SXSW '07 RECAP FINALLY

TUESDAY

We almost didn't make our plane. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 11:25. We figured this meant we could sleep in. We woke up at 9 and lazed about, eating breakfast, making sandwiches for the plane, and, got in the car at 10. We would be cutting it a bit close, but we could still park the car in the long term lot and make our plane. Afterall, we'd checked in on line. All we had to do was check our bags, go through security and straight to the gate. “Remind me that we have to get gas on the way home on Sunday,” said Brugos.

As we were about to pull into the long term lot, Brugos felt his pockets for his wallet. Which wasn't there. No wallet, no I.D. No I.D., no getting on the plane. We had to go home. It was 10:30. Our plane left in less than an hour.

I wasn't mad. I have done stupid things many a time. I've never missed a plane, but I couldn't be mad at Brugos after all the times I've forgotten something crucial and ruined things for other people. And since those people had always been understanding, how could I not be?

So bad we drove. On the way, I called United to try and discover our options. Calling an airline has become a nearly impossible task these days. After listening to an automated message about visiting them on the web for faster service (I WOULD if I were near a COMPUTER) and a lecture about getting to the airport at least two hours ahead of time, I was placed into the interactive computer situation and asked for my flight information. I don't know how I got through to a person the first time, but he was less help than the computers. He told me that there were two other flights to Austin that day but they were booked. We could go to the airport and try standby but if we couldn't get on a plane that day, we would have to re-book for a fee through Orbitz. “Because that is where you made your reservation. You will have to pay a booking fee.” It sounded like he was MAD at me for booking through Orbitz. Didn't United still get PAID for those flights? I asked him another question. “I don't KNOW, ma'am. You booked through Orbitz so I can't help you. Would you like the NUMBER for Orbitz?” I said no thank you. And then he tried to rent me a fucking car. What do I need a CAR for? I don't have TIME to rent a car. I'm IN a car, trying to get to the damned airport. I hung up on him.

I told Brugos what happened. He was appalled but said that I should call back because we still didn't know what our options were. I never got through to a person at United again. They have an impenetrable automated system that couldn't understand a word I was saying. Several times, in exasperation, I pushed 0 to try and get to an operator. “I'm sorry, I do not understand your command” said the stupid fucking computer. You don't say. “Please state the departure city” asked the computer. “Seattle,” I said, with PERFECT pronunciation. “You said Glasgow, Scotland,” said the computer. “Is this correct?” NO. “Seattle,” I said again. “You said Shanghai, China” the computer said. I hung up and called back. This time, when the computer said “If you are on a rotary phone, please stay on the line and and we will help you”. Great, I thought. I will pretend I'm on a rotary and they will put an operator on to help my little old lady ass. The computer said “Please say your reservation number. Or if you don't have it say 'I don't know it'. I said I didn't know it. “OK” said the computer. “We'll ask you a few more questions to find your reservation another way. Please say the departure city.” OH MY GOD. I hung up again. Perhaps I am already and old lady because I'm pretty convinced that computer was fucking with me. After that, I couldn't seem to even get my call to connect. And by then we were already on our way back to the airport. It was 11:00. The only way we would make our plane was if it was delayed.

As we pulled into the expensive lot, I threw my toothpaste and sunscreen, well over 3 ounce containers, onto the seat. I would not have time to check my bag. Brugos still seemed to think that if we hauled ass, we might make it to the gate at 11:25 and could beg them to let us on. So after we drove into the top level of the lot (“Sorry. Level Full. Please continue up.”) I ran toward the terminal, and Brugos sped off to find somewhere to cram the car. Once in the terminal, I was met with our first bit of luck for the day. The plane wasn't there yet. I called Brugos to tell him the good news and then got in the security line.

After security discarded my $25 4 oz container of face wash, we RAN to the gate. We got there just as the last few people were being let on. It was incredible. My stomach began to relax. We were on our way to Austin!

On the plane, we sat next to a young guy who was also on his way to SXSW. We chatted all the way to Denver and exchanged numbers. From Denver to Austin, we played a little travel Catan. Two person Catan is brutal.

