Saturday, September 26, 2015

new tv show time

It's officially Fall, which means there are a ton of new TV shows hitting the networks, all vying for attention and ratings. Sadly, after flipping through my Entertainment Weekly Fall Preview last weekend, I wasn't that excited. And after recording two new shows this past week and watching them, I'm now officially not impressed.

Granted this year -- since I just started binge-watching Mad Men a week before the new TV season started -- there is a new standard all shows (old and new) must meet to earn a space on my Tivo One Pass list: Is this show SO good that it's worth NOT spending this time watching another episode of Mad Men?

The answer for these new shows sampled last week is no:
  • The Muppets -- I gave it a shot for sentimental reasons. The sentiment is gone.
  • Scream Queens -- Reminds me of American Horror Story: Coven, minus the good acting from Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates. And I don't like any of the characters, which is the kiss of death from me. 
The only other new show I'm giving a shot is Grandfathered, because it stars John Stamos, who I've loved since I was 9. I might also stick around after it to watch The Grinder with Rob Lowe and Fred Savage. But that's it. Tuesdays are the only night with space... which means I could get 2-3 episodes of Mad Men in that night (barring Kings games, concerts and Tivo backlog ;) 

Here's my current Tivo To Do List:
What are you watching this season? Have you seen Mad Men and think there's a new show out there I should be spending my TV time on instead? Let me know! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

a night of foos, thrones, legends and the demise of my favorite baby blue gibson guitar

In November 2014, on a Saturday morning, I drove to Inglewood, CA to stand in the parking lot of my least favorite concert venue in LA (aka The Forum) with about 4,000 other Foo Fighters fans, all putting on numbered bracelets and waiting and hoping for their lucky number to be called. Once that lucky number was chosen (by a cute red-headed four-year-old), everyone lined up in bracelet order to purchase #beatthebots tickets at the box office. I ended up approximately 200 people behind lucky person #1. :)

Ten months later, I -- with my gal pals Christina, Lisa and Niki -- finally got to use those tickets. For a while in June, I was scared we wouldn't (#brokenlegtour2015). But in the end, it was worth every second of the 304 days of waiting and hoping and waiting.... and waiting ...

If you've ever seen Foo Fighters live, you already know why it was worth the wait, and should just skip down to watch the awesome videos I've posted below.

If you haven't, what the heck have you been doing on your musical adventure through life?

The Foos are one of the best live rock bands you will ever see/hear. And I'd say that even if I didn't love Dave Grohl, who is -- without a doubt -- the coolest guy in rock-n-roll. 

Dave, btw, also happens to play the most beautiful baby blue Gibson guitar you'll ever see/hear. I first fell in love with that guitar in June of 2007, when I first saw Foo Fighters live, opening for a little band called The Police. Ask me what I remember of that Police concert today and I'll say, Dave Grohl running around, jumping on top of speakers ... and wailing on that beautiful blue guitar before The Police came out. I'm more than a little obsessed with the guitar... so much so that when surprise guest Dave showed up six feet away from me at a Rick Springfield concert at The Canyon in Agoura in September 2013 to do a song with Rick, my comment on my YouTube video was, "So friggin' awesome! (even though Dave didn't have his gorgeous baby blue guitar ;)." But I digress....

Last night, Dave played that beautiful blue guitar, while perched atop his broken-leg-protecting, rock-star throne, until almost the end of the night (more on that later). And from the opening chords of "All My Life," he, drummer Taylor Hawkins, guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shifflet and bass guitarist Nate Mendel where "on." They sounded amazing, performing all the Foo hits you'd want plus three of the eight songs from the awesome newish Sonic Highways album. The production (video backdrop, lighting, rolling rock star throne) were really cool. And there were surprise guests... including one rock-n-roll legend, who reduced cool dude Dave Grohl to a backup singer ;)

The show opener:

When he snapped his leg in half in Sweden at the end of June, I was really scared I'd be getting a refund on these concert tickets. Thank the rock gods for pain-killer-induced dreams of rocker thrones, and (as Dave said) a tour production crew cool enough to pull it off!
(Please also note the image of John Travolta from "Stayin' Alive" on Taylor's drum kit. LOL) 

Camera phone flashlights and twinkle lights in the sky.

