Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Corona Family Weekend

My family has been needing a new family portrait for awhile. We haven't done any professional photos as a family in 15 years, and we've had a couple of additions since then. Since Bro, V and Brady are going to be moving to a way hot state soon, I figured that we should take our pictures before that happens. I was able to find a photographer local to Bro on the internet, and really liked the natural look of the photos in her online gallery. She seems to use a lot of outdoor shots, and since Bro, V, and Brady are outdoorsy types, I thought that this would be the right fit for us.

I didn't really want our photos to be very casual, so we all got prettied up and met Sharon, our photographer at a park near Bro's house. Sharon had checked out the park a few days beforehand to make sure that it would be a good place to shoot. The park was nice and quiet, and it wasn't very hot yet, so we were able to get our pics done without too much sweating, which was what worried us most, since Brady is like a little heater unto himself. Sharon did a great job of getting us to feel relaxed, and Brady, as usual, was a charmer and smiled well for the camera most of the time. At times, we had to bribe him, but as long as we get good results, we'll be happy. We'll probably get to see the photos by the end of this week, so I'm really looking forward to that.

Mom and Dad had an appointment to attend, so the rest of us went to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. Several years ago, Bro, V, our friend Chun and I discovered this restaurant on a DCI trip to Buffalo, NY. We had also gone to the original buffalo wings place, Anchor Bar, but the neighborhood around Anchor Bar didn't give us the safest feeling, so when we found this place in a nice area, we made sure to return later in the week. Besides, they had Loganberry Juice available there, and we were addicted to it. First, though, we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond for some items, and as we were leaving, Bro noticed that two of his buttons had popped off his shirt because he had been carrying Brady around. The two buttons were at the level of his belly button, so when he sat down, the shirt opened up to show his navelness. We couldn't find a safety pin, and Bro didn't want us to go BUY a box of safety pins, so he McGyvered my paperclip so that it would hold his shirt closed. We could not stop laughing at how ridiculous the whole ordeal was, because he wouldn't just let us go buy a shirt or a safety pin. The paperclip held on pretty well, BTW.

Our memories of BWW in Buffalo were really just of the great wings, the loganberry juice, and the fact that we played trivia games. We were excited to see that BWW had made its way out West, and made a pact that we would go there before they move. We were happily surprised that BWW has really grown into quite the franchise. In fact, there is one located near Bro's new residence! I guess we'll need to go there when I visit. Anyway, they had much more than wings there: ribs, salads, pulled pork sandwiches, just a bunch of yummy stuff. I ordered the Ribs and Traditional Wings combo with Asian Zing sauce for my wings. (You get to order the sauce in which the wings are spun. Yes, I wrote "spun."). I REALLY liked my wings, and my ribs had a good amount of meat, but a couple of pieces were cut in a way that there were a lot of little bones, so I didn't enjoy them as much as the wings. They did taste good, though. I had also substituted my fries for onion rings, and those were tasty. Bro and V kept raving about the yummy Pulled Pork Slammers. They also enjoyed the teriyaki sauce that came with the Naked Tenders that Brady had, as well as the Wings and Popcorn Shrimp that V ordered. (V also ordered the Asian Zing sauce for her wings). We had asked for the trivia game from the server, and she never brought it out. She also didn't do that great of a job waiting our table, and even gave us the wrong check. There were a LOT of TVs to watch, though, with various sports showing, and some tables had their own fancy contraption that seemed to have some kind of other games (not the trivia game). We enjoyed our food, though, and that's really what mattered in the end. If only they had that Loganberry Juice...

The next day, I went to Bro's house again, to help with some of the packing. When I arrived, Brady was blowing bubbles, so I joined him, and Cadence and Brady had an absolute field day just chasing the bubbles around. Cadence went all nutso about them, and was very tired after about half an hour of that. Brady sweated up a storm. Bro wanted to cook all of the food in the refrigerator before the move, so he grilled up some meat, as well as some onions and mushrooms, which was all quite good. So were the scallops that V had sauteed with butter and garlic. Just YUM! To earn my meal, I dismantled Brady's train table, with his assistance. "Oh, more!" he kept saying as I handed him more hardware to place in the bag. At one point, I gave him a slab of wood that weighed a little more than the other pieces, and I heard him grunting. I asked him if it was heavy, and he said in his cute way, "Yeah!" (Like, "Duh, Tita, why'd you give me such a big piece?!").

We went to Pasta Pomodoro, for dinner, and basically ate tapas-style, because we weren't incredibly hungry after all of the grilled stuff. When I noted that I'd be ordering the Ravioli di Zucca (butternut squash), Bro and V got all big-eyed, and said that they wanted to get in on some of that action. So we ordered that, the caprese, and the Cavolini. This is when I learned that V liked Brussels Sprouts, which should make a certain person smile when she reads this. Bro likes them, too, btw. We really enjoyed the ravioli and the cavolini. The caprese was OK, but the tomatoes were small, and it needed more balsamic vinegar or something, as it was a tad bland. We had also ordered soups and salad. Bro enjoyed his tortellini soup almost as much as Brady did, and I liked my minestrone. I was surprised that it wasn't really a tomato base, but it was still good. I think that V had the Mista salad, and I think she liked it, but I don't really remember because we kept talking about all of the other stuff.

Full and tired, we went back to the house, and I stayed for a little while before getting on over to my own residence. I'm sad that I won't be hanging out there anymore, playing Rock Band and watching Brady get knocked over by Cadence and Presto (AKA "Stocky P"). I'll sure miss that place.

