Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hail Sasquatch!

Oh. So. Tired.
How old are we really? None of us realized the energy it would take to drag ourselves out of bed on day 2. Not enough sleep and generally worn out from a long day before, it was tough to get going Saturday morning. On top of that, the lineup for the day was the least compelling of the three for Rob and me anyway. We were looking forward to The Flaming Lips and The Shins who were playing late in the day but there were a bunch of bands we weren't so bothered about for one reason or another--Neko Case, Iron and Wine and Ben Harper, to name a few. Once we arrived at the amphitheater though we had a renewed energy and enthusiasm.
Perhaps not quite as much as this fellow, however......

The great thing about attending a festival is knowing you're going to get plenty of music in by the end of the weekend so there's very little stress about seeing every minute of every set. This in turn makes it really fun to hang out, or in my case, take a nap. The guys went off to the Wookie Stage to watch Band of Horses and I stuck around, listening to Iron and Wine and dozing off. It was actually incredibly relaxing for a while but then the sun was beating down on me and I was sweltering so it just became uncomfortable. It must have been close to 90 degrees and even rolling up my pant legs and taking off my shoes provided little relief. Just then, it began to drizzle, and I'll admit, I welcomed the light rain. I made sure all of our stuff was gathered in a nice little pile and was covered under a blanket and I sat under our umbrella as the sun was still bearing down making it too hot to put on a rain coat.

No sooner had the guys joined me on the blanket and Neko Case started her 45 minute set then the hail started. Yes, folks: HAIL. Now, coming from NH and all, you would think hail would be no new phenomenon to me, but not once in my life have I been caught out in a hail storm. The first few minutes we actually found it quite funny. I was still sitting with my shoes off and my pants rolled up, Bruce and Pat were eating their sandwiches and Rob was still rubbing in his sunscreen. We hunkered down under our wimpy umbrella and waited for it to pass. And waited. And waited. Until we began to wonder if it would pass. By now, the dark clouds had completely moved the sun out of the sky and the temperature dropped about 45 degrees in a matter of minutes. The hail storm lasted 20 minutes and Sasquatch was temporarily ground to a halt. When I told Pat I wanted to see Artic Monkeys, I mean in the Arctic.

The storm really put a damper on the rest of the day. We wandered around listlessly for quite some time unclear on whether the show would go on, or when, or whether we even wanted it to. We watched people sled down the hill and I wondered how anyone could find it fun at the moment. I was frozen through to the bone and even Rob "Shorts 365 days a year" Carey was cold.

People lining up to watch the sledders.

We then had the brilliant idea of buying coffee and hot chocolate. Unfortunately, everyone else at the concert had the same idea. We waited for over an hour in this line and not solely because there were a lot of people, but mainly because the booth was extremely inefficiant at making coffee. Tragically Hip started and finished their set while we were in the line and we still didn't have a coffee. After 50 minutes we overheard someone say there was no more hot chocolate and I could see Rob's head drop in dispair as he stepped out of the line. I finally made it to the front just as a supervisor was checking in on the vendor and I made myself clear on how I thought things were going at the booth. They had run out of hot chocolate, didn't have any milk for the coffee and as I already mentioned, they were inefficient at keeping up with the demand. He tried to explan that no one expected rain and I asked "Why then do the tickets say rain or shine?." He replied: "In 15 years it's only rained twice." Now, guess my response. That's right--"So, if it's rained twice, then you're aware rain is possible and you should plan for that." He didn't really have much to say after that--except that the event staff had made an exception to their "No Re-entry" rule and were allowing people to leave the concert grounds and come back in. An announcement which would have been helpful during the 90 minutes we were waiting for the concert to begin again but not so helpful now the music had started.
Never mind. We got our coffee, which helped me a bit, and now we had The Shins to look forward to and, immediately following, The Flaming Lips. We could then go back to the hotel, sit in the hot tub, and see Dina (Pat's wife) and Dave (Pat and Dina's friend) who were waiting for us at the hotel. The Shins set did not disappoint! Great music, fun performance and all around really enjoyable. But it took forever for the stage to be reset for Flaming Lips. It was beginning to feel like we had spent our entire day waiting. Nearly an hour had passed now and we thought surely The Flaming Lips would kick-off at any minute. And then, if things could get any worse, an event person took to the mic and announced "Due to inclement weather, Ben Harper will be playing first." Nooooooooooooo! We want Flaming Lips. We've been waiting an HOUR for Flaming Lips. If we had known about the schedule change, we could have left and been in the hot tub already! This was just not fair.
We immediately left but, in a moment of indecision and panic, decided to check on the re-entry policy in case we changed our minds. Always a good idea to send me as the spokesperson because of my total and complete intolerance of stupid policies. I was told in order to be allowed re-entry, we would have had to have left the premises before 9:00 PM. And as it was now 9:20, we would not be allowed back in. Surely, the security woman would understand the pure silliness of this made-up policy, right? I mean, they never announced changing the re-entry policy in the first place, they spent an hour setting up for the next band before announcing they had changed the line-up, and if, after waiting all that time, we felt we needed to warm up a little in order to see the band we really wanted to see, that should be acceptable right? Anyway, how could they possibly identify which of the people re-entering had left before 9:00 PM and which had left after 9:00 PM? By the time we left, we were pretty sure she'd be able to identify us as the people who left at 9:20 so there was no chance of re-entry for us. Sorry guys.

