A Typical Night in South Texas

I have briefly mentioned that there is nothing to do in my hometown.  Luckily, my brother and I have a good set of friends here to hang out with.  In my hometown, you can do the following things at night:

1.  Go out and drink.  I’m all for house parties, but I’m not a big fan of going to bars or clubs for the purpose of drinking. I rarely, if ever, choose this option.

2.  Movies.  We’ve pretty much exhausted the movies this week.

3.  Drive around aimlessly and do things like go on a deserted playground at night while sipping a horrible Four Loko that your friend picked up for the group as a joke, walk in a deserted field next to a supposedly haunted building to see who wimps out first, or walk in a deserted, dimly lit, creepy park to see how much adrenaline your body can produce in one night. NOT THAT I’VE EVER DONE ANY OF THESE THINGS.

4.  Game night with friends (this happened the other night, and was very fun).

5.  Pool or some variant of the sort.

Tonight, my brother and I met up with friends at a pool hall.  I’ve only been to this pool hall maybe twice, including tonight.  It’s been here for at least 10 years.  “It’s closing tomorrow,” one of our friends said when we walked in. “Oh why?” I asked.  “But where are people going to play pool now? I thought it was getting business.”  “Dude, look around,” my friend said.  The hall was mostly empty.

Oh, so I guess that’s why it’s closing.

Tonight, the scene was typical for our hometown. It never fails to be entertaining in an ironic way.  The following things happened:

1.  The boys spotted a chick who clearly was confusing her panty hose for actual pants.

2.  The music changed from good 90’s alternative rock to rap as the normal clientele started filtering in.

3.  Speaking of which, two Lil Jon lookalikes occupied a pool table right next to us.

4.  A man was going from table to table, selling tamales from his cooler.

Ah, hometown.  Don’t ever change.

Advertisements

Three Things: The Resurrected Edition

Back on my Vox blog, I used to do a series of posts called “Three Things,” where I basically would post three random things that I wanted to talk about, but didn’t want to do a separate post for.  Tonight, I was thinking of several things I wanted to blog about…and so we have Three Things, the Resurrected Edition.

1.  You ever have one of those unequivocally awesome days? Where the day is awesome, even if, say, you briefly get your rental truck stuck in the mud (more on that in a future post), a normally two hour drive turns into three because of horrendous traffic, or you have to work at 10 pm?  Today was one of those days.

I went to dinner with my running group tonight after a good run (my legs were sore from yesterday. Oh so sore). I am really digging this running group – it’s definitely the favorite one that I’ve been a part of.  I click with all the people in it, and I look forward to all my runs with them.  After months of running together, several times a week, one of us finally said, “Hey, why don’t we go to a dinner/happy hour after our Wednesday runs?” So that’s what we are doing now.  It was a good one tonight.  Everyone found out about my undying ardor for bread, and the fact that I ran into a window at McDonald’s when I was twelve (which I told in response to a story about someone getting her head slammed in a car door).

2.  After dinner, I went to Whole Foods. I KNOW. I said that I don’t shop at Whole Foods, but this was out of desperation. It was within walking distance of the restaurant we were at, and I had to pick up a dessert for a work luncheon tomorrow. I figured it’d be easier to get the dessert at Whole Foods instead of stopping at HEB.

Once I was in the dessert section, I spotted an enticing looking cherry pie.  I looked at the price.

FIFTEEN DOLLARS, Y’ALL.  FIFTEEN DOLLARS FOR PIE.

I know Whole Foods is jokingly referred to as “Whole Paycheck” for a reason, but Jesus Christ. I do not care if those cherries were lovingly cultivated in your backyard and watered with your own tears – I refuse to shell out fifteen dollars for PIE.

So instead, I went to HEB and picked up a pumpkin pie for three dollars. THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

3.  Ah, my hometown. So much to love (actually…wait, not really), so much to dislike.  We are not known for much, except for a singer who was gunned down there, and the fact that we placed on Men’s Health list of “Dumbest Cities in the U.S.” a couple of years back.  I hate to say it, but there really is a disproportionate amount of stupid people there.

For instance – yesterday my brother was out with friends, looking at Christmas lights. They drove by a Whataburger at one point, and what they saw was simply amazing:

Spelling Fail, on so many levels

OH, BELOVED HOMETOWN.  NEVER CHANGE.

An Aborted Attempt at Moshing (At a Huey Lewis and the News Show)

One of my friends is employed at a company that throws ridiculously amazing holiday parties.  Every year, his company rents out a stadium and hires a classic band to perform.  He invited me last year, but Darius Rucker was performing, who I’m not a fan of.  Plus, I was bummed about some hipster dude who was ignoring me, so I was spending a lot of time in coffee shops writing terrible poetry with my fried blonde hair and 90’s angsty plaid.  My heart was too cold and sad for such revelry as holiday parties.

