Nov 25, 2010

Its beginning to SOUND a lot like Christmas.

Its Thanksgiving.  I was toying around with the notion of writing the traditional "I'm thankful for..." post, however I have decided to forgo this option.  Don't get me wrong, there are things I am extremely grateful for.  And I could actually make a list that is quite extensive.  But for right now, I'm thinking about something else entirely.

It's almost Christmas!!

I have to admit, I get pretty exited for the holidays.  I don't get as excited as Costco does (after all, they break out the Christmas decorations around freaking Halloween).  For me, the official start of the Holiday season begins with Thanksgiving.  Its like some sort of starting line for a marathon of cheer and good will, culminating with the festivities of New Year's Eve. 

But I love the Holidays.  People are generally in a better mood at the Holidays.  Except of course, for those who are shopping on Black Friday and fighting over the next big thing. Those people are generally miserable. Fortunately for me, I never go out for the Black Friday sales, so I never have to deal with those people. And so, I can rely on my idea that people are generally in a better mood during the holidays, even on that day.
So how do I start celebrating Christmas?  What do I do to start getting in the holiday mood? 

I start with Christmas music.  I love Christmas music.  However, people seem to think its somewhat socially unacceptable to listen to it prior to Thanksgiving.  But there appears to be an unwritten rule that says as soon as the Presidential Turkey is pardoned a person can play Christmas music without fear of retribution, or at the least, weird looks.  So it is with every year I start looking forward to the time when I can break out the Christmas play list.

Now the catalog of music out there, focusing on the holidays, is extensive (which is really quite an understatement).  So, in order to help narrow the field a bit, I will be providing to my top 10 favorites, and why these musical selections have managed to make the list. 

Special note here: These are some of my favorites.  Certainly, not all of them.  And while I have labeled them my favorite 10, I have not numbered them, because they are not in any particular order.

Without further ado, I present my 10 Favorite Christmas Songs:

Baby It's Cold Outside, as performed by Zoey Deschanel and Leon Redbone.  Originally written by Frank Loesser, for he and his wife to perform, the rights to this song were later sold to MGM in 1948.  Since then, the song has been performed and recorded in numerous venues and performances.  My favorite, though, happened to come from a Will Ferral movie: Elf.  I generally hate Will Ferral.  I think he's an idiot.  And probably the only reason the song makes my list (given its questionable appearance in a Will Ferral movie) is Mr. Ferral has absolutely nothing to do with the soundtrack version.  Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone.  Stupendous.  Really.  And even though it never makes a reference to Christmas or the holiday season in general, it certain evokes the feeling garnered from a warm fire on a cold night, a warm drink and someone to share it all with.  And what more can a person ask for from the holidays?

Silent Night, as performed by Sarah McLachlan.  First off, we take a Christmas classic.  Regardless of your religious beliefs, its a beautiful song.  Top it off with Sarah, and you have the makings of something so much more.  I admit, I have a bit of a thing for Sarah.  Whats not to like? She's beautiful, her music is addicting, and her voice is dead sexy.  So how can you go wrong?  She approaches this piece of music with the utmost respect and reverence.  And I'll say, once you hear it, you'll be wondering two things: 1 - Why had you never heard this before?  2 - Where can you get it?  Try the winter collection EP, titled "Wintersong."  You won't be disappointed.

Good King Wencelas, as performed by Loreena Mckennitt.  The story of the good king goes like this: King Wencelas and his page go out on St. Stephen's Day (hence, the Feast of Stephen) to feed and clothe the poor, and provide them the warmth of a fire. However, it is cold and walking through the snow the page almost gives up, urging his master to go on without him.  However, the king comforts him, and miraculously the page finds warmth by walking the footsteps of the king and is able to go on.  Obviously laced with Christian undertones of charity and religious lessons on faith, and simply look at people in the selfless service of others. And what's not to like about that?  As a further note, Loreena's album, The Visit is one of my favorites.  If you have the chance, you check it out.

