Monday, October 29, 2012

getting to writing

It's been a while now since my Texas adventure came & went. Finally sitting down to write it all out. It was great & the post will be long since it entails 3 days of shows spent with my nation family. <A3

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Indiana pilgrimage part 2= Shannon Hoon Vigil 2012

When we got back from the show, we headed back to our room & my melon buddy was wiped out so she got ready & climbed into bed while I scoped out the scene; noticing a bunch of melons sitting outside their rooms & in the parking lot. I went to investigate and sauntered over declaring that I was looking for some good melons to spend time with.  I hugged those who I knew & introduced myself to those who I hadn't yet known.  With chairs situated outside, we hung out drinking, laughing & enjoying each others company.  There were about a half dozen or so there and a few melons asked if I had been to Shannon's yet & regretfully had said I had not. There's only so much time. A few more people pulled into hotel lot and I excitedly saw a very good melon friend and her husband arrive who I couldn't wait to meet. One of my melon friends when I said I had just gotten back from the show said I was addicted to them. And well it's basically true and something I don't regret saying.  It is because of my love for Melon that introduced to this band & started my infatuation for it. Part of it's because of the community  and the people along with the music that does it for me too, similar to Melonheads. I  had a 3 stolen for me when I told the story of what the front desk guy told me.  Fun fact question of the night - how many melons it takes to get a drunk melon back to bed? After being out into the wee hours of the morning (which we hadn't gotten back until to begin with) and heading for a short walk with another melonhead, I decided I should go to bed so that I wouldn't have complete exhaustion; I needed some shuteye so that I would be able to function half decently at the cemetery.  I said my good nights and climbed on top of my covers (partially out of inebriation and the other part out of the fact that the Knights Inn is a bit sleazy).  After a few hours of attempted sleep we started to get ready to head out. First we walked over to get breakfast while we were still in our pj's- someone asked if we were seriously going to go over there like that...and I was like at this point I really don't care what other people think & I need food & caffeine before being able to function. We came back & one melon told me he was going to steal my pajama pants because he thought they looked so comfortable. In my decision to try to be minimalistic, I packed everything into one small backpack and crammed it tightly; due to this our room got trashed quickly. After sorting & attempting to get organized, we finally got ready to begin to head out to see Shannon. There were some people hanging out and I handed those people my gifts, they got first pick. Another melon climbed in the car with us and we headed down towards 65 South to Dayton. We took a wrong turn at first but it worked out perfectly so that we could get cash and some snacks & drinks (which was good since I was a bit dehydrated from the night before). Then we turned around starting off where we had begun- take 2 from the Knights Inn.  The sun was shining brightly and there was a cool crispness to the air. We drove past the few places that were along the way before turning into the driveway to the cemetery.  I got very quiet and a calm came over me. We were greeted by a few melon friends and someone had their face covered in tin foil- reminiscent of one of Shannon's infamous interviews were he did the same (he said he was going to have a baby doll like him too but for those who didn't know it he thought they would think it was weird).  We unloaded the car and headed over to under the yellow striped tent which was set up over Shannon & Tim's graves with a bunch of people already congregated.  There was a spot right near Shannon and we were able to set up the blanket. I knelt down after that, kissed my hand & placed it on his grave & quietly said thank you. I went over to Tim's grave & also kissed my hand to put on his also. I sat on the blanket and started pulling out all my vigil gifts that got all tangled in my bag- thank goodness for the two incredible amazing melon ladies who helped me get them sorted out, I would have gone crazy without their help.  I handed them out to the melons sitting right around the blanket & left the rest of them on our blanket. I decided I was going to just carry my camera & wallet around & leave my bag on our blanket, leaving nothing of value in it except for the bag itself. There was Melon playing  & people were wandering around with guitars & one melon had a mandolin.  More & more melons started filtering in. One melon in particular gave me some flack for not being out to the cemetery until the morning since I was busy giving all my attention to AWOL. I explained that I have a lot of love for everyone and was trying to cram everything into one weekend and how that can be hard. We had a discussion about that & all of my ongoings at home. Blankets were spread about all over the place I & was going back & forth. The cool breeze & shade brought a shiver now & then so moving around was a necessity. I had many layers of clothing though so I was pretty warm for the most part. I had a lot of people who I wanted to greet & hug & smile with. So much love & harmony amongst everyone.  A celebration of happiness & togetherness of a gathering of amazing souls. I know my soul needed this. As we were sitting around, a small group of us decided to get a picture together and then we started pulling everyone around that we could and had a lot of people capture it.
