Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Went All the Way to Nashville and All I Got Was This Elephant: RSD 2013

I wondered if I was even going to write a blog post about my trip to Third Man Records in Nashville for Record Store Day. I originally decided that I was not. After all, I don’t have anything particularly exciting to report. There were no (personal) Jack White sightings, no surprise performances, no parties into the night (for me), no special unannounced releases. In fact, there was a lot of standing, a lot of waiting, and much more napping than I usually get in over a week-end. I overheard someone in line say something that made me chuckle, “I am standing in a ridiculously long line, in the cold, at the crack of dawn, to pay $30 for a record that I already own.” I could just add that I bought a plane ticket to get here so I could do it. So what is there to write about? That I am crazy?

I wrote a blog post before the trip about my apprehension about it. The initial excitement of actually going to Nashville for Record Store Day, something that I have wanted to do for years, wore off rather quickly when the reality of the situation set in. I am essentially going on a trip by myself to (hopefully) hang out with people I know only in an online world. This is not like me. I was nervous that the friendships would be awkward, that I wouldn’t make any personal connections, or that I wouldn’t have patience or tolerance for people, or they wouldn’t have it for me. I am not a really social person outside my close circles, I generally have no interest in talking to strangers. I started to dread the trip. I was excited in theory, but I couldn’t shake my social anxieties.

When I pulled into the parking lot of Third Man Records, or more accurately, the homeless mission across the street, my heart immediately started to pump. I was so excited to be here again. This place was essentially the homeland of one my biggest passions. This is where Jack lives. I was here once before, but I had the giddiness of a school girl as I parked my car.

Third Man Records in Nashville, TN

Before I could even cross the street, someone recognized me from our mutual online friendship and called out my name. Before I knew it I was standing in a small group of people, all of whom I knew from years of online communications about our mutual love of Jack. It felt easy and natural and I knew instantly that my fears were unfounded. Within minutes I felt comfortable, like I was hanging out with old friends, in fact these were old friends, people I have known in a certain capacity for years. In my anxiety I had convinced myself that these people were strangers, when in fact, we have been following each others lives online for years. It is a reality of our modern lives, I had formed real connections with people I knew online, I just hadn’t classified it that way in my mind, because it seemed strange to say that I was friends with someone I had never met in person. I proved myself wrong.

The one thing that really stood out to me that first afternoon in the parking lot in front of Third Man Records is that there was absolutely no pretension among fans. I was standing with a small group of people that included men and women, teenagers to adults (am I an adult? No not yet, I don’t think) of different races, ages, and backgrounds, all bonding on a mutual love of music and Third Man Records. Kindred spirits with likely not much in common other than our passionate love of music, and that was all we needed.

I went into the tiny crowded store and resisted the great urge to buy one of everything that was available for sale. I bought a slip mat, a magnet, and a couple of tokens to make an Airline guitar mold in the Third Man Novelty Shop.

Who wouldn't want a wax mold Airline guitar?

While I had friends who had tents set up affectionately known as “Tent City” or “Tent Yorba” in prime position to be the first people through the doors on Record Store Day, I ultimately was too unprepared for a night of sleeping on a sidewalk. While others had cold weather gear, sleeping bags, pillows, chairs, and tents, I had not much more than the lightweight sweatshirt. After considering the overnight weather forecast, I decided it was either too cold, or I was too old, for sidewalk camping. I planned to sleep in the comfort my warm hotel room and head back down at 5am to stake out a place in line.  I'd have to take my chances that I would still get a record.

In 2011 in LA I had met this awesome couple waiting in line at a Wanda Jackson show (featuring Jack White on guitar, of course) and had remained friends via Facebook these last couple years. When I announced on Facebook that I would be going to Nashville, I was excited to hear that they planned on going too. They were driving in from Kentucky, and we made plans to meet for a late dinner downtown Nashville on Friday night.

Me and my old friend. :)
We spent the evening rehashing our Jack White encounters, discussing our concert experiences, weighing the odds of laying our eyes (or ears) on Jack tomorrow. It was just like we were long-time, old friends reuniting, although we had actually only met once before on a chance encounter.

We arrived around 5:30am to claim our place in a line that was already to the end of the street, wrapped around the corner, almost to the next block, filled with mostly sleeping campers in their tents or sleeping bags.

I’ll spare you most of the details of the next eight hours, because it was a lot of standing, sitting, waiting, moving, not moving, wondering why we were not moving faster. We forged new friendships with all the people around us in line, all while listening to acoustic versions of our favorite Jack songs performed by fellow fans around us.

This is the line behind me after about six hours
Entertaining ourselves on the street
Eight hours after I first stood in that line, I turned over my credit card in exchange for a coveted copy of a limited edition colored vinyl release of the White Stripes 2003 album, Elephant. I was exhausted, but ecstatic. Mission accomplished. But was there more? I felt my trip was fully satisfied, but I couldn’t help but hope for the surprise Jack sighting or performance. Karen Elson was on stage in the infamous blue room, and I felt excited just to stand in the room where I had seen so many recorded performances (not to mention the Elephant head from Jack’s appearance on American Pickers.) Then the room starting buzzing…Brendan Benson just arrived, people reported seeing Jack’s kids get out of a SUV. Was there going to be a surprise Raconteurs appearance? Was Jack going to show his face? When asked if Jack would be taking the stage, Third Man employees responded, “I have no idea.” It really seemed like something big was going to happen…until the lights came on, and they announced that the performances were complete for the day. Thank you, come again. It felt like a letdown at the time, but honestly the buzz and the anticipation of those moments were some of the most exciting moments of the trip. It would have been nice if something would have materialized, but I wasn’t going to let it take away from the fun and success of the day.