The Little Drummer Boy, as performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  First off, we are not here to debate religious beliefs.  But, religious beliefs aside, one can hardly argue that the Tabernacle Choir is something to behold.  This particular piece is performed with very little musical accompaniment, and is simply fantastic.  I suppose, once again, the message is laced with religious undertones, but hey, its Christmas, so why not?  I'm sure we all have, at times, felt like we needed to give something of worth to someone, and felt like all we could give was not enough.  However, should we all give what we can, and do in earnest, then gift itself really doesn't matter.

Carol of the Bells, as performed by George Winston.  Mr. Winston, a famous pianist, is probably most notably known for his for albums titled Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.  Each contains piano pieces centered on music and themes that embody the season he is looking to represent.   Mr. Winston was pioneer in the genre that would later be know as New Age. The Carol of Bells, dating back to 1916, is performed by Mr. Winston perfectly.  If you have ever heard the carol sung by a choir, as it was originally meant to be, you can't help but appreciate this presentation, and respect his ability to present it.

O Holy Night, as performed by Celtic Women.  Again, classic and timeless.  I also have a certain afility for celtic-type music.  The afore mentioned Loreena McKennitt is one of my favorites, and so when I happened accross this version of the hymn, I couldn't help but make sure it was part of my Christmas Play List.  At one point, the women of this group hit a crescendo as they say, "Fall, on your knees. O hear angels voices. O night, divine."  Chilling. Stirring. And just plain good.

Happy Xmas (War is Over), as performed by Sarah McLachlan.  First off, I don't see anything wrong with a repeat performer making my list.  And once again, it's Sarah, and once again I say, her voice is dead sexy.  John Lennon wrote this song in 1971.  An instant Christmas classic from the former Beatle.  Many years later, Sarah redoes the song.  Its presentation is nearly identical to John's, obviously not wanting to intrude on the legacy of such a man.  And here, between Sarah's and John's version of the song, my preference is nothing more than my preference.  This one can be found on Wintersong as well, a celebration of Christmas and a plea for world peace all in one.

Little Saint Nick, as performed by The Beach Boys.  Come on, really?  What list of favorites would be complete without the Beach Boys? Released in 1963, the Wilson's were at the top of their game.  Churning out songs about muscle cars, surfing and girls, who would have thought the guys could create an instant holiday classic?  But Brian and the guys were quite arguably the best American group of the time.  Perfect harmonies backed by a surfer's attitude, they guys even managed to throw a shout-out to Saint Nick.  Well played, guys.  Well played.

Feliz Navidad, as performed by Jose Feliciano.  Who doesn't like this song?  Its interesting to me, as to what makes a Christmas song a classic.  What makes it that song that everyone looks to hear when driving through town looking at Christmas lights.  Jose knew. Feliz Navidad, Jose.  Feliz Navidad.

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy, as performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby.  Bing had a career that spanned 50 years, and his unique baritone voice made him one the best selling recording artists of all time.  David Bowie is no slouch in the recording world either.  Combing one of the best America had to offer with an incredibly talented British rocker and you end up with a rather surprising experiment now famous the world over.  Giving the fact these two musicians are so talented in the particular genres, its a wonder they were able to sit at the piano and mesh so seamlessly. 

This aired on a Christmas special with Bing Crosby in 1977.  I was born only a year prior to this.  While I certainly have no memory of its original airing, I watch it and listen to it every single year. 

So there you have it.  Every one of these selections is on my play list.  And every year, about this time, You can hop into my truck and there is a good bet you are going to hear one of the above either playing or at the least, cued up.

Up next in my preperation for Christmas?  Tree shopping.

Nov 22, 2010

Running My Arse Off.

It’s a little over half way through the original training schedule of 9 weeks to run a 5K (remember folks, a 5k is 3.1 miles). Of course, I have lengthened that schedule out to a total of 15 weeks in order to accommodate my desire to hit 5.75 miles. Don’t ask me how many K’s that is, its more math than I really want to attempt right now.

Ok, before I could continue, I had to figure the K’s involved in running 5.75 miles. So, a little fact checking, and a little multiplication, and the answer was simple. 1 mile = 1.61 kilometers. So, simply put, we multiply 5.75 by 1.61, and the answer is 9.25K. Of course, no one wants to say, “I’m running a 9.25K.” So I’ll let it suffice to say, “I’m going to run 5.75 miles.” Although, it sounds like I’m going a longer distance by saying 9.25K.

