Drift Food Truck

21 Mar

After a winter of following the hibernating exploits of Drift Food Truck I was incredibly pleased to hear of their return to the streets for Spring and Summer. With great excitement I perused the online menu all morning and shot my Boyfriend a text requesting his company on my food quest. He was pleased to accept, as I have a good history of leading him to delicious eateries (most of the time). Off we went on the train to a location only two stops beyond the University (Corona). Having emerged from the underground we quickly proceeded to a bank, as the food truck takes cash only, this is an important point to remember. Next we headed toward the truck location. It was easy to spot as it is the only bright metallic green truck on the street, and I am graciously supposing anywhere else in Edmonton.

Now getting cash and finding the truck were easy, however, I was left with a serious dilemma. What to order. The truck at this point in time had a selection of the following:

On the day, the Roast Beef was calling my name. We made it two and grabbed a fries to share. The Unfortunate part, it being very early Spring in Edmonton, the weather was not conducive to a picnic so we had to make a run for the LRT and head back to campus to settle in and enjoy our meal. This is one of the shortfalls of Foodtruck eating, the weather, and the requirement of getting creative in establishing an eating space, however, if you have a car, you will be fine.

The food was absolutely delicious, the ciabatta bun it was lovingly encased in was fresh and crisp, and the ingredients, Roast Beef, Peperoncini’s, Provolone Cheese and a Red Pepper Spread, molded together perfectly. Nothing over-powered or took away from the overall experience, and the serving size was just right. The famous fries which I had heard twitter rumors of for some time also delivered a flavored punch. The Drift Seasoning of roasted fennel, cumin, mustard seed and chili combined with fresh cut fries, and house made ketchup was a heavenly experience.

Since the first time, I have been back three times in as many weeks. I have tried all but the Jerk Chicken (once I do, I shall update the post), and the Vegetarian (I shall not update for this because I firmly believe in meat). The Braised Pork shoulder was a subtle, yet delicious sandwich once more. The addition of chunky pickle and cabbage gave the sandwich a beautiful fresh crunch, and the bacon, well, gave the sandwich bacon…mmmm… The other sandwhich, the Pork Belly, ahhh the Pork Belly. Easily my favorite selection of the bunch for many reasons. The first being, pork belly. This little doozy packs a brilliant punch of Vietnamese flavors with the inclusion of daikon, carrot, cilantro, and a lovely sweet chili mayonnaise. This sandwhich packs a flavorful punch and draws my eye each visit, and I must admit, I am craving one as I speak, especially with this little temptress of a photo:

The overall experience of Food Truck has been positive each visit, the owners are incredibly welcoming and kind, and the food is quickly prepared to a high standard each time. I would certainly recommend chasing this beauty down if you’re in town. The truck has a twitter acount: @driftfoodtruck and a website: http://driftfoodtruck.ca/ if you are looking for more information. And good news fanatic foodies, they attain all their ingredients from local businesses and producers!

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Fat Frenzy

27 Jan

It was as of last evening that I came to the conclusion that I find no satisfaction or sustenance from foods which are considered healthy and nutritious. I had to receive some medical tests and was disallowed to have dinner with any fat content. The first thought that came to my mind had nothing to do with concern for my health and well being, it was in fact the terrible question of just what I would be able to eat for dinner. Obviously meat and dairy were disallowed, therefore I was immediately disheartened. It is because of this i realised just how much I love fatty foods. Not that I didn’t know before, but the fact that I was going through similar withdrawals to that of a cocaine addict after only a few hours was an indication that my affinity for the unhealthy went beyond what I was originally conscious of. The worst of it came when I went to the movie theatre that evening. I had originally planned to indulge in popcorn smothered in as much butter as the worker could muster, but my pre-emptive plans of gluttony were dashed! Pretzels and hot dogs and various sweets stared me down, and I began to grow weary. Thank goodness, once I was in the dark theatre free of temptation I was able to regain mental composure. My evening of hell is finally over, and I made the executive decision of Pizza for lunch to recover all lost non-essential fats from the night before, however I am left reflecting upon my need for all that is greasy and bad. I am tempted by a wide variety of such foods, however, one is held above all the rest. A food which I have almost no power to resist. A food which I believe, on my death bed, I will be using my last breaths to ask for. This food my friends, is the illustrious Hamburger.
I like to consider myself somewhat of a hamburger connoisseur. I scour the earth looking for the perfect and most satisfying combination of bun and patty that I can find. So far in my travels I have established a certain repertoire of my go-to hamburgers depending on what restaurant I have at my disposal. Here is my list of top 5 favorite hamburger joints on the planet, and my own burger of choice.

