Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Turkey Day in Southern California...all of it.

This year's Thanksgiving was a little bit different. Instead of spending it here in Utah with the extendeds I decided to bum around southern California. Well worth it!

The weekend started with a change in plans. So I was left with a rental car and a completely open schedule. I found my way to Pacific Beach and got a breakfast burrito at Kono's and enjoyed the clearing skies over the ocean. Beautiful! From there I headed to downtown San Diego, which turns out is pretty dead on the Wednesday before a major holiday. I remembered a friend from Encinitas was already home for the weekend so I called her and she had me up to here house. After chatting and relaxing for a bit we headed over to Escondido to see Wild Animal Park. It was really cool! I really liked all the animals. Favorites would be these crazy birds below and the Rhinos. Rhinos are big and big.

After the Zoo we headed back towards the coast and got some pizza and salad at Lucadia Pizza and took a peak at Moonlight beach. It was a drizzly night so there wasn't much to see. However, I do highly recommend the Thai salad and BBQ pizza.

After dinner I headed over to San Marcos and got the holiday part of the holiday weekend off to a start.

My old mission buddy Ben and his wife live in San Marcos. They are great hosts and always accommodate a wandering North Dakotan in big 'ol Southern Cal. We met up at his brother's place and there was already holiday classics blaring and apples being sliced. I helped Ben make a pie. Granted my efforts were minimal, I feel like I really made that pie special...for no real reason other than I was apart of it. Is that pretentious?

I spent Thanksgiving day with the Hoy/States families at Erin's parents house. Who I might also add are the most generous people ever! They put me up everytime I come through San Diego. A huge Thanks goes to them this past Thanksgiving! You can see pics and the play by play here on my friend Erin's blog. I must say the highlight was that Ben and I fried a Turkey. All I can say is, DO IT!" It's so delicious. Here was how it all transpired:

It was a lot of fun, and did I mention that fried turkeys are really really tasty?

Fortunately I was able to sleep of the gluttony from the day before and about mid-afternoon I headed up to Orange County to see some friends. They weren't available until later that evening so I took the chance to cruise the PCH from Dana Point up to Newport Beach. It was chic, beautiful, and made me want to own a German automobile. Here is a pic from Aliso Beach where I stopped to watch the sunset (one of my favorite things ever).

Later that evening I met up with my wonderful friend Robyn who's family was gracious enough to let me join them for dinner. Afterwards we cruised down to Fashion Island to take a look at the ginormous Christmas tree. It was real and it was big. Robyn was a little obsessed with it, and for good reason. After our festive retreat at the mall we drove down to Balboa Island and bummed around the neighborhoods, along the boardwalks, and through the downtown area. Now that is a cool little place! It was a chill and fun night! Nothing like a tour by a local! After some relaxation and games with her cousins I wandered over to my friend Patrice's for a few more games and a good nights rest.

In the morning (we're on to Saturday now) Patrice's mom took us to thier favorite breakfast place in Orange called Watsons. It was a lot of fun and really good. The major event of the day was the jont up to Santa Monica to meet our old friends Dave and Adam (con GF's) for a day at the Getty. I've wanted to go to the Getty for a couple years now, so I'm really glad we made it happen. Here are a few pics of the landscapen and sunset (naturally) below. We only had time for a few exhibits but it was well worth it.

Adam, David, Patrice, Matt.

Sunset behind the Getty w/ low ceiling.

Crazy landscaping.

Rad sunset in Santa Monica.

After the Getty we drove back to Orange County and Patrice and I grabbed dinner in Huntington Beach, then some hot chocolate with the same crew we were at the Getty with. I have great friends and it was fun just to be able to chill with them there.

So remember how at the beginning of the post I mentioned that there was a change in plans? Well, this also included not having a way back to Utah since I only purchased a one way ticket. Enter Patrice again... She came to the rescue by offering me and my friend Jess (the friend I went to the Wild Animal Park with) a ride home. So... After Huntington I drove back down to Encinitas and spent the night at Jess' parents house. In the morning she took me down to the SD Airport to return the rental car. Then her Mom took us to our friend Danny's house in Carlsbad. He was also riding with Patrice. Danny's Mom then drive us all up to Orange to Patrice's house so we could hitch a ride with her. So after a little time on CA-91 and a lot of time on I-15 we made it back to Utah on Sunday night.