At any rate, let me get back to issue at hand, a sort of progress report.

Anyone who knows me knows I am sort of a geek when it comes to planning things. I like to do all sorts of research. I like to have graphs. I like to have detailed and written plans. So when I started this plan, I did some research. I was looking for a training schedule that would accommodate my specific needs. After a little looking, I came across The Couch to 5K Running Plan. It’s a 9-week plan, training three days a week. When I first came up with this plan I was saying I didn’t want to make excuses for myself. And I still stand by that. However, I do have limits, and I have to approach this whole idea with a certain amount of caution. This plan seemed pretty reasonable, and pretty attainable.

And so I embarked on my mission. First thing I did, I got a notebook. Then, I transcribed the weekly plan to my notebook, along with some various graphs in order to keep track of distance, calories, and a simple weight routine in order to provide an overall fitness as opposed to just simply running and building up the cardio endurance. And for the most part, I have actually stuck with the plan. However, this last week, I faltered a little bit. The end result on this is going to be a repeat of Week 5.

For a little reference, here is the general prescribed routine:

1 – Three times a week I am on the treadmill. Since beginning, I have been increasingly changing the ratio of walking to running. As it stands right now, I’m running more than walking.

2 – On the off days, I am either using the elliptical or taking the day off.

3 – On run days, I am doing a light weight lifting routine. Remember, I’m not looking to bulk up here. I have no ideations of heading down to Malibu and showing off my pectorals to the locals (after all, I live on Lost Coast, and in order to accomplish something like I would not only have to actually have huge pectorals, but I would also have to hit the tanning booth, given the lack of sun around here).

So, since I started this endeavor, I have stuck to the plan with surprising regularity (this last week being the one exception, which I’ll get to in a little bit). So, generally speaking over the last 4 weeks, I have been at the gym 4-5 times a week. Even when we were in Denver, I managed to make my way to the gym and run in the morning. This week, however, I only made it twice. This is not due to my being lazy, or a lack of motivation. It was simply circumstances. In light of this week’s inactivity, though, I’ll be repeating week 5, just for good measure.

So, without further ado, I’m going to put some stats, covering a period of the last 5 weeks:

Official Count in Weeks: 5
Total Number of Trips the Gym: 19
Total Distance in Miles on the Treadmill: 28.17
Total Distance in Miles on the Elliptical: 13.43
Total Calories Burned on the Treadmill: 3,991
Total Calories Burned on the Elliptical: 1,605
Time Spent on Running Days with Weights: About 60 minutes
Time Spent on Elliptical Days without Weights: About 30 minutes
Average Miles Per Trip to the Gym: 2.1 miles
Average Calories Burned per Trip: 294

What do these numbers really mean? Not a lot. About the only thing it really does is prove I have actually been attending and sticking to the plan (which, in and of itself, is a real accomplishment).

So, Week 6 begins today. However, as stated before, I’ll continue my program be repeating Week 5 due to my poor attendance.

Stay tuned for more.

Nov 18, 2010

We get coins, we get shirts, we walk a lot of places, get dissapointed with the cab service, and in the end, we complete our quest.

Its over.  Our quest has ended.  We are victorious.

We saw Brandi, and it was good.  But before I delve into a review of the event, I'll do a quick sum-up of the weekend leading up to the concert.

Denver itself is actually a pretty nice city.  And the Lower Downtown (commonly referred to as LoDo, which sounds kinda dumb to me; that would be like calling Old Town Eureka "OlToe", that sounds about as appealing as a bad case of toe jam) is really nice.  In particular, the 16th Street Mall is the place to be.  16th Mall is fantastic.  Its probably close to 8 or 9 city blocks long.  16th Street is closed to through traffic.  In fact, the only vehicles allowed to drive on 16th Street are the free shuttle buses and the police. 

I should make note that pedestrians walking 16th Street need to be very wary of the the shuttle buses.  They hurtle down the street like ballistic missiles, screech to halts at every corner.  On the plus side, if you do happen to get tagged by one, the police seem to patrol this area very frequently, so emergency help is always close by. 