We finally made it back to the hotel around 10:30 PM, entered the room and, alas, no Dina and no Dave. What could they possibly be doing around Ellensburg, Washington at 10:30 PM? We look around and realize none of their stuff if there, either, which is strange because they called us from the hotel earlier in the day. Luckily, the cell reception which had been down all afternoon after the hail storm, was working again and we called Dina. We could only hear Pat's side of the conversation on the phone but it was pretty easy to fill in the blanks.

"Hi. Where are you?"
"Noooo. WE'RE in the hotel room."
"I'm serious."
"No. I'm really serious. We are in the room. What room are you in?"

It seems it was a good thing after all we didn't stick around for The Flaming Lips because there's a good chance the occupants of Room 311 would have gotten back before us.
"Somebody's been eating pretzels in my bed.....and she's STILL here!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Road To Sasquatch

Back in February, Pat Collins sent (several) emails to see if we would join him at Coachella music festival. The lineup included a lot of bands we really like including Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Franz Ferdinand and the fantasic Venezualan funk band, Los Amigos Invisibles. Being the great wife that I am, I agreed to go (without asking Rob first, knowing full well that he's not really into the festival scene.) In my acceptance reply I asked, why oh why were Arctic Monkeys not playing--the one band that would have really sold me on the idea. Pat's reply went something like this:

well why didn't you say you wanted to see the
'Monkeys? they're playing the Sasquatch festival
in central Washington on Memorial Day
weekend--and tix go on sale this saturday (it's
also possible to camp, which would further save
money). guess who else is playing? none other
than Nine Inch Nails!


Pat, being nostaligic for road trips, planned to drive there from San Francisco, but the rest of us sensible people, flew to Portland, where Pat picked us up to go the rest of the way (4 hours.)

Rob and I spent Thursday night with Matt and Marieka. Getting to see them twice in a very short period of time, made us wish they were close enough to pop in on on a regular basis. Marieka made us some delicious lasagne and they told us all about their amazing trip to Thailand before we completely obsessed on Google Earth. Which, if you haven't seen, you should do now as I can assure you, it's much more fascinating than this blog entry.

Friday morning came and Pat, Bruce, Rob and I (Dina would join us on Saturday night) were united in Portland and on the road to Sasquatch.

Welcome to Wash.jpg

Our first stop was to one of the strangest things you can imagine in the middle of nowhere--Stonehenge. I know you're probably thinking I have that wrong but, believe me, you're no more surprised than we were.

Stonehenge 1/4 mile

Stonehenge, Washington

Inside Stonehenge

We stopped long enough for Pat to sacrifice my husband--because apparently the man who built this replica, believed Stonehenge to be a sacrificial site and thus, built this to honor the WWI soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in the war.