Special Guest #1 Jack Black jumped out on stage and sang two verses of the band's "#snippet" of Rush's "Tom Sawyer," climbing off the end of the ramp in the middle, but not breaking his leg... cuz he's not as cool as Dave Grohl.

This is called "A Grohl on His Throne"

Performing "Outside" -- the LA-inspired song from Sonic Highways

Towards the end of the show, Dave introduced special guests #2-4, Haim (a band of musical sisters), and after cutely bantering back and forth about Dave's three daughters and Haim offering to babysit, they started to perform a cover of the Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." Well, what's the point of that song without Stevie Nicks on vocals... ahhh! Witness the awesomeness of special guest #5...

Then Dave refused to leave without the jam band doing this song... (excuse the shaky camera towards the middle... I was multi-tasking. It was a long song ;)

After the rocker chicks left, the Foos went back to Foos tunes. Towards the end of either "These Days" or "This is a Call," Mr. Grohl got a little too excited with his guitar playing, and I learned one of my favorite bands runs just like the teams in my favorite sport. 

The first thing I noticed was a guitar-less Pat Smear rushing off stage for a new guitar. Apparently, being in the Foos is like being on a hockey team.. when your most important player (ie: the goalie ... or an incapacitated Dave Grohl) breaks his stick (or the neck of his beautiful baby blue Gibson guitar...sniff sniff), the closest player (like a defensemen... or Pat Smear) quickly tosses said important player his guitar to play so the show can go on. Then Dave Grohl proceeded to tell the crowd his signature guitars must be pretty cheap and you shouldn't buy one now. Um, hello! They're still pretty to look at!

The band didn't waste time going off stage and coming back for an encore, because per Dave, that's a waste of time that should be spent playing more music. (Note: Dave also can't climb off and on that throne very easily ;) But when it was finally time for the last tune, Dave said, "We won't say goodbye, we'll just say this...." 


Saturday, September 12, 2015

things that make me smile

So I've been lazily cleaning out my personal emails today and following up on random things I need to do (print Groupons so I remember to use Groupons, making reservations, organizing bills, etc) and I found an email from with a 25% off coupon that I get every year when I renew my subscription (to guarantee awesome pre-sale concert ticket priority and therefore seats.. example below..)

I never use the coupon because I don't need more concert t-shirts. But out of boredom, I decided to go check out the online store today.

They have a lot of expensive lithographs, one of which is from the 360 Tour show at the Rose Bowl on October 25, 2009.... a.k.a. the concert they filmed for YouTube and a DVD release. Oh, and also a.k.a the concert where I was one person away from the barricade at the foot of the front left stage "leg" and had the most awesome (if not painful) concert experience of my life. 

Here's the lithograph image... Bono and Edge reaching out to each other across the bridges:
photograph by Otto Kitsinger

So as I'm looking at that, I think to myself, "That image seems very familiar... I wonder if my hand is one of those hands below them." But as I'm thinking that, I don't remember there being two bridges near me.. just one. They kind of flew out from each corner / leg, into the middle where the main stage was.

So I go back to my rather large collection of photos from that night and -- low and behold -- it's familiar alright, just from another not-so-great angle (unless you like looking at The Edge's butt.. LOL).

Photogragh by Me :)

If I can't be a professional photographer, at least I know I have a professional photographer's eye for capturing amazing concert moments... from hilarious angles :)

Now I might actually have to buy that lithograph, and print my photo out the same size to hang next to it, just because this thoroughly cracks me up.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

labor day weekend tradition... slightly altered

Every year, I plan a group outing to the Hollywood Bowl on Labor Day weekend to say goodbye to summer with wine, cheese, and the movie music of John Williams. Usually, there are a ton of Star Wars nerds (myself included) with their light sabers at the ready, waiting for John Williams to conduct the LA Philharmonic in the playing of the Star Wars theme. This year though, John Williams is off writing and conducting new Star Wars music for The Force Awakens, so he was only at the Bowl in a videotaped intro (and in spirit, of course). 

Instead, this year, David Newman conducted the the LA Philharmonic as it played the entire score to my favorite movie ever, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, playing above on-screen. I was in movie music heaven because -- as everyone who goes to the Bowl with me each year knows -- if they don't play music from E.T., I consider the evening a bust, no matter how much fun I may have had pretending I was conducting the orchestra with my purple light saber. 