In front of TMR
In the end, I walked away with exactly what I came for, and in the meantime, had an experience of a lifetime. I could see this becoming a yearly tradition.  

I went all the way to Nashville and all I got was this Elephant
The fruits of my labor

In closing, I will quote something one of my friends posted on Facebook after the event:

“The surprise was that after all was said and done, even though there wasn’t an “unannounced super-special record” or a Rac’s or Jack show, we still walked away fulfilled, knowing we all just had one hell of a good time, enjoying the company of our fellow music lovers…while experiencing just how bad ass TMR is, on every level…Sure, there were some employees acting coy, and occasionally giving bum information that would lead us to believe that there was something else up TMR’s sleeve, but at the end of the day, it didn’t matter. We came, we hung out, bought a bunch of kick-ass merchandise, caught some live music, and even the speculation was a blast. Best RSD @TMR ever? Hell yes…” - Ryan Muddiman

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I'm so happy that I didn't let fear keep me from this experience. Thanks to all my old and new friends who made this trip memorable, and to my husband who is so understanding and supportive of my crazy passions.


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Sunday, April 14, 2013

I am Going to Third Man Records for Record Store Day 2013

Excuse me for a moment while I blow the dust off of this blog. It has been awhile, hasn't it? It seems these days, my blogging focus has been over on my Running with Ollie Blog, and I only post here when I have something really important to share...and oh boy, do I have something to share!

I am going to Third Man Records for Record Store Day 2013!

It was a last minute, completely irrational, too expensive, not-well-thought-out decision.  I decided to go based solely on emotions and possibilities.  You know what I mean.  After all, there are absolutely no guarantees that Jack will show his face on that day, but the admittedly very slim possibility that he might was enough for me to throw caution to the wind and do something that goes against just about everything I am: Responsible, frugal, and mostly importantly to this story, introverted.

Hubby is staying home. First of all, his band, The Dangits, is playing the Dallas International Guitar Festival on April 20th. He is simply not available for a week-end excursion. And if he was, the last minute plane ticket cost was just too high for someone who really didn't want to be there. After all, hubby loves me, Jack White, not so much. (Although I think he secretly loves Jack White and only fakes his annoyance to tease me.)

Was I going to Nashville alone? Well sort of.  I mean, yes, I am going alone. After all, I don't know anyone quite as crazy into Jack White as me. Sure, I have local friends who would be down for a (better planned out) road trip or a concert, but a last minute expensive week-end trip? Not really.

But I won't be alone. It may sound slightly strange, (it sounds strange for me to say) but I have online friends that will going. People that just like me, perfectly sane full-grown-adults with real lives, families, and jobs, dropping everything to camp out in front of a record store in Nashville. Yes, you heard me right. I said, perfectly sane adults. There are people that I have been talking to online for years, bonding over our mutual Jack White and general music love. One of those online friends was the one to push me over the edge, she runs the blog and Facebook page, Dead Weather Denver. Her excitement fueled mine. If she can do it, why can't I...and the wheels started turning..

What if I just look up how much a plane ticket would cost, what harm is there in that?

$630? Woah. Expensive, but out of reach? Not necessarily. This is life. Do exciting things that make you happy. Live it. What is $630 in the grand scheme of things? I wasn't buying a plane ticket, I was buying an experience.

My emotions went for a  roller coaster ride today...

First, the excitement. Am I actually considering going to Third Man Records for Record Store Day? So exciting to have the chance to be there.

The waiting and anticipation, I had to clear it with my husband first, of course, and then my boss that it was OK I take a vacation day on Friday, before I book an expensive plane ticket.

Then, when everything was a go, there was the excitement of purchasing the ticket, I rode that high for at least a couple of hours.  

Then reality hit me. Wait. What am I doing? Who am I? Don't I know myself better than this? Am I going to have fun? I'm going to camp out overnight with virtual strangers? Meet new people? Make new friends? This isn't like me. Not at all.  I am an introvert, who socializes freely behind my blog and social media, but sometimes feels uncomfortable in social situations. I had a mini panic attack. I wished my husband was coming with me, I wished my best friend was. Can I do this alone? Why am I freaking out?

What if they don't like me? What if I don't like them? Who will I hang out with? Will I feel like I am tagging along? Will I know what to do, where to go? Will it be worth it?

I booked a hotel room although I had a very very nice offer to share with some online friends. I know myself well enough to know if things are chaotic, (and they probably will be) that I will need some alone time to decompress.

Hubby talked me down off the ledge. He reminded me that I love Third Man Records. I never have trouble connecting/socializing with people who share my passions (ever! I can talk Jack White or running to anyone.) This is an amazing once in a life time opportunity. So maybe I'd get really lucky and catch a glimpse of Jack, maybe he would even perform, maybe I'd get a second chance to shake his hand... but then again, maybe not.