1. Fuddruckers
Fuddruckers allows you to literally glance into the butcher and choose your patty. 1/4, 1/2 and a full pound of meat are your choices. Now, if I am feeling especially like I want to put my heart under unecessary strain, I will go for the full pound of meaty goodness. However, the 1/2 pounder normally does me just fine. The buns are fresh and slightly toasted, and with a nice slab of cheddar cheese, that baby is good to go. You get to choose your own condiments so there is no worry about ordering to your likes and dislikes. I slab on the ketchup and Mayo and I’m good to go, because I am firmly of the belief that vegetables just take away from the full effect of the meat. That’s right, vegetables have no place next to my glorious patty of greasy, meaty goodness. Unfortunately, there are currently no Fuddruckers in Alberta, therefore it is necessary to hunt them down when I am in the U.S.

2. In and Out Burger
The wonderful thing about In and Out burger is the simplicity. The menu allows you to choose from a hamburger, or a cheeseburger. Could it be more perfect? The burgers are rather small, so it may be a good idea to request double patties, or to order a second. The buns are warm and toasty, the cheese is melty goodness, and it is smothered in ketchup and special sauce. Oh yeah, that’s as good as it gets. The trouble with In and Out is it is restricted to the western United States. California, here I come.

3. Five Guys Burgers and Fries
This was recently introduced to me. Same general idea as In and Out burger. Minimal choices, maximum satisfaction. Ordering a cheese or hamburger will automatically grant you two beef patties. The first time I experience this, I thought the fellow who took my order had read my mind. There is a great variety of toppings from fresh Jalapenos to bacon. I have the cheeseburger, which is absolutely drenched in melted cheddar. Topped of course with mayonnaise and ketchup. My mouth is watering.

4. Carl’s Jr.
This is your everyday, run of the mill fast food restaurant which is limited to within the United States, however, their burgers are incredible. My weapon of choice is the double western bacon cheeseburger. Two patties, 2 slices of cheddar, onion rings and bbq sauce. It’s paradise squeezed between two buns.

5. Jack in the Box
This is another American fast food chain, found on almost every block down there, however, it is not to be underestimated. On numerous occasions I believe my heart temporarily ceased beating after eating here. Double Ultimate Bacon cheeseburger: 2 patties, 4 slices of cheese, 4 slices of bacon. I don’t even have to order this one without vegetables. It’s like they crafted it just for me.

There you have it. My less than 12 hour fast from fatty foods prompted this outrageously revealing rant about my love for cheeseburgers. I feel both ashamed and hungry.

A Year in Review, 2010

24 Dec

It’s that time of year again folks. The time when snow and ice are plastered to our once green landscape, the bitter cold makes us regret even peering out the front door, and oh yeah, all the Christmas and New Years business. Anyway, I am the sentimental sort, as such, I enjoy reflecting upon my year when it is reaching it’s end. The music, the movies, the television and the experiences. So without further ado, this is my 2010 year in review!

