It was supposed to be a mostly quiet holiday weekend with a couple of huge events in the middle. It turned out to be much more than that.
Our Christmas break started with ham purchase at Honeybaked on Christmas eve and then snacking on it throughout the evening and Christmas day. My wife and I saw A Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb on Christmas day. Robin Williams had us in tears for the last 30 minutes or so, just a heads up.We also bought a last minute gift for someone at Walgreen’s. We rounded out the evening listening to some of the new Madonna material that will be released in the first quarter of 2015.
Otherwise, Christmas Day was full of rest. I’m really glad of that because we didn’t get much during the remainder of the weekend.
December 26 was Vienna Teng day. We arrived at the Freight and Salvage around noon and spent twelve hours in the building. It is always a great pleasure visiting the Freight and having the crew of Bob, Lou, Colleen and David there sometimes augmented by other Freight staff and other times pretty much alone. I always feel like I help contribute when I’m there, despite this year taking out one two many chairs from a row.
This year’s shows were back to back on Friday night. Prior to soundcheck, Vienna agreed to work with Tanya Shaffer on a pitch video for yet another IndieGoGo campaign in support of a soundtrack recording for The Fourth Messenger. That was a few hours of discussion, scene blocking and wardrobe changes.
Soundcheck was interesting from what I heard. I was in the lobby for most of it cutting up paper into slips suitable for writing requests on for at least the first show. David did more paper slicing in between shows for the second. I heard bits of Taylor Swift and very old Vienna Teng mixed with the Elves with the queue cards shuffling things around to form potential rarities that could be requested by the audience.
After soundcheck, Vienna and Tanya recorded a video of them performing The Human Experience which I assume will be part of their campaign.
The overall gist I got from the filming was that Vienna will be singing the role of Mama Sid in the soundtrack album if funded. That could be interesting.
Past holiday shows have been full of experimentation and collaboration. I was thankful that Vienna made the choice to come into these two shows with a stripped down piano/looper combination and solo. Both shows were full of rare treats, covers and stripped down live arrangements of songs from her five studio albums. Only two songs were repeated through the three hours of music performed and divided between an early show and a late show. Around thirty people stayed for and got to experience both.
The first show had no songs performed from Dreaming Through the Noise, which got a couple of songs into the second show. The covers were heavy in the first show, but Vienna was fearless throughout. She may have transposed lines or simply forgotten lines in places but the show was beautiful and reminded me again why it was many years ago that we decided to go to a second show and then a third and so on. Vienna Teng performing with others is great but Vienna Teng solo brings a magic to the performance that you just don’t see with many live acts.
Show 2 was less cover heavy but still a very unique set. Highlights for me were Radio into Shine and Seedling #3 and a rare solo St. Stephen’s Cross.
There was really nothing to complain about in either show. Both amazing performances from a dear friend who has stepped away from music and into a full time job as a management consultant but can come back to wow crowds like no other.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Goodnight New York
Over The Rainbow > Let It Go
In Another Life
The Last Snowfall
Stray Italian Greyhound
Lullabye For A Stormy Night
Green Island Serenade
Fire and Rain
Shake It Off
The Human Experience (with Tanya)
St. Stephen’s Cross
Never Look Away
In The 99
Shasta (Carrie’s Song)
The Hymn of Acxiom
Shake It Off
Are You Listening
Soon Love Soon
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Ain’t No Sunshine/Lose Yourself
Between shows, I helped distribute wrist bands to those who had purchased tickets to both shows in the lobby and post show, we ate a tasty Sweet Adeline Yule Log cake. Our Mousehunt playing friends posed for a photo with my wife and I before we cut the cake and despite lots of folks questioning why the cake was there, around 25 people sampled it and it was descimated pretty quickly.
The great wait for folks to be ready for what I was calling the second after party took us til post-midnight as expected. We ended up going to Au Coquelet, just down Milvia from the Freight for a late dinner. Our friends had brought us tasty Homeroom macaroni and cheese and we had eaten a turkey and cranberry sandwich from The Sandwich Spot during the twelve hours we were at the Freight, so I only had French fries at Au Coquelet.
Our third after party was a now traditional late night stop at Colonial Doughnuts in Oakland. We got ours to go and two of them became my breakfast and late night snack on 12/26.
At 3AM we were home and I couldn’t stay awake any longer. My wife somehow stayed up and did a lot of the post show editing of photos and posts that happen after shows.
On Saturday, I hosted my last official Ingress event for 2014. I’ve retired for the time being from organizing events and being a leader in the game because it swallowed up a lot of my time this year. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped playing though and it was a fitting group of people who joined me for that final event. Three of the top supporters I’ve had since day one were there to celebrate with me.
The event was at Urban Putt, an indoor miniature golf course and eatery at 22nd and Van Ness in San Francisco. Our small group of seven including my wife spent a good two hours battling through the 14 hole course and then my wife and I met with Vienna Teng in the upstairs bar and sampled chicken and waffle skewers afterward. The event was a huge success and I’d love to return to Urban Putt with a different group in the future.
We left with Vienna and picked up another Team VT member and had dinner at Burgermeister in Daly City. Then we spent several hours catching up on the past year and working through a to do list of tasks that Team VT needed to complete. It was productive and a really positive experience.
Sunday afternoon, we hosted a Cheez Please party at our house incorporating lots of cheese in grilled sandwiches and with crackers. It was a send off for a friend leaving for a new job in Southern California and involved many of the same suspects as those that attend Vienna Teng shows regularly. It was another great experience but left my dairy allergies reeling. We had an after party of sorts with one friend afterward with a trip to Shari’s for some non-dairy food.
It was a big and busy social weekend and I went into the short work week drowsy but full of accomplishment.
I had planned to post a retirement post to my local Ingress community on Monday and had it mostly written when I was contacted by a Resistance support network leader who asked if I would like to join their group as a local representative. As it involves a lot less coordination work than I’ve done in the past, I said yes. Even as a less active Ingress player, I’ll still be able to contribute to the group and it connects me even more globally than mission creation or swag creation has done before.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday went well and I’m leaving the end of 2014 at work with the least amount of stress I think I’ve ever had at work. I put in a lot of hard work throughout the year and am proud of the way I’ve managed my time and my stress level throughout the year.
So there you have it, the end of another year.