When we landed in Austin, it was storming. Lightening and thunder. But the rain stopped as the cab headed into downtown Austin. I don't know why, but I had a bad feeling as we strolled up to the desk at La Quinta. I had my reservation in hand. I told the lady my name. She said “I'm sorry, could it be under another name?” Nope. And then I showed her my print out. It said we were supposed to check in on the 10th. This was the 12th. There was a good reason for why my reservation said the 10th. When I made the reservation EIGHT MONTHS AGO, we didn't know when we were flying in. After buying our plane tickets, I called La Quinta to change our arrival date. The guy said no problem. I was an idiot and didn't have him email me a confirmation of the change. I had no proof that I had made this phone call. Now La Quinta had it down that we were a no-show reservation. The lady behind the counter didn't seem at all sympathetic. In fact, she seemed like she didn't believe me. “We DO have one room. It's a smoking room with one king bed for $170.” That's a lot of money. Our original reservation was already for a lot of money. $140 a night. But it was also for a room with 2 beds. We were boned. She knew it. Still she let us talk her down to $150. We asked her if there were any rollaways, as Justin would be joining us the next day. She said she'd look. We were tired and just wanted to know we had somewhere to sleep so we gave in and went to our room. We vowed to steal at least $10 in free continental breakfast from them every morning to make up the difference. In it was a huge bed and a small couch which would have been perfect for someone to sleep on if that person were Warwick Davis.

We freshened up a bit and headed out into the warm, misty Austin night. I had a list of karaoke venues. Since the music part of SXSW didn't start until Wednesday, we thought we sing a little ourselves and then try to see a movie. We walked into the bar that ellegedly had LIVE BAND karaoke. There were 2 people in there. They both worked there. They looked up at us expectantly, surprised to see us. “Um…is there…karaoke here tonight?” They laughed. “We haven't had karaoke for 6 months. D'oh!

We decided instead to wander up 6th street and see what was going on. There were definitely shows happening. Maybe something would strike our fancy. We didn't need to line up for the midnight movie for another two hours. Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice. I knew the Toadies had reformed for two reunion shows in Austin. The first was Monday night. The second was Tuesday.

I had tried to get tickets for the Tuesday show but they had sold out in a day. You might remember the Toadies. They had a hit in the late 90's called “Possum Kingdom” about a vampire trying to convince his human love interest to let him bite her.

Needless to say, I LOVED them. And now, it was unmistakable that we were overhearing their set. I asked Brugos if we could wander closer and leer into the venue through the fence for a while. He agreed. We passed by a forlorn looking girl holding two tickets in the air. “Are those for the Toadies?” we asked. They were. “How much?” “Whatever you're willing to give me” she responded. She looked bored and desperate. “$5 each?” Brugos low balled. She frowned. “I PAID $30 for each of them” she scowled. “How long have they been playing?” I asked. She said they'd played about 5 songs. I handed her a twenty. She frowned again and took it. Brugos thought I was being too generous but I still felt bad. I've been in her shoes, trying to get rid of tickets, knowing I was taking a loss no matter what. I would have given her $15 each if they hadn't already started their set. But none of that mattered right then. We had to find the entrance! We walked into the venue and sauntered up to the bar. I was grinning. Brugos bought us each a High Life which tasted MIGHTY good at that moment.

They sounded amazing and played a good number of songs off the two albums I have, including “Possum Kingdom”, which we were glad we hadn't missed. I didn't hear my favorite song, “Away”, but perhaps they'd played that in the beginning. Regardless, we were seeing a sold out reunion show by the Toadies on our first night in Austin for $10. We hadn't missed our plane and we had a bed to sleep in. Not much to complain about there.

After the show, we had just enough time to grab a drink and some street pizza before getting in line to see a midnight showing of Undead or Alive: A Zombedy starring Chris Kattan (yuck), Brian Posehn, Matt Bessar of the Upright Citizens Brigade doing his best Doc Cochran from Deadwood impression, and some dude from J.A.G. It was sort of funny but mostly blah. And the special effects were pretty terrible. They actually used the Final Cut Pro “fire” filter to make an “explosion”. It looked pretty shoddy. And yes, I was jealous. Their script was ho-hum and they still managed to get funding and the same caliber of actor that we'd wanted for “Plight”. Our script was funny and our special effects would have been great (thanks to the guy who did them for “Snow Day”) and our actor choices would have been way better than Chris fucking Kattan.