Thanks, everyone, for a fun-filled family weekend. Whenever I see a shirt missing its buttons, Bro, I'll think of you and that paper clip. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

CPE 1704 TKS

All WG Geeks should know the meaning for the title of this post. So if you don't, congratulations! You're not as geeked out as me about this movie. If you did know, congratulations! You're someone that paid attention to the launch code in the movie. Sadly, I've remembered this code for 25 years now, because I wrote it down after I first saw it, in the off chance that it would be the answer to some kind of million-dollar winning question in a trivia game. Hasn't happened for me. Yet.

This year is the 25th year since the movie "War Games," and it was shown for one night only in theaters nationwide, to promote the release of the DVD and its direct-to-DVD sequel, "War Games 2: The Dead Code." Since I have loved this movie for over 2 decades (I'm old), I've been looking forward to this event since I first saw it advertised. A few friends and I decided to watch it together at the AMC in Century City on Thursday night.

I hadn't been to the Century City mall in over 10 years, and am happy to say that it is now a Westfield Shoppingtown, and has a LOT of great stores. I met up with Jenn and we went to Bloomingdale's, where I introduced her to the Jo Malone fragrance line. Mmmm....smells nice! Jo Malone is a company that combines scents to make new ones, and you can also combine your own from their line. I can't decide enough from their line anyway, so I haven't done the combination thing. I absolutely love the Blue Agava & Cacao scent that I already have, and ended up buying the Lime Basil & Mandarin scent, and Jenn bought the White Jasmine & Mint. I think I've hooked her onto the brand, and we can both thank Liz for the wondrous aromas that will be wafting around us, as she is the reason that I know about JM in the first place.

We found Glenn, picked up our tickets, met up with Linda, and headed on over to the swankiest food court I've ever seen. They've got lots of fancy food, not your usual food court fare; although they did have a Panda Express. We opted for the Lawry's Carvery, which made us all think of maybe going to Lawry's proper one of these days. I haven't been there in over 10 years, but loved it, and I'm not usually a fan of steak. I had the roast beef, with horseradish mashed potatoes and broccoli, which was all excellent. Cindy arrived and opted for a salad from the Mediterranean restaurant.

While we were eating, George Takei walked by with his husband, and a few of us stared at him while he went to the Japanese food place. I'm not a Trekkie, but I think he's done a good job on "Heroes," and I've certainly known about him from ST. I knew that my other Trekkie friends would enjoy the fact that he was in the same room as me, so I texted them to let them know that I was having dinner with him. Yes, he was outside, and I was inside, but we were eating in the same general area, so that counts, right? We refrained from approaching him, and Jenn surprisingly refrained from taking something from his table after he left.

We went to the theater, and I was surprised that they didn't have "The 20" playing before the movie started. Instead, we were advised of special events coming up, like the Drum Corps International Big, Loud and Live event in August. This got me all excited, because, hello--it's DRUM CORPS.

Instead of movie trailers, we were treated to footage which will probably be on the DVD, which was short clips of the filmmakers and actors for the movie, reminiscing about their experiences while making the film all those years ago. Barry Corbin is still a hoot. Ally Sheedy was cutely naive. Matthew Broderick ended up studying Galaga (which they had placed at his residence so that he could practice) more than the typing that he was supposed to learn. Then they showed trailers of WG2, which made us groan, and I'm glad that they're not wasting their energy by trying to market it as a new big screen film.

Thoughts about the movie, 25 years later:
  • I remember seeing this with my best friend David 25 years ago. I should email him to see if he remembers that. I think that someone else may have been there. Jennie L? I don't know. I think I'll ask him.
  • Greetings Professor Falken
  • Computers can stalk people.
  • Wow. That really was the 80's: legwarmers, TAB, the photo of Ronald Reagan, the computer paper with the alternating green and white stripes, and those huge floppy disks!
  • Perhaps my love for Galaga had a little something to do with this movie. Along with the fact that there was an arcade VERY close to my house at the time, and they sometimes gave me free quarters so that I could play Galaga all the time.
  • Shall we play a game?
  • I love that the guy who plays Melvin seems to only play geeks. Is it typecasting?
  • Do people still use those back door passwords when they design programs?
  • PENCIL made me think of "The Dark Knight" (shudder)
  • "What kind of an as**ole lives on an island and doesn't even have a boat?!" I haven't heard this line without stupid editing for awhile. I like the original.
  • "I would piss on a spark plug if I thought it would do any good." -- a slice of Barry Corbin's actual life
  • I guess I never picked up on the fact that McKittrick vs. the General is the same as Computer vs. Man. I must have been too busy worrying that we'd get blown up because a couple of crazy kids decided to hack into a game company and play their games.
  • OK, I also just got the line about "beef up" and "WOPR," but only because they talked about Burger King during the preshow.
  • Global Thermonuclear War -- if only David had chosen Chess, this would have been quite a different film. Hmmm...unless it was like Wizard's Chess.
  • How could we still hear the computer talk when we were no longer looking at the computer screen in David's room?
  • Underachievers are future MacGyvers.
  • I'm such a geek about the launch code that I noticed that the first shot of the code in the silo actually started with "JPE," not "CPE." GEEK!

I look forward to owning the movie on DVD, so that I can see more behind-the-scenes stuff.

Thanks, everyone, for a great time!

How about a nice game of chess?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Nails, Happy Girls

A few weeks ago, during our girls' night out with Mona, Lori and I decided that we should do the girly thing and get our nails done, since I wanted to look my best for the upcoming family portrait. Unfortunately, Mo was unable to join us, but Lo wanted to look great for her vacay, and I had the portrait thing, so we went anyway.

