Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The GORGE!!!!! 9/3, 9/4, 9/5 2010

We were privileged to spend not one, not two, but three nights at the Gorge Amphitheatre witnessing our favorite band play their favorite venue with three amazing shows. The Gorge lived up to and went beyond all the hype that surrounded this venue. Many people make the trip out to this beautiful location every year for many different bands and for the three nights we were there we never sat around anyone from that town of Quincy or George, which is where the Gorge is located, between the two towns. The drive to get there is one of the most beautiful I have ever taken, at least coming from Wenatchee you travel right along the Columbia River the entire way. Upon entry to the venue and it’s more of a hike than any other I have been to, you come over that hill and look straight down at the most amazing view I have ever seen at a concert. The lawn is huge and straight down to a stage that sits on a cliff that is surrounded by red and brown Gorge rocks with the Columbia River rolling right through the middle. As the sun sets it only gets better as only the West Coast can do, turn the sky an amazing pink night in and night out. But my favorite part is at night when the whole Gorge is pitch black, no lights at all except for the band and when you look up it’s the most stars I have ever seen outside of the Grand Canyon and you look down and hear your favorite band play with more enthusiasm then I have seen in a while. I have never felt more intimate at a concert even though it is huge. Dave Matthews dedicated several songs to not only his wife, but to fans in the crowd that he has seen throughout the tour. His stories and jokes were great and the bands energy was unlike anything I have seen. The sound was amazing, absolutely amazing, I heard every note and at times couldn’t believe that even with the crowd that it sounded this good. Dave Matthews also played several songs that were either him solo or with just another one or two of the band mates making the show feel even more intimate as in this huge dark space under the stars, standing on a cliff with a guitar and a great song with thousands silently watching, unreal. The crowd was unlike any I have ever seen at any show either. I was expecting your typical Dave crowd of meatheads and drunks, especially with the three days and nights of camping but was pleasantly surprised that not a lot of people were even drinking and those that were happened to be some of the friendliest people I have ever met at a concert. The first night we were with a bunch of young 20’s group that drove 18 hours from San Diego to be at the Gorge. The next night we were surrounded by people from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Buffalo all of which were 30-60 years old and singing every lyric of every song and dancing all night. The final night was extremely cold (50’s with the Gorge wind) and we were around some very drunk Canadians but for the most part were cool and having fun. The glowstick showers on night two were unbelievabley beautiful and unexpected. All three nights we sat in different areas and had different viewpoints and experiences. I have never been to a more beautiful venue and can’t imagine who came up with the idea to put it there as it is so unbelievable it does not seem real. I had the most fun at a concert that I have ever had and never felt as good about it as I did for not one night but three in a row. Our first three DMB shows as a married couple at the freaking Gorge. Another great thing, not one repeated song for three nights which in my experience is unheard of. Now we just gotta wait until at least 2012 and find out what all the hype about Red Rocks is…..don’t know how it could possibly be better…………..

Friday September 3, 2010
The Gorge Amphitheatre

The Last Stop
Dreaming Tree
Shake me Like a Monkey
Grey Street
Busted Stuff
Write a Song
Loving Wings
Sleep to Dream Her
What Would You Say
Dancing Nancies-->
Some Devil
You and Me
Jimi Thing

Saturday September 4, 2010
The Gorge Amphitheatre

Big Eyed Fish-->
The Stone
Funny the Way It Is
Stay or Leave
Fool to Think
Rye Whiskey
So Right
Lie in Our Graves
Digging a Ditch
Don’t Drink the Water
So Damn Lucky
Why I Am
All Along the Watchtower w/Ben Harper
Needle and the Damage Done
Two Step

Sunday September 5, 2010
The Gorge Amphitheatre

I Did It
You Might Die Trying
Crash into Me
Lying in the Hands of God
Out of my Hands
Seek Up
Proudest Monkey-->
Can’t Stop
Tripping Billies
Little Red Bird
Break for It
Pantala Naga Pampa-->
Ants Marching
Baby Blue
Black Jack

