hate read cafe

"Welcome back to Hate Read Cafe, may I take your order?"

"Yes, give me a plate of something that makes me sick." 

"Are you sure? You seemed particularly unwell after you had it last time."

"Yes, please. I know I shouldn't, but I just can't help myself!"

"Okay, you got it. One shit sandwich, coming right up."

I'm the first person to agree that there are important discussions to be had about bad blogging behavior - which, in the cases that most interest me, usually boils down to bad parenting behavior.

But Jesus. Reading this crap you reach a point where it's like, Okay, this person is never going to change. In fact, she's dug in her heels and fortified herself with the validation of a bunch of idiot strangers, and now she's even worse than before.

I used to think that the more people who publicly stood up and said, Yo, pull the camera out of your kids' faces and let them live their damn lives in peace, or Get off the damn internet and devote some more time to your children; I promise you no one will be upset if you skip a few blog posts so they can have a hot meal sitting at a table, the more shame these over-the-top mommy bloggers would feel. I did my part to chime in directly or with satire, anything to add to the chorus of observers saying THIS IS NOT COOL.

But I don't know. Sometimes I think it's a big waste of time. They're not stopping. And I have to wonder, at one point am I the stupid looking one, for continuing to eat shit sandwiches?

Part of me wants to keep chipping away, talking about it, pointing it out in hopes that these women will wise up and treat their kids better from here on out. But part of me is like, Fuck it. They can deal with the fallout years down the line as these children realize what's up and want nothing to do with their selfish, narcissistic, oblivious mothers.

FYF 2014

In order for a music festival to be successful on the most basic level - much less reach the heights that will make it a truly magical experience - two fundamentals need to be solidly in place: logistics and safety. That's it. Attendees can take it from there, because it doesn't take much to satisfy several thousand primed-to-party fans.

Unfortunately, FYF Fest failed on those fronts. I don't know if the blame lies in poor planning or straight up growing pains (this was the first year it was held at LA Exposition Park), but FYF 2014 was a clusterfuck. Laughably long entrance lines, one of four stages repeatedly closed due to capacity issues (because they didn't know how many tickets they sold??), terrible flow, no communication from onsite staff about stage closures and show delays, no posting of the schedule anywhere, an app map that was incorrect and wouldn't even load anyway, and insultingly overpriced food. We saw stretchers being wheeled in, an arrest, at least one girl in a wheelchair being taken out, and if The Arena stage closures had nothing to do with trampling concerns (they kept it PITCH BLACK in there), I will eat my hat.

It was so bad that Terence and I joked that the inflatable poop emoji in the center of the park was the fest's spirit animal.

But a weekend in the sun listening to great music with your love is not an awful way to pass the time, and after we'd adjusted our expectations, we made the most of it. Unfortunately there's no point in doing festival bingo on this one - there really wasn't that much going on. But I've got some notes on the best acts we saw and a slew of pics which are not at all indistinguishable from all the other festival pics I post.

The Strokes

Well, they were everything I could have wished for, and I had some pretty damn high expectations. You know that band you were into Back In The Day that no one else was, and it was special to you largely for that reason? It was your band, and you didn't play their CDs around anyone else? Maybe they soundtracked a special or formative time in your life, when you were going through big changes or just figuring stuff out? That's what The Strokes was, for me. And until I met Terence (himself a huge fan) I'd never even dated anyone who'd been remotely into them - which was how I liked it. Finally seeing them live was pretty emotional for me, and it brought me back to a time in my life when I felt fiercely independent, confident, and sure of who I was. I kept my eyes closed for most of the show (but sang every word I knew).

Phoenix

It's funny, but I sort of shot myself in the foot with Phoenix. I've always really liked their music but didn't know the words to most songs, so in the days leading up to the festival, I decided to finally learn the lyrics to the hits. Which...are kind of weird and nonsensical, I guess? Maybe because they're French? I have no idea, but it kind of killed them a little bit for me. Dumb perhaps but there you go. They gave a great show and Terence loved them, but I kinda felt silly singing along with lyrics I just do not get. Call it the Coldplay effect.

