TV’s Next Big Stars!

KG has graciously blogged about our Monday in Nashville over here at “still to come”. Teaser: we visited the Country Music Hall of Fame & the historic RCA Studio B. She did a super awesome job, but I have one point I need to add. It’s unimportant in the flow of our Monday, but all-important in what happened on Tuesday…which is what this post is about…
At multiple points on Monday evening we lounged about the hostel common area with our new friend Tom. During one of such times the hostel manager Ron came to show us a notice he’d receive. Please don’t confuse Ron with Ron 😡. As opposed to my arch-nemesis Ron 😡 this guy was super helpful & became like a pen pal to me while I was planning the trip/stuck in Denver. Here’s what Ron’s notice said:
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Yes we took a picture of it. We’d hate to forget any of the details and miss our big break on country music television. Originally we didn’t think we’d get to partake in the taping, but our flight home wasn’t until the afternoon so the morning filming worked perfect for us.

After our customary stop at Starbucks we met Tom at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday morning. Filming was to happen in the round glass building attached to it’s front.
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We were briefed slightly then left to chat with the other extras. Many of them were young people trying to break in to the music in various ways (singers, songwriters, producers). They were there to see how a tv taping worked, in case it was relevant in their future careers. We were here for a cool story and a chance to be on tv 😉
The next 2.5 hours were spent being a glorified laugh/clap track. We cheered at the start of each segment. We clapped as they ended. We laughed when the director told us the hosts were saying something funny…although as time went on we learned to trust our instincts and laugh at things we thought were funny. We also learned that laughter must be exaggerated to be effective. It wasn’t super exciting but it was incitingly interesting.
The hosts of the CMT Hot 20, Cody Alan & Alecia Davis, were professional but fun. They played off us all standing there staring at them like it wasn’t awkward and required very few do-over takes. They also smiled a lot…way more than I could ever smile. And with so many bright shiny teeth.
The takes were done in order but per camera. They did all the shots through the show from the fixed camera. Then when through the show again with shots from the steady-cam.
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Then, at lunch time when we were staring to feel our stomachs grumble, they did a TGI Friday’s spot for the Superbowl weekend. We watched them eat cheesey macaroni bites over and over while we starved in the audience.
In the end it was a neat experience and we were glad we went, even if it did spoil the number one video 2 weeks in advance. Who knew they filmed these countdowns so far in advance!? Spoiler: It was Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert’s “We Were Us”. Plus we got to touch people who had once touched people like Luke Bryan & Keith Urban…what hunks. Wait I touched Keith Urban once…he was dressed like a hobo 😉

On the way back from Bridgestone, with sore hands from all the clapping, we swung by the field & the parking lot for photos. We explain why these are of importance in “Nashville’s Nashville”.
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After changing clothes and making sure we were properly packed we hopped in a cab to the airport. There is a flat rate fee between Broadway and the airport, making this the most economical way to travel. We dealt with security immediately. We are stressers and just wanted to be ready to fly and able to relax.

Once unloaded of our suitcases and ready for take off we sought out lunch. We used a trick we’d learned on this trip and followed our ears to the only place with live music: Tootsies Orchid Lounge! Dedicated readers will recognize this as our favorite Broadway haunt. Well apparently it has an airport location too! We munched down burgers and listened to Jeff Ivy serenade us. He was very good and gave us his CD to “spread about Canada.” So all of you out there in internet land: go check out Jeff Ivy! And all of you how actually know me, let me know if you want me to burn you a copy of his CD. We have the artist’s permission to distribute!

Our plane trip was uneventful. We did have to pass through the dreaded Denver International Airport, but I put on my brave face and tried to reminisce fondly about my stay there.
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We landed safely back in Edmonton in the middle of the night, excited for work the next day…or not… The real world sucks! And on the happy note…

Love & Luck,
Kris

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It must be my lucky day!