When the movie ended, we raced to Casino El Camino to have a quick drink with our friend Mark, who was leaving town the next day. He made it in just before last call. Luckily, Mark was still planning to go to some shows the next day before getting on his plane so we'd have a little more hang time with him.

We returned to our overpriced hotel room and went to sleep.

WEDNESDAY

We woke up too late for the hotel's continental breakfast. It was a misty day. Not quite rainy enough for an umbrella (the streets were too crowded to carry one anyway), but wet enough to soak your clothes during prolonged exposure. On our way to find breakfast, we stopped into The Mohawk to hear the end of the Hello Stranger set. I'd heard of them, but never heard them. Their groovy sound drew us into the venue.

I was so hungry, though, that I was kind of glad that they only had 3 songs left. I need breakfast and coffee ASAP. It's hard to find normal things like bakeries, coffee shops and drug stores in downtown Austin because it seems like EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS is a bar or club. It must be weird to live there. We finally found a bakery hidden at the end of 6th st and got egg and cheese biscuits and coffee. Then we headed to Emo's to look for Mark and see who was playing.

They handed us a handy little laminated flier meant to look like a pass that had the days' schedule on it. It was a really good idea. We found Mark and listened to the first band called This Is Me Smiling, who were pretty good. The next band on took forever to sound check and still sounded terrible when they finally started. Brugos and I said goodbye to Mark and headed to Red Eye Fly where I'd heard there were free drinks. Unfortunately, when we got there, we discovered that you needed to RSVP to get in. That was when I realized we should probably return to the hotel and start RSVPing to some shit.

With a little time on our hands and a need to replace the toiletries discarded by airport security, we sought out a drug store. We picked also picked up some room snacks, beer and ipod speakers and went back to the hotel to drop the stuff off and ask again about a rollaway bed. Brugos also, somehow, managed to talk them back down to only charging us $140/night. However, they informed us there were NO rollaway beds. We were out of luck. Perhaps we would get to know Justin really well this week by sharing a bed with him. He was arriving at the hotel at 8pm.

We rested for a minute, I RSVPd for some parties (perhaps too late) and then we headed back to Emo's to see The Smoking Popes.

On our way we passed a van manned by hipsters shouting “Free Ice Cream!” This took a second to register in our brains. We had already passed the van before we realised that they were giving away FREE ICE CREAM. And all we had to do was take their crappy fliers as well. Then, we were stopped again by some guys from Camel. “Do you guys smoke?” they asked. I didn't say anything, but Brugos said he did (which is true, I suppose. He DOES smoke. He just doesn't buy cigarettes.) and they offered him a little gift bag and two tickets to see the Faint on Saturday. Realising an opportunity, I spoke up and got myself some tickets. They told us the rest of the deal: go to such and such an address between 5 and 8 for free food, beer and cigarettes. OK!

We arrived at Emo's in time to catch the end of a set by a terrible band called “Catfish Haven”. Their god-awful name and talent to match spurred a conversation twixt Brugos and I about how most of the time, a band with a terrible name is also going to SOUND terrible. We then tried to think of good bands with bad names. I thought of Green Day, a band who's name I don't mind at all, but perhaps if I hated them, I would also hate their name. Can YOU, dear reader, think of any good bands with crappy names? Or vice versa?

While watching the lackluster Smoking Popes set, we chatted with a British record label owner who asked us if we knew where to buy drugs. We said we didn't. He asked us what hotel we were staying in. When we responded “La Quinta”, he asked if that was in the “Spanish District”. In a place like Texas, where everything has a Mexican name, I am not sure how one would know they were in the Spanish District.

Next, we were off to the Camel Party to score some free food on the Tobacco Industry. It was kind of a weird scene. It looked like the Camel office of Austin, but they also had some flame-decorated couches and Camel box art all over the walls. They were giving away cigarettes in addition to BBQ, potato salad and peach cobbler (the last two items being my dinner). We also got two free drink tickets each, and Brugos managed to get two more Faint tickets. So now we had 6. Enough for us, Justin and Cherry who would be joining us later, and two other people (possibly Andrew who was arriving the next day).

Full on Camel food, we went back to the hotel to wait for Justin and deliver the bad news about the bed. He didn't seem to bothered by it. We went back down to the lobby to get some extra blankets and pillows. They seemed none to thrilled to see the troublemakers in their lobby again. In fact, the guy who Brugos had talked into discounting our room, actually said “You guys, again!”. They apparently could only spare one blanket and two pillows, plus one extra towel. We brought these things back up to the room and then got ready to go out for the evening.

