Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tour blog #8

Now that I am home, I am having a hard time finding the motivation to finishing typing up the remainder of tour in blog post form. It was such a fun activity while on the road (I would generally get my laptop out in the car and type away the hours it took to get from one city to the next) but here, I am already dealing with this weird post-tour culture shock (and not knowing what to do with myself because jumping right back into my normal rhythm feels wrong) so the prospect of reliving the days on the road has been tough.

But tonight I am going to my parents' house so we can leave early in the morning to drive 6 hours to Spokane (finally, something here at home that will feel normal xD), so I wanted to wrap up tour before my next adventure. So here I am.

Old Bridge, NJ - I had a blast at this show, in part because my and Eia's good friend Colin now lives on New Jersey and came to hang out with us at the show, but also because it was another night filled with awesome people at an awesome library. During the Parselmouth's song "Please Harry", Justin added something new to his bit; there is a part in the song where we threaten to poison Hedwig and he started screaming at us "Noooo! Nooo nooo! I don't think that's funny!" and stamping his feet, and I almost lost it right there in the middle of the song. He also started rubbing his "scar" when he came onstage, and I told him it was just his new membership to the Voldemort fanclub and that the whole scar-hurting thing would pass. We're such dorks.

Someone gave me the coolest necklace at this show! It's a little robot girl with a dangly body, and she's wearing a purple bow, just like my costume in the Don't Unplug Me video. I love it. Cannot even express my amazement at how wonderful people are.

Before I conclude the Old Bridge portion of this blog, I want to point out that as we were bringing our merch and equipment in, I noticed a display set up near the front called "Murder at Sea". Upon further inspection, I realized this was an entire collection of library books involving murder -- on a boat. I had no idea this was such a popular genre.

Also, the library had automatic doors; the kind that are made of glass and just slide open when you walk close enough to them. But this particular library had very low sensitivity automatic doors, because there were a few instances where I walked up to the door, stopped, felt dumb, waited, and then watched as the door slid slowly open at its leisure.

That night we went out to eat at this restaurant that Lauren's parent's swear by, and it was delicious, but the REAL treat that night was when Justin prank called Luke. So Luke finally got his phone replaced from the pool accident, and didn't have any of his old numbers programmed in yet. So Justin excused himself and "went to the bathroom", and then Luke's phone rang. It was a reporter from some NY newspaper, who wanted to do an interview with ALL CAPS the next day. He really had us going for awhile; I think Luke was on the phone for over 5 minutes. He said he'd been talking with Alan for weeks about this interview (for the record, we were SO mad at Alan for a little while there before we realized what was going on) and that they'd rented a room for us, and that they'd rented suits for us to wear… it wasn't until he started asking if we were vegan, or if we'd consider going vegan for the day for the sake of the interview, that Luke realized someone was messing with him. By this point Eia had realized what was going on and told me, and Matt could actually see Justin on the phone from where he was sitting - so all of us were just laughing our asses off, trying not to wreck the joke.

Well played, Justin. Well played.

Poughkeepsie, NY - Our very last show of tour! This show was awesome because I met a few people I'd only ever known online before that day (well, except you Alex/kira902k, since you swear we met at LeakyCon haha), and it was so great to finally be able to put a face to a name. I also met this lovely boy named James whom I have been emailing with that wants to design a dress for me. I think I am spoiled.

Anyway, the show was just as awesome as I would have expected our last show to be. During our last song, Don't Unplug Me, I noticed that not only was there some excellent dancing going on in the audience, but there was some SYNCHRONIZED excellent dancing going on in the audience. A bunch of people had choreographed a dance to the chorus of the song, secretly taught it to a bunch of people at the show, and started an ALL CAPS flashmob! I never even knew to make having a flashmob done in my honor a life goal of mine, but there you have it. Life goal, accomplished.

That night we said goodbye to Kathleen after the show and we were down to six. Then we drove back to Rhode Island, dropped off Justin at his house, and we were down to five.

Saturday - The next morning we went out for brunch with the whole gang (minus Kathleen) and then it was time to drop Eia off at the airport. We took her to Boston, said our goodbyes, and then we were down to four. Which was sad.

However, Matt, Lauren, Luke and I had so, so much fun together the next few days. That night we ordered spaghetti calzones in from Matt's favorite pizza place and they force-fed the first 4 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Luke and I. I know the first seasons are cheesy and it gets better, but I was actually quite enjoying it and plan to finish the rest at some point, though it would be fun to continue watching it through with Luke. That night we may have started a Buffy drinking game to let off steam from tour, which ended in a hilarious night for everyone.

Sunday - The next morning we slept in, went to Matt's favorite wing place for lunch (because he knows how much I love my Wingzone here in Seattle) and then they took us around the Brown University campus a little bit (mainly the trendy street with fun shops, including their bookstore, an Urban outfitters, and a cute little candy store). Then we went to Matt's favorite little pub, drank a few too many drinks, had the greatest double date of our lives at a place called the Snuggery (seriously) and then went home for a night of video games and eventually packing up our merch for our flights the next day.

Monday (going home) - This was a sad, mildly disorienting day. I got so used to being around everyone on that tour so much, it was hard to let go of that and know that getting on my plane was taking me back to my home, to my very different life, to a place where I spend a lot more time by myself. It was especially hard saying goodbye to Luke, since I spent the most time with him this past month.

On my flight home I tried to read, I watched a bit of that Jennifer Anniston Bounty Hunter movie (bleh) but mostly I thought about the future. I thought about what being done with college means for me, and what I want to accomplish for myself, and what I already have accomplished for myself. I am so thankful to have had the amazing experience that tour was, and I think it came at the perfect time in my life. I really feel like I can accomplish anything right now. So let's hope I'm right.

This is the end of my tour blog series. I'm home now, life is slowly starting to get back to normal - but I doubt my life will ever truly be normal. As if to prove that, I am happy to announce I am going to try my best at BEDA this August. I'm not actually as insanely busy in August as I seem to be the rest of the year, so now seems like a good time to try it again. I hope you'll join me as I attempt to make blogging my priority again! See you on August 1st.