In Music

2010 was an incredible year for music, here is my top 20 countdown of favorite albums:

1. The National- High Violet

2. Mumford & Sons- Sigh No More

3. Arcade Fire- The Suburbs

4. Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

5. Black Keys- Brothers

6. Beach House- Teen Dream

7. The Walkmen- Lisbon

8. Foals- Total Life Forever

9. Kid Cudi- Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

10. Frightened Rabbit- Winter of Mixed Drinks

11. The Gorillaz- Plastic Beach

12. Laura Marling- I Speak Because I Can

13. Vampire Weekend- Contra

14. Massive Attack- Heligoland

15. Interpol- Interpol

16. Band of Horses- Infinite Arms

17. Broken Social Scene- Forgiveness Rock Record

18. Tallest Man on Earth- The Wild Hunt

19. Spoon- Transference

20. LCD Soundsystem- This Is Happening

Books

Reading is my favorite past time, therefore it is only right that I share my favorite reads this year!

The Shadow of the Wind
This may possibly be one of the best books I have ever read. It combines romance with adventure, and ties it altogether with the ultimate theme of a profound love of books. The writing was witty and sophisticated, and the plot moved very quickly keeping me reading into the late hours of the night.

Rebecca
This book was obviously not released in 2010, however, I just discovered it this year. Once more I was drawn in by a beautiful love story, but pleasantly surprised by the intriguing tale of murder and deceit!

Television

Best Show of 2010:
True Blood
I can admit it to myself, I am obsessed with this show. I have read all the books, and I own all the DVDs, so I can safely say I eagerly anticipated it’s return this past summer. I was not disappointed. The past season was sexy, witty, scary and intriguing. The finale left much to be desired, however, I am fine with waiting another year for the conclusion of all the cliffhanging plots. For now, I will live off my DVDs and mental images of Eric.

Best New Show of 2010
Boardwalk Empire
This new show by HBO immediately grabbed my attention. It had a wonderful, historically relevant story, as well as amazing dialogue. I really loved the time period it was set in, and the performances by all acting parties was very well done. Overall a very promising new series by a network that never fails to please!

Movies
I wouldnt claim my list of favorite films this year to be Oscar worthy, however, I found them in all cases extremely entertaining.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. I

2. Toy Story 3

3. Get Him to the Greek

4. Hot Tub Time Machine

5. The Other Guys

Favorite Moments
There were many great moments for me throughout this year, but right here, right now, as I type this, these stand out the most.

The Shot
Being part of a buzzer beater three to sweep the #2 team in the nation.

The National Champions
Watching my favorite basketball team win the NCAA championship in an incredible game

The Best Live Show on Earth
Seeing my favorite band Muse, perform live. Twice.

Best Discoveries

Guitar
I discovered all that is guitar this summer and have been unable to look back since. I purchased a beautiful Seagull acoustic guitar and got on my way. Favorite song to play: “Sparks” by Coldplay.

Alcoholic Beverages
No, I haven’t just discovered alcohol this year, that would be weird. I have however discovered some new favorites.
Chat De Oeuf – This Rose wine is something special

Hoegarden – An enormous portion of amazing beer. And the name is not bad either

Dos Equis – This is the worlds more interesting beer

Well folks, that’s all I have for 2010. Hope you enjoyed the year and the first decade of the 21st century! Next stop, 2011.

The Rooney Saga

22 Oct

If you follow soccer at all, or simply watch sports center, or even have any concept of what goes on in the sporting world, I assume that you are aware of the drama that centered around Manchester United this past week. Our dear old friend Wayne Rooney has had a tough year, plagued with media scandal. Of course it is all his doing. When you have an affair with a “high class” hooker you will receive absolutely no sympathy from me. Lets get something straight, I loved Rooney. Last season he was a goal scoring machine and seemed incredibly passionate in his game play. This season, well, the affair did not help his case, but his lackluster effort made it worse. Because of his questionable off-field antics, prior to the events this season, I was already looking elsewhere to place my football devotions.
Unfortunately just ignoring him wasn’t possible. He plays for my favorite club and the England national team, therefore, every match I watch basically involves him. If all this wasn’t bad enough, this week happened.
Here is a quick time line of the events:

TUESDAY OCTOBER 12: Rooney, so often the spark, is subdued and out of form against Montenegro at Wembley. Leaving targetman Peter Crouch isolated, he huffs and puffs but never looks like opening up a disciplined defence.

