Flashback to meeting these two lovely, lovely people. Chris Hayzel after his show at SoHo in Santa Barbara and his mom Nia Peeples after a friendly chat in the ladies room.
Flashback to New Year's Eve 2009 decorating a Rose Parade float for Cal Poly =D
And New Year's Day 2010. We won the Bob Hope Humor Award =D
What is an adventure if not a dream realized? For decades kids have dreamed about joining a rock and roll band, making music, and going on tour. In 1965 four such kids were thrown into the ultimate rock and roll adventure when they were cast as the Monkees.
What started as a quirky TV show about four guys in a band living at the beach quickly turned into a runaway train and made the Monkees not only a real band, but a band that rivaled the Beatles in popularity. A popularity that still continues today.
And thank goodness for that because it means that fifty years after their inception, I can still pick up the entertainment section of the paper to see that they’re coming to town to play a show. And not a sad, off-strip Vegas reimagining of the Monkees. This is the real deal. Original members putting on a rock and roll show for fans of all ages.
I suggested a family reunion of sorts when I heard the Monkees were coming to Vina Robles Ampitheatre in Paso Robles since my mom and her sisters are Monkees fans. It was going to be me, my mom, two of my aunts, and their husbands (my uncles). Then one aunt dropped out because her daughter was getting married and her bridal shower ended up being the same day (congrats cousin!). Then the other aunt dropped out because she hurt her shoulder (boo for injuries!). So my mom and I were left with six seats and only two of us. What to do, what to do? Well we ended up putting together a ragtag group of friends that had never met but, because most of our friends are super awesome people, got along great.
In anticipation of the concert, I made a Monkees shirt, bought a green wool cap, and saved up my pennies so I would be able to splurge on souvenirs. On the big day we arrived just in time for me to buy a Psychojelly shirt with a drawing of Micky’s face on it (hard to explain), a program, stickers, a mug, and two keychains. I splurged hard.
I always have a difficult time describing concerts I’ve attended because they’re such in-the-moment experiences. There’s the initial thrill of excitement when the house lights go down, the energy that spreads through the audience as the first notes blast out of the speakers, the smiles that are so big they make your cheeks hurt.
For me, Monkees concerts are the best because they bring back so many memories. Memories of getting my first cassette tape which happened to be a Monkees greatest hits. Watching every one of the TV shows over and over during the summer. Flipping through my aunt’s old Tiger Beat magazines. Singing along to their CDs in the car. Visiting friends in Arizona and watching the Monkees 1996 special. I know every word to every song and I find that, for one night, I don’t care that I’m singing in front of strangers and clapping like it’s my job.
This particular show was especially fun because my mom’s best friend drove up at the last minute so she could go with us and one of my very best friends (all the way back from junior high band) brought his boyfriend along to celebrate their anniversary. We sang, we danced, we laughed at the people who forgot the words because they were wine drunk.
The Monkees are still absolutely fabulous entertainers and put on an amazing show. They played their hits, their personal favorites, and a couple of new ones (see: Good Times album review in Random). They paid tribute to Davy Jones, bantered with each other, and joked around onstage. We left the show that night feeling the natural high that only music can give you.
Hello and welcome to My Favorite Blogs Week! Everyone adventures in a different way - maybe you create things, maybe you go places, maybe you just like to soak up all of the wonderful things around you. Whatever method you choose, we are all adventurers. This week is a salute to the bloggers/writers I find inspiring.
Top Art Site/Blog
Winner: Doodlers Anonymous
Doodlers Anonymous is a favorite for so many reasons. For starters, it's full of doodles. Every kind of doddle from every kind of doodler. Then they have featured artists, hand-drawn wallpapers, special challenges (doodle your ride, doodle a bookmark, etc.), and even a store where you can buy a Doodlers Anonymous t-shirt (Hello my name is...) and awesome coloring books and even The Quintessential, Quirky Compendium of Cats. Basically if you doodle you will love this site. www.doodlersanonymous.com
Runner Up: Street Art Utopia
I secretly want to be a street artist, so Street Art Utopia gives me a lady boner whenever I look at it. They have "declared the world [their] canvas" and add beauty where once there was none - walls, staircases, sidewalks, etc. Some works of art are done stencil-style (a la Banksy), others are full-on murals, and still others fall into the "Who thought of that?!" category (like the giant clothespin on top of a hill that looks like it's pinching the grass). www.streetartutopia.com
Runner Up: Wrdsmth
Wrdsmth is a "writer doing time in Hollywood" who also loves street art. He found a way to combine his two passions by stenciling old-fashioned typewriters on random spots around LA and then pasting up different messages. Two of my favorites are "Stop and smell the moment" and "Will write for ever". Some messages are funny, some are thought-provoking, but each one is its own unique work of art. http://wrdsmthinla.tumblr.com
Top Fashion Site/Blog
Winner: New Dress A Day
New Dress A Day author and fashionista Marisa Lynch started her blog in 2009, right around her birthday, just like I did. Her mission was to create 365 dresses in 365 days with only $365. (Luckily she had an awesome $1 pile sale in her neighborhood where she scored armloads full of mumus and miscellaneous outdated, but hilarious, dresses). I didn't discover NDAD until a few months later, but once I did I was addicted. I still follow Marisa's blog religiously and am always inspired by what I find. Her recent Halloween series of costumes based on movies (filmed at the actual locations) was both awesome and hilarious.