 After all of us dispersed a melon got out her mifi & laptop & brought up Skype so we could share vigil with a Melonhead in Hawaii. If she couldn't be at vigil, then we would bring it to her via technology. It was incredible to have us to be able to speak with her face to face.  As we dispersed, Nel arrived with her van jam packed. She went under the tent to say hello to everyone under there. I went up to her & gave her the biggest warmest hug. 
She was busily running about & trying to find people to help with the merch she had. Eventually the line formed for us to get ready to buy shirts & goodies. As we were standing in line, Nel came along handing out gifts for everyone (guitar picks, stones with Shannon's picture that she got the idea from Pinterest, & stickers). She handed me mine & said she was so distracted in the tent that she didn't even realize it was me and she needed to give me another hug. She said she wasn't paying attention & that we would have to have a talk later on.The melon who owns one of Shannon's old Galaxies arrived with his wife.  He graciously opens up the car for people to sit in & take pictures and it's pretty rad of him to share that with us.  He even had a couple of amazing mini melonheads plank on top of the car, his suggestion. It was a very cool moment, one that we'll all remember. After I had gotten my shirts & goodies my wallet must have not been securely placed back in my pocket. Nel came up to me & told me to close my eyes & put out my hand...she placed my wallet in it & said to put it in a better spot that it was found on the ground. She said she saw my picture in it and wanted to make sure I got my hands back on it before someone else did. What a relief. I made sure to hold onto it much tighter. A few people gathered around & started singing & playing. The laptop came out again so that we could share some songs with her too. I sat & sang for a while & then went to chat with Nel for a bit. She said there was a special surprise guest coming to join us and she got giddy telling me that Chris Shinn was on his way! You could just see the joy & excitement when she said it. When Chris did arrive, a few people  flocked to his side while I just kind of stood back. Nel headed over to hug him ("rock & role history happening").  I went to say hello to him & then went over to another group of friends. I couldn't stay still or in one spot for too long. I was all over the place throughout the day. I attempted to spend time with as many people as I could which is hard with so many people but I wanted to give everyone a little piece of me. We moved everything around in the tent to be able to put tarps down under everyones blankets to try to trap in some of the  warmth.  Eventually the sun started to set & Nel made sure that the votive candles she brought were placed & lit & put around the rest of the cemetery & around the other graves near the tent so that people wouldn't trip over them. And Nel told us she wanted to try to get as many of us as possible under the tent and have us all gather around. As soon as the sun went down, it got awfully chilly.
 We filled in and made enough room so that people were still able to have their guitars out & about.  We all started singing & it just felt so comfortable.  Nel was sitting a hand full people away sort of across from me & she kept commenting on my singing & how great it is. It made me smile. We all sat around singing & going in & out of the tent. At one point a melonhead handed his guitar to Chris so he could play & sing. Such a magical amazing moment. Even with his mistakes & forgetting lyrics, it was incredible to be sitting around singing along with him & all the other people under the tent.
We sang a few more songs & then dispersed around the tent. I went back over near the blanket & Nel told me to have a seat & she wished she had brought more comfortable chairs. She was going to tell some Shannon stories. She told a few (and even included Anna &Tim) and made us all smile and laugh. We continued sitting around and one point when I stood up Nel said I looked so cute & she turned to everyone around & asked if they didn't think I was cute. For some reason,  she & a lot of other people thought I was going to be bigger than I am. I must just have a large presence because in reality, I am a petite person.  She kept asking if I was having a good time & if I would come back  again. We mingled around & eventually closed the flaps to the tent as it got colder. A handful of us sang a few more songs and then headed out back to the Knights Inn.  We got back and situated ourselves outside the rooms,  bringing the chairs out from our room to get comfortable. I thought my chair was going to be the death of me. Being drunk & having a chair with wheels can
be very dangerous.
