Thoughts On Losing A Friend

I woke up this morning to some stunning, tragic news.  It was the kind of news that's delivered by messages and calls from people you don't talk to everyday, where you look at your phone and immediately know something bad has happened.  I woke up to learn that a friend had passed away suddenly last night.  Darrell Copeland was 25 years old. The shock and senselessness of the news won't soon wear off, if ever.

We hired Darrell as a media relations intern for the Fresno Grizzlies in the spring of 2007. He was an absolute godsend. When thrust into a vastly increased role midway through that season, he handled himself like a seasoned veteran.  We worked side by side, every day that summer.  We learned together, laughed together, and made the most of unexpected situations.  After his internship, Darrell became the official scorer for the Grizzlies.  Seeing him at every game was one of my favorite parts of the day.  Whether we were trading cracks on his beloved Fresno State Bulldogs or my Dodgers, or trying out new superstitions to spur on a winning streak, his laugh and smile were always there to greet me when I got to the press box.  Darrell's easy going way made everyone feel welcome. He was a good guy, an honest guy, a guy you could always count on. 

I don't think anyone can really do a suitable job of making sense of the loss of someone so young.  Darrell didn't drink.  Didn't smoke. Never got into trouble.  He was just a clean cut, friendly kid who loved sports and his alma mater. I guess the only thing any of us can take away from such terrible news is how precious life is.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  Each day is a gift that must be spent enjoying our loved ones.  

While I can't even fathom the heartbreak Darrell's family is going through, my only hope is that the thoughts and prayers of all the people he touched somehow reach them and provide comfort sooner rather than later.  

Until we meet again DC3. You will be missed.


My Coachoosings

In a matter of minutes I'll be out the door on my way to the desert, getting a head start on what surely will be another epic weekend at Coachella. With the help of the official Coachella Coachooser, I've got a decent idea of how I'm going to navigate the landscape out there. I may need to clone myself a couple times or master the art of freezing time like Evie from Out Of This World, but there are no rules that say you have to take in a whole set...portion control is the key here. That being said, beer tents and weirdo art displays will do their best to distract me from my mission. Do not fall victim to their advances! Follow the music!

Here's how my Friday schedule stacks up, with !!! leading everything off, fresh off a super intimate show that the wife and I thoroughly enjoyed in Visalia last night.

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) 2:20-3:10
Titus Andronicus 3:30-4:10
The Drums 4:10-4:45
The Morning Benders 4:45-5:20
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart 5:20-5:45
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti 5:50-6:15
Lauryn Hill 6:15-6:50
YACHT 6:50-7:10
Sleigh Bells 7:30-8:10
The Black Keys 8:40-9:30
Crystal Castles 9:30-10:20
Robyn 10:50-11:40


Thao with the Get Down Stay Down 1:55-2:35
The Tallest Man on Earth 3:00-3:30
Foals 3:30-4:05
Delta Spirit 4:05-4:45
Two Door Cinema Club 4:45-5:20
Cage the Elephant 5:20-6:05
Broken Social Scene 6:05-6:55
first bathroom break of the entire weekend 
One Day as a Lion 8:15-8:45
Mumford & Sons 8:45-9:15
Wire 9:15-9:30
Animal Collective 9:45-10:55
Arcade Fire 11:20-close

And finally, Sunday...

Twin Shadow 1:10-1:40
Menomena 1:40-2:00
CSS 3:30-4:00
Wiz Khalifa 4:00-4:35
Nas & Damien Marley 5:00-5:50
Death from Above 1979 6:10-7:00
Foster the People 7:00-7:25
The National 7:25-8:15
Chromeo 8:15-8:55
The Strokes 8:55-10:00
Kanye West 10:30-close

Is there any way I'll come close to sticking to this itinerary? Not a chance. But, that's the beauty of this festival. You get pulled in so many surprising directions and pleasant discoveries are all around you. Hopefully when I get around to recapping the weekend, I'm not burnt to a crisp. Time to double check that I packed sun block...