Happy Nails is a chain of manicure spas, and I had been to the location in Huntington Beach, so I thought that we could try out the one at Paseo Colorado in Pasadena. We had made appointments, and arrived early, so we did a little bit of shopping first. I needed some stuff from Bath & Body Works, successfully declined buying all of the pretty shoes from Aerosoles, and then found out that Lo had never been to Harry & David, so we spent plenty of time tasting stuff and choosing items, since they were having a sale on everything (buy 3, get the 4th free). One of the best tasting goodies we sampled were Cookie Bites, which were little balls of cookie covered in some kind of confection. Evil.

We finally dragged ourselves out of the store and entered Happy Nails, where it was quite busy. We took a lot of our waiting time trying to choose our colors. They have lots of funky colors there, but I wanted to be a bit subdued for the pics, so I picked colors more subtle than the electric blue that I might try another time. They nicely sat us next to each other for our Spa Mani/Pedis, and Lo cracked me up by changing her mind about the color/design of her nails about 25 times. She ultimately decided on a dragonfly for each of her big toes. I finally relented and let the manicurist sell a French manicure to me on both my hands and feet, so the colors I picked had been a waste of time, though it was fun. Lo and I were amused by the different designs on the feet of the staff. The manager had alternating black/white toes with polka dots of white/black, respectively. My manicurist had a different color on each toenail, which matched her very colorful bracelet. They showed Lo a little pallette of nail design samples, which were really cool, and I might try one of those another time, like maybe the palm tree. The design on my toes is a little half-flower which, with the French manicure, is pretty and summery. My hands have a little line of glitter underneath the french tips. I keep staring at the sparklies. Everyone there was very nice, and they did a very nice job on our nails, and our hands and feet are nice and moisturized from the spa treatments. (Yes, Cindy and Jenn, I knew how much I'd be spending before getting into the massage chair).

Afterward, we enjoyed a yummy dinner at Tokyo Wako, where Lo had Fresh Water Eel sushi for the first time, and found it tasty. We also tried the Firecracker Roll, which was spicy and flavorful. Their tempura was perfectly done, and the chicken yakisoba was a good balance to the fried and spicy foods.

We had thought of going to see a movie afterward, too, but I was tired and needed rest, so we called it a day. Of course, since Brighton was still open, I just HAD to introduce that store to Lo before we went home.

Thanks, Lo, for the great evening! I hope that the polish on our nails lasts a long time, at least for a few weeks!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Like Knight and Really Bright Day

I've been eager to see "The Dark Knight" ever since...well, ever since the end of "Batman Begins," really. When the first trailer came out from the movie, I was even more eager, and by July 17th, I had convinced myself to go on opening day, and I was even contemplating seeing the midnight show. Luckily, a few of my friends went along with the idea, and we obtained tickets to the movie theater near my house.

The theater was showing the movie on 9 screens, and it was also showing "Mamma Mia," but "The Dark Knight" is much more an event movie, and it seems that plenty of theaters were selling out their midnight screenings, since the take for that showtime nationwide was more than $18 milion alone. My goodness. I'd never seen the lines to the concessions stands there be so long, nor had I seen such inefficiency. There was a sign at the stands that said that due to the Gotham curfew, concessions would stop selling at 12:20 a.m., but patrons could come back for refills. They must have been banking on the fact that not only are their cups already huge, but nobody would probably want to leave such an exciting movie. Not that soda costs them more than a nickel anyway.

So on with my thoughts about "The Dark Knight":

  • Christian Bale is Drool-worthy. YUM. Again. He's even drool-worthy when he's all bruised up.
  • Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker has got to be the best-played villain EVER. He scared me, he made me laugh, he kept me in suspense, he just outright...killed.
  • Loved that motorcycle-thing that came out of Batman's self-destructed vehicle, and loved the wheelie/180 it popped up against that wall.
  • Maggie Gyllenhall was a nice recast after Katie Holmes' Rachel. I liked that they kept the character to be strong, instead of just the regular damsel-in-distress.
  • If anyone ever tells me that they're going to do a magic trick with a pencil, I'm going to stay the hell away from that person until after they've said their "Ta Da!"
  • Aaron Eckhart did a good job as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. That other half of his face was icky, though. I know that it was supposed to be, but I wish that he had at least agreed to a LITTLE bit of skin grafting. Sheesh.
  • I love the way that Alfred watches after Bruce.
  • Likewise with Lucius.
  • Liked seeing Anthony Michael Hall make a return to the movies.
  • I definitely want to see this movie on the big screen again...maybe on IMAX next time, since some scenes were shot particularly for that format.
  • I really wonder how the sequel would be had Heath lived to portray his character again, even if only in a cameo. The performance, and the movie, sure lived up to the hype.
  • Nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana na! BATMAN!!!! Thanks, Christopher Nolan, for enabling my continued love for the Bat. The movie was well worth only getting 2 hours of sleep before going back to work.

So as if I hadn't spent enough time with my friends in a darkened room that day, I agreed to see "Mamma Mia" with them later that same night. Most people, of course, were still going to see "The Dark Knight" since it was still opening day, but the theater screening "Mamma Mia" was quite full as well. I had seen the stage play at the Ahmanson Theater in L.A., and I enjoy ABBA's music, so I knew that I was in for a treat.