– After the match Rooney says he is fully fit, contrary to the claims of his club manager Alex Ferguson, who had blamed the striker’s poor form on an ankle injury.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 16: Rooney is confined to the bench as Manchester United throw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion.

SUNDAY OCTOBER 17: United issue a statement rejecting as nonsense suggestions that the striker is to be sold in the January transfer window.

TUESDAY OCTOBER 19: Ferguson holds an extraordinary news conference in which he speaks candidly about Rooney’s desire to quit Old Trafford, sending shockwaves around the footballing world.

– Ferguson says Rooney will not play for Manchester United against Bursaspor in the Champions League on Wednesday because of an ankle injury.

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 20: Rooney issues a statement confirming he wants to leave Manchester United, blaming the club’s lack of clout in the transfer market for his desire to quit Old Trafford.

THURSDAY OCTOBER 21: United call for supporters to be patient after a series of meetings over Wayne Rooney’s future at Old Trafford.

– Ferguson meets with chief executive David Gill and Rooney’s representatives.

FRIDAY OCTOBER 22: Rooney agrees a deal that would keep him at the club until at least June 2015.

As you can see Rooney caused a great deal of trouble not only with fans but the whole Manchester United organization. For shame Roon. I cant say I’m happy he signed, I honestly would have preferred him to make for the continent and never return. All he can do now, I suppose, to appease unhappy fans like me is return to form and stay out of trouble. I hate to say it but great athletic performance erases all past infractions. Look at Kobe Bryant. His reputation appeared to be permanently tarnished by his extramarital affairs, but a few rings later and he is back to being the face of the NBA and a heavily sponsored player. Even Tiger Woods which is a much more recent example. The difference being that Tiger slept with upwards of 20 different women, he wins. But other than the consistent cracks and laughable moments in the Tiger scandal it is basically over. Why? Because people don’t want to think about how their sport heroes actually are. As far as many are concerned their play speaks for all aspects of their lives.
I am not saying I am immune to this trend either. If there is one thing that disgusts me most in the world it is a cheating man. I think it is unforgivable. Yet, I seem to have this naive notion that it doesn’t happen as frequently as it actually does, especially among celebrities and athletes. The person they are on film and in magazines or on the playing field is not who they are. There is a real person living behind that disguise and many times they end up being a victim of the lifestyle. If I ruled out every player who had an affair I would have no one left to cheer for. Kobe, Magic, MJ, Beckham, Gerrard etc etc.
So I do condemn Rooney for his off field “affairs” but at the end of the day I am realistic enough to dismiss it and look at him subjectively as a player. However the major issue here is that he’s not much better on the either front.
Basically I don’t condone this behavior from anyone, especially those heavily displayed in the media. They must understand they have the responsibility as public figures to be positive examples. Rooney’s diva behavior distracts from the reason we follow sports. Not for the drama off the field, but the glory on it. Athletes need to smarten up and prove that they have some sort of appreciation for being payed vast sums of money in return for playing a game they supposedly love.