Overall it was a blast of a weekend. I felt a bit like a nomad. Most of all I am grateful for my friends who not only gave me a place to lie my head, but are also some of the best and most fun people I have ever met.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Speaking of live music...

Here are the shows I found myself at in the past few months. I'm more proud of one than the others. Can you guess which?

Girl Talk
Girl Talk is a mash-up DJ. So what that means is that he mixes tracks from a number of song all in to one cohesive...well, mash-up. It's way cooler than sampling, and it's way cooler than a random transition from song to song at a club. It's actually pretty incredible that he takes such a range of sounds from such a range of artists and blends them like they were meant to go together. Girl Talk, aka Gregg Gillis, is an Engineer from Ohio. He tours in is free time and is the DJ of choice at a lot of big parties. When he came to SLC a bunch of us wanted to see for ourselves.

The show was a total blast! He is just this wirey awkward guy with a laptop on a table with some monitors. There is a body guard on either side of him, and the entire venue, stage included, just turns into a huge dance party. My friend Laura, picture below, is a huge GT fan. So when the stage was openned up to the crowd she was gone! I followed and was able to get up there myself. Serioulsy, it was just a big random dance party. They had random stage hands blowing TP into the air with leaf blowers, as well as all other kinds of decorations. Here are a few pics below.

GT doin his thing. Taken from Laura's iPhone.

Me, GT, Laura.


So as the story goes... I heard from a friend that New Kids was coming to SLC and there was a 20 dollar special on Ticketmaster. I thought about it for a bit and couldn't bring myself to pass on the novelty of seeing these guys. And I'll give you the ending at the beginning, it was worth about 20 bucks.

I was home in Fargo the week preceding the concert. So from there I called my friend Emily and asked her if she'd like to go with me. Naturally, I bought two tickets... Emily came and picked me up from the airport and we headed to my fav burger joint in West Valley, Ab's Drive In. After pounding a Fat Boy (eating their classic burger), we headed to the E Center. The cost of the show was increased by 50% when we had to pay 10 bucks for parking. I felt taken advantage of. We got into the building and got in line to buy some souvineers. No no, I didn't get anything for myself. Just a shirt for my friend who cuts my hair. I paid for my next hair cut with that shirt...

We then proceeded to our seats. Out comes this little lady and some backup dancers. Kind of wierd at first...but then I realized who it was. Lady GaGa! Why an exclaimation point? Well, I kind of maybe really like the song Just Dance (not posting the video here since it is of questionable content). Disclaimer: I don't endorse her lyrics or lifestyle, but it sure is fun to dance to. Apparently "Miss GaGa" studied piano performance at Julliard or something... Then got in as one of Paris' cronies. When Paris started doing drugs, GaGa got out. The point is I had to listen to this song from the opposite end of the lower bowl. Not good enough. It then became my mission to find a way on to the floor. I hate being far away at shows.

After a series of text messages I was able to link up with Joslyn, who was a saint and brought us some of her ticket stubs we used to get past security and onto the floor. She was joining some friends in the 11th row, so Emily and I used her seats in the 25th row. It wasn't super close, but it was a lot better than where we were before! So a big thanks to Joslyn! Lady GaGa finished her set, which was mildly entertaining. Then, to my surprise, out comes Natasha Bedingfield! I don't own any of her music, but have enjoyed the occational listen when it comes on wherever I may be. Well, I was very very impressed. She really loves her music and the opportunity she has to share it. She was so sincere and it was apparent that she has a real passion for what she does. She also really wants her music to do something for people. I can repect that. On top of it all, she was really good live. Way better than Lady GuGu, or whatever... Here's a poor quality pic from my phone.

Natasha. I may or may not have had a small crush while she sang.

New Kids On The Block came on the stage and everyone went nuts! Mostly high pitched screams combined with the subtle applause of the dudes who brought their, now almost menopausal, NKOTB loving significant others. It was insane.

There really isn't much to say other than it was really entertaining. I found myself half singing along, half laughing at myself and the entire experience.

NKOTB comes out on stage.

So about half way through the show the group leaves the stage. Then Emily and I see some lights flicker from behind us. We turn around and see this stage lift from the ground. Then comes the group again and they do a few songs from here. I'm not supposed to say anything, but Emily may or may not have gotten a little emotional at this pleasant surprise. Apparently even MBA women melt at the up close sight of a boy band...

Post-emotional reaction.

"I love Mormom girls" shirt thrown from the crowd.
Who knew?

