Wednesday, June 1, 2011


This past memorial weekend I was out at a four day music festival called Sasquatch. I was a bit leery about spending four days camping out with tens of thousands of people. It wasn’t long until the performers won me over and by the end of the festival on Monday night I only wanted more. Here is my official Sasquatch survival tips and trip report.

Picking Shows

At first I spent a lot of time in anguish over which shows to go to. I spent nights listening to artists and filling in a little calendar. Definitely try to listen to as much as you can before the show. But just cause the album is killer don’t expect the show to rock. Many artists I love sucked on stage and many artists I’ve never heard of or I expected to not be good on stage were incredibly good performers. The beauty of Sasquatch is they have four stages going. If you’re not stoked about the show, move to a different stage.

Take Notes

You’ll get a show schedule when you walk in. Carry a pen and make notes on the schedule about the shows you like so you can grab their albums later. I saw as many as fourteen different artists perform in a day. It’s very easy to mix them up and find yourself at home unable to find the albums of your new favorite bands.

Be Prepared

This is an outdoor show. You need a full car camping setup with plenty of good food. Clothing for very warm weather and in your back pack clothing for very cool and possibly wet weather. Also stuff a water bottle in with sunscreen. Temperatures changed drastically from day to night and the sun was very powerful. All to often I saw sunburned people in their shorts and tank tops shivering in a fetal position at night. I don’t think I personally would have had as good a time like that.

Get Up Close To The Stage

The sound stinks if you aren’t at least as close as the sound engineering tent. There’s a reason everyone is shoving their way in close and you need to do the same. You’ll also be emotionally boosted with the crowd and the band closer in.

Who Rocked it?

These were the best shows at Sasquatch:

Sharon Van Etting: A very chilled out sound. Easy guitar sounds with female vocals.

Local Natives: I love the vocals of these guys. The blend of voices along with a steady but relaxed beat is enchanting.

Washed Out: Stronger electronic sounds from keyboards and good vocals.

Mad Rad: Not a particular fan of the lyrics from this hip hopish sounding band but big time stage presence and willing to mix it up with the crowd and climb the scaffolding.

Stornoway: These guys belong at every outdoor music festival. Their folksy sounding music and lyrics fit perfectly.

Foster The People: This might have been the best show I saw. Has the makings of a pop rock band but definitely unique style and incredible performance on stage.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela: Just the two of them and their guitars. No supporting instruments and no vocals. You would be hard pressed to find any other pair that could as thoroughly entertain with so little.

The Decemberists: I’ve heard some of their music before and always found it kinda meh. Their show started out as I expected but each song was better than the last. They wrapped it up with The Mariner’s Revenge song which had the whole place going absolutely mad. Incredible show.

Other artists worth checking out: Wye Oak, Cotton Jones, Talkdemonic, Basia Bulat, S. Carey, Other Lives, Beach House (A bitch to the crowd though), Givers, Head Like A Kite

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dreading Locks

I'm fortunate enough to have some awesome friends who helped dread up my hair. It was quite an experience and I'm very happy with the results but here's a few things I learned about getting dreads.
  1.  It really hurts: Your friends gotta yank away at your hair to get those dreads in. As time goes on they get tired and more careless about the inflicted pain. It reached a point where I needed a break from the tugging.
  2. The first night of sleep is rough: The dreads stick straight out your head at first and you just had them yanked in. Between the soar scalp and the awkwardly protruding hair, sleep is difficult. I kept dreaming I was having more dreads yanked in all night too!
  3. They actually look like dreads: It takes months for dreads to truly form. But they look pretty legit right after they are pulled in.
  4. It takes a lot of time: I had four friends backcombing for at least 3 hours. That's 12 people hours worth of time. Thank you guys!
Here's some pics of the process and results.