I can't put my week-end hopes on Jack. It is hit or miss, for sure. I have to plan on the fact that I most likely won't see him. I will have a good time either way, hanging out in Nashville with my online friends, bonding over our mutual love, buying vinyl, and taking in the experience.

I'm excited...I think...  :)

Who is going with me? 


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Monday, December 24, 2012

A Surprise White Stripes Christmas.

I am so surprised!  Hubby has been talking to this artist named Micheal Quinn in Ireland since March, planning this gift for Christmas, a painting of my favorite band, The White Stripes. 

There is a You Tube video of it being painted.  What a shock.  Hand painted in Ireland especially for me.  The artist is really talented.  You should follow his Facebook page, MQuinnArt.

You can check out the time lapse of the artist creating this White Stripes painting on You Tube.  To me, it was extra special that I could watch the painting being created.

We decided we were not gong to exchange presents this year.  We didn't need to spend the money.  Neither of us needed anything.  We are blessed with more than we could ever need and just about everything we want.  No presents.  Except I didn't know he had been planning this gift for me since March of this year.

I had no clue at all, except in October he called me at work and asked me what was my favorite White Stripes song.
"Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground. Why?"
"Just wondering," he responded.
I was suspicious, because I knew hubby wasn't just sitting around pondering my favorite song, but I had no idea.  NO.IDEA.

Notice what song is playing in the background in the You Tube video.

After dinner on Christmas Eve, he posted the time lapse video from You Tube on my Facebook page.  He said he watched me from around the corner as I watched it on my phone.  I thought it was a really cool video.  I was amazed at the talent of the artist.

A few minutes later he came in the room carrying the canvas.  I couldn't believe it.  I literally fell on my knees in tears when I realized the painting was made just for me, that hubby spent the better part of the year working with the artist all the way in Ireland to give me this gift.

What a shock and surprise.  Thank you to my sweet husband for making another Christmas special beyond belief.  Love you boog.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

The White Stripes for Christmas 2012

Whoa, this blog has been collecting dust these past few months!  I have been focusing on my running blog lately because it is just too time consuming to keep up with two blogs.  That is not to say that I have not been excited about all the things Jack has been doing.  The Blunderbuss tour was one of the highlights of my year.  I am waiting for Jack to make a Dallas or Fort Worth stop on the tour so that I finally can have something to write about. Please, Jack? 

Christmas is not Christmas without the White Stripes, and any time I see a peppermint swirl, I see Jack and Meg.  I've quoted my husband on this many times before, but he likes to remind me that Jack White does not hold the patent on all peppermint swirls.  I can't see them without seeing the White Stripes. 

The last couple years I made White Stripes cookies.

This year, I burnt the cookies before I had the chance to decorate them.  :(  We decided to do White Stripes cupcakes instead.  I can't take any of the credit, except they were made in my kitchen.  My friend Cathy did all the work.

Last year, I made these cute Jack and Meg felt Christmas Ornaments.  I usually don't have the patience (or ability) for this type of craft project, but the pure love of the subject matter pushed me through it. You can read the blog post about how I made these cuties here.

A couple of years ago I glued a wrapping paper swirl onto the front of a Target red drum ornament.  It has been on our tree for years.

This year, in light of the cookie disaster, I felt I needed a new White Stripes craft project, so I decided on a stocking.  My crafting skills have a lot to be desired, but I love it anyway.

Some might call it obsession, I call it love.  Merry Christmas everyone! 


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Jack White |The Blunderbuss Tour | The Wiltern, Los Angeles CA | May 30 & May 31 2012

I flew to Los Angeles last week to catch Jack White in concert.  When I mentioned to people in LA that I came from Texas, their typical response was, “Just for this?”  I say, what do you mean “Just?”  That  $250 plane ticket was money well spent for an unforgettable experience.

Jack White's sold out show at the Wiltern, Los Angeles.
Allow me to bring you up to speed.   Jack White recently released his first solo album, Blunderbuss.  If you know me at all, you already know that I have been a fan since around 2003 and in my eyes Jack can pretty much do no wrong.  I even wrote a review of the new album before I heard it in it’s entirely, and it received five stars from me, of course. 

Jack is best known for his work in the White Stripes.  My obsession love for Jack might have begun with the White Stripes, but it doesn’t end there.  Not even close.  After the White Stripes, but before Blunderbuss, there were a couple of albums with the Raconteurs, then a couple with the Dead Weather.   Jack has done collaborations with everyone from Wanda Jackson, Detroit rapper Black Milk, Loretta Lynn, and then we can never forget (as much as we may wish to) Insane Clown Posse.  The list of collaborations goes on and on.

Last year when the White Stripes officially announced their break-up, the entire red and white swirl community felt their collective heart break.  It was hard to believe that Jack and Meg were now in the past, that there would never be a new album, a new tour or even a new song.  Almost a year later, the pain was eased a little bit when Jack announced the news of his first ever solo album and supporting tour.  Jack doing what I think Jack does best, performing. 

