Pictures from our week long cruise in the Galapagos are here.


Ed Kowalczyk (Full Band)
Civic Center Park
Ft. Collins, CO

We weathered the cold and drizzle to see Ed and the band’s first US date (8th date ever?). We arrived at Civic Center Park about an hour before show time, there were probably only 25 people there waiting for the show. We made our way to the barracade just left of center. As show time got closer more people showed up, there we’re about 500 people there by the time they took the stage, given the weather that’s not too bad.

I’m not sure if it was the physical stage set-up (the side fills were taking up most of the front corners of the stage) or if it Ed’s new stage set-up, but Ed is right up front by himself and the the rest of the band are all lined up together about 15′ behind him, kinda strange after seeing Live for the past 18 years with Ed, Chad and Pat (and sometimes Adam) lined up front together. Ed took the stage all in black, black pants, shirt and beanie and the band dove into Drive, a song from the upcoming Alive release from Ed. From all of the new songs played, this was my favorite, good hooks, interesting guitar parts and heavy drums. The other new songs didn’t do much for me, I enjoy the studio of Grace, but after hearing it live, it is apparent that there is a lot of post production on the studio version, the guitars sound HUGE, but live they weren’t that captivating. It was very strange seeing Live songs, especially AOY, LJ, BoG, IA and STD, without the rest of the band. I kept wanting to see Chad pounding on the drums or Chad stomping, but the new guys (especially the guitar and bass players) look like they are trying really hard to remember their parts. The drummer is the best musician of the bunch. And the guitarist tryied to add his own touches to a few songs, AOY and LC were particularly bad. It may have been the weather, but Ed’s falsetto sounded pretty rough, otherwise he sounded pretty good and looked to be having a good time. He didn’t interact with the crowd too much, but he never has. I was a little disappointed that he only played 4 new songs, out of a total of 15. I know he’s trying to please the fans, and hopefully after the album drops he will add more Ed solo songs to the setlist and take away some of the heavier Live songs (they just don’t fit very well with his solo sound and the new band just doesn’t measure up to the Chads and Pat).

We stuck around afterwards to see if Ed and the band would come out to meet the fans. Ed came out afterward to meet with a few fans that stuck around in the cold drizzle. He was the most personable I have seen him in a long, long time. He chatted with people, took picts and signed stuff for everyone that was there.

I read on FB that he (and maybe a few other band members) played a few songs at a bar after the show. My wife and I were a few doors down eating dinner and had no idea it was going on. Bummer.

This review may seem a pretty negative, but I enjoyed seeing Ed, glad I went and will see him when/if he comes back through town. But it just isn’t Live, the vibe is very different, not bad, just different. It should be different, if it did sound like Live, Ed would be doing himself a disservice, he needs to go out and make a name for himself and his sound.

Set list:

01. Drive
02. All Over You
03. The Distance
04. Just In Time
05. The Great Beyond
06. Selling The Drama
07. The Dolphins Cry
08. Drink (Everlasting Love)
09. Lakini’s Juice
10. I Alone
11. Grace
12. Heaven
13. Lightning Crashes
14. The Beauty Of Grey
15. Dance With You

ACC Football Championship Game
5 Nov, 2009
Tampa, FL

Go Jackets!

Reverend Horton Heat
Black Sheep
Colorado Springs, CO

ftconchostables_inside.jpgFirst, let me just say that I was born and raised a “city girl” in Georgia – and fully understand and appreciate that “the South” has its own idiosyncrasies / culture… By contrast, Brian’s family has deep roots in West Texas, where we visited for Asyna and Jeremy’s wedding, where I learned first hand that “Texas” and “ranch living” has its own culture as well…

The wedding was held at the Ft. Concho Stables in San Angelo.

sealeyancy_saddles.jpgAs we walked in to the stables, we were greeted by his and hers saddles – announcing that we’d made it to the right place. Their saddles. Cute!