  • Meryl Streep seemed to have a great time making this movie. At times, she went overboard, but I enjoyed watching her giddiness.
  • Pierce Brosnan can't really sing well, but I still like watching Remington/Bond/Gorgeous-British-accent man in just about anything.
  • Amanda Seyfried has a BEAUTIFUL voice! I love hearing someone sing that pretty and making a career out of it. Her voice is the reason that I want to get the soundtrack.
  • The scenery was gorgeous. It really made me want to go to Greece, not that I'd never wanted to do so before.
  • All of the supporting characters were a hoot: "Dot! Dot! Dot!" and the bit with the hairdryer, and the guys spending the day with Sophie made the movie all the more something that one should see with friends, especially if it's a bunch of girlfriends.
  • Loved the spandex and the curtain call.
  • What a happy, happy movie!
  • "Thank You For The Music" is my song. Thanks, Amanda, for keeping it pretty.

So I watched two VERY different types of movies on the 18th. I had a great time at both, and am now looking forward to watching a beloved movie from my high school years later this week.

Shall we play a game? OHHHHH, YEAH!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

DLR LotD 07/20/08

Disneyland Resort Line of the Day
Sunday, July 20, 2008

"You were on fire this weekend!" -- Cindy, to Mox, at Catal

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Disneyland Resort Line of the Day
Friday, July 18, 2008

"I have a feeling there will be pants." -- Mox, at AMC

Saturday, July 19, 2008

DLR LotD 07/17/08

Disneyland Resort Line of the Day
July 17, 2008

"That's the first time you've paid attention." -- Mox, to Cindy, at Toy Story Midway Mania

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

U B Thee 1


New Lyrics on Scott Leonard's site. (Click on Lyric of the Day -- maybe it won't be changed yet by the time y'all read this and go there).

For the new rumored Pella CD, maybe? This is not a song on any of the current CDs.

I'm getting excited! Especially since I'm almost ready for the XRP thang! (I need to go clothes shopping!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cafe Beaujolais

Since today is Bastille Day, I finally remembered that I was going to post a review of the French place that I went to last week.

I wanted to take Jenn out for a nice dinner for her birthday, so she took me to this little French place that she had been to recently: Cafe Beaujolais.

The restaurant is located on Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock, but we got lucky with the parking and found a spot right in front of the place. The restaurant wasn't very crowded, but it did fill up as the evening progressed.

We were served a basket of a French baguette and butter. I would have been happier if the bread was warm, since the butter was cold, but it was still fresh and tasty. As soon as Jenn had mentioned that we would be going to a French restaurant, I immediately remembered that I had been craving escargots, so I ordered those. Jenn only had 1 out of the 8 that were on the plate, but I was happy to oblige and eat the rest of them. I was a little disappointed that the shells weren't there, as half the fun of escargots is trying to look dainty while taking the meat out of the shell. We soaked up the garlic butter with our bread, and it was yummy. Not the best I've had, but that may be due to the fact that the best I've had was also the first time I had escargots, so now I wonder if I just compare every other escargot to that one. That reminds me: I need to get myself back down to Taix again.

Anyway, the very handsome French waiter advised us of the evening's specials, and Jenn and I both ordered the Sole stuffed with Salmon mousse, which was placed atop some sliced potatoes in a type of saffron reduction. The fish was tasty, and I thought that I would enjoy the sauce because I like saffron, but for some reason, I didn't like it. I wasn't really in the mood for the potatoes, probably because they were in the sauce a lot more than the fish was, so I won't make up a comment on those. The vegetables on the side were a half of a tomato with some kind of breading on top (which I should have eaten more of, since I did enjoy it), and a square of some sort of spinach dish, which was good, but I would rather that it had been smaller. The main course serving was larger than I would expect from a French restaurant, and had I enjoyed the sauce, I might have taken home the 1/3 of a portion that I hadn't finished. Jenn said that if I return, I should try the chicken, as she had really enjoyed it the other time she had been there. I've just read the reviews on yelp, and if I'm in the mood for fish again, I'll probably try the halibut.

For dessert, I ordered a mango tart, and Jenn ordered the profiteroles. Mmmmm....that mango tart was tres yummy. The chocolate sauce on the profiteroles was also very good. I decided that I could return and just have escargots and dessert and I'd be happy. I'd probably also be happy because all of the waiters speak with a French accent and are gorgeous. Other than the always-stimulating conversation that Jenn and I had, the other best part of the night was when all of the waiters sang "Bon Anniversaire" to a woman (she was celebrating her birthday with a bunch of her girlfriends), and our view of the scene was the waiters'....ummm....backsides. We were happy girls. We didn't really need them to sing the song to Jenn, but now that I think of it, we would then have been right next to their...fronts. Ahem.

Anyway, I would return to Cafe Beaujolais, but am also curious about the breakfast place nearby, Petit Beaujolais. Perhaps I'll try that place before going back to the cafe, because I'm more of a breakfast kind of gal.

Bon Anniversaire, mon amie Jenn! Merci beaucoup pour le soir amusant!

Cafe Beaujolais
1712 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Reservations recommended for weekends: (323)255-5111
Parking on Street
yelp reviews

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Panda Kindergarten

This is a part of an e-mail that I received, and thought would bring cuteness to your day.
I have no comments to make other than "I would want one, if I didn't know that they'd grow to be majorly huge and I don't have any bamboo at my house."
SICHUAN , China -- One zoo in southwest China has its hands full with 16 baby pandas.The Sichuan Wolong Panda Protection and Breed Center is dealing with the results of a breeding boom where 16 pandas have been born.The brood includes five sets of twins.The cubs are weighed and measured every five days (see pics)The heaviest tips the scale at just over 24 pounds, while the lightest weighs about 11 pounds. The pandas are due to stop suckling soon - just about the time they'll start learning to walk. Once weaned, the panda cubs will attend panda kindergarten. In the meantime, more little ones are expected at the centre since 38 giant pandas were artificially impregnated.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

ID4 at the Rose Bowl

For the past several years, I've spent Independence Day along with 80,000 other people at Disneyland. This year, however, Drum Corps International scheduled an event to add to the Americafest at the Rose Bowl, and the program included ALL of my favorite corps (and none of the ones that irritate me), so I couldn't pass up this chance. I was accompanied by Rudy, Jeff, Bro, V, and Brady. We were especially excited that Brady was joining us, as this would be his first live drum corps event (he's seen DVDs a lot of times, thanks to his daddy). Brady seemed to have started his day in an excited mood, too. When Bro called, I answered the phone, and Brady was on the line, happily saying, "HI!!!" as opposed to the usual silence when he hears me.