Thank you thank you thank you.

Chipotle burritos: 15
Last google search: "jo rowling"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tour blog #7

Decatur, GA - I absolutely loved our show in Georgia. I had never been to Georgia before, and everyone was super friendly and super excited, which somehow just really energized me for playing another week of shows after the insanity of VidCon and then Infinitus back-to-back. There were almost 200 people there, and they also brought us a lot of really nice presents (including delicious cupcakes, stuffed sparkly snakes, and this adorable little pink haired rocker girl figurine that I love).

The show was supposed to be in the library but it got moved last minute to the basement of a church (on account of broken air-conditioning, so this was a very good thing). The highlight of this show for me was that I met the girl who was the first one to tell me about the hilarious phrase that is the "5head". We took pictures of our 5heads together.

Apex, NC - This was the start of our two-show stint in North Carolina. The funniest thing happened there; Luke and I started talking to this super nice couple that came to our show, and I kept thinking the guy looked familiar, but I didn't say anything. He and Luke were talking music production, and the girlfriend and I were talking about how we always just smile and nod when our boyfriends are talking music production.. and then FINALLY, the guy (Scott) turns to me and says, "You probably don't remember this, but you know the YouTube username fiveironscott?"

And then I FREAKED out. THAT'S why he looked so familiar! Back when I started on YouTube (before I even had my first 1,000 subscribers or anything) this guy fiveironscott used to leave me video responses and comment on everything I did because he seemed sure I was going to be famous on YouTube someday (and I just thought he was crazy). It's been over a year since I'd even heard from him, and 3 years since he used to leave me video responses, but yet I still recognized him. It was awesome to meet him, and it occurred to me how many people from my past on the internet I have encountered on this tour.

I forgot to mention this in the relevant blog post, but at Infinitus I was hanging out at the merch table when this girl comes up to me and says, "Hey Kristina, you used to go to the site, right? And you used to chat on that exclusive thread called Wonky, yeah?" I nodded, and she goes, "I did too. My username was TurletheInsane or something." And I was like "Courtney!" because yes, I did remember her, because this weird little thread on this weird little Harry Potter shipping site was a huge part of my life for over a year. There are so many people scattered across this country that I have been getting to meet and I feel so, so lucky.

That night we stayed with the Blibbering Humdingers (well, Matt, Lauren, Eia and Justin stayed with them, while Luke, Kathleen and I stayed at their friend's house 5 minutes away) and we had this amazing feast of macaroni and cheese and chips and salsa and the most amazing pesto (made by Kirsten) that I've ever had. We invented this Triscuit/pesto/sliced strawberry combination that sounds gross but was amazing.

Apparently there was a ghost named Dennis at the house we stayed at that night, and Luke/Kathleen/I were not sure if she was serious about the ghost or not (she seemed pretty serious about him - told us that he hates new people and that he'd try to keep us up at night) but I heard nothing out of Dennis.

Chapel Hill, NC - Before we headed over to the show, Kathleen needed to go to a comic book store to get the next book in some series she's reading, and even though she ended up not finding it there, Luke caught sight of the Magic The Gathering starter packs. He's always trying to turn me into a bigger nerd than I already am, and TCGs have been on his list of things to get me to like for awhile, so he bought one for each of us. I got the blue/white kit with a pretty sweet looking sphinx on the front. The rest of roflcoptour made fun of us. I reminded them that they play music about Harry Potter. They shut up.

Luke didn't actually know exactly how to play (since he used to play the WoW TCG, which is similar but not the same) so we pulled out the directions, and after we set up the merch tables and the sound system, Luke and I played our first match right there in the Chapel Hill library (before they let the fans in) and I totally whooped him. Yess!

Our second North Carolina show was pretty on par with the first one; we played in this cute little meeting room and had a pretty similar sized crowd. We met this girl who was dressed like Luna, and I don't know if she was acting or just being herself, but she was the most like Luna Lovegood that I have EVER met in anyone. Luke an I decided she made the show for us. There was also these two girls who we deemed the biggest ALL CAPS fans ever, who showed up in homemade ALL CAPS thirst and gave us this AWESOME gift basket. I'm looking at it right now on the seat next to me, so I am going to name everything inside.

1. Monsters Inc. activity book.
2. Transformers coloring book.
3. Twistables crayons.
4. Travel sized Hungry Hungry Hippos.
5. Rainbow cookies.
6. Cupcakes in a popcorn tub that LOOK LIKE POPCORN. The girls made them themselves, with little white and yellow marshmallows.

Probably the best gift we've received on tour yet.

With only two shows left, I am starting to get a little sad about tour ending. I definitely went through my "I am tired of this and want to go home" phase last week, when my voice problem was really bad and we still had Infinitus ahead of us (which I knew was going to be an exhausting weekend); but now that we're on the other side of that obstacle, I'm starting to get a little sentimental. Aside from the troubles, aside from the ridiculous amount of driving, aside from waking up early and never getting quite enough sleep, aside from being in confined spaces with the same people for almost a month… this has been an amazing experience and I'm reluctant to let it go. I've loved meeting new fans night after night. I'm not even tired of the other band's sets yet. I've enjoyed playing foursquare all across the country, and spending time in the car with Eia/Justin/Luke, and staying in hotels, and eating at new restaurants, and really, just being part of something like this.

Touring is really fun. It's tiring, and at times it's hard, but it's so, so fun. I'm going to remember this experience forever, and going home (though it will be amazing to sleep in my own bed) is going to be such a lifestyle change after being on the go for this entire month. Especially since I am now done with college, and don't really KNOW what going home is going to mean for me. I'm excited to begin the next chapter of my life, but turning the page on this chapter will be sad for me.