We decided to try another karaoke spot, but as we neared the place and heard bands, it became pretty apparent to us that AustinSings.com is grossly out of date. In fact, the venue didn't even have the same NAME anymore. We about-faced and headed to Mother Egans to see Two Cow Garage.

They weren't on until 10 so we sat down for a couple of beers and some chips. Finally, around 10:30, I heard the band start their set and we headed down toward the stage to watch. I have never seen a picture of them before so I didn't realise that

Two Cow Garage are but wee boys. They are adorable. The lead singer has a vague Marty McFlyness about him. The rest of the band are just as youthful and energetic. They give a spirited show. I liked them before, but their recordings do not do justice at all to their live performance. After the show, I sought them out to complete my record collection.

We walked back into town to find something to do for the evening. We thought perhaps we could get into Emo's for the midnight Blonde Redhead show, but the multiple lines around the block told us otherwise. I saw Eugene Mirman duck into a club with no line and mentioned this to Brugos. He decided that we should go in there. It turned out to be a Sub Pop party and whoever the bands were who were playing were boring as hell. This didn't matter much to us because we were quite hammered. Brugos saw Eugene and decided to talk to him. He told him that we came in there because we'd seen him go in. I mentioned that we'd met him last year and that he probably didn't remember us. He said that he did and then, a few awkward beats later, made his excuses and left. Yikes. Whatever charm I had last year for getting him to talk to me for two hours was definitely gone.

Justin decided to try and find a way to sneak into Emo's, as the bar we were in was adjacent to it. I was a little nervous about this notion, but, in the end, went along with it anyway. We wandered into the green room with some excuses about “looking for a place to smoke” only to learn that the venues did not, in fact, connect. I was relieved that the sneaking in business was over, and set about, instead, to play the Star Wars pinball game that was beckoning me.

We stuck around for a while for want of anything better to do and then headed back to the hotel around 2. Justin set about making his bed on the floor and removed the tiny couch cushions to make a mattress when…low and behold he discovered that underneath the couch cushion was a FUCKING HIDE-A-BED! How did the La Quinta people not know, after all of our harassing of them to get us another bed, that the room contained a PULL OUT COUCH?! Doesn't every La Quinta in the goddamn country have the same furniture?!

But no matter, we had our second bed, and we happily wandered off to dream land.

THURSDAY

We set the alarm to wake us up at 8:30, half an hour before the end of the free continetal breakfast. We sleepily threw on some clothes and headed downstairs to check out the spread. They had the usual juice, coffee, tea, yogurt, fruit, cereal and muffins, but they also had SELF-SERVICE WAFFLE MAKERS! These things are amazing. You pour in the batter, flip the maker over and then, two minutes later, you have a perfect golden waffle. This was exciting as hell. My pockets stuffed with bananas, muffins and tea, we took our waffle back up to the room and got back into bed, hoping the waffle would still be tasty a couple of hours later. It was.

Brugos and I got ready to go and left Justin in bed. It was off to the Filter Magazine party, one of the parties I actually HAD RSVPd for. They boasted free food and drinks and the party lasted three days. When we got there, they didn't even check us off a list. We just walked right in and were handed free t-shirts and hats and our drink order was taken. The food was gone, but they still had plenty of free Dewars and Miller Light. We were going to stay for one drink and then walk to Waterloo records to see the Sparklehorse in-store. Zach Galifianakis came out to warm up the crowd and then he introduced the first band. They were called Grand Ole Party, they consisted of a bass player, guitar player and a drummer/singer who was also a lady. She sat in front. They were incredible. The singer sounded like Grace Slick. The music was White-Stripesy. We loved them. We decided to blow off Sparklehorse and stay for the whole set. After the set, they gave out free CDs. We also ran into Matt from the airplane.

We stayed for another band called Great Northern, who were pretty good. Some of their songs were a little too mellow, but for the most part they were enjoyable. This was due, in no small part, to the rhythm section which consisted of a lady bass player straight out of a Robert Palmer video, and a drummer who looked like the cocaine dealer of the week on Miami Vice.

Whilst standing in the courtyard, I stupidly got a sunburn. I never remember, on my first day of sun-basking each year, that I am a lily white Irish girl who needs to wear sunblock.