Sacrifice at Stonehenge

After checking into our hotel in Ellensburg, WA, we drove the remaining 45 minutes to the Gorge Amphitheater, one of the most beautiful places you can imagine to see a concert. The amphitheater overlooks the Columbia River gorge and provides a sweeping view of the river, the gorge and the high desert beyond.

Gorge View

While the view was overwhelming, the first few bands were the opposite. The worst, however, was the band HIM. Described as "haunting, gothic, rocking, beautiful and melodic" we found them to be nothing other than irritating. The lead singer stood in one place smoking and singing for the entire set. While they're supposedly a heavy metal band, their sound was poppy and light and they filled the space between songs with banter like "How many of you......have been buried!" For their last song, they played a Black Sabbath number and, at the end, tried to "get a good vibe going" by repeating this mantra--it's not hard--it goes like this:
Black. Sabbath. Saved Our Lives.

We're still laughing over that one. Luckily, they were followed up by a surprisingly great set from Bauhaus and, the performance of all performances, Nine Inch Nails. I don't claim to be a huge fan, but I can't think of a show that even remotely compares to this. Trent Reznor is an energetic and intense performer, the music is amazing and the lightshow is brilliant without being over the top. Everything was exactly how it should be that night. Even Rob was happy to be at the festival.

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails 2


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mmmmmmm chocolate

Yet again this posting is extremly late, or should I say eggstremly late? (shocking)
Every Easter we look forward to an egg each from my parents in England, they're usually from Thorntons (who make the best toffee ever) and they have our names written on them with icing.
For as long as I can remember I would eat the RO off the egg leaving BERT, which is why my big brother Rich now refers to me as Bert.
As you can imagine, the journey over to California from England isn't an easy one for chocolate eggs so most years they arrive looking like they've been used as a football, but check out this years "Eggs". I say "Eggs" as they are actually chocolate football players this year, well tasty too!
Thanks M & D.

Off with her head

The first intact "Egg" in Carey history!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Wasting our lives away on the internet

How much time do you waste in a day doing stupid things on the internet? Tonight we wasted a fair share of time creating Yahoo Avatars for each other.

Here are our self portraits:

And here are the portraits we made of each other:

Looks like we both agree on the dog.
And putting Rob in the Adidas England top that Andrea bought him for his birthday.
We will proudly post any avatars created of us on the blog if you send us a jpeg!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Brushing up on our Olympic sport.

We've had a few requests for our photos of the curling lessons we took during the Winter Olympics, which if I can remember was in February sometime.
We found out that there is a club in Fremont which is about 35 minutes away from Oakland and it just so happened that they were giving free lessons a few days later.
We followed the Olympic curling pretty closely and although I knew it would be alot harder than it looks I thought I might be a little better at it than I was, Kari was pretty good though. Actually to give myself some credit, I was quite a natural at sweeping ( Must be all the practice I get at home). We were taught how to throw the stone properly and how it curls, also when and how to sweep properly, all very interesting stuff, you may laugh but how many of you watch golf on TV? no one? good.
We had a fantasic time and are now looking at other winter sports that we can take up for the next Olympics, a couple of years ago we spent every other week pushing a broken down 1962 Volvo from one side of the street to the other to avoid street cleaning tickets, so we're thinking of taking up the 2 man bobsled.

Rob looking much better than the actual result.

Kari send the rock down

Anyone got a vacuum?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A long weekend a long time ago

It was quite a while ago now but it still bears telling about our trip to Portland to visit Matt and Marieka and to meet their twin boys, Eli and Kellan, for the first time ever! It's disgraceful really that we hadn't flown up sooner to meet the boys. Even my dad and Carl had met Eli and Kellen before us!!

