Tag Archives: Rhonda Rivera

Happy Early Birthday Rhonda!

I like to believe that my timing is pretty good.  If I want to be on time, I can be.  This time, though, I’m even a little early.  What am I early for?  I’m early in wishing my partner-in-crime, my fellow blogger and Duranie a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  Tomorrow is the actual day but Monday’s aren’t my day to blog, typically.  On top of that, I will also be at work for at least 12 hours as I put in a full day and hold four hours of parent-teacher conferences after.  Thus, I’m using my Sunday blogging opportunity to write a little blog, celebrating not only my best friend’s birthday but also to cheer the friendship that we have.

In looking back at a friendship that began in 2004, I recognize that we have shared quite a few emotions and a number of significant events together.  I believe that strong emotions and significant experiences help to solidify friendships so that they can endure the up and down nature of life and relationships.  This blog, then, will attempt to shed light on some of those feelings and events.
Excitement:
One thing is for sure—a lot of our friendship has been fueled by our shared excitement for Duran Duran happenings.  Looking back, this began in December of 2004 when a flurry of phone calls took place surrounding upcoming tour dates supporting the reunion album of Astronaut.  I still recall the feeling of pure joy in calling Rhonda mid-day later that week to report that I indeed was able to acquire VIP tickets for us for the Chicago show in March 2005.  Of course, this type of activity has been repeated countless times since.  The most recent being when the band released the video for Last Night in the City, inspiring repeated viewing and a little video review, which you can see here:

Joy:
In many cases, those feelings of excitement translate to pure joy when the anticipation becomes reality.  For us, over the years, generally, the joy has come from screaming, singing and dancing at a Duran Duran concert.  It might even come when we squee over DoJo.  The first one was in Chicago and the last one was in Chula Vista, California, with shows in between in various locations like  the Northeast, the Southeast and even the UK.
Chula Vista
Chula Vista
 Curiosity:
Of course, our fandom has been more than video releases and concerts.  A lot of our fandom has been about talking, thinking, discussing about all things Duran.  I think of countless examples of times that we have watched or listened to something together.  Last year, for example, we exchanged a series of text messages as the lyrics to different songs on Paper Gods sunk in.  When we really paid attention to the lyrics of Last Night in the City and realized that the words described how we feel on tour, then the album began to take hold.  Years earlier, we viewed the brand new video for All You Need Is Now together, squeed in delight and picked apart the images we loved the most.  Sometimes, our need to discuss take place at strange times like when the video for Girl Panic came out.  I couldn’t wait to talk to Rhonda about how smart the video is so I called her from my classroom during my brief lunch hour.

Worry:
While our friendship has often surrounded fun and good times, we have also experienced moments of extreme worry.  We grieved when Andy left for the second time, for example.  Another instance was when we felt for that we were facing the end of Duran Duran when Simon lost his voice in 2011 and the UK spring tour had to be canceled.  There we were in the UK, having flown for four shows and getting none.  Instead of staying away from all things Duran, we ventured out to the band’s studio where we witnessed Simon explain that he didn’t think he was going to be able to sing followed by John’s look of devastation.  Like others there, we put on a brave face.  Rhonda and I did what was logical.  We went for ice cream to drown our sorrows in dairy and sugar.
Ice Cream makes it all better
We did what any heartbroken American would do. We had ice cream.
 Hard Work:
Unlike almost all of my other friendships, Rhonda and I took a very brave, but risky step to do more than just be friends.  We decided that we would work together.  Sometimes, this decision brought us closer together when we faced challenges and bonded over a shared realized that only we could understand what we experienced.  Other times, we pushed and pulled against each other, wanting to dig in our heels about something or another while at the same time reaching for compromise.  I look back at some of those moments and realize that the push and pull always brought out the best in us even if it wasn’t always easy.  Yet, we weren’t afraid to have those little disagreements, knowing that our foundation as friends was strong.  Clearly, we have worked well together on this blog, with fan events, with a convention and even with writing, despite any and all setback.  Truly, I didn’t just gain a friend but someone that helps me bring out the best in me.
Very proud
Very proud
Fun:
The thing is that a lot of friendship surrounds fun.  Sometimes, our hard work has led us to celebrate.  At other times, it is simply being together that brings fun, whether in person, on the phone or via Skype.  Luckily, many of our in person good times have been at Duran shows.  I won’t lie.  We have held many “all night parties” and enjoyed many “cocktail bars”.  At the end of day, there isn’t much better than having a vodka tonic or two and laughing over some ridiculous quote that one of us had uttered.
Durham drunk
Appreciate:
Looking at all of these emotions that we have experienced together, I also have to appreciate the little moments.  I look back at all the times we were in a car driving to or from a show.  Those moments were filled with listening to Duran while creating what we thought would make a great setlist.  Other little moments that I have enjoyed include going to art museums together, dancing to 80s music at a club, or simply talking or exchanging emails.
Our Paso Robles Setlist
Our Paso Robles Setlist
On this day then I celebrate our friendship and the person, the friend who puts up with me and who has shared all of these emotions with me.  My world would be a lot smaller, a lot less fun and a lot less happy.  On that note, then,  I wish her the happiest of birthdays and many more to follow!  I also hope that all of you wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
-A