The plethora of places to eat in Denver is astounding.  There are a ton of good places.  Two places we went, and really liked were Rock Bottom Brewery and Macro's Coal Fired Pizza.  Both of them had excellent food.  I would recommend either to anyone who travels to LoDo Denver. 

Two points of interest made on our trip:

1.  The Unites States Mint Denver, CO  -  Seriously, this place was pretty cool.  It was like going through airport security getting in, and the mint has it's own armed police force.  And they follow you through the entire tour.  Once inside, it was a numismatics's dream come true (a numismatic is a collector of coins, just so you know; I don't what idiot came up with that name, but I guess it has more of a professional ring to it than "coin collector").  Sadly we didn't get to see any coinage being made due to the three day weekend.  But I did lay my hands on a sealed case with $140,000 in one dollar coins.  Oh, it was lovely.  The unfortunate thing about the mint: No pictures inside.  No cameras allowed, and cell phones must have the batteries removed.

They did have a gift shop, which I considered myself lucky to have escaped and only spent about $60.

2.  The Miller-Coors Brewing Factory in Golden, CO  -  If you like Beer, this is a good tour.  If you find a little bit of American culture interesting, this is a good tour.  One of the things that struck me more than anything else was the city of Golden itself.  Golden, from all appearances is everything my home town of Eureka wants to be.  Eureka, though, fails miserably.  Golden is small, clean and friendly.   Its downtown area wasn't littered with trash and over run with homeless people.  It was, in all honesty, a nice place to visit.  The brewery, while one of the major revenue makers for the city, wasn't the only industry, as evidenced the various businesses we passed on our trip there.

Go figure, a small town that welcomes business within it's own city limits?  And they appeared to be successful.  I would imagine most travelers who come touring through the city of Eureka generally keep driving. 

One point of.. Confusion?  -  The cabs in Denver had no idea where anything was.  Seriously.  Without the aid of their dash mounted GPS, they would have been lost.  Two examples.  #1 - We got a cab and asked to go to the brewery in Golden.  The brewery is massive.  It sprawls out of a couple hundred acres.  Its also famous. Who, in America (whether a beer drinker or not) has heard of Coors, bottled in the Rocky Mountains?  What did our cabbie ask us when we told him our destination? "Do you know the address?"  #2 - The Denver Performing Arts Complex.  During the time we were there, along with the Brandi Carlile concert, it was hosting the Denver Film Festival.  This appeared to be a huge event.  And people were dressed really nicely.  And again, what did our cabbie ask us? "Do you know the address?" 

So disappointed. 

Now, onto the meat of the post here.  Brandi Carlile, Live with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. 

We arrived at about 7.  The show was scheduled to start at 7:30.   We checked out the B.C. gear for sale out front, then headed to our seats.  Boettcher Hall (apparently that's pronounced "bet-cher") is a fantastic auditorium, with seating completely encircling the stage.  I don't really think there were too many bad seats in the house.  Promptly, at 7:30, the lights went dim and Brandi was introduced.  Her and the band came to the stage, and together they performed for about 30 minutes.  Then they announced they would take a short break while the orchestra set up.  Then they returned and played for about an hour. 

The show was excellent.  I wish I could describe how all the anticipation we went through had paid off in full.  Instead, I'll simply say we truly missed out on the prior two attempts to see her in concert.  On the flip side, we have decided we want to see her again, we enjoyed it that much.

Now as I sit here, I think its sad how easy it was to write about the anticipation; and how a weekend date to wine country had become a personal quest.  And now that its over, I am left feeling like this posting is a little on the anti-climatic side as there are no cliff hanging finishes or suspense filled promises of more to come. 

In stead, our quest is simply over. 

Clearly, we need a new one.

Nov 9, 2010

Vegas lights, Sheryl quits, and we get Ugly.

When we last checked in with our intrepid concert goers, they found themselves in Petaluma, CA; smack dab in the middle of California’s wine country….

