Thursday, June 30, 2011

June in Photos

Guitar Wolf
N8 | Guitar Wolf on a wall

N8 | M&M sorting at Dorkbot

N8 | Midnights at the Steve Allen Theter

Goodnight E3
N8 | Night falls on E3

Cowboys on the horizon #nokiaunfenced
N8 | Out in the desert

C7 | In motion

N8 | Betrayal at the House on the Hill

N8 | A typical Monday night

Friday, June 17, 2011

#nokiaunfenced in the Wild West

Connecting people
N8 | Its all about Connecting People

This past weekend the fine folks from Wom World Nokia invited me and 19 other members of their community out to Las Vegas for a meet up.

They flew me out Friday morning out of a 60 degrees cool Burbank. After a bumpy ride, I landed into 100 degree Las Vegas. I met with a couple of other bloggers both old and new and headed to the hotel.

N8 | Wanted posters and Nokia bags

The hotel turned out to be a beautiful resort out in Henderson called Green Valley Ranch. After checking in I saw a table of wanted posters. I giggled because my poster has a power ranger on it.

N8 | My wanted poster

N8 | Nloggers in the sun

I spent the afternoon at Green Valley Ranch's Pond pool chatting with the other bloggers. More and more people arrived until there was no more room to sit.

Party Bus #nokiaunfenced
N8 | As evening arrived, we were herded onto a bus and headed to Planet Hollywood's PBR Grill

N8 | Dessert

After wandering through the casino, we found our way to the PBR Grill. The food portions were ridiculously huge. Nobody cleared their plate. My dessert above was a Vanilla ice cream cookie plate. Afterwards we headed to see the mechanical bull. Only two of us were brave enough to ride with a full stomach.

N8 | Kevin from nokiaknowings on the bull.

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel and almost lost a person who got lost in the casino. While some of us called it a night, some of us enjoyed the outdoor lounges at the Green Valley Ranch. In the morning we reconvened for breakfast in the morning at the buffet. I recall getting four plates of food.

N8 | Filling forms on the bus

We were herded on a bus to head out to the desert. We had to fill out some waiver forms. We were informed that we needed to find the cowboy and we might win a prize. I made sure to get notified every time the cowboy made a move.

N8 | Nokia Ranch

We arrived at the Nokia Ranch and were greeted with a nice breeze that brought the temperature down. We were given cowboy hats and embroidered shirts with our twitter handles on them. We split up into two groups to set off for the challenges of the day. My group went to go ride the ATVs first while the other group went horseback riding.

N8 | Getting ready for ATV rides

I had a C7 Astound attached to the front of my ATV, which shot a full 60 minutes of footage. I wish I could post something interesting, but a) I suck at video editing b) the Astound was mostly pointed at the sky. Riding the ATVs was a ton of fun. We had a few straight-aways where we could go full throttle, some steep downhills and some treacherous turns. Nobody in my group tipped over, although many came close. One of the guys in my group was in a cart and filming. Every time I saw him I hammed it up by taking my hands off the handlebars.

N8 | Me and Chief

The groups switched activities and I hopped on my horse Chief. Riding a horse wasn't too hard. We had a relaxing ride through the desert. Chief kept very close to the horse in front of us. Only a few times did I have to steer him, although I had to pull him when he tried to eat some grass.

C7 Astound | Storytellers

After the horse ride, we headed inside to get ready for a mine tour. The walls were heavily decorated by the owners with all sorts of stuff from animal heads to old trinkets. They showed us pictures of bad animal encounters as well as some frozen rattlesnakes. They gave us a history of the mine and how some filming often takes place there at Techatticup.

N8 | Looking up deep inside the mine

We headed inside the mine and heard about the trials of living here back in 1887. At some places the mine went 600 feet straight up and 600 feet straight down.

Cowboys on the horizon #nokiaunfenced
N8 | Cowboys on the horizon

It took a while for everyone to exit the mine, so some of us explored the area a bit. When everyone got out, we watched a drop test of a Nokia C7 Astound, HTC HD7 and Samsung Galaxy S 4G. They were dropped 3 times from heights ranging from 5 to 15 feet. This wasn't enough, so we headed back to the ranch to drop them from the second floor of a barn at 25 feet.

N8 | Test results

While some of us grabbed dinner, the phones were dropped. The HTC HD7's screen was shattered and done for. The C7 Astound's screen became disconnected, but remained functional. The Samsung Galaxy S 4G surprisingly survived.

N8 | Lenny from Nokia Innovation learns roping

After dinner, we learned some rope tricks and sang songs by a campfire. I was happy to see so much dark sky and stargazed for most of the evening. We then hopped back on the bus and returned to the resort.