I have a yearly tradition of seeing Jack White in concert, a streak that I have upheld since 2007.  Some years it was Jack with the Raconteurs, some years it was Jack with the Dead Weather.  I even caught him (and shook his hand) in Los Angeles last year supporting Wanda Jackson playing guitar in the Third Man House Band.  Although I have been a fan of Jack since the first White Stripes album, I never have had the opportunity to see the White Stripes in concert.  And after their split, that chapter was closed for good.

When the tour for Blunderbuss was announced, my heart sank because Dallas was notably missing from the tour. What is a fan girl to do?  Buy a plane ticket, of course.  One of my oldest friends live in Los Angeles, so when I saw there were two shows at the Wiltern, I was sold. 

Through my paid membership in Jack’s fan club, The Vault, I was able to purchase pre-sale tickets for both nights at the Wiltern before they went on sale and enter a contest to be one of ten Vault members (plus guest) to win early entry to the venue.  Early Entry is a privilege to enter 15 minutes before the doors open, to either gain prime positioning at center stage or at the merch booth to be first in line for tour-only limited edition vinyl. 

The afternoon of the show, I received an email from Third Man Records, Jack’s record label, informing me that I have won the contest for early entry into the venue.  My email instructions said to line up early outside the venue and a “sharply dressed man” from Third Man would come out and collect us about 15 minutes before doors open.   I almost couldn’t believe it.  I have entered the contest for early entry for every Jack White show that I have been to since becoming a vault member a couple of years ago and I have never won, until now.

We get to the venue a couple hours before doors and begin the waiting game.   I never stood in any of the long lines wrapped around either side of the building; I just hung around the front of the venue trying to spot some other of the Vault early entry winners so that maybe we could collectively figure out what we were supposed to do.  There were people standing in line who said they had gotten there as early as 8:30am to ensure they got good positioning in the pit.

me, overly excited after I picked up my ticket from the Will Call window.

After a couple of hours of waiting, it was just a few minutes before doors open and no sharply dressed man came out to collect us.  The box office and venue security had NO IDEA about the Vault, or the early entry contest, and really didn’t seem to care.  Me and my fellow Vault winners were starting to worry if this early entry thing was going to work out after all (OK, maybe it was just me).  If we had to get to the back of the line at this stage in the game, there would be no way we would make it anywhere near the pit.

As we were waiting, someone stopped us on the street and asked a group of us who was performing at the Wiltern tonight.  When we told him Jack White, he asked us what kind of music Jack performed.  We all kind of laughed as we really weren’t able to answer that question in a couple of words.  Although I love Jack for his rock music, it is just a small piece of what he does, especially on this new Blunderbuss album.

Finally just five minutes before doors, a sharply dressed man female came out with a list of names and after checking our ID’s, let us through the doors into the merch booth area, but still outside the stage area doors before anyone else.  All of the other vault members headed to straight to the merch booth to get their hands on the limited edition vinyl.  I was the only one, in fact, that stood in front of the stage area door.  I would have LOVED some vinyl, but I really had no way to get it home and I didn’t want to carry it around all night, so I let that opportunity slip past me.

I stood, first in line, at the stage doors once again…waiting.  When they finally opened, I was the very first person through the doors and took my place in the pit, center stage, first row.  The stage was about shoulder-height, so I stood armpits deep into the stage and once again waited, as I watched the venue fill up behind us.   I spent some time looking at the empty space in front of the microphone, just out of arms reach, almost in disbelief that after some more waiting, Jack would finally fill up that space.

I generally never like any opening bands, ever.  I think it is usually the excitement and anticipation of the main act that leaves me impatient to sit through anything else.  The major exception being when Jeff The Brotherhood opened for the Kills earlier this year.  I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Pokey Lafarge, although not the type of music, at all, that I generally appreciate. I may have been looking at Pokey, just mere feet in front of me, imagining he was Jack. 

Pokey Lafarge was a fun band and the cute personalities of the talented band members showed through.  Although not my usual musical-cup-of-tea, their songs were catchy and I’m glad I they were there to entertain me and help pass the time before Jack took the stage.  I honestly enjoyed every moment.

Finally, after many waiting hours in the making, Jack and his male band, Los Buzzardos, took the stage.  I was quite happy to see the male band come out.  Jack plays with two backing bands, one all-female and one all-male, and you never know which band you will get until they take the stage.   After watching a couple of live concert performances online, I had decided that while I really liked the girl band, I preferred the male band because, in my opinion, their sound was more of a rock-music style and somehow Jack seemed looser and more relaxed with the men.

The next hour and half was the shortest in my life.  It was a whirlwind.  There he was, right there, playing this explosive set, spastically jumping all over the stage, repeatedly knocking down cymbals and guitar stands along the way.

As I stood there (I mean jumped and screamed there), I almost couldn’t believe at certain moments that I was standing in front of Jack White as he performed White Stripes songs.  After the break-up, I never thought that I would have this opportunity; the opportunity to stand less than 5 feet from Jack and sing along to some of my all-time favorite tunes.