We then stopped into The Flamingo Cantina to see the Pipettes. We almost didn't get in (apparently, it was wrist bands and badges only) but the guy at the door let us in anyway. Cool! It was hot as hell so we left as soon as their set was over. Brugos hated them. At that time, I found them cute.

Next it was back to Emo's to catch the band Maritime (former members of The Promise Ring). Emo's show that day was sponsored by the Onion A/V club so there was a little table full of Onion Swag. The guy gave us 4 free drink tickets. When Maritime was done, Brugos and I went to our respective bathrooms. When I came out, I couldn't find him, but I DID find Andrew who was standing out in the courtyard with Aiyana and Derek. We chatted for a bit and eventually, Brugos found us. At 5, it was time to go back in side for a comedy set. The opening comedian, who's name escapes me, was pretty lame. The next guy on was Leo Allen. I've never seen him do standup. He's usually an improv or performance guy. His stand up is decent but not awesome. I prefer the out-there stuff he does with Eric Slovin. Next was Aziz Ansari who had some new bits. They were mostly good but a few didn't quite hit. After that, we left to go back to the hotel and meet Justin.

We were all quite hungry so we decided to find a sit-down restaurant and eat. We passed a Mexican place and decided to take a chance. They told us it would be a 20 minute wait, so we got some margaritas and sat down…to watch the WORST BAND IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. The best way I can describe them is easy listening played by frat boys. Good LORD they were terrible. Every minute we watched them seemed like an hour. Finally, we couldn't take it any more and we checked on our table. They were ready for us.

It was worth it to stick around. That food was incredible. I got the mushroom enchiladas with poblano pepper cream sauce. The tortilla chips were fresh and warm and they kept them coming. The even the RICE was the best I've ever had. I delightfully packed up my leftovers and happily dropped them in the fridge hotel for later consumption.

We headed out again, this time to Peter Pan Mini Golf for a little night golfing. It was a long walk and we were already tired, so we stopped at a bar half way to rest. We finished the trek and I golfed my worst game it years. It was a bit frustrating to do so badly at something that is usually a strong point for me, but I still had fun.

After that we walked to the Alamo South Lamar in time to catch the midnight screening of Fido. Fido was a good idea (I should know!) but it was half-assedly executed and the story dragged on too long. The sets, however, were incredible. I guess Lionsgate had a little extra change to toss their way. Must be nice.

We shared a cab back downtown with some festival go-er. And then to bed.

FRIDAY

Once again, we woke up at 8:30 to stuff our pockets with breakfast and make a waffle, and then went back to bed. When we woke up a few hours later, Justin once again stayed in bed. Brugos and I headed out to the trusty Filter party, stopping first at a British record label party for which we had been given a flier the day before. It was free food and drink. When we walked in, there were no bands nor were there any setting up. In the back room there was a bar and a chef preparing fresh quesadillas. We ordered some free Dewars and the kind lady filled our glasses to the brim. The quesadillas were also delicious. We weren't sure what the record label was getting out of us being there but we weren't complaining.

Already somewhat drunk, we wandered into the Filter party and listened to a band called Ra Ra Riot as we enjoyed MORE free Dewars. Now we were definitely drunk. As we left the Filter party, we ran into Justin who was on his way to meet us. He said he was hungry so we thought perhaps we should take him back to the record label party (see, I can't even remember what it was for. Terrible marketing, guys. But great quesadillas). The chef was cleaning up but there was still plenty of free Dewars.

Brugos and I had another drink and Justin ate some coconut shrimp that was slightly too old to be any good. Then we made our way to the Muzak party. I know what you're thinking. “Muzak? As in elevator music?” Well, apparently, they are so much more than that now. Now their artists actually sing. Sure, it's god awful adult contemporary…but no matter. They had free tacos and margaritas. And I had RSVPd. So why not?

Unfortunately, a lot of people seemed to think the same way. We got in the long line for tacos and, by the time we got to the table, there were only scraps left. We were absolutely trashed by this point, and we'd yet to pay for a drink.

We left the Muzak party and wandered over to La Zona Rosa to get in line for their British music showcase. On the list was a guy called Mika, who sounds like the Scissor Sisters if they were fronted by Freddie Mercury. His album is already huge in the UK but it doesn't come out in the states till next week. This guy is going to break America though. I'm certain he's going to be massive. He's cute, spunky and his songs are catchy as hell.

