Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ben Folds - A Parental Tale

THIS HAPPENED ALMOST A MONTH AGO, BUT IT WAS TOO PRICELESS TO NOT CAPTURE ON THE BLOG... (it was, however, not priceless enough to be captured by photograph.)

A few months ago, we were at dinner with my parents and my dad mentioned Ben Folds was coming to Salt Lake. And then he REALLY dropped the cool dad bomb when he said he wanted to go. I was, of course, thoroughly impressed by his hipness and relieved that of all the music that came floating up the stairs in my youth, we were conversing about Ben Folds and not some of my album purchase mishaps (including, but not limited to, 98 Degrees and Chumbawumba). Even still, I did feel it my duty to point out Ben's sometimes gratuitous use of four letter verbiage. Dad countered with a very convincing, "but they were advertising through Rotary, I would imagine it's going to be pretty family friendly. Plus, it's for charity."

Convincing logic indeed. And with it, began an odd sense of role reversal.

The evening of the concert, I found myself wanting to somehow protect my parents from being exposed to all the evils this world can dole out. And I started worrying about all the things I'm sure parents worry about for their kids' sake.

Curfew. I'm sure the lion's share of the crowd was fine with the onslaught of opening acts. It is, after all, part of the experience. And it's the method by which many concert-goers identify those no-name bands who haven't sold out yet and in three years one can talk about the time they saw {insert obscure band name here} and then made the band's first iTunes purchase or something epic like that. However, I felt a twinge of guilt every time I turned to my parents to confirm that no, in fact, that is NOT Ben yet. After the schizophrenic stylings of one opening act, and one profanity-laced sing-a-long dedicated to Tiffani Amber Thiessen, it was high time for Ben to get out there and start croonin'. Seriously Ben, let's get this show on the road. One of your fans out here needs to teach 2nd grade in the morning.

Profanity. Concerts in Utah are always interesting to me on this front. Basically a lot of adolescents proving they aren't conforming to the "Utah man" by applauding profanity and complying with the band's power of persuasion by joining in on the aforementioned profanity-laced TAT sing-a-long. I know - irony duly noted. But Mom and Dad, you will notice - I did not applaud those songs.

Drugs. At one point, my dad stepped outside for some fresh air. But a few minutes later, the smell that wafted in from the out of doors told me if Dad was really breathing deeply out there, Mom probably ought to drive home.

Promiscuity. Admittedly, there wasn't a whole lot of this. Just the girl next to my parents who was completely interested in her beau's neck and equally uninterested in the concert. She wasn't scandalous, really. Just awkward.

I should point out that none of my anxiety on my parents' behalf was actually spurred by their reactions to the evening. They were totally great sports about the whole experience. And though I spotted a few others from Mark and Julie's generation enjoying the tunes, they were doing so from the posh surroundings of the Saltair "suites" - not being thrashed around by hoardes of Foldsies. Posers.

I should also point out that in spite of my anxiety on my parents' behalf, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. It was fun to relive memories attached to songs that span more than a decade. From 7th grade in Alison H.'s mom's car when Kaitlin did a finger puppet dance to select tracks and in 8th grade, racing the volume button to edit "Army" as we rocked out in Joey*'s room. And my freshman year of college, when I burned a copy of Mike R.*'s "Rockin' the Suburbs" and took it to the Fieldhouse to listen to on my (oh yeah) discman. And listening to "Gracie" in the TSC with Jeff H.* as we crammed for our accounting final. Sad that most of my more recent album memories are associated with ellipticals and financial reports. But, memories nonetheless.

*I feel compelled to point out that none of these are former flings. I was not recounting a list of old boyfriends as I stood near my sweetheart at the concert. And Joey isn't even a boy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mullet Patrol

To Noah's coworkers...

Please excuse him for his shorter-than-usual 'do. When he cut his hair into a mullet last night he overestimated the shortness of the top. Turning his coif back into presentable insurance hair post-mullet was a tricky operation.

In other news, I find it totally rad that Noah grew out and cut a mullet for our 80s party last night. I find it even more rad that he kind of looked like my Cache Valley cousins.*

*In the actual 80s. There are no mullets in the family photos as of late.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 14th in Riley Time

Disclaimer: You’ll have to forgive the lack of wittiness in this post; Noah is making his debut contribution to the blog.

4:45 am
Al: “Have a good day Sweetie, I love you.”
Noah: “gkejwoifs”
Al leaves for an early morning interview with Fox13 and Noah rolls over.