This year, however, I do not have any hipster dudes making me sad, so my heart is full of joy for the holiday season.  My friend invited me to the party again this year, this time telling me that Huey Lewis and the News was booked.  I think my response was somewhere along the lines of, “HELL YESSSSSS.”

Huey Lewis was the soundtrack to my childhood. Seriously.  You couldn’t turn on the radio back then without hearing “Stuck With You” or “If This Is It?” or “The Power of Love.”  This has always been my favorite Huey song, hands down:

Their music has always been pretty light fare, but this is the one song that hints at something heavier.  I freaking love that guitar riff.  Seriously, when that song pops up on the radio, I don’t care if I’ve heard it three billion times – it’s one of those, “OH SHIT TURN IT UP, IT’S GONNA BE A GOOD DAY” kind of songs.

And so Saturday night arrived with much anticipation.  After enjoying food and an awesome dueling piano band for an hour (it sounds lame but I promise you, they were amazing), we headed to the stage to watch Huey Lewis. Oh look! Here’s a terribly fuzzy picture to prove I was there!

Wow! What amazing clarity my cell phone camera has!

They opened with “Heart of Rock and Roll.”  I don’t care if it was named as an Awesomely Bad song or whatever, I still love it.  And it’s true, everyone does get all excited when you hear your city getting called out in the song.

I had been worried that Huey Lewis would sound bad.  I am always a little skeptical of this when I see shows with aging rock stars.  I have to say, his voice sounded pretty good.  At one point in the show, the band all performed several a capella songs.  Even my close friend, a music major, admitted that it was a tight set.

The band sang “Power of Love” pretty early in the set, and then moved on to some other songs that I guess only hardcore Huey fans would appreciate.  It was around this time that I wanted to do a mosh.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, the show was still good.  We were having fun.  But it was definitely a lower energy kind of show. Huey would try to get the audience engaged and no one was really responsive except for the really big hits.

We were standing close to the stage, but the energy would not have been any different had we been seated in the stands.  It was the kind of show you could take your grandmother to, and she’d want to go out for ice cream afterward.  I’m not saying this is a bad thing.  It’s just a different energy than I am used to.

We had been joking around about moshing before the show, but now I wanted to do a little bit of it.  So my friend and I ran into each other, then he ran into another, and I ran into another (these were all people in our group, by the way. Not random people.)

We did about three seconds of moshing before I took a look around me.  People were staring at us with Very Disapproving Looks.  The friend employed at the company quickly said, “Guys, cut it out,” after a dude in a cowboy hat kept his gaze on us.  But then he commenced to groping his girlfriend’s boobs the entire night, so clearly he was not in any place to judge.  I think the woman in front of us even texted her disapproval over our brief antics to someone. Awesome.

Moshing aside, it was an awesome night spent with great people. You can’t beat a good, free show.  And, say, twenty years from now, if I hear a Huey Lewis song pop up on the oldies station, I can tell my kids that I saw his show, and they can be all, “Yeah, I don’t care.”

What Are We Really Celebrating?

When I was a little girl, I would go over a friend’s house and see an inordinate amount of presents under their tree while on Christmas Day, Pat and I would get one or two presents.  As a child, I couldn’t help wondering why some children had a lot of gifts under their tree, and we didn’t.  I didn’t understand at the time that we didn’t have a whole lot of money, and that my parents wanted us to celebrate the spirit of the season instead of focusing on material wealth.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become very appreciative of the way I was raised.  My parents never defined life by how much material wealth we did or didn’t have.  Instead,  they emphasized that family always comes first, followed by education.  This attitude has really affected my life.  I really love the holidays because it’s all about spending time with my family and friends.  I don’t get stressed out buying gifts for a bunch of people I don’t care about. I only buy gifts for my family.  Not even my closest friends and I exchange gifts.  We all know that we love each other; we don’t have to buy each other gifts to prove it.  Spending time together during the holidays is all we need.

I am writing this post because I’m completely disgusted by the rampant materialism and commercialism that has consumed this country.  What an embarrassment it is to log into Youtube and see ridiculous videos of people acting like monsters at a Walmart, tearing up displays because something is on sale.  Pepper-spraying everyone because you want something?  Seriously?  Black Friday-type sales really bring out the worst in humanity, and I completely dissociate myself from these people.

Yesterday, my friends, brother, and I Skyped with Tap’s sister, a writer who travels the globe.  She is currently in Turkey, and she said that while the news was reporting serious issues from other countries, it focused on Black Friday for the United States.  Is that really what we want to be?

I had an amazing day yesterday.  Tap’s mom hosts a belated Thanksgiving every year – yesterday was our third with them.  Tap’s mom, like my mom, is European and an amazing cook.  We then had our second-annual Songwriting Showcase, where we split into teams, compose a song in two hours, and then perform it for Tap’s parents. Afterwards, we jammed while Tap’s parents watched.  It was such a beautiful evening.