What I am going to say next is going to be wildly unpopular within the White Stripes community.  When Jack and his band played White Stripes songs, I didn’t miss Meg.  No death threats please.  White Stripes fans are pretty serious about their love for Meg.  Don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE Meg too.  There would never have been the White Stripes at that level of popularity without her.  She is sweet and adorable and had the perfect stage presence/style for her role in the White Stripes.  But let’s be honest, Jack musically was always 99% of the White Stripes.  As far as anyone could tell, he directed her every move, every note.  I don’t intend any disrespect for Meg, and while Jack always defended her simplistic drumming style, Meg was never a great musician.  Oh My Gosh, do you hate me yet?  So when Jack played those same old songs with a full band of super talented musicians, I may have enjoyed them more than I ever had.  I’m pretty sure I am the lone-holder of this opinion.  I swear I love Meg for everything she was and contributed to the White Stripes, I just hold this new appreciation for those old songs played in a new way.   I think this is Jack respecting the past and giving the fans what they want, but still moving forward.

I promise, it is true.

At one point in the night, I got hit in the head with a drum stick that I believe the drummer threw out into the audience after it broke.  Honestly, I didn’t know what happened until it was over.  It hit me square in the noggin, knocking my sunglasses off the top of my head.  As I struggled to regain composure and get my glasses back, I witnessed the scrambling that ensued on the floor behind me.  I didn’t put it all together until a girl emerged from the chaos holding the drum stick in the air, like a prize. 

I think Jack best showcases his talent in a live venue.  I loved every song on Blunderbluss, but experiencing those same songs live gave me a new love and new level of appreciation for them. I may even have formed some new emotional attachments to these songs, the same sort of attachment that I have to his music from his other bands.  There is something that I can feel inside, in my soul.  It is hard to explain unless you experience it.  It was a whirlwind of a set.  He played songs off of Blunderbuss, many White Stripes songs, a Raconteur song, his single from the Danger Mouse produced album, Rome, and even a Dead Weather song (I may have missed Alison on that one).  It was Jack doing all the things that Jack does best, all at once, in one night, on one stage.   Then it was over, for the night.  We would be back for the next night's performance, which would undoubtedly be with the female backing band, the Peacocks.

The second night, we decided to approach things a little differently.  I did not have any special privileges regarding early entry for this performance, so if I wanted up close, I’d have to stand in line for hours on end like everybody else.  I felt like I got to experience the front row pit the first night, and I wasn’t sure I had the patience to spend hours waiting again outside the venue (I am getting old after all).  We ultimately decided to get to the venue area early, but to eat a leisurely sushi dinner and then have a couple of glasses of wine at a nearby restaurant on an outside patio instead of waiting in line again.  It would be a more relaxed night. We hung out down the street most of the evening until we knew Jack was ready to take the stage.

Me and Mikki not stressing about being in the front row.

Unlike the previous night, we effortlessly, easily and stress free walked through the doors long after most everyone else.  We took our place on the floor, not anywhere near the front row, but still half-way decent positioning in the general admission standing area.  I saw a girl who looked just like a Black Bell, and although she wasn’t (she’d be back stage if she was, right?) I still felt the need to talk to her about it.

I somehow got separated from my friend and I really have no idea how this happened, but a venue employee came up to me and said, do you want to go in the pit?  Do I?  Does Jack White sometimes resemble Edward Scissorhands? Of course!  She slapped a wristband on me and before I knew it, I was once again standing (I mean jumping, dancing) in the pit area about 5 rows of people back.

At the beginning of the show, they asked us not to take pictures.  They said Jack wanted us to be present for the show and enjoy it with our own eyes and not through a camera lens.  They promised to post pictures online that we could download for free.  The first night I saw many people in the pit taking photographs.  Clearly the others around me did not feel this same way, but I thought it would have been a little disrespectful to Jack, being so close, snapping pictures right in his face, when I knew he asked us not to.  But the second night, I could snap a few pictures from a little further back, a little less obvious.  Most of them came out blurry and dark, but here is a shot of Jack sitting at the piano from my vantage point on night #2.
Jack White with the all-female band

While I felt a little less connected the second night, it was another epic night of Jack.  It was less stressful more laid back.  I was not as up front and personal, but still very fun and amazing none-the-less.

Jack is playing Austin City Limits this October, so he will be in the Texas neighborhood. You know, because Texas is known for being quaint and small.  I am hoping that he will stop in Dallas and do a show on his way home and I will have another opportunity to see him perform live.

While I am still sad to see the end of the White Stripes, I think this new album and live concert experience sealed the deal that future the of Jack White is very bright (white)! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Races and Records and a Zoo, OH MY!

April 12 2012 Record Store Day & the Fort Worth Zoo Run:

Many of you know that I write two blogs about my equal but separate passions.  One is a running blog called Running For Dummies and the other is a music related blog called Fell in Love with a Band.  It is not often that my two passions intersect, but on April 21 2012 I got a taste of both, by accident really.  Although I always look forward to Record Store Day and this year was no different, I had a temporary memory lapse and signed up for the Fort Worth Zoo 10k run on the same day.  At first, I was a bit distraught by my (lack of) planning because I already paid to run in the race and any good Record Store Day hunter knows, you have to get in line early to get the limited edition releases or else, well you probably won't get them.  Last year I suffered a bit of heartbreak when my shot at a White Stripes colored 7" slipped through my fingers despite my early arrival at the record store to stand in line. 

