Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Van's Warped Tour 2010 --- The Gorge, Wa

I was so sure I wouldn't attend this event. Punk rock is not one of the primary genres I favor...Reminds me a bit of high school, and that really isn't always the best thing to be reminded of, yes?
So it was a surprise to me when I found myself packed in a car full of people speeding across the mountains into the rolling deserts of Eastern Washington, where Warped Tour 2010 was being held at The Gorge.

I thought that perhaps I'd been abducted by crazed ragers... But then I realized that they were just my friends high off of their own excitement, dressed like hooligans. I happened to peer down at myself and I too was prepared for a "raging" experience. This was surely going to end in an unexpected way.

It was a 4 hour drive to the canyons of The Gorge. We found ourselves in deserted lands until we climbed closer to the venue, where there were massive lines of cars gathered, each waiting their turn to get into the campgrounds. I hadn't been here since Coldplay in July '09, so I was relieved to see the familiar scenery and smell the warm country air. Eastern Washington, you see, is my homeland. I was born and bred all throughout the Southern to Northern parts of Eastern Wa, so this I came to the conclusion was one of the factors that brought me to Warped Tour this hot August weekend.

The fee for camping was a reasonable one; $50 per car for two nights. Earlier we had met up with other friends, so the campsite we make-shifted ended up having four cars instead of one. That's a lot of people when you really consider! We had a whole group of guys, and then myself, Mac, and Brit. Nevertheless, it was a great collection of people. We had almost the entirety of one of our local bands with us, whom are all friends of ours. We also had other allies among us, including boyfriends. It was already proving to be worth the drive over. We wasted no time in pre-partying before the big day ahead.

As the evening wore on, it was stunning to watch as the campground nearly tripled in size in a matter of hours, continuing to grow through the night as more weary travelers arrived.
I sat atop the hood of a car at some point in the night and listened as the youth around me collided with one another....their echos repelling against the canyon.
The scent of the summer evening and sweat. A time to collectively breathe in.

Tranquility existed only in my own head; All around, people of all ages were violently celebrating their metal & rock Gods, knocking over Honey Buckets, getting into fights, gallivanting from campsite to campsite in drunken stupor.

A sleepless night.

Morning finally arrived, and with it a fresh renewal. Our collection of cohorts prepared to enter the venue for the one day event.

While standing in line, we had the privilege of listened to a pre-band outside the gates. They were really quite good, although I fail to recall the band name.

Once inside, it was the start of battling crowds to get where we wanted to go. Their were, as are at most music festivals, different stages scattered around the venue that we had to familiarize ourselves with. The men of our group immediately split off from us to go rage in their mosh pits.
I stuck together with my friends and caught glimpses of Attack Attack, Breathe Carolina, NeverShoutNever!, Of Mice and Men, Parkway Drive, Mike Posner, The Rocket Summer, The Summer Set, We The Kings, and WhiteChapel. All of which were awesome, my favorite ended up being Breathe Carolina. I purchased their album that day and still have it in my car... The techno/screamo has always attracted me, for some odd reason. (Hence why I like 30H!3 and Kill Paradise despite them being well out of my genre.)

It was sad to learn that although Sum 41 was a planned Headliner, they didn't show up. Apparently, Pennywise was supposed to play as well, but that also didn't come to pass. It wasn't too devastating, just confusing. Rumors of reasons why surfaced and then dissipated throughout the day. I eventually gave up on what was true or not and enjoyed what bands were there initially.

I didn't participate in any of the mosh pits. Lord knows my wimpy girl bod would have been knocked down and trampled...or beaten with an axe. (All jokes aside.) It was exhilarating enough to watch. I threw a few water bottles out into the crowd and felt proud of myself...

I felt that out of every band present, the only one out of place was Mike Posner. Considering that right across the lawn was White Chapel......there's something boldly off about that. I wasn't impressed with Posner, although I can't lie when I say I find his Cooler Than Me song catchy.

I was shocked to also discover NeverShoutNever! there. I didn't have a lineup schedule with my, because they cost money. And why have money when you have this messy thing to look up at?:

We were laying in the grass overlooking the main stage and the brilliant canyon in the background when I thought to myself... The band playing down there seems awfully fluff to be playing at Warped Tour...but at least they have all those teenage girls squealing at the foot of the stage.
It wasn't until they began playing Trouble that I realized it was NeverShoutNever! and I became very grateful that they were there. It was a good change of pace from the other bands.

I'm not used to music fests ending at an early time. But because Warped Tour is a traveling festival, it packs up and keeps on moving. Their next destination would be Portland, Oregon.

I was more than satisfied with my day, although I had spent all my money on food and a Rocket Summer band tank. I had to rely on the others for food money.
We met up with the guys and made the trek back to the campgrounds. We were all exhausted, but ready to go all out for the final night!

We cooked Top Roman on a portable stove (which took AGES, I don't recommend it.) and then began sorting through our remaining brew. I was surprised to find, as the night began, the campground was much quieter than how it had been the night before. It was slightly disappointing, as we were all ready to party hard.

I didn't plan to let anything stand in my way of enjoying the remaining hours of Warped Tour, so we made sure that our campsite became the main feed for loud music and dancing. Somehow in the mix of things, Tiesto, Deadmau5, Daft Punk, and some other electro dance music fell out of our speakers and passer-bys wondered why we were indulging on a completely different genre than that of Warped. Awkward, yes. But it was the best time I had that whole trip!

The most deliberated thing I can say, post-Warped Tour 2010, is that you can't base your music fest destinations on types of music alone. Punk Rock and metal aren't my favorites, but I still had a good time with my friends and threw back my head and sang into the sky. I appreciated the music and the fans around me. It's the experiences you have and the moments you create that should drive you to attend music festivals, no matter what genres are featured. In the end, it's usually always worth it if you have good company and the right amount of spirit.