Life on the Mississippi

22 Oct

Think to yourself, is there anything more exciting than a required reading for a class? Well…yes, actually waiting for a bus is probably more exciting. For some reason, although I absolutely love sitting down to a great novel, I find no enjoyment is reading required texts for school. The one exception to this rule was when I had Austen on my reading list, then I had no trouble tearing through Persuasion for the second time.
Anyway, for my American Literature class I was assigned Huckleberry Finn. Surprisingly I had not read this American classic, although I had always desired to. Now unfortunately it came to me under the stigma of class related material, for shame. I admit (with great shame) that I still haven’t completely finished. I am about 40 pages off, however, had I not encountered the assignment deadline today I would have sincerely attempted to complete it. The great thing about this novel, because although I didn’t finish it I have truly enjoyed it, was my relation to the setting. When I was younger I went on a trip to the Mid-West. My family and I traveled to Illinois to stay with my Uncle who lived there at the time. We went to Chicago, ate deep dish and also went across the border to Missouri. In Missouri we actually visited Hannibal, the boyhood home of Mark Twain and the setting of Huckleberry Finn. Most of the activities we engaged in were in fact related to the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, however I had a great taste of small town America. So while I didn’t finish the novel, I am one step ahead of all of you.
Just as a quick side, I want to say that I adored Huck’s character. He is completely unaware of how essentially good he is. He fails to recognize that when he fails to conform to the ideologies he thinks are correct, he is in fact, well, correct. He is capable of independently adapting his notions based on experience. Ironically, when he thinks he is making a bad choice, it is always the right one. He condemns himself because society has taught him otherwise, however, internally he recognizes that his heart would not have allowed him to act any other way.
Of course, when granted assigned reading, there is always a catch. Nothing in school is designed for pleasure. Last night I spent a decent amount of time writing out a paper analyzing the Huckleberry’s social and moral development. I wont post the whole paper, because there are those who in a late night crunch type “huckleberry finn” and “essay” into the Google and luckily come across suckers like me who post a fantastic paper online. So you lucky bastards who find this, and pluck from my thesis, just know that you got an A because of me. You may not cite me on your paper, but cite me in your hearts. So here is my intro and first body paragraphs, sans the page numbers of quotations (Im going to make you little buggers work for it)

Huckleberry Finn experiences more than escapism and freedom on the majestic Mississippi River. He is constantly faced with obstacles that challenge his beliefs and preconceptions of society and morality. Prior to his escape, Huck faces strong attempts on the part of middle-class white society to make him conform to certain moral standards. The Widow Douglas, who refers to Huck as “a poor lost lamb,” attempts to give Huckleberry an idealistic, middle-class upbringing, however, Huck distrusts the morals and pretensions of a society that treats him as an outcast. Huck’s apprehensions about adopting pre-formed social notions allow him to make unique observations based on his own beliefs and morals. Upon his adventures down the river, his youth and questionable upbringing allow him to establish opinions free of white, southern indoctrination, he learns from his past and is forced to make decisions based on his own logic and conscience, and his developing relationship with Jim leads him to question social values, especially those regarding race and slavery. His journey forces him to make decisions based on his experience, logic, and his ever growing conscience. Huck progresses into an independently thinking individual, forming his own opinions based on what he believes, not on what he has been taught to believe.