Chipotle burritos: 15
Random street sign right now: Speed limit enforced by AIRCRAFT.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tour blog #6

Infinitus Day 3 (Saturday) - Not going to lie, this was another serious pool day. We spent the majority of the morning at the pool drinking daiquiris and going down the water slide with the Ministry of Magic guys and Erinn Lewis and Julie and Mark's girlfriend. I'm loosing track of what we did next (as again, the days are all blurring together) but I do remember that my sunburn on my forehead was so bad that I had to go buy a hat to wear just to sit in direct sunlight for a few more hours and not feel like my face was going to melt off. I'm not really a hat person, but I AM a I-like-having-a-face person, so I shelled out $25 for a floral sunhat. And I am going to the Bahamas in about a month, so a hat like that will probably be cool there. Right?

We ate lunch at this little Italian café and since the whole hotel area is Italy-themed, we were also serenaded by a man singing some sort of Italian operatic ballad from a balcony above us. My life is so weird.

That night was the ball, so we all got dressed up before heading over to the other hotel for the party. I wore this little denim dress (I bought it at the mall they held the ANTM auditions at, while waiting in line) with neon paint splatter marks all over it. It was strapless and rather short, so I was very concerned all night. About it falling off. It didn't though, which was a relief.

The ball was pretty fun. Matt and Alex were in charge of DJ-ing, so the music was (mostly) really great. Matt played "Voldemort Fangirl", to which I rolled my eyes at him and refused to dance because it felt weird, but later on in the night Alex played "Don't Unplug Me", where I'll admit I hammed it up when Luke and I jumped onstage and lip synced along well everyone rocked out on the dance floor. We are dorks.

My favorite part of the night was when they played that "from the window to the wall" song and everyone, nerds of all shape, size and color, got down and dirty in the name of Harry Potter. It was so, so funny. I love these people so much.

I don't want to complain too much about the rest of the night, but I will briefly recap what happened. After the ball was "Comedy NIght", the last of the wizard rock concerts and the one we were supposed to be headlining. The other bands played and a few comedians came up and did their thing, but they seriously underestimated the event on time so when it came time for the Parselmouths to play, they turned the lights on and said the show was over because we needed to get out of the room by 1:30 am. Fans started chanting "Parselmouths! Parselmouths!" but a woman got on a megaphone and said "We can't put them on! We'll be charged $5,000!"

So most people left. THEN, after arguing with the Infinitus coordinator for a while (and not being treated very fairly) they tried to make us play in the lobby, unplugged, which is not something I feel like doing after 1. being promised a stage and a sound system and 2. already losing my voice and trying to be easy on it. It didn't seem fair to play in a lobby, especially since there had just been an announcement saying we wouldn't be playing so more than half the people at the show had already gone to bed.

The whole situation was pretty disappointing, since every other band got to play just as they'd been promised and we felt incredibly pushed aside. Finally we compromised on having us play the Leaving Feast the next morning, which was actually really nice of them to let us do. I played the show on 3 hours of sleep (in my pajamas, to make a statement - I'm sorry, I'm a Slytherin through and through) and got a ton of twitter messages from sad fans who had early flights home that day and didn't get to see us play, but at least we got to have a show at all. So anyway, that was Infinitus.

Needless to say, I am very excited for LeakyCon, where I know things like this would never happen.

Infinitus Day 4 (Sunday) and the drive to Tavares - Like I said, we played the Leaving Feast this morning. They also gave Eia and I these little wrapped presents from Lush that were meant for the Infinitus volunteers, which was kind of cool. I like Lush stuff. Basically we played our show to a bunch of sleepy people eating breakfast, but got a bunch of them to come up and dance for our last song, Voldemort Fangirl. I was also really happy when a bunch of friends (including Luke, Ryan, Matt, Alex Carpenter and Eia's friends Tracy and Ginger) woke up early to come see us. I know that hardly ANYONE got more than 4 hours of sleep that night, so it really meant a lot to me that they were all there to support us. Lauren even came up and backed me up on guitar because I was nervous to play in front of that many people (many of which only were there for the food and didn't care about wizard rock). So, the moral of this story is that I have great friends.

After breakfast we hung out in the vendor room for awhile (next to the Starkid Potter people who had this outrageous line wrapped outside and around the corner for over an hour) and were able to sell a few more shirts/CDs/posters and talk to some fans. There were a lot of really sweet people who made sure to come to our show, so that made me pretty happy.

I also got to meet Darren Criss (the guy who plays Harry in AVPM) as we were all packing up. He's a nice guy. :)

After we were all pretty much done with Infinutus, we packed up our stuff and headed over to Citywalk one more time for lunch, and we all piled into Margaritaville. I got to spend a lot of time chatting with Frak (from Pottercast, and resident HP artist - he did the cover of the first ALL CAPS album and designed the lightning bolt tattoo I have on my foot) and Jake Niffler, which was nice. We had this ship wheel at the end of our table that actually turned, and every once in a while the lights would flash in the restaurant like we were in a storm, so Jake would pretend to steer us back to safety. Okay, it sounds really dorky now but I promise it was funny at the time.

Then we said our goodbyes and headed out. We were going back to Justin's parents' house for another night there, and after his mom made us a delicious dinner of chicken and salad and bread and sweet potatoes, I honestly fell asleep around 10pm watching a movie with Luke. It had been a long, long weekend.

Chipotle burritos: 14
Random road sign right now: RUGS! Unbelievable prices. Exit 87.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tour blog #5

Infinitus Day 1 (Thursday) - Thursday felt like one of the longest days of my life. We had to get up early and head over to the hotel so Lauren and Matt could get to the Final Battle rehearsal (Eia and I were so glad we'd dropped out - not because we wouldn't have loved to help our friends, but because having that added stress on tour would have just been too, too much) and the rest of us parked the cars and hung out at the Royal Pacific hotel (where Infinitus was taking place) and met up with a bunch of our other friends who were just arriving at the conference.