Bumbershoot 2010 lay ahead of me as we sped off towards the coast again, leaving behind The Gorge and the entirety of Eastern Washington. We stopped in Vantage and jumped into the Columbia River due to not bathing in a couple days, then sped off down the desert road. The next time I expect to see those canyons again will be at Sasquatch 2011! At least, I have my fingers crossed...


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quick Update & Capital Hill Block Party 2010!

There is a point in ones life where they try to deflect all the bad things that could possibly be, and try to focus purely on the positive. For example........Oh, wait. I have no examples. But that's where my life has been for the past few weeks.

Right now, my mother has drastically decided that it's time to move from our in-town duplex of 9 years into a house a mile out of city-limits in a community called "something Meadows." Quite descriptive...blame my memory. Anyway, I've always had a bit of a hard time when it comes to change....specifically when moving is involved. After moving as a child from my hometown to the other side of the state, I was a bit traumatized. Granted, I was only 11 and I had been a fairly sheltered kid, but ever since then the thought of moving again - to any place! - seemed like a dramatic experience that I'd much rather avoid.
However, surprisingly I've been going through the motions of moving well. For someone like me, anyway. I guess I sort of view this move as being a bridge to the next stage in my life. Instead of sticking it out in the house I've lived in all through my adolescence, I'm changing coarse and docking elsewhere... leaving adolescence behind and beginning the part of my life where I do things like actually attend my classes at college, visit my boy in question, and explore possible careers choices.... oh dear.
Is it strange that I am getting an ill feeling in my gut suddenly?

New subject.


Since missing Sasquatch Music Fest 2010, which is still a huge regret, I was eagerly awaiting the next big festival to hit the state of Washington. Aside from Bumbershoot, which isn't until Labor Day weekend, the amount of entertaining music-geared festivals were quite limited. Mayhem Fest came and went...my boyfriend Brendon went to that with his pals and "raged"... I was still pretty bummed about the line-up for Bumber, which was not as good as I had expected, when my best friend unveiled a fantastic advert online for a local Seattle-based festival called the Capital Hill Block Party! While it looked pretty small, the headliners were quite impressive! MGMT would headline on the first day, Friday July 23rd, being a post-performance to acts such as Macklemore, Yeasayer, Fences, Holy Fuck, and many more. Prices for tickets were rather decent....heck, they were more than decent! 20-some dollars for a single day! I can live with that budget...
So we decided we would attend the Friday line-up. We clumped a few friends together in a car and were off to Seattle....

The 23rd day of July was hot and muggy, and my plaid shirt proved to be a bad choice...We caught the Bainbridge ferry across, on foot, and then journeyed from the docks all the way up steep streets to the Capital Hill area. On the way there, band posters and promotional crap littered every telephone post, vacant wall, and tree trunk in sight.

Upon arriving to Capital Hill, the immediate familiarity of long lines to get into the venue greeted us. We had to wait nearly half an hour or more to reach the Will Call gate and retrieve our tickets. This was nothing new to Mac or I, but I heard plenty of whining from the others. I hid behind my shades to appear as though I knew what I was doing...although I never do.
Almost instantly, our group was separated once we were inside the gates. Mac, Crash, and Drake powered ahead of myself and a lovely music-loving kid named Micheal to get to the main-stage where Macklemore had started his performance 15 minutes before. Micheal and I got left behind because we were the last in our group to get through Will Call and Drake was about to pee from sheer impatience to get to Macklemore's show. So Micheal and I, beside ourselves, trudged on to watch Macklemore by ourselves before finding the group again at the ONLY Merch stand visibly located at the festival. This was where I began to notice just how small this festival was! It was literally a block...a street in the middle of a rough part of Seattle. There were tons of different varieties of people, as usually seen at any music festival, but the combination of people along with the tiny venue made it almost strange... It was certainly a different vibe than most other music festivals I've attended.

Anyway, Macklemore was great! Being a local to the Northwest, it was awesome to see him live, supporting his hometown. He professed while on stage that he had grown up a mile up the street. That's pretty crazy when you think about it. At the merch stand afterwards, he came to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. We were luckily at the head of the crowd so we all got his signature and photos with him. He signed my Block Party ticket and took a photo with me. I look like a dope standing next to him, but I love it!

After that excitement, we walked aimlessly around in the heat for an hour or two. The times separating the good bands were rather large. Yeasayer was up next, but before that we grabbed a bite to eat at this local Japanese restaurant. It was anything but authentic... but whatever. Mac and Drake ditched the group again to get hot dogs instead before they dove into the ever-growing crowd for Yeasayer without us. Micheal, myself, and Crash were left in the Japanese restaurant, where I excitedly spotted an owl in a magazine, ripped it out when no one was looking...and left promiscuously. This was one of several owl sightings we encountered during the day. Oh the things I will do for an owl.

Half way through the crowd for Yeasayer, Crash confessed that she had to use the damn bathroom...so Micheal and I had to turn around and pay a visit to the Honey Buckets...yum. Finally we began to struggle our way into the crowd. It took us what seemed like ages to get anywhere near the front. This was where people started to get restless and abusive. Plenty of shoving commenced, and hoe bags of all ages tossed glares back and forth, tempting each other to try and get past. We had to battle a few deadly folk before we ever found Mac and Drake. Yeasayer finally began and immediately blew me away! I wasn't expecting to like them as well as I did. They sort of reminded me of Phoenix, oddly enough. For such a mellow band, people were starting to get worked up. Once Yeasayer finished, the crowd deepened for Holy Fuck. I had never personally listened to them and I was expecting some sort of screamo death trap. But to my disbelief, I adored them! They sported the kind of sound that I like in a band: A combination of pure instrumental, with a few synthesized cries to the sky....mixed with electro-beats and rough bass. Complete love! Something similar to Bassnector or Deadmau, but with their own unique style. They are definitely worth checking out if you haven't heard of them!