This morning I was up early to catch the shuttle to the airport. The night before my new shuttle-friends made fun of me for booking what was probably a bit excessively early of a time but I was not risking missing this flight! When I got to the airport I used some of my extra time to grab an Einstein Bros Bagels bagel for breakfast before going through security. Yummmmmm! There was no Pre-Check line for me today so it took a bit longer. I still found their staff very efficient and almost unnaturally friendly. The burly young man who scanned my passport looked up at me and said, “You’ve changed your hair color.” I stared at him confused for a minute thinking I don’t know this guy. How does he know I dyed my hair? Is he stalking me? Should I be afraid? until I realized he was looking at the info/photo on my passport. Goodness Kris, you really need to get more sleep… There really wasn’t any covering up my dumbfounded stare so I just giggled and was like, “Since I got my passport…yes, I dyed it.” To which he laughed and replied, “I like it. The red really suits you.” Why thank you Mr. Handsome Homeland Security Agent. Apparently there really is something about my stranded hobo look that appeals to the men of Denver airport. At least today I was in clean clothes, although I’m not certain when the last time I washed my hair was… :s sketchy …
Fun Airport Security Fact: The George R R Martin Game of Thrones series books are printed differently than most books. It results in a thicker cover and different binding that shows up weird when X-Ray scanned. In both Denver and Edmonton security has asked to search my bag because there was an unidentifiable object in it. When I unzipped it both agents reached in, pulled out A Feast of Crows, laughed and showed it to their coworkers then let me continue on.

Once past security I grabbed a snack for mid-plane-ride and camped out at my gate. It felt weird to know that I would definitely have a seat on this plane. I still felt stupidly nervous though. I guess some habits are hard to break…plus they still could cancel the flight all together. Then the gate attendants called for boarding to begin. All I could think was “I’m getting on a plane!!!” Then she called my boarding group. And then I got on the plane. And it pulled away from the terminal. And it taxied down the runway. And it took off. And it flew all the way to New York!
You kept waiting for something bad to happen in there, right? Well so did I, but it didn’t!
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I got to Newark without a hitch. I even had an empty middle seat in my 3-seat row. Maybe my luck is changing?! I was by the aisle but the nice man next to me let me slide over and snuggle up close to peer out the window at NYC. Today I totally saw the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. It was just from the plane but, hey, still better than Denver. Frankly it was the most exciting thing I’ve seen on the trip so far. I think I’d be kinda sad to leave except that I plan to be back in NY in a matter of months with my old Wonder & Wanderlust travel-buddy Justine.

It was exciting to wander around a new airport, plus I was just so happy to be out of Denver. I’m sorry DIA. It’s not you, it’s me. You’re a perfectly nice airport but I am going to attempt to never return. Flights will no longer just be judged by ‘Which is cheapest?’‘ but also by ‘Am I willing to be stuck in that connecting airport for 4 days?‘ I had to change terminals so I hoped on a bus that took me to Terminal A. There was an Earl of Sandwich right by my gate so I munched down a sandwich and apple juice while I waited for what could be the fligt that actually takes me to my desired destination. Eventually the gate attendant made the announcement and I boarded the plane! Oh my god, I’m actually going to Nashville! I thought this day would never come!
There was no one beside me again on this flight. It was a smaller plane so I was able to scatter my belongings over both seats in my row. It turned out to be an extra blessing when the plane got so hot I thought my feet would melt. Putting them up on the seat next to me might not have been the most polite, but it kept me at a much better temperature.

When we touched down in at BNA (aka the Nashville airport) the plane literally broke into applause. I’m dead serious about this. Over 75% of our flight had just come from Denver and was arriving over 24 hours after their intended arrival time. Personally I was stepping off the plane only 68 hours after originally scheduled. “Only 68 hours?” you say. “It’s seemed longer.” Yes, yes it did. It was the longest 68 hour so of my life.