Most of the wizard rock was happening on Thursday, which was a little weird, but allowed all the bands to set up their merch in the concert room and get that part of the trip out of the way in one day. The "Classics" night show started at 4, and the "Pub Night" show was at 10, so we spent the majority of the day listening to wizard rock, hanging out at the merch table, signing things and finding time to make a quick run to Citywalk for Panda Express. At the very end of the show, Jason called us all up onstage for "California Dorks" and then Luke and I closed the show with "Don't Unplug Me", which I thought was really awesome. I know some people have a problem with music that's not wizard rock being played at a Harry Potter event, but I am really flattered so many people are embracing our other projects and like hearing what we're doing. :)

Infinitus Day 2 (Friday) - I'm not going to lie, this Harry Potter conference was probably the least Harry Pottery of any conference I have ever been to for me. The biggest problem was that so many people came to this event that we were all spread out between the three major Universal resort hotels. There were these sweet water taxis to take between the hotels and Citywalk, but it just took so much time to wait for them, so it was not very easy to just "run over to the hotel" for different programming. So I missed a lot of it. I spent a good portion of Friday at the Portofino hotel with Eia and with Ryan Seiler's girlfriend Julie, which was so, so nice after as much time as I've spent on the road and rushed from show to show. We ordered fancy drinks and chips and salsa ordered to our lawn chairs by the pool, and we swam, and got a bit of sun. In fact, I am currently more tan than I have ever been in my entire life, with a wicked sunburn right on my forehead/hairline area. But I don't care, it was so worth it! (I even put sunscreen in my hair to try to protect my scalp, but it burnt anyway. Rude.)

Eventually the boys came and met us as the pool, and we took a few trips down the water slide with Tyler Nicholas, Ryan, Luke, and Jason. When we just couldn't handle being out in the sun anymore, we headed back to Citywalk for lunch and then it was time for THE HARRY POTTER THEME PARK. Our passes were good starting at 2pm, so we headed into Islands of Adventure, walked straight through the Dr. Seuss and ancient mythology parts of the park, and found ourselves at Hogsmeade.

I honestly hadn't allowed myself to think about the theme park too much. I heard all the announcement years ago, yes, but I never looked at pictures or watched the behind the scenes specials or anything because I wanted to be surprised. Also, I was still kind of in shock that it exists at all, so I kind of pretended it wasn't real up until the moment I walked in.

And let me tell you, that was overwhelming. I know I sound like a huge dork right now, but Harry Potter has had such a huge part in the last 8 years of my life. From fanfiction (which I was very, very into) to wizard rock to even my involvement on YouTube, these books and this fandom has literally shaped me into the person I am today. I wouldn't play guitar, I wouldn't be touring, I wouldn't be on YouTube if it weren't for Harry Potter. So when I walked into that park and saw the Hogwarts Express pumping steam into the air, and saw Zonko's Joke shop bustling with people, and the shady wooden door of the Hogshead, and house banners waving in the breeze, and Hogwarts looming up above me - I won't deny it. I started crying. It was a short amount of crying, like a minute tops, but there were real tears in my eyes.

We only had a short amount of time in the park before we had to get back to the hotel to see the Final Battle (Lena's HP musical she's been working on all year, since I didn't clarify before) so all we had time to do was ride Hogwarts Forbidden Journey, which is the best ride in the park. Eia and I were with Monica and Chellie (the Short Sisters on YouTube) and the four of us spent SO MUCH TIME together in that line. Not only was the line outrageously long, but there were some maintenance issues so it was completely stopped for about 20 minutes. And Florida is HOT. But when we got inside, it was completely worth it. The first part of the ride is just walking through Hogwarts. You see the founders arguing with each other in their portraits on the wall, you walk through Dumbledore's office, you get scolded by the Fat Lady, and Ron makes it snow on you in line. So good.

I don't want to spoil the actual ride for anyone, but when we first got in the cars, I was holding hands with Eia and Monica, and none of us had ANY idea what to expect. The ride was amazing, and actually pretty scary (which surprised me - I was expecting something like the Disneyland storybook rides but it wasn't like that at all). It was completely worth the wait and so, so awesome.

We got back in time for the Final Battle and it was nice seeing our friends in the musical, since again I didn't really know what to expect. Fred was awesome as Ron, Andrew Slack had his Dumbledore accent down so perfectly it was scary, and Melissa Anelli stole the show as Neville's grandmother.

Then we rushed back because while we had tickets to the HP theme park in the afternoon, the evening was when we had the park actually to ourselves. First they put us in this big room which was kind of stupid - I understand they needed to clean up the park for us, but then spent an hour and a half of the time we had thought we paid for to be in the park watching promotional stuff about the park that we'd all already seen before. So that was kind of bad planning on their part. But then we finally finally got to go in, and it was SO AWESOME being in there without the rest of the general public.

They had tables of free food right in Hogsmeade and a DJ was set up playing music (which was honestly a little strange, since I doubt they listen to the Top 40 at the real Hogsmeade). But just walking around with all my wizard rock friends, eating pumpkin pasties, dancing to music with Hogwarts lit up at night, deciding whether we liked butterbeer better frozen or on tap - I think it's pretty easy to imagine how that felt.

Everything about this place was so magical. I know this park was built for everybody in the world, but being there with hundreds of other Harry Potter fandom people; seeing people you know sipping butterbeer and waiting in line at Dervish and Bang's… for one night, it felt like this park was built just for us. Even with all the problems that night, it was a completely surreal and wonderful experience.

We didn't have much time in the park honestly, since they were kicking us out at 2am, so we rode the Forbidden Journey again, skipped the Hippogryff ride because it looked like it was for younger kids, and then hit up the Dueling Dragons ride. It was a pretty sweet roller coaster where there are two tracks (the Hungarian Horntail and the Chinese Fireball) and they are intertwined with each other (with one reallt scary part where they look like they're going to collide). I was pretty impressed with that ride too, except the part where I was wearing flats and they made me hold them in my hands for the entire ride. Weird.

That night I was so exhausted from the long day of pretending I lived in Harry's World that I skipped whatever hotel party was going on back at the Portofino and fell asleep the second my head hit the pillow. I think Eia and I both fell asleep that night with some Jay and SIlent Bob movie blasting on the TV in our hotel room.

