Sunday, December 30, 2012

DLR LotD 12/30/12

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Sunday, December 30, 2012

"I don't want to be here!!!!"  -- Miss O, many, many times before she finally calmed down, on It's A Small World Holiday

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Barney vs. Marshall

OK, all of the Les Miz business has reminded me of this clip of "How I Met Your Mother" stars Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel singing "Confrontation".  I only wish that the audience would have let them finish the song, because it's awesome.

I love these guys.  I love this song.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry ChristMiz!

When I first found out that a movie version of my favorite musical would be made, I was a bit apprehensive about it.  I was worried that they would butcher it and I would hate it.  But then they released the trailers, and announced that all of the singing for Les Miserables was done as the cameras were rolling (instead of being recorded in a studio and lip-synced on camera), and I was eager to see the movie.  So here we are, Christmas Day / Opening Day, and I made sure to see the film.  The showing that I aimed for sold out while I was in line, so I took the next time, and it seemed to have sold out, too, because the theater was packed.  I was armed with my tissues!  Here we go!  I took a deep breath,

  • The opening scene of the prisoners/slaves pulling the ship into the dock was more than I ever imagined it to be when I saw this on stage.  Their ships were that big?!  No wonder Jean Valjean was described with the strength that he had!  
  • Hugh Jackman.  My goodness gracious.  His portrayal of 24601 had me crying already when the bishop saved him....and I cried in almost every scene in which he was sang.  AMAZING.  When he hit the last note in "Bring Him Home" and held it there, I wept for his triumph.
  • Also:  Anne Hathaway.  I never doubted that she could sing this thing, because I've heard the quality of her voice in little things, like at the Oscars.  She hit this out of the park and into outer space!  The emotion she exuded made me love the character of Fantine more than I ever did before.
  • Amanda Seyfried, with her beautifully lilting soprano voice was quite a lovely Cosette.
  • Russell Crowe does not have a Broadway-style voice.  His voice is more pop/rock, so I would have preferred someone else in this role, but he held his own.
  • While we're on the word "own", let me just say that Samantha Barks remained true to my favorite character of Eponine, which makes sense as she sang the part for the theatre version's 25th Anniversary Concert.  Loved her "On My Own" and everything else she did.
  • I like this Eddie Redmayne guy.  He's cute.  Also, he had a great story about telling Tom Hooper a long time ago that he could ride a horse for "Elizabeth I", and when put to the test, he fell off.  It took Mr. Hooper many years to hire him again, and when he did, he placed Redmayne on a horse, probably as an act of retaliation.  I like Redmayne's voice, too.
  • Ah, the Thenardiers.  Sasha Baron Cohen is hilarious as usual, and he and Helena Bonham Carter are a much-needed comic relief for the story.  I do wish that they could have done a little bit more with them stealing stuff at the wedding reception, though.  I love how, in the stage productions, she has silverware and stuff falling out of her dress.
  • Aaron Tviet also has a very nice voice as the ever-earnest Enjolras.
  • The new song, "Suddenly" is a nice addition to the score, and I'm glad that they shortened "Turning", because that song always seemed too long for me when sung on stage.
  • Colm Wilkinson!  YES!!!  I'm so very happy that he got to play in this movie.  His voice is pretty much what made me love Les Miz in the first place, as I have listened to him over and over and over again on the CD.  
  • Oh, wow, Frances Ruffelle was in this, too?  I wish I could have recognized her, the original Broadway Eponine.
  • Ugh, the exit music is blech.  It was hard for me to sit through, but I stayed out of respect for the film. 
  • What is up with that huge elephant statue?
  • Because I'm a purist, I know how a lot of the diehard Les Miz fans feel about this cast, and the singing.  But I think it should be given a chance despite the Hollywood treatment.  The acting is top notch, the sets and cinematography are amazing, and it's still a great story.
  • Bring tissues!  I cried buckets, partly because it's my favorite musical and they were doing it justice, and partly because of all of the raw emotion.  INCREDIBLE.
I need to watch something lighthearted now.  Oh, look!  "The Princess Bride" is on the Sundance Channel right now!  "Anybody want a peanut?"

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DLR LotD 12/19/12

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"She's singing again." -- Jenn and Sher, many, many times, after Sher bought her niece's birthday gift.