Huck’s youth and upbringing are important factors in his moral development throughout the novel. He was not brought up in a stable home, nor was he educated thoroughly on common white ideology. Because of this, he is very open minded and forms conclusions based on his inner convictions. The Widow Douglas tries in earnest to reform Huckleberry by introducing him to Christian ideology. He has obvious convictions about her teachings. His hesitation is obvious when he questions her devotion, stating, “[h]ere she was a bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone you see”. His practical view of religion discourages any interest, instead he determines that he should be encouraged to enjoy activities he deems worthwhile, such as smoking. The Widow’s strong attempts to change Huck are viewed unfavourably when he explains, “she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways…I couldn’t stand it no longer, I lit out”. Her attempts are in vain because, as Huck describes, her ideologies did not correspond with his. In contrast with his friend Tom Sawyer, it is easy to see how free thinking Huck really is. Tom is a wonderful portrayal of a white, middle-class upbringing. Tom does not take time to question morality or consequence when making a decision. Although he is completely aware that Miss Watson has died and Jim is free, he allows the charade of Jim’s rescue to continue for completely selfish reasons, exclaiming, “Why I wanted the adventure of it; and I’d a waded neck-deep in blood to”. Upon Tom’s confession, Huckleberry asks himself, “how he could help a body set a nigger free, with his upbringing,” and concludes that, indeed, Tom would not have had a moral reason to release Jim. It is apparent that the absence of a strong moral influence in Huckleberry’s youth has encouraged an ability to form his own beliefs, whereas, Tom Sawyer, a boy with a stable upbringing is unable to form unique opinions. Huckleberry’s youth gives him an open mind, just as Tom Sawyers youth makes him susceptible to the indoctrination he was raised on.
A factor in the development of Huckleberry’s character and moral conscience in the novel is the experience that he gains from the adventures on the river. His time spent with the King and Duke has the greatest impact on the formation of his concept of common morality. Initially, Huck allows the two con-men to have their way and swindle town after town. Huck is very aware of the nature of the men, stating, “these liars warn’t no kings nor dukes, at all, but just low down humbugs and frauds,”however, he does not let on that he is wise to their game merely because, “then you don’t have no quarrels, and don’t get into no trouble”. When the King and Duke proceed to con the young girls out of their uncle’s estate, Huckleberry feels he may no longer feign ignorance. He realizes he has allowed these men to take advantage of too many during the course of their acquaintance, saying to himself, “this is another one that I’m letting him rob her of her money”. His failure to intervene in the preceding events has made him feel “so ornery and low down and mean,” and as a result, he decides that he will “hive that money for them or bust”. Another important choice Huck makes due to experience is the decision to turn down Aunt Sally’s offer of adoption. He is aware that living with Aunt Sally will not differ from his time with the Widow Douglas. His time on the river and the experience he gained through his many adventures has allowed him to establish his own set of opinions and moral guidelines; therefore, any attempt to conform to Aunt Sally’s ideologies would be in vain. Huckleberry’s adventures granted him the ability to learn from his experiences and apply his observations of morality and social infractions to new situations……….

So there you have it. Hope you have enjoyed my scholarly (most likely boring) analysis of Mr. Twain’s masterpiece. It is my sincere hope that I can engage in some recreational reading soon so I can post some more book reviews up on here.

Live in 2010

20 Oct

It is not quite the end of 2010 yet, however, I know my chances of catching any more live shows is low. Basketball, you see, interferes with the concept of free time and recreational hours. In fact, just last evening I had free tickets to a show I had acquired through a local radio station. The show itself was nothing of consequence to me, Anberlin and Civil Twilight, but I figured, hey they’re free. Unfortunately fate tossed me a cruel card and my school work did not allow me to have a night out. If it were a more desirable show however, I am sure I would not have found some way to make it. But I digress. This year has been a coming out party of sorts for me. Prior to it, I had very little experience within the realm of live music. Beyond Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys, the only credible concerts I had attended were that of Coldplay and Bloc Party. Those were a great starting point, however, I craved more. Live music is unparalleled and once you get a taste you want more and more. Fortunately this year I found many opportunities to get out there and see my favorite bands perform. The experience of live music compared to a record is so pure. The emotion is raw, you actually get to see the effect the music has on its creators. Nothing makes a great show like an overenthusiastic front man, or even keyboardist doing a questionable jig in the back. No matter how shitty that bands brand of music may be for a live setting, as long as they have charisma and energy, it is a great show.

