27 September 2008

ACL - The Party Never Ends.

Day two begins with coffee and blueberry muffins made by my niece. Figuring outour schedule for the day, re-packing our bags, everything just seems to take a bit longer than we had thought. K offers to drive us to the bus stop. We had a bit of a wait so we must have just missed one. Everything going well, we get off at our stop and head over to Jack in the Box to use a real bathroom. We also got some food and then headed down to the entrance.

T still had her food when we went through and security made her stand outside to eat it! Crazy!

Our first stop was the Sweet Leaf Tea booth to show our text message coupons for a free tea. Then over to Old 97s. We sat near the back so we could make an easy retreat in time for Jose Gonzalez. That was another good show, but we keep wondering how come we sit down and then every pot smoker and cigarette smoker in Austin comes and sits near us. It's some kind of strange attraction!

After Jose Gonzalez, we stopped in the Digital Oasis for some AC, a free portable fan, and a free photo. You could also watch concerts on tvs, play Guitar Hero, charge your cell phone, or surf the Internet. We just enjoyed the Air Conditioning until Drive-by Truckers started.

After Drive-by truckers, we went back to the Sister Mister Tent and then re-filled out water bottles at the water taps. By then, we were mighty peckish. We walked down the line of food booths. T was in search of a particular item, I was just trying to figure out what I wanted. Then, I smelled it. Barbecue! We split up and obtained our sustenance.

After that, we made a beeline back to AMD to stake out our spot for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Our plan was to get there in time for Robert Earl Keen, stay put and keeping moving up if we could.

Robert Earl Keen was everything I ever expected. I had seen him last year as well and he never fails to disappoint. He's also a hometown favourite so most of the crowd knew most of the lyrics to most of the songs and we sang along at the top of our lungs.

John Fogerty was next. He played all the CCR songs you would want to hear, plus a few new ones. When it was over, the guy behind us said "I can't believe he didn't play Centerfield - that's his hit". What an idiot!

Two nice guys asked to share our blanket while we waited for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. One just moved to Austin from the same town in Ohio that my family is from. Isn't that funny? The other was a student at UT. We discussed music, concerts, festival etiquette. It was cool! I told UT guy that knowing a young person like himself was so into GOOD music gave me hope for the future. Two older ladies had the blanket in front of us. They proclaimed "Robert Plant is the sexiest man in Rock." A young guy sitting next to them said "Maybe he used to be." One of the ladies said "Honey, he still is" then she ripped off her bra so she could throw it on stage. Ohio guy asked if we had seen Robert Plant and Alison Krauss live before. When we said we had not, he was very excited for us.

I was very impressed by the set list. They did songs from their album, Led Zeppelin, Union Station, and traditional bluegrass. The highlights included Robert Plant talking about how much he was influenced by bluegrass and how that was real music, T. Bone Burnett's solo turn at the mike, Alison Krauss on fiddle for a good portion of the show, Robert Plant on maracas for "I'm In The Mood". The most memorable moment was Alison Kraus, Robert Plant and T. Bone Burnett a capella on "Down To The River To Pray" with the ENTIRE audience singing along IN HARMONY. That was an ACL moment!

After the show, we headed out to the bus with 10,000 of our closest friends. When we got to the stop, we learned that people had been waiting for 20 minutes and no bus had come by. 20 minutes later, one bus went past but did not stop. We spoke with two guys who were going to a stop near ours and were going to suggest sharing a cab when they ran across the street to catch one going the other way. I phoned K and she offered to pick us up at the Starbucks at the top of the hill, about a half-mile away. That worked out so well we plan to do it again after Foo Fighters.

Back at the house, we had dinner (farm-fresh pork roast - nothing better than eating food you grew yourself!) while we warmed up the hot tub. We washed it down with some Texas brew. AFter a good soak in the hot tub, we had some Blue Bell Ice cream and went to bed.

Sunday - Last day. Taking my niece, seeing Joe Bonamassa, sad to be going home, but really happy for such a good trip.

26 September 2008

Swell Day at ACL

Today was the first day of ACLFest 2008. My second year at the Festival and this year only B & L are coming from the family, but I did convince T to come along (yeah, that was SO hard - come see 150 bands in 3 days!).

Got in on time. The Bell-Marrs taxi service was ready and waiting. T flew in on a different flight but met up at baggage claim. All well and good.