Friday, December 14, 2012

DLR LotD 12/12/12

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"I feel like I'm going to fly away." -- Dick Van Dyke, at a rainy Candlelight Procession

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Luscious Harmonies

Take 6 - "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Lewis Family Playhouse - Rrrancho Cucamonga, CA

As I drove to church for Mass, I saw that that the street on which my alma mater is situated was full of school buses.  It made me melancholy, because I really wanted to go to the SCSBOA Marching Band Field Show Championships taking place there that night.  (It's been 6 years since they've been in the championships, and they were competing on their home field, and, well, look at this promo!).  But it was drizzling.  And I had a ticket to see Take 6.  When I heard the rain pouring outside during Mass, I figured that it was a reminder that I really, really like Take 6, and it's inside, and I would get to see my friends.  But I did come very close to calling Liz and telling her to bring Joe with her to use my ticket.  

I arrived at the venue with plenty of time before the doors opened, so I went to the restroom to turn around my mayo-stained shirt.  Dangit, that's one of my favorite shirts!  But at least it's a turtleneck and it doesn't matter which side goes in front.  I met up with Wendy, Jeff, Aura, Aura's mom and Aura's friends, and Liz in the lobby.  Wendy and Jeff had scored front row apron seats for us (right side of house).  THANK YOU!  Liz and I informed each other about whomever were new members to us.  I told Wendy that Liz and I were at the same Take 6 concert when I saw them for the first time in the early 1990s, but we hadn't met each other yet.  Liz and I were meant to be friends.  :)  Wendy and Jeff had never seen them before.  I told her that they would have audience participation, just for Jeff.

Take 6 took the stage, and as soon as they had sung their first chord, I had forgotten all about the band championships and got into the Christmas spirit.

I did not take notes during the show, but here is the set list and what I can remember the next day.

We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Yup.  First chord.  

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Weird not to hear Kevin Wright singing the lead on this.

Hark The Herald Angels Sing
This is one of the first Christmas songs I had ever heard them sing, from their "He Is Christmas" CD.  Claude enjoyed saying "Rancho CUC-amonga!"  What is it with the high tenors loving the name of this place? ;)

Let It Snow
Claude said that he grew up in Buffalo, which is known for snow, so he thought they should bring some musical snow to So Cal for Christmas.  He even showed us how to imagine the snow with some finger motion. 

Claude told Alvin that he wanted to sing bass on this one, and asked if they could both sing bass.  So they each sang lead on every other verse.  Since they took it at the original tempo, I wasn't very jarred about them not being Rockapella with Santa Hats.  Their rendition is jazzy, like the original, but with much better harmonies.  Claude could hit those low notes, and the high ones at the end.  Crazy range.

The Sugarplum Dance
Mark arranged "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from The Nutcracker.  I was hoping that it wouldn't be like Scott's arrangement on "Simply Having..." because I try to keep the groups separate from each other.  Mark did not disappoint me one bit.  Their arrangement is amazing and totally virtuoso for all of them.  

I'll Be Home For Christmas
A tribute to our troops.  Mark was looking for mistletoe to point to, but there wasn't any.  I liked that he enunciated "presents under the tree", because it makes more sense than "presents on the tree".  Wouldn't the tree fall over if all of the presents were on its branches?

This is not a Christmas song, but it is the title song from their new CD.  I wish they had their actual CDs in the lobby instead of stuff that they only produced.  I have some catching up to do on their CDs.

Alvin is from So Cal, and said he's been trying to get the guys to tour here for a long time.  Thanks, Alvin!

Stand By Me
Always a crowd favorite for the a cappella groups.  Joey sang lead, and pointed to a lady that she should stand by him on stage. She didn't.  I almost got up myself.  I mean, he was RIGHT THERE!

Old School stuff that included Earth, Wind & Fire, Nat King Cole, The Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson
At this point, some of the guys shared their musical influences.  The Nat King Cole was pretty much just Claude doing an impersonation of "When I Fall In Love", all by himself, while sitting on the piano bench.  Loved their "Taking It To The Streets", and they sang Stevie's "I Wish", which is just so Stevie/T6.  Then Khristian shared that he was born in 1982 and wouldn't know an 8-Track if it hit him in the face.  His influence was Michael Jackson, and he danced and sang and talked like MJ.  He did snippets of a bunch of songs, and frightened the women sitting front and center with the crotch-grabbing scream.   Can't remember who on stage told him, "This is a family show."  He was great, though.  He also played some piano during one or two of the other songs, which, I think, is the only time a piano was used in the show.

So Much To Say
Ah, the song that I first heard them sing live.  But oh, what a change they made!  OMG, the vocal acrobatics with the scatting and the vocal percussion and the melismas!  Good golly, Miss Molly, they have arranged this song to new, explosive heights, and I am happy to go up there with them!