We all met up at my house, and drove over to the Rose Bowl in 2 cars, spending most of the car ride in line waiting to get a parking space on the golf course. We all made note of which trees were near our cars (we're by the Sycamore tree, near the one with the red leaves, and up on the hill is the lone pine tree, and there's a break between those thingys). It was a little bit of trek to the gate entrance, but not too bad. As we waited for Recon Rudy to figure out if we were standing in the correct line, people asked us the same question we had. Thank goodness RR had done his job and was able to answer their questions when he returned. When we got through the narrow gate, we asked how to get to our hoity-toity drum corps fan seats, and passed the Blue Devils drum line on the way. Bro kept pointing out the drums to Brady, whom was already smiling and pointing at them. I went to the Academy souvie trailer, and the man from last week remembered me, but hadn't seen anything in their program for me. He did point out the CD liner notes for me, which is fine since I wanted to buy the CD anyway. I also bought an SCV shirt, and decided to get dinner since the lines were still short. I asked Brady if he wanted to walk with me to get food, and he actually said yes, so I took his hand and we bought food from the drum corps fans at the refreshment stand. They asked, "Who are you here to see? BD?" (I was wearing a Blue Devils shirt). I said, "I'm here to see everyone! They're all my favorites!" They seemed as excited as I was.

Our tickets were for Premium GA seating, which was for those people whom were actually there to see the drum corps. The regular GA people were seated at the end of the field, and some people were sitting in the end zone, which made Bro wonder how the corps would deal with that, since the CG usually throws their flags into the end zone, and BD actually starts their show right next to it. I figured that they must have rehearsed on the field earlier that day, but you never know. We were able to get really nice seats, high up (about row 65), and on the aisle in case Brady needed a break. As we waited for the show to start, I reminisced about last year's DCI Finals which had taken place there, and thought of our friend Glenn whom had accompanied me to most of that. I pointed out to Bro that the hash marks were visible on the field, a reference to last year's wackiness.
I was getting really excited, and said, "Brady, Tita Sherry's gonna go CRAZY!!!" He smiled at me and giggled. I also showed him my patriotically painted toes, to which my brother replied by having Brady call me "crazy" in Tagalog. The Academy was already on the field, and when Bro pointed them out to Brady, Brady said, "Same!" Bro asked, "Oh, they're all wearing the same thing?" Brady: "Yeah.... A LOT!!!" Bro: "Oh, there's a lot of them." Brady: "Yeah!" OMG, he is too cute.

The MC from DCI Finals, Dan Potter, was there! Cool! He introduced the guy from CBS news, Paul Magers, who tried to get everyone to take an oath to only watch CBS for news. Dude, whatever. The Presentation of the Colors was led by a bagpipe player performing the Marine Corps anthem. The Academy then played a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, which brought tears to my eyes. Then we had a flyby of a C17. That was cool.

Dan Potter introduced all of the drum corps stuff, which made me happy that goofy CBS dude wasn't doing it. This was not a judged event. Each corps played their competitive show, and then played something patriotic in a standstill performance for both the regular and hoity-toity sections. Unfortunately, V had a talker behind her, explaining everything to his companions, whom had apparently never watched drum corps before.

Pacific Crest

Oh! That noise they're making is to emulate a didgeridoo! (Bro, it can be spelled with a G or a J, so we're both right). Well, now, that makes more sense than them trying to sound like a swarm of bees. When the CG was balancing on one leg, Rudy said that they were leaning on their flag poles. Wouldn't they fall down, then? Those aren't sturdy poles. At that point, Brady said, "FLAG!" OMG, I love him. They played the same patriotic medley as they did at Corps at the Crest,which started with "Strike Up the Band." I like that medley.

The Academy
People behind Bro figured that their name was because they were all from some music school. Rudy said that the all-black CG uniforms make them ineffectual. I dare to say that their uniforms are not yet done, since I'm expecting to see something that looks like corsets on the females, and tights and powdered wigs on the males, but that's just me thinking of actual Viennese Mozart time, I guess. The CG dude actually caught his sabre for his big solo toss, probably because his advisors told him to LOOK UP. Brady sang during the show. He also drooled on Bro. I'm guessing he likes this stuff. They played a medley of service songs. (I heard D. Potter say "Surface Songs," and thought they were going to play "Shower Me With Your Love" until I came to my senses).

CBS dude informed us that this would not only be the biggest fireworks display in L.A., but also the largest one west of Chicago. Even bigger than Disneyland?! Wow.

During intermission, or "Intermezzo" as Hoity Toity Recon Rudy called it, a montage was done on the big screen, "Honoring Our Fallen from the San Gabriel Valley." Thank you to all of the servicemen and women whom risk their lives for our country.