It was Super Bowl weekend and Rob and I took 3-days to hang out and catch up. We got off to a slow start after our flight was delayed three hours. I guess we were more lucky than most that day--we met some people whose flight had been delayed 9 hours! The biggest drag about our delay was that it caused us to miss Marieka's homemade vegetarian pizza that night.
Upon arriving, we immediately dashed out to see a local band--The High Violets--play at the Doug Fir which was a really cool venue. To quote Matt--
It's a very popular place because they do the
unthinkable: book a variety of bands, make sure music
starts at 9pm, and don't allow smoking. It's a
no-brainer, but most of their competitors think that
people want to hang out and drink and smoke, waiting
for the crappy opening band to start at 11:30 pm and
then get home at 2am and needing a shower to get rid
of the cigarette stench.

For some reason, Rob and I hardly ever go out to see live bands even though we both love music, so it was fun to go out. Unfortunately, the band lacked a dynamic stage presence and the sound wasn't mixed very well so, unless you really love zombies playing cymbals, the performance wasn't all that we had hoped.

Because of our flight delay, we still hadn't met the boys, but they tried their hardest to get us out of bed Saturday morning. They managed to convince me first and I walked out thinking I would alarm them and send them running the other way. On the contrary, I was greeted with a big, smiling face, like they'd known me all along. To my surprise, the one I thought was Kellen for the last two years is actually Eli (and vice versa) so I spent the next four hours trying to unlearn and relearn who was who.
We had a great, relaxing Saturday, starting with a walk around the neighborhood to get coffee. They live in a cool neighborhood with lots of nice shops and it was not raining, which was a bonus none of us expected.
That afternoon, I joined Marieka and her friend Kirsten on a hike around Mt. Tabor. It was a really beautiful spot in the middle of town and we had a nice time together. I had never really hung out with Kirsten but felt like I had known her a long time. I-boy went in her dad's house in Berkeley once so it's like we're all family, right? When we got back, Matt took Rob and I to try our luck at some pinball. There is an arcade, "Ground Control", in downtown Portland that has a bunch of vintage pinball and video games. It's quite cool and after 7pm you can get beer. Rob's friend Alisabeth and her husband Nicolas met us there. Alisabeth was the teacher in Rob's classroom for the last two years before getting married and moving to Portland. Surprisingly, I never had the chance to meet her in spite of the fact that she also plays soccer and is a fun and easy person to hang out with, as it turns out. Rob had never met Nicholas (who I apparently called "Nick" even though he goes by Nicholas. This may not seem strange to you, but I pride myself on calling people by the name they wish to be called so I was alarmed to find out I had done this!) I think they enjoyed meeting me but not as much as they enjoyed playing Joust. And certainly not as much as this woman was enjoying Ms. Pacman.

When we were finally able to pry Alisabeth and Nicolas' hand off the joystick, Matt took us out to the Tugboat for a beer.

Later that night, the four of us went to a housewarming party while Marieka's mother looked after the boys. We had a few drinks, some snacks, broke the computer keyboard, fixed the computer keyboard, talked about vasectomies and reverse vasectomies and had an all-around good time. From there we went out for a midnight meal at Montage, along with everyone else in Portland. The food was fair, the drinks were good but the best part is they wrap your leftovers up into foil objects, guaranteed to give you hours of entertainment.

Onto Super Bowl Sunday--the biggest day in football--beginning with Liverpool v Chelsea. As we say, a 6-pointer. But it all went horribly wrong and Liverpool lost 2-0 basically quelching all hopes of winning the league. Then we had another football game, this time with commercials. Some of you may remember this one--when Pittsburg beat Seattle?



Tuesday, February 07, 2006

We're All Rockstars In Oakland

Though Michael's X-tal reunion was one night only, he had a complete rockstar weekend beginning with his rental car upgrade. Does anyone remember this scene from Seinfeld?

Jerry : I don't understand. Do you have my reservation?
Car Rental Assisstant: We have your reservation, we just ran out of cars.
Jerry : But the reservation keeps the car here, that's why you have the reservation.
Car Rental Assisstant: I think I know why we have reservations.
Jerry : I don't think you do. You see, you know how to *take* the reservation, you just don't know how to *hold* the reservation. And that's really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.