Chipotle burritos: 14
Random road sign right now: Live Oak, 2 miles. (I hope this just is a sign for a tree, not an entire town called Live Oak.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tour blog #4

VIDCON, Day 2 - Conferences like this are always a total blur of a ton of super fun things jammed into a short amount of time, but I think I will stick with the bullet points format of describing what I did. Luke and I ended up missing some of the earlier morning talks and stuff because we wanted to take advantage of our awesome hotel room and actually sleep in while we had the option (because sleeping in is a rare mythical thing on tour) and finally rolled on down to the California level of the hotel around 11:30 or so. We spent a good amount of time at the DFTBA booth, hanging out with Todd and Caitlin and signing things, which was definitely fun.

- Hearing Dan Brown tell his YouTube story and learning about his pogostick meetup before YouTube gatherings were even a thing.

- Having lunch with Kayley and Rhett and Link, and meeting a guy named Nice Peter who had the same camera as me (in blue) and taught me how to use the slow motion feature.

- Taking slow motion footage of Kayley licking my elbow, and of us jumping on the bed in Kayley's hotel room with all our friends.

- Hanging in The Moist Factory, which is the hotel Kayley was sharing with Paige, Robyn Schneider and Karen Kavett. Not understanding why it's called the Moist Factory, and honestly, being okay with not knowing.

- Going to Pinkberry and getting frozen yogurt. Then filming an Apple Store vlog, because I am cliché and figured if there was any time to do one, it was at VidCon.

- Talking to the guys from Orabrush (the company that makes tongue cleaners that sponsored VidCon) and getting to wear the giant tongue suit costume for awhile. Licking Rhett and Link while in the costume. Vlogging in the costume.

- Jumping in the ball pit with Kris (bombsfadeaway).

- Leaving it up to Johnnydurham19 to order pizza for everyone, and having him get the most expensive pizza I've ever eaten in my life. This is why we should never trust the British. xD

- Seeing Autotune the News perform a live acoustic version of "Double Rainbow". Singing along with hundreds of other people in the huge ballroom.

- Dancing with Hank Green and Michael Buckley to DaveDays set.

- Going back up to the Penthouse Suite and meeting even more awesome people and trying to get in as much more hangout time as Luke and I could before having to turn in for the night. We were cursing our early flight as we left the party that night.

The whole experience was really, really awesome. I know we had to miss a few days of tour, and from what I've heard the shows were great (especially their Oklahoma show apparently) but I had so so so much fun at VidCon that it was totally worth it. I got to see so many friends I haven't seen in ages, and got to meet so many people I've only talked to online, and even though there were a ton of technical difficulties, everyone was there to have a blast and I really think we all did. I definitely hope VidCon becomes an annual or at least regular event, because I would probably keep going for the rest of my life. :)

Dallas, TX - Luke and I were very reluctant to leave VidCon, because it was such, such a good weekend. But the alarm was set for 6 AM, so we packed up our things, dragged ourselves from the hotel, and hopped in a cab to LAX. We had a flight to Dallas, which was fairly uneventful, but I managed to get a bit of sleeping done, which was nice. ROFLCOPTOUR picked us up at the Dallas Fort Worth airport and once I stepped outside, I remembered why my suitcase is full of shorts and tanktops. It is so, so hot down here.

Our show this night was at a club called the Prophet Bar, which was kind of cool, since we've played so many shows at libraries and places like that. It was a nice change of pace. The best part about this show, though (aside from the free drink tickets) was how many friends we had there. Adam Dubberly and his bandmate Kyle showed up, as well as Kim, my fellow blogger from our Lost reaction blog (The Pearl! I got to meet her for the first time!). Eia and I were super thrilled, however, that our friend Scarlette came. We all used to be really close, back around 2008, and neither of us have seen her in about 2 years. So that was lovely.

That night after the show we ate at this place where I got fancy grilled cheese and hashbrown casserole (no point to this, really, just wanted to note it down because that's the best thing I've ever gotten to order I think -- come on, hashbrown CASSEROLE?) and then we stayed at a Days Inn where our room literally felt like an ice box. Oh tour.

New Orleans, LA - We played a show at this swim and tennis club, and I know I keep saying this, but I think we met our most enthusiastic fans yet at this show. I believe it was the smallest show of tour in attendance numbers, but I had a blast anyway because everyone who came to see us was so fun. There were people who danced the entire night, and a little girl in a Luna Lovegood costume, and someone who brought us Jambalaya Mix (which was awesome [even though I doubt we'll have time to make it while on tour] ).

That night Matt hot-wired us this fancy fancy hotel called La Pavillon in New Orleans (which was such a huge upgrade from the Super 8 motels we've been staying in all month). This place had ornate arm chairs in the rooms and provided complimentary peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the evening time. Not that I cared about the peanut butter, but I made myself a mean jelly sandwich.

We put our stuff in our rooms and headed out for a night on Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street is a pretty dirty, morally questionable place, but we had so much fun taking a break from being professional and just letting off a bit of steam. We got Hurricanes (a staple of the New Orleans night out) and hung out at The Olde Absinthe House and then checked out this pirate bar where there was a piano player that looked vaguely like Johnny Depp ala Captain Jack Sparrow. In New Orleans the police men ride on horses so we had to keep being careful not to step on poop in the street. It was a very interesting experience.

I hadn't been to New Orleans since Phoenix Rising back in 2007, so being there was a little sentimental for me as well as just being a totally awesome night.

Hattiesburg, MS - Our Hattiesburg show was probably our smallest show of tour yet, but we met a lot of really great people there. We played in this little library that we pretty much took over with our show, and there were a lot of really little kids at the show. That's not actually as common as you would think with wizard rock. The mercy table was a bit back from where the actual show part was taking place, so while the other bands were on, I found a copy of the comic book version of Coraline and got through about half of it before the show was over.

