Monday, April 30, 2007

Are you going to put the whole six pack in that glass?

Friday night Melissa and I took in a New Orleans tradition that I had not tried out before, dinner at Venezia's and dessert at Brocato's. It did not disappoint. There was a bit of a wait, but to me that's usually a good sign. A lot of people had come from Jazz Fest so the dress left a little to be desired. The food was excellent. I had veal parmigiana and Melissa had some sort of chicken covered in seafood dish. Dessert was gelato of course. I had vanilla bean and tiramisu. My only complaint was my small portion was a little larger than I would have liked.

Saturday we went to Jazz Fest. Our first order of business was getting some lunch. We had crawfish bread and crawfish monica. The bread I loved, the monica is not my favorite. I did see a fried pork chop sandwich offered which I will have to try out on Friday. We walked around a bit, taking in some of the acts on the smaller stages, then settled down for Rebirth. They put on a good show, which they seem to always do. The crowd was into it. I likely looked like I wasn't into it since my Jazz Fest pose is to lay on my blanket and close my eyes, but that's just how I roll. Around five we headed over to the Gentily stage to listen to Nora Jones. Sadly that area was packed so we were way in the back and the speakers weren't great. I'm hoping her show was better from up front. On the way out, we walked right past Jesse Jackson, which was a little odd. All in all, a good fest. Afterwards we went to WoW for some dinner and then to Jigger's with the family for drinks.

Sunday was the BrewBBQ and it was good to see the guys, girls, baby, and goddaughter. There's just something very relaxing about meat, beer, and good company, especially when it's at someone else's house. In the evening we had delivery Milano's at the LeSaicherre's.

Got a little WoW time in late at night over the weekend. Went on a Shattered Halls run with some of the old Duskwood Surprise crew. We tore threw it pretty well, which was surprising, but had a good bit of trouble on the boss, Kargath. We wiped about five times or so, but we took him down eventually. Nothing else huge happened. I explored Silvermoon City which I had yet to do. The large statues are very North Korea like as Taylor mentioned to me, and the sweat shop, complete with leper gnomes, was a nice touch. Other than that it was just nice to see Necrolord playing again on Sunday. He was missed.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Any Glen will do.

I had been hoping to stick to a better posting schedule than this. Oh well.

I'm sitting here enjoying a pre-dinner drink and I thought it would be a good time to go over the past week. Work-wise, it was slow. Can you believe it? Had a good training meeting on Thursday so at least something happened. And it sounds like my next trip is finally lined up. It'll be Minnesota sometime in May. Never been there. I'm not even sure I've been near there. Should be interesting.

Melissa and I continue to catch up on TV. The end of Rome was excellent. That show was just freaking amazing. Before the show I always really like Augustus. Somewhere in the second season my opinion of him changed. I need to go read some history to figure out if the rosy image I had before was accurate or if the show's image is accurate. We had a catch up with Lost day some time this week. I still like the show, but it needs to move faster. And make sure it has it's mythology fleshed out. There's just so much anticipation the payoff better be worth it.

We saw In the Land of Women one afternoon this week. Good but not great. If you liked Adam Brody on The OC you should see it. And also if you are a dorky guy in your 20s you should see it. We went in the afternoon to avoid that madhouse that is the movie theater on the weekend. What I didn't expect was the audience to be completely people over 70. Seriously. And this one guy kept talking to the screen. It sounds annoying but it actually stayed funny the whole time.

Went to the golf tourny last Saturday with my dad. That was pretty cool. It had been a long time since I went to a tournament. Need to do a better job of making an event out of it next year. Saturday night we met the Barrattinis for drinks which is always nice. Sunday we headed to Metairie for the Rupp boy's birthday party. It's always nice to see them and their youngest is just too cute. Plus we got to see Lucy! Last Friday we went to the Opera. I hadn't been since high school. It was La Boheme so I was hoping that was an easy enough one to appreciate. Overall it was a good experience, though the AC left a lot to be desired, but I couldn't help but think the whole time, "Man this would be great in English." Guess I'm not as cultured as I thought.