The Zoo Run was scheduled to start at 7am.  I called around to the local record stores and found out that Doc's Records and Vintage in Fort Worth was opening at their regular time of 11am, so I hoped that I could run the race quickly and get home in time to stand in line at Doc's.  Last year I got up at 6am to stand in a line wrapped around the block at Good Records in Dallas and still didn't get what I wanted, so I wasn't sure my plan was going to work out at all.

Who gets up at 5:15am on a Saturday?  Only crazy people do, I swear.  Well, that is what I was thinking when the alarm went off.  After several cups of coffee and a banana I was ready to go.  I had plans to meet my running friend at the zoo, but a last minute text from her and I learned I was running this one on my own.  I was in my car and on the way to the Zoo by 5:45.

God blessed me with many redeeming qualities, but a sense of direction was not one of them.   The directions I had printed simply said to go South from the exit off the highway.  South?  I turned right.  That seemed South-ish to me.  After a  mile or so down a dark road without another car in sight, I assumed (correctly) I was going the wrong direction.  With a sold out race, I knew by now all the other thousand racers turned the OTHER south and my sole car was the only one traveling in the wrong direction away from the zoo.  Good thing I left early.

After a quick turn-around I eventually did find the Fort Worth Zoo.  I easily pulled into the main parking lot and found a easy-to-locate-later parking spot near the front.  Hassle Factor: 0.  I walked over to the start line wearing just shorts and a tank in the brisk morning taking comfort in the knowledge that as soon as I start running, I will be glad I didn't wear long sleeves or layer up. 

They had a pre-race warm up at 6:30am which was hosted by none other than my former boot camp coach Eliud from Fort Worth Boot Camp.  We did some stretching exercises and some dynamic warm-ups.  After a round of jumping jacks, high knees and butt kicks I started to worry I was wearing myself out before the race even started!  It was a little butt kick (no pun intended) before the race started, but by now I was really feeling good!

I was right up front at the start line and ready to go at 7am when the start horn sounded.  I took off at a faster than comfortable pace due to the adrenaline and had to force myself to slow down.  It just seemed like everyone was passing me at this point and my Garmin was reporting I was running at an 8 minute mile pace!  I had to remind myself that I race against myself, not anyone else.  The first part of the course was awesome, as the name suggests, through the Fort Worth Zoo! Nothing like running past an elephant's large ass to distract your brain from the running.   It quickly wound out into the streets of Fort Worth/TCU area.  It was perfect weather, apparently 40 degrees warmer than the race last year on the same day.  Oh yeah, I remember that cold morning last year, I was standing outside at Good Records waiting in line.

The best part of running a 10K, as opposed to longer distances, is that it is over before the real pain sets in! Don't get me wrong I love running half marathons, but there is usually a point in the race you think you would rather die that keep running, but it all pays off in the end.  I promise.  I couldn't believe how quickly it seemed I made it to the finish line.  It was a faster 10K for me than ever before, a new PR  at 53:32, a 8:30 average pace.  

I came in 257th place out of 1068 total people
81st out of 615 women
15th place out of 75 women age 35-39
and once again, as I like to report when the results are searchable by first name, I came in very first place out of women named Lea or Leah.  (There was only one other Leah in this race).  I may never come in top of my age group, but maybe someday I can proclaim myself the fastest Lea (or Leah) in DFW.  I digress.

This is me after the 10k

As soon as the race was over I ate a banana, downed a water and rushed back to my car.  I had some serious record buying to do!  I race home and hubby head out to hunt for our record store finds.  If you know me at all, you know the only record that I really cared out finding today was the red vinyl White Stripes Record Store Day release of  Handsprings/ Red Death at 6:14. 

I have a secret that I learned (too late) during Record Store Day 2011 that I will share with you all, but please don't tell anyone because this is my little secret and I don't want to ruin it with a lot of people showing up.  The Movie Trading Company gets the special Record Store Day releases too.  I have no idea why.  They are hardly an independent record store, which Record Store Day is supposed to promote.  They are a chain store selling new and used movies and music, with one single rack of records in their stores.  Last year I stood in line at 7am in the cold for over an hour waiting to get in Good Records with literally 100's of other people and still didn't get what I wanted.  This year will be different. I drove up to Movie Trading Company five minutes before they opened and waited for them to unlock the door.  There was only one other man waiting and he was 90 years old with a bag of used movies ready to sell or trade, I doubt he was going to fight me for my White Stripes record (but I stood ready with strong elbows, just in case).  I was feeling a little like the smartest record buyer in DFW.

When the door opened, I rushed to the counter and asked to see the 7" releases that I could spot sitting behind the counter. The girl held them up for me to see and Russ spotted my beloved White Stripes, but she doesn't hand them over.  But Wait!  She then informs us that she is not permitted to sell the Record Store Day releases until noon?

But Why, I ask?
That is the rule, she informs me.
Huh? I wonder what rule she is talking about when I know Record Stores all over the country are selling them as we speak.

I walk away disappointed but with plans to return at 12.  I was so close to getting my record, but still so far away.  We had a plan B.

