Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Reading, or, A Month of Breakage

Wow, June has just flown by! What the heck? June seems to have been the month of stuff breaking at our house. Within days of each other, our CD stereo stopped CDing and our DVD player stopped DVDing. Both have discs stuck inside. The worst part is that BOTH of my Mumford & Sons CDs are stuck in the player, AND one of them is a copy of the original that has been stuck in my car stereo for the last 2 years. Does anybody know a good repairman out there???

Also, my super cheap DVD player that's lived for years and years and years also somehow happens to be one that plays British DVDs, so when I replace this one (I'm sure it's not even worth the cost of repairs) I will likely not be able to watch This Life, the 90's television series about young 20-something lawyers living and partying in London. Lots of drinking, lots of student-y type living, lots of Portishead.

Here's what I've been reading this month...

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
He's Gone by Deb Caletti
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo - I'd never read this book and just figured What the heck?
Also, just in case you have a coffee machine, here's a tip - Clean it regularly with vinegar. Don't do what I did and not clean it and then suddenly decide to clean it by running vinegar through it. This will make your machine explode. Okay, maybe not explode, but something will pop loose and you will have vinegar leaking all over your counter. So there's one more thing I have to potentially replace, although we've been making due with a coffee press. But I've lost the knack so my coffee tastes weak and disgusting so James has to prepare it in the mornings.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

And We Were "Gentlemen of the Road" for a Day

It was sort of love at first sound the first time I heard Mumford and Sons on the radio. Little Lion Man was so utterly different from anything that was being played. I've played both their albums to death - their first is even stuck in my car stereo and I missed it so much I had a friend burn me a copy just so I could keep listening to it. After seeing them on Austin City Limits, even James was converted from "They're okay" to "Yeah, I really like them!" So when the opportunity to see them live came around, we decided  to just go for it, and oh my goodness, what a great experience!

Crowds and anticipation building
We drove out on the 15 toward the high desert in what felt like the middle of nowhere to the San Manuel Amphitheater (formerly Glen Helen Pavilion) in San Bernardino on Sunday to enjoy a day of sun and music. We had no idea that it's the largest natural amphitheater in the US, but it's really no surprise that there were 30,000 fans in attendance and there was probably room for more. We were surrounded by mountains with this vast sky overhead. It felt very special, like we were in this hidden place. (Equally amazing was the people watching; I've never seen so many headbands on girls in all my life!)

We found spots on the grass on a massive lawn, and were able to position ourselves basically right in front of the stage. Just reeeeeally far back, so that when the bands came out to play they looked more like tiny ants than musicians. There were 3 opening acts: Mystery Jets, The Eels (who sadly didn't play "Novocain for the Soul" but who did yell and hug each other an awful lot), and Michael Kiwanuka....and then it was time for Mumford and Sons!

They're almost here....

...THERE THEY ARE!! (Playing Lover's Eyes)

Playing Little Lion Man
Although we couldn't see a huge amount, we could see the band on screens set up over the stage, and we could see lights and watch people dancing like mad. I'd forgotten just how moving listening to live music in a huge crowd can be. You're all there experiencing the same thing with just pure enjoyment. Pretty amazing feeling.

I used to bring pen and paper to concerts to write down the set list as it happened, but I didn't this time. Instead I wrote it down afterwards as best I could remember. The order is wrong on a lot of this, but I do remember the opener, the closer, and the encore.

Lover's Eyes
Winter Winds
Roll Away Your Stone
Below My Feet
Timshel ("This one is for all of you at the back.")
Little Lion Man ("Shall we have a dance?")
Thistle and Weeds
Awake My Soul
Whispers in the Dark
Holland Road
Ghosts That We Knew
Hopeless Wanderer
Lover of the Light
I Will Wait (the crowd absolutely exploded)
I Gave You All
Dust Bowl Dance
2 very quiet folk songs ("the quietest thing you've ever heard in your life. If you think now is the time to make yourself heard, now is not the time.") 4 band members gathered around 1 mic.
The Cave

They didn't play White Blank Page, which disappointed James. Apparently it disappointed a bunch of people, because as we shuffled out of the venue a group of about 5 guys began belting out a rendition of it, and a lot of the crowd joined in. Not quite the version we were after, but beggars can't be choosers, can they?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Shrieking Spontaneously, or May Reading

I'm discovering the joys of living next door to a young child and becoming The Mean Lady (or worse). The first time I met my new, young neighbor, I threw open my front door to yell at him and his friends as they fought in our apartment complex common area, tearing up the brand new landscaping and careening into my front fence, nearly knocking it over. Just the sight of me now seems to be enough to get them to behave - they were outside my kitchen window tonight making fun of my music until I walked in front of the window and then -BAM- they were gone. I'm just waiting until the day I find something naughty written in the dust on my car...or they actually do succeed in knocking my fence over.

So I've been reading a lot this month. Or last month, as it is now June. Here's what's been on my list:

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh

Plus I read 2 more books but they were re-reads, and you don't need to know about them. We've already talked about it.

I'm going to my first concert since I was in high school to see what has become one of my very favorite bands. James and I have never been to a concert together, so I hope I can play it cool and not jump up and down and shriek and scream like a 15-year-old. There's really no guarantee though, I do tend to shriek spontaneously.