Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bossy and Her Posse

Rockapella in Napa Day 1
Napa Valley Opera House -- Napa, CA
Saturday, January 28, 2012

Glenn and Cindy picked me up in the morning, and Glenn dropped off the 2 of us gals at the airport.  This was a much more relaxed feeling than the trip to NJ, mainly because I was on time, and my traveling companions didn't have to freak out about boarding the plane without me.  Cindy and I had an empty seat between us, so we amused ourselves by taking pictures of Bananaman and Monkey.  Yes, Bananaman came along, because it was still January!  Aren't they the cutest?  Especially with Monkey eating other snacks in order to keep him from munching on the B-Man.

When we arrived in Sacramento, I was all confused.  Normally, I know exactly what to do at SMF, because I fly there so frequently, both for business and pleasure.  But Southwest flights are now at the pretty new terminal, and I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn't even know how to meet up with Jenn.  It was weird.  Jenn arrived not long after we did (she flew from BUR, and we came from ONT), so we waited for her at the pink art thing.  

Waiting for Jenn
We took the train to the main part of the terminal, then took the shuttle to the rental cars, which were still in the location as before.  The Hertz guy, whom was very nice, but I can't recall his name and it is not on my rental paperwork, told us how to complete the form regarding any damages to the car prior to leaving the lot.  I marked down a ding or two, and Cindy, Jenn and I got into the car. (KP, Wendy and Jeff were in a different car).  As I backed out of the space, I didn't see where I should put the paper regarding the car damage.  Jenn volunteered to ask the guy at the guard shack about it, and on her way back, she got hit on the head by the security arm thing.  Once we figured out that she was OK and not seeing stars, we all laughed as she pointed out that I was supposed to use the box on the pole where the car had been parked.  All of Jenn's more-than-usual wackiness for the rest of the weekend was blamed on that security arm.  

I had forgotten my sunglasses, so we stopped at a Wal-Mart while waiting for the other car to catch up to us (they had gone a different way and turned around).  While we were in the store, we decided to get a connector so that we could all listen to my iPod in the car.  The lady tried to get us to buy this whole expensive kit thing, but what we actually needed was only $4, so that was awesome.  I also got some $10 sunglasses, which is about what I normally spend anyway. We also got our water for the trip.  The only thing we didn't find was Cindy's portable flat shoes.

We arrived in Napa and went to the Visitor's Center that my co-worker had told me about.  APPARENTLY, the others had gone to the other Visitor's Center over by Kohl's, but this one was the better one, so we waited for them.  We got some discounts to a couple of wineries, as well as some brochures and such for future trips.  The others finally caught up to us, then we all went to Gott's Roadside for some yumminess.  I had a tuna melt, which was one of the specials of the day (it wasn't the same as the one on the regular menu).  I also had a vanilla bean shake, which was more yummy goodness.  We were all quite happy with the food we ordered.  We then went to Sift to obtain even more calories, and saw that there was a long line outside our cupcake store.  Turns out that it was just a bunch of people blocking the entrance.  They didn't have the cupcake that I wanted (the Battle Royale, which won Cupcake Wars), so I ordered a Stud Muffin.  Yeah, that was weird: "I'd like a Stud Muffin and a Peanut Butter Ripple."  I mean, yeah, I also want the real kind of Stud Muffin, but I'd be seeing my favorite ones that night!  

We then went to the hotel for check-in and unpacked our bags.  I love our little place.  Even the doorknobs on the closet are cute!  Jenn, Cindy and I wanted to get to a winery before they all closed, so we went to a nearby one called  Trefethen Family Vineyards.  Jenn and I decided to do the Estate Tasting.  My favorite out of the 4 we tasted was the 2010 Dry Reisling.  I didn't buy any wine, but Jenn did buy a split of one of them.  Cindy, meanwhile, shopped around.  We noticed that there were little hooks on the side of the bar, for purses to hang.  However, the lady beside us was getting tipsy, and left her purse hanging near us.  People are so trusting in Napa.  We then checked out the little courtyard outside, where they had a table made out of one of the barrels.  I thought that was clever.  They also had a Cork Oak tree, out of which wine corks are made, and they even demonstrated by showing a carving of corks in the tree itself.
Jenn and Cindy at Trefethen

Barrel Table

Cork Oak

The other wineries had closed by the time we left, so we drove back to the hotel to rest and have tea and cookies before getting dressed for the show.  I was wearing toeless boots, and KP was highly amused by my trying to dry my toes by blowing on them while still sitting upright.  Yeah, I was still a little bit tipsy, because we hadn't eaten any dinner.  It wore off before the show, though.  It was cold outside, but you know me, that won't stop me from wearing my cute shoes.