We weren’t quite sure if we were going to be dressed correctly for the 7pm wedding – when we heard (in advance) that the groom was planning on wearing jeans! We shouldn’t really have worried… The bride was lovely in a strapless white gown – and her bridesmaids wore matching brown strapless dresses with teal sashes… however the groom and his men were in tux shirts and jackets, black cowboy hats and boots, and black “dress jeans”!

Cowboy hats with blue “dress jeans” (a nice press crease down the front of each pant leg) seemed to be the unofficial male dress code. Call me naive – but I didn’t know what REAL cowboys wore when they dressed up… Now I know! And – of course – belts, some with belt buckles as big as your fist (or bigger). Now – to be fair – the groom’s party did look nice in their “country formal” attire… And though lots of their friends were in jeans – the hat, boots and belt do “dress it up” a bit. I was starting to feel like I was in a western where WE were the ones from “back east” who dressed differently!

groomscake.jpgIt was finally starting to click. These are real cowboys… Particularly when the groom’s cake is patterned like cow hide, has his monogram in “rope” icing, and the cake is rimmed in “barb wire” icing with the brands of local cattle ranches on it.

linedancing.jpgThen the music started, and I realized that we were actually in a music video for Country Music Television!
After the traditional dances of the new couple, daddy-daughter, etc. – the open floor turned into a line dance circle. Brian and I were at a loss with the music – much less the moves! We even thought for a moment that the DJ was playing the first few bars of “Cotton Eyed Joe” by the Rednex – until we found out that was actually a cover of “one of the first” line dancing songs that everyone – including grandparents – knew the moves to.

So – long story short – it was a lovely wedding, and a fun time – but don’t forget that there are still real cowboys (and girls!) in Texas.

After over 9 years, my trusty Subby was totaled. It was a hard decision, but after years of saying that I would buy another Outback, I decided to get an ’07 Volvo XC70. It is a sweet ride.


A press release from the Colorado Division of Wildlife “Hunters: Be Absolutely Sure of Your Target” advises, among other things, “When you’re firing a rifle, a mistake can have serious consequences.” and “If you are in doubt about what you’re looking at … don’t shoot”

brian-and-viki.JPGThrough Brian’s mom Cheryl’s involvement with the Delta Gamma sorority – and their philanthropy to aid the blind – we were invited to the grand opening of the new Anchor Center for the Blind in Denver.

The new building is an amazing facility – with lots of little touches to help the blind and visually impaired preschoolers that they serve better orient themselves to the world around them. And, while seeing the building in the evening as a “social” setting was nice – I think we all would like to go back during the school day to see the kids interacting with their new facility. :)

Learn more about The Anchor Center

And if you find yourself there – be sure to check out the Blankenship’s “Cane Walk Lane” – that helps preschoolers experience different paving surfaces from brick, cement, gravel, to wood and stone, as they practice walking with their cane. (The sign says: “Cane Walk Lane – Bruce and Cheryl Blankenship. In honor of all families with special recognition of our sons, Brian and Kevin.”)

@ New York, New York
Las Vegas, NV

The show “starts” before the show even begins – with characters working the audience, and getting people’s funny bones warmed up… and in many ways – the humor / “clowns” in the show were the highlight of the performance. Billed as “the sensual side” of Cirque, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the show’s actual content. The performers they have are always amazing – and this show was no exception – I suppose it was just that the “sexiness” seemed a bit forced at times… The best crowd reactions seemed to be from the humorous elements – which involved alot of crowd interaction. Everyone in the audience was a very good sport – but I’d advise the shy not to sit in the front – or on an aisle!

The Mirage
Las Vegas, NV

I think the second time was even better than the first – if for no other reason than we could both focus on enjoying the show, instead of both trying to figure out “how’d they do that” with the amazing stage and wire systems… Terrific show, great music (of course), and honestly – I don’t think there is a bad seat in the place.

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