Tycho

Love love loved. They're an instrumental band, no lyrics, just really dreamy, atmospheric background music that you can float away on. Explosions In The Sky Lite. We saw them Saturday night, laying on the vinyl sheet (best festival accessory ever), cozy and cuddly.

Todd Terje

All of the electronic acts were held in an indoor arena that had amazing potential...which wasn't maximized on. Apparently organizers didn't do their homework, or didn't anticipate that so many people would want to attend certain DJs, because twice the space had to be closed due to overcrowding. And when it was, staff didn't tell anyone what the hell was going on. So we just clustered up around the entrance and waited. And waited. And waited. Todd Terje was my most anticipated show after The Strokes and Daniel Avery, so I wouldn't budge. When he finally went on, it took a while to shake the weird vibes from earlier, but he put on a great show. His remix of Inspector Norse went on and on and was a freakin' blast.

Albert Hammond, Jr.

The guy's a badass, and the beating heart (if not the soul) of The Strokes. The end.


Presidents of the United States of America

I only caught two songs before I took off (I refused to miss a minute of Daniel Avery), but Terence said they were a hoot. I believe it; he bounced into The Arena after watching them, crazy pumped up and giddy and ready to dance.

Daniel Avery

Ugh, mixed feelings on Daniel Avery. I could have sworn someone gave him a valium before he went on; it just seemed like he was slowing all of his tracks way, way down. In fact I made Terence test the bpm so I could be sure. But nope. It was just me, or it was something about the remixes that I wasn't into. Kind of a let down, but I'm not pinning it on him. I was pretty pooped come Sunday night so maybe I just had had enough.

Aviator? I hardly know her!
Not much park to Exposition Park, but sunset did what it could to pretty things up.
Saw these flowers in front of the museum and thought, Oh cool! A tribute to Robin Williams! Derp, no. Just a background for pics.
Phoenix confetti bombed the crowd with fake money, but vouchers for next year's fest would have been better.
And there in the middle we have FYF 2014's saving grace. 
Unfazed by FYF's failings, my date remained ever cheerful. 
The Arena, AKA "Oh did you want to get in to see that DJ? LOL we're at capacity. You mad?"
I don't know why I expected an older crowd, but man was FYF young. 
Darkside's dramatic final show (they recently announced they're disbanding) in The Arena had everyone riveted. 
Albert Hammond, Jr. (who looks like neither an Albert nor a junior) sure plays a mean guitar.
Haha whoa there, crazies. Put the flash away before you hurt yourselves.
Cheek meat: cheaper than a seven dollar slice of pizza and just as cheesy.
Waiting for Caribou (which was a lil' sleepy for my taste).
Last fest of the year coming up in October, when I will be seeing my favorite of favorites again - Explosions in the Sky - and will very probably die of happiness.

lamebook part bazillion, or god, can we please outgrow this failed social experiment already?

When I see a Facebook friend list in the thousands, I see a meaningless compilation of data. I see a collector. A rabid networker. To get to that level, they have to let pretty much anyone in. Anyone they've ever met, and lots of people they never will. There's no distinction between that person's real friends and associates and a mass of random acquaintances and ghosts. They're all lumped together and the purpose and spirit of true connection get lost in a sea of bland, smiling thumb nails. And I think, No thanks. I want to be known, not collected.

Facebook is structured to digitally link members to others simply because they know someone who knows someone who knows someone. To chain members to their past. Hey, don't you know this guy? You went to junior high with him! What about her? She works with that woman you met at a party in 2009. In effect, these suggestions make pop-up ads out of human beings. Click here to buy and clutter up your life one semi-stranger a time.

What a phony, diminished simulacrum of relationships this is.

When I see someone being selective about who they befriend, I know that person puts some consideration into their online presence. About what it means to Accept Friend Request. About privacy and boundaries in an age when social media is perfectly engineered to erode them. 