We drove to the Napa Valley Opera House.  I followed Jeff, whom proceeded to drive to the top of the structure.  Then he realized that the elevator was broken.  Thanks, Jeff, from all of us wearing heels.  We do so enjoy risking breaking our necks down a dark stairway. ;)  We stood around for a bit in the lobby before going into the theatre, but didn't see our friends.  It turns out that Nick and Mikayla were already inside, so we exchanged greetings and sat down.  KP, Jenn and I were in the front row with Bananaman, and Cindy was behind us.  Wendy and Jeff were in the house left section, in the second row on the aisle.  The infamous "SONOFABITCH!" seat.  Well, let's see how that goes tonight.  KP spied Fred, and we were ready to roll.  

But Rockapella was not.  About 5 minutes after 8, announcer Peter Williams, the director of the Opera House, introduced himself and vamped for awhile.  I just figured that they were looking for the other 4 waters, because there was only one bottle on the stage.  They were finally ready, and we screamed and noted that they were opening with a new song.

Dragging the Line
Yay!  A new song!  I hadn't even heard from previous concert goers that this would happen, so it was quite a nice surprise.  I got smiles from Steve and Geo.  Steve was on lead, then George took over.  Got a nice smile from Scott, too.  :)

Scott then introduced the band and called himself "The Most Happy Fella".

Scott sang the line "Why you here?" to Wendy.  He later exaggerated his head bob, and appeared to hurt his neck.  

Scott said "we were in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last night and our voices are frozen.  One of our guys forgot his the hotel, not in the car.  We just drive around in a van.  I don't remember anything about dark socks, though.  Jeff went all the way back to the hotel and forgot his socks."  Aha, so that's why they were late!  Although, I'm sure that my Posse and I would not have minded if JT had just left his shirt at the hotel. :)

Nuthin But
Geo did his "Bangkok Heat" gesture right to me. :)  John's second "paradise", where his adlibbed notes go up the scale: NICE.  

Steve said, "we like coming back to see you again", and he was looking at me.  Yes, yes he was.  :)  

Got To Get You Into My Life
Steve looked at Jenn when he sang, "I want to hold your hand", and she whispered to me, "Did I just get love?"  Yes, honey, you did.  Now move aside.  

Just My Imagination/Imagine
Cindy hadn't seen them perform this one before.  I smiled at her afterward, as she nodded her approval.  I love that piece.

Hard Time
I enjoyed that low note of Geo's. 

Scott said that this is one of the few places where Steve was making his second performance.  

There are to many people here that like to sing along.  I did not come here to listen to you folks!

Scott said, "We'll share both of these with you tonight, with a lot of filler in between."  I think that he was talking about songs.  I don't remember, because I've taken too much time to write this, as usual.

California Sad-Eyed Girl
Steve messed up the words a little bit.  I was mostly worried that Cindy would be inconsolable because it wasn't Kevin singing the song, but she was OK.

Scott talked about Geo rising above the whole "dip dip boom" bass line thing, and someone in the audience yelled out, "SEXY!"  This prompted JT to respond with, "Oh, California", like we were all just nuts.  JKB likes to call Scott "Jingle Legs Jones". 

Paper Doll
Geo and JT were clearly having fun with that song, even more than usual, and JT smiled at KP.

Rock The Boat
Geo had us do an extra "Do The Hustle", I think.  Steve sang to me.  Scott called his dance "The Napa".  Geo looked at me as he said, "I like hot butter on my breakfast toast."  I melted just like that dang butter.  I realized that it was the first time I'd heard that song since the Rockapella Cruise, which was almost a year ago to the day.  (We were on the boat a year ago today, but the last I heard this song was on January 25, 2011).

I like hearing people rave about Rockapella while I'm in the bathroom during intermission.  Saw Robin and said hi.  KP thinks that Scott looks like the Tin Man in his silver suit.

Malibu Grand Prix
Ooh!  They have choreography now!  And it's quite active!  And they have a checkered flag on the video!  Scott did a little curtsy during "She's the queen".  He is such a goofball!


Scott messed up the verse, APPARENTLY.  I didn't notice, but KP did.  I think I didn't notice because of this note that I wrote down: "And now I can't stop looking at his pants."  Typical.

While Scott was talking between their different commercial jingles, someone yelled out, "COFFEEEE!"  Scott responded with, "As hard as this for all of us, this is not the interactive part of the show.  So, if you have something to say, just text us.  No?  SECURITY!"  I love him.  During the first Almond Joy jingle, JT shook his hips and showed his socks.  Geo directed his "Yummy milk chocolate" to me.  Steve rubbed his butt during the Preparation H commercial, and my reaction was, "OH. MY. GOD."  I'm pretty sure I sighed, too.  After the Dr. Pepper jingle, Scott informed us that "that was our favorite song!"