After we left Tap’s house, Pat and I went to jam with some musician friends of his.  These guys are ridiculously talented, and I include my brother in that category. You guys don’t know how intimidating it was to walk into that room and listening to them all play – just two years ago, Pat and I would go out to their shows.  And now I was expected to jam with them?  They are on a whole other level than I am (more like 20 levels above mine), but they were really encouraging with my contributions.  It was such a fun night, and several hours of jamming just flew by.

As I watch people get stressed out over the holidays, camping out in tents so they can be the first in line for some ridiculous deal, I can’t help feel like they are missing out on what makes life really great.  They are celebrating commercialism and materialism – what empty causes to be celebrating.

The holidays are really about celebrating life, love, and happiness with your family, closest friends, amazing food, and good music. That’s what life is all about. I’m sad that people see these holidays as a way to spend money or to get gifts from people because, damn, they are really missing out.

Thank You!

I really wanted to dedicate a post to everyone who helped me complete my marathon. As you can tell, it really takes a village to run a marathon. There’s just no way you can complete the training without the love and encouragement of supporting people in your life.

I thank –

-My lovely blog friends (YOU GUYS!) for always being so encouraging
-All the waterstop volunteers and supporters for both the training runs and the actual race.  Wow, y’all are amazing.
-Dave Grohl – I have never met you, but you have changed my life. I couldn’t have finished my run without your music to keep me going.
-The No Excuses running group for being so motivating and positive, especially on that last mile
-The TRC running group – I cannot wait to start training with you all for February
-USA Fit – I met so many awesome, encouraging people there.  You all made waking up at 5:45 on a Saturday morning something to look forward to! A special thanks goes out to Coach Jodi, for being so motivating and awesome.
-Tap, Shark, Conrad – I love you guys.
-To my “adopted grandfather” Terry, for all the running advice over the years
-My Zia Lucia, Uncle Kenny, Tony, Kenny, and especially my Amanda – I love you all.
-To Patrick, who always had something funny and motivating to say about my training (“I went to war running a mile the other day.”)
-To my sweet Mom, who always supported me no matter what
-And finally, to my dad.  I wouldn’t be running today if you hadn’t taken me out for that three mile run back in July 1992.

Weekend Retrospective: Wait, What?

You ever have those weekends where you think, “Well, that was fun/crazy/awesome/WTF DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?”

It was one of those weekends.  I’ll leave it at that.

Conrad played this song at my request at his party yesterday. I love the shit out of this song.

I will talk about ACL a little now. I took the day off on Friday and went with my good buddy, Tap.  We took a very chill approach to ACL that day.  We just hung in the back of the crowds mostly and talked, talked, and talked.  It was quite enjoyable.  We saw Ha Ha Tonka (Mumford and Sons ripoff, and that is not a compliment at all), Brandi Carlisle, a little bit of Foster the People, and technically Sara Bareilles, though we were talking throughout that whole set. All I can remember from that show is she was like, “Yeah, fuck him!” a lot and did a cover of a Mumford and Sons song, which made me go, “WHY?!” We also caught a bit of Nas/Damien Marley.  At one point, we split up so Tap could see Big Boi and I could see Ray LaMontagne, who is divine.

Up until the day of the show, I had been convinced that I would see Coldplay, but I decided to see Kayne at the last minute. I figured I’d have multiple chances to see Coldplay. I was in the mood to dance, not clutch my heart during an earnest rendition of “The Scientist” (I fucking love that song, but you just have to be in the mood for it).

Kanye ended up putting on a pretty decent show.  He had his show separated into three acts.  He incorporated performance dancers and ballerinas into the performance. At the end, he was “free-styling” (basically repeating the same thing over and over), while a solo ballerina performed an improv dance on stage, which looked really cool.

As far as any crazy Kanye antics go, there weren’t really any.  He just stopped one song for some unknown reason (“LET’S START THIS SHIT OVER.”) Then at one point, he addressed the crowd and said that because of time constraints, he couldn’t say all that he wanted to say, but then mentioned something about not being a sheep to the media’s influence? I think? Something along those lines.  You know, the cliche things artists say to sound like they’re being subversive when they’re actually not.

Whatever, he played “Gold Digger” and this song, which made the show worth it for me:

Peace out, ACL 2011.

You’re the best friend that I ever had…

Yesterday was Freddie Mercury’s birthday.  Queen is one of my favorite bands – I grew with my dad blasting the Greatest Hits album in the house, so it is only natural I’d love them too. He’d gone to see Queen back in the 70’s when he lived in New York City, and said it was one of the best concerts he’d ever been to (the other “best concert” he’d seen was David Bowie – JEALOUS).

I am posting this song in honor of the incredible Mr. Mercury, but also for my best friends.  Despite the original intent of the song, I’m posting this song as a purely platonic way of thanking my friends for their friendship.  They know who they are.

I love you guys so much.  Thank you for always being there for me.

P.S. I realize the irony in choosing this particular song as a dedication, since one of said best friends does not like Queen very much.