I suspect they have more time for their true friends because they're not busy keeping track of what a bunch of friends-of-friends and once-mets are doing. I suspect they're not distracted from their current relationships by reminders of old ones. I suspect they're not satisfied by shallow virtual interactions, and are probably good at the more meaningful ones. And I think, I'd accept that friend request. 

So to speak. 

ghost

His ambition was the first thing she told her parents about. Then it was just a nugget of a promise, a wink at some future time when their security would depend on hers. Fledgling though it was, oh was it precious to her. It was every disappointed sigh, shoved back down their throats. It was the exemplary report card she'd never brought home. It was her ticket away, and above - far, far above.

Satisfied with the achievement of it, she promptly retired her own.

She slipped it around her neck like an amulet, a charm against her own uselessness. When she had nothing to hold onto, when anger and envy had depleted her of everything else, she clutched it tight to her chest. It thickened and gnarled into a knot that hung heavily between them. It was everything they didn't know about one another. It was everything they didn't love about one another. But they would, right? Someday? When there was more time? 

His ambition was a placeholder.

Soon it outgrew her, and she grew scared. The knot fingered into claws, scrabbling and scratching towards someplace higher than she could ever, ever reach. She chained herself to it with prayer, then blood, then fear and guilt. It dissolved everything, like acid. She looked to him for help, for reassurance that it belonged to them - but he wasn't there.

His ambition was a ghost.

colorful

Colorful weekend. We went to hear some trance on Friday night (Solarstone and Alex M.O.R.P.H., both were awesome), hung out with friends on Saturday afternoon, then rented a tandem bike and messed around in Newport Beach that night. Sunday was dinner with Kerry and Ross at our favorite Italian restaurant.

What some of that looked like:

I wore six inch platforms that I nearly chucked in the trash on the walk home. I don't really dance to trance so much as sway like an extra from Girl, Interrupted, and I wanted the height advantage to better enjoy the lights and cuddle my date. But ow.

Waves frosting the beach like a cake.

A quick sittering for the Twittering.

Oh, hai.

VSCO classic filter number seven will forever be my favorite.

No-Pro :(

Some day they'll understand the pointlessness of staring at the dude behind the decks and realize how much more fun it would be to turn around and make it a true dance party.

My co-pilot has better hair than me.

When riding a tandem, it is imperative to adopt twee, 19th century names like Annabelle and Montgomery. Also to sing Weezer while dodging dogs and small children.

The throbbing, enthralled masses as seen from above. Not our favorite club, but worth it for the music.

Newport is just too dang pretty. Sprawling shoreline and clam chowder bread bowls FTW.

Days like this you can hardly blame Icarus.

"You take your car to work, I'll take my board..."

If I were a house-elf, my name would be Knobby.

Nary a scratch, on us or her!

Sunset hit right about the time my battery dropped to 3%, but I was judicious with those percentage points!

Oh jeez if you must.

---

Hope everyone's Monday was quick and painless! :)

two bits

Optimism visited me yesterday, in a roll of quarters. I'd come up against one of those moments where life demanded an energy I couldn't remember ever having, much less summon. Instead I just sort of wilted, like a flower finally giving in to five o'clock heat. Okay, well. That's that, then. Held out as long as I could. I looked around, desperate to find something, anything that I could conquer, even if it was some small and meaningless domestic chore. Bad idea. A red hot wire of shame electrified me when I saw what a mess the apartment had become. Oh yeah, there's the energy I need. 

I hurled a round of texts at my boyfriend. They started out reasonable enough (Baby I'm feeling overwhelmed. I need more help with housework) but grew into a list of demands anyway. He received them calmly, as he does all of my pitches, no matter how I curve the ball. He is so fucking Zen. It is so fucking beautiful.

Clean bedding seemed an attainable and worthy goal, so I headed to the cabinet where we keep the quarters. Two rolls, fresh in their orange and white wrappers, sat in the tacky stained-glass, footed desert bowl I can't bring myself to ditch. Undoing them proved my undoing. My non-existent fingernails combined with the tightness with which they'd been bound at the bank or the mint or in the bowels of hell, possibly...nope, sorry, these quarters have no interest in helping you today. LOL.