I was skipping through the airport I was so pleased. Soon I was skipping in time to thet live country music being played right there in the middle of the arrivals terminal. This city is already so cool. I caught the hotel shuttle out front and soon arrived at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. We are staying here until KG’s conference is over, as it is the host hotel. I’m so glad we are because it is indescribably amazing. However I will attempt to describe it later in its very own blog post. I met KG at a musical dancing fountain on the center of Delta Island (seriously, this hotel needs a post all of its own).She showed me to our room where I was reunited with my suitcase. So many clothes! I immediately changed. It didn’t matter that I had washed my one outfit last night, I was sick of it.
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We went for supper at the Jack Daniels restaurant in the hotel. One wall was made entirely out of whiskey barrels and the decor somehow embraced both classy hotel restaurant & dicey honkytonk. I had southern fried chicken & a Tennessee tea (which is basically a Long Island ice tea with JD in it). KG had a half-rack of ribs. In true Americna fashion the meals were too large to finish. I mean did they actually expect me to eat a full 3 dense pieces of fried chicken? Perhaps they did, but would they prepared when I simultaneously had a heart attack & slipped in a food coma after?
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We finished off our night with some hotel exploring…but that’s hush hush right now…
Love & Luck,
Kris

PS: Here’s my one nice picture of Denver…to remember the good times:
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#strandedinDenver

This morning I woke up with absolutely no idea where I was. I groggily rolled over to check the time on my phone and found it in its usual spot…on a totally unfamiliar end table in a unrecognizable room… For one surreal (and kind of terrifying) moment I could have been anywhere, until reality came crashing down, squashing me under the memory of Denver. Apparently the 40 hours with basically no sleep kind of did a number on me. Taking in my carry-on bag and one 2-day old outfit laid out on the desk I recalled that I was at the Holiday Inn Express Denver Airport and was going into Hour 35 of #strandedinDenver.
I found out it was too difficult to get to anything worth seeing in the actual city of Denver (there doesn’t seem to be a lot, mainly parks & art museums but it’s winter & I’m uncultured…apparently their public library is nice) so I got a late checkout and hung out in bed for awhile. Eventually I headed to the airport with hunger as motivation to get moving.

I took the chance to explored a bit more of my new home, aka the Denver airport, today. Before going through security I browsed the shops and halls in the main entry. Then I took the time to catalogue each of the stores & restaurants of Terminal B. Mainly I was on a search for a clean pair of socks (FYI I found some! They’re men’s but at least I haven’t been wearing them for days.). This adventure was inspired by a comment a friend made about looking into the DIA conspiracy theories. “What conspiracy theories?” you ask excitedly…or at least you would if you’re anything like me. I immediately took to the internet to read the blogs of crackpot fools and eccentric lunatics…or hard-hitting investigators, if that’s how you look at it.
It is “widely” believed that DIA is a secret headquarters of the Illuminati, New World Order or American Neo-Natzis. The last comes from speculation that the airport, taxiways and runways create a swastika when viewed from above. It’s believed that there are secret tunnels, chambers and bunkers beneath the airport that will house the new government of a post-apocalyptic government in our impending future. Backup for this can be seen “everywhere,” including in the creepy gargoyle in a suitcase mounted on the wall by the exit, the even creepier (and kinda disturbing) murals scattered about baggage claim and the creepiest red eyed horse (aka “bringer of the apocalypse”) statue in front of the building.
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Anyway, back to my day… Going through the security line was super-duper, uber quick. DIA has this fancy thing called TSA Pre-Check where about 1/5 (that’s my observation approximation) of travelers are randomly sorted into a separate section. First you are swabbed for drugs/explosives/whatever they are always swabbing for. Then you go through the metal detector/bag X-Ray area. So what’s so different? The second part is basically half-assed. You don’t have to remove your shoes or jacket or scarves. You don’t have to open up your bag or remove your laptop. You don’t have to go through the full-body scanner. You just breeze through the shorter line and continue on your way. So convenient.