Happy Birthday Rhonda!!

Today is a special day in Daily Duranie-land!  It is Rhonda’s birthday!!  I start looking forward to writing this blog about the same time as when I start pondering what to buy/make for her birthday!  (Fun Amanda fact–I love giving gifts!!!)  I want every birthday blog to be unique and special, including this one.  After 11 years of friendship and 5 years of doing this blog, I have learned a lot about Rhonda and about myself.  Most importantly, though, I have learned a lot about friendship!

Vodka is hobby

By now, all of you have heard about how/where Rhonda and I met.  Virtually, we met on the no longer in existence message board, duranduranfans.com.  In person, we met at the Duran Duran Fans Convention called Friends of Mine in September 2004.  Besides our mutual love in Duran Duran, we quickly discovered that we enjoyed having fun on a night out and laughing!!

d8c34-57-maybealittledrunk

From there, we discovered that we both LOVE, LOVE, LOVE talking about anything and everything Duran Duran.  In fact, when others seekindred fansm to tire of the conversation or got other interests, there we were–still talking, still thinking, still analyzing.  We understood that we truly loved the band in the same way and for the same reasons.  Kindred fans.

Then, we discovered that our similar fandom philosophies carried over into toBiloxi lineuring!  Once we toured together, we knew that we had found our touring partners for life!  It seems to me that a lot of people can be friends and be good friends, but it takes something special to be able to travel together.  The two of us have been to many places around the country and to the UK twice.  We have been on planes, trains and automobiles together.  There have been many, many, many hotel rooms throughout our friendship history.  concert ticketsTraditions have been established and we fall quickly into routines when on tour together.  It is like we were born to tour!!!  In fact, I would go so far as to say that touring is really where we are most happy.  Of course, a big part of that is seeing those litle Duran Duran concerts but it is also where our friendship comes alive and gets renewed!

Of course, we didn’t stop there with just conversations about Duran Duranbest friend or going to see the band on tour.  No…we had to do more!  So, I said, “Let’s write a book about fandom!”  Rhonda said, “Cool!  Let’s do a daily blog, too!” And this little entity was born!  This monster, this beast, this larger-than-life thing is more than just a book or a blog or a website or many social media handles or meet-ups or conventions or a message board.  It is something much much larger than the sum of its parts.  No matter how we describe it or define it, it is truly our baby.  We gave birth and have nurtured it all along the way.  It has grown and developed and we couldn’t be prouder.

crazy friendLife, though, is not always smooth or perfect.  There are bumps along the way, especially when turns are taken.  At those times, when bruises are fresh, our friendship, our bond and our fortitude has gotten stronger.  Why?  Simple.  We have each other’s back, no matter what.  I have often thought about the friendships between the guys in Duran.  They have experienced the ups and the downs of life.  Throughout it all, they have managed to be able to work together, to create together, and to be friends together.  It seems to me that this gift is really rare.  How many people can say that they can work with their best friends?  How many people can travel with their beloyal st friends?  How many people have stuck with their best friends through all that life throws at them?  I suspect the number is really pretty low.  This is why I know how special my friendship is with Rhonda and I assume that she feels the same about me.

