Thursday, July 29, 2010

DMB 2010

Chris and I splurged and used a small piece of our tax money to buy Dave Matthews Band tickets so we could join my cousin and aunt for some good times. It was my aunt's birthday gift and coincided with mine as well.

Since I just started a new job it was a bit complicated but completely worth it.

We spent a couple of hours in my cousin's RV before the concert. They happened to park next to the bathrooms which they turned into a huge Plus. People were offering all sorts of payment from food, to alcohol, to cash to sexual favors to skip the line for a porta-potty and use our clean, airconditioned option. We spent hours meeting new people, eating good food and bonding with strangers over DMB song quotes.

As we moved the party inside you could almost see the excitment of the crowd in the air, it was that tangible. When the band came on stage the roar was deafening.

The band played for three hours! This was my fifth DMB concert and this was the best song line up by far, hands down. It included Satelltie, Crash, Tripping Billies, Don't Drink the Water, Proudest Monkey, Why I Am, Dancing Nancy and so many more including a couple of never before heard songs. Chris took some great video of them performing Crash:

My man Tinsley was on fire. I have a huge crush on the Violinist - not only is he hot but incredibly talented which I also find attractive. Last night he went insane, dancing around the stage playing insanely complex solo's, challenging the other musicians... yum....

Everytime someone took a solo the crowd would progressively get louder and louder encouraging the artist to push harder, play longer. To me, the transfer of energy from the crowd to the band was inspirational. Sitting on the lawn, eyes closed, swaying with the music, the ground literally vibrating with the beat as those standing jump or dance - that is what DMB concerts are all about.
The Gorge last year was awesome but it was all about the environment and connecting through that. Last night was the best overall DMB performance I've been to yet.

It was a good night.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For the Love of Country

Can someone please explain to me why it costs $49.95 to download a pdf version of the "Greencard Information Guide" from the US Department of Immigration's website?

Seriously? $50 to view an online file about the process?

Don't even get me started on my recent discovery that someone living in the US illegally can apply for and be awarded welfare and have their child educated in our overcrowded, tax funded schools.
So someone who opts not to follow the rules and lives here illegally can take full advantage of our tax dollars in nearly every way. BUT someone who respects the rules can not count on tax dollars to fund a pdf to inform them of their, they have to spend $50 to merely learn about the process.

It is times like these I wish that I had the mindset for politics...

Monday, July 19, 2010


I went to DC with my Mom and our friend Daisy. While Mom and I hadn't been to DC in ages and were excited to go, the trip was all about Daisy who rarely travels and was insanely excited to go.

We had a good time and crammed a lot in. To read all about it check out my travel blog here. Pictures will be up soon on my Flickr page.

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's a Small World After All

A few months ago I randomly bumped into a friend from early high school, Sarah. We hadn’t seen each other in FOREVER – in a department store. We decided to meet up for dinner the following week and successfully caught up on old times and she subsequently invited me dinner at her house with all of her girl friends. Among other people, it was here that I met Rachel.

Rachel and I have a lot in common, similar history and passions. Through random conversation we discovered that her friend and tattoo artist is the same guy who did my first tattoo, a guy names Thomas. I was told about Thomas by an ex from ages ago who was friends with Thomas and they had an ex in common. So I’ve just connected my ex from 9 years ago to my new friend by only two degrees.

One of the things I have in common with Rachel is an enjoyment of group games and game nights as well as a desire to be more social. We have both utilized to facilitate both of these passions. At one such even Rachel met and befriended a guy names Andre. Andre is a guy that worked with both my mother and my brother for a few years and I have become acquainted with through game and movie nights at my house.

So, involving only one new person I have managed to connect an old friend, a new friend, an ex and a tattoo artist from different areas and times in my life together.

This is just one of many random, full circle type of connections that have been occurring lately. A friend just told me that one of her co-workers is married to another ex's buddy so I know the co-worker and the hubby. My cousin showed me pictures from a Princess Ball which he took his daughter too in which I saw an old co-worker of mine dressed up as Cinderella AND I found that C's cousin was the photographer at the event. This list goes on...

On top of reminding me that the world is small so you should be mindful of who you hurt or shun and which bridges you burn it also reminds me that Orlando specially is smaller than you would think. It equal parts annoys me and makes me want to leave for some place new and makes me happy that I have such a deep history and connection with a place. At this point in life I'm choosing to latch on to the latter and be grateful that I have a balanced reaction.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gator Excellence!