JKB informed us that he worked at WDW for 8 years, and part of that was at the American Idol Experience attraction.  One of the people that sang was Scotty McCreery, whom actually won the 10th season of the real American Idol. I don't know how this led to John telling us that his own favorite style of music is Motown.  He then tried to get us to echo his singing, and when he did a particularly intricate run and got a good response, he said, "You did not just do that!"

My Girl
Instead of going to the seats in front, JKB went to the back of the house.  Wendy and I exchanged irritated but laughable looks, mouthing "SONOFABITCH!".  John gave a shout out to the guys on stage, saying that they looked great.  Steve responded by showing his backside.  John chose Chelsea to join them on stage.  He told her to breathe, but she didn't.  She is from Vegas, and was in Napa for her anniversary, 10 years with her boyfriend.  Scott said, "In Jackson Hole, at the end of this song, the girl's boyfriend proposed to her.  Should we be expecting that Mr. Boyfriend? (no) I'll just drop that, then."  John clicked his tongue, as a "tsk tsk" to the boyfriend.  Scott asked Chelsea if she wanted to sing with them.  She declined, saying, "I'm not a good singer.  They might leave."

Ain't Too Proud to Beg

George told a story, not his usual one.  "So, we got to the airport (in Wyoming), and Scott said in a low voice, 'I just want you to know that you are the only brother in this airport.'  So I look around and I get a little nervous.  He got through security, then I go through and the alarm goes off.  I've got no belt on, I put my chapstick in the bin.  Security says, 'Can I look in your bag?' and I say, 'Yes, all I got there is a little toothbrush.'  Security says, 'Sir, we're going to shake you down because it seems you have some explosive material.' So I take my clothes off (many whistles in the audience), he says 'I'm going to pat you down top to bottom.'  I finally get out and go to Delta, get on the plane and I'm looking around in First Class, saying 'Excuse me sir, you're in my seat.'  The flight attendant says, 'Sir, you're on the wrong plane.' Now I just had on some old tennis shoes.  I'm slipping and sliding, and get to the other plane, and it's United.  I'm on the wrong plane again!  Then I get back to Delta, and Steve says, 'Yeah, we saw you on the tarmac cruising around.' I didn't get his text until later because my battery was dead."  He was cracking himself up throughout the story, and interrupted himself by saying to us, "I know this is long but I have to tell you this."

APPARENTLY, in Wyoming, they don't check your plane ticket until you're actually on board, and then they let people just run around the tarmac.

Then Geo talked about being in Philly, where it was also cold, and he learned how to sing like a woman.  Later, though, he learned how to sing songs like this: Old Man River.  "Then when I first joined Rockapella, I asked myself, 'Man, are you going to be able to handle this?'  And I said, 'I got this.'  He said that he was happy to be back in California, seeing happy couples like Jeff and Wendy, and Nick over there, who writes our Wikipedia, so get all this in there, ok?"  

My posse is famous!!!

George sang a "Babygirl" to me!!!  

AHHH!  I screamed with delight when I figured out that they were doing this song, which I hadn't seen live yet.  Ooh, I just wiggled in my seat.  This somehow segued into...

Zombie Jamboree
That segue was cool!  Steve said during the break in the song, "Scott, Scott, please stop."  Scott asked what was wrong.  Steve said, "Too much winery."

JT was impressed with the crowd keeping the beat with him, even during the accelerando.

I mouthed "HI" to Scott during the standing ovation, and he mouthed "HI" back.  I'm such a dork, but I love that!


Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Up On The Roof/Wonderful World
George sang "Take it slow" to me.  Okay, Baby!  ;)

Steve waved at me as they left the stage.  


I had my Christmas CD for the guys to sign, and reintroduced Bananaman to them, in case they forgot who he was.

Scott: "Every girl should have a Bananaman."  I told him that he was such a goofball on stage that night.  I asked what kind of wine he was drinking, but he didn't know.  "I just asked for white."

Jeff and Wendy were talking to the guys and trying to figure out the original artist.
They all figured out that it was Tommy James and the Shondelles.

George was complaining that JKB threw him off during one of the songs (Papa), and JKB said, "You can't have the same show every night.  You need to change it up once in a while."  A true performer, that John.  I told him that we would be going to Castello in the morning.  He seemed interested in doing that, too.  Since this was his wife Christina's first time in California, she was excited about everything, so he was looking forward to taking her around some more the next day.