As we waited in line, we chatted with an older Brit who was excited to be there and was impressed with my knowledge of British music.

Once through the door, we bee-lined for the hot dog cart that we'd been smelling whilst in line. Our taco scraps had not stayed with us. Luckily, they had a veggie option. It may have just been half a Boca burger in a bun smothered in onions and kraut, but it was delicious.

We got some more drinks and then went to find a place to sit down and eat. The first band started and they were pretty boring so we decided to stay seated and play some cards. A short while later, they turned off the lights so it became kind of difficult to see, but we were only playing Asshole, so we didn't mind too much.

The next band started and also sucked so we stayed seated. Cherry arrived and we dealt her in. We got tired of playing cards and went out for a smoke and to meet Cherry's friend, Rene.

The next band started. They were, apparently, the Special Guests. I recognized their first song. They were called Razorlight. I'd heard them on my indie radio station. They were not, by far, a big deal in the states. But apparently, they were an enormous deal in the UK. The crowd cheered loudly. Everyone moved closer to the stage. The lead singer strutted around in his scoop neck white -shirt and white jeans with confidence. Brugos and I HOPED they were a big deal because otherwise, this guy has some serious delusions. Later shed the t-shirt and continued to strut around stage whilst doing the Mick Jagger one-handed forearm clap. Rene, Cherry and Justin loved him. Brugos and I just thought he was funny. Rene, who we were discovering was kind of crazy, said she wanted to lick his chest.

Finally, at 1am, Mika came on. He was amazing. Every song he played sounded like a hit.

After the show, as we were gathering our wits to walk home, a guy came up to me and ACTUALLY said “Do you believe in love at first sight or should I go away and come back?” Luckily, he sort of flubbed the cliched line, allowing me to respond that he should go away.

We were trashed. But we couldn't go straight back to the hotel. We had to get Cherry's sleeping bag, pillows and suitcase from her car. Once there, she wanted to drive it. I told her there was no way that was going to happen. So, instead, We carried her stuff through the crowded street back to the hotel. People heckled us. We heckled back. I yelled at a guy for driving an SUV. Another guy yelled at me to shut up. Rene fell. Someone tried to snatch one of Cherry's pillows from Brugos.

It's really a wonder we got back to the hotel without being run over or beaten up.

We drunkenly staggered around the hotel for a while. I happily scarfed my Mexican leftovers. Somehow it came up that everyone should leave the room so that Brugos and I could have sex. We didn't argue. Rene said something about how having a curved penis is better and she hopes that

Brugos has a curved penis. Then Cherry, Justin and Rene grabbed a bottle of wine and left.

When they came back several hours later, we were told a disjointed story about getting told to leave by some Japanese people and Justin possibly spitting on the hotel manager's bald head. We were half asleep and just nodded.

SATURDAY

As had become the routine, we woke up just to get free breakfast and went back to sleep. Rene left. She was a lot of fun, but I was glad she took off before any of the hotel staff recognized her and kicked us out. Cherry came back to the room after moving her car. I've just realised they didn't actually end up charging us for her parking. How strange considering how infamous the inhabitants of room 447 were becoming. It was St. Paddy's Day. Brugos, Cherry and I began our day at the Filter party. Getting in was no problem, whatwith the old “I'm on the list” response. However, security was much tighter that day, and after one round of freebies, they began charging everyone who didn't have a wrist band or badge. No big deal. We'd definitely gotten our share of free Dewars courtesy of Filter Magazine. We met Andrew at the party. For lack of any better ideas, we stuck around for a while and watched the Pipettes play a set. Andrew hated them. Brugos hated them. Once they were compared to the musical “Grease”, I began to hate them. Oh well. Justin arrived and we hung out for a bit longer, but with no more free drinks and mediocre bands, our as extreme hunger compelled us to leave. Whilst searching for food, we elected to go to the least possible Irish destination: A Jewish Deli. Even there, they had $1 green beer specials. It was Bud Light and it was pretty gross. Their food was awesome (I ate a potato knish and some creamed spinach), and, for some reason, they corrected a small fry mistake by bringing us 4 large orders of fries. TOO MUCH. We were all quite stuffed after and needed to lie down, so we returned to the hotel for a nap. Andrew came with us. We dozed for an hour or so whilst watching the end of “Oceans 11″ and the beginning of “Deep Impact”, before heading out again. Andrew took his leave of us, and I gave him a ticket to The Faint show, not really expecting him to show up.