That trick where you hit the roll against something to break it? I skipped that one. I opted for the other trick, the one where you take the physical object that is frustrating you and fling it away violently. Haha, what do you mean that's not a trick? Don't be ridiculous. I've been doing it for years.

The change clanged and scattered across the kitchen counter, a couple dollars' worth landing in the sink. The noise and tiny, manageable mess pleased me. That's right. I am in control here. The rest of my life might be in semi-shambles but goddamnit, I am stronger than these quarters. 

I didn't notice at first that they were brand new. I didn't notice until I was stuffing blankets into one of the temperamental, coin-operated contraptions upstairs and hoping that today I'd picked the functional one (our building's four washing machines take turns working correctly, which I think is very democratic of them). The quarters, which I'd set on top of the machine, winked at me happily. You got this, they seemed to say. Sure we're young and don't know much of the world yet, but we believe in you, Ellie! 

I may be spending too much time in my own company.

On the elevator ride back down, I ran my thumbs over the leftover quarters (the machines are also notorious change-eaters; we hope for the best but prepare for the worst) and considered how they felt different than others. Smoother on the faces, but rougher on the ridged sides. Not yet worn in, worn down, worn out. They felt like a testament to all things new and hopeful and still full of promise, and they cheered me immensely. These little bright silver symbols of capitalism and materialism and other things I'm conflicted about - I closed my fingers around them and felt at least ten percent lighter in my body, and my thoughts.

And that evening my boyfriend came home to the cleanest house he'd seen in a while. A victory in two bits is still a victory.








spark of madness

Depression is a stairwell that gets progressively steeper and darker, the lower you go. If you go down far enough, you can't even see the steps anymore. Even if you could, they each feel so terribly tall that getting back up seems impossible.

I've been on that stairwell for much of my adult life. Usually I'm at the top, and I can forget - or at least ignore - how deep it runs beneath me. Every so often I wake up closer to the middle, and it's a fight not to slip further down. On the worst days, I'm clinging for dear life to what feels like it has to be the bottom step.

But I know it's not. I know I've never really been on the bottom step, because it's the one you don't get back off of.

On Monday, lots and lots of people found themselves stuck on the bottom step. One of them was famous enough that his inability to escape made international news.

Throughout the afternoon I kept checking Twitter, reading the reactions of other comedians, of writers and actors and creatives who'd been inspired by Robin Williams. I'm just another yappy, nobody blogger loaded with feels, but I felt like I wanted to say something, too.

The only useful thing I can think to say, however, is what others have said already: If you find yourself so low that the light is gone, reach out and ask for help. Even if it feels scary or embarrassing to do so. I cringe to think of how and where I've passed some of my lowest moments, but I'm glad to be around to cringe at them.

And if you do suffer from depression, ignore anyone who tries to discount or discredit your experience of the stairwell, or make you feel less than because of it. Each step is exponentially lower than the one before it, each an individualized version of hell that only you can understand.

That's it. Nothing new or different. Just another sad person reacting to sad news.

---

We watched The Fisher King on Monday night. Neither of us had ever seen it, and it turned out to be the perfect choice. Terence loves director Terry Gilliam and I couldn't get enough of young Jeff Bridges. One part madcap, one part melancholy, two parts goofy-happy-romance. Not a bad way to say an unexpected goodbye.

new things

There's a luxe, Victorianesque house in Hollywood with a secret, speakeasy style entrance that you can only access once a lingerie clad woman sitting cross-legged on a bed has told you the house rules. After you've agreed to the rules and had a moment to soak up the decor of the tiny anteroom (which feels like Disneyland's Haunted Mansion on an absinthe hangover), your passage to a multi-level bar specializing in old-fashioned craft cocktails is revealed. No Vacancy is tucked away back behind a cluster of other less notable bars and restaurants near Hollywood and Vine, so if it weren't for Terence knowing about it, I probably never would have. We went there on Friday night, after getting curry a bit further down on Hollywood, just so I could check it out. We were still ambivalent about drinking at that point in the evening, so we literally just walked through the place and left. I still count it as a New Thing.