Today Chris took me for an air boat ride! It was a Christmas present that we just got around to fulfilling. We met Steve from Canoe Creek Air boats at Cypress Lake around 8:30pm for our two hour alligator filled adventure. I've always been slightly obsessed with gators and gator sightings and back in September of 2006 I went to the everglades with Megan in an attempt to get closer to gators. I decided then that I wanted to try in an air boat.

The drive out was really nice, through cow farm filled back roads with true Florida landscape
that hasn't been mucked up by crazy development. When we arrived the sun was just starting to set on the lake...

At first we just saw baby gator heads as they swam away from us, but as it got darker things got more interesting. For a few minutes it was difficult to focus on what was in the water with such a gorgeous display in the sky, we felt like we'd entered a painting.

Once the sun dipped though, the flood light came out and the fun began. Our first up close encounter with at grown gator was fantastic. He was about 7 ft long and got right up along my side of the boat, he was swimming away from us but then decided to turn around and came right back at us, for a second I thought he was going to try to join us in the boat. I found myself leaning over for a better look, but had to remind my self how close I was and to be careful. It was awesome. From there it just got better, over the course of the two hours we saw about 40 gator heads or eyes but we only got up close with maybe 20 or 25, most of which were 3ft or under.

I didn't really bother taking photos since it was dark and I was just to into it to be bothered with a camera. I did get a few videos that came out pretty darn good. Remember, we're on an airboat, so they're loud, you may want to mute your volume.

This one is of a larger gator, Steve said it was likely close to 11 ft, be patient it takes a few seconds to appear.

This video is of two smaller 2 or 3 ft gators that crossed our path.

On top of gators we saw a dear, cows, lots of birds including sand hill cranes and an owl. We saw fire flies and frogs that could leap on top of the water; we even had a tree frog join us for a bit, you can see video of him here.

The only thing I would have done differently would be to take some safety glasses and a bandanna to protect my nose, moth and eyes from the bugs. We had 3 inch dragon flies hitting our face at 25 mph - let me tell you they hurt! It was crazy how quickly they swarmed once Steve turned on the flood light.

Steve was a great guide and a nice guy. He's a local, born and raised in Florida. Air boats are his hobby, he's a full time Firefighter for Osceola County. He did a great job at spotting the gators and getting us close to them.

It was really amazing to be that close to the nature, an air boat gives you a totally different perspective on things. I have to admit, that seeing the noise disrupt nature was a bit bothersome at times, but for the most part the animals didn't even seem to care that we were there. I would definitely like to get that experience again.

Excellent Christmas present, who says you can't have Christmas in July? :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Yay for Cake!

I work in an office that is located in a strip mall. A couple of months a go a cake shop opened up right next door. Not just any cake shop, but this one was featured on a couple of TLC's specials, they do the crazy CakeBoss style cakes.

So we now have the smell of sugar, cream, marshmallows and fondant floating through the office, teasing our senses. The problem is they have yet to give us any samples so we don't even know what it tastes like! Customers come into the office, smell the sweet smell and ask - is that cake as good as it smells? We have no answer.

Well, today that finally changed. :)

One of the agents happened to go out back to get the mail right when one of the cake employees was loading up his car with all of the cake slivers that are left over after they make their shapes. "Is that cake you have there?" she asked loudly so we could all listen in. As the conversation progressed she let him know that we'd never had any and he gave her the whole load!

There's 3 lbs of cakes of all variety in our little break room now. And man, it tastes even better than it smells. My favorite is a marble cake with a sort of heath and chocolate flavored cream between the layers. Yum!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Black Thumb

I find myself becoming increasingly "domestic" and I try to maintain a balance between that emerging side and my adventurous spontaneous side. That said, I've become quite fed up with my seeming lack of ability to grow anything! A few years ago I managed to kill Daisies, which are a weed!

So this year I've decided to overcome my black thumb and turn it into a green thumb.

We planted some plants out front and back and I've also put some flowers into pots on the front porch and I have herbs on the back patio.

I will admit, that I have already murdered cilantro, mint and some impatients. But I think I know what I did wrong and I'm trying again...