For anyone unfamiliar with Petaluma, it’s really a nice little city. It’s a little too big to call a town, but it’s still a little small to call a metropolitan area. With a beautiful downtown area, a marina on the Petaluma River (a tidal estuary which snakes down to the San Pablo Bay, providing access to the Pacific Ocean), and access to the sprawling vineyards that cover the rolling hills throughout the region, a person can literally do nearly anything from the city proper with little to no effort whatsoever.

As I was driving home Sunday morning from said city, D and I were both thinking none of these things really mattered. For our hopes had been dashed to pieces by a cruel twist of fate called Illness.

(I should say, though, the weekend wasn’t a total loss. We did eat at Guy Fieri’s restaurant, Johnny Garlic’s. We only had lunch there, which for us, consisted of burgers. But they were really good burgers. I would wager, based on what little experience we had there, the rest of the menu is pretty solid as well.)

Time moved on. We told our story to friends and family, who all chuckled at our misfortune. All in good nature, we took it in good stride, and we simply decided we would try again. As mentioned in the previous posting, the rescheduled concert was set for the end of June. D was off to New York City and Ben was with me. Figuring the logistics of it all simply were unfavorable, we didn’t go.

But we were undaunted in our goal to see Brandi live. And so we kept our eyes open for another show to see. At the same time, we started thinking about what we wanted to do for our third anniversary. The idea if catching a show somewhere came up, and I quickly went back to the tour page of

What did I find there, you may ask? Well, none other than a show with Brandi and Sheryl Crow at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas! Jokingly, I made mention of this, and to my complete shock and awe, D was all for it; and seriously too. There wasn’t a hint of sarcasm in her voice. Well, it wasn’t too much longer and we had reserved a flight to and hotel room in Vegas. The actual coordination of this trip was far more extensive, and horribly complicated, but that is really a story for another time.

As soon as this trip became a reality we started bragging to our friends, Francis and Meghan, who had actually seen Brandi live in our place in Petaluma. And it wasn’t too much longer we were making our plans together. After all, why not visit Sin City with good friends who can sin with you? It makes the whole experience so much better.

So the fateful weekend arrived. Concert tickets were in hand, bags were packed, spirits were high, and the wallets were full of spending cash.

We arrived in Vegas, checked in to the New York, New York Casio and Hotel, and quickly got ourselves settled into the business of soaking up everything Vegas could throw at us. We ate some good food, we drank a few drinks, we played cards, we played craps, and we wandered the strip and did thing tourists do with cameras and things like that. But, let’s face it: With all the things to do in Vegas, we were there for a very specific reason. And everything up until that point was just so much fluff.
(Outside the New York, New York on the replica of the Brooklyn Bridge.)

Don’t get me wrong, the fluff was fun. We hit every major casino on the strip in the course of two days. We spent quite a tidy sum on souvenirs, on food, and of course on the slots. Vegas has the cream of the crop when it comes to the slots. They are new. They are flashy. They have sweet mini-games. And they practically call to you in your sleep. What little sleep I actually got there was inundated with visions of spinning reels, flashing lights, and big wins.

Surprisingly enough, I managed to go most of the trip without making too much of an ass out of myself. Probably the biggest blunder I made was guestimating the walk from the strip to the Rio to be “not that far.” It was probably about 95 degrees out. It was sunny. And it was easily over a mile. And it should suffice to say, we hadn’t been drinking enough water. The four of us made it there, and we even managed to stay on speaking terms through it all. But we also took a cab back to the strip.

Saturday morning came along, and Francis and I met down on the casino floor for a lesson on Craps. Some Guido looking guy gave the lesson, which was entertaining and serious all at the same time. Once the lesson was over we met up with D and Meghan to plan out our day. After all, we had to be out at the Hard Rock early enough to get ourselves situated comfortably for the show. I was sitting at a ginormous Wheel of Fortune machine and I had just won seventy dollars and we were gleefully chatting about the evening’s activities, wondering how we could possibly fill our day when our anticipation of the evening’s event was foremost in our minds.

Then, my phone buzzed, and the chime that signals a new email sounded. Most of the time I ignore this sound and catch up with it later. But for whatever reason, I pulled my phone from my pocket and read the subject line.

I don’t remember what it actually said, but in my mind, it looked something like this:

From Ticket Master: Your concert has been canceled. You are a loser.