6:30 am
Noah: “Singing in the shower, doot doot do”
Noah wakes up, gets ready and bums a ride to work with coworker, Jason possibly one of the nicest guys in the world.
Al is facilitating multiple TV and radio interviews.

7:45 am
Noah arrives at insurance and starts doing insurance marketing things.
Al is still shaping the news you watch.

2:00 pm
(I skipped a few calendar items that were either not blog worthy or didn’t have photographic evidence.)
Noah goes on his daily walk with coworkers on the walking trails at Lake Park. Al is meeting with the partners of the Summit Group accepting a big promotion from account coordinator to account Manager after only being with the firm for nine months!!! Everyone at the Summit Group showers Al with awesome compliments and praise.

4:45 pm
Noah leaves work and bums another ride with a coworker to go to his soccer game.
Al is still working after 12 hours on the job.

6:30 pm
Mamba #5, Noah’s soccer team, narrowly pulls off the victory against a team that played the whole game a man down.
Al is getting ready to leave work.

7:00 pm
Noah goes to a meeting at the church.
Al is still getting ready to leave work.

8:20 pm
Noah and Al finally meet up and enjoy a delicious leftover from the day’s events Subway sandwich.

9:30 pm
Al is zonked on the couch.
Noah reads a book and is very proud of his amazing wife.

The end.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Marathon Weeks

I feel like we have had so much going on lately, with not a lot of time to recoup and even less time to tell the blogosphere about it (which actually makes me laugh a little that my Frontrunner experience had such apparent precedence. Truly, it was life-changing). But we have pictures, people... pictures! And that demands a little recap action on the blog.

First out of the gates (and the namesake of this post): The Salt Lake City Marathon. Every once in a while, it hits me that I have a pretty sweet job. That's right. I admit it. My name is Allison Riley and I don't hate my job. For the past few months, I've had the opportunity to do the PR for the Marathon. And though somedays I think I was probably even more worn out than the people training for the thing, race day was totally the gu icing on the carbo-loaded cake.

I'm always impressed by how much you can accomplish with your day when you set your alarm for 3:30 a.m. By 4:30, I was showered, dressed and out the door armed with my big ol' back pack of fun. (Which weighed somewhere in the vicinity of car battery or small child. Hence the dramatic lean in this early a.m. shot...)

On my drive to the starting line I had plenty of time to think about the day ahead as I waited at EACH RED LIGHT along the way. Evidently Mayor Becker is not eradicating the stoplight syncing issue until world peace abounds, though, so I didn't write my city councilman or anything. But seriously, I am the ONLY one out here at 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday. A little help?

There was something really exciting about the starting line. A lot of pacing to keep warm and chatting among strangers - a bunch of people about to embark on something huge together. And even though some would finish in 2 hours and others would be several beyond that, there was a shared sense of camaraderie that was fun to witness. The work side of the morning was fun, too. After getting Channel 4 situated and checking in with Channel 5, I met up with the rest of our starting line team and we literally hugged the barricades on the race side of the divide as thousands of runners came barreling past. "Barreling" is a bit of a stretch. I was actually a little surprised by how slowly the herd seemed to take off. Then again, there were 13,000 of them. And they did have 26.1 left to go.

From there, we hopped in the car, flashed our VIP creds in a very "it's okay, I'm a limo driver" manner, and headed to the finish line. Lauren, our adorable and grammatically fabulous administrative assistant joined our PR team for the madness as our feature writer. She rode in the lead vehicle that stayed just ahead of the lead athletes and was able to catch the action minute by minute. So she called every few miles to let us know which athletes were contending for first. I, in turn, relayed the information the media perched at the finish line. We continued this little dance for a few minutes until Lauren called to let me know bib numbers 2, 5 and 6 were only about 1/2 mile out. And in crazy-fast marathoners time, that's only about 2 minutes. I relayed the info to the media then thought, "well, I'm not going anywhere." So I squatted out of the cameras' way and waited for the finishers. It was pretty amazing to soak everything in at that moment and realize I really was just chilling inches from the finish line of the Salt Lake City Marathon.

As more and more runners passed the finish line, our PR team basically resembled a group of proverbial chickens with our heads cut off. But somehow in the chaos of runners, bikers, aluminum foil blankets and one poor soul who lost her breakfast as she crossed the finish line - we were able to secure interviews, complete and distribute the final press release, facilitate the timing results to the Salt Lake Tribune, avert a crisis and smile for this photo...

All in a day's work.