And lastly, I took a few screencaps from WoW of especially pretty scenes. Here they are.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Well, you must be a girl with shoes like that

Friday, March 16th
Day shows

It is Friday and I have one goal today, The Fratellis! I skipped their show last night, so today is my day. I get more sleep than I did the night before and I managed to take some allergy medicine so I am ready to go! Taylor has work he has to do at school, so I head out on my own. I am going to the Island Records UK party that I saw advertised the night before. The show starts at 1pm so I am getting there early to make sure I get in. The showcase is at Bourbon Rocks on 6th which is quite reminiscent of a bar on Bourbon street. I reminds me the most of Razoo's, for the people who have been there. I get to the bar around 12:30 and there is already a line. It isn't too long. It is a good thing Bourbon Rocks is a larger bar. There are two girls standing in front of me and I ask them if this is the line for the Island records party. They say yes. Good, I am in the right place! We started chatting and she asked me who I was there to see. I say the Fratellis of course. She has a new copy of the Chronicle and the party is advertised in there. She opens to the page and I see the Fratellis aren't scheduled to play until 5. Wow, I will be here all day then. She says they are playing at the spin party early, then they have a show at the Scottish Rite Theater after that. It seems the Scottish Rite theater sponsored a showcase for all the Scottish acts at SXSW. Wish I knew about that, I might have gone. But, the Island Records party will be the band's third show that day! Wow! The entire line up is good so I will probably just stay at this party all day.
The doors open and everyone enters. There is free barbeque on the patio and it goes very quickly. Unfortunately, there is no free beer at this party, bummer. Free food is always good though. The show doesn't start exactly on time. The MC is a guy from a radio station over in the UK. No radio station I knew. He is so British I can't believe it. He introduces all of the acts. The first artist is a guy name Josh Pyke. I have never heard of him. He is Australian and is about to release his album here in the states and in the UK. It was just him and his acoustic guitar. He apologized for being a little "dusty" since he was at the Bloc Party show the night before. I hear you, brother. He plays a few songs and finishes in about 30 minutes. The bar isn't incredibly packed, but I feel it will later on. One the original line up, Mika is next. Mika has been gaining popularity in the States here recently because of his song "Grace Kelly." To me, he sounds like Freddy Mercury. I am sure you know what song I am talking about. According to MC guy, Amy Winehouse is next, awesome. I didn't think she would be playing this early, but she is. She is supposed to start at 2. The closer it gets to 2 pm, the more crowded the bar becomes. Now, I think everyone knows about Amy Winehouse. She is huge in Britain and is recently gaining momentum here. Her sound is nothing like what else you hear from a female artist. She is a cross between Doo wop and Billie Holiday. She has this real boozy, deep voice. She has a song called "Rehab" which I recommend everyone listen to. Her record company tried to make her go to rehab and she did say "no, no, no." She says she doesn't have a drinking problem, but other people beg to differ. She starts a little late, but it is just her and her guitarist. she doesn't have a full band. The bar now is completely at capacity. I can barely see over anyone's head. I am struggling to take a picture, so sorry for the bad quality. She sounds very good live. She sings "Back to Black", "Rehab", and "You know I'm no good." Unfortunately, she only sings about 5 songs. Boo! I wanted to hear more. I am sure she has a few more shows to sing. Her big showcase is tonight for the BBC at LaZona Rosa. I don't think I will make that so I am glad I got to see her here. One thing, she was no drunk! YAY! She did apologize though for not remembering some of the words to her songs. I will not print the expletives she used though. She is so tiny, I