Got to the house, changed, noshed and heading off again. The taxi was offered so we took it! Dropped us off right where the bus would have and we headed down Barton Springs Rd to Zilker Park.

Through security and wristbanding with no problems, we made a beeline for the food court for some sustenance (fried avocado with mango slaw from Hudsons!) and then off to the AMD stage to catch Asleep At The Wheel. AMD is at the southern far end of the park. There are eight stages and it is a bit of a hike from one end to the other.

Asleep At The Wheel is a fine dance hall band. We had our blanket out near a group of young people that I could have sworn were friends of my "nephew". In fact, they were! He walked right past us, only stopping when I called out to him.

After Asleep At The Wheel, we got some iced tea (I forgot to tell T that we are in the South and it would be sweet-Sorry!) and sat down at the Blue Room stage for What Made Milwaukee Famous. They are a local band, but I know them from Bob Boilen's show on NPR. Once again, Bob has totally made my choices easier at ACL.

After a brief respite in the Sister Mister tent (four huge fans blowing water!), we nabbed front row house left for Jakob Dylan. Same stage as Bob Dylan last year. He totally rocked - well, as much as a Dylan can. Sang nearly every song from his new album.

Next stop was M. Ward at the WAMU stage. Yes - with all their financial woes, WAMU is still a major sponsor. We got some shave ice and sat down to see the previous set by The Freddy Jones Band. I had never heard them before but they were pretty good. A huge crowd left when they were done and we were able to get seats under the tent on actual seats. M. Ward was great. We noticed the paparazzi taking photos of the VIP area. There was a girl that looked like Zoey Deschanel (his bandmate in She and Him) but when we got a good look, it wasn't her.

Debated whether to stay put for Jenny Lewis or head over to Austin Ventures for Mates Of State and Eli Young. Mates of State won since Jenny Lewis is based in LA and we will have a good chance to see her at any number of venues at home, but I have never heard of Mates Of State playing nearby.

Eli Young was great, but they were having major sound issues. T still doesn't know if she likes them. They are this year's Broken West for me. I told K that I want their new cd for Christmas (it's on my Amazon Wish List) because they wrote a song for me! Well, not really, but they used my name. T is now referring to them as The Boy Band since we were the oldest women in the audience. "When It Rains" got me through some tough moments in the past year so who cares how young they are?

This year's Pete Yorn for me is The Swell Season. If you haven't heard of them, you may know them from the movie "Once" or their Oscar-winning song "Falling Slowly". Marketa was having problems with the keys sticking on the grand piano (they don't like humidity) but other than that, they were fantastic. Glenn rocked out solo on a Van Morrison tune while they tweaked the piano. He is still playing the guitar with the giant hole - in case you were wondering. T said "Hasn't he made enough money to buy a new one?" Marketa played guitar for one song too so she had a chance to stand up front and sing facing the crowd.

Stopped by Alejandro Escevedo on our way to the Merch Tent and caught their last two songs. Mars Volta was on so we listened to them while we shopped. T got the organic bamboo/cotton tees for herself & J but they were sold out of my size so I went with the regular cotton.

Caught the #3 down Manchaca. Got off at the right stop, but couldn't remember how to walk home (in all fairness, I have never had to before). So I called my niece from the Chevron and she said "Mom's coming to get you".

Warmed up the hot tub, had something to eat, and headed off to bed.

Gotta go get ready for today's adventure. First up is Old 97s!

24 September 2008

The VERY Semi-finals, mind you!

Don't pass out because this is my third post today. Stay with me here:

Tonight my office softball team, The Wed Sox, was in the semi-finals, the VERY semi-finals, mind you, of the Company softball league. They were short a girl and, rumour has it, I play softball. So they asked me if I would play this one game so they wouldn't have to forfeit.

Today I got an email from the coach/captain, asking me what my experience is and what positions I can play, etc. I manage my church team, The Heat, so I was pretty honest about my ability and skill level. I didn't want them to expect me to be some kind of ringer.

I was also very nervous because this team is made up of nearly everyone in my group at work, including my boss and his boss.

Well, it was touch and go there for a while, but we won 11-9 and, yes, we are in the finals! I made an out at home on a foul ball. I had two base hits (thrown out at second the first time and scored the second time tying the game). My co-workers were very happy that I came to play. They were also somewhat disappointed that I can't make the finals tomorrow night because I will be heading to LAX to catch my flight to Austin. (They were so cute - "We can pay your change fees").

I just hope they ask me back next season!