Runner Up: DisneyBound
If you love fashion and Disney, then you will probably love this blog as much as I do. If you've followed me for any length of time you know that I will dress up any chance I can get. DisneyBound's Leslie Kay creates outfits that are inspired by Disney characters, Disney movies, Disney events, Disney anything and everything! The idea is not to look just like a character, but to capture the essence while still looking like a normal, though very well-dressed, person.
Top Author Blog/Site
When they're not writing incredibly witty, award-winning books, many authors blog. And thank goodness they do. Here are my favorite Author Blogs:
Winner: The Bloggess
The Bloggess aka Jenny Lawson is one of the funniest people I know. And by "know" I mean I read her blog all the time and want to be just like her some day. This is the way she describes herself: "I wrote for the Houston Chronicle, but I needed an uncensored space to say the f-word and talk about ninjas so I started this blog. I tweet a lot. Also, I can balance live cats on my head but no one will pay me for it. Yet. My book (Let's Pretend This Never Happened) debuted at #1 on the NYT best-seller list. I assure you, no one was more surprised about this than me." She doesn't say anything in there about taxidermy, but don't worry, you'll find out all about it. Her book is, to steal a phrase from her blog, like crack but less whack. If you need a good laugh, you need to go to this blog. Now.
Runner Up: NA
Yah right, there is no runner up! The Bloggess wins all titles. Forever.
Top YouTube Channels
I'm breaking format a bit to bring you some of my favorite YouTube Channels. I knew which channel was going to take the top spot and which would be runner-up but then I made the grave mistake of actually getting on YouTube and 45 minutes later I was super confused and my dog was scratching at the door because I forgot to take her out. So here's a random collection of stuff. Enjoy! Also, maybe don't look at this list while you're at work because you might fall down the rabbit hole and get fired.
Winner: Barely Political
Barely Political has some of the best parody music videos in their Key of Awesome series. The new Taylor Swift is especially awesome. And you have to watch "Kristen Stewart" explain various holidays. Ooh ooh, and watch YouTube Complaints 2014. I could be here all day...
Runner Up: Garfunkel & Oates
More funny music videos! Only this time they're from LA folk duo Garfunkel & Oates aka Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome. They sing about everything from bad dates to pregnant women and it's especially giggle-inducing when they use profanity because they look so sweet and innocent. Don't be fooled!
Runner Up: How It Should Have Ended
Some movies just need new endings. And they need to be animated. And funny. (I'm sensing a theme here). Start with The Lego Movie and Jurassic Park and I'll see you in a few hours after you've watched every other one too.
Runner Up: Mystery Guitar Man
This guy has been a YouTube staple for years and uses "crazy videos, short films, stop motion, video effects, and music" to create mini masterpieces. I can't even tell you where to start with Mystery Guitar Man because so many of his videos are must-see.
I would now like to apologize for all the time you are about to waste. I'm sort of sorry. Actually I hope you have endless hours of fun. You may want to get snacks.
I had so much fun compiling this list that I thought I'd throw in a few extras. You've probably noticed that none of my favorites are all that scholastic in nature. That is intentional.
Daily Odd Compliment
Hyperbole and a Half
HaHas for HooHas
The Pioneer Woman
I read a lot of books. All kinds of books. Last year was a tough year for reading, but this year I managed to read 50 books. Not too shabby, eh? Some of them turned out to be favorites, some of them turned out to be a waste of time, some of them were book club selections, some of them were recommendations from friends. Below is a list if said books, described by me , in five words or less:
1. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
Mix Tape Anatomy 101
2. The Tesseract by Alex Garland
I only read half.
3. The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates
Delightful British romp.
4. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
The TV show was better.
5. Her Mad Hatter by Marie Hall
Would love to re-write myself.
6. Happier at Home by Gretchen Reuben
Re-hash of The Happiness Project.
7. Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield
Rob Sheffield is brilliant.
8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I wish it was real!
9. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
YA so good.
10. Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
One night adventure.
11. Matched by Ally Condie
Book club. Ugh.
12. Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
13. Crossed by Ally Condie.
Make it stop.
14. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
New favorite author.
15. Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade
Not a fan. Sorry, Michelle ;p
16. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
17. Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson
Save the Magic Kingdom, kids!
18. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Better than first 13 envelopes.
19. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch
Read. All. The. Pages!
20. Kingdom Keepers: Disney at Dawn by Ridley Pearson
Save the Animal Kingdom, kids!
21. Kingdom Keepers: Disney in Shadow by Ridley Pearson
Save Epcot, kids!
22. Kingdom Keepers: Power Play by Ridley Pearson
Take a break already, kids!
23. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Best male characters ever.
24. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
I heart Cassandra Clare.
25. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Love happy endings.
26. Moonwalk by Michael Jackson
Curiosity, lead the way.
27. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Super creepy kids book.
28. I Don't Know What You Know Me From by Judy Greer.
Everyone's favorite sidekick.
29. sTori Telling by Tori Spelling
Candy Spelling gives me anxiety.
30. The Selection by Keira Cass
Who will the Prince choose?
31. The Elite by Keira Cass
Prince hasn't chosen yet.
32. The One by Keira Cass
33. The Idiot Girls' Action Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro
Funny. Has adventure in title.
34. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Insight as only Gladwell can.
35. Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
"No time for jokeless history!"
36. Man in the Music by Joseph Vogel
MJ musical exploration.
37. Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die by Willie Nelson
Willie is awesome. Period.
38. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Peter Pan prequel.
39. But Enough About Me by Jancee Dunn
I want to meet her.
40. Let's Spend the Night Together by Pamela Des Barres
Groupies do it better.
41. 7 by Jen Hatmaker
Living with less.
42. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Anybody want cobbler?
43. J.M. Barrie Ladies Swimming Society by Barbra Zitwer
Old ladies rock.
44. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Ah, young love.
45. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Never grow up.
46. Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Grammar is amusing.
47. The Moment by Larry Smith
125 life changing moments.
48. Quick Service by P.G. Wodehouse
Love the Wodehouse.
49. Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
50. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Best book to end on.
"We are all functioning at a small fraction of our capacity to live fully in its total meaning of loving, caring, creating and adventuring. Consequently, the actualizing of our potential can become the most exciting adventure of our lifetime."
Yes, I am one of those people who throw parties for their dogs. This is 10% because I will throw a party for literally anything and 90% because Trixie has added an immeasurable amount of joy to my life and deserves to be spoiled. I don't even care that four years ago I totally would have judged me. Things change. One minute you think dog sweaters are ridiculous, the next you're buying size 5T Circo shirts from Target because your dog needs a new outfit. It is what it is.
October 20th was Trixie's 4th birthday so we celebrated with a fire hydrant themed party in my Mom's backyard. Her bff Molly (who is a dog) was camping so she couldn't make it this year, but my Mom, Erik, Michelle, Jason, and Daniel (who are people) all came. Trixie always knows when a party is for her, so she has the best dog day ever. We, on the other hand, spent most of the afternoon swatting away flies. It was worth it to see her so happy though.
Happy birthday, love bug!
I just got done editing a couple of adventures from Year One of RBA that involved dancing, so I really feel like anything I would say about Henry and I going to Dimensions in Dance would be a repeat of my own writing. Is self plagiarism a thing?
Oh well. Henry and I went to Dimensions and Dance and re-lived our glory days as dancers. He and I (and a couple of you out there) performed in the summer show at Allan Hancock in 2004 and now he's the cheerleading coach there and I have a Wii with a dance game. Obviously we both still love to dance. Plus I just started watching So You Think You Can Dance. Because I do still think I can dance. What I can't do, however, is always find someone to go to local performances with me. I want to go every year... but haven't been since 2010. I need to work on my powers of persuasion.
But this year Henry had free tickets and a free afternoon so we went to the show and had a great time. My favorites dances in any performance are usually the ones that are either really fun or really dramatic. If they fail to be either of these things then I have been known to yawn and/or laugh internally (sometimes externally) at them. That's just who I am.
Henry happened to be in a similar mood, so we kept making each other laugh by repeatedly whispering the names of the dances to each other and waving our arms in the air, singing "Heeeey, hooooo". You really had to be there to get the full effect. But all in all it was a pretty good show. My favorites were "Musical Chairs" and "Paris". I even got to hear two Michael Jackson songs in the mix ("The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Place With No Name") so I was a happy camper.
Afterwards, we danced (literally) back to the car while I yelled, "I just wanna dance!" I'm so glad Henry is my friend. He doesn't care when I do a Random Parking Lot Yelling Dance.
Then we went for ice cream at Doc Burnstein's just because. We sampled, we ate, we listened to "Billie Jean", we laughed until our sides hurt. Perfect day.
Lompoc, Solvang, and all surrounding cities be advised: The scarecrows have landed. Repeat, the scarecrows have landed.
Okay, so they didn't land exactly. But overnight, 150 scarecrows popped up all over the area as part of the First/Fifth Annual Scarecrow Fest. It's a first for Lompoc, but the fifth for Solvang. It's also the first time Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Buellton have joined Solvang. So it's kind of the First/Fifth/First Annual Scarecrow Fest.
I'm telling you this because if you live here you still have time to go see them. I went out to Solvang last weekend and people really get into scarecrow making there.
I mean, look at this:
Wow, right? And I've heard that they get even more into it in Cambria. I'll have to save that Fest for next year. I didn't get to vote on my favorite 'crow though because I don't have a Solvang zip code, but I totally would have. Voting is important and every vote counts.
I leave you with this picture of me and Trixie being surrounded by scarecrows. She wasn't scared at all. She probably would have eaten one if I'd let her.