After the show we went to this great restaurant that looked like someone's house from the outside, and I got a sandwich called the Fatty McFat. It was basically just a buffalo style chicken sandwich, but I was pretty proud of myself for ordering something called the Fatty McFat.

DAY OFF (driving to Florida) - I honestly don't even remember anything significant about this day. We got up, we drove to Florida, and then we stayed at Justin's parents' house. She made us dinner. I slept on a pull-out couch bed. I've got nothing else for this day. Hahah.

Random street sign right now: Construction zone; speeding fines doubled.
Chipotle burritos: 14

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tour blog #3

This begins the Southern California/VidCon portion of my tour blog. Can't even begin to explain how much fun I had this whole weekend.

Santa Monica, CA - This show was so awesome. We got to the library, and we had this sweet stage and a long room of seating, and lots and lots of awesome people. The highlight of this show for me was meeting Tyler Oakley, who is one of my favorite YouTubers of all time. We had such a fun night hanging out with him; he was pretty much exactly the same in person as he is in his videos and I love it when you meet people and they're like that. I also got to meet Kaleb Nation, another YouTuber I like (though I discovered him more recently) and he took a lot of footage of our show. I want to take a moment to point out the awesomeness of my friends on YouTube - neither of these boys have read any Harry Potter whatsoever, but they both came to see me and support all of our music. I am so thankful to have amazing people like that in my life.

I think the show went really well, and we met some cool fans that were going to be at VidCon that weekend, which was fun. After the show we went out to TGIFridays (the one I always went to with Luke and Jason when I came down to LA to visit) and had a really great time hanging out with Tyler. Also, the boys were all ordering beers and making fun of me for getting a girly drink (a pomegranate margarita shaker or something) and I finally shut them up by drinking it directly from the shaker. Mostly because I couldn't get the lid off to pour anymore in my cup, but also because it made me look like a badass. Hahaa.

DAY OFF - I will admit, this day was a seriously lazy day. We had stayed the night at Echo Base (Jason and Alex's house in LA, the one Luke used to live in with them) and this was the point at which ROFLCOPTOUR continued on through the southwest and Luke and I stayed behind for VidCon. I think everyone left the house around 9, whereas Luke and I didn't even get out of bed until about noon. It was so nice, after nearly two weeks of incredibly early mornings. Continuing with laziness, we had a pizza delivered to the house and then waited for Kaleb to come pick us up to take us to the pre-VidCon partners meeting.

We didn't really know what to expect at the meeting, and when we got there, it really wasn't much. Basically we got nametags, and free YouTube shirts (awesome!) and got to hang out and mingle and meet friends and YouTubers before EVERYONE showed up to the hotel the next day. It was nice; we found Kayley, and Tyler again, and Adam (whataboutadam) and Stephen (3sixty5days) and Johnny (johnnydurham19) and Paige (hopeonatenspeed) and loads and loads of other people I was excited to see. I also got to finally meet Tessa (meekakitty) and had a surreal moment when William (theWillofDC) came up to me and said "You probably don't know who I am, but I watch your videos". What.

We hung out a bit longer, but didn't have a hotel that night so we had to leave kind of early. Kaleb drove us back home (with another new friend, Robyn Schneider) which, for a car ride, was actually very eventful. First we couldn't get out of the parking garage and Robyn almost got arrested or something for trying to jump out of the car and steal one from the incoming traffic machine. Then we finally found the old ticket, high-tailed it out of there, and then had a close call where Kaleb thought it would be a good idea to ignore a red light - which I wont get into because I don't want to embarrass him (Kaleb, haha) but decided to include it because it became a joke that he was trying to sabotage tour and kill ALL CAPS.

That night, Luke and I got Panda Express and spent the evening watching other humans makes fools of themselves in the gameshow Wipeout. Pretty romantic date night for ALL CAPS, if you ask me.

VIDCON, Day 1 - Luke and I had the love Quinn Rossi drive us to the Hyatt this morning (how we managed to get back and forth from Echo Base and the Hyatt 3 times without getting a cab is beyond me) and we got to the hotel at about 9. First we checked into our awesome room, and then Monica Carr (who is amazing) got us our registration materials so we didn't have to wait in the long iine.

I'm really trying hard to remember everything we did this first day in what order, but it's all blending together so I think I may just switch gears and list highlights.

- Meeting/getting to spend time with so many great people like Rhett and Link, WheezyWaiter, Caitlin and Todd and Kris at the DFTBA booth, Tyler and Adam and Johnny and Paige and Kayley and Tom and Caitlin Hill and Olga and SupaDupaFlyGirl and Strawburry17 and WhatTheBuck and WinterSpringPro and Mitchell Davis and Woody Tondorf of Elevator Show and Shane Dawson and iJustine and mememolly and MysteryGuitarMan and so, so many more people.

- Meeting ShayCarl and having him tell me I looked just like this girl he knew in high school - when I asked if she was nice, he said "No, a total bitch." Thanks Shay. Haha.

- The Dailybooth photobooth. They had this booth set up with costumes and props and you could get pictures taken and printed out instantly for free and I think EVERYONE abused this privilege this weekend.

- Seeing John and Hank speak on stage and feeling overwhelming proud of them for everything they've accomplished in the last 3 years.

- Being interviewed by Molly for Rocketboom.

- Knowing it was totally socially acceptable to have your phone out to tweet no matter what was happening.

- Seeing everyone from the UK that I hadn't seen since last summer.

- The show. Holy crap, the show the first night at VidCon was awesome. It went Molly Lewis, Tom Milsom, Alex Day, Hank, Rhett and Link, and then ALL CAPS, and I think everyone performed really, really well. Highlights were Tom rocking his entire set even though he lost his voice, Alex throwing glitter confetti into the audience, Molly's cover of Bad Romance for her sound check song, and the very best part of the entire weekend for me personally (and probably Luke too) was during our very last song (Don't Unplug Me) we had pretty much every single one of our friends run on stage and dance behind us for the entirety of the song.