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yankees at Baltimore

We went up to Baltimore for a great late summer weekend with my sister and folks for a couple of damn good Yanks games. I love seeing the Yankees in Baltimore because for one, Camden Yards is one of the best ballparks in all of baseball and this being my 5th time there, it is definitely Yankee Stadium south. The friday night game was actually a game that the Orioles should have won but leave it to A-Rod to steal the show and put the Yankees back in 1st place. Down by 2 in the 9th with 2 on, 2 outs and 2 strikes A-Rod hit a bomb to the left-field seats that put the Yanks back on top and left it for Mo to lay down. The place went crazy as it was all Yankees fans and next to his 15 inning walk off hr against the Red Sox, it was the best home run I have ever seen.
The next day we spent in Baltimore doing what else but eating some great local food from an Italian market by where my sister lives to an old timey seafood joint with some damn good Baltimore crabs. That night at the game we were hoping to see CC reach his 20th win of the season, something he has never done, as well as something we have never seen. We had much better seats and the game was much more of a blowout as Granderson blasted a 3-run home run and Cano hit a 2 run home run and CC cruised to his 20th win of the year and hopefully a Cy Young. The final score was 11-3.
Overall 2 great games, with good people, good food, good weather, and a good city.....GO YANKEES!!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Honeymoon

The honeymoon was amazing, long, crazy, expansive but amazing. We started by spending two nights in NYC. Among taking a lovely horse and carriage ride through central park at sunset with a fun Irishman we were treated to great seats to see the pinstripes knock the piss out of Seattle (where we would spend the rest of our honeymoon) including a shutout by CC a grand slam by Cano and our names and wedding wishes posted on the big scoreboard and read over the PA system at the House that George built. We ate as good as you can and always do in NYC as well.
It was back to work for a few days and then on to Myrtle Beach, also one of our favorite places. Although we were with my folks on their vacation we still count it as part of the honeymoon as it was vacation and fun. We ate well again and enjoyed beautiful warm weather before the hurricane came. After two days it was off to the Emerald City.
What more can you say about Seattle. Desiree and I would live there in a heartbeat if it wasn’t so damn far as it is my favorite city (NYC is in a class by itself and no other city should even be called a city next to it). The city is surrounded by nature and the whole attitude of the city is so laid back like nature is. With the biggest mountains in the continental US and water everywhere we had a blast and did a lot. Our first day was spent with my two aunts and two cousins. We were treated to a great meal at the Pink Door in Seattle were we ate the most flavorful pesto and spinach lasagna as well as lavender gelato. Who knew Seattle could do food like this. The next day we hiked up to the 6,000 ft level on Mt. Rainier which is already higher than any mountain on the east coast and the mountain itself is over 14,000 feet and covered by over 10 glaciers. As we were that high we did get lost in clouds for the rest of the day so we headed back to Seattle to kayak on Lake Union cruising right by the house from Sleepless in Seattle. We ate a great meal at Ivar’s right on the water as the sunset. I ate Salmon that was caught that day as well as Alaskan crab (deadliest catch guys are stationed in Seattle) that was caught that morning. The next day we didn’t let the Seattle rain slow us up as we spent the day in the Pike Place market which I wish every town had. We had a great breakfast at Lowell’s and then sampled the food at the market as everyone is pushing their fresh fruit and other goodies. We ate the best donuts we ever ate, the best macaroni and cheese we ever ate, the best peach we ever ate, and the best tangerine we ever ate and of course Chukar Cherries was very good to me as well with chipotle dark chocolate. Didn’t think I would find any of that crazy good stuff in Seattle. Our third day we got some Top Pot donuts which were mad good and ate them for breakfast in Kerry Park which is the best view in Seattle. We then traveled up to the Ballard locks to watch Salmon swim upstream. After that we went for a nice drive on Lake Washington and I gave in and ate meat, had to. Anthony Bourdain went to a place in Seattle which he called the best Italian meat he had ever had in “Salumi”. The restaurant owned by Mario Batali’s father was no joke. With lines around the corner we waited. Desiree had the best Meatball sub she had ever had and I ate some of the best meats and cheeses I had ever tried and although it screwed my stomach up it was damn worth it as it was delicious. Later that night we ate at Elliot bay’s oyster house again eating chowder and Salmon that was caught that day. The next morning we headed up to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands for an amazing whale watching trip that consisted of seals, sea lions, bald eagles and of course like 50 orca whales in the wild surrounded by glacier covered mountains. It was unbelievably serene when they would turn of the boat and you would only hear water and the whales with their communication and of course the blow holes. When two whales came racing directly next to boat it, was a breathtaking moment. Those creatures are unbelievable. I also saw three bald eagles which have to be the most badass bird ever. In the wild they are majestic birds. The day was perfect, another reminder of how small we are as people and how big the world is. One of the whales was 100 years old and another was going through menopause and people are so different, it amazes me. Our final day not at the Gorge for which there will be an entirely different blog written, was spent in the Northern Cascades as the views shifted from Pacific Northwest green and snow covered huge mountains to almost California burnt sienna type huge mountains. Absolutely a beautiful ride up to the Gorge as the remaining drive was along the great Columbia River.
It was the best honeymoon we could ever have asked for as we spent some relaxing, exciting, and amazing time and experiences in not one but three of our favorite places with our favorite team and our favorite band at their favorite venue. We would live in Seattle if we could as we love it and discovered how great the food is among everything else. It was great to spend a week as a newlywed couple out there in the wild. Wouldn’t change a thing about it