Doc's Records and Vintage opens at 11.  We head that way to stand in line.  By the time we arrive at Doc's about 30 minutes before opening there were only about a dozen people in line.  Looking good for me, except I spotted one person wearing a Third Man Records Rolling Record Store shirt.  At least one of these people was a die-hard White Stripes fan and depending on the number of copies, he could stand between me and my record.  While I was standing in line my ultimate fear of not getting  my record and repeating last years disappointment was diminished when my friend Leslie tweeted that said she was able to get 2 copies of Hang Springs and she would let me have one if I wasn't able to get one of my own.  She is so nice!  I felt a sense of relief that even if Doc's and Movie Trading Company don't work out, I ultimately wouldn't be left empty handed.

The doors at Doc's opened and probably 50 of us were huddled around several boxes of the Record Store Day releases set up on two folding tables.  It was crowded to say the least.  I instantly spotted the White Stripes and scored two copies.  I had to push through the crowds to thumb through the 7" box to find the Karen Elson and was happily surprised to score the Upstairs at United, Jeff the Brotherhood LP.  Honestly, I wanted to browse more, but it was just too dang crowded.  I decided to be happy with what I had and with that, we called Record Store Day 2012 a success.

April 21st 2012 was a good day.  I walked away with a new running PR and my beloved White Striped colored vinyl.  

If you usually read my blog because you share my passion for Jack White, then I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into my running world and vice versa.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blunderbuss: A Completely Biased Pre-Review...

Blunderbuss: A Completely Biased Pre-Review of an Album I Haven't Heard in its Entirety.

Asking me to write an unbiased review of Jack White’s new album "Blunderbuss" is like asking an 8 year old to write an objective review on Disney World. There is just no way I won’t love this album. Jack could put out an album of instrumental accordion work and I would probably be first in line to buy it. This is not to say that I think Jack can do no wrong. Remember that whole ICP 7” thing? Yeah, still not loving that one.

It is just that Jack is continually evolving, as he should. He is not the kind of artist that is going to rehash his successes over and over again. This is not a White Stripes album, nor is it intended to be. If you are expecting a repeat of what you have heard in the past, you will probably be disappointed.

I can’t help but remember back to when the White Stripes "Elephant" CD came out. Remember way back then when people still listened to CD's? This is almost embarrassing to admit now, but after the very first listen back in 2003 I thought, “What the heck is this crap?” Yes, I thought that (blushing). Shortly after, I woke up and realized that "Elephant" is pretty epic, but it wasn't "White Blood Cells." At that time, I wanted another "White Blood Cells." Jack and Meg were evolving. I didn’t get it, at first. I listen to it today and try to remember what it was that I didn’t like at first and of course, I have no idea.

The first song the world heard off Jack's new album "Blunderbuss" was "Love Interruption," a sweet sounding but lyrically bitter acoustic duet with Ruby Amanfu. It gave us our first hint into the excitement that would be Jack’s first ever solo album, but Jack was quick to point out that this song was not representative of the tone of the album. Which only led to more wonder and excitement about what to expect.

Then on 03-03, a date that was fitting for Jack White, we heard a second song from his album during his performance on Saturday Night Live. “Sixteen Saltines” made me thirsty for more. This is the kind of stuff I was hoping for, Jack doing what Jack does best on guitar. In response to a comment that the album was 90% piano, Jack said in a vault chat that “There's more guitar solos by me on this record than any I’ve made since Icky Thump.” I took that comment as sort of tongue in cheek. (Jack, sarcastic? No.) After all, Jack has put out three albums since Icky Thump in 2006, but on two of those albums (the Dead Weather), he was the drummer. He wasn't doing many guitar solos at all.

"Freedom at 21" was the third song released ahead of the album. On April 1st, TMR released a limited edition Flexi Disc of this vinyl single by attaching them to helium balloons and letting them fall from the sky into lucky fans hands. While I had hoped for some strong winds to blow a balloon from Nashville to Fort Worth, it seems a bunch got tangled together and one very lucky family ended up with several copies. Of course, they ultimately landed on E-bay, and it sold for over $4000. Lucky bastards. Note to self: Work on convincing hubby to move to Nashville. Oh yeah, the song, I almost forgot. Love it. Seriously. I think my favorite of what I have heard so far. I am growing more excited.

Now it was time to just sit back and wait (not so) patiently for the April 24th release date. Then I heard over the week-end that the album leaked. I struggled with whether to download the torrent. I have already pre-ordered the vinyl (so therefore already a paying customer) and I have a strong aversion to paying for the same album twice (i.e. vinyl & iTunes), I even wrote a blog about that once. Downloading the torrent didn’t present a moral issue. It was more about waiting and letting the excitement build and hearing it as (and when) it was intended. Almost as soon as I decided that I would wait for the official release, Jack went ahead and made it available to stream on iTunes for free a week before the album officially came out. Free, Legal, Now.

So what is a girl to do? My very favorite ways to listen to a album for the first time is to put it on the record player or put on my headphones and go for a long run. Both of these methods allow me to focus on the music with no distractions.

I caved. I am listening to the album for the first time via on the iTunes stream as I type this blog. Well, I thought I caved. iTunes kept buffering every time it would start to play a song I haven't heard yet. How does iTunes know how to annoy me so effectively? I don't usually have buffering issues on my computer so I can only assume it the universe telling me to wait for the vinyl. Or as a friend posted on my blog Facebook page, when I complained about my iTunes issues, "Careful...your computer may not be able to handle such awesomeness!"

