Pearl Jam – Live in Concert

It had been 4,777 days since I had seen Pearl Jam in concert. The only time I had seen them live was October 21, 2000—one day shy of the ten year anniversary of the band’s first performance. pearljamticket I’m not a big concert guy—I’ve only been to a couple of PJ concerts and two other Flogging Molly ones—but that original concert was special. Pearl Jam has been my favorite band for two decades now. Not only to do I love the music, but I’ve really appreciated their politics and social outlooks. Hell, they even devoted a song to one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, the band hasn’t included Phoenix in any of its tours for more than a decade. So when the band announced that they would be visiting Phoenix on November 19 on their Lightning Bolt tour, there was no way I was going to miss it.

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Celebrate 10 years of Ironwood Forest National Monument this Saturday

This Saturday, I’m headed down towards Tucson for what is sure to be a great event. The Friends of Ironwood Forest are hosting a celebration marking the 10-year anniversary of Ironwood Forest National Monument and the National Conservation Lands (also known by its more cumbersome name, the National Landscape Conservation System).

There’s still time to get in on the event—you can even register online.

Ironwood Forest National Monument is one of those places that you may not have been to—or even heard of, for that matter—but which protects important aspects of what makes Arizona great, from the classic Sonoran Desert saguaro forests to rugged desert mountain views to prehistoric ruins and historic artifacts.

So come join us on Saturday. You’ll learn more about makes Ironwood Forest National Monument worthy of protection and you’ll hear about some inspiring work the local Friends of Ironwood Forest are doing.

Here’s the event press release:

Local Volunteers to Mark 10th Anniversary of Ironwood Forest

Congressman Grijalva and Noted Author to Take Part in Celebration

Wednesday, June 2, Tucson, AZ — Friends of Ironwood Forest will host the official 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Ironwood Forest National Monument on Saturday, June 5th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m, with special guests Congressman Raul Grijalva and noted Sonoran Desert author Gary Nabhan.

The Monument is part of the National Landscape Conservation System, a collection of some of the country’s most scenic, historic, natural and cultural sites known as the National Conservation Lands.  Friends of Ironwood Forest, a local volunteer-based, non-profit group, provides critical support to protect and promote the Monument while working to educate the public about its extraordinary natural treasures.

Ironwood Forest, located 25 miles northwest of Tucson in southern Arizona, was created in 2000 to protect the amazing cultural and biological resources found in the area.  The Monument contains more than 129,000 acres of Sonoran Desert habitat and includes the Silver Bell, Sawtooth and Waterman Mountain Ranges.  Named for the unique desert Ironwood tree, the site has an astounding diversity of plant and animal life.

Ironwood Forest NM is an example of the many places within the National Conservation Lands that are home to rare plants and animals and Native American sites.  These lands offer a national connection to the last places where one can experience the history and beauty of the American West.

Ironwood’s 10th anniversary celebration will be held at the Heritage Highlands at Dove Mountain, 4949 W. Heritage Club Blvd., Marana, AZ 85658.  For more information on Friends of Ironwood Forest and the anniversary event, visit

Seeing Flogging Molly on St Patrick’s Day

When I think back over my life, I often find that while I’ve done some cool things, I’ve also failed to participate in the common high school and college activities. Not drinking or doing drugs, having long-term relationships (thereby skipping the dating scene), and working and volunteering frequently pushed my life in a different direction than most of my friends.

For whatever reason, I was also far less interested in many of the popular culture activities that most people that age seem to be. Movies, tv, fashion, and music are all examples. Concert-going in particular was something I just seemed to miss.

Kim brought me to a Pearl Jam concert—my first concert experience—several years into our relationship. I had a blast, but that’s what you’d expect in seeing your favorite band perform live.

Fast forward another 8 years or so, and my concert total remained unchanged. That changed on St Patrick’s Day when I joined a few friends at the Flogging Molly concert at Tempe Beach Park. I’m not a big music fan, so while I had heard of the band before, I didn’t know any of their songs. I had a good time—in spite of the pushing, flinging sweat, and attempted theft of my iPhone—and enjoyed the experience even though I didn’t fully participate in the bouncing, fist-pumping, and singing.

I’ll probably never enjoy live music to quite the degree that my friends do, but maybe I should give it a shot more often.

Hell yeah, #nvfn rocks!

Jessica rocking out at #nvfn

Last month, Jess Egli-Cannon and I organized our first #nvfn North Valley Friday Night. We started at Joe’s Grotto, then briefly moved to the Dubliner before settling in at Uncle Sam’s.

It was an absolute blast. An unforgettable blast, as a matter of fact.

What the hell is #nvfn anyway?

In short, #nvfn is a monthly opportunity to get together for a night of fun in the north Phoenix area. It’s one of several regularly-scheduled regional #pfn events. On the third Friday night of each month, we get together and hang out—and hilarity and a good time ensues.

A lesson in taking the initiative

Jess and I had met about a month before the event at the post-event dinner of Social Media Club Phoenix. We sat across the table from each other and chatted, and at some point the conversation turned to #pfn events and how the original organizer of #nvfn had to give it up. We decided right there that we should take the lead in re-establishing the event. A few days later, I checked in with Jess and we started the planning.

It’s amazing how easy it was to get this idea rolling. It took a random suggestion after a few minutes of conversation with a stranger: “Hey, maybe we should organize an #nvfn,” and a follow up message “Hey, so do you still want to organize that #nvfn thing?” to get started.

That’s it.

Over the last six months or so, I’ve gotten pretty active on twitter. I’ve consciously and successfully pushed myself to throw caution to the wind, step out from my introverted nature, and get involved with new people.

And I’ve learned—very clearly—that it’s incredibly easy to get value of out of taking that initiative. It’s a great life lesson to learn. The marketers at Nike have it right: Just Do It.

Seriously: Just. Do. It.

Tomorrow night we’ll be at Rock Bottom at Desert Ridge

The March 19 #nvfn will be starting at 7pm on the patio at Rock Bottom at Desert Ridge. We’ll undoubtedly retire to at least one other venue over the course of the night, so please check the twitter stream for details. I’d love for you to come and join in the fun. If you want to stay informed of future events, hit up the #nvfn facebook page or the #pfn announcement page.