Amanda & Rhonda Ace RooftopOn this day, the anniversary of the birth of my best friend, I find myself feeling like the person who has received a gift.  I got the best friend I could ever ask for.  She is someone who makes me laugh and laughs at my wacko sense of humor.  She is someone who shares my passion for Duran Duran and is willing to work her ass off right along side mine to show that love and devotion through everything we have created together.  I couldn’t ask for a better touring partner-in-crime as we certainly know how to have fun together and always will and, most importantly, I couldn’t ask for a more loyal friend.  She will always have my back and I will always have hers.  We will always, always be there for each other.  Truly, we share in this gift of friendship.  Durham drunk

Happy Birthday, my dear friend!  I absolutely wish that this is the best year of your life (until the next one!) and that you experience nothing but joy, laughter and fun as well as a little/lot of Duran Duran!!!  Love ya lots!!

-A

 

Miss me yet?

Did you notice I was gone last week?  While I feel badly about not blogging at all, there’s a certain part of me that is glad I didn’t. Many of you probably know that my oldest moved to her college dorms and last Thursday was move-in day. My week was spent doing about 50,000 loads of laundry, packing bins and boxes, and admittedly – fighting back a lot of tears. My feelings are very mixed right now. I’m proud and happy, but also a tiny bit sad and even a little bit lonely. Heather is my oldest, my first baby – the one I had to “learn” on, and she’s been my buddy since the day she was born. As she got older, we grew closer, despite those nasty teenage years (I was lucky with this one, but I suspect her younger sister will be a force to reckon with) Now she’s at my alma mater, having what I believe will be the time of her life. I’m here at home, watching Bachelor in Paradise and Cutthroat Kitchen by myself.  It isn’t just an adjustment for me, but one for the entire family. My youngest has decided that throwing a tantrum or two (she’s a very young seven who is used to being doted on by her older sister) is the way to go. So it’s been delightful as I calmly but firmly redirect. (sometimes, not so calmly…) We’ll all adjust eventually…I hope.

The good news here is that most people might not have even noticed I was gone, despite the lack of a daily post.  Each day, readers should have seen a new picture poll posted, and probably even some discussion up on our Facebook page about the new album. Friday, Saturday and even Sunday there were blogs just as normal…and all of it due to Amanda.

Over the past five (yes FIVE!) years we’ve written and operated Daily Duranie, it has become increasingly apparent many have absolutely no idea that there are two of us here doing the work. Amanda will be on Twitter chatting with people on our @dailyduranie account, and they’ll automatically assume she’s me, even though she always “signs” her tweets with “-A”.  The same happens with email, or even when people have something they want to share…they address emails, messages, etc. solely to me. While I love talking with anyone and everyone about this band, I have to wonder why no one seems to recognize or acknowledge that Amanda is easily the hardest working one out of the two of us…and she really and truly IS. So, maybe readers can share some of your perceptions with us.

With that in mind, I think it’s time for a little Daily Duranie “Primer”:

I am not the sole owner of Daily Duranie, and Amanda is absolutely not second-in-command. We are equal partners in every single way.  When we first began the blog, she and I agreed that I would be responsible for writing blogs Monday through Thursday, and she would write Friday through Sunday. Over time, we began adding things like the daily questions, polls, and chatting with everyone on social media. Amanda does most of that, to be honest. We both keep the calendar updated, I handle the website maintenance and upkeep (I hate that part), we both answer comments, and thank GOODNESS we’re in this together. I could never do it all alone and I wouldn’t have ever even tried if it hadn’t been for her.

Perhaps, Amanda and I complement each other so well that no one realizes we’re two people! I’m far more casual in my writing. I wear my feelings on my fingers, so to speak. My blogs read similarly to how I might write an email or talk to a friend. I figure we’re all friends here, anyway. Amanda is definitely the more intellectual one. She is a thinking-person’s sort of writer, and she knows her Duran Duran history better than anyone I have ever met.  In contrast, I still struggle with the band’s birthdates, regularly forget names of songs, etc. (I also call my children by every OTHER name than their own, so there’s that). Amanda seems to know every date in Duran history, while I can’t seem to remember when Rio was released. I do my best, and fall woefully short much of the time. I handle the backend of this website (which sounds far dirtier than it is), and I don’t think Amanda has ever dared tread around back there…yet she’s definitely the more detail-oriented one out of the two of us. I’m more of a “big-idea-with-no-plan-for-implementation” person. I’ll come up with dumb-ass ideas like “Let’s ask Dom Brown for an interview!” and not have any clue how to reach him other than, for example, throwing a note up on stage at a show.  (This didn’t actually happen…but it makes a good story, doesn’t it?!! I actually sent him an email, with my hands shaking the entire time. Thank GAWD he didn’t request a phone interview because I’m pretty sure I would have turned blue and passed out from a lack of oxygen.) On the other hand, Amanda has a calendar at home that she keeps updated with what we have planned out for the two of us to do. If it weren’t for Amanda, nothing would get done here much of the time.