Everything was going well and we were happily partying when all of a sudden there was a clammer and a loud sound near the fence- and all of a sudden a person appeared. We never expected a fence jumper! A few of us wondered where he came from & our attempts to ask him why he had hopped the fence came up with empty answers. One melon was advising & counselling him.  His story was intreiguing yet crazy. Supposedly he had been at a strip club & after stiffing a stripper he was running from the bouncers. I don't really know. It was all a bit too much for me and I walked over to the other side of the Knights to get away from the drama of it all and to join some of the other melons. Shinn & his girlfriend were staying at the Knights as well (he had posters & cds for all of us, which he signed, which was very sweet of him). When I went over I told them all that we were dealing with crazy. I tried to explain but it just too much to try to even explain. We were standing outside & I told Shinn about the story that the front desk guy told me about not having us steal the 3's & then I asked if he didn't mind if I took his since it was pretty much falling off already so I could give it to my melonhead roomy who was back in our room already. He obliged  & I took the 3 right off the door. I wandered back over to the other side of the hotel to check on the situation of the fence jumper & found out that a cab had been called & that he was finally gone. One melonhead said he wanted to hear a Pink Floyd song that was very appropriate- Toys in the Attic ("crraaaazzzy").  We all went back over to the other side of the hotel but as we were all being too noisy & the management complained so we went back over to our rooms where we could be as loud as we wanted to be with no issues. We went back & I decided it was perfect timing to get my pajamas on.
 It was COLD so we were in & out of the rooms and enjoying the heat. Except for in our room, the heater did not work. One of the coldest nights in Indiana in ages and we get a room with a broken unit. Shinn came over & hung out with us for a good amount of time. It was pretty cool. He is one nice, down to earth guy. It was nice having a chat with him. And hearing his stories were pretty great.
 Another late hour of the night/morning of partying and hanging out & sitting around & talking deeply even under the heavy influence. Even then heart to heart discussions can occur. A melon friend was going to sleep in their car so I offered for them to share our room as long as they didn't mind the fact that our heat didn't want to kick on. We all passed out & slept for a few hours.
When the sun was fully shining and I had gotten a little food in my system, we got dressed and headed back over to the cemetery. By the time we arrived, most of the cleaning up had already occured and there were a few people just sitting around and chatting.  The clouds in the sky were big & fluffy and there was an intense warmth. Melon music blared from a melon's car.

As we sat there, the cemetery crew was trying to get us to leave. They were done with us even though we were just enjoying the end of the weekend spent together. They  started burning brush to try to smoke us out & then started running power equiptment loudly. Nel was not happy and she went over with a bag of trash and gave them what for.  They then came over and told us we needed to be out & gone. So we got the melon who had the trailor to come so we could take the tent down and we continued to sit around & sing and we said we'd get out by then.  So we loaded up Nel's van with everything and headed out. There was a small group of us that she said could come back to her house and we did just that. It was nice having some one on one time sitting in her livingroom with her, her man friend, & Flea Market Pete (her adorable doggy who clearly missed her when we arrived). We spent about an hour or so before heading back to the Knights to get ready to head to Vigilstock.  When we got back, a huge group was leaving & heading out in a taxi but I wanted to take my time (I was in desperate need of a shower as well) & I wanted to change into the cute dress I had brought with me as well. So we took our time & then arrived to Jesters. The ride there I was not feeling good. I don't know if all the drinking or the lack of sleep was catching up with me or what it was but I was just not well when we first got there. Eventually listening to the bands soundcheck &  begin I finally got into the mood & got to a place that was much better. A few melon ladies said that I was going to be part of their spinning circle when one of the bands was playing. Our first attempt of it with our drinks in hand ended up with me being soaked in beer so we decided that when we did it the next time that there would be no drinks. Somehow I ended up being the only one who got drenched. We coordinated it well spinning & keeping our hands together throughout one of the songs. It was successful & I felt honored to be initiated into the circle. I felt very special.

 I also toasted/took a shot to a fallen member of one of the bands. Rest in peace to him.  Eventually when all the bands finished their sets it was time to head out and go back to the Knights Inn. I began with  my goodbyes. I couldn't say much to some people so I just went back to my room & started to get ready for my voyage home. I can't wait for next year already.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Indiana pilgrimage part one - Awolnation in Indy September 2012

After finally getting off the road, me and my melonhead companion arrived much later than we anticipated at the Knights Inn. Originally we were going to visit with Nel & go see Shannon but we ran out of time. As we checked in the front lobby man asked if Shannon had a song with 3's in it, we said of course and he asked if we could do a favor & ask our friends to stop stealing all the 3's off of the outside of the rooms. We laughed & I said I'm pretty sure I have one from another friend, I would never steal one. We decided before arriving that we would cab it to/from the show, since that way we could both comfortably drink & enjoy the show with no worries. When we got our stuff in the room, the cab was early & already there so we had to rush & basically just threw everything and needed to head out. We didn't have time to get ready or head out to say hi to anyone prior.  We arrived at the venue & as we pulled up to the venue, the skies opened and it began to pour.  We luckily didn't have to wait outside as everything was indoors which we were both greatful for.  We got ushered into where the line was & ran into a bunch of fellow nationers I had told I was coming. They were all already in line & in the front with a special pass that got them in early. I figured that once we got in that I would just worm our way up to the front, (which after we got in is exactly what I did for us).  I always like to see the mishmash of different people who come to Awol shows. We both got a drink & waited in line for a bit and then it started moving & I found a perfect spot near the front for us.