What the #*%?!?!?!? Really? How is this even possible? Thanks to the advent of the smart phone, I was able to hop on the internet and check Ticket Master. Sure enough, it was posted that Sheryl Crow was sick, and the event for that night had been canceled. Yes, I said it was canceled. Now, Brandi had missed two concerts. Brandi, who previously hadn’t missed a single performance, had now missed the two we had been trying to see.

We sat bemoaning our fates, drowning our sorrows in free drinks and deluging our senses with the sound of slot machines. They no longer held the same magic though, and bells and whistles now seemed far off, like a fog horn blowing in some distant bay in the middle of October when it’s socked in with fog.

We did our best to rally from this devastating blow to our scheduled activities. And instead of going to the concert, we went to Coyote Ugly. Are there any readers out there that have seen the movie which shares the same name as this chain of bars? I don’t know if the movie inspired the bars, or if the bars inspired the movie. But in the end, they are pretty much just like each other. And dirty. And not the kind of dirty a little kid gets into when he goes out to play in the schools football field just after a heavy rain. However, to keep mom (who I know will be reading this post) from going into apoplexy, I’ll reassure her that was largely a spectator in this endeavor. For the rest of you, I’ll include the following picture (and only this picture, but rest assured I have many more).
(Again, to the defense of my character, I was mostly a spectator here, mostly. However, there were some things that happened here, that I saw with my own eyes, that I would have thought never actually happened in really life.  Go figure. Also, to the defense of my character, going here was not my idea.  Of course, I don't exactly remember objecting very strenuously either.)

The next morning, we did our best to wipe the sleep from our eyes and haze from our minds, and made our way to the airport. All in all, it had been a fun weekend. However, the sting of disappointment after losing some money, missing yet another concert, and nursing a little bit of a headache was all to real.

And so, again, we headed home with our tails between our legs. But still undaunted, now determined more than ever, we would try again. This was no longer just a show to see. It was past something of an obsession, it was now far beyond a mere goal to see Brandi live.

It was a quest, a mission; it had become our calling in life. We were now determined more than ever. We would succeed.

It would be less than twenty-four hours later, and our next attempt would be set in stone. But of course, that’s a story for another time (which will more than likely be tomorrow).

Stay tuned.

Nov 8, 2010

A concert canceled leaves us wanting more...

Determination comes in many forms.

For example, it comes in the form of the determination to run a race in Trinidad.

For another example, it comes in the form of working ones arse off over the course of a weekend, and getting only about 2 hours of sleep before starting the weeks worth of night shifts, in order to finish the patio.

But I have gone on way too much about these two topics as of late.

So, in a final example, its comes in the form of two people working like mad, and spending ridiculous amounts of money, just to see a person in concert.

This is one heck of a long story, really, so I’ll be breaking it into three parts.

And here begins the story that spans the better part of the last year….

One night, D and I were in bed together (now before you go thinking about the appropriateness of the upcoming content, remember we have children who read all this; you dirty minded people, sheesh). We were actually watching an Indigo Girls concert on HDNet. For those of you unfamiliar with HDNet, they broadcast all sorts of concerts, all day long; and the Indigo Girls are one of our favorites.

About half way through the concert, they brought out a special guest, a singer/songwriter/guitarist named Brandi Carlile. Brandi looked unassuming, but when we heard her playing with Amy and Emily, strumming out some of our favorite tunes, we were instantly hooked.

The next day I started looking for music on iTunes, and was pleased to find a large catalog of available music. About twenty dollars later, I had all sorts of new music to add to my play lists. And the next day, I found myself checking out A click o the tour link listed a whole slew of concert dates. One of these was in Petaluma, at the Mystic Theatre.

A quick lesson in geography: Petaluma is only about a three and a half hour drive from Eureka. Google maps actually clocks in at 4 hours and 17 minutes. But a little math quickly tells me that computation is based on a 55 mph traveling speed. When the speed of travel actually averages at about 70 mph, the travel time is quickly recalculated at 3.5 hours, a far more accurate estimation.