What is particularly frustrating and very discouraging for her is that she’s not acknowledged for the amount and quality of her work. It is apparent that many automatically assume this is completely my deal, or that Amanda is my supporting player. That couldn’t really be further from the truth, and is not the image we care to present. Selfishly, the last thing I need is for the world to assume that I am somehow the only face behind Daily Duranie! Over the years, we’ve been contacted by a variety of people for a plethora of reasons; whether it’s fellow fans asking a question, authors wanting  a book reviewed, or even people inviting us to things – and usually they typically only ask for me. I am left wondering why. I would love to read your perceptions, dear readers. This question really isn’t about why you might like my writing or Amanda’s writing.. (in fact I would very much appreciate those opinions being left to oneself). I am asking why it may seem, or IF it seems that Daily Duranie is only one person.  Bonus points for examples!

As always, I look forward to reading your well-thought out insights.

-R

Happy Birthday To You!

It is November 7th.  This date is a significant one.  No, Duran Duran did not start on this day.  It is not the date that Andy left or Warren.  It isn’t the date that DD14 is coming out (at least…not this year.  Ha!).  No, this date is more significant than that.  You see…it is someone’s birthday.  Someone important.  Someone very important to this blog/website.  It is, of course, Rhonda’s birthday!!!!  This year marks the 10th time I get to wish her a happy birthday.  So, what should I do this year to acknowledge the day????  Simple.  Let’s celebrate her last 10 years, at least the fun, Duranie parts!

2004:
This is the year that Rhonda helped to organize a little Duran Duran fan convention called Friends of Mine that was held in New Orleans.  While she openly discusses how this changed her life because she got to do something beyond that important role of “Mom”, I like to think that it has more to do with meeting me!  HA!  Perhaps, what was most memorable from that weekend was getting oHowl at the Moonn a stage at Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar and belting out “Rio” for all the world to see (and hear!  EEK!).  One might assume (correctly) that we might have exchanged in an adult beverage (or 10) in order to get up and do this.

2005:
This is the year of Astronaut and of our first tour during the Spring of 2005.  So many highlights with everything from:  Being 3rd row in front of John (okay…so that was more of my highlight but she liked Roger then so it’s cool!), getting kicked out of the hotel bar (*adjusts halo*), having Roger and Dave point at certain people wearing light up devil horns (no more halo…), not sleeping, laughing hysterically at a cafe at 5 in the morning. and having auditory hallucinations about the song “Sunrise” and so much more.  There is no wonder that we had to do more!  Where toVegas 2005 then?  Vegas!  That’s right, we went to Vegas, where we again decided we didn’t need to sleep and someone might have yelled for people to leave Roger Taylor alone!  (points to the other half of the Daily Duranie!)

2006:
This year was truly a fascinating one…as there was a tour but before that a Duranie weekend in Chicago and a tour with a prior opening band.  Oh….the things you do when you are young (and I’m talking about us notClear Static Tour those kids in Clear Static!).  MiDDwest MaDDness including some dancing at the Holiday Club, tequila shots, nicknames that aren’t too polite, and one of our catch phrases:  “It was one of those weekends” and it was!  The Clear Static Tour, on the other hand, included a road trip through Iowa of all places and my famous response to Rhonda after she wondered if we were sober enough to drive.  The answer was clearly no, so I uttered, “Drink up, babe!” as I pushed her drink towards her.  Then, the fall came along with a mini-tour.  A monumental tour.  We welcomed Dom Brown to the band in Chicago and dared to close down Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  If that wasn’t enough, we concluded that “All Things Duran Are Worth It”, except for those insane all day festivals.