Dreadlock Sectioning People Backcombing Dreadlocks
Pre-dread Sectioning. Cute huh?
Everyone getting busy on a dread.
Backcombing Dreadlocks Backcombing Dreadlocks
Dread Crew Getting Serious
Almost done backcombing Dreadlocks New Dreadlocks
Almost Done.
All done!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Erica's New Ride

I have finally fulfilled a promise to Erica to build her a new bike. The frame is a Klein Panache formerly known as a Klein Kirsten. It was designed by Gary Klein for his wife whom is a smaller female. A very rare frame and a lucky find. I built it up with only a rear derailleur and a 10 speed 11-34 cassette with a single 39 up front. The bike came out really clean and simpler to operate without the extra derailleur up front. Most importantly it seems Erica loves it and the fame really does look like it was designed for her when she is riding it around.

You'll notice Sloughs Bike Shoppe's name in the non-drive side chain stay. Gary made this frame specifically for George and painted the shop's name in there. A major thank you to George and Ben who helped me out with the more tricky parts about building this bike.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Indian Birthday Party

We've been taking it real easy in Bodhgaya india soaking in Indian village life and watching the Buddhist monks. A friend staying at the same guest house as us named Mani has introduced us to a family living in a shack beside the road that serves chai tea and meals to passers by.


Their home is about ten by ten for a mother, two daughters, and a son. The walls are made of brick covered by mud. The roof is bamboo, thatch, and tarps. The place is well kept and clean despite the dirt floors but at the same time this is not the kind of place a traveler should be eating at if they would like to avoid food borne illness. Never the less we have eaten and taken tea here two nights in a row.

On our first night, we learn that the younger daughter Mintha is turning twelve and we are invited to her birthday party. We agree to show up.

When we arrive chai tea is made and they clear out the bedroom section of the shack. This involves lifting what looks like a large coffee table out of the room and putting it in the street. The coffee table is in fact the bed. Blankets are laid on the floor. Both the daughters are making a huge fuss over preparations. Balloons are filled and hung from the ceiling along with paper streamers.

Mintha is extremely excited about all the party supplies they purchased. She keeps opening her cake box and telling us how much everything costs. She also has purchase a knife specially for cutting the cake. The birthday song is activated as you cut. It's probably the most freaky knife I've seen. An Australian man had given them 500 rupee (about $12.50) earlier in the day and they spent just about all of it on this party. This might sound odd for a poor family except that her birthday also falls on the first of a three day Hindu festival called Diwali. The first day is in warship of the Hindu god Lakshmi and involves spending a lot of money in belief that letting money go easy helps money come back to your family easily in the future.

With preparations complete, we begin with a Hindu ceremony. Mintha is given markings with some sort of red spice followed by Erica, Mani, and myself, the guests of the house. Next they light some incense, a little white pill is also lit on fire in a plate along with rice. It is waved around the birthday girl's face and the guests then the rice is thrown atop our heads.

Mintha's Big sister. Mintha beginning second
attempt at cutting without the candles.

After the religious ceremony, it's time for the birthday song. They light all the candles on the cake and just chant "happy birthday to you" about 10 times then the girls immediately start chopping the cake. Keep in mind the candles are still lit. Apparently in India blowing out the candles isn't a part of this ritual. Also when I say chop I really mean butcher. The candles are falling into this poor little cake and the things is being stabbed to death. Finally they resolve to digging into it with the fingers and hefting it into plates made of dried banana leafs. They also fill a second set of plates with small hard candies and some sort of stuff I can only describe as the salty mixes often found at a bar.

Erica, Mani, and I are served the plates and according to some custom I'm only aware of now, the guests must eat before everyone else so we start digging in. The cake is immediately followed by dinner which is a bit frighteningly cold. We eat it anyhow and hope we didn't make a horrible decision (not sick 12 hours later...).

As we finish up dinner the girls are dumping out a ton firecrackers and rationing them out amongst the other children. For about two hours they are blasting them off having a fantastic time while we lounge near the house drinking chai. Firecrackers have been going off over the last week or so and more and more go off every night as we near the third day of Diwali which, as far as pyrotechnics are concerned, compares the the fourth of July in U.S.A.

This is basically the most intimate we have been with an Indian family up to this point. The whole event was awesome and I can only hope we have additional opportunities to meet more people.