There were probably 30+ people behind us on stage, and 600-700 people in the audience, and I'm really glad we got to share that moment with so many of our friends. Being in a wizard rock band, I have played a ton of shows in my life, but I am not sure anything quite compares to the show we played at VidCon.

- Disappointingly short dance party after the show that was still fun anyway.

- We went up to the Penthouse toward the end of the night (which was a room that didn't really belong to anybody in particular, as the Hyatt gifted it ambiguously to "VidCon", so you were bound to find people up there but were never quite sure who) and got to chat with a bunch of different people before finally calling it a night and going to bed.

Okay, this has gotten long enough. VidCon Day 2 to follow shortly.

Random road sign right now: Millard, 1 Mile (Exit 19)
Chipotle burritos: 14

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tour blog #2

It's actually amazing how difficult it is to find time off to blog about tour. The only time spent not playing shows or sleeping (for far too little) in crappy hotels is spent driving, or attempting to sleep in the car. And call me lazy, but getting out my laptop and making a huge production of getting the charger and plugging it into our car's fancy powerstrip thing while on the road is a bit too much effort for the amount of energy I have at this point.

I've gotten into a rhythm where I pretty much have to save all my energy for the 45 minutes or so I spend on stage each night, and the rest of the time I am conserving. Ha. I had some issues with vocal nodes about a year and a half ago, and I have been kind of stressed out that I am going to accidentally make them come back on this tour. It's not even really the singing every day that's the worst part; it's the talking in the car, the shouting over loud music in clubs and at conferences, and the sheer amount of talking I've been doing to fans and friends. Which sucks, because I love talking to people. So it's been hard. But I am drinking lots of tea (I hate tea) and trying not to talk much except for at shows, so we'll see how it goes.

Seattle, WA - It was so nice to be back in Seattle! After driving across the country on unfamiliar freeways, it was nice to be around roads I knew for a couple of days. We played at this country club type place that was fairly close to my house, but in a neighborhood I'd never been in before. All of our friends came to the show, like roommate Justin, Ariana and her boyfriend, other friend Justin, Liz, Kayley, etc. I also had my pseudo stand-in family; Carol, Carrie and Chrysta (some of the people who went to Mexico with me back in February, family friends) because my real family couldn't be there. After the show we had a party at mine and Eia's house that included Wingzone (my favorite!) and a long game of Apples to Apples.

4th of July (Day Off) - This was a much needed day off. We all slept in, and then the girls plus Kayley left the boys at home and went shopping! The focus was new bathing suits, and it took pretty much the whole day to make this happen for everyone. It was kind of fun to ditch the boys for an afternoon as well.

This evening was the 4th of July, and while we had every intention of going outside and finding a good spot to watch the fireworks over Lake Union (Gasworks park was out of control - thousands of people and the Presidents of the United States of America were playing a live show, mere miles from my house) we ended up just watching the fireworks on TV in my living room. In lawn chairs. Indoors.

I was pretty okay with how we ended up spending the evening.

Portland, OR - The Portland show was a really good show. We played in this fun room that kind of looked like a miniature Great Hall, and had another great turnout. The thing that made me the happiest, though, was that my dad and my brother drove down to see it. Our schedule worked out so crappily in Seattle - my whole family was in North Dakota until the 4th of July, and we played Seattle on the 3rd, so they didn't get to see me perform. It meant a lot to me that they drove three hours to see me the next day then, knowing they'd be just driving 3 hours home right after. Kayley also came down with her mom to be able to make it to a second show, which was nice of her.

The weirdest part about this Portland show - okay, wait. Let me stop myself. There were actually two incredibly weird parts about this show. I will tell them to you in order.

Weird part 1: My dad and Nick stopped at a rest area on their way down to the show, and of all the places in the world to run into old friends, they ran into some people we used to spend a lot of time with when I was younger. My dad's friend Rob and his daughter Mackenzie were on their way down to Portland for Mackenzie's basketball tournament or something, and my dad managed to convince them to use the extra half hour they had to stop in and catch the first 20 minutes or so of my show. So that was awesome. I haven't seen them in probably over 5 years.

Weird part 2: Literally three minutes before I had to go onstage to do the fiveawesomegirls segment of our show and then immediately go right into the ALL CAPS set, I was standing in the back talking to my dad and Kayley's mom (in a crowded room indoors mind you) when suddenly I had this excruciating pain in my left ankle. I looked down and there was A GIANT BEE ON ME. I swatted it away, but it was too late. There was a stinger poking out of my leg, and I had to get my dad to pull it out, and then I freaked out for a few minutes before going on stage and doing the show anyway. All the while my ankle was swelling up and throbbing and I couldn't decide if I wanted to cry or if I was being a total rockstar about it.

Milpitas, CA - The venue for this show was a big auditorium style room with a stage, so upon walking in we already knew it was going to be great. This was also the show of presents, it seemed, as I walked away from it with pictures, a new die, cookies, pumpkin bread, a funky green and orange stress ball, a large collection of Grateful Dead music, and these amazing clay models someone made of everyone on tour. The only disappointing part of this show was that Meghan and Shawna (strawburry17 and Nanalew) were supposed to be coming, and Meghan's car broke down. But we would be meeting them in just a few days at VidCon so it was alright.

Arbitrary place to stop blogging - my writeup about VidCon is next!

Random road sign right now: Carmel - 1 mile (exit 177)
Chipotle burritos: 14

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tour blog #1

Alright. I am on day 7 of tour and I haven't blogged yet. But it honestly hasn't been a lack of determination or interest - it's been entirely a lack of time. We've only had 2 days off in this amount of time (one of which was spent almost entirely driving), and it seriously has felt like one incredibly long day rather than a series of days.

We've been pretty much just playing shows, driving, sleeping, driving, playing shows, driving, repeat.

But it's been so fun!

