 2 years ago. It is a very recognizable song. Well, the crowd goes crazy, and I am one of them. I start screaming the song like a little girl at an NKOTB concert (which, I was 12 years ago!) It is strange how I can regress back to that time so easily. Only an hour set and that was the end. No encore unfortunately. He could have easily done one. He was definitely in better form by the end of the show. He was singing and sounding normal. I am sure an hour later after the medicine and adrenaline wore off, he was going to feel like hot buttered ass. So, that brought my SXSW to a close. I am so glad I went to his show. I can’t wait for the album to come out and I hope to tours again so I can see in up close and personal. Once again, he is a hottie. There is something about guitar players. As I am walking out, I can hear We Are Scientist playing their set from Fox and Hound. I thought about walking over there to listen from outside, but I think I’d rather be home before 2 am tonight. Another amazing year is gone. I decide next year, if I attend, I might save up for the badge. Who is with me?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What's a Second Line?

Saturday, March 18 – Daytime show

It’s Saturday. This is the day I have been waiting for since I bought my wristband and checked out the original SXSW schedule back in January. First of all, Auditorium Shores at Town Lake is becoming a mini Jazz Fest. All throughout SXSW, free shows are given at this outdoor stage. Spoon, Roseanne Cash, and Echo and the Bunnymen have played there this year. All day Saturday though, it is a Louisiana stage: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Buckwheat Zydeco, New Orleans Social Club, Beausoleil, and Allen Toussaint. It is free to anyone who wants to attend. I managed to talk Chad to go with me. It sounds like other people want to go as well. Unfortunately, I wake up Saturday morning to a rainstorm. WHY!!! It hasn’t rained here in over 5 months and it is going to rain today. You’ve got to be kidding me. Well, besides Auditorium Shores, there is a bevy of free music to hear all around town indoors. If we can’t go outside, there has to be someone to see. The rain does not look like it will stop anytime soon, and I see everyone backing out because of the weather. Luckily, my loving husband still encourages me to find another show. He is right, I need to find something to see. As I check the free show page, I see My Chemical Romance played a free show at Emo’s on Friday during the day. Yep, they just showed up. I can’t imagine being in Emo’s and having MCR take the stage. Emo’s holds about 20 people. It is very tiny. Only the die hard fan base knew about this show and got there very early. Everyone else heard from the street. Now, I am scanning the pages. The Sounds are playing, the Rakes are playing, the Cribs are playing, Ah!!!! Too much to take. It is now almost 1 pm. These venues have go to be filling up quickly. I quickly get dressed and head downtown to find something. Something interesting I notice while driving, it really isn’t raining anymore. It is cloudy and wet, but no rain. That is a good sign. Maybe the show at Auditorium shores will still proceed. Traffic is horrible. It has been terrible the entire week. I am ready for these people to get out of Austin and give us our streets back. I find a place on east 6th street to park and I walk. Hey, it’s free!!! YIPPEE, free parking! Anyway, I start to walk down the street and all I see are lines in front of everyplace. All four Emo’s have long lines wrapping around the building. Some places are even empty, but no music. All the venues I wanted to get into are full. Ok, what do I do know? I call Chad and tell him to meet me down here so we can go to Auditorium shores! Nope, no can do. He already started doing chores. Well, since there is no rain, I am heading down there myself. I park at the high school on First Street and take a shuttle right to the stage. It takes about 15 minutes. Awesome! There is barely anyone there. No lines for food, beer, or the bathroom. The bad weather kept most people away, at least all but the die hards. I grab a beer and head to the stage. Buckwheat Zydeco just finished. Oh well, at least I can still here Dirty Dozen. They are the main reason I came out to the stage. As I get closer, another band starts playing off to the side of the stage on the grass. I run over quickly to see who it is. Well, what do you know, it is the Hot 8 Brass Band. I saw them in the street late Thursday night. They were there to play between sets. What a great idea! They play and keep the crowd entertained while the stage hands set up for the next band. The crowd loves it. Everyone is dancing around having a good time. I look around and see a lot of Renew Orleans, and “I survived Katrina” tee shirts. These are people who are now in Austin permanently from the storm. You can see this puts a smile on their face. As the Hot 8 is playing, a women stands next to them and starts screaming, “You need to represent!” “Represent, 9th ward, 7th ward!” Well, they did represent, for the entire city. I think the band wanted to start moving around in a second line style, put the crowd closed in around them and they couldn’t move. No one here understands a second line. As I am looking around, I see my friend Jessica from work across the crowd. She works at UT and is from Lafayette. Her family was affected by Rita, so this concert means a lot to her as well. I walk over to her and meet her group of friends. Boy, are they having a good time. They are dancing all over the place. I am kind of glad I ran into someone I knew. I realize it is lonely when you are by yourself. The Dirty Dozen Band finally get the Hot 8 to stop so they can start their set. Like usual, it was fantastic. The entire crowd was dancing along to the music. It reminded me a lot of JazzFest. A few reporters were walking around talking interviews and snapping pictures. One guy took a picture of the group I was with for the Dallas Morning News. So, since I had my camera, I took a picture of him taking a picture of the group. I got to see the pictures he took for the news. All you see is my purse and legs. That is fine by me! Through the entire set, not a drop of rain fell, but it did threaten. They clouds loomed over for the remainder of the afternoon, but luckily, no rain. At 5:30, I decided to head back to the car so I can get home, eat something, then get out again. I figured I should probably spend a little time with my husband since I haven’t in a few days. Maybe I will be lucky enough to see my friends as well! It feels like I haven’t seen anyone is forever. Time to head home.