Once back in my trusty Terminal B I gobbled up a grilled cheese & french onion soup for lunch, got whistled at by another young man (seriously, my unkempt hobo look seems to drive the men of the Denver airport wild with desire) then headed to the gate to wait for my flight. I use the term ‘my flight’ loosely as I didn’t actually have a ticket to get on the plane. I know it’s hard to keep track of all the journies I’ve attempted to take so I’ll remind you: 6:01pm flight to Nashville for which I was 3rd on the waiting list. You might recall that I was 3rd due to a United system screw-up and that the oh-so-helpful Customer Service lady had made a note on my standby pass that I was actually to be first. As so as an attendant join me at the gate I presented her with the most valuable (to me at least) note. The gate attendant then preceded to do absolutely nothing about it. She didn’t seem to care in the least that I was being conned out of my rightful place. Jerk. In the end it didn’t matter though. Departure time came & went and 2 hours later, when the captain still hadn’t arrived & they had been unable to board the plane, the flight was cancelled. Again. If you’re keeping track that is 3 consecutive flights from Denver to Nashville that have now been cancelled. It had been approximately 36 hours since they successfully got a plane sent off to that particular location. Were talking unreal bad luck for me guys.
When they announced the cancellation everyone immediately lept to their feet and practically sprinted to the Customer Service lines. I was last to arrive because I made a stop off at the gate desk. I’d be rolled over to the standby list for the next flight, right? Wrong! The jerk told me the standby list didn’t roll over between days…even thought that was against everything every other United employee had told me so far. What?!? Seriously United, work your shit out. So, as I said, I was last to arrive in the 3+ hour long CS line. I guessed I’d be pushing for 15 hours total now?

Mom & I Facetimed again so that I could rant & rave rather than taking my anger out in a physical way. ‘Why is that crazy chick over there trying to pry up airport seats?’ ‘Check out that crazy chick over there bowling people over on the moving sidewalks.’ ‘Did that crazy chick over there just turn into Godzilla?’ Flight cancellations & delays are one thing, but the inconsistencies in the United policies and the glaring lack of compassion in their procedures was incredibly frustrating. Mama P wasn’t taking anymore of it either. If you haven’t seen Mama P in her crusader for good/what is coming to us mode you are missing out. When she turns Mama Bear she can get shit done and make shit happen!
She called up my arch-nemesis Ron 😡 to try and get some results while I stood in line. I told her there wasn’t much hope. The guy behind me had just called Ron 😡 to change his flight reservation and Ron 😡 had told him the wait time to talk to someone was over 2 hours. I told the guy to stay on the line because the odds were good he’d still get through before we were able to see someone in person. Oh, Fun Fact: United finally added Hold!
But Mom had been warned of Ron 😡‘s antics so rather than say she wanted to change a reservation she said she had other issues. This got her a On Hold wait time of 12 minutes! Go Mom! I ignored her for awhile so she could talk to a mobile representative. Also, I was already seething and you all know how Ron 😡 gets me extra fired up! Instead I discussed ‘weather‘ with 3 young men in front of me. They all agree that it is a bullshit excuse. The on-the-phone customer service person wasn’t able to get me on the standby list for the next flight (that has to be done in person at the airport) but she coudk book me on a flight to Nashville through Newark tomorrow. I said do it! It was the same flight track as my already book Thursday flight, but 24 hours sooner. Plus it would be nice to have a confirmed ticket and not have to sit there feeling sick about whether there’d be any room for standby customers. Now let’s keep our fingers crossed that it isn’t cancelled!

Thanking my mother and every god I could like of (God…Zeus…Thor…they all control the skies, right?) I left the CS line. I guess 11 hours total will have to do 😉 Retracing my steps from the night before I hitched a ride on the hotel shuttle to the Denver Airport Holiday Inn Express. Tonight I made friends with a young man from Atlanta and some Southwestern flight attendants. They told me horror stories of people they’d met at Laguardia who’d been stuck for 5 days. It made me feel a bit better about my 3 days…although they were stuck in NYC, basically one of the coolest cities on the planet, while I was stuck outside of Denver, basically Canada but more boring.
The hotel had a laundry room so I decided to wash my 3 day old clothes. The only problem with washing the one outfit you own? What do you wear while you wash it? I wrapped my LuLu Lemon Vinyasa scarf my sister had given me for my birthday as a skirt and zipped my jacket up over nothing. That would have to do.
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Peace out from The Least Exciting Place Ever Denver!
Love & hopefully more Luck tomorrow,
Kris