Our Wedding- One Month Later

Photo courtesy of Walmer Medina

Saying that time has flown by would be a monumental understatement. One month ago today, I married the love of my life and my best friend. The days leading up to our big day, the wedding itself, our incredible honeymoon, and the weeks since then have moved at light speed. It’s really hard to comprehend at times. We spent so much time planning everything and just like that, we’re sitting in line at the Social Security office waiting to get her named changed.

As surreal as it all has been, it has been equally perfect. It all happened so fast though, but perfect days aren’t meant to last forever I suppose. Perfect days are the ones where you close your eyes and try to burn images into your mind, telling yourself that you need to remember things exactly as they are. I found myself looking at the time during our wedding reception, as if trying to slow down time by concentrating on the hands of the clock. Of course, before we knew it, the night was over and we were married. With us though are those images forever burned into our memories: our wonderful families and amazing friends coming together to celebrate, a gorgeous atmosphere colored brighter by touches of our personalities, a perfect day more magical than we could have ever imagined.

Summing up everything that happened on our wedding day would be impossible. But I did want to go through some of the bigger things, music being one of them, and document them for posterity. After all, writing helps one to remember.

Our ceremony started at about 5:00, just before sunset where the sky seems to change color by the second. Kianey’s mom and step-dad and my mom and dad were the first down the aisle, as we played Vitamin String Quartet’s version of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows”. It seemed so appropriate. God only knows where either of us would be without them. I followed our parents, accompanied by Richard King, a great family friend and the man who would marry us.

Once in my spot, I had to keep reminding myself not to lock my knees, since that’s a great way to faint. The emotions were in check while I was taking my place, but I started to lose it a bit when the wedding party started to make their way down the aisle. We stayed with another Vitamin String Quartet cover for their entrance and it was awesome. The pure passion embedded in Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” made for an incredible instrumental as our best friends took their places in front of our guests.

Now, Kianey was pretty adamant about not walking down the aisle to the traditional bridal chorus. She decided on “Something,” one of the greatest love songs ever written. It just so happens to be a Beatles song, written by my favorite Beatle- George Harrison. The string version of the song had an amazingly dramatic opening to signal her arrival, so we kept things consistent with a Vitamin String Quartet cover. I’ll never be able to listen to either version of this song again without getting misty eyed. As the song started and our guests turned to welcome Kianey, I can’t explain the feeling that came over me. Every single pair of eyes in the place was staring at my beautiful bride, and hers were locked on me. I’ve never been happier than I was at that moment, to see her walk down the aisle towards me and our new life together. In that instant, the world was a perfect place and it seemed like we were the only two people in it. 

After the ceremony, while we took pictures and caught our breath, was cocktail hour. For me, it was the only part of the wedding where I was allowed to script all of the music. I consider it to be the most important-and difficult- playlist I ever created. Here it is:

The Black Keys- “Everlasting Light”
• An awesome opener to an album we both love. The Black Keys were one of the first bands of mine that Kianey admitted to liking, so they hold a special place in our hearts.
• One of the best live shows we’ve seen together, Mayer Hawthorne is a true soul throwback. Try not liking this song, I dare you.
• True-to-the-letter lyrics from one of the best songwriters out there. Plus, Kianey thought he was a snazzy dresser when we saw him live with Monsters of Folk.
John Legend- “Save Room”
• Another song that’s impossible not to love. It’s also sexy as hell, like my wife.
• As children of the early ‘90s, we both listened to a ton of hip hop from the era and this is one of those songs that just takes you back to being a kid recording tracks off the radio to a cassette tape. When you listen to it though, it’s really just about a guy who’s professing his love and commitment for a girl and asking for hers in return. Fitting.
• We chose to have Motown and soul artists played during dinner, otherwise there would have been a lot more on this list. This song was kind of a nod to my dad, who isn’t shy in telling you how much he loves Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duets.
• The slowest song on the mix, but a powerful, straightforward plea from TV on the Radio’s mastermind: “I want to spend my life with a girl like you…can I dance with you?”
The Beatles- “Got To Get You Into My Life”
• I’m pretty sure this is self explanatory from all angles. There was going to be at least one Beatles song at every major junction of the wedding.
• One of our favorite bands and always something we can listen to together. Just a happy, happy song to reflect the mood of the day.
Arctic Monkeys- “Baby I’m Yours”
• Wait, this is the slowest song on the mix. But, it’s one of my favorite covers ever recorded. A classic love song updated by an underrated band who sings it every bit as tenderly as the original.
• Speaking of cover songs, this Feist track got picked because Kianey wanted more female singers…and because it’s awesome.
• The chorus pretty much says it all: “You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings- “Tell Me”
• Love, love, love Sharon Jones. Love this song and everything it means.
Dirty Projectors- “Stillness Is The Move”
• Not a traditional love song in most senses, but a beautifully offbeat track that really feels like “us” to me. Plus, it’s got some gorgeous lines in it: “There is…noth-ing…we can’t…do.”
Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill- “Turn Your Lights Down Low”
• We both loved this song while in college and discovered it again together. It really takes on new meaning when you’ve found the person you want to marry.