We had time to catch the Human Giant Showcase at Friends Bar before getting in line for The Faint show. The organization at this venue was pretty ridiculous though. Usually at these places, they have a badge holder line and a line for civilians. They cut off the badge holder line at a certain point to let the civies in. They weren't doing that this time. More and more badge holders kept showing up and filling the bar while the civie line didn't move. We complained to the girl at the door. She kindly, eventually, let us in by sneaking us into the badge holder line.

In the end, though, we wouldn't have missed out on much. Patton Oswalt was supposed to be there, but he'd had to cancel. The Human Giant isn't all that funny. Eugene Mirman's set was good but I've seen him many times. It was hot in there. My stomach still felt terrible from lunch. I wasn't really drinking any more so I was just getting tired. My body was revolting. We stayed for the Tim and Eric set, but we couldn't really see the stage, so we had a feeling we were missing half the act.

We walked to La Zona Rosa around 11 for the 12:30 Faint show. We expected to see a big line. As we walked up, we saw no line and heard music coming from within. Had it started early? We sauntered up to the door and showed our tickets to the lady. She didn't know what they were. She called someone else over. He didn't know what they were. “The Faint aren't here,” he said. Did they cancel? “No. They aren't here. You can go in though. It's $20.” We asked who was playing. He DIDN'T KNOW. He brought us over to the door lady and asked her who was playing. “The Polyphonic Satellites, I think” she said. Um…The girl behind us said “It's the Polyphonic Spree.” Oh. Them, I've heard of. And the other band? “The Satellite somethings…” Hmmmm. Well, what about our tickets. The lady at the door looked at them and said “Those aren't real tickets. They're promotional.” Promotional for what? She asked us where we got them. We told her from Camel. She said “Well, they aren't real. They're laminated. They don't have a bar code. Who laminates tickets? They're promotional.” What are they promoting, we asked. They have a date and a time and a location on them. They don't even SAY Camel. “I don't know, but they're promotional. Do you want to come in? It's $20.” $20 to see the Polyphonic Spree and the Satellite somethings. No thanks! As we walked off, the first lady asked to see our “Promotional” tickets again. As she examined them, another guy recognized them and finally cleared up all the confusion.

They tickets were real. The Faint WERE there. At 12:30. PM. We missed them. OK, so we're idiots who can't tell time. But what of the 3 people who WORKED for the venue who not only didn't know that the Faint had been there at noon, but what bands were on stage at that very moment. Weird.

We didn't know quite what else to do. Every bar was packed with idiots. We wouldn't be able to get into any other shows at that point. We walked past the Alamo to see if there were any interesting midnight movies. There weren't. We went into one last bar and got a round. I couldn't drink any more. My stomach was very angry with me. I just drank water and finally suggested that we get some beer and head back to the hotel. As it was, we didn't get back till 1:00. We sat in bed talking and the others chain smoked. The next thing I knew, it was 3:30 and my hurt tummy was telling me I needed to sleep. The others kindly took the party to the balcony. For some reason, however, I was unable to fall asleep until they came back at 4:30. Getting up to catch a plane was not going to be fun.

SUNDAY

When I woke up, my body kindly asked me not to eat anything fried or drink anything alcoholic for at least 48 hours. I was happy to comply. We checked out of our crappy hotel room and I was surprised to find a straightforward bill at $140/night. We had an uneventful trip to airport, thanks to Cherry, and a quick flight. At the Denver airport, Brugos and I bought veggie laden sandwiches. My stomach was very happy.

At SeaTac, we waited for Justin, who was on a different plane, and then found the car on roof of the long term lot. Much to our chagrin, it didn't start. I enlisted some passing people in a VW to jump us but, for some reason, they had no idea how to find the battery in their car. We couldn't find it either. WTF? Luckily, AAA came shortly after that and we were on our way. We grabbed a quick bite of sushi at Blue C and then Brugos and I had to race to the Sunset Bowl for our first league night. We were home by 9. Sleep came quickly.

Pictures will be uploaded early next week!

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