Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two Tales of Park City

I: New Year's Eve 2009 skiing with the family, or rather, the attempt.

Our goal was family bonding on the slopes with Jim, Sue, Megan, and Chris. After spending two hours in the ski rental shop near home behind a family with about 30 children all being fitted for skis, Nate, Angie, Phil and I treked to Park City via Kate and Jerry's Expedition, which Nate managed to borrow. Upon arrival to the Park City ski resort parking lot, our process was:

  1. Enter parking lot at the south entrance
  2. Turn at each row to ferret out available spots for parking
  3. At end of rows, take loop back to south entrance
  4. Repeat
Keep in mind, an Expedition is not a small sedan and many cars were parked outside the lines. At one point, we considered moving a relatively small sports car that was double parked in two spots, as were many of the cars parked there that day. So tempting.
The steps above were completed repeatedly for 1.5 hours before we were almost out of gas and gave up at about 1:35 pm.
Fortuitously, the ski shop gave us a rental credit for another day. Someone in our party suggested the liquor store as our next venue. Another plus: we were able to trade our Park City Ski Resort passes for passes to Brighton Ski Resort, which is a lot closer to home and has much better organized parking with lot attendants everywhere. We got "princess parking" (front row) on New Year's Day.

II. Saturday, January 30, 2010 - Sundance Film Festival, or ... we tried.

Angie and I have a decade-long mother-daughter Sundance Film Festival tradition. Historically, our Sundance has been everything from walking Main Street and ending up at Slamdance, an alternative film festival, to obtaining leftover tickets of others or buying our own tickets and actually seeing a film. This year's intention was a spontaneous party invite. I was secretly hoping to be discovered, since I need a job anyway.

Knowing that I may appear dressed like an Orem housewife, Angie brought me some hip black leather boots to borrow. "Very comfortable," she said, "and stylish." She showed me how to tuck in my jeans for a sleek look. I almost felt 25. Or at least like a 35-year old celebrity from LA.

Traffic was moving well at Kimball Junction, where we exited the freeway, so I was hopeful that parking and crowds were not going to be a concern. As I drove, I visualized a parking spot, not a princess parking spot, but any spot within six blocks of Main Street. Once we got to Deer Valley Drive, our process was:

  1. Enter upper Main Street parking areas from the south
  2. Turn into each row to ferret out available spots for parking
  3. At end of rows, go back out to the road (in some cases, we had to back up as there was only one way in and out)
  4. Loop back down to Deer Valley Drive via Park Avenue
  5. Repeat
We mostly tried for the free parking, but we saw "lot full" signs at $10 parking lots, too. And ... because I forgot to visualize a $10 bill, we couldn't pay anyway.

All told, we probably spent 1.5 hours in search of parking. In the car, we discussed everything from courtship to business ideas to why it isn't helpful to tell an overweight person they are overweight (the reason: they already know). Thus, the female bonding happened, regardless of the parking outcome.

Somehow ... we ended up at our favorite Mexican food salsa bar, El Chubasco.

The shredded beef tacos and chicken enchiladas almost made up for my not being mistaken for a celebrity while walking down Main Street. Almost.


Park City? Park where? You should go, but don't let the name Park City fool you, especially if you are going to try parking during peak crowd times. Especially if your destination is Main Street or Park City Ski Resort. Parking will throw you for a loop, no pun intended. A better plan may be to park and shuttle, park and hike, or better yet, take a bus.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Fifteen Milliseconds of Fame Have Come and Gone Without Mention of My Name

I read 100s of blogs. A stranger mentioned me in their blog today. It is one thing to engage in the somewhat narcissistic activity of blogging about yourself and your life and your friends, but quite another to hear someone else has blogged about you. As if you're a celebrity.
Is This My Fifteen Minutes of Fame? Most of my allotted fifteen minutes of fame was used doing public relations radio spots. WTKK was a small country radio station in Durham, North Carolina with a huge velvet Elvis wall hanging in the lobby. On the biggest live radio microphone I have ever seen, I invited everyone in town to come for "beer and dares" in the Nature Park (inhabited by deer and bears) at North Carolina Museum of Life and Science where I worked. No eight-second tape delay there. We had good attendance that weekend. I didn't get fired. Go figure.

Me and Fame Go Way Back. When I was young, I thirsted for fame. I was so hoping my dad would get elected president so that I could be famous before I turned 18 and began my career as a famous actress. Too bad he never ran ... he'd have been a great president, and I could've been famous. The acting career never got off the ground, really. I was Tree #2 in a play when I was a Brownie.

What's a Girl To Do? Seriously, what should I do? Shall I famously contact the blogger to set up a time for tea? Or a tee time? Maybe a tanning salon visit? No, I won't. I have connected the dots. This is a "friend of a friend of a friend" situation, not a signal of my pending fame. Still, I am going to wait this one out, and see if my name or additional references to me come up again in the blogosphere. It could be cool to find out about myself and my life from unknown sources. I'll keep everyone posted.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Outdoor Concert in Park City, or ... how my fingers almost fell off from frostbite

Thousands of people assembled in a huge throng on lower Main Street in Park City last night to hear The Bravery, a hip indie rock group from New York City.

How to almost get invited to a party. If I was going to freeze, at least I had to have a great view of the concert. People were standing on the second floor of a building nearby the stage, so I headed there. It was a VIP party. The security people smiled when I walked by, and they almost let me in ... til I walked back a step, and then they said, "Oh you're not ....?" I'm unsure who exactly they thought I was, but I apparently resembled a groupie wannabe, with my British plaid cap and used but oh so coveted boots left behind by my daughter last month. (Note to self: wear that outfit again next week for the opening of the Sundance Film Festival, and skip the backwards step.)