NFL 2010 Picks

AFC EAST Jets* Patriots*Dolphins Bills
NFC EAST Cowboys* Giants* Redskins Eagles
AFC NORTH Ravens* Bengals Steelers Browns
NFC NORTH Packers* Vikings* Bears Lions
AFC SOUTH Colts* Texans* Titans Jaguars

NFC SOUTH Saints* Falcons Panthers Buccaneers

AFC WEST Chiefs* Chargers Broncos Raiders

NFC WEST 49ers* Cardinals Seahawks Rams

Wild Card Round
Chiefs vs. Patriots
Texans vs. Jets
49ers vs. Giants
Vikings vs. Cowboys

Divisional Round
Ravens vs. Jets
Colts vs. Patriots
Giants vs. Packers
Cowboys vs. Saints

AFC Championship
Colts vs. Ravens

NFC Championship
Saints vs. Packers

Super Bowl
Ravens vs. Packers
Ravens Win

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Wedding

The Wedding would be everything that I would have dreamed of if I had ever dreamed of Weddings. I saw Desiree look absolutely beautiful and got to celebrate our love in front of a lot of great friends and great family. The weather was perfect for August in New York, the food was great, the band was great and I wouldn’t want the ceremony any other way even with the overflowing of sand on my part. The rehearsal the previous night was wonderful with friends, family and food, a few great touching speeches as well. This theme continued at the wedding with great speeches by our friends all of which were funny and meaningful. The outpouring of love from others in the room as well as the people with the people that are important to them was great to share with everyone. The whole environment was just loving and a lot of fun. I only wished I could have spent more time with almost everyone in the room that night as they are all the people that are important to Des and me. Reading the cards afterward was fun as well as many people wrote some beautiful things and some very funny stories. Time flies at a Wedding and for us it was a shock when the last song (into the Mystic) started to be played. I wouldn’t have changed a thing and have gotten nothing but compliments about everything from the service, to the band, to the food, to the weather, to the location, but what stands out to me the most is that Des and I are lucky, very lucky to have such great and loving people around us that would spend that moment with us and help create the wonderful night that it was and in my mind will always be. So thanks to you all