Santa Clara Vanguard
V turned to me and said, "Liquid Crack." This is our term for the coffee that made me nutso last week, and also the same drink we thought maybe the CG imbibes before the show. Yay! Their show is complete! There's the viper! Rudy was upset, thought, that he didn't get to yell "Vanguard," because the one guy that said it was premature in his outburst. The last piece, "Cloudburst" by E. Whitacre, sounded really nice! Visually stunning too, with those shiny white flags. I love all of the rain sounds, including those made by some of the CG members, which is done by clapping their hands here, as it is done in the (original) vocal arrangement. Their patriotic tribute was "Shades of Shenandoah," which was beautifully done. I then got a star for remembering that BD's 2003 winning show was "Phenomenon of Cool." (I need all the stars I can get, so I just HAD to commemorate it here).

Phantom Regiment
As predicted, Brady needed to leave at this moment. Thank goodness Bro had been proactive and watched Phregiment at the Vista show yesterday, so that he'd be OK to leave. Jeff took one look at the CG uniforms and wished that we were up closer. Rudy said that the whole DM-holding-the-baton thing is "so stuck up, I love it!" Those shields are cool, but they kinda look like nipples to me when they're above the CG in a group as protection. Not that I normally see that many nipples grouped together like that or anything. I also liked the goosestepping from the corps when they were being the army. Very cool moving cross formation. That slavedriver/overlord/badass/anti-Spartacus dude in black is SCARY. He commands people to kill people, and he also kills them himself! Even the woman. Meanie. That was some cool fighting between the CG and the horns. AWESOME SHOW! "I. AM. SPARTACUS!" (Or, as I heard it the first two times: "Hey! You! Whatcha Got?!" Yes, that's what I actually thought I heard. Perhaps the corps should enunciate the first two times a little bit more). Their patriotic tribute was the "National Emblem" march. Thanks, Phreg, for making it out here to Cali!!! I know the gas prices are making it really hard on their budget, as with all corps, but they traveled the farthest for this show.

Blue Devils
Rudy said that he's gonna get vertigo from watching them try to balance on the lines. (Oh, and that's the corps that played music from "Vertigo" in 2000!). To answer Bro's original question, they actually moved their show 10 yards infield so that they wouldn't run over or throw flags at the people in the end zone. I don't like the final flags. I missed seeing the CG do a reverse pose of the stickman at the end (Rudy told me about it). Their hats are like cats: whenever they fall, they land right side up. Bro thinks they're weighted. Their patriotic tune was "America the Beautiful."

All 5 corps then played the new rendering of "America the Beautiful" that I don't really like, but at least it had a good sound. Then, as if we were at Finals night, BD and SCV started talking to each other before everyone got situated to watch the fireworks.

CBS dude yelled, "Let's Get Ready to Rumble!" and we did a countdown, which led to absolutely nothing for at least a full minute. Then the fireworks began.
The fireworks took about 40 minutes, and they were quite abundant! The most irritating part was that they lit up fireworks in the shapes of the Channel 2 and Channel 9 logos, which received boos. Even more boos were heard when they had the nerve to show the channel 2 fireworks on the jumbotron. Some of the fireworks designs looked like those from Disneyland's "Remember" fireworks show, like the happy faces and the hearts. I kept turning to Bro, saying, "If they do [insert random Disneyland fireworks show element here] , then we know they stole from DL." Then they'd actually do it. I half-expected the Haunted Mansion stretch room fireworks to appear. I heard later from my friends that the DL show that night was interrupted due to high winds. My conspiracy theory is that they couldn't finish the show because the Rose Bowl stole some of their stuff. Although the show wasn't exactly DL-quality (music in sync with the fireworks), it was a spectacular display, and now Bro wants one of those cannons that shoots a bunch of fireworks like a machine gun.

We had a great time, and actually found our cars by remembering our landmarks. It took us forever to get out due to disorganization and stupidity by people not in our cars, but that was to be expected. Thank you, everyone for a great time, and Congratulations to Brady for watching his first drum corps show! (And he did it without tantrum or accident. I love this child).

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

Let Freedom Ring.

I Heart Steve Carell

This isn't really a secret anyway. A couple of friends already know that I adore this man's characters in practically every show I've seen him. (OMG, in Anchorman: "I love lamp!"). I've loved him since he was a correspondent on The Daily Show. When he and Stephen Colbert were in the same room that I was, I got all geeked out and couldn't stop smiling.

So when I saw that Steve Carell would be playing the character of Agent 86 in "Get Smart," I shouted a triumphant "YES!!!!!" I have always enjoyed the TV series "Get Smart," so being excited about seeing SC in the movie version should be no surprise. I was supposed to go see this movie on opening weekend, but other stuff got in the way, so I was finally able to watch it last night.

My thoughts:
  • The theater was full and people were sitting on the floor so that they could sit together instead of away from their parties.
  • Loved all the old props, like the cone of silence, the shoe phone, and the little red car, which, of course, had no gas in the tank, since it really should have just been sitting in the museum.
  • Anne Hathaway has awesome clothes, even when not wearing Prada.
  • Anne Hathaway also has great gams. Wow! The slit on that dress was amazing.
  • Loved the Barbara Feldon wig.
  • That dance duel was hilarious.
  • So was this. Alan Arkin: "Were you thinking, 'Holy S***! Holy S***! Holy S***! A swordfish almost went through my head!'? If so, then yes!"
  • Loved the expressions on Bruce's and Lloyd's faces when they were trying to look mean for the cameras.
  • Zod/Jor-El is in KAOS!
  • Dwayne Johnson is damn manly, and I'd be afraid to piss him off if there was a stapler in the room.
  • Bill Murray in a tree. When does Agent 13 get to go to the bathroom?
  • Bernie Koppel! The original Siegfried!!! I was sitting next to very young people whom, I think, only laughed at that part because I was so enjoying this cameo that I couldn't stop giggling. Of course, it may have been funny anyway, but I couldn't hear half of what he said because I was giggling so much.
  • Where in L.A. is Highway 27?!
  • Loved the human touch while Max was dealing with the big Russian KAOS guy.
  • I couldn't wait to see whom they got for this part: Hymie. (Played on TV by Dick Gautier). Patrick Warburton is such the perfect casting, as was pretty much the rest of the actors.
  • Also loved that the combination to the doors was the theme music to the TV show.