  Zeale opened up the show...first with his DJ on the stage. His set was full of energy & he is a great performer. He asked people in the audience for words & then he freestyle improved a whole song, it was pretty sweet. His set ended & we decided that we needed a bathroom/drink break before the next band came on. I took one of the posters off the wall before getting in the bathroom line- one girl behind me said that was pretty balsy of me to do...I was like well I need to add it to my collection of them that I have from the other shows I've been to.  Then we went over to get a drink & the lady behind us asked if we could help her bring her drinks over with her friends & we were like sure & she was like well for helping I'll buy you ladies yours. We of course obliged & got free drinks. We headed back in & the crowd was buzzing & dancing while Imagine Dragons began their set. We were trying with all our might to get back up to the front, but noone would let us get there. I chugged my drink so that I wouldn't have to bother with trying to carry it & not spill on people. It was easier to be able to have both hands free to be able to hold her hand & attempt to weed thru the crowd to get up front. After attempting to weave thru & getting dirty looks from everyone, we got stuck in the middle and there was no getting any closer. We decided to wait until they broke down their set & when Awol was getting theirs set up. As soon as that happened we spotted the front row & the Milkman suited couple who led us back to where we had once stood we started heading back to the front. The people around us were not amused as another nationer grabbed my hand and pulled me even closer to the front. They stage guys came out & started tuning everything and eventually the lights changed & Megalithic Symphony started & Aaron came out on stage & all of us went wild!! I didn't get a chance to see the set list as we were too far away but they played most of all of M.S.  including Wake Up (which had a sweet percussion thing with Aaron & Drew leading into it &I hadn't seen them do live in almost a year & a half), MF, and the 3 new songs that are in their repetoire- "Cannibals," "Kid," & "Joke." During the middle of MF Aaron seemed to pause as we found out when the song came to an end that some people had broken out into a fight in the middle of the crowd "You should kiss and make up, especially if you're both guys" is what Aaron yelled out into the audience. The usual amazing energy & enthusiasm from Aaron & all the other guys filled the air & everyone fed off the energy. Aaron pointed at me at one point & Dave noticed me as well.  During "All I Need" I had a bit of  an emotional breakdown & was greatful to have my melonnation friends to hold me while I hysterically cried. When the show ended, the lights went up & I attempted to grab a set list- the security guys were rude saying that we'd have to get either one of the guys or a roadie to give it to us & we shouldn't even bother. As I was trying to reach my way past the barricade, all of a sudden I felt a tug on my shirt & turned to see my tall melon bestie & we hugged tightly.
 Security was telling us to get out immediately so we filed into the lobby where we hugged more!! Then I spotted Patti & went over to him. I wapped him with my poster he was like hey and he realized it was me & we both said hey. He gave me a huge hug. I introduced him to my bmbfl, she started to tell him how we knew each other but we could both tell he was distracted & all over the place. I said to her the last time I saw him we were both very wasted on his birthday- he said that he was not but that I definately was. I said no, I was not. He gave me THAT look and then mentioned that I was indeed very drunk- "you were on the sidewalk on my feet, that's not wasted??" I had to agree with him, we were all giggling. He headed off with some people & we then all headed outside to wait for the guys. The security was complaining about every place that anyone was standing, especially under the marquee and they didn't look too pleased as we were standing across from it as well. A bunch of people noticed Kenny step out from the venue and they crowded around him. I noticed one of the roadie guys behind him & asked if he knew where Dave was & if he was coming out. Not that I didn't want to see Kenny, it's just that I wanted to see Dave since we missed hanging with him in Boston & I wanted to show him my book. Eventually the crowd dispersed & Dave came out with all his stuff in his hands, completely full, with his girlfriend in tow, walking towards the bus, so I stepped up in between them. I asked if he had a minute or if he'd stop to just to take my book on the bus with him. He said he'd be right back out he just needed to "get rid of his dirties" & he'd definately come visit. His girlfriend didn't look too pleased with me, but I dismissed it. 