As soon as Holy Fuck ended, MGMT would step onto the stage within a vivacious hour. This would be Mac and I's second time seeing them live since Coachella! The crowds were now ravenous, clawing and biting and turning into a zombie cluster. One second you were pushed one way, the next another. It was horrible! Some people were stoned beyond recognition, others were drunk and making out all over everyone.....Given, these ARE normal things at music fests, but this was all up in your face! It was a sweaty mess! My brand new Keds got filthy from all the bodies and feet plummeting on me. We came to the conclusion that the venue was just so small that people had no where to deplete! We were packed like sardines on a street curb, what more could you expect but utter chaos?

We endured all this for most of the night. At LAST MGMT made their entrance to the stage. Seeing them again warmed my poor beaten soul. Everyone finally settled down....at least until their first song bombed out through the speakers. They played a ton of their new work, which I enjoy, but find hard to bound around to due to the slowness of their new beats. It's always a good time when you hear something familiar like Weekend Wars or Kids. Naturally, they always play the 3 main songs that made them who they are.... Time to Pretend, Kids, and Electric Feel. I was hoping they would play Of Moons, Birds, and Monsters, but that didn't come about. They encored with Congratulations. Could have done better than that, imo! But all in all, I was stoked to see them again. I thought it was beyond moving that after the show, they went to the side of the main stage where people who weren't inside the venue were watching through a tall fence blocking them out, and lead vocalist Andrew VanWyngarden reached through the fence wires to touch the hands of those who weren't apart of the festival. It was actually rather endearing..... Until you realize, Hey! we PAID to suffer through this mob and here we are in the very front, mere feet away from you and you don't come touch OUR hands?! Blasphemy!

But it was a good night. My feet ached like no other, and Crash and Mac, who were planning to attend the next day's line-up, decided that it wasn't worth all the calamity to try and suffer through it again.
We all limped to the nearest street corner on the dark and cluttered Seattle streets, caught a cab, and sped off into the night to catch the 1:30am ferry and possibly find a source of food.

The Capital Hill Block Party was a different experience than first anticipated. It was definitely small, it didn't offer much in the sense of many cool merch stands or other awesome nick nack shacks, but it WAS a music festival, and it WAS a great time. Sometimes its just all about the music. I enjoyed fending off the ravage crowds with Micheal, Drake, Mac, and Crash. We're all still beaten up emotionally (ha!), but it shows we lived it up as best we could.

I'm not sure if I'll attend next year's Block Party, but its certainly an option! If you're someone like me who really needs their music fest fix every few months or so, the CHBlockParty is well worth the strife to go through.

Next up... Warped Tour 2010 (maaaaybe).

But most certainly, BUMBERSHOOT 2010!!

More images coming to Flickr :]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

where does the good go?

Well. Where does the good go?

It could be very well that the good goes where ever you want it to. If you want it around, it'll be there. But if you're stuck in your own negativity, the good resides elsewhere.
It's what you make of life that determines whether or not things are 'good'


Monday, May 17, 2010

coachella. 2010

April 8th, 2010. 9:31 p.m. All the past music festival experiences endured over the years had led me up to this very crucial moment.
Opening the email from ticketmaster. Clicking the link that took my browser to the pdf file. Exhaling slowly as the mouse made contact with the print button. And listening to the printer zip back and forth for a few seconds, gradually working out the piece of paper to put all pieces of paper to shame.
I reached for it, grasping the freshly inked paper with both hands. Grinning slightly. This was IT! The official.
My 3-day pass ticket for the Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

This was the beginning of my rather infamous journey from Washington State clear down to the deserts of Indio, California to attend this festival for the first time.
My best friend and I decided we would go for it on a whim. Just the two of us on the open road, with little to no plan of action in mind. Just the satisfying goal of getting there. Whatever life had to throw at us, we would be fully armed and prepared. Or at least, that's what we told ourselves when we took leave from home at 6:00 a.m. on April 14th. The first day of many long days to come....

APRIL 14TH, 2010

It's odd how when you know you have to get up early for something big, you just can't go to bed early. Despite knowing that you SHOULD, or that if you don't you're going to face death in the morning, it just doesn't seem to happen. You'll get to bed at 3 when you have to wake up at 5. This makes no sense, but to the bodily anticipation of the early rise, fatigue has no say in the matter.
The 3 to 5 thing... that was all me. Or was it 2 to 4? 1 to 3:45.....one of those.

We planned to leave around 4:30 a.m., but the departure time for any occasion like this, almost indefinitely gets pushed ahead...this is a fact of life. We left at 6:00 a.m. instead. The venture ahead was completely clear of any travesties or worry. We were escaping our classes, the nuisance of everyday life, work hours, and the total deranged hometown folk and their ideals. At last, the essence of liberation was vivid. A natural high was brewing.
We made it to Oregon in a heartbeat and traded off paying for gas and the obligation of driving. We flooded our car with intoxicating bass and gazed forward, bright eyed, at the road ahead. The horizon and the vibe of reality loomed upon us. This was really happening! The event we had been awaiting for months was actually going into effect! All the warnings and lectures from our parents, co-workers, and other friends didn't penetrate our hopes for a second. We were ready, and we were stoked!