Saturday night and another New Thing: Ace Hotel, downtown - a newish rooftop bar we'd yet to make it to, even though it's just a few blocks from our building. (There's usually a line, and as Kerry likes to remind me, at a certain age waiting in club lines is ridiculous.) It's very scenester, smaller than I'd expected, and the music (which I think we agreed was mostly trap) was so bad I didn't even care to finish my drink. The view was great and we had fun people watching and joking about the DJ's bizarro playlist, but my main takeaway from the experience was ticking off another New Thing.

On Sunday the prospect of housework on such a sunny day depressed me too much. "I need nature," I declared, still obsessing over the greenery of the previous weekend. My obliging boyfriend drove us to Runyon Canyon so I could get a fix. I'd never been, unbelievably, even though I've missed hiking and trail running terribly since moving to California. New Thing.

Doing New Things makes me feel like I'm chipping away at the hugeness that is Los Angeles, a metropolis whose massive diversity of neighborhoods - and residents - sometimes makes me feel downright childlike. As if I can't ever know it or understand it, at least not for years and years.

There are parts of LA in which I do feel more or less at home; sections I've frequented enough to be comfortable roaming alone, giving directions around, recommending restaurants of. But then sometimes I'll find myself somewhere, surrounded by strangers who are technically my neighbors and I'll think Who are these people? I'll look at their clothing choices and the cars they drive, at what they put in their grocery carts or how they speak to one another and I'll know that their motivations and pleasures and insecurities aren't that different than my own, even if they seem that way. And it makes me feel a little bit overwhelmed and a little bit lost, like I'm a terminal outsider - but it's a heaviness that lifts slightly with each experience I share with them. Or which I could, anyway, provided our interests occasionally intersect.

I can't know anything about most of the millions of others I share Los Angeles with. But in knowing just a tiny bit more of Los Angeles itself, those strangers feel a tiny bit less strange. And that seems as good a reason as any to count and celebrate New Things.

I will not compare Runyon Canyon to Sabino Canyon. I will not compare Runyon Canyon to Sabino Canyon. I will not...

soul food

Strange to think this is the area of LA I know best. Never would have thought.

Team New Things, reporting for duty

charm

message to self -

Remember that words sometimes come more easily to you than truth does, and in writing, the shortest distance between two points isn't always the most honest one. Take a little more time, get a little closer to the truth. 

Eloquence without authenticity is just a pretty face charming you past her lack of substance.

eleven






Bury me with my guitar 
Bury me with my records 
Where I am going, I'm gonna need something to do 
Bury me with my guitar 

Bury me with my best t-shirt 
Bury me with my Chucks 
Where I am going, I'm gonna need something to wear 
Bury me with my black t-shirt 

Nothing ever changes I'll be 
Happier than hell in Hell 
Waiting for my friends and family 

Yeah all right I said it, I think 
You're a bunch of crazies, love you 
I'm taking you all down with me 

Bury me with my Blue Spirits 
Bury me in Echo Park 
Where I am going, I'm gonna need somewhere to hang 
Bury me with my Blue Spirits 

Of course I hope we live forever 
Get happy and can grow together 
Never ever have to say goodbye

But just in case I made this list and 
If you lose it I'll be pissed, but 
At least I know you'll give it your best try 

We're gonna give it our best try 
We're gonna help put everything back inside 
Where I am going, I'm gonna need somebody there 
Bury me with my mama 

Bury me next to my mama 
Bury me next to my pops... pop! 
Where I am going, I'm gonna need someone who cares 
Bury me with my guitar 

- Buried, by Family of The Year

little blue circle

I avoid Elliequent readership stats like the plague. I installed StatCounter a long time ago, but the last time I logged in was pre-Terence, when I was trying to figure out whether a guy I was seeing was reading my blog. (It was wonderfully pathetic: I'd pore over any info coming from the area of town where he worked, as if it would decrypt the mixed messages he was sending in real life. Ah yes. He visited your About page for seven seconds before clicking out through Instagram. Never mind those ignored texts, girl. Romeo here is clearly ready to take a knee. The moral of this sad little aside being that dating emotionally unavailable, uncommunicative dudes is bewildering, dignity draining, may reduce you to reverse internet stalking and JUST DON'T DO IT*.)