He went in & it began to rain. It had been drizzling slightly as we came out but it seemed to pick up. Hayden appeared briefly, stopping to say hi as he headed over to the bus. Dave then came back out. We were standing off over to the side, kind of away from the rest of the crowd. We let him take his time with the rest of the people when he finally sauntered over towards us- he pointed at me & all of us "hey I know you."  I let him say hello & sign stuff with the other group of us when I then handed him the book I made."You ditched us in Boston so I hope you have time to spare," I said jokingly to him. He explained about his girlfriend, I was like I know. He said he'd look at my book twice to make up for it.  He saw the picture on the cover & commented about it being one of his favorite pictures. And then just like the other guys, he flipped slowly thru each page & looked intently at each picture,  it made me smile.
While he was taking another look thru, I noticed Kenny come back out again across from us & I told him I'd be right back. I ran over & was like "wait I made you something, don't disappear you sneaky ninja" we both cracked up. I made bracelets for all the guys since I was making gifts for my melonhead friends it seemed appropriate to make some for them too. I got my little bag of bracelets out and said I wasn't sure if my gift would fit him & for him to put his wrist out. He said it'd probably fit since he's Asian and he's just small- it was a close tight squeeze but it wasn't just right so I told him I would make him another & give it to him the next time I saw him at the next show.
 He said that might be a while and I smirked & told him it'd be sooner than he thought.  He asked me if it'd be my actual self or just my flat 2-D counterpart. Laughing all the while, I said that I'd actually be at 3 in a row. His sneaky ninja self got out of me that I'd be seeing them in Texas, I was trying to keep it a surprise but it was exciting getting to tell him that I'd be there.  He needed to go over to the bus to get a shirt so I went back over to Dave where he had finished with my book. He said he couldn't help but sign & look at my book twice. He started to walk away & I was like wait I have something for you that I need to see if it fits. Also I told him we needed to get a picture since all the times before hanging out somehow we had never done so. So we took a picture & he asked about my gift for him, I put it on & it fit well. 
 He started to head back into the club & I asked if he could make sure the other guys came out and to let them know I had gifts- "Oh we like presents, I'm sure that will get them out here."  The rain started coming down harder when Hayden came out and said to all of us lets go under the overhang to keep dry. The security was not nice to any of us, even him, that we shouldn't be under there.  They  said we should hurry up, Hayden suggested we take our time.  Our little group were mingling & some people showed him their tattoos & I said how all I had was my little one that was small but big with meaning. "How does A less than 3 have to do with Awol?" I then explained it & was showing how if you put the < & the 3 together it'd make a heart & awol was the A blah blah blah. He said that makes more sense. Then I said I had a present & put his bracelet on & he mentioned that it was sweet of me.  I said it was nothing, since they gave me so much. 
 I noticed Drew step out & he turned to me & said that he heard someone had something for him. I was like oh that'd be me, give my your wrist and I put on his bracelet. 
 I was like I have a random question, how in the world did you get that nickname? He proceeded to tell me how when we were growing up there was a Garbage Pail Kid card that was called Drew Blood that was in a wrestling ring & all mangled & bloody & everyone growing up called him that so it stuck & is a pretty great stage name. I said we should get our picture taken & said of course. I  mentioned how I always feel so short when standing next  to  them & only time I didn't feel that way was standing next to CT. The security guards started being jerks to all of us again as we were all still under the overhang.  He said he was going to go in & get Aaron & asked if we could stay there while he went to get him. The guard said he would & then he came out with Aaron.  They both sauntered out together. I smiled & Aaron waved at me "You are far from home. What brings you HERE?" I pointed to my Hoon shirt & said I was out for his vigil. He nodded. I was wearing my special shirt that Nel had picked out for me. It was windy & raw from the rain so I had a sweater on covering the back.  He was standing a little on the outskirts of the group of us gathered around him so I turned to give him my bracelet for him. I said I needed a wrist to put on his present and he gave me his right one.  He told me to be careful that he had a cut there but I trust you so go ahead. I asked if he wanted me to put it on the other arm & he said no to go ahead so I made sure to be gentle & then he hugged me. 
I asked if we could get our picture taken as we often had so he started to stand next to me but then I was like wait, I need to show you something else & held out my wrists of ink. I wondered if he remembered "of course, I pay attention." So I went to go next to him & said oh we need to switch sides & pointed at my ink & he just nodded & smirked. He is a good communicator without words.
The person who took it cut the top of his head off & we attempted another one but it lost the spontinaity and ease of the first one.  Another nationer & I suggested that we get a group picture with Aaron "since we're all from all over the nation."
We hung out for a little while and then the rain was getting harder and we decided it was time to head back to the Knights Inn and we called our cab & headed out.