At a rest stop, we pulled out our car paint. We needed to let the masses know where we were headed and gather some fellow Coachella-goer's respect. Back on the road, our spirits rose to the welcoming honk of the first car driving by, waving and throwing thumbs up our way. This would be the start of many other Coachella-bound car sightings we would encounter during the week. As we got closer and closer to the California border, the more cars we spotted and traveled with for miles. It wasn't until we got into Cali that the number of run-in's with others escalated. This really started putting the festival-populations into perspective. Just how many people were destined for this event? We wouldn't understand until we reached Indio. At that time, we were just glad to be seeing others headed in the same direction. It was as if all of us were coming together, the youth, collaborating towards something amazing. It didn't matter who you were or where you were from, what you looked like, or your status in society. We were all on the road and our brains were all in the same frequency.

Mt. Shasta came into view as we proceeded down i-5. There was no expectancy of obstacles ahead. Oh how little we knew.

We stopped in Weed for a picture, but they had taken down the original 'Welcome to Weed' sign and had replaced it with something more moderate.
Instead, we just took a picture of this -->
And were on our way.
The subway there was very nice though, go Weed Subway!

Our destination for the night was an offer we had received from a friend we both knew who lived down near Sacramento. My friend, we'll call her Mac, had been good friends with this guy for a few years and he was trust-worthy. He told us that his place was along the way. We would have a nice bed to sleep in and time to refresh ourselves before we completed the track down to Indio the next day.... It sounded ideal!
So we're driving along, really starting to feel the effects of being in the car for 17 hours. Having driven through all of Washington and Oregon, one can imagine how tired we were. It was starting to get darker as we approached Sac-Town. We were so relieved to be close! A good friend of mine, PJ, was giving us directions frequently...and I still love him for it!
We called our guy-friend, asking where exactly he was at...We were started to get out of Sacramento and were wondering how far he was. To our astonishment, he suddenly confesses that it would be another hour and a half's drive completely OFF our beaten path to get to the meeting point..... Not really knowing what to do, we figured we might as well go for it. We just wanted a place to sleep. However, as the night wore on and midnight finally struck, we were still on this back-land highway traveling further and further into a moon-lit desert. As rustic as this sounds, we were beginning to question whether or not this was actually worth it.

APRIL 15TH, 2010

At LAST, after 2 hours of driving out of our way, we make it to the gas station where our friend said he would meet up with us. We were in this middle-of-nowhere town in the boons of California....probably a half hour from Nevada by now!
We're sitting and waiting for these guys to arrive.....Finally they show up in this poser-60's VW Beatle, acting all cool and "Californian." It failed to impress... They were trying a little TOO hard to act cool and it was more or less annoying. But we said to ourselves...."Ok, at least we're going to be able to sleep soon. Let's just follow them to the house and rejoice in slumber." Oh no...NO no, that was far from the case. We started following their heinously tricked out VW up this hill....no, not a hill.....more like a monstrous mountain! On this windy road in the middle of the night. We're deep in some woodland area....going up and up, further and further away from civilization! It is at this point that we are about to either ram their car with our mazda, or run off the cliff in utter frustration.
The drive literally took another 20 minutes, before we made it to this "community," you could call it. I'm almost sorry that I don't have pictures of all this.....but you can imagine in your mind a few strewn houses across a hill-top thickly wooded with dirt roads.....and two 20-year-old extremely tired girls sitting in a mazda3, staring blankly at the homestead offered to us. Hick-ville. NOT that I have anything against Hicks, because I am from the country myself....but this was just ridiculous! We dubbed this community at the top of the mountain "Giant Ant Hill," and proceeded to follow the bug up to a dimly-lit house amongst some trees.
Pouring out of the house, unexpectedly, were a pack of locals. Apparently, it was our friends birthday that night and he was hosting a rather loud and obnoxious get-together at his abode...the place where we were supposed to be sleeping.
Partiers surrounded our car and peered in at us through the windows, making slurred remarks and drunken assumptions. We're trying to be nice, or at least Mac was. I was about to slap someone. Not only was I so tired that I could have slept standing up, but I was also car-sick from driving around and around the damn Ant Hill mountain all night! I forced myself out of the car, hoping there would be some sort of relief waiting inside for us.
Our friend led us inside his home......the instant stench of substance filled the air. We climbed some stairs to his room, which was heavily, and I mean HEAVILY decorated in 60's and 70's memorabilia...Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, lava lamps, hemp...you name it. Not that I haven't seen all this before, but it was almost too much for one person. Again, trying too hard much? The best part about this stage of the evening was his introduction to the bed we would be sleeping in...... You guessed it. No? A water bed. A gosh dang boat on the sea water bed. This was not what we had expected....needless to say, the entire night was not what we had expected. He offered us to come join the loud and bustling party downstairs, and we just....stared at him. Really? Honestly? We have driven through 3 states, have gotten 2 hours of sleep in the past 24 hours, and have a full days drive yet again in the morning...which was approaching quickly, as it was already 3:00 a.m.. He merrily went back downstairs to his escapades, leaving us alone in his psychedelic room. We plop down on the water bed.

5 minutes later... we looked at each other.
"Let's go."

We ended up deciding that it was 100% more worth it to keep driving on through the night rather than try to endure this. It wasn't a huge deal, we just thought it would make more sense. We wouldn't be getting any rest here anyway, and we were somehow wide awake now.
When we went to tell our friend about our decision, however...he got a bit upset. I say "a bit" lightly. He's always had a thing for Mac, you see. This little invitation for us to stay with him overnight was just an excuse to win her over. She had told him bluntly that she wasn't interested and that our visit to his house was just so we could rest and then leave in the morning. It wasn't meant to be a social event or a bonding ritual, anything of that sort. He had told us he understood this, but his true motives were completely clear from the moment we arrived. His laid-back, surfer Cali boy image was suddenly lost when he started getting all worked up about our leave.....muttering things like, "You are both so stupid, it's my birthday, how could you do this to me, I don't believe you, all this was for you, blah blah blah..." Goodness. The kid could have won an Oscar with his dramatic going-ons.
I had just about had it... Both Mac and I were standing there with neutral faces as he went on and on. He needed to CALM down, but it wasn't happening. He made it a huge issue, when really it shouldn't have been. If he was the calm and mellow Californian that he oh so tried to portray, he would have been fine with the decision, bid us ado, and wished us luck. Instead, drama ensued. Poser fail.