So I was not disappointed at all. I was really happy to see that the movie was dedicated to Don Adams and Edward Platt.

I'll be buying this DVD when it comes out ... and LOVING it. :)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Western Corps Connection 06/29/08

June, 29, 2008
Riverside Community College Wheelock Stadium

It was one of those typical So Cal days in late June -- really hot. So, of course, we had scheduled ourselves to watch drum corps. Outside. In the no shade. So we decided not to get to RCC too early, lest we melt.

Bro figured out this time how to get into the parking structure, so that the car could be in the shade, which, as Bro pointed out, would be oh-so-important for us when we would return to the car at 9:00 at night. Yeah, well, at least we could sit in the shade and mock the dude with the HUGE truck that decided to take up 3 parking spaces, sit around for a few minutes, and inexplicably leave the structure. Or maybe he decided to move it into a more obtrusive spot in the structure. I don't know. My leg was hurting, and I didn't know why.

We arrived at the drum corps souvie trailers, where I could not decide on what clothing to buy. I talked to a guy at the Academy trailer regarding the music for their show. He said that the show is about the two different styles of music that were developing at the same time in Vienna, which is why the dissonance happens. He's going to try to remember to bring a program from their home show on Friday for me, so that I can understand it a little more, since I couldn't findd the info on the website. They should also have their CD available by then, so I'm looking forward to it. I decided to get 2 PC shirts since I couldn't decide, and they were different styles. I'll probably get the SCV shirt next time. Or the BD shirt. Or both. Whatever. I'll have been paid by then. V then decided to wait in the very slow line for shaved ice while Bro purchased a mango slush in a different line, which took him all of 2 minutes.

Our seats were VERY close to the front of the stands, which did not make me happy, because we like to be able to see formations. But that's OK. At least we were surrounded by nice people, and I was able to get nice photos of people's faces.

The Star Spangled Banner was played by a trumpet soloist. I didn't get his name, sorry. After this, some lady walked by with a peacock feather on her head. V asked if I thought she had something to do with PC's Primality show. I certainly hope so. As usual, the announcer for this show talks way too much. Like at one point, we wanted to send each other Air Grams about how we can't stand this guy, and another one telling everyone to stop buying Air Grams so the dude would be quiet.

OK, the show.

Dream (no show info listed in program, nor on their website)
Good solos, especially the screaming sopranos. One of the sops also played instruments in the pit. CG did a good job, too. Lady in back of me: "These kids are good!" Some of them ain't kids age-wise anymore, woman. We were sitting so close that I could hear the annoying photographer say, "Smile, ladies!" to the CG.

Incognito "World of Incognitians" -- Original Music by Incognitus
They all wore masks, except for the drum major. She had worn her mask yesterday, according to V, but I don't know what happened. The program is funny because they don't even provide the names of the staff in there; they used aliases instead. So, of course, the announcer couldn't even specify the DM's name when asking her if her corps was ready. The woman behind me asked if they were going to play "Phantom." All I could think was "I don't know. It's a mystery!" from Shakespeare in Love. I like when all of the corps gathered in front to be loud. CG did a good job. They had big gold flags, which would probably look much prettier at night. I don't like being able to see their Incognito t-shirts under their jackets. Looks tacky to me. The corps needs to be more unison in their dance moves. This is the debut year for this corps, and they seem to have promise. They are part of The Music Life Foundation, which seems to be a good organization for budding musicians. Good luck, Incognito!

Yamato "Mythos" -- collection of compositions by J. Meehan (co-founder of Yamato)
It's weird that we're actually seeing them in June, because we usually have to wait until Finals week to see the Japanese and American counterparts play together. Apparently, they were reinstated this year by DCI, so maybe this is part of the deal. There wasn't any info in the program, so I didn't understand if the big tridents were supposed to make the CG guys into Triton or the devil. Their website shows that the show is about Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, so I'll pick Poseidon. I liked watching the marimba player on the left side because she was really into the music.

Blue Devils B -- "Flight" Repertoire: Taxi & Take Off, Through the Night, Turbulence/Turbine, Final Approach & Landing by J. Meehan & J. Mackey

Bro thought that if I had seen this yesterday, I would have said, "This is the B corps?!" They really did well. Oh! Wings! Because it's about flight! I like the blue/magenta/yellow flag. I also like the drum feature, especially the multi-tenors. Sounding good, BDB!
Velvet Knights -- "The Inferno" Repertoire: Music by J.S. Bach, Verdi, M. Jackson, F. Sinatra, G. Bizet, H. Berlioz, A. Dvorak, C. Matsen and R. Hinshaw

They started off by bringing the DM onto the field in New Orleans Jazz Funeral-style, carrying him on their shoulders. They all had cool Converse sneakers. I liked the "Strangers in the Night/Carmen" love song, and the CG leads did a good job with their wacky pas de deux. Loved seeing the whole corps dancing during "Thriller." The black roses in the teeth was a nice touch. The lead multi-tenor player looked scary, and I'm not sure if that was intentional, but he really looked like he could be one of those scary people from the old movies. Their sound was very good. They held up a "... to be continued ..." sign at the end. V said that yesterday, they also held up a sign saying "maybe." So ... maybe not? Or was that also a tribute to "Thriller"? Great show!

