21 days streak of not blogging is over! Wasn't anything intentional, just never got around to it, more or less. Sure had a ton of things I could have talked about, but just...yeah.
Anyway, about to start on my last week of work at this current gig. Had an interview for another position, but I don't think it went well. Haven't heard anything back from my company, anyway. So, as far as I know, I get a vacation starting next week. Not a bad thing, and really, would love to have a few days, as anybody would. But, since I don't know the extent of it, I'm a little leery. I did the overly long vacation thing (aka unemployment) last year, and it's not much fun. This time around, I'm attached to an outfit that has a vested interest in finding me a position, so there's that, at least.
So, news of the month...Labor day, i did nothing much, hung out with family. The next week, I went to Atlanta for Progpower, a progressive and Power metal festival. It was the 14th edition of the fest, but only the second time I'd made it down to Atlanta. The week prior to going, I reserved a room for myself at a hotel a mile away from the venue, but then on the official message board, I saw someone advertise an open spot in a room at the Artmore hotel, a block away from the venue, and Party Central for the festival as a whole. Had to do it. And was very glad for it, not least for not having to weave a mile half (or more) drunk at 3
AM to the original hotel. Instead of having a suite to myself, I ended up sharing a suite with 3 other guys, switching between a closet and a awful sofa bed mattress every other night. The closet was actually the better spot, as we tossed the sofa cushions in there, and the door shielded out noise from the courtyard, where the party kept going more or less all night.
Here's the thing about yearly events like Progpower - a lot of the attendees return every year. Even though it was only the second time I'd been, I crossed over to that territory this time, getting hailed randomly by people I'd met two years previously all weekend, hanging out with some fave peeps from that previous experience, making new friends I'm sure I'll greet next September as old buddies (assuming I can make it back, which I'm certainly planning on doing). It's pretty much a 'heavy metal family' kind of thing, with people I've know on line for up to 18 years, with some of these new pals (see pic below), and others I've interacted with, either in real life (friends from Madison, WI, or the Detroit area were down there), or on line.
The best part is that the Artmore's courtyard really is that central hangout for the whole shindig. Some of the bands playing the festival (18 in total, including the kick off shows) are staying at the hotel, and many of those guys (and gals!) make appearances, or just straight up hang out in the courtyard along with the fans. Two years ago, I was randomly talking to a guy for a while, until we were approached by a mutual friend who said something along the lines of "I see you've met Nick". The guy I was talking to turned out to be the mastermind behind a sweet band (named "Redemption"), and oh by the way, was also a senior exec at Disney. I didn't have anything like that happen this time around, but still got to randomly chat with a few of the people I got to see rocking out on stage at various parts of the weekend, including Anis, the bassist from the Tunisian band, Myrath. Those guys had one heck of a time getting to Atlanta, what with one member of the band not allowed to travel to the US (no idea what the story is there), and luggage issues (lost instruments) and travel delays (three of the 5 guys got to Atlanta less than an hour before they performed. And with all of that, they absolutely brought the house down.
Link below is to a vid of them doing "Beyond the Stars". And, in case you were wondering, the short haired guy in the pic above is the same guy as the bassist in the vid :)
My fave pic of the weekend, though, has to be the one below, with me on the left, Sumeet (friend first met two years ago at my first Progpower) in the middle, and Shiva on the right, who I met at this years festival. We were, as far as we could tell, the only three Indian guys at Progpower, and naturally, a pic had to be taken to commemorate that fact.
I've rambled on a good bit about this fest, and I could ramble on for a while longer, but I think you can tell how cool an experience it was for me!
As an added bonus, I look at those pics above, and I think, hey, I don't look too horrible. After all, it was the pics from the 2011 trip down to Atlanta that made me come join Sparkpeople in the first place, because I looked huge. Sadly, I'm only down about ten pounds overall from the weight at that time (sad, because as I've mentioned a million times, I was down a total of 33 lbs from the top weight, back in March), but I do think I look better than I did in September 2011.