Labels comment from The Yes Indeed Papers

Me being the individual that I am I have always hated labels. Labels have always been a kind of form of judgment, sizing somebody up or putting something into a little box or a category. Now I do use labels almost all the time as it is a way of interpreting, defining and understanding the world around me, labels like a Yankee’s fan or Red Sox fan. These would be interpreted by a Yankees fan being a smart, dedicated, passionate lover of the game and its history whereas a Red Sox fan would be a front running ignorant weakling that cannot handle being second class. These are labels that help me interpret what that may mean to me but does not encompass what it may mean to other people or in fact what they mean at all as baseball is just a game. Labels are like categories and I am against putting things in categories because then people think they know something when really in my opinion they don’t. A good example I think is religion. Religion has many different kinds of labels (Catholic, Lutheran, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam) that all encompass different meanings and understandings of the same basic idea. In our country Muslims are labeled as terrorists and I do not believe that all Muslims are terrorists, just as I don’t believe that all Christians do the right thing or turn the other cheek. The other thing with religion is that as they are labeling everything they believe that they have an understanding of what God is and what God means and the ways in which you should honor God. I believe that humans don’t have a fucking clue what God means and where it begins and ends, just as I believe humans don’t understand love, I think we have ideas and opinions but not enough to define or label. Many people try but if there was a pure solid one way that was limited there wouldn’t be so many songs or movies or people chasing after it, it is because it is unlimited and comes in so many forms like you don’t love your parents the way you love your wife. Labels to me are a statement of understanding or ownership or entitlement.
When I was a kid I was labeled as a stoner, junkie, dope fiend, and someone that wouldn’t amount to much. I was told this by teachers and friends. This was my label and it defined me to those people and at times it did to me too but I never let it complete define me to me. I had other feelings and ideas in me that finally came around to show others something different about me but I didn’t do that for others I did that for me. Labels give me security in thinking that I know something when in reality I know very little about a very little bit. I don’t know how people label me now and I don’t care, I like who I am today and whatever that comes with. I have been through a lot in my life many ups and downs, sometimes things that I didn’t know whether I would get back up from, but I always did. Most of the times that were bad for me were when I thought I knew something about something, as a kid you think you know it all. For instance, what a relationship means. I know what it means to me, from my own relationship history, my own research, my own conversations, and by my own journey to where I am today. Many people have not had the experiences that I have had and even if they did they didn’t see it from my eyes, does that mean I understand something more about relationships, no, but it does give me a better idea of what I like, and want, out of being with a woman.
I am married today and to the world that labels me as no longer single, checking the married box, a different tax structure, and the age old jokes about married people. None of these things defines me or my feelings about what I share with Desiree. The ring and license are just symbols of something much bigger that I cannot understand or comprehend, at the end of the day I am human which is not too far a step from being locked in a cage at a zoo as a gorilla, I just stand upright, don’t throw my shit and can communicate rational thoughts at times. To me nothing has changed except on paper and the wedding was an awesome party to share a great moment with many close friends and family members and express those feelings of love. My marriage is not anybody else’s or like any other persons as Desiree and myself are evolving people that change everyday which in turn changes the dynamics of what we share together, this is not defined with the label of marriage or happiness but they can be interpreted that way depending upon who you are. I just don’t see things in terms of black and white, where things are one way or they are another. Labels to me are limitations and then you become content because you think you know a thing or two. To me God is the only one who knows what any of this means or how things should be and there are subtle signs along the way that you can ignore or listen to for guidance along your own personal journey. I am glad and lucky to have people in my life that I should, can and have listened to and to have taken chances in life that most people wouldn’t. I lost every one of my friends when I got clean, every single one but one, only one from that time in my life do I talk to not many people would do that at the age of 21. Just like not many people at 22 years old would give up the single college lifestyle for a girl that lived 10 hours in distance from them. Funny how things go when you just let them unfold. It is not easy to do as most people want to be in control of what is around them so they feel secure in their own existence and for me I like it better when people are themselves, when they are honest open and real. Things are more exciting that way, more surprising. Desiree and I never defined things but people defined it for us because that is what they saw, me and her just never cared, we just wanted to be with the other person and the details of how we do that just don’t matter as long as we both were happy. I cannot define that or label that because it is not the type of thing I see other people do, it is not the age old unhappy marriage jokes, and it is not other people who are content in their marriage, and it is not others that are completely happy in their marriages. What I feel we share is unlimited and it shows through in unlimited ways that cannot be defined. In simple everyday things like holding a door for somebody or helping a person with their luggage in the airport, adding something positive to the world on a daily basis for no reason.
Labels are very confining and in America, a country that leads the world in depression and anxiety diagnosis, we are probably the most insecure country as well, as we are given a wide range of mixed messages most of them attacking are confidence and well being. Every commercial is aimed at getting something you don’t have and trying to make you feel or think that you are missing out or if you get this you will be ok. A lot of that marketing is through name brand or labels. There are labels for everything from drink, food, clothes, and computers to even phones now. People feel comfortable with these labels because it includes them in something bigger then themselves as one of the herd. I get confined to this as well as it is very hard to avoid it. The people that admire most in the world are people that step out of that brick in the wall mentality and do something different, eventually it gets a label, but it’s original until it does. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Hendrix, Joplin, The Dead, Nirvana, Derek Jeter, the Dali Lama, Hunter S. Thompson, Warren Buffet and even Dave Matthews. None of these people are followers of a general herd of people; they are all original thinkers and leaders in different ways. They stepped out of the machine and the machine then adjusted to them, but they are still unique.
Overall the point I am trying to make is that I just hate labels even though I use them on a daily basis as a way of interpreting and categorizing the things around me. I do not like the judgment that is involved or what else comes with being in those categorize as I am a person who is not defined by a few simple words or categories and when dealing with celebrations of loving unions that may hopefully produce new life in the future and live on through future generations….that cannot be put into a category as even thinking about it boggles the deeper meaning in my heart. We are really fucking small in this world and not as important as we think we are the least we could do is be good to those around us and respect them enough not to confine them to labels.