We quickly drove at full speeds off of the Ant Hill. We had to drive 2 hours to get back to the main road. Our GPS, another lovely feature in the events to come, began leading us down deserted dirt roads where cell phone service was negative zero.... The GPS proved it's retardation and we shut it off. The next few dim hours were spent forcefully driving down 99, trying to find a rest area to sleep at. We attempted to pull into a hotel parking lot, but that was a bad idea. It wasn't until about 5 in the morning that we found a nice little rest area, covered the car windows with clothes, and tried to get some sleep.

The sun leaked into our eyes at about 8:00 a.m. We sighed heavily and decided to try and forget about the events of the night and start over fresh. It was a new day and there was so much ahead of us...no time to dwell. We were officially bums of the road, brushing our teeth at the rest area, nearly leaving one of our phones in the bathrooms, then pulling into a gas station for some 50 cent hot water to cook our instant oatmeal. We turned up the music and started off down 99 towards Bakersfield.

Along the way we made it a point to stop at an In-n-Out for lunch. Revival...--->
California-must, after all.

The rolling green hills we hit before approaching LA sent our radio stations into white noise. Our ipods died, but we were still full of endurance. LA was so close!

It was an unplanned event, but we decided we would stop in Santa Monica to walk on a Cali beach, something neither of us had ever done. We somehow managed to wheel our way through the hot afternoon traffic to Venice Beach, where we paid for a full-days parking just to stop for an hour. The crowd there was phenomenal! That's where I decided that was the life... by the beach, on a vintage bike, rolling through the beautiful people. Oh yes. I walked bare-foot in the sand and felt complete.

With still a ways drive to go, we got back on the road....
But oh, of course we had to hit traffic right at 4:00 p.m., smack dab in the middle of LA. We were getting hungry and tired again, feeling the aftermath from only getting 2 hours of sleep in the past 30-some hours. And with the setting of the sun, we were also getting worried about the location of our stay for the night once we reached Indio. The original plan was to meet up with some friends of ours who were camping down in La Quinta for the festival, which was basically right next to Indio. But to our dismay, our friends called us saying that the campground was too full and there could only be one car per campsite. This was...crude. So we began trying to book a new campground while we sat in traffic.....again with the help of dear friend PJ.
Pretty sure we saw Ziggy Marley while we sat in this...
At last we reserved a campsite up the Yucca Valley. A bit off track, but still, somewhere to sleep. With a destination in mind, we eased up a bit and finally made our way out of traffic. We were both getting irritable, due to lack of food and sleep...so we stopped at another In-n-Out.... But Mac wanted Subway, so after we got my meal, we went and scoped out a subway. I pondered the idea of staying in the car with my food while she went inside to get her own, but I needed to use the bano, so I went in with her. When she tried paying for her food the man behind the counter needed to see her ID for her Debit. Looking around her, she realized she had left her wallet in the car. Looking around her again, she realized her keys were no where to be found either. My stomach dropped. She couldn't have....Oh, but she did.
The keys to the Maz were locked inside the car, laying in the drivers seat neatly. My food also locked in too! It was now dusk and we were in some unknown town on the outskirts of LA.... Not to mention, we are running low on cash. Suddenly, the thought of home came to mind, and how much we took it for granted! The bitter reality of the world was brutal.
We had to call a locksmith....a Chinese man who spoke non-fluent English came to our aid and charged us 70 dollars. My food was cold and we were both exhausted/miserable. Another night in the car might have been ahead of us... We got back on the road, going East on 10. We hoped we would find the campground in Yucca Valley SOON.

It took us another hour or so before we started seeing signs for Palm Springs. We turned up a road heading into Yucca Valley and started driving into the desert night. Had it honestly only been 2 days? It felt like it had been an eternity.

APRIL 16TH, 2010

Midnight passed and we found ourselves in Joshua Tree, CA. We felt like we were in the middle of no where, another night spent in some desolate area. The campground we were told to find was apparently in the Joshua Tree National Park....and to get there, we sat at a stop light waiting to turn up the road that would lead us there. The town was dead...no one in sight... and the road was so faded and cracked, it was almost illegible.
We were sitting at this stop light for what seemed like ages...it wasn't turning green! We were at near hysteria, thinking about all the things that had happened to us so far...just laughing aimlessly about it. What else could POSSIBLY go wrong?
As if we had tempted fate, a large truck came bombing out of no where from behind us, pulling up to our window. It was a cop, yelling at the top of his lungs, flailing his arms about in a wild rage.... We were stunned, where did this copper come from and why was he so angry with us? Well, apparently the light wasn't turning green because we weren't in the turn lane! Mind you, we couldn't even see the lines in the road to indicate where the turn lane was...So the cop took it upon himself to come after us, thinking that possibly we were some scandalous hooligans of some sort. We didn't know what to say to him! After he was done yelling at us, he sped around to the other side of the street and parked...proceeding to watch us. We didn't know what he wanted us to do! Did he want us to back up and get into the turn lane, or did he want us to just go ahead and drive through the intersection, even though the light was still red? We decided that maybe he was going to pull up behind us in the turn lane so the light would turn green so we could go....instead he just sat there, watching us. Flustered and a bit frightened, we backed up and tried to get in the turn lane. It turned green and we started to go, but we must have taken longer than he wanted, because he wasted no time in turning his lights on and pulling us over.
We just looked at each other, like....are you serious right now? we had done nothing wrong! It had been a simple mistake. The cop came to our window and we asked him why on earth he was pulling us over. He acted suspicious, looking in our car windows with a flashlight at the mounds of luggage we have in the backseat. We explained to him that we were just tired and came from a super long road trip, just trying to find a place to sleep. He told us we weren't in the turn lane and it could have caused an accident...even though there was no one on the road. He got Mac's license and registration and went back to his car. We are dumb-founded...could this seriously be happening to us right now? Was this karma for coming down here to California on a whim? Were all our friends and parents right? Maybe we should have just stayed home and dwindled away....