can't believe such a big voice comes out of her mouth. Her hair is so tall I can see that well before I see her face. He is also covered in tattoos. She is not your ordinary female singer. After her performance she leaves right away, but her guitarist sticks around. A few people go talk to him and tell what a good show it was. The next performer after Amy Winehouse is Scott Matthews. He is another British singer/songwriter (big surprise). His album is not released her in the US yet, but has been in the UK. The one song that is popular is called "Dreams." I have heard of Scott Matthews because he toured with Snow Patrol back in the fall. I hadn't heard of any of his music before. It wasn't bad. After Scott Matthews, the next performers are the Rumble Strips. This is another band I have never heard of. so far, the showcase is running exactly on schedule. Each act should be starting at the top of the hour. The Rumble Strips are suppose to start at 4pm, but that is not happening. The Fratellis are suppose to start at 5pm, but everything is falling behind. The Rumble Strips are a bunch of guys who met in grade school and started playing music. He is 5 guys with a few guitars and one guy plays sax. They also have been becoming more popular in Britain. I have heard one of their songs, "Motorcycle." They tell the crowd that there are no immediate plans to release an album in the US. Oh well, maybe in the next year or so we will be hearing them on the radio. They were obviously having a good time, which is good to see. This was their first time in Austin and SXSW. I wasn't sure if they were playing another showcase. It was fun. After they were done, it was time for the big act, The Fratellis! I know everyone must be sick of hearing me type about this band. While in Austin, I finally picked up their debut album, Costello Music. I have been hearing their music for months now and their album was just released in the US the week of South by (concidence, no?). It is one of the best times I have had listening to an album. It just kicks you in the butt and drags you around for 12 songs. It is absolutely impossible to sit still through one of their songs. You must get up and dance around. I know I do. The first song is "Henrietta" and it lasts all the way to "Got Ma Nuts From a Hippy." "Flathead" is the recognizable song since it has been used in an iPod commercial. This is the song that is giving them song succes over here. The song that has me hanging from the ceiling though is "Chelsea Dagger." I dare you not to listen to the song and not scream along. I dare you! I hope I hear all these songs today! The Fratellis don't come to the stage til about 5:15 but the place is completely packed. They start their set with "Henrietta" and keep going for about 45 minutes. It was full of energy. The crowd was a mix of Americans and Brits and most people knew the songs which was good. They played "Flathead" and "Whistle for the Choir." You couldn't tell it was their third show that day. They played like they hadn't played in a week. In Bourbon Rocks, naturally like any other bar, there are a few TVs. SXSW always falls during March madness time, so all the TVs in the bar where on ESPN showing scores and games. The lead singer, Jon, looks at the TV and makes a comment along the line of "what in the hell is that?" but his accent is so thick no one really knew what he said. It made everyone laugh though. They did play "Chelsea Dagger" and I was so excited. On one side of the bar was obviously a whole bunch of people from Scotland and they had been drinking most of the day. When that song started, they erupted and started dancing around and screaming the song. They put their arms around each other in a huddle and start some sort of kickline. Perfect! I was so glad to see the crowd get into this band. I love them and I want everyone to hear them. After their romping set, it is about 6pm. Mika is coming on next, but all I really wanted to see were the Fratellis and they are done. My mission is accomplished for today. I am now hungry and haven't see my husband in two days. I think I need a dinner break to sit down for a while before I head to the night shows.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose!

