Coachella 2016: The Final Chapter

12 May

tentI’m excited to talk about day three of Coachella, because it demonstrates how you learn from your horrible, horrible mistakes and make much better decisions later in life because of them. The first time we went to Coachella, we did not pay attention to certain details. We simply bought our car parking pass, bought our plane tickets for an early morning Monday departure from LAX, and drove with the (freezing) wind at our backs to the desert. To our great frustration and exhaustion, we only realized when it was too late that the camp grounds shut down on Sunday so that they don’t let anyone in or out until 2AM Monday. We had an almost 3 hour drive ahead of us. We did not sleep. Our flight was at like 7 a.m. so we barely even had time for breakfast before our flight.

Flash forward to take two this year. Zack and I lazily slept in, had breakfast bars and played Uno, then took a delicious hot tent nap* before changing into day 3 clothes and packing up our campsite. We then moved our car to day parking (with a bike-police assist*, thanks guys!) which was totally free, and then sauntered into the festival, assured that we could leave at any time we wanted to. FOR. THE. WIN. Y’all. This was a life-changing move. While I will grant you that we didn’t stay for the entire wind-down of the festival (we left at 10:35PM, after Miike Snow), we encountered almost zero traffic and were on our way to a hotel (thanks, Cousin Jon**!!) for a more elevated final night of sleep in California.

*I did get a funny back of the leg sunburn from napping half in the shade.

**My cousin runs a hotel in downtown San Diego and it was amazing to have a bed and shower waiting for us after the fest.

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“Popstar” Sneak Preview with Lonely Island Q&A

30 Apr

pop-star-movie-poster“Popstar” was the movie I was most looking forward to this summer after seeing the redband trailer and hearing Samberg and Pete Holmes describe the movie on “You Made it Weird.” So when the Alamo Drafthouse e-mailed their Victory members about a screening with the Lonely Island guys there in person for a Q&A, I was on the page within a minute refreshing and refreshing until I could snag a couple tickets for me and Caitlin*. I’ve loved the guys since their first digital shorts and Caitlin’s been into them for even longer**. I was just hoping the movie would live up to the hype I’d built up for it and that I could think of something interesting to ask in the Q&A.

*He is a nice husband. **I’ve been following this trio since they were posting up self-made videos on their website, and completely fell in love. Here is my favorite Lonely Island video of all time.
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Coachella 2016: The day of 22,000 steps

29 Apr

IMG_1511I set a personal record with 22,145 steps, or 9.61 miles walked on Saturday*. I got 5,000 in before we even fell asleep. LCD played until 1 a.m. and we more floated than walked back to our campsite. We put our tent up in the dark with help from our trusty new lanterns**, wrapped ourselves up in our sleeping bags and blankets and fell asleep around 2:30 a.m. It wasn’t the best night sleep***, but we stayed warm enough in the middle of the night and woke to a toasty tent. We were able air the tent out, play some Uno and take a nap before heading in. The Goddess salad and a whole lot more music was waiting for us.

*I don’t count my steps, but I DID double my “Move” goal on my Apple Watch for the first time ever.

**Zack really loves these lanterns, which I find adorable. I can’t really blame him, they were life savers out there.

***I had to pee. In a Port-O-Potty. In the dark. #pray4me #lanternlifesavers
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Coachella 2016: Day 1 in the Desert

24 Apr

desertkidsI was in a mood as Zack and I drove through the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm. Leading up to our trip out to the California desert, I was in high spirits — blinded by a particularly strong musical lineup (Miike Snow! Christine & the Queens! M83! Run the Jewels! LCD SOUNDSYSTEM!!), all I could think about was experiencing live music performed by my favorites, dancing and singing with Zack. But as our rental car’s odometer ticked up mile after mile from San Diego to Indio, the reality of a California camping festival starting to play mind games with me. Would it be freezing at night again, making us incapable of falling asleep? Would the festival be filled with skinny, tan fashionistas who would make fun of me like so many mean girls at so many cafeteria tables? Would we even be able to ENJOY the music we’d traveled so far to experience, with scenesters filling up the fields? WOULD I HAVE TO POOP IN A PORT-O-POTTY?!?!? 