The cop came back to our car and told us that Mac's tags are expired. FML! She had forgotten to get them renewed before we left and she was just going to try and be super careful about speeding. A lot of good that did us, getting pulled over when we weren't even moving! Luckily, the cop finally realized we were terrified and lost, so he cut us some slack and didn't charge us. That was pretty lucky, I've got to admit. A small lecture about paying closer attention to the roads and he sent us on our way.... But then continued to follow us up to the National Park, riding our bumper the whole way there. When we got into the park, what greeted us was a vacant ranger booth and a forest of the scariest looking freak trees we'd ever seen. This was like something out of a nightmare...Doctor Sues on acid. We started driving down the road... it was pitch black and the Joshua trees around us seemed to be closing in.....I was just waiting for some unidentified species of ape to leap out at our car. Our cell phones lost service, so I couldn't call PJ to ask him how far we were supposed to go into the park. There was NO ONE in sight. No campground. It is just emptiness, desert, and fear.
It wasn't long before we gave up and turned around. Being so deep in that with no cell service creeped both of us out.
When we got service back, I received a message from PJ telling us to turn around immediately. He had accidentally given us the wrong directions for the campground.
We were feeling a little bit unsure of everything now. We just wanted to sleep, we didn't want to be in the car anymore...we wanted to bathe and recollect ourselves, and all we could think of was being horizontal for once. It was then that an idea dawned on us....despite the fact that we were completely broke by now, getting a motel was basically our only option. Trying to set up a tent now was a waste of time.

So we pulled into a Super8, forked out 75 dollars, and hauled our sore and withered bodies to our room. It was....amazing. Fully equip with shower, wi-fi, toilet, and 2 beds with tv! And mirrors! :D It was exactly what we needed....
Things were looking up, at last.

Morning came in a haste. Today was the day. The Festival would begin at 11:30 a.m.! Unnnnfortunatly, when my eyes fluttered open from blissful slumber, I realized that it was 10:30 and we had a half hour before our check-out time! We slept through our alarms. Couldn't blame us, really.
We packed our things and flew out of there. This was it!! All our suffering was about to pay off....

When we got to La Quinta, the truth of the amount of people attending the festival became quite clear...the traffic. Bumper to Bumper! It was 1:00 p.m. when we started in the line of festival-attendees....and we made it to the parking areas at 4:00 p.m. 2 miles of that can kill a person!
The excitement was building. It was 95 degrees out! The palm trees lining the streets were wafting in the breeze, and the massive crowds of people gathering were massive. We had to walk to the venue entrance, where we had to stand in line for an hour. I was worried we wouldn't make it in to see the first band we planned on seeing! But finally we got our wristbands, and walked in.......


And oh, the many faces. The different people. I had never seen so much diversity....every type of person you could possibly think of was there. And the sights.... the Farris wheel towering overhead, the Merch booths, the stages standing tall in the background, spotlights illuminating the venue overhead, planes flying by trailing signs behind them, the giant crane greeting everyone...people painted in gold..monkey suits, hippies, goths, surfers, ballers, dancers....you name it.

We heard "Make Light" in the distance....Passion Pit!! The first band that we had wanted to see was just starting.
This started our Friday line-up.... we saw Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend, Benny Benassi, and Deadmau5. All of which were amazing....best had to be Deadmau. It was my first time seeing him live, and I fell in love with his entrance. So very epic, I applaud the mouse. Passion Pit was also great! Vampire Weekend was alright, definitely different in person.

We got out of the venue with the crowds after midnight...... destination of the night: unknown.

APRIL 17TH, 2010

We finally made it to Coachella. The air was crisp and the evening was warm. I had a cold, but that wasn't stopping me. Our luck with sleeping arrangements was still on the fritz though. We were homeless traveling hippies with just our car and the item inside it. If only we could find the car... Again we were tired and just wanted to rest, but we had forgotten which parking lot we had gone in...and the thousands of people around us didn't help much. We ended up walking down the entirely wrong street.... it took us nearly an hour to find the car. We were parked in a big grassy field, looked like a baseball field. Victory was ours, discovering the car amongst the rest. But then stood another problem; getting out of the parking lot! All the tons of people trying to get in earlier were now trying to get out! Except for the lucky lot who stayed in the on-site campground where all the love-making, partying, and identity discovering was going on. We didn't get entangled in that mess....50 bucks, man.
So we sat and waited .....it was 2 in the morning, and the line out of the parking lot was atrociously backed up. There was no way we could get out. Both of us, being so tired, decided it would be more beneficiary to sleep in the car. Oh joy. I recall that we woke up for a second around 5:00 a.m. to see that there was a backed up line STILL trying to make it out. Ridiculous! The one thing we had to complain about Coachella the whole time was the disorganization. Simply awful....!

We woke up around 8:30 a.m....the sun was shining, the line was gone, and the livin suddenly felt easy. We crawled out of our bed on wheels to discover that people in other cars around us were doing the same.... guess we all had the same idea. It felt so calm and fresh, like this was the way to do it! It was so nice to just know we had made it! We were there! Being apart of something so huge made everything worthwhile.
We made our way to the local grocery store and re-stocked our water supply and some food items. Then we called our friends, who said to come check out the campground to see if we could possibly get in. We didn't think we could, but surprisingly, when we got there, there was a TON of spots available! We officially had a home! For now. Super cheap too, 15 bucks a night! No problemo!