Blogger's interface loads a generalized view of my statistics when I open a blank post, but I try not to look at it. Dropping numbers would depress me. Rocketing numbers would alarm me. Even steadily rising numbers would make me nervous. At some point, having too many people follow my life would make me uncomfortable. The Elliequent army is small and smart and I like it that way.

All this being said, every so often curiosity does get the better of me and I peek to see how many FeedBurner subscribers I have. And while poking around last year I discovered that I can actually bring up a list of the email addresses of those who've signed up for inbox delivery, over there on the right. This flabbergasted me. It seems like such a violation of privacy. Maybe it's crazy to say that since it's my blog, but I don't think it's any of my business what you do or don't read - and that includes my blog.

But yeah, I did read the list when I stumbled across it; I couldn't help myself. Some of the addresses were familiar, a few were surprises, but most were unknown to me. Overall it was like getting passed a stack of notes saying things like You're occasionally entertaining! or I find you tolerable! or I guess if I had to choose between watching your train wreck and scouring my shower grout, I'd pick your train! But then I closed the page and tried to forget it, because I write much better with a semi-solid fourth wall.

I've wanted to post about all this, but there's a Venn diagram in my head of Whats and Whys, and I'm unsure if they should be separate topics or mashed into some meta manifesto the navel-gazingness of which might explode the blogosphere outright. Witness:



And yeah I know that's not graphically accurate but pie charts almost NEVER taste like pie, so whatever.

I don't know why it's taking me so long to get to what I want to say, but that little blue circle is where I'm headed. Simply put: despite my money-back guarantee that at some point I will annoy or disappoint you (lol as if I haven't already), I do work hard at this gig, because I believe the surest way to show my gratitude is to put out the best possible product I can.

So for one thing, I edit obsessively. The two most useful things I learned in college were how to jimmy a dorm room lock with my dad's Chevron card and that writing is revision. If you could see how many times in a row I will jump out of bed in the middle of the night, run to my computer to change something in a post, dive back under the covers, hit refresh on my phone, find another edit to make, get back up again...it's a good thing Terence could sleep through an earthquake.

I take great care with my word choices, and I really do keep in mind all the rules of powerful writing. Descriptive verbs! Active voice! Varied sentence length! I try to come up with interesting ways to approach the subjects I discuss often, and I at least aim for entertaining on those days when inspiring is out of reach. I take risks and talk openly about things I know may invite criticism. Bottom line: I love writing enough to honor it with my best efforts, and I respect my readers enough to acknowledge that they can and should ditch me if I stop doing so.

I'm not asking for a head pat or a cookie, and the cookie comment jar is closed, anyway. (No cookies means I stay hungry for your love, which arrives occasionally through email or Twitter or even, exotically, by snail. And when it does arrive, I feast like a snake who doesn't know when the next mouse will come along.) And I realize this is one of my more pointless posts. My writing should speak for itself - and I like to think it does. But it was important to me to tell you anyway. It's important to me that you feel valued. So that's what I wanted to say today: thanks for thinking enough of me to be here.

I'm thinking of you, too.