Mystikal -- "Progression" Repertoire: Harm's Way, Distance to the Sun, At the End of the Day, The Great Nothing, Thoughts, Part 2 by Spock's Beard

The CG uniforms, props, and insides of their skirts were so bright that V couldn't hear me. The CG had a vertical line drawn down the middle of each of their faces, which reminded me of Ross' quarter trick from "Friends." Ummm... people ... you shouldn't be afraid of catching your own rifle that YOU tossed! It's too bad that they lost 2 horns last week, because they're already small. They had more drums and CG than horns (only 7 now). This corps is always small, but they're also always ambitious. Now if we could get the CG to be more aggressive with their props, they could be much better.

Impulse -- "The Game" Repertoire: Three Worlds by J. Meehan
Wow. John Meehan was busy this year.
The CG started playing kids' games like hopscotch and London Bridge before competition started. I want to feed that CG guy some cake. WAY too bony. Their show is not finished. V doesn't get what the music has to do with games. Perhaps if they finished their show, we could understand. Why was that one CG gal wearing sunglasses and nobody else was? What makes her so special?

Gold -- "29,029 Feet -- Everest" Repertoire: Ice Fall, Valley of Silence, Death Zone, The Summit

I guess they don't want me to know who wrote this music. Too bad. They don't have the gold buttons on the corps uniforms anymore, and now have a blue braided sash instead. I liked all of the imagery with the climbing, especially when the CG was climbing on each other. I was afraid that someone would get accidentally strangled or hang themselves with the rope, though. I didn't see anyone in the CG that I had met a couple of years ago. Maybe they're in other corps now.


Rudy and Jeff had entered the stands somewhere between the corps above, but V and I wanted to get to the restroom before the line got long, and we succeeded. Then my new drum corps friend Mike called, so we went to meet up with him at the SCV souvie trailer. We also met his friend, whose son had just been given a free practice pad. Cool! We said hi to Rudy when we got back, and he later informed me via text that the guy in back of him was a blabbermouth know-it-all. I had been envious of Rudy's better seat placement until that bit of information.


They sounded much better than the day before! I liked the low brass/high brass contrast. They didn't have those blue/burnt orange flags yesterday. You know that I would have remembered that. I don't know what those hangy things are in the pit, but I LIKE 'em! I like the smile on that CG guy. Very nice horn sound.

Pacific Crest
Those feathers are growing on me. I mean, not literally growing, but I'm starting to actually like them. i remembered to cheer for Maria this time. I like those bright yellow flags, and I really like their sound. Go, marimbas, go! The primal guttural sounds coming from the corps are cool, too.

At this point, someone looking very much like Kenji appeared on the steps by Bro. He was wearing a Vanguard shirt, and was with a blonde woman. This totally distracted us as we wondered if it was our 1999 SCV Championship winning friend from the Best Year (in our drum corps fandom) Ever.

The Academy
Hmmm... I didn't enjoy their sound that much today. I kept wondering what was wrong, because it sounded a lot muddier than last night. Perhaps we were close enough now to hear the errors, I don't know. I hope that they can improve by Saturday, when the brass judge is added.
They also didn't do that cymbal headchopper move.
What happened? I was disappointed, because I was really looking forward to Rudy freaking out about the music, and he didn't.

Santa Clara Vanguard

Finish your show!!!! Or do what Bro says and play the first part backwards once you're done with the normal way. I liked seeing the cymbals going all nuts at one point. I missed taking a picture of the Kodak moment, and this was probably my best chance. Oh well. I like those white flags a lot.

Blue Devils

VERY nice! AWESOME music, visuals, everything. Or what Rudy said: "That was sick." In a good way. I like when the guys hold up their foot before catching their rifle. I really do like this show.

While the scores were being tabulated, Bro yelled, "Kenji!" and the guy turned around, so we went up to him to catch up. It was nice to see him, and I took a pic of him and girlfriend Liz to send to Angela, his high-school sweetheart. In turn, he'll get a link to Ang's pic with new baby Tyler.



68.0 Dream


55.60 Mystikal

56.40 Incognito

61.30 Gold

64.10 Yamato

66.60 Velvet Knights

74.50 Blue Devils B


68.90 Academy

70.00 Mandarins

72.60 Pacific Crest

80.20 Santa Clara Vanguard

82.20 Blue Devils


BD was told "the field is yours," and the man behind Bro said, "Do they get to take the field home, too?" Cute.

The pit ensemble played a really cool piece that featured the marimbas, drum kit and tympani. Then the bass lead yelled, "Blue Devils Contra Line: Bring It Down, Baby!" and the corps did their F-tuning thing. Yay! F-tuning! They then played excerpts from their show. I was disappointed that they didn't play the whole thing, and I would have loved to hear them play their anthem, since PC had done much more the night before. Rudy got all confused when I kept saying what PC did, and I had to explain to him that the encores are pre-set, so it's not always the winner from that night's show. We saw Mike and I introduced him to the guys, then made our way home.

Drum Corps mania has surely begun. I'm having withdrawals from not seeing a show for 5 days. Tonight should be fun at the Rose Bowl!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Random Sherry Quote of the Day

July 3, 2008:

"I lost my hot dog a long time ago."