The view once we pulled up to look over the campground..... Our mouths just dropped, and we had to take a picture of the moment. Things were finally working out for us! :]

We set up camp and visited our friends at their site... we got ready and took off for the venue.... Day 2 of Coachella was beginning! The line-up for Saturday was scattered, but it was one of the best days. We saw Temper Trap, Bassnectar, Hot Chip, MGMT, Muse, and DJ Tiesto.
Tiesto had to have been the highlight of everything. That was the best rave concert I've ever witnessed! Everyone was completely absorbed...
MGMT is one of my favorite bands, so seeing them live was nothing short of amazing.

This was my "OMG, it's MGMT and I'm standing in the front row!!" face.
We happened to look over and see some of the VIP blokes standing alongside the stage....suddenly Paris Hilton popped out of no where. That was the first wtf moment of the night, She was like 10 feet from us. so random.

Bassnectar was also amazing! Pretty much everyone on Saturday was worth seeing.

APRIL 18TH, 2010

We were super tired after everything and dead-set on making it back to the campsite. We were NOT spending another night in the damn car. We parked in a different area this time, it was easier to get out.
Looking forward to some sleep in our tent, we pulled into the campground and drove around the hill where our site was. What we saw next was the second wtf moment of the night.... A huge rave was going down, literally. Half of the campground was partying hardcore....more Coachella folks who had to keep the insanity going. There were Lazer lights and everything! Professional status. We got to our tent and passed out right away...somehow the pounding bass didn't bother us.

Morning came like a bat out of hell. Today was the day to relax. Not very many good bands were playing, not until later in the day. So we took our time getting ready, finally took showers... we tanned and went to the pool, went to the store again... super laid back. All the while, I was downing my cold meds and hoping to stay alive long enough to see the final day of the festival. This day would be momentous...at least for me. Gorillaz, live. GORILLAZ!!
We did try to go see Delphic earlier in the day, but due to the volcanic ash in Europe they couldn't make the show. Huge bummer.
We showed up to the venue around 7:00 p.m. to see Pheonix! Their performance made me appreciate the band more. They were humble and fun, and ended their slot with 1901. When everyone sang along to "Falling, Falling, Falling, Falling!" Oh man...that was one of the highlights of the night.
I was super sick all through the night; the chills, headache, runny nose, the works. But I toughed it out....we saw Thom Yorke, who was outstanding. He had a massive collection of fans...more than I realized. I love the guy, but his music was too low-key for me at the time. Everyone was convinced that the read of Radiohead would show up during the performance, but to our dismay they never did. I made Mac leave his concert early to get a good spot for Gorillaz.... we got to the main stage an hour early just to get a good place in the front! I was beyond stoked. I fought my way through the crowds. Gorillaz has been one of my favorite bands since I was 12! This was huge. We were along the rail, right side of the stage (well, our right.) It was a good spot, but also not as satisfying as the middle front would have been. We had a huge screen above us, and there were a lot of tall people in front of me....but I had a birds eye view of Damon. Good enough for me! When the artists stepped onto the stage I immediately wondered where Muds, 2D, Noodle, and Russel were... then I realized, oh they're on the big-screens.
Gorillaz were grade-A!! I rekindled my love for them that night.

It was too bad though, Mac and I both were about dying of fatigue, and my cold had gotten to the point of no return... I regret it now SO much, but we left early from the Gorillaz to get out of the parking lot in time to get to camp and sleep. We had a LONG drive home in the morning.. But walking away from the venue, they began to play El Manana and I SO wanted to stay!!! Missed Feel Good Inc. and Clint Eastwood too....aaaah! I'm making it a point to get to their next closest show during their Plastic Beach tour, which I am SO excited for! 22 days in the states...oh yes! Come to Washington!

As we left the venue for the last time, my heart sank... our goal had been reached. To get there, to be apart of it all! It was ending now, but the experience was enough to last us a lifetime. I've since then convinced myself to come back for next year's festival, definitely.

APRIL 19TH, 2010

Even though we left early, beating the crowd by nearly 60%, it mattered little. We had parked in the same parking lot as Friday and the line to get out was already beginning to pile up! Not to mention we lost the car again, so that took awhile to find. Sleeping in the car wasn't legit this time around, we had to at least get some form of horizontal rest before the drive home. We sat in the line to get out for 2 hours. It was insanely disorganized.... they had to let all the VIP hotel buses out first. At one point, we looked ahead of us to see a black Range Rover with trippy lights flashing from the inside. We called it the 'Rave Rover.' People were starting to get impatient, and some even bent the fence surrounding the parking lot and drove right over it! Rave Rover was getting antsy too and getting ready to plow the fence down, freeing everyone! We were all cheering for it out our windows, but just as it revved it's engine, the police came and stopped them. Honestly, too bad. The waiting was unbearable.
Note to Coachella: Do a better job next time organizing your event traffic!! That is all.

We got back to the campground around 4:00 a.m. and slept hard for 3 hours, then got up, packed up our stuff, and left Indio. Saddened to go... The weather was perfect down there!
We wasted no time in making stops on the way back. We had enough to eat and had just enough money for gas....
We stopped by Sac-Town to say hi to PJ, who we totally should have stayed with that first night instead of going to the Ant Hill with our other guy friend... Peej helped us out so much! It was good to see him.

We drove, trading off driving, until the sun was setting. We were tired and a bit grouchy, our ipods were dead, all we had was the radio and conversation. We were laughing constantly about all the shit we had to go through for the trip...just delusional, but glad to be alive.