My first show of the year was unquestionably the best. Perhaps it is my own bias saying this, but regardless, it was incredible. I saw Muse for the first time on March 29 at Rexall Place, Edmonton. Now, I had bought the tickets back in December, and the three month wait was excruciating. This is a band that I am in almost sick admiration of, a band I listen to without fail at least once a day, a band who I have spent copious amounts of money on music and merchandise from. By the time the day actually I arrived I just remember sitting at my desk, a nervous knot in my stomach, staring at the clock. I had general admission tickets, therefore I wanted to show up early to get right to the barrier, and right in front of dear old Matt Bellamy. I left the house at 1. Doors opened at 6. Not a moment I’m proud of. In fact, I didn’t even get to the barrier. Due to unforeseen circumstances and ass holes making their way to the doors after showing up minutes before, I ended up about three rows back after waiting 5 hours. Well, this was still not enough to put a damper on my mood. Once in, I waited patiently for the opening act, Silversun Pickups, who may I add were exceptional. Once they were finished however, I was chomping at the bit for the boys to get out on stage. I had been peeking at past setlists and youtube videos, so I had an idea of what was coming, but still, experiencing it in person was incredible. Three enormous towers filled the stage area, and once the curtains dropped and Muse was revealed, they immediately fell into their smash single Uprising. I screamed with the power of an 11 year old girl who sees Justin Bieber on her front porch. I don’t think my voice really last beyond the first song, but it didn’t matter, I kept singing in my head the whole night. I was jumping up and down, waving my hands, hugging strangers and grinning from ear to ear. When they strayed from the usual and played Bliss, I once more produced a shriek of epic proportions. When they played another rarity Ruled By Secrecy, I seriously began to question the ability of my heart to carry me through the remainder of the show. The show was so over the top, so loud, so filled with cliche images of stadium rock, and so incredibly life changing. Seeing a band you love live can be a gamble at times. Some just do not perform in a live setting. There was no fear of this happening with Muse, after all, they have had numerous awards for their live act. I was not disappointed. Even better was the fact that I had tickets for the next night in Calgary. So the next morning I hopped on a plane and jetted off to see my favorite rock stars again. This time, due to unbelievable fatigue (after the show the night before I wrote an assignment until 4am), I decided to show up only 15 minutes before doors opened. I had seen them the night before and was unconcerned with where I stood, I knew the show was great from any vantage point. However, due to some divine interference, and my quick legs, my brother and I made it to the barrier. Front and center. I could hardly believe my luck. This time when Muse came out I was right in the action. When Bellamy knee slid in the heat of New Born, I was right there staring straight into his eyes *sigh*. There were no special rarities on this night, I did however get to hear a favorite, MK Ultra. The best part of the night, aside from getting a brilliant view of all things Matthew Bellamy, was receiving a set list at the end of the show. My little treasured souvenir.

So Muse started off my musical year with a definite bang. And after their show I knew I needed more. As I discovered through research and a keen following of the musical universe, there are a great deal of music festivals during the summer. Many were slightly far or lacking in great artists, but I came across Sasquatch. It was located in Washington and starred the likes of Mumford & Sons, The National and Vampire Weekend to name a few. My sister and I made and plans, and before I knew it, we were making a 12 hour drive to Quincy Washington!
Any plan I had of getting drunk and fulfilling the the intoxicated ideal of the festival experience was lost soon after the first night. I was tired, cold, and hated the idea of any form of hangover affecting my musical experience. The first day of the festival was the best. It had about 80% of the shows I wanted to see. When we entered the venue, I was struck by the beauty of the setting. It is located right in a majestic river valley. The sun was shining and reflecting off the surface of the valley walls and rushing water. I don’t think any setting could every compliment a live music experience as this had. More than almost an other band, I was hoping to see Mumford and Sons, and fortunately for me, they had a 1:00 set time. Before they came on however, I was surprisingly treated to Laura Marling. Incredible voice, and seriously trendy.
As good as Laura was, I came there for Mumford. I described the setting earlier, and if you are familiar with their music at all, you can imagine how perfectly it complemented the show. The band came out, dressed in 30s type clothing, equipped with acoustic guitars and a banjo. The played a set list full of uplifting, toe stomping tracks, which in many cases had tears in my eyes. I am not ashamed to admit I was tearing up for most of the set, they are just too beautiful. So need I say, Mumford and Sons was an absolutely unforgettable musical experience, and I can check off seeing one of my favorite bands live.