2007:
The year of the fan show.  The dreaded fan show.  The worst Duran Duran gig ever.  We survived it and got stronger because of it.  Besides, we met some cool pRhonda fan showeople and had fun, including doing some tourist things, dancing the night away at the Pyramid Club with other Duranies, walking around Central Park and more.  Nonetheless, we knew that we would be in for a bumpy ride…

2008:
The Red Carpet Massacre era.  It might not have been the most peaceful or the most fun, but it was probably the most inspirational as a certain idea for a certain book got planted in some heads while sitting in traffic multiple times on the East Coast.  WEast Coast Toure also danced to Roger’s DJ Set in Atlantic City and decided not to stay in a city for longer than 24 hours.  “Check out those weapons, sistah”…indeed.

2009:  
Summer mini-tour in Vegas and in Orange County, California.  THE key highlight of the whole tour was Simon’s dance during Skin Trade.  Truly, that was worth the price of admission and the cost of my flight!  Rhonda’s daughter also survived her first Duran show (5th row—not bad!!!) whereas Rhonda’s husband enjoyed his view all the way….in the back while we were up front.  Good times.

2010:
No Duran shows?!  Whatever are we going to do?  How will we survive it?!  Well, a girls weekend might help and it did…right about then is when dear Rhonda says…”On top of writing our book, let’s do a blog.  We will do it each and every day.  We will call it the Daily Duranie.  It will be SO cool!”  What the hell she was thinking, we will never know.  More importantly, what the hell I was thinking when I said yes?!?
possible Daily Duranie header

2011:
How in the world do I begin to summarize the year 2011?  All You Need Is Now.  A show in Chicago.  Two UK trips.  A humble Simon.  Scary moments followed by the trip of a lifetime.  Seeing the band play in Birmingham.  LBirminghamiving through the joy of Secret Oktober in Brighton and laughter of Leopard in Bournemouth to end in a very cold Glasgow to one of the best shows ever.  Amazing doesn’t even cut it.  The tour of a lifetime.

2012:
Anyone up for a ridiculously long road trip?!  Yeah, let’s drive from New Orleans to Biloxi to Atlanta to Raleigh to Durham to Portsmouth back to Raleigh.  Awesome.  Front row failure in Biloxi (we will do better next time, I promise!), amazing shBiloxi lineow in Durham, guitar picks, handshakes, and meet ups.  Double vodka tonics in order to drink all the vodka in the city.  Truly, it feels like a lifetime ago!

2013:
Again, we find ourselves without shows so what do we do?  That’s right.  We plan a convention.  Durandemonium.  It wasn’t easy but it was a success.  People had a good time.  Connections were made.  Duranie spirit was reinforced.  Plus, we got to drink some vodka!  Oh yeah, we also drank some vodka at Roger’s DJ Set in the spring, too!

2014:  
The presvodkaent.  Finished draft of the book.  Continued onward towards goals…slowly but surely.  Always with vodka in hand.

So, Rhonda, I wish you the very happiest of birthdays!  May the next year bring you so much joy that you can’t stand it and lots of touring for us!!!  Cheers!

-A

1875 and counting…

1,875 posts. There is this nifty little tool here in WordPress where Amanda and I are able to properly track what is going on with this blog. We can see how many people subscribe by email, how many just read here online, what posts people tend to read most…and the list of stats goes on and on.  What I can tell you today is that as of the post I just published prior to drafting this one, we’ve written 1,875 posts. That is definitely a little more than a post a day, but we didn’t really start doing that until this past year when we moved to WordPress, so I’d say we’ve been busy.

If you didn’t already hear, we celebrated the fourth “anniversary” of this blog on Saturday. We call it a birthday because honestly, who doesn’t love a party?!? We celebrated with a online viewing party, utilizing a Daily Duranie Youtube playlist that Amanda and I had put together. We had a lot of fun, laughing at the comments and seeing friends who had stopped by to say hi and watch some videos with us!

Additionally, we had three fun little giveaways planned. The first two (one each for Facebook and Twitter) were based on people sending us their very best “DoJo” picture. Amanda and I each chose a favorite, which was a lot of fun because we had quite a few to choose from! Winners get their choice of a Daily Duranie coffee mug or a shot glass! The winners of that contest were Irene Turner and Leslie Kincaid! The second one, thanks to our friend Karen Booth, was  for a signed copy of her book, Bring Me Back. For that contest, we picked out a few blog titles we’d written over the years and had a bit of a scavenger hunt – all we really wanted to know was what the the blog that went with each title was about. The winner for that contest was Debbie from Twitter, so a copy of Karen’s book will be on it’s way shortly!