So, here it is, My pre-review of an album that I haven't actually heard in its entirety:

I love it y'all. Of course I do.

This might be the first time I ever typed the (not really a) word y'all in the 14 years that I have lived in Texas. It seems appropriate this time.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jack on SNL

Did you guys watch Jack on SNL last night? It is very rare that I stay up late enough to watch all of Saturday Night Live (wow, I sound old), but last night I made an exception because my Jack was performing two songs from his upcoming solo album. I suffered through unfunny Lindsay Lohan sketches to get to the good stuff. In all the years that I have watched SNL, I have never noticed an actor reading the teleprompter, until Lindsay last night. But this isn't about her, Its all about Jack.

The first song was the first single, Love Interuption, from his upcoming solo album performed with Ruby Amanfu and an all female backing band. I just found out the name of the that drummer. She is Autolux drummer Carla Azar. I like her, although its kind of weird seeing Jack perform with a female drummer who is not Meg. Regardless, the whole thing was just lovely.

I stayed up past my bedtime to catch the second song of the night and it was well worth it. It was the first time I heard the new song, Sixteen Saltines, this time with an all male backing band. This is the kind of stuff I was really hoping for the new album. Jack doing what Jack does best. Excuse me while I go eat 16 saltines in celebration of the new album.

I'm pretty excited about this new album, I really like what I am hearing so far. In my eyes, Jack can pretty much do no wrong. Well, except for that whole Insane Clown Posse thing. That was wrong.

I am anxiously waiting for Jack to announce more tour dates near Texas. Maybe an appearance at Southby? Or the Granada? Or House of Blues? Bring it Jack, your fans are waiting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jack's Been Busy

Oh Jack. He never slows down. I haven’t written a blog since my almost-famous peppermint swirl cookies in December and before I know it I am behind on my blog writing because Jack is so busy, I can’t keep up. We are only 11 days into January. This guy just doesn’t stop.

First of all, Jack was on ‘American Pickers’ this week. What is that you ask? I had to ask, I don’t have cable. It is a reality based TV show on the History Channel that follows a couple of guys around the country who barter, trade and “pick” hidden treasures (aka valuable junk) that they eventually hope to resell for a profit. What the heck does Jack have to do with that? Well Jack happens to be a collector of things weird and one of those things is taxidermy. These guys bought a giant elephant head for just under 10K. They heard through the Nashville scene that Jack might be interested. After all, he even has an album named Elephant. They ship this enormous elephant head to Third Man Records for Jack to have a look. When they crack open the crate, you can see it all over Jack’s face. He is in love. “That is the weirdest looking giraffe I’ve ever seen,” he jokes. But Jack is not so quick to give up his cash. Who knew Jack was such a shrewd negotiator? I mean, besides me. He offers a trade + 6k for the elephant. He trades his first ever Juke Box from his days back in Detroit and also a vintage photo booth that was used in the ‘Hang You From The Heavens' Dead Weather video. I heard from an inside source that the Elephant’s name is Topsy. OK, I read that on the Third Man Records Website. I think both sides made out with a good deal. I’d personally much rather have Jack’s very own jukebox and the Dead Weather photo booth than a big ‘ol Elephant head. But that’s just me. In case you don’t have cable like me, or happened to miss it, you can watch the full episode on the History Channel here. All this Jack reality show talk has got me thinking. I have some ideas for some reality shows that Jack can star in. How about The Real Jack, Jack Rules, Making The Jack, Jack of Love, or even Jack Shore? Come’ on Jack. Give us a peek inside your mysterious world.

Secondly, in case you didn’t know, Jack is the king of strange collaborations. You remember, Insane Clown Posse last year? Strange. It was just announced the latest in the blue series is a Jack White produced 7” vinyl featuring Tom Jones. Jones rerecorded “Jezebel,” a track from his 2002 album Mr. Jones, and a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Evil.” This will be available both as a 7" and on iTunes March 5th. Now I am not saying that a Jack White / Tom Jones collaboration is strange, maybe just a little unusual.

What's next Jack? Oh Wait, I know. An inside source told me that coming soon is Tempest Storm, the oldest burlesque dancer in the world. Well, actually I saw that when the American Pickers Cameras were inside Third Man Records.

Then, this week a new animated video was released for the song "Two Against One" from Danger Mouse & Italian film composer Daniele Luppi featuring Jack White on vocals. You can check it out here.

If that wasn't enough, I received my vault package #10 in the mail this week, the same week
they announce Vault #11.



So, I will spend the next several days listening to my new split color vinyl, watching my new DVD and wondering, but not for long, what Jack will come up with next.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Peppermint Swirl Cookies

My peppermint swirl cookies are becoming a yearly tradition. This is the second year I have made them and I can already tell I'm getting better. I just buy sugar cookie dough and red and white icing. I printed a peppermint swirl from Pinterest that I could visually follow while icing the cookies:

Source: via Lea on Pinterest

This year when I was buying the icing I didn't pay attention to the tip of the icing package and the white icing needed a tip. I tried to use the white icing with no tip and it was a diaster. Since I am no Martha Stewart and I dont have things like icing tips laying around, I just made the red part of the swirls this year and didn't fill in with the white. I ate all my mistakes with the white icing. I think they still came out pretty cool! What do you think?

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