Step by Step

Hangin Tough

The best for last... COLDPLAY!
So I knew the big show was coming, but the price tag was a little too rich for my blood. The day of the show I was at a friends wedding in SLC. A couple friends mentioned that it was the Coldplay show that night and how they would love to go. This got me thinking...I really wanted to go too. I haven't been to a big headlining show like that in a while (NKOTB doesn't count). I remembered a friend had an extra ticket, so I sent a text. He responded that his was being used but that another friend had just bought a couple tickets that day. Enter Brian Henderson. I gave Brian a jingle. He answered the phone singing one of Coldplay's songs and asked if I was in. I replied that if he had a ticket for me then I was! We talked logistics and it was a plan! I met him at the Delta Center (I refuse to call it ESA) and we proceeded to will call. Now Brian is an expert at music, shows, and all things related. He was able to work it with some broker who had extra tickets and saved us about $50! Stick with Brian and you'll do alright.

We had great seats near some friends and had an awesome view. We were on the side just out from the stage. We could see everything. And Coldplay has a way of making everyseat seem good. They had screens and video work, lights and catwalk stages. They even had a satallite stage up in the stands, IN THE STANDS! Very cool.

Not only is thier music amazing, but their production is top notch! Needless to say it was totally worth it. I'd see 'em again in a heartbeat.


Chris on the catwalk.

There were these rad giant bulbs that would lift and drop throughout the show. At times they would project images of the band playing from within the bulb. So cool!

The end of the catwalk on our side of the stadium lit up. They played a few songs from here.

Me and BH.

At the end of the show shiny butterflies dropped from everywhere. Way cool effect.

Viva la Vida

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bringin funny back.

Andy Samberg might be one of the funniest people on TV right now. This is why.

And another:

Here are a couple more by request...

Iran So Far.

Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not legit 'till its live.

Getting sick of over-produced music? Don't get me wrong, I like my fair share. But there's nothing like a musician who can express themselves just as well on the fly. Here are a few examples.

The Kooks: Ooh La.

Beirut: Nantes

Priscilla Ahn: Dream

Videos brought to you by: La Blogotheque, a French music weblog. (Google it and click "Translate this page" for English)

So mad I could Yelle!

So a cute little French pop-ster named Yelle just came through good 'ol UT this weekend, which I missed by the way. I'm upset for two reasons... A) I love live music, and B) To date, I had only heard of Yelle, and would have really liked a chance to form an opinion from actual experience! All reports were that it was amazing!

Here's one of her more popular ditties, Ce Jeu. Apologies if there is something offensive in French, I plead ignorance.

Catchy, right?

Here is a remix of one of Yelle's songs, A Cause des Garçons, I stumbled across on Youtube. I'm not quite sure what is happening, but its strangely captivating. I want to go to Europe next summer, so maybe I should take notes...and maybe practice, in my room, when no one's home.

Hey Reebok! Pumps are making a comeback!

Report to come August of '09.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


This is C215, an artist from Paris. C215 travels the world telling stories with his art.

Here is some of the work he has done in Brazil.

See all of his work here on his flickr page.
For other amazing street art see the Wooster Collective.

Friday, October 17, 2008

And by the 2.

Cougars...not brinin' it against TCU. Upward and onward, boys.

Provo...bringin' it.

Heard of Velour? It's a rad little venue in downtown Provo. Who knew this little joint would be bringing me so much live listening enjoyment this fall?

For those of you who a) have never been to Provo, UT, b) left more than a year or two ago, or c) are in Provo but rag on it and swear you can't wait until graduation day so you can return your gown and head for a coast (or SLC)... Consider yourself hereby informed! Downtown Provo has made a comeback. Much like downtown Fargo, but I'll save that for another post.

Didn't that make you feel warm inside?

My diagnosis has been that it's taken a while for the people who had the ability to make Provo cool never stuck around long enough to actually do it. But that has changed. There are amazing, talented, and dedicated people turning downtown in to a very cool place to hang out. Despite how fickle the market can be here. Props to everyone making things happen here! There is an assortment of eating...Spark, Guru's, Maestro's, India Palace, Smokehouse, the Korean place, and a handful of others. There are awesome boutiques...Mode and Coal Umbrella. There is also a lot of live music...Velour and Muse Music. On just about any night of the week and almost every weekend you could plan your night and not leave 2 city blocks!

