Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Lesson In Appreciation

Back in Indiana I have a best friend named Vikie. Vikie and I have lived parallel lives for the past 20 years. We always seem to be going through similar experiences at the same time. For example, the day before I jumped on a plane to start a new life and be self-employed in Las Vegas, I helped her paint the walls of a new salon that she would soon be opening. During my most recent visit with beloved Vikie I learned that her life was going in a completely different direction than mine for the first time ever. I took a look around me and felt like I had fallen into stagnant waters. With the way I set my life up I have already reached the "glass ceiling" and can't get any further. I'm stuck with no way to achieve my future goals without sacrifices that wouldn't be worth it. I went into panic mode--a full blown mid-life crisis. I had myself so stressed out that the veins in my neck were twitching and throbbing visibly. I've never felt this helpless and hopeless. I felt like I once again wasted more years of my life on bad decisions.

Mark and I took a trip to Hollywood a couple weeks ago. When I got to the intersection of Ventura Blvd & Coldwater Canyon, I burst into happy tears, rambling on about how much I love this place, I wish I could live here, I'm so happy to be back, etc. Wow, that came outta nowhere. The next day, I met up with Stefanie, my closest friend in L.A. She said to me, "If you want something bad enough in life, you'll do whatever it takes to get it." I am always grateful for her perspective and advise but I came away empty from that conversation. It wasn't until the next day that I suddenly got angry. And that was the answer I was looking for...

Let me just say that I wrote the fucking book on "if you want something bad enough you'll do whatever it takes." Back in Indiana, I left behind a boss that took me for granted, a family that loved me but never understood me, friends I adored but had little in common with and a 9 year relationship with a controlling, abusive guy. I moved to Las Vegas alone, knowing nobody with the goals of being self-employed, owning a home, and finally finding friends that I have things in common with who will understand and accept me. Not only have I accomplished all that but I also netted several bonuses like the privilege of working part time at the Hard Rock Hotel, the excitement of being whisked across the country to spend the Millennium celebration with Collective Soul in Chicago and the unbelievable thrill of hanging out with Robert Plant for an evening.

Although Stefanie's well-meaning advise sent my temper into motion, that's exactly what I needed to remember who I was, where I came from, and what God has allowed me to accomplish thus far. My crisis has gone away, my stress has disappeared. I just needed to stop for a minute and allow myself to be thankful for everything. So what if for the first time in 20 years my peer Vikie and I are not living parallel lives? It doesn't change our friendship! This may not be all that I want for my life right now, but at one point it was, and if I don't appreciate it and be a good steward with the things God has given me, I don't deserve to do any better.

Someday I might just end up living in Studio City, CA with a loyal, honest, artistic Christian man as my husband. But until that or whatever else God has planned for me happens, I'm going to be kicking back in my cozy condo, appreciating the people and things in my life a lot more than I have in a long time. (And after the snotty little outburst I had at my own birthday party last week, this attitude comes not a minute too soon.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Concert Review: Jet @ Hard Rock pool 4/2007

I decided that the best thing I've written so far is my review of Jet's concert at the Hard Rock pool this summer. It was originally published online at ( It was also printed in the June issue of Vegas Rocks Magazine. So I thought I would share it here as well, minus the photos. Enjoy...

On April 27th Jet took the stage again in Las Vegas, this time at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino pool. I was so thankful to be in the front row since the Hard Rock crammed so many fans into the pool area I was almost afraid to look behind me! If you really crave guitar driven rock, the live show from this 4 piece Australian band will hit the spot every time. This performance, although shorter than their usual set, was no exception.
Jet hit the stage with a squealing guitar opening with "That's All Lies" from their newest album, Shine On. If drummer Chris Cester's pounding industrial machinery beat on this song doesn't get you moving, nothing will. They continued their groovy guitar rock onslaught with "Get What You Need", "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is"--undeniably the best song on the new album, "Holiday", "Rollover DJ" and finally reaching the height of heaviness with "Take It or Leave It" *whew* before slowing down the pace with "Look What You've Done", their Beatles-esque hit ballad from the first album, Get Born.
I always get goosebumps when the crowd sings along with a great rock ballad. One slow song was enough for Jet tonight as they obviously came to rock! The second I heard bass player Mark Wilson jingling the tambourine I knew what was coming favorite Jet song "Are You Gonna Be My Girl! The fans around me were singing every word, chicks on the cabana level were all dancing. From there they went into "Last Chance" and "Rip It Up". Is there no end to the solid catchy groovy guitar hooks from guitarist Cam Muncey? Let's hope not. And of course, it wouldn't be a Jet show without vocalist/guitarist Nic Cester climbing on top of any sturdy thing that he can find. Tonight he found his way to the roof of the sound booth! I was getting exhausted just watching him running around everywhere. He has a such a confident and comfortable stage presence that really commands attention and that's a mark of a truly great frontman.
At last they finally played arguably their biggest hit so far, "Cold Hard Bitch" a song which is unmistakably recognizable from the first note. Even the sticky 90 degree Las Vegas heat wasn't stopping this crowd from going crazy! Next they played "Stand Up" from the new album, a song that's not only personally motivating and to me but I also just love that Zeppelin inspired riff! They closed the show appropriately with "Get Me Outta Here". Because of the strict rules of the Hard Rock, they could only perform one hour instead of the usual hour and a half plus and so there was unfortunately no encore.
I stuck around after the show talking with Gilby Clarke's sister Michelle just long enough to spot guitarist Cam Muncey mingling in what was left of the crowd. He's my favorite member of Jet so I couldn't pass up this opportunity. I'm such a sucker for talent and a pretty face. He was so kind and spoke with us for quite a while. Aside from mentioning how he wasn't looking forward to his ears popping all the way to Denver the next day he also said that this would probably be their last tour of the States for a while as they were ready to work on a new album. I sure hope they'll come back with more meaty riffs and big hits like the tunes on Get Born. Thanks to Jet for an incredible evening and for keeping the rock n roll torch shining bright. Shine On!