Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013 Highlights

Last year was full of ups and downs just like any other. I hate to be one of those people who constantly bitch about the negative things in their life or one of the people who pretend their life is perfect. Nothing is without faults, especially life! Every new year brings us a chance to start fresh. I’m not crazy about resolutions so I don’t make them. My goal is to always be a good person no matter what and not make it into a contest or condition. I am just very grateful to have had another year with my wonderful family and friends. I can only hope for another happy & healthy year. Without sounding too braggadocious, I thought I’d share some key highlights for me.

In no particular order:

Texas Frightmare Weekend 2013
I’ve always wanted to go to Texas Frightmare Weekend, but never got a chance. Last year we were lucky enough to win tickets. It was a ton of fun! I got to see so many great horror icons like Tom Savini, Danny Trejo, Virginia Madsen, and Chris Sarandon. It was also nice to get out of town for a bit. I got to eat breakfast at Grandy’s which was one of my favorite places to eat as a kid. I certainly hope we get to make it out this year!

My Bloody Valentine
I love MBV and was so bummed I missed them last they came to town. I was not missing them this time. Kenny and I had a great time at the show. After all these years, they still sound great. They were so loud; I could feel it in my teeth!

Washington DC
Last summer, we got to visit my friend John and his wife Erin in DC. We had a wonderful time catching the sights and watching fireworks on the Mall for Fourth of July. More importantly, it was great to catch up with old friends. I really love to travel and hope to do more of it in the future.

New Order
I was fortunate enough to see New Order in 2012 with my friend Ruth & her husband. Less than a year later we got to see them again, this time in Austin. I can’t even decide which set I enjoyed more because they were both incredible. However, this time around they did play my all time favorite song, “Regret.” I can’t tell you what an awesome experience it was.

Arizona Adventure
We try to make it back to Arizona at least once a year to visit Ross’ family. Due to work constraints, we haven’t been back for Christmas in nearly five years. The weather in Tucson was just lovely this time around. This also marked Zira's first visit to Arizona. We had a great time celebrating the holiday with family and friends. I come from a very small family and our holidays are very low key. Ross has a lot of extended family so we had a few parties to attend. It’s really nice to be apart of that because truth be told, I miss it sometimes. We also got to spend some time in Bisbee and Tombstone.

We’ve been to Tombstone before and had a great time. We watched the shootout at the O.K. Corral again which is always fun. We also did the tour of the Birdcage Theater Museum and the Tombstone Ghosts and Legends Tour which was my favorite.

Bisbee is an awesome little town filled with antique shops and other tourist attractions. The highlight was the ghost tour we went on at night. Before our tour, we wandered around exploring various locations. We came across this empty city park in the middle of the town. As we walked around I got such an eerie feeling about the place. How could a place for children to play be so creepy? Come to find out on the tour, the park is the former location of Bisbee’s cemetery. They moved all the graves to another site with the exception of a few unmarked graves that were unable to be found. Totally creepy! Ghost tours are awesome and a favorite activity of mine. Even if you don’t believe in supernatural occurrences, you end up learning a lot about the place you visit.

Austin Comic Con
I usually go to comic con every year and this year was bigger than ever. I’ve never seen that many people in the convention center (except for SXSW). There were so many great guests including Stan Lee, James Marsters, Robert Rodriguez, and Bruce Campbell. Bruce Campbell’s panel was by far the best panel I have ever been to. My biggest pet peeve about conventions is the asinine questions people get up to ask. Eighty percent of questions are things one could find out by reading IMDb or watching audio commentary. The other twenty percent of questions are wasted on professions of love and shameless ass kissing. Bruce Campbell ripped all these questions apart! He’s even funnier than I ever thought. If this whole acting thing doesn’t pan out for him, he has a solid career in stand-up comedy.

ACL Fest
I know I have denounced ACL Fest and the people who attend it many, many times. I still stand by my arguments. On the other hand, I couldn’t miss an opportunity to see Depeche Mode AND The Cure in one weekend.

Depeche Mode played all the hits and let me tell you, Dave Gahan can still shake it like nobody’s business.. Even Martin Gore looked good! The dog video during “Precious” was amazing; it even had a pug! I thought my head would explode from excitement.