N8 | Green Valley Ranch pool area at night

When we got back to the hotel and everyone went back to their rooms for a shower. Some of us came back to meet up at the Lobby Bar. With my 2nd check in, I became its mayor on Foursquare. I wasn't too long afterwards that I noticed the cowboy had tweeted his location in the lobby. I was first to find him and won a prize, a Nokia BH-905i bluetooth headset. My friend Jeb mentioned he never saw me drunk, so I proceeded to order 4 really strong drinks over the course of the night. After spending time in the lounge, jacuzzi and another bar, I became too drunk to stand upright and was walked back to my room.

N8 | Breakfast!

I woke up and headed to breakfast. I said goodbye to a few that left early. I hung out with some of the bloggers in the outdoor beds when the cowboy dropped off my gift. I unboxed my new BH-905i and charged it up. I said some more goodbyes and then had lunch at the Pond pool. Lounging at the pool, I was quite surprised with how popular tattoos are nowadays.

#nokiaunfenced @thecowboy1887 dropped off a gift
N8 | My gift from the Cowboy

Me and my small group of travelers were escorted by Donna from Womworld to the airport so she could return her rental car. I fired up Nokia Maps and it crashed right away! After a reboot and some u-turns, Nokia Maps was ready to roll and we made our way to the rental car return. In the terminal, I tested out the BH-905i and was wide eyed with wonder. On the flight back, they worked out wonderfully. After landing I picked up my bags and headed home exhausted from an amazing weekend.

I am very grateful to WomWorld and Nokia for inviting me along for this magnificent ride.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Rammstein Double Shot

RAMMSTEIN finally came back to town after a ten year absence and I got to see them twice during the month of May.

N8 | Rammstein performing Du Hast

I first saw them way back in 1997 at the Hollywood Palladium opening for KMFDM and Lords of Acid. I had come back to LA after my first quarter at college to see all my old high school friends. We had only known of Rammstein via the Lost Highway soundtrack. I imported the debut album Herzeleid and learned the songs. I remember my friend Son getting shocked when the full version of Heirate Mich was played. I also remember during Du Hast they used a telephone with a bomb in it.

I saw them again in 1998 at the Palace when they toured with Rob Halford's band 2wo. They came back in 1999 to the Shrine Auditorium and brought mindless self indulgence with them. The last time I saw Rammstein was on July 4, 2001 at the Palace. They did a cover of Pet Sematary, which had extra meaning after the passing of Joey Ramone.

When Rammstein announced tour dates, I marked my calendar for the onsale date for the LA Forum. Fantastic: my first Rammstein stadium show! I knew I didn't want floor tickets, I'm far too old for that nowaways. At first Ticketmaster couldn't give me tickets. I tried again and scored Loge 1 row N. This was directly opposite the stage, the perfect spot to view the show.

N8 | Firebow

A few weeks ago, I was looking at 1iota for tickets to see Craig Ferguson for his May 17th taping. I knew Jimmy Kimmel sometimes had concerts so I checked out what was playing and I was shocked Rammstein was performing the day before the Forum show. I immediately signed up for tickets. A couple of days later, I was notified the show was sold out. I signed up for the Kimmy Kimmel tv show taping. Again, sold out. Shit.

It finally came time to see Craig Ferguson. The friend who was supposed to go with me no showed. I drove down to the CBS studio too late for parking. I drove around and parked a few blocks away. By the time I got in line, I was turned away because they reached capacity. Luckily, they gave me a phone number to call so that I get priority seating for a future show. I converted this into a pass for Jimmy Kimmel. Whoo!

N8 | Rammstein performs Feuer Frei

I arrived to the Kimmel show around 3. I was seated around 5. I watched Mike Tyson get interviewed. The taping didn't finish until 7:30. The warm up comedian had to stall for time while the fire marshall was checking the pyro. They let the concert ticket holders in first. They got the best spots. I still managed to get rail along the side. Rammstein played 5 songs. Not only did I feel the intensity of the fire, I got feul oils on my face and hair. Great show!.

N8 | Flamethrowers

Friday was a rough day. I didn't get much sleep and I left to Long Beach for Tuttle at 8am. After spending 5 hours in Long Beach, my friend picked me up and we had dinner before the show. We killed some time and got to the Forum around 7PM.

I missed the opener Combichrist because I was looking for merchandise. I wanted a tour shirt, but they sold out. By the time I decided I wanted a scarf, those were sold out.

N8 | Rammstein performing Ich Tu Dir Weh

Our seats were great. A bit far away, but they were in the center so we could see the whole show. The full Rammstein show was probably the biggest spectacle I've ever seen. There were plenty of explosions and lights synced up to the music. Of course, there was plenty of fire. On one song, the band members wear masks that shoot long jets of fire. On another song, they set a roadie on fire. Midway through the first set, the backdrop fell and a complicated set of lights would move around from song to song. I think that part of the show was my favorite.

N8 | Angel wings of Engel

After the show, I went back tot he merchandise booth and got a hoodie. Its really comfy. MY friend was super impressed with the show, most notably the production. A week later and he was still gushing over it. I am really looking forward to the DVD.