It's been a slow week so far. I feel like I can be pretty productive work-wise the week after I travel. The weeks after that first though get worse and worse. This week I had a training sessions scheduled that used a web conference tool. Dry material is hard enough as it is, put me on the phone and able to browse web pages without anyone knowing, it's that much worse. Anyway, the good news is that I did learn a good bit and it finished sooner than expected.

Melissa and I are still catching up on TV. We are about a month behind still I think. Friday Night Lights continues to be my favorite. Everyone should go watch the episode we just watched right now. NBC makes it very easy to do so. You won't be disappointed.

One of the interesting aspects about playing a game like WoW as a hobby is the massively part of the MMORPG. Some of the things in the game require 25 people to do them, and even the everyday fun stuff requires 5 people. Keeping a group of people together and happy and able to do stuff regularly is not easy. But at the same time, I think it's one of the more interesting aspects of the game and the part that I think directly translates into real life. I read somewhere that some guild leaders have started putting that on their resumes and people have taken notice. I believe it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Paulaner costs more than Crown?

Melissa and I had a pretty good weekend. Things got started on Friday with Jay and Joan at Jigger's with some crawfish. The first of the season for us and hopefully not the last. I really do love that a random bar room in New Orleans will have decent crawfish. Need to make better use of that.

Saturday our early plans for French Quarter Fest were rained out but thankfully the weather cleared up by the afternoon. Beth met up with us and we headed down around four. We caught Johnny Angel and Rebirth. Had some crawfish bread and etouffe. It got a little chilly near the end, but I suppose that's better than it being sweltering. Later that evening we headed to the Balcony, where else, and met up with a bunch of people including Dot, Chris, and some of the beans. Hanging at a neighborhood bar is a little weird, but I'm getting used to it. Good beer helps.

Sunday we walked through the more residential parts of our neighborhood on our way to the DeLeSalle fair. There are some crazy nice houses and there are some nice and possibly affordable houses. Well affordable for uptown anyway. Didn't walk down any sketchy streets either, so that's good to know. The fair was smaller than I expected, but the food was good, and the turnout was good which is good for the school. That evening we met up with Tony, Amee, Chris, and Bridget for some Tony pasta, Brocato gelato, and viewing the ball video. Our skit and the finale really seemed to work. It's weird, you just never know how those things are going to look. I'm hoping to find a way to put some of the scenes on YouTube.

WoW-wise it was a slow weekend. Had stuff to do so no WoW. But I'll put up a screenshot I have sitting around because I love it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tonight, make me unstoppable