Settling for less isn't always a bad thing. Halfway down the stairs where I stood was about 10 feet from the stage and I had an unobstructed view, except for two little girls whose parents were nowhere in sight occasionally blocked my view when they were climbing up and down the side of the stairs. My great standing spot became more commendable as the crowd below got bigger with each passing minute and the little girls left.

Warm up was an overstatement. The warm up band was Location Location. Warm up did not apply to the temperatures outside which were near frigid compared to being inside. Still it was a warm winter evening in Park City. I don't recall much about Location Location's music, since they stopped playing shortly after I arrived, but here is their website, in case anyone needs to know.

Unconditional. The anticipation built before the lead band, The Bravery, went onstage, and the crowd screamed when the group opened with one of their biggest hits, Unconditional.

Tales of the mosh pit. Immediately, the "mosh pit" began moshing wildly. For those who don't know, moshing is pushing or body slamming, but not quite cage boxing. It doesn't matter if you know your fellow moshers or not, and it looks like quite the rush, unless you bruise easily.

A gentleman and his wife who were likely older than age 60 were seeking the Park City nightlife experience to compliment their day on the slopes. Sadly, they should have gone to the Orion Music Festival a few blocks up the street, because the mosh pit had no official borders and grew by the minute to include them, or, more precisely, it surrounded them. And they could've sat indoors in a heated bar.

The man pushed the moshers away from him all evening. My guess is that the last time he went to a concert, it was either Tony Bennett or Karen Carpenter, and he had seats in the orchestra section. He had an irritated expression on his face ... "I got here first and I will be dipped in mustard breathing cockroaches before I will concede my standing room to you young morons." At some point, I may pursue a discussion of the relative merits of moshing, but not here, not now. Still, it was my assessment that in spite of the poor man's frustration at losing his spot near the front row, he could have moved away from the moshers if his personal safety was really that important to him.

Drums and no money. Before the concert, I heard a radio DJ compare The Bravery to Depeche Mode, and I could hear resemblance, although Depeche Mode is a little smoother in their instrumentation, whereas The Bravery emphasizes drums. And I like drums. Musically, the concert was as good as any of the paid concerts I have attended in the last couple of years, but without the special effects that accompany a well funded tour production. The members of the band were quite animated and connected well with the eager crowd.

You didn't learn these words studying for the GRE. After a few songs, the lead singer peppered the crowd with strings of four-letter words, but the organizers quickly told him to tone it down. And he did, well sort of (he modified song lyrics and sang his four-letter words instead). I don't go to enough of these types of concerts to know: is repetitive use of profanity now standard operating procedure for today's rock music scene? I would think sponsors would have concerns, yet I saw this situation when Nickelback and their warm up groups behaved similarly this past summer at USANA Amphitheater. It's always great to see entertainers push the envelope to get notariety, but being the neopuritan I am, I'd love to see these chaps learn a few new vocabulary words.

Another Brit boy band? The Bravery reminded me of a typical British boy band, even though they're from New York City. And they seem to have a big following in Britain, with plentiful websites where Brits can buy their CDs for a few pounds, definitely under US$5. I may buy a CD of the group myself. has used ones starting at 91 cents, which I can afford even on my restricted budget. If my car CD player worked, I can envision myself barreling down the highway on a Friday afternoon, singing along with the lead singer.

Free? really? Incidentally, the concert was sponsored in conjunction with the VISA Freestyle International World Cup January 14-16 at Deer Valley, which like the concert is free to the public.

I survived. Thanks to a pair of warm gloves and the unseasonably warm 27 degree weather, my fingers survived the chilly night. Barely. Brrrrrr ....

Disclosure: ticket price FREE

Thursday, January 14, 2010


In the recent past, I subscribed to Investopedia's Finance Word of the Day, and discovered the term FUNemployment. FUNemployment means that you are having fun while seeking your next job opportunity. In some cases, it may be termed "job hunt light" or for others, job hunt on a cruise ship. FUNemployment tends to attract the young, single, and unencumbered who prefer trips to Europe or margaritas on the beach to re-establishing themselves in the workforce.

Blogs and websites devoted to FUNemployment are thriving. Here are just a few ... - Featuring "fun things to do while other people are at work," this site lists outings, events, and activities in San Francisco, LA, Washington DC, and New York City. I wonder who can afford to live on those cities sans job. - This is a radio show devoted to fun off the job. - This blog went inactive when the blogger got another job in July 2009.

After being laid off in August, I was busily occupied with my daughter's September wedding. Then, I did some risk policy consulting for three months on a contract basis, followed immediately afterwards by a bustling houseful of family here during the holidays.

This is my first full week of FUNemployment. I've gone to yoga a lot and have attended two get-togethers with friends. I'm not having so much fun that I want to devote a blog to FUNemployment, but I'm glad it exists because UNemployment has an ugly side.

The blogger of Jobless and Less, who's been laid off four times in nine years, confessed that being unemployed is like an emotional roller coaster, and I couldn't agree more.

You wonder if the layoff could've been prevented if you had performed at a higher level, or if your former colleagues are pitying you. On the up side, you may sleep in til almost 9 am and not feel too guilty. And a state of mind ... "I'm going to have fun today!" warrants some consideration for those who can.

Besides talking to a headhunter today about a couple of job opportunities, I chatted with friends and family, and studied charts for stocks that I own. A busier than usual day, I haven't gone to yoga nor have I checked my horoscope. But soon, I'm heading to a concert in Park City, something I wouldn't have been able to do when I was working 60 hour weeks for my previous employer.

Hello FUNemployment. Count me in.