APRIL 20TH, 2010

I took the liberty of driving almost entirely through Oregon that night, not stopping until 4:00 a.m.. We slept at a rest area near Salem, and then kept driving when it got light. My cold was still bad and we were out of things to talk about...out of everything, pretty much. We bombed back into town around 3:00 p.m. that day, and I had to rush off to work after that! I made it just in time.

Our trip finally came to an end....every moment of it elapsing over us one after the other. I still can't believe we did it! I was out for a few days after we got home, totally exhausted. But it was worth every penny, heartache, and difficulty we endured. It's trips like these that make you stop and realize what life's all about. It's about...well, living! And experiencing new things.... pushing yourself to the limit for something completely worth it!
Out of every music festival I've been to, nothing can even come close to Coachella. I'd say go for it, if you're thinking about going in 2011. Just have a plan....whims are great and all, but not when you have to sleep in your car and worry the whole time whether or not you'll have enough money to make it home. Guess that's what I learned, if anything. That and, don't lock your keys in the car or drive 2 hours out of your way for nothing.... Stay away from Joshua trees, make sure you're always in the turn lane at a stop light if you're turning! Stay close to Rave Rovers, they'll plow fences down for you. Have a place to stay that doesn't include a water bed. And above all other things, travel with someone you can laugh about everything with. That's really all you'll need. That and, probably your will to just keep going, no matter what life throws at you.
You never know how great something can turn out to be, unless you face the obstacles and put in the effort for it.

Other images of our Coachella trip can be found on my .flickr.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

night owl.

I am nocturnal. It is my greatest flaw, and creates such difficulties throughout my day. I am not a morning person...how people thrive in the mornings is beside me.

On a typical weekday I'll wince at the sound of my ever-annoying alarm bellowing from my phone at 8:00 a.m. I have it purposely set to the most obnoxious tone in order to wake this heap of girl.
I normally have to think long and hard....hazy questions flood my mind, "What day is it?" "Do I have class?" "Maybe it's Saturday?" "Why??"

When I finally escape the fog of confusion, I realize it's Tuesday and I have class at 10:20 a.m. Campus is 15 miles from where I reside, so I try to get up at least by 8:15 in order to get ready and be there on time. Of course, this never seems to happen. I end up deluding myself into thinking that its ok to sleep longer, and then before I know it it's 8:45 and I'm leaping from the sheets in a desperate attempt to defeat time..... My ride comes at 9:45 a.m. I can't be late or I have no way to class!

You'd be surprised how short an hour can seem when you're trying to beat the clock. I'll avoid looking at the time in order to not freak myself out.

I'm usually always making my ride wait an extra 5 minutes. We'll make it to class a few minutes late.....the lecture hall will watch as I stumble into the room, my hair a frizz-bot and my eyes glazed over from lack of sleep.

I'll fight, literally fight, to stay awake during lecture. My Botany teacher goes on and on about her plants, using big biological words. I'll be staring at the white board with a song in my head or a new scenario to put my current OTP's into.

Time flies by. I am zoned out.

I get out of class at 11:20, and by now I am about to do whatever it takes to crawl back to my bed for some replenishing slumber...

Negatory. The BF needs to visit with his friends and mess around on campus for another half hour. I'll sit at the nearest computer until his indulgence is through.

The struggle to NOT want to nap persists throughout the afternoon as I realize I have too much to do to even consider napping...

When I get home at 9:00 p.m. I am somehow not tired now! Homework beckons, although I seem to always find something better to do... I'll steer away from it until the very last minute.
It's strange how the life of a nocturnal creature works. You can think of nothing else but sleep during the entire day, but once the sun goes down you are automatically revived of your energy... whether or not you've rested. Creativity invades your thoughts, and as if by the pure act of nature, you begin your nightly ventures.
Your internal clock becomes so altered that you are fully incapable of going to bed before midnight. You wait until you are so tired that you can barley stand it--and THEN you know that it's time to sleep. Despite how late it becomes, you simply can't rest until your fatigue is excruciating.

I can see the heads shaking in dismay. How can you live like that? Well--I'm really not sure!
There are times when I do get back into a normal pattern, rising to witness the mornings and sleeping when it is approved of. But usually, if I have a day off from school and I don't have to be at work, sleeping in until noon is THE single greatest thing, next to a small collection of other personal preferences.

As fellow night owls should be well aware of-- sleep is the ultimate!

Oddly enough, I'll still catch myself wishing I could wake up early and join the masses for a sunrise breakfast. I'll continue to convince myself that the a.m. is where it's at.
There's no help for me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

oh hello.

Rapt..... As in rap?
Or wrapping yourself in paper?
No..Rapt, like...rapt up in life!

There is so much about life that circulates and keeps our blood flowing. For every person, this is different and unique. Some people get by on stuff as simple as a cup of coffee and whatever they can find on tv...while others thrive off of extreme sports or arts. Whatever it may be for each of us, we all endeavor for those things that keep us feeling alive. Feeling alive is what it's all about, no matter who you are or what you do!
I'm not really sure why we're all here on this little planet in the middle of a universe we know hardly anything about. I'm also not sure why we're all made so differently or why we feel the things we do. Whether we're just experiencing chemical reactions of the brain or feeling a soul deep inside us that may or may not keep living on after our bodies fail.... Whatever it all means, whatever happens in the future, life is what you make of it and the things that make up our lives are what keeps us moving forward. Its apart of what makes everything worthwhile! We've all got our own pieces of life and when we put them together, that's what connects us and makes us the same.
I'm not much of anything, just a part of the youth that got bored and suddenly wanted to share her ideals and culture interests with others. I've got a lot to say, and a lot to do. Busy college student, who, despite having tons of homework, little time to clean house, or even walk her dog, still has time to sit down and write a blog and dance in her room til 3 in the morning.... hm whats wrong with this picture?

Nada. :]