Winning DoJo entries:

 

I’ve said it before, but I am pretty sure I didn’t think about how long this blog would continue on the fateful day that I announced to Amanda, “Hey, we should do a blog since we’re working on this book!! Want me to get one together?!?” I’m also pretty sure that Amanda didn’t have any idea what I was getting her into on that day, because she agreed to try it! For me personally, the blog goes beyond writing a manuscript or being a fan. This whole “Daily Duranie” thing has taken on a life of it’s own. Some days, I feel like I’m dragging it uphill behind me, and on other days, I feel like I had better hold on tight because this thing is taking off like a rocket for a very wild ride. It’s been a crazy trip so far with much more to come, I am certain. However, for this occasion, I came up with four things about this blog (specifically the blog, not the book, not the band…etc.) that I am thankful for. My four “positives”, so to speak….one for each of the four “anniversaries” or “birthdays” we’ve celebrated thus far:

1. I would say that most people don’t realize that this blog shares it’s “birthday” with another birthday – my dad’s. He passed away in 2008, and he would have turned 75 this year. Rather than being sad on September 13, I am joyful because I’ve passed another milestone year with this blog. My dad was my hero in many, many ways that someday I might write about, but not now. I just know I’m so incredibly thankful that life has worked out this way, so that I don’t spend that day thinking of the what I’ve lost, but rather what I’ve gained.

2. There was once a period of my life, in high school no less, where I was so shy I had trouble working up the nerve to order my own food at McDonalds. I am not kidding, and I know I’m weird that way because while I couldn’t order my own food – I was drum major of the marching band, calling out commands to a group of 175 of my peers. Nutty, right? Talk about forcing yourself out of a comfort zone!! Nowadays I push myself to ask celebrities and important people for interviews for this blog – something that does not come at all naturally. Just last week I interviewed someone over the phone, and my nerves were at an all-time high, but I got through it, and more importantly, I really enjoyed doing it.

3. I should probably talk about my own fandom here. I think that without the blog, it would probably be fairly easy for me to just put Duran Duran on the back burner. I’m a busy mom, my husband isn’t really a fan, and I don’t have a group of friends here in California that are fans either. The blog forces me to stay in tune with what’s going on even when it might be easier for me to just focus on whatever is going on here at home. Sometimes that is remarkably easy, and other times – the band is in the middle of recording an album and there’s not a lot to keep us all going. I’ve learned to appreciate some of the smallest things – a tweet here or there, a news byte, or even unearthing a video I’ve never seen. I don’t expect all fans to be like that, but Amanda and I made a commitment to BE HERE even when the band is not, and we take that (although not necessarily ourselves) very seriously.

4. Writing this blog has taught me a lot about friendship. To begin with, I have a group of friends that I may not have ever met had it not been for Daily Duranie. I have friends in different states, different countries and even different continents. I’ve also learned that my friends, the real ones, are there for me even if I don’t see them every day, every week or even every year. They are the people that make the effort. They show up. Who knew that writing a blog would do all of this? Certainly not me.

I only covered four things here, but as I continue to sit and reflect, I know these are just the tip of the iceberg, and these four positives aren’t necessarily even the largest positives I could choose. I didn’t even mention all of the traveling or the increased sense of self-purpose or just the personal acceptance I feel on a daily basis, and for someone like me, who spent the majority of her life as a “wallflower”, hoping to fade into the wallpaper and not be noticed, I would have never guessed that writing a simple blog would turn my life completely around.

I said it on Saturday but it bares repeating, I tip my glass (well, this morning it’s really my coffee cup) to my partner-in-crime, Amanda. I hope that this is really just the beginning and that we’ve got at least four more even crazier years ahead. It’s wild to me that we’ve already been writing this blog for four years. How did we ever come up with that much to say?!?

And again, thank YOU. We would probably write even if no one ever read the blog, but because people do, it makes the journey that much sweeter. We hope you find us funny, insightful, intelligent, and even exasperating at times, and we look forward to hearing from you when any or all of that happens!!

-R