If you've never been to the Bowl, and love movies, these Movies "In Concert" nights are the perfect introduction to the Bowl experience. I also had a blast at Back to the Future In Concert back in June.

The two highlights of the evening (other than the Reese'e Pieces cookies my friend Linda made. Yum!) were both in the last 10 minutes of the film. 

First, my favorite scene tied to musical score in all of film history... the bike chase. The climax, as Elliott fears the end and E.T. saves the day, makes me both tear up and smile wide at the same time, every time. (Here's a link to the video Linda recorded and put on facebook.) It's just perfect -- especially now that they're back to showing the original version where the cops are trying to stop the kids with threats of rifles instead of walkie talkies. (Not that I'm for threatening to shoot kids and sweet aliens on bicycles with rifles. The walkie talkie "edit" just looked dumb.... like really, really dumb. Thank you Steven Spielberg for realizing this and restoring the scene to its original awesomeness / level of fearfulness followed by elation for its 30th Anniversary.) 

And then the finale, (spoiler alert) where E.T. goes home... I dare you not to tear up. This is why I love John Williams and Steven Spielberg.

Monday, August 17, 2015

welcome home

I came home from my four-day mini-vacation in Oregon late last night. This morning, I went outside to water my poor, parched plants and this is what I found....

SIX cactus flowers blooming! Apparently my blog reaches heaven :) Hi Granny. Love you too!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

happy birthday granny

Today would have been my Granny's 86th birthday. It's been six months since she passed away, and I miss her so much. But I'm also constantly reminded of her by some of the most random things, which always make me smile. I like to think those reminders are her way of telling me "hi" :)

Watering My Cactuses
My cactus farm started with one tiny cactus Granny gave me when I was 12, and we were leaving El Paso to move to Connecticut. That one tiny cactus survived in Connecticut (inside the house, obviously), and then came to California, where -- especially since I've moved into my house and have a ton of outdoor space -- it has multiplied and multiplied and multiplied into more than 30 cactuses living in planters and pots and now permanently in the ground in my front and back gardens. I call the original cactus (below) "Mama Cactus," even though some of her "babies" are now bigger than she is. If you even need some plants that don't need a lot of water, let me know. The "baby" cacti are multiplying now too :)

I also love that the bigger members of the cactus family bloom in the summer ... as a pretty pink-purple flower. Purple was Granny's favorite color. The blooms only last for one day, which I think makes them even more special. Here's a bloom from the cactus in my front window-box from late July:

Mixing Ketchup and Mustard
When I'm running errands in Northridge, I am sometimes tempted to stop at Wienerschnitzel across the street from my alma mater CSUN for a corn dog (and the best french fries on the planet!) When I was a little kid, Granny taught me to mix my mustard with my ketchup. It's a little sweet, and a little spicy. In other words, the best condiment ever! And the one time I've been to Wienerschnitzel since February, I had the mustard ketchup mix on my corn dog, and thought of her.

Looking at the States on the Back of Quarters
Granny was not a coin collector. But I do think she was trying to find all 50 states on the quarters at some point in the late 90s-early 2000s. And while I don't think I ever gave her any of my quarters, I do subconsciously always flip them over to see what state they have etched on them before I spend them.

Her Purple Tea Set
I've only had tea from her purple-flowered china tea set once (because I'm a klutz and don't trust myself) but I see it when I open that cabinet and always think of her. The dress I picked to wear to my cousin Josh's wedding in June had purple flowers on it that reminded me of this tea set, and therefore Granny :)

Granny loved hummingbirds. When she moved from her apartment into assisted living, she dispersed her huge mug collection amongst all the family members (filled with candy) that Christmas. I got her "New Mexico" hummingbird mug... mostly (I think) because it was purple. But I have that sitting out on my counter, still filled with candy. And whenever I catch an actual live hummingbird out at my feeder, it makes me think of her.

Happy Birthday Granny! I love you!   

Saturday, August 8, 2015

words of wisdom: whatever's good for your soul..

I need to heed these words of wisdom more often. Note the pen...

Thanks for the reminder Pinteerst :)