---

* I've meant to post about Baggage Reclaim for ages, and I will at some point, but I'm just dropping the link for now in case anyone reading happens to be in dire relationship straits and need a life jacket, stat. Along with helping me make other huge changes related to my self-esteem and emotional life, I credit Natalie with teaching me to bring my dating standards up, and to hold out for the something better incredible that turned out to be Terence.

quick and dirty, day two

On a scale of one to wrecked, day two left me for scrap by the side of the road. I'm a mess. I've got a strained left thigh muscle and a wonky left foot, probably from pulling some sort of Rumpelstiltskin skank-style dance move on the uneven ground. I ate very little and barely slept all weekend, so I'm nauseous and exhausted. There's an itchy insect bite on one of my palms and my jaw feels like it's been moonlighting as a wood chipper. Chaucer keeps pacing around me like one of those grim reaper cats in a nursing home so who knows. Today might be the day. If so, all I ask is that no one look at my browser history.

More thoughts on HardSummer and the inaugural round of Ellie's Festival Bingo below. But first, some people someplace, doing some stuff!


I had my doubts beforehand, but Whittier Narrows turned out to be an excellent new home for HardSummer. One of the best things about the park is how the layout and landscaping allow for lots of "dance pockets" as I like to pretend I've named them. Small clearings perfect for those more interested in having room to move than in Instagramming the DJ's nostrils.

We spent more time chilling at this fest than I have at any other. My usual MUST SEE MUST DANCE MUST GO NOWWWW impatience was gone. The sound was flawless all around the grounds, so we were able to just sit on the grass, cuddle, talk, and enjoy the music.

Clockwork whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and the crowd danced the dust up into a haze to be re-experienced later as the dreaded black "festival snot." That's right my pretties. It's not all daisy chains and sunlit tresses.

The bigger the pocket, the bigger the moves.


Behold this contraband-wielding criminal! No, not what you think. It's the capped water bottle that's verboten. Crazy, right? Hello, massive dehydration risk. But full, capped bottles make for dangerous missiles - that's the justification for selling them without the caps, anyway. And tripping on a full bottle could Jack U up. (He tipped the girl who sold him this bottle, and we assume that's why she left the cap on.)

It was a quick and dirty two-dayer close to home, but satisfying and crazy fun in its own way. In fact, a talk Terence and I had Sunday regarding differences between attendees got me thinking about some of the commonalities of my own festival experiences so far. Thus was born this unholy graphic, stamped to reflect my HardSummer 2014 results:

This was such an interesting exercise, and not just because it made me reflect on where I've been; it's also a great reminder of where I want to go. If you're a fester yourself, it's fun even to just think about what you'd put on your card. (Am happy to share the blank unstamped version with anyone who wants it.)

Notes for public consumption on this round...

Admittedly I left my comfort zone in a pretty superficial way - with my clothing choices. But those choices ended up winning me an embarrassing moment stamp, too, so I think that counts for a little more.

My random act of kindness was just a simple one that was shown to me once: seeing someone obviously overheated and possibly overstimulated, and offering them some of my water.

Dillon Francis played nearly the exact same set as the one he'd played at Ultra earlier this year. And while it's an incredible set, it's one I'd been listening to for weeks on SoundCloud. I knew almost every bit of it. So my favesie DillDill wasn't quite as much fun as he could have been. My bad, and lesson learned (no shaking the presents before Christmas morning!).

I know I learned something. I'm sure of it. I can't be in Terence's company for that long without learning a shit ton about music alone. But I can't remember anything specifically, because I have the retention of a goldfish. (What I taught is some random trivia headed for a future post.)

Surprising musical discoveries for the win! Breach rocked our wooooorld. We couldn't tear ourselves away, and while I'm too lazy to look up what headliner we skipped to stay put, we agreed it was a no regrets situation. Five stars. Much delicious. Would definitely return.

The warm twilight rain reflecting on lasers during Jack U looked like gold glitter falling from the sky. I'd never seen anything like it. So beautiful, so lush and refreshing.

 --- FYF Fest and TBD Fest are still on deck, so I've got a couple more shots at bingo this year. I for one have got my sights set on that bottom right corner square. Oh yes. I do.

spirit/hood

There is a thing in life I love so much that I am willing to abide certain Challenging Elements in order to enjoy it every so often. The thing is live electronic music, and the Challenging Elements are my age, the egos of many DJs, and the existence of butts better than my own.