Well, Michael it seemed was living this episode when he arrived at the Thrifty counter on Wednesday afternoon. Only, after strutting his rockstar attitude around and throwing the confirmation down on the counter, he soon realized the reservation was for February 18--Not January. With his tail between his legs, he was kindly able to reserve a car for the next day.

Thursday morning I took him back to the airport and--taking a lesson from Carl's book of charm--Michael asked for, and received, a free upgrade. The rental car matched perfectly Michael's red-check flannel shirt and yankee personality--a Ford Jeep.

We then made sure to take him to Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe in Emeryville--twice--for a rockstar breakfast. The cafe is owned by a couple of (few?) guys, one of which is Mike Dirnt from Green Day. (You may recall Rob's posting from 12/29/04 where he ran into Mike Dirnt in Best Buy and got him to sign the Green Day CD he was buying me.)

Separated at birth:

Finally, we gave Michael rockstar treatment at the Paragon Restaurant in the Claremont Hotel overlooking Berkeley and the bay. We ate a posh lunch on the patio overlooking the bay during what was an unseasonably hot day for January. I treated the boys in honor of their birthdays. This was a perfect way to end a rockin' good weekend with Michael.

Michael and I make a first rate X-tal Video to the song "Union Sunrise"

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

X-tal Reunited or "How we celebrated Rob's birthday"

No one loves his birthday more than Rob Carey--which is why he deserves a big medal of honor for foregoing his usual birthday celebration in order to celebrate the X-tal reunion instead.
On January 21, X-tal played together for the first time in 10 years at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. Andrea's husband, Michael, flew out a few days prior to rehearse with the band and spend some time with me and Rob. We had a great time together those few days he was here enjoying some nice meals together and having lots of laughs.
It's been a long time since Rob and I went to see any kind of live music together so it was fun just being out. But it was downright bizarre to be at an X-tal show again and seeing all the same people in the crowd, only 10 years older. And when the music began, I felt completely transported to another place and time. It's a haunting feeling when something carries you into another time like that and it made my heart flutter in a strange way. I couldn't stop myself from singing along and was surprised to realize I still remembered so many words. I think everyone in the band really enjoyed the evening and isn't it great to be able to see a band again, knowing it will be the last time you'll get the chance?

Poodle in the morning

I was thinking the other day, (No funny comments please)
Little I-Boy hasn't made the blog in a while, what are we thinking?
So here's a quick piccie of the little rascal.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

He's Big, He's Red, His Feet Stick Out The Bed


And didn't he deliver a beautiful goal, right in front of us on New Years Eve?!

Rob was finally on the mend after going to the walk-in clinic and getting some antibiotics and not a moment too soon either. On New Year's Eve, he and I took the train up to Liverpool to watch the Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion match. Rich and Jules' friends Debbie, Dan and Andy managed to get us tickets in the 2nd row of the Kop. No match on TV can compare to the excitement around the stadium on match day when 45,000 other supporters are parading around in their Liverpool scarves and shirts. I haven't had the opportunity to experience it enough so I'm still completely mesmerized by it all.

Outside the Shankly Gates at Anfield

Stevie Gerrard--What a man!

Harry Kewell fixes his hair. This was about the only thing I saw that reminded me of my own game.

Would have been great to get a slew of photos but neither of us could bear to look through a camera lense when we had the real action right in front of us.

Liverpool won the game 1-0 due to a lovely goal from Peter Crouch--he must have been only 15 feet away from us during his goal celebration so it was fantastic.

Coming home again, our taxi told us we couldn't get dropped off right at the train station as there were fireworks going on but he could get us close. As he dropped us off, he told us to just go behind this building and the train station would be there. As we rounded the corner, we found ourselves in the midst of a giant New Years Eve celebration with fireworks and flames and loud music and tons of people. It was as if the entire city was celebrating Liverpool's win! We made our way through the crowd singing "Time Warp" from Rocky Horror Picture Show all the way to the train station where we somehow managed to find a train back to Birminham (not as easy as it sounds).