And so it was, we booked a room, and traveled to Petaluma in March. The weather was a little chilly that night, but it was clear and crisp outside. We parked in a public parking garage and walked a few blocks to get in the lengthening line of fans awaiting admittance. We went in, ordered a couple of drinks, and settled in for what promised to be an evening of excellent entertainment.

The opening act came out, playing a sort of bluesy rock, which was entertaining, but certainly not what we had come to see. And after a small intermission, Brandi and her crew hit the stage.

Together, the combination of Brandi, and her twin guitarists, Tim and Phil Hanseroth, acompanied by their drummer (who was a female of unknown name) began by together singing a song a capella. For the life of me, I can’t remember what the song was, but they sounded fantastic. Then, another song, a little more lively, and little more energetic. Again, I don’t remember what the song was. I was a rookie at this point, unfamiliar with all of Brandi’s catalog.

And then she abruptly left the stage. There was a brief respite, then the twins took the stage, by themselves. Together, to the tune of a single guitar, they sang a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.” It was so good. They were right on, and rocked it without ever raising their voices above the one crescendo that both Paul and Art so masterfully ascended to when it was written in 1963. Sadly, this song is not an option on the iTunes catalog, nor is it anywhere, that I can find. For reference, it was so good, I would happily donate a kidney to a person were they able provide me with a copy of said song in trade. (As of yet, no one has answered to this offer in the affirmative. I think I should consider myself lucky, though I would still love to have a copy of this cover.)

When the brothers wrapped up their performance, together they left the stage, to the sound of… not silence, but a standing ovation.
(Sadly, this was the look of the empty stage, after it was completely deserted)

It was about 10 minutes later when it was announced that Brandi was sick. She had hoped she could muscle through the performance, but in the end her illness won out and the concert was canceled.

According to the news given, this had never happened to Brandi before. She had never missed a performance (remember this fact, as it will be playing into part two of this story).

Further, we were told if we waited a few minutes, we could receive a ticket that would get us into a concert to be rescheduled. And so we waited, we got our tickets, and picked up some pizza on the way back to the hotel. The next day, we drove back to Eureka with our tales between our legs, instead of lasting impressions left by an amazing performance. But we took it in stride, and simply planned to make the rescheduled date.

Sadly, the reschedule date conflicted with D’s trip to New York City with eight, fourteen and fifteen year old girl scouts. And so we gave our tickets to a friend who, in company with her daughter, would enjoy such a show. Together they went to the Mystic Theatre, together they saw a kick-ass show, and together they drove home with nothing but lasting impressions of a very entertaining night.

In our next installment, we revisit the idea of seeing Brandi in concert, we travel to Vegas, and Sheryl lets us down.. Big time. Stay tuned.

Nov 5, 2010

Motivation stays strong in some areas....

Lets face it:  When a guy has a few goals, some hit the mark and others seem to fall by the wayside.

And so it is with this guy. 

Goal number 1: Running the Clam Beach Run.

I been maintaining a regular gym attendance.  About 5 days out of the 7 day week.  Pretty darn good.  I have lost 6 pounds (I'm sure I could lose a little more were I to really alter my diet, but I end up so hungry after hitting the gym I just want to keep eating).  But my cardio level has gone way up.  I don't really pay attention to my heart rate when I am running the treadmill, but I do on the elliptical trainer.  My target heart rate is 149 for a cardio session, and I have to really work my self in order to get my heart level that high.  Further, I am currently doing a little over two miles on the treadmill.  On a 15 week training program, I am looking at being right on target for the 5 3/4 mile run on January 29th. 

Goal number 2:  Blogging:

I don't know why it is I can't seem to make time to sit down and hammer out a post.  Over the course of the last week I have started several entries, but to no avail.  They all seem to be swallowed up by the murky abyss that is a jumbly concoction of procrastination, writers block and sheer laziness. 

And of course, the time I feel most motivated to write anything is at work?  When, arguably, I should be doing other things. Weird.

So OK, there is the update as it stands.  Its not huge, but its progress.  And with that, I am happy.
I'll be hitting the elliptical trainer tomorrow morning before bed time, that should kick me up to nearly 10 miles in total distance this week so far. 

I can see the finish line now....
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