For the reception, our wedding party made their grand entrance to Daft Punk’s “Digital Love.” Kianey and I made our entrance as husband and wife at the 1:02 mark of “Pretty Please” by Estelle. While it’s tough picking out the favorite part of a day filled with memories, making our entrance into the reception to this song was definitely in the top 5.

Team Carter

Selecting the song for our first dance was tough at first. We considered “Something” but obviously decided to use that for the bridal entrance. When the song came to us though, it hit us like a ton of bricks. The Princess and The Frog is a movie that means a lot to us and Neyo’s “Never Knew I Needed” from the soundtrack really summed up how we found each other. It’s about finding love when you least expect it and how your life can be turned upside down when you do. Plus, it wasn’t super slow so it was easier for me to dance to.

Other favorite musical selections for the evening included “I Could Die For You” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers during our cake cutting, “I Want You” by The Beatles for the garter removal and toss, and Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” for the bouquet toss. The very last song of the night was “Two of Us” by The Beatles, naturally.

We had some fantastic help in planning our wedding and none of this would have been possible without our incredible vendors, who made years of dreaming come true:

The tone of our wedding all began when we picked our venue. We fell in love with the Padua Hills theatre the second we stepped foot on their grounds. It reminded me of Santa Barbara. Kianey loved the ceremony site, the view, and the charm of the place. The theatre itself, where our reception took place, was stunning inside. It was simply the only place we could imagine getting married. I won’t even get started on how good the food was, as it may have gotten the most compliments of anything on the day.

Louis and Erin Palos were our incredible photography team. They made everything so easy on us and captured the perfection of the day. Considering how much we loved our engagement pictures, we know our wedding photos will be amazing. Super talented, super down to earth and one of the best vendor decisions we made.

I don’t envy anyone who helms the music at my party when I don’t have a finger on the playlist, but these guys did a phenomenal job. Not just from the DJ booth, but also as our master of ceremonies. They let us get our special tracks in there while making sure the party was happening. Plus, keeping a bride and groom calm and on task can’t be easy, but Brett from Entertainment Express was about as on point as you get. Music, lights, effects, flow of the entire day was-again- perfect.


Trying to decide what your wedding “looks” like is a lot harder than it seems. Kianey and I had a bunch of initial ideas we loved that reflected our personalities, but we didn’t really know how to put them all together. We wanted the vibe to be unique and eclectic but colorful and memorable. Megan at Honey and Poppies, our truly talented florist, nailed it. We knew we wanted to incorporate succulents and peacock feathers into our arrangements, but couldn’t have imagined what she came up with. I never thought I would be so pumped on flowers…well, just saying flowers doesn’t do them justice. Megan helped build the atmosphere of the entire day and really made it feel like us.

As soon as we get our pictures back, I’ll be sure to post some, as it’s so hard to try and describe what an incredible day it was without having visual assistance. For now, it’s just fun to sit back and remember the exceptionally perfect start to our lives together.