Monday, June 22, 2009

My Weekend with the Holmes Girls

This weekend I had the privilege of staying with the two younger Holmes girls while Genny and Jeff were away. I always count it a joy to spend time with Rebecca and Abigail - two of my favorite girls! I went over after work on Friday, and we braved the heat to play a couple of rounds of free putt-putt.

Abigail must have sat on every single animal at the course!

The master putter at work...

pretty flower on the course
our best attempt at a group pic

After sleeping in on Saturday (which was lovely!), we spent the rest of the day chilling in the pool. The near-100-degree heat was made bearable by our frozen QuikTrip slushees from the night before, and of course the pool water. Abigail and I were out there for over 4 hours. I got a little cooked, even with sunscreen. But it was a perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Texas Rangers, Sunsets, and Fireworks

Friday night a group of my friends decided to take in a Texas Rangers game. Now I really enjoy going to baseball games, and the Rangers are actually doing well this year (for once!), but for some reason I never really have gotten into actually WATCHING the Rangers games. I LOVE watching the Braves though! Anyway, the game was a lot of fun, and the Rangers beat the Dodgers 6-0.

The view of the new Cowboys Stadium on the way into the ballpark

Love this pic of Amanda, Amy, and me!The color accent feature on my camera gives some interesting views.

Honestly, I really didn't watch much of the game. I was more interested in photographing the amazing sunset and trying to catch pictures of the incredible lightning storm that surrounded the stadium. Shockingly, the storm never hit us - it seemed to go right around the stadium - but it sure put on a good show for us. Unfortunately, I never did get a pic of the lightning (this was the second time this week that I tried unsuccessfully to get pics of lightning, and if you haven't heard the story of my Wednesday night attempt, let's just say my head had an encounter with a falling iron and may never be the same!). Regardless, I was able to get some great sunset shots, and also thoroughly enjoyed the fireworks show that closed out our evening (I'm like a little kid with fireworks - I LOVE THEM!). I was just disappointed that nature's fireworks seem to evade my photography skills. Maybe next time...

(If you look closely below, you'll see a rainbow in the middle of the sunset - just to the right of the big baseball)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cowboys Stadium - Inaugural Concert with George Strait and Reba McEntire!

This weekend was the big concert - George Strait, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, and Lee Ann Womack for the inaugural event at the huge new Cowboys Stadium. I have been excited about this concert since Alissa first mentioned it in March, and especially after I found out she actually got us tickets! Doors opened at 4:00, so we headed over mid-afternoon, expecting bad traffic but being pleasantly surprised at how light it was. Like I said, the stadium is ginormous! It's quite impressive from the outside, though inside it really looks like any other stadium, only brand new and quite a bit bigger. The four-sided screen was incredible - massive, and with great clarity, definitely HD. The retractable roof takes 12 minutes to open, as we verified when George Strait got the entire crowd chanting "Raise the roof! Raise the roof!" and they opened it midway through his set. It also has retractable end-zone doors, but they didn't raise those. We were all quite impressed by the stadium as a whole, though let me say, they REALLY need to work on the sound/acoustic issues. The sound was HORRIBLE, at least on the upper level. It sounded like they didn't have the upper speakers working, and so all we heard was the reverb as the sound echoed all around the stadium. It sounded like they were singing in a tunnel. It was quite frustrating, since we really wanted to actually HEAR the singers, and it was extremely hard to understand what they were saying, and sometimes difficult to even recognize what song was being performed. :( But overall we were pleased with the experience, and so excited to be a part of this inaugural event.

The opening act, the very first person to ever perform at the new stadium, was Lee Ann Womack, though originally it was supposed to be Julianne Hough. Julianne had to cancel at the last minute due to strep throat, so Lee Ann stepped in. That was fine with me, I like Lee Ann Womack, and don't really know anything about Julianne. Unfortunately, the sound was so bad during Lee Ann's set that we were all quite annoyed, so we didn't enjoy it as much as we would have had we been about to actually hear.

We were hoping that the sound issues were because Lee Ann was a last minute substitute, and possibly didn't have the opportunity to work with the sound people. Unfortunately, not so much. So Joanna and I decided to be proactive in figuring out what the problem was. We talked to people on the other side of the stadium who said their sound wasn't bad at all. Then we talked to a stadium employee who allowed us to move to some seats where the view wasn't as good, but the sound was better. Worked for us! The view of the screens was still great, and the people on stage were about the size of ants anyway, so I'd much rather hear than see. The sound for Blake Shelton was better than anyone else. He was very entertaining, and I really enjoyed when he sang "Ol Red".
And then came...REBA!!!!! It's been a while since I've seen her in concert, but she is always excellent in a live show, so I was so excited to see her. More excited about her than George, actually. She didn't let me down either. She didn't do her usual multiple costume changes, but that's okay. Less time changing clothes = more time singing, right? She sang several old favorites, including "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" and "I'm A Survivor", as well as her new single, and she even previewed a new song from her upcoming album called "I Want A Cowboy." However, when she finished her set without singing "Fancy," I knew that she would come back in a red dress and sing "Fancy" as her encore. Sure enough, she did, and it was great!

After Reba's fabulous performance, George Strait was a little more understated, but he was still really good. He sang a lot of songs, both old and new, and used the ribbon screens all around the stadium to provide special effects. For example, in "The Fireman," the song started out with the ribbon screens covered in alternating red and blue swirling lights, then shifted to flames so that the entire stadium looked like it was on fire. So cool! He sang till almost 11:30 to close out an absolutely amazing concert. I can only imagine how good it would have been if the sound had been up to par. All in all, though, it was a terrific evening of great entertainment, good friends, and the chance to be a small part of Texas history.