The rest of the day was filled with great bands and exploring new music. Local Natives and Tallest Man on Earth left me extremely satisfied. Throughout the rest of the two days I saw a memorable array of bands.
Ok Go, Broken Social Scene (delightfully surprising), Vampire Weekend (Just as good as I always imagined, and very cute in their oxford shirts), Kid Cudi, The XX, LCD Soundsystem, Massive Attack and finally the National. The National was the second band that made me endure the long winded drive to Washington. I was unsure how their live show would stand up, especially in that type of venue. They are generally very melodic and emotional. I imagined them playing in a small venue while pretentious listeners with cocktails in hand bob their heads ever so slightly. I was proved wrong. Even though Matt Berninger walked on stage in a three piece suit, he rocked harder than any other lead man I’ve witnessed. He looked so emotional up there, so affected by his music. He screamed into the microphone, lept into the crowd, and chugged from a bottle of wine with every free opportunity. He had everyone singing along and dancing to music that had no right causing that type of reaction. Once more, an incredibly memorable experience of seeing a favorite band for the first time.

After Sasquatch, I saw One Republic and also attended Sonic Boom where I watched Wintersleep, Mother Mother, Tokyo Police Club and Weezer to name a few. All those shows were well done, but definitely could not compete with those earlier in the year. The last concert I went to (and as far as I’m concerned if its the last of the year I will have no regrets) was Arcade Fire. Once more, the show was made by the charisma of all the components on stage. They danced in questionable manners and continuously explored the stage for different instruments to play. They also had myself, and the remainder of the crowd dancing and singing non stop, especially when they played songs like “Rebellion”.
My year was made by live music, and hopefully it continues into the next. I’m hoping to see some of the bands again, and possibly explore new ones. So many artists, so little time (and money). I also hope to return to Sasquatch again this summer and possibly make Coachella if it can fit in my exam schedule. Regardless, Muse, Mumford and National, I am coming for you again.

MLB Playoffs

20 Oct

Its the time of year when we are on the cusp of college basketball season, and only have the pleasure of watching football and soccer on weekend afternoons. I miss prime time sports. I miss sitting down to my dinner and watching sporting heroics with a guilty dismissal of the pile of work on my desk. Yes, there is the choice of hockey, but truthfully, I would rather watch Glee of Vampire Diaries. Fortunately for me, my itch has been scratched by a dear friend I had long forgotten, baseball. During the regular season I lose most interest in Americas favorite pastime, mostly due to the fact that 120+ games takes much of the excitement out of anticipating games. So, although I can be caught checking Bostons position in the AL East, my attention is elsewhere in the sporting world.
Now, until Saturday, I must admit that I didn’t even realize the playoffs were even happening. I believe I heard a buzz or two about them but disregarded any news because frankly, no Boston, no fun. By chance however, my teammate switched on the television to watch the Yankees/ Rangers match up. I will never turn down a chance to see the Yankees lose, especially in the postseason. The Yanks did win that night thanks to one good inning in 9, however I was struck by the forgotten excitement of playoff baseball. I found myself looking forward to the next game, and wanting to watch the other playoff series.
The last time I truly followed playoffs was when the Boston Red Sox won the world series. That was obvioulsy some time ago, and this could never match that, but my goodness the excitement is palpable. If anything comes out of this, it will at least be that I killed some more time before the Devils start playing again and that I found a fresh form of procrastination. Who knows, in the future I may even for the game more seasonally. If there is one thing I need it is another professional team to place my hopes and dreams in only to be bitterly disappointed *insert Manchester United and Duke here*.
Rangers
As for now, I am placing my pick on the Texas Rangers to win the Pennant. I like their style and their 7 run 9th innings. Plus, seeing a franchise win their first ever World Series would make it a very special final. The best part about watching playoffs of a sport you claim not to care about is that you feel no guilt about jumping on a bandwagon.