ACL - Here we come!

Wow! Two posts in one day! Don't get used to it.

I am heading off to Austin City Limits at the end of the week. This year I will be joined by a friend and my "niece" who is 14.

I am interested in seeing the music festival through the eyes of someone younger. My friend is also up for the challenge of introducing an eager young person to bands both new and old. Maybe we will also learn something about a band we have never seen. (IS there a band we haven't seen?)

I am especially intrigued to take her to see Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. So look for show reports as often as I can post. Or maybe tweets would be better. I will have to think about that.

One more thing about the designation "niece". She is actually the daughter of a first cousin. But things being how they are, this particular cousin and I are more like sisters. We have no sisters of our own and are the exact same age (so were often thrown together as children). Plus my brother doesn't have any children of his own and a girl has gotta have at least one niece!

Stay tuned....

Sugar, Sugar

Growing up in LA post-Summer Of Love, it's not surprising that many of my childhood friends were the children of hippies. My mother was more of a hippie-wanna-be. She was really too high-class for the clothes and drugs, but we definitely were in the earth-friendly, semi-vegetarian circle.

Anyway, my mother only bought two kinds of cereal on a regular basis: granola & shredded wheat. Once in a while, if she wanted it and we had been very good, we might get Rice Krispies or Frosted Flakes. Even Cheerios was considered a splurge.

So, imagine my distress when the 45 of The Archies singing "Sugar, Sugar" was only available on the Honeycomb box!

I had to buy that box of cereal with my meager allowance, and keep my brother from eating it all. Not easy for a little girl to do when her brother is much older and taller!

This brief trip down Memory Lane is thanks to the commissary playing "Sugar, Sugar" during lunch today.

22 September 2008


What is it about songworms? Why can just the slightest mention of certain lyrics cause a person to have a song stuck in their head for a LONG time?

Example: This morning I logged on to Facebook and near the top of my feed an FB friend had a status update that made me think of an Elvis Costello song. This happens to be a song that I know and like and I don't need the iPod to sing in my head. WHAMMO! I got the songworm.
Two hours later, I am still singing the song in my head.

Nothing works. Practiced my Spanish. Read the paper on the bus. Listened to the news. NOTHING.

It could be worse. My cousin (who has three small children) has reported singing the theme song to "Caillou" all day long. At least I like Elvis Costello....

21 September 2008


Today - after about three long years - I finally uploaded some photos for a friend who lost a lot of mementos to Hurricane Katrina.

We have spent the afternoon online reminiscing about a fun summer of following bands all over SoCal.

As we each looked over the photos from our computers hundreds of miles apart, we chatted online about the memories, the people, the moments, the songs. It was really nice.

So I think this technology thing is pretty good.

I'm happy & nostalgic now.

20 September 2008

What happened to my best thing?

I have just gotten so busy that I haven't had time to sit down and blog every day. Well, I haven't made time to do it, let's be honest.

But I had to write today because I am really happy.

I am going to see my family next weekend: my aunt & cousins in Austin. When I talk about going "home", that's where I go.

I am really lucky to have them and I am so excited that I can go visit them this coming weekend. We will be at ACL again so there will be lots of music and good times (and heat and sun as well).

My travelling buddy is coming with me on a pre-Spain trip. It's not the first time one of my friends has met the clan but it will be the most time one of my friends has spent with my family.

Anyway, I am really happy today and just wanted to make sure that didn't get missed.

12 September 2008

Ralph Nader's Mom's Cookies

I am seriously considering voting for Ralph Nader this year for President. I happened to get an email from his campaign while watching the re-cap of Sarah Palin's interview with Charles Gibson. Focusing on reading the email kept me from the severe nausea that overcomes me every time that woman opens her mouth. I'm not wild about the other side either so the whole third-party candidate idea is really appealing to me.

Anyway, the Nader campaign is offering his mom's cookie recipe for a donation of any amount that contains the number 2 in it. $2, $12, $20, etc. This because the name of the recipe is 2-2-2. Of course, I had to donate because I have a cake recipe that is called 1-2-3-4 and I am intrigued by such simple homespun recipes. I have always wanted to try the "cuppa-cuppa-cuppa" recipe from "Steel Magnolias" but I never have.

If you are looking for another candidate that might suit you better than the old dude or the other guy, please seriously consider one of the third party candidates. And check out Ralph Nader's mom's cookies while you are at it!

Ralph Nader for President