I didn’t have nearly this many questions. I was more focused on: “We’re still going the correct way to Indio, right?” I knew Caitlin would have and was having those concerns, but I was hopeful we’d keep her warm and happy in the moment. Except for the port-o-potty moments. Those are more or less inevitable.

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Tom Hanks Project – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Review

3 Apr

exloudThis is a perfect 9/11 movie anchored by the best child actor we’ve ever seen. That’s lie #1. And lie #2*. The story is fine and has its high points, but the kid was anywhere from just OK to awful depending on if you’re asking me or Caitlin**. The movie is an adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 novel about a boy with Aspergers struggling to make sense of life after his father (Hanks) died on 9/11 in the twin towers. I’d read the novel and remembered the child’s precociousness feeling more believable and less … obnoxious than in the movie. I barely remembered the movie and knew our enjoyment would rest on if we liked the kid or not. I thought he was fine and Caitlin openly detested him, so we were out on a lot of the big emotional moments that probably would have worked if we liked him. I still found the movie to be fine, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s not even much of a showcase for our guy Tom, though he gets a few good scenes and leaves some devastating voicemails. Still, we were so out on the kid not even Hanks dying on 9/11 could squeeze any tears out of us***.

*This is one of the little tropes of the movie — for the kid’s thoughts to narrate and for him to tell us what number lie he’s on as he goes on his mission. It’s also one of the best leads we’ve ever had on the blog. Nice work, Z.

**SERIOUSLY. Like, I really, really wanted to care about this movie. The story itself was clearly well-crafted and moving, and I could see that the bones of it were good. Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer’s other novel-turned-movie, is one of my favorite movie adaptations of all time. The kid KILLS IT for me.

***And I do want to take a moment to point out here, I don’t mean that I didn’t like the character of the boy. I think that’s what hurt me even more — a child afraid to even go on the swings because he fears for his safety? A boy struggling with anxiety, and that in turn making it harder for him to interact with those around him? Be still my heart! The actor, Thomas Horn, is a TERRIBLE actor. I feel like he was chosen only because he has some super-blue eyes which are somehow supposed to blind us to all of his over-acting. His only other IMDB credits are winning Kid’s Jeopardy and a movie called Space Warriors, so draw your own conclusions. Continue reading

The 5-year LCD Soundsystem bet

28 Mar

suapth2
LCD Soundsystem is our band, but we’ve never had the chance to see them together*. The last time each of us saw them was the night before we met. We were both there the Saturday of their 2010 ACL show, but wouldn’t meet until the following night on the shuttle home. In a story we’ve told many times, Caitlin played their latest album as she drove me home and “I Can Change” became our song**. A few months later the band announced their final show ever would be April 2nd, 2011 at Madison Square Garden. Caitlin desperately wanted to drop everything and go***. I assured her they wouldn’t be retired long and bet her they’d be back within five years. The bet was that if they did return within five years, she’d pay our way to the first show back. If not, I’d take her to any show she wanted and pay our way. The bet finally came to a head this weekend.

*This always blows my mind a little bit.

**They are seriously such a huge part of our meeting and connection — I didn’t even OWN This Is Happening until after their performance on Saturday, when I went straight to the Waterloo tent and picked up a copy. Serendipity, indeed.

***My concert guru Melissa DID drop everything and go. Since I’d been recently laid off, I just didn’t have the capital to make it happen. Continue reading

Tom Hanks Project – “Larry Crowne” Review

26 Feb

larry_crowne_2If this was the first movie Hanks wrote and directed, we could chalk it up to our favorite actor being outside his element. Maybe he was just meant to deliver dialogue, not write and direct it. But we’ve seen Hanks write and direct the exceptional That Thing You Do! so his failure here is harder to stomach. The formula for Larry Crowne seems like it would be charming enough*. Hanks plays a nice guy working at a Walmart-esque store who gets fired and decides to go back to college. Along the way he makes college friends with a scooter gang and falls for his teacher, Julia Roberts. But as Ebert notes in his two star review, “the screenplay carries blandness to a point beyond tedium.” We hadn’t seen this one and I was hoping the consensus was wrong, but sadly they were not. Larry Crowne is woefully boring and lacking in conflict, and even the romance stinks. Somehow George Takei as an economics professor was the only good part of this movie**.

*And, in the beginning, I’d argue it is.

**I’d sign up for Econ with George at the helm. Continue reading

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