Thursday night
March 15th

After a stop at the Riche condo to get Taylor and dinner at Thundercloud, I am a whole different person. The food and caffeine have given me a second wind that I desperately needed if I was going to make it another night. Sitting down for a while also helped! So, I have a dilemma tonight. Two bands have overlapping times and I want to see them both. Bloc Party is playing at midnight at Stubb’s and The Fratellis are playing at 1am at the Dirty Dog Saloon. My original thinking is that I should just see the Fratellis and not worry about Bloc Party. I have seen block party twice. The last time was this past August. But, IT IS BLOC PARTY! I am insane about this band. I cannot preach about this band anymore that I already do. They are fantastic. If you don’t have a copy of Silent Alarm, stop reading this blog and go pick it up, right now! I am dead serious. What to do! I have never seen the Fratellis and this is one of the bands I came to SXSW to see. They are Scottish and they rock, hard. I know Taylor wants to see Bloc Party because he has never seen them before and I will not get in anyone’s way of experiencing them live. I want him to see Bloc Party. I am afraid if I stay for a few songs of Bloc Party I won’t make it into Dirty Dog to see the Fratellis. Then I will try to get back into Stubb’s and they will be at capacity. And then I will totally freak out. Since the Fratellis are a buzz band this year, they are playing quite a few other times. Bloc Party is not. This is there only show the entire festival. It is a stop on their tour. I know for sure The Fratellis are playing the Spin magazine party on Friday during the day. That is the party of the entire festival. I really want to go, but you need an invite. Getting an invite is not easy. You have to just be able to find one. If I knew I was going to the Spin party, I would only see Bloc Party and not worry about The Fratellis. There is no guarantee I will get an invite to this party. Oh man, what to do. I explain my frustrations to Taylor, who of course thinks it is funny, but does agree with me. No guarantee of an invite to the Spin party. Damn. Here is the interesting part. As Taylor and I are walking towards Stubb’s for the beginning of the evening, I see a sign on a post about the Island Records UK party tomorrow, Friday at Bourbon Rocks. The Fratellis are on the line-up, as is Amy Winehouse. Awesome! This looks like a great show! Is it legit? I haven’t heard about this the whole week and I know the Fratellis are playing the Spin party tomorrow. Could they be playing two shows that day? Of course, it is SXSW. Well, now my plans are changing. I still can see the Fratellis tomorrow and see Bloc Party tonight. I need to find out if this party is legit first.
So, the night begins at Stubb’s with Get Cape.Wear Cape.Fly. It is a guy from Britain on a guitar and a drummer. A mellow start to the night. Taylor and I get there half way through his set because we decided eating was more important. I have never heard of this guy before, so it is new. Like I said, rather mellow. One of his songs to check out is called “Call Me Ishmael.” The singer mentioned being sick earlier in the day and having to go to the hospital. It turns out he had a chest infection and spent $400 on medicine. He then started talking about health care in this country (he is British). Poor guy, I felt bad for him. He was done in his allotted time and then Aqualung was next. Aqualung is a musician I heard of, another mellow one. He did have a full band, but his music is centered around his piano/keyboard. I didn’t have a reason to go see these two acts except that Bloc Party will be playing here later and I figured it was a good place to start. Aqualung has a new album coming out this spring, so he was playing new tunes from that one. Their last album that got a little bit of US airplay was Strange and Beautiful. This band reminds me a little of Keane, who I love. They were not disappointing, but just an easy way to start the night. Aqualung finished around 9:45, so we decided to head to the Dirty Dog Saloon. MuteMath is playing there at 11, and I want to make sure I see them. We get there for the 10pm show which is a band called Melee that hails from Southern Cal. The lead singer, to me, is a dead ringer for John Heder of Napoleon Dynamite. Taylor agrees with me. This band reminds me a lot of Rooney, another band from California. They remind Taylor of Ben Folds. I totally see that. There music is this catchy pop type of mix. Their lyrics make you laugh out loud a little, which reminds me of some of Ben Folds. If the OC had another season, this band would have either played at the Bait Shop or given a song to the soundtrack. They are perfect for it. Many people in the crowd are digging the music. It does make you bounce a little. The lead singer gets off stage at one point and sings to two girls who are obviously eating this up. I see they already have fans which is cool. They were fun. MuteMath is the group I came to see though. This is the little electronic/pop/reggae group that hails from New Orleans. They got started on the Northshore, and then were pushed to Nashville during Katrina. It looks like they are back in the city for good though. Thank goodness. The city needs an indie band vibe. I have seen this band once before, but not in this type of intimate setting. I saw them play at the Voodoo Music Festival back in October. I am attending this show fully expecting to have the venue about half full with mostly people from Louisiana. The band starts setting up and they have numerous instruments, one of them being a keytar. Hell yeah! Taylor and I look at each other and a few guys behind us scream KEYTAR! It is hard to find a good keytar around now. This keytar is also bright red! I now notice about the time the