Steve acknowledged that he messed up the words during CA Sad-Eyed Girl.  I asked him what he would be doing the next day, and he said that it would be a surprise.  He reiterated this in front of his girlfriend, Laura, and she was intrigued because he said it would be out of the ordinary.  He later confessed, though, that they would be doing wineries, nothing that different.  He introduced us to Laura, whom is very nice and friendly.  I told her that Wendy and I were the ones that made the cape.  Steve said, "I should have brought the cape!  I'll bring it out here next time, and use it during Malibu."  That would be hilarious.  I was happy later when Steve called out Jenn's name during the pictures, and I said, "You know Jenn's name!"  He said, "Of course I do!"  Aw, sweet.  He was also sweet to Laura and got some wine for her.

I thanked George for all of the stage love.  He said that he's so happy to see us that he needs to do a little something extra.  I asked, "Why were you the only brother in the airport?  Where was John?"  JT said, "locked safe away in the plane".  George and Sandra will be getting married in the Dominican Republic (it already happened as of this posting, in March), because Sandra wanted to move up the date.  Then he said something about his brother going without his girlfriend.  Uh-oh.  I said that his engagement ring should be enough to keep Sandra happy until the wedding, and he told Nick about the ring fending off other girls.  Someone had walked up to George, looked at his ring, sighed, and walked away.  He loves Sandra so much that I doubt she has anything to worry about.

Sher and the Pella
As we waited to take pictures, I snagged the opportunity after my own was done, and yelled out, "POSSE!!!" to get everyone to join in the group picture.  JT called me "The Bossy One".  I glared at him.  So he added, "but in a nice way."  After our picture was taken, he yelled out at me as I walked away, "I see your tattoo!"  Why are you looking through my sheer blouse, JT?  I actually hadn't realized that you could see it.  Later, JT walked into the door jamb.  I think that he was thinking about my tattoo.  ;)

All of Us

Fred said that their hotel was 9 miles away, and not in Napa. Well, that explains why they were late from retrieving JT's shirt.  

I boldly asked Steve to take a picture of the Posse.  Just the Posse.  No Pella.  My friends giggled that I actually did so.

Bossy and Her Posse
As they were getting ready to leave, I asked Geo, "Who's driving home?" as I eyed his wine glass.  He said, "Scott.  It's just one glass of wine.  I'm gonna go down this before I get in the car."  I so love seeing them in Napa.

Afterward, the Posse tried to go next door at Downtown Joe's for food, but the only seating they had was outside, and we didn't like the atmosphere.  Napa gangsters, and all of that.  OK, not really.  So we ended up at Denny's.

Jenn and I were still hyped afterward, so I didn't get to sleep until 2 am.  More Napa happiness to come!!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Coal Miner's Daughter

I had some time before rehearsal the other day after work, so I went to the Arclight in Sherman Oaks for "The Hunger Games".  I had heard a lot of hype about it while it was being made, but I didn't really want to see the movie until I saw the trailer.  Then I knew I needed to see this thing.

  • I would like a Mockingjay pin, please.  I would also like to learn archery (Pixar's upcoming "Brave" is probably going to enhance that wish more later this year).
  • Loved the flaming dress.  I'd say that I want one of those, but I think that would be a little dangerous, even if the fire wasn't real.
  • Jennifer Lawrence continues to impress me.  I had first noticed her in "Winter's Bone", for which she received an Oscar nomination.  I love her portrayal of Katniss.
  • I really liked Seneca's facial hair.  I saw that there were many, many people credited for hairstyling on this film, and they did a superb job with all of the different strange styles.
  • I'm torn right now between Team Peeta and Team Gale.  I guess I'll need to see the sequels to decide on that.  
  • Lenny Kravitz.  Hummina.  Perhaps I'm Team Cinna instead.  I mean, I was so envious of Katniss when he kissed her on the cheek!  Sigh.
  • Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci were also great in their roles, and, of course, so was Donald Sutherland.  What a great cast!  Oh, and Woody Harrelson!  Loved him.
  • I was quite tense during much of this movie.  When I wasn't tense, I was likely crying over something.  The scene with Katniss placing the flowers around Rue just had me bawling.
  • Those are some mean creatures (and mean circumstances) that they make in that competition world.
  • That whole concept of the Districts having to pay for their forefathers' uprising upsets me, as I"m sure it does many.  I really hope this all gets resolved by the end of the trilogy.
Great movie.  I can't wait until the next one.  Perhaps I'll read all of the books by then.  Until that time, though, may the odds be ever in your favor.

BTW, I'm in District 5: Power.  What district are you from?