1-0 Liverpool

crewe train station

"While We Sing Together"

While Rob was snug up in bed with the Liverpool v Everton game on the radio, the rest of us went to check out some quality football at the Ricoh Arena--Home of Coventry City FC. It had only been 20 years since the last time Bob went to a footie match so you can imagine our excitement! All of it nearly went to waste when the parking proved to be difficult and Bob threatened to just drop us off and go home. Luckily, we soon found something or I'm afraid even my American charm couldn't have held him back.

We hadn't even made it to our seats yet when Jo started to say hello to people. It's remarkable the number of people she runs into around town but we hardly expected Bob Brolly to be one of them. Bob Brolly is a "singer, TV and radio presenter" who has a radio show on the local BBC station in town. Rob and I have heard quite a lot about Bob Brolly from Jo, who listens to his show every day and has an unbelievable talent for winning phone-in prizes including tickets to the theater, to Cov City matches and to the cinemas, to name a few. In fact, before I arrived in England for Christmas, Jo took Rob into town and made him walk past the radio station where you can watch Bob Brolly through a glass window as he does his radio show. At any rate, I knew Rob would really appreciate a photo of his wife with Bob Brolly--

I'm sure he didn't, however, appreciate the smell of Bob's aftershave which you could still smell on me several hours after the match. I'm sorry to say Bob didn't remember me two days later when Rob's dad and I went into town and waved at him through that glass window.

Anyway, we soon made our way to our seats for the match. Julie and I delighted in shouting our new "Ernesford Dynamos" chant every time Gary McSheffrey came to our end of the pitch. We never managed to inspire the crowd to join us, however. I also became a sudden hero in the Carey family when I busted out 4 chocolate bars at the beginning of the second half. After seeing a player sent off, and then another come off due to injury after all the subs were used up, Coventry were down to 9 men. The referee made a few interesting decisions to which the crowd had a strong reaction. Jules, Rich, Jo and I sat in suspense, wondering if the crowds anti-ref chants would steer Bob (Carey, not Brolly!) away for another 20 years but he took it in good humour. And then, with only a minute left to go, Crewe Alexandria managed to score a goal bringing the final score to 1-1. A very disappointing result. The good news was, back at home, Liverpool beat Everton 3-1.



Holiday Wrap Up

We're like a proper married couple--Rob and me. He starts the conversation and I butt in with my version of the story. For example, he writes about London and then I butt in with my London stories. He writes about Christmas in Bournemouth and guess what I'm about to write?

I won't mention much more just that I also thought Rich and Jules were the perfect hosts. They thought of everthing, from decorating the table runner with candles and holly, to actually lighting the Christmas pudding. Does it get any better than this?


The only things they didn't do for us is

1) Give us blankets

1) Cut the vegetarian "turkey"
Doesn't this picture really make my husband look manly? No? Well how about this one--

If you didn't know better you'd think they were in New Hampshire.

Unfortunately, the fun ended here for a few days as Rob developed a chest infection and spent the next couple days flat out in bed. Thank goodness I really like Rob's family or those couple of days could have been a real drag for all of us!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Christmas in Bournemouth

After a short delay as you have read about and formed your own opinions, we arrived in Bournemouth and headed to Rich and Jules' house.
The weather on Christmas morning was lovely and we headed out to the beach for a stroll before dinner, Kari wouldn't stop asking when we were going to open up the prezzies. I got flashbacks of summer holidays in the 70's when we would have to follow my parents' friend Basil, who would walk for hours before finding just the right spot on the beach, usually about 2 miles away and as an 8 year old it was torture. As my dad says "If you had a football at your feet you would run a marathon", which might be true but that's beside the point, as is this drivel I'm writing.
Ok so we headed back to the house, watched the queen's deluded speech on the television, opened up some cracking prezzies then enjoyed some wonderful food and drink, Rich and Jules were the perfect hosts.

Some senile old biddy

Jules just loves her prezzie

Mum and dad pulling crackers

The clan on Bournemouth beach