band is about to take the stage how unbelievably packed this venue is now. I never would have guessed. I think they are at capacity. The people around me are talking about seeing this band about 5 times. I am very impressed this band has such a following, and they are from New Orleans! Not, NY, Silverlake, Detroit, or Portland. Wow, that is cool. The drummer comes onto the stage and ductapes him headphones to his head. I mean he takes the roll and wraps around his ears quite a few times. Ouch, I don’t want to have to take that off later! So, they begin to rock, and they rock hard. I mean hard. The entire place is just singing and dancing around to the music. I highly recommend the songs “Chaos” and “Plan B.” They have a video on youtube right now titled Typical. Go watch it. I have recently learned the band’s debut album is up for the Shortlist Music Prize. Awesome and good luck to the band. I am now really feeling this band and having a good time. It gets to about 11:30 and Taylor and I decide if we want to try and see Bloc Party for midnight, we need to leave this place before the band finishes and everyone heads over to Stubbs. I have finally decided to forget about the Fratellis for tonight and see Bloc Party. This is the only show they are playing during SX and I can catch the Fratellis on Friday. So, we make our way through the heavy crowd and get out of the Dirty Dog Saloon. Now we are headed over to Stubbs. I am hoping we get in. I don’t mind waiting in line for a little while, but I don’t want to spend the rest of the night in line when there are other acts to see. We make it to Stubb’s and the line is down the block for wristbands. We are feeling hopeful and get in line. I don’t see many badge people in line so that is a good sign, we can get in. The badge line always has to be empty before wristbands are allowed. It is one of the many unfortunate things about SXSW. People complain about how elitist it has become. As we are standing in line, the badge line grows and grows. People are just showing up and getting in line, not knowing who is playing. That is driving me nuts. Let the real fans in, not these pretentious asses! It is about 11:40 and I think we have moved about two steps. The badge line continues to grow. The badge line though, does move, so these people are getting in. I keep telling Taylor when they all get in, and then it is our time. Bloc Party is supposed to start at midnight, but I think they are running late. People are starting to drop out of the wristband line, so that is how we are moving. They are only letting badge people in at this time. As long as the band hasn’t started yet, I am waiting in line. Taylor has never seen them and I want to see the new songs performed from the new album A Weekend in the City. It has been about 30 minutes and we have moved pretty close to the front of the line. More people are dropping out and I am quietly cheering them on! Bloc Party is starting late. It is almost 12:15 and no signs yet. We are still inching our way to the front of the line. At this point, I am fired up. I am ready to get inside to see them. I am not backing done at all! I am trying to fire Taylor up at this point too. He is in it for the long haul. When we started moving forward, he saw the light at the end of the tunnel. About 12:25, I see the lights go out and hear the first song, “Song for Clay” and the crowd erupts. Ok people, let’s get moving. I tell Taylor we are getting into this show. The bouncers are letting people in slowly by 2s. No more badges, so it is just the wristband. After the end of the first song, “Positive Tension” starts. Come on!!!! Now, I need to get in now. I am practically bouncing off the ticket booth at Stubb’s now. I can not miss any more songs. I hear the crowd and I need to get in there. I can miss these two songs, but there are some I cannot miss. Finally, after the second song, the bouncer lets Taylor and me in. YIPPEEEE!! We waited 45 minutes in line and it was totally worth it. I walked in just to hear the band start “Blue Light”. Now, I could not have missed this one, so I am happy. We run in and find a spot in the back. I notice that this place does not seem like it is completely packed. They should be able to let everyone in who is in line. What is their problem? Well, we got in so I am happy. It is now about 12:30 and we are tired. If you are one of the late bands, you need to rock us hard. None of this acoustic crap. Get us up and moving around. Bloc Party did just that. I didn’t feel like I had been standing up for the past 4 hours. The crowd is the front was totally into the show. They played the great ones from Silent Alarm “Like Eating Glass,” “This Modern Love,” and my personal favorite, “Banquet.” The songs from the new album sound fantastic live. I was so glad. This band just blows me away. This is the third time I have seen them and they keep getting better. I cannot stress this more to people. Start listening to Bloc Party! You will be so happy you did. “The Prayer” is a great song on the second album. For their encore, Taylor and I managed to make our way closer to the front since the crowd started to think a little. I tried to get as close as possible. When they came back for their encore, they saved the best for last. The played “She’s Hearing Voices” and “Helicopter.” The lead singer asked us if we “still had a little fight in us.” Absolutely! He jumped onto the speakers and started singing. Why does almost every band I see have the need to jump around on the speakers at Stubb’s. For a minute there, I didn’t think he would make it down. A stage hand had to help him down. The show ended with no one being hurt. It actually ended at 1:45. Wow, we will get home early tonight! It was an absolutely fantastic show and I am so glad I went. Tomorrow I will hopefully see the Fratellis!