Last weekend one of my fav's, Love You Long Time, had an EP release party at Velour. It was a blast! Party to the People, indeed! And just last night I saw Sherwood play. Now, I don't claim to be an expert, but I think I'm decently savvy when it comes to music. I had never heard Sherwood, or least didn't know it when I did, before last weekend when my friend Steph heard them over the PA after the Love show. She said they were coming this week and said I HAD to go! So I did a little research (MySpace) and thought, ok these guys are good. Not too original, but good. When we got to Velour the Pink Spiders were playing. I thought I had just wasted 14 bones. Then Sherwood came on and I can honestly say it was one of the best shows I have ever been too. They have a killer presense, a ton of energy, and are all about the crowd. And to Provo's credit the crowd really brought it last night too! Even thought I had at least 7 years on anyone else in the crowd it was the perfect band-crowd interdependence... Provo definitely left an impression on the bands! They'll be back. And I think the word is Provo!

Kate (white) and Steph (pink) loving the band...

Kate's crush...Mikey. This guy is the played the Keys. He was all over the place, so much energy, way into the crowd, awesome.
Steph's crush. Joe, the drummer, solid.

So next time you think of overlooking a visit to Provo or are tempted to bag on it, think twice! Great food, great shopping, great music. Dudes and babes approve!

Like I said, not the most original sound, but man are they great live at a small venue!

Monday, September 22, 2008

And by the way...

While we were hiking BYU was pummeling Wyoming.

Go Cougs!
¿Puede decir usted BCS Bowl?

A Timp-ical weekend in Provo...

Since people only want pictures anyway...I'll keep the story telling brief.

After six years in Provo hiking Mt. Timpanogos is something I have needed to do! Earlier this year I decided that I would do it in September. With the hiking season drawing to a close I thought it might not happen. Largely due to my own neglect to plan the hike. Thanks to my friend Mark's I got my chance afterall!

This is how the beautiful morning started (Circa 6:30am).

Fall colors!


There were mountain goats everywhere! We first saw a small group of five. Then once we got higher there were herds! Just after this photo above there was a brief hale storm. While I was hiking along there was this overcasty haze with the glow of the sun coming through one side. Through the sheets of hale I could see the mountain face in the distance with a family of mountain goats galluping up to try and find some cover. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. A picture wouldn't do it justice, words can't suffice, it was just amazing. After hiking for another little while you could see two different grazing groups on the face to the left and the face to the right. The goats above let us get pretty close. They love the camera.

The Timptastic 8
Isaac, Anika, Logan, Sara, Me (w/rod of authority), Carl, Mark, Annie (Emmie).

My baby, Mt. Baldy (Alta), in the background.

AF Canyon, Backside of Alta/Snowbird, Mineral Basin.

Anika, Me, and Utah County.

From the top-shack (Circa 1pm).

Me, Sara, Annie.

7/8 of the Timptastic 8 at the summit.

Top left: Summit shack.
Ridge line trail to glacier.

After we left the summit the whole group went down the way we came. Curiosity got the best of me and I ran along the trail headed north so that I could come down the glacier. I saw two guys from another group ahead of me quite a ways, but I though I could catch them so I wasn't alone at 11k ft. I was able to get to them by the time we were at the top of the glacier. Can't remember their names, but they were both from Atlanta and definitely showed me some southern hospitality by letting me join them for the trip down the glacier. As you can see in later pictures the glacier is a lot better if you have pants, gloves, and maybe an ice pick or two... I did ok with my Asics and a couple sharp rocks. However, the snow did get the best of my right leg. It looks worse than it is. It was a really cool going down the glacier, see the views from that side of the mountain, and also exploring the area where the glacier had melted.

Free the heel, free the mind.

Here is a view of the glacier from the bottom up. On my way down the rock slides after the glacier I crossed paths with a couple really cool guys from SLC (two specs on the left), along with thier golden lab. They had their Tele's strapped to their backs and were on their way to get some turns in. It's awsome out here... Once the fall air hits the valley it just makes you want to strap on some planks!

Some goats bidding us farewell on our way back down.

All in all it was a beautiful day and an awesome hike. It's so amazing that this is right in my back yard here in Provo. It's approx. 14 miles and 10 hours (with breaks and photo opps) round trip if you go the Aspen Grove route. It takes a little work, a lot of water, and some powerbars, but it's totally worth it!

View Larger Map

On the map.