I flew in to Boston, where Lauren and Matt picked up Luke and I, and then we headed back to their place in Rhode Island. It was pretty late, so we chatted while Lauren made buttons and sewed bear pouches for their Armoured Bearcub dropcards, while Luke passed out on the couch. Then they made me an awesome air mattress bed with multiple Harry Potter themed blankets. I wouldn't expect any less.

The next morning while I continued to sleep, they went and picked up the rental cars that would be our new homes for the next month. Then it was en route to Justin's house to get him and Kathleen (our merch girl).

Hamden, CT - We had our first show here, with Mike Lombardo opening for us. Hayley was with him as well, and it was awesome to see her. I was blown away by how many people came to this first show. I think the final number was something around 160 people at the show, and the venue itself was awesome too, as it was a real music club place. It was my first time playing a Parselmouth show as the main guitar player, and also the first ALL CAPS show Luke and I ever played, so I was pretty nervous considering. It's funny, because I very rarely get nervous about performing, but there was so much new about this first show that I felt a ton of pressure. But it went well. People seemed to really enjoy the new Parselmouths songs I played, and I couldn't even believe how many people were singing along to the ALL CAPS set. People were singing so loud I could barely hear myself singing, and one time I even accidentally started singing the Owl City lyrics to Lumos Flies because I saw a girl in the front row mouthing them. Oops!

That night we had to go pick Eia up at the Newark airport, and then we stayed the night at Lauren's parents' house. The next morning was spent eating wonderful bagels and then piling in the car for our first show with the entire group.

Morgantown, WV - We were expecting this show to be pretty small, but the turnout was great! I think there were 30-40 people crowded into the library by the time we started. Hayley was still traveling along with us for a few days (until we got to Akron) so we made use of the fact that we had 3/5 of the fiveawesomegirls in attendance and filmed a bunch of stuff with the audience involved.

This was our first hotel night. Not much to report there, expect that we all realized we were going to get very used to staying in hotels.

Akron, OH - This show was gigantic! We played in this huge auditorium in a library in Akron, and there were just so many people filling all the seats. This was definitely the biggest show we'd played yet, and I think Luke and I took over 30 pictures with people over the course of just this one night. I think one of my favorite parts of touring is meeting so many awesome people in all of the different cities. I feel like I have had so many great little conversations with people, almost like my twitter @replies and YouTube comments are coming to life. It's been neat. Also I got the audience to do the wave. It made me happy, haha.

This concluded the hayleyghoover portion of our tour; after going to her flagship Chipotle with her, we had to say our goodbyes and leave her in Ohio. Then it was another long night of driving.

St. Louis, MO - We played a show in the basement of a church, and again, had way more people in attendance than we expected. There were some very, very enthusiastic fans at this show, and I had a really great time hanging out with everyone here. It's funny, now, what things I remember about each show. I know these happened really recently, but we've played a LOT of shows and they're all starting to blur together in my mind. But I do particularly remember that at this show, there was a birthday cake with dinosaurs on it, and someone made us a huge dish of pasta. I ate two plates of the pasta. Mmmm. Tour is good.

This night we got to stay at our friend Monica's house, which was nice. She made us some amazing salsa and we all had a laptop party while Luke played video games with her two little sons.

Manhattan, KS - Even though we just played a show at this same venue a few months ago, it was super, super fun to play here again. K-State University is amazing and the woman who organizes our shows here (Karin) is just wonderful. Also, we met up with Alex, Jason and Steph who are currently on The Next Great Adventure (our rival tour that's currently going in the opposite direction from us) (actually they're some of my best friends and it was really great to see them). The show was awesome and everyone performed really well. Jason taught his Skyway Flyer set to Luke and I in about 10 minutes so we ended up doing that with him, which was fun (albeit a little stressful; I wrote a lyric or two on my hand in sharpie, haha). I think this show still holds the record for the furthest distance a fan drove to see us, which was this family who traveled TEN HOURS. So awesome. I don't think my Mom would have EVER driven me ten hours to see a band I liked. And I have a great Mom. But still, she would have laughed in my face I think.

Denver, CO - This library was awesome. We played in this little triangle shaped room, and people brought us cookies! Also, I forgot to mention, the day before this show Lauren taught Eia how to play ukelele in the car, so after literally one day of practice, Eia decided to give it a go, and I think it went really well! Eia is a small person so I think she looks really cute playing a ukelele. After the show, we had another really long night of driving. Night driving sucks.

Cody, WY - This show was another one that we were expecting to be very big. I remember before we got there Matt told us, "12 people have RSVP'd for our Cody show. 7 of them were us." But we got there and I think there at least 30-40 people at this show too! Everyone was really enthusiastic and having a great time too, so honestly, that's what matters in having a fun show. Thankfully after the show we didn't have to drive far; we just got a hotel right there in Cody and actually got to go to bed at a normal time for once.

Yellowstone Day Off - We finally, finally got a day off! We did have to spend most of it driving (getting from Cody, WY to Coeur d'Alene, ID in one day) but we got to take our time doing so, and spent the afternoon perusing Yellowstone. We got to see Old Faithful, and the Paint Pots, and experienced a traffic jam caused by Bison being on the road. It was a really relaxing, fun day getting to be tourists with everyone else on tour. I think it was my favorite day so far.

I feel like just highlighting the shows leaves out a ton of the finer points of tour, which includes the hours and hours spent in the car, the hilarious gas station stops, the silly things purchased in various cities (like our big-eyed stuffed animal tour pets) and all the restaurants we've eaten at. One thing I love about touring with Matt is that he doesn't eat fast food, so we've been completely skipping the McDonald's, the Dairy Queen's, the Wendy's, the Arby's of America. This is great because 1. it's way healthier for everyone and 2. we get to experience a lot of really fun little cafes and grills and diners. Maybe this is just because of how much I love food, but I think the stops for food at fun places have been some of my favorite parts of tour.

Anyway, things have been crazy and hectic and busy, but I am loving my summer and the experiences I get to have right now.

Last google search: I am typing this in the car so I don't have internet, so I'll tell you instead that we just passed Exit 74, Labree Rd.
Chipotle burritos: 13