I'll work backwards.

I spent yesterday in the company of lots and lots of nearly naked female butts. These butts, on average, were a good fifteen years my junior. They belonged to the thousands of women alongside whom I attended HardSummer music festival. They all seemed, to my surely unwelcome gaze, to be in top form, no matter the size or shape - if only because they were so damn young. It's hard for me to find fault with any young butt these days, now that mine is flirting with forty. Oh, youth. You are so fucking wasted on the--wait, no, never mind. I'm not actually sure you are.

I've been to enough festivals that I am relatively unfazed by the dearth of clothing on these whippersnappettes. It's probably good for me, anyway. A semi-annual, bracing ego check and a reminder that we all pass the beauty baton eventually - what matters is what remains when we do. Brains. Heart. Spirit. Humor. Grace. A personal blog littered with incriminating anecdotes.

Anyway, despite being mostly inured to the sight of twenty-something ass, I am still occasionally struck breathless by an especially exquisite specimen. It's moments like these that my fandom is truly tested. How much do I love this stuff? Enough to spend the weekend with my (also upper thirties) boyfriend, bobbing like castaways in a sea of nubile collegiate flesh?

Good news, electronic musicians! The answers are still "a lot" and "yes". You win, for now. And you win despite being some of the most douchetastic, arrogant idiots ever to take to social media. Because I believe that being a fan of any artist means fanning the art itself, not the flawed human behind it (an idea I want to explore in another post). So yeah, brag about your sports cars and complain about the lack of Skittles in your private jet; I'll still buy your albums and come to your shows.

And then there's the last of the Challenging Elements: my age. The happy fact is that I'm rarely aware of all thirty-nine of my years - or at least, rarely uncomfortable with them. And my list of age-determinate Won't Dos and Can't Wears is still triumphantly (foolishly?) short. But every year I do become a teensy bit more self-conscious in the festival scene, and a teensy bit more relieved when I catch sight of someone even older. I'll keep going, though. Because if fun has an expiration date, I'd rather dodge an entire stadium full of festival butts than read that fine print.

Even older, she wrote, and then stared at that phrase incredulously. Who am I and what have I done with myself? Did I not rock a spirit hood yesterday, just for the joy of dancing in a bear snow leopard albino raccoon an unidentified animal head? Did I not have an unbelievable time? Am I not ready to do it all over again today? Will I not be itching to do it all over again in another few months?

Yeah. I did. I am. I will.

White tiger? Fennec fox? Your guess is as good as mine.
They moved the festival from downtown LA to Whittier Narrows and WOW what an excellent change. Trees! Grass! Plus there's great flow and plenty of room to stretch out and adjust that tanga.
LOL sober people
The sun setting over the Porta Potties is always one of the most romantic moments of any festival.
Sound was fantastic on all the stages, but the nuclear blast during Axwell's set seemed a bit excessive. 
Okay well it looked cooler in my phone (and in person). Here it just looks like a sweaty gymnasium. Wev.
The best part of me insisting on taking these blurry night shots is I've forgotten who was on stage by the next day. 
LITE BRITE, LITE BRITE, TURN ON THE MAGIC OF INTENTIONALLY MISSPELLED CHILDREN'S TOYS
I asked Terence how old he thought that other festival-goers would guess we were. "They probably think we just turned thirty," he said. I have no idea how he came up with that, but anyway, Christ do I love this man for indulging my Peter Pan complex. Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning, baby.


So far the tops we've seen (day two starts in a few hours!) are Oliver, Alex Metric, and The Martinez Brothers. I found Axwell to be a bit meh (overly long buildups), the Goldroom DJ set to be lovely, and Jack U to be a weaksauce imitation of Dillon Francis. Go back to your roots, Skrilly, and leave the moombahton to Dilly.

And that will conclude the esoteric EDM snobbery portion of today's post.

Also that will conclude the post itself.