Setlist: Depeche Mode, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin, Texas, 10/11/13

1. “Welcome to My World”
2. “Angel”
3. “Walking in My Shoes”
4. “Precious”
5. “Behind the Wheel”
6. “World in My Eyes”
7. “But Not Tonight”
8. “A Pain That I’m Used To”
9. “A Question of Time”
10. “Enjoy the Silence”
11. “Personal Jesus”

12. “Shake the Disease”
13. “Just Can’t Get Enough”
14. “I Feel You”
15. “Never Let Me Down Again ”

The Cure played for more than two hours! They also churned out all the hits and several B-sides. After the first hour, it began to rain. At first, it was a bit surreal standing in the rain watching The Cure (how poetic). Obviously, the last song was “Boys Don’t Cry” and since they went over their set time, the sound was cut. Robert Smith kept grabbing microphones on the stage to see if they worked, but the whole audience kept singing along without missing a beat. It was truly a beautiful experience.

Setlist: The Cure, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin, Texas, 10/12/13

1. “Open”
2. “A Night Like This”
3. “The End of the World”
4. “Lovesong”
5. “Just Like Heaven”
6. “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea”
7. “Fascination Street”
8. “Pictures of You”
9. “Lullaby”
10. “High”
11. “The Lovecats”
12. “Close To Me”
13. “Hot Hot Hot”
14. “The Caterpillar”
15. “The Walk”
16. “Stop Dead”
17. “Push”
18. “Inbetween Days”
19. “Friday I’m In Love”
20. “Doing the Unstuck”
21. “Want”
22. “The Hungry Ghost”
23. “Wrong Number”
24. “One Hundred Years”
25. “Give Me It”
26. “End”
27. “Boys Don’t Cry”

Granted the torrential flooding was horrible and I would never do that again, but it was worth it to see two of my favorite bands. The best part about the third day being cancelled (we had no intention of going anyway) is that we got a partial refund!

Blake Schwarzenbach
It’s hard to say if this was a highlight for me; it certainly was out of the ordinary. Jawbreaker has always been important to me. It’s the backdrop to my adolescence and the soundtrack to my love life. I’ve supported every musical project Schwarzenbach has embarked on since Jawbreaker (especially JTB). I’m not sure if I can support his solo music efforts. Something about it seems so self indulgent and narcissistic almost like Morrissey (it’s appropriate & expected of Moz). Schwarzenbach has always written very sardonic songs (that’s what we love about him), but this performance just seemed a little awry. Is this a paltry ploy to stay relevant? I don’t know. What I do know is that I hope we don’t see a Jawbreaker reunion anytime soon. At this point, it will only tarnish a once beautiful thing. I could be wrong, and if I am please help me understand but I get the feeling it’s about making a buck now. You never want to see your heroes fall from grace.

Veronica Mars Kickstarter Party
I couldn’t be happier to see the Veronica Mars movie finally come to fruition. To see everyone rally around such a beloved show like this has truly been a Firefly moment. I’m so lucky to have been able to be apart of it. Rob Thomas hosted a party at the Dog & Duck Pub last spring to celebrate the close of the Kickstarter campaign. It was so much fun! No one really knew what to expect. As a surprise Jason Dohring flew in to celebrate with all of us. When he showed up, the whole bar erupted in high pitched screams (including my own). That’s right folks; I got to meet Logan Echolls himself. You can’t imagine how stoked I was!

Dr. Zira
As most of you know, I am an avid pug enthusiast. I’ve wanted a pug of my own for years. I had to wait a while due to housing constraints and funds; I needed to be completely ready for a new fur baby. My only condition was that I wanted a pug that needed a good home. I absolutely refuse to go through a breeder or worse, puppy mill. The adoption process is a long, stressful road, but in the end it was completely worth it. I can’t stress the importance of adopting a dog no matter how hard it can sometimes be. The process is often difficult because these dogs are coming from abused or neglected homes. The rescue groups want to be certain that this will never happen again. It was truly fate that Zira came to us and I could not imagine our lives without her. She fit in nicely with our little family. She loves us endlessly, even her big brother Spike. I think Spike would still like to be an only child, but he warmed up to her quickly. She keeps him active and young. It was a struggle at first getting her adjusted to her new home. In less than a year, we were Zira’s third home. Sometimes I wonder what her life was life before, but then I remember she will only have the best life possible with her fur ever home from now on. We still have challenges with Zira, but it takes patience to really take care of a dog. I look forward to our years together.

Feel free to follow Zira & Spike's adventures on Instagram!

I hope you guys have a wonderful year full of happiness!

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