Joy To The World
Back to Christmas songs now.  APPARENTLY, they have 3 Christmas CDs.  Why did I only know about one?  

Sweet Little Jesus Boy
So pretty, and it's Mark's favorite.  

Lamb of God
Joey did some preaching, and we all went right there with them.  This song is gorgeous, and has a bit of the old Danish "Holy Holy Holy" in it.  Nice.

Come On
Yeah, because we weren't all crazy enough (we were), here we go with some call and response.  YEAH!  

They announced that they'd be signing CDs.  I stole a set list from the stage, and confessed to Alvin that I did so, but he didn't mind, and they all signed it.  What's cool about their set list is that each song has the key that they used.  Aura said that she never saw anyone use a pitch pipe, and neither do I, so some of them must have perfect pitch.  They're so totally amazing!  I told Mark that he sings my favorite Take 6 song, "Something Within Me", and the first time I heard him sing it, he was sick.  I told him that I said that night, "I wish I could sing like that when I'm sick!"  They're all very nice, but I was too shy to ask for pictures.  I was kind of the same way with Rockapella, although I did get a picture with them the first time I met them at a meet and greet.  Oh, Pella, how far we've come since then!  :)

We bid goodbye to Aura and Liz.  Wendy, Jeff and I went to Cheesecake Factory, and who shows up but Aura and her guests!  Aura's mom told us that she went crazy when she saw Rockapella and they sang "Folger's".  So THAT'S where Aura gets her fangirl-ness!  Later, we ended up leaving at the same time, too, and they said that the Kibble brothers were sitting at the next table.  Cool!  I probably wouldn't have been able to eat if I saw them there.

So here I am now, feeling the Christmas spirit like I'm supposed to be doing.  It's the most wonderful time of the year!  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

With Malice Toward None

I had been looking forward to seeing "Lincoln" for a while, so I made sure to see it on opening weekend.

  • Daniel Day-Lewis played Lincoln exactly as I imagined he would be.  This is my favorite role of his.  I guess it helps that this is also my favorite US President.
  • That idea of him may have been greatly influenced by "Great Moments With Mister Lincoln" at Disneyland.  When he talked about getting his haircut, I could almost hear the snip of scissors behind my ear, as the soldier getting a photograph taken at the attraction.
  • Sally Field plays Mary Todd Lincoln quite sympathetically, and my favorite part is when she's telling off the guy at the Inaugural Ball.
  • Tommy Lee!  I loved him in this role, playing a man who has an acerbic personality to go with his solid opinion of slavery and equality.
  • Spader!  Wow, there is some great acting in this movie, and James Spader certainly does not disappoint.
  • The opening scene, with the guys showing that they memorized the Gettysburg Address, and the other guy finishing up the speech, put tears in my eyes very early in the movie.
  • Wow, how the political parties have changed since the days of The Civil War.
  • Interesting to see the parallels to this day, especially with the topics of equality (which had me crying at one point during TLJ's speech).
  • Liked seeing Lincoln's relationships with his sons, especially the younger one.
  • Also loved David Straitharn as William Seward (whom I know chiefly from Alphas on the SyFy channel). 
  • Beautiful score by John Williams.
  • Oh, so THAT'S why it's smoky!  One of my co-workers was a History major in college, and said that he loved how realistic it looked for that era.  All of the smoke was due to the fact that everyone had wood-burning stoves.
  • I liked that the movie showed so much of Lincoln's personality as a father, a husband, and a guy with a sense of humor.
I loved this movie.  I wonder if "A Team of Rivals" is as riveting, and will probably read it someday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Atticus the Brave

Fathom Events held a screening of "To Kill A Mockingbird" on November 15, and Linda, Sheridan and I were excited to be able to see the movie on a big screen.  

  • There was a line outside the theater, which turned out to be a line for the opening weekend of the final Twilight movie.  Kids today!  But we did see a family with kids in the row in front of ours, and I pointed them out to my friends, saying "Good parenting."  They agreed.
  • Gregory Peck is just outstanding.  If I didn't have such a great dad already, I would wish that Atticus was my dad.  But then I'd be attacked by some racist drunk dude, so maybe not.
  • I liked hearing the stories about the kids during casting and filming, like how Philip Alford just auditioned so that he could get out of school for the day, and how Mary Badham would flub her lines on purpose so that she could stay on set longer.
  • I didn't know that Robert Duvall was even in this movie, much less playing Boo Radley.  This was his film debut.
  • I always forget the meaning of the title, then I hear it again and it makes sense all over again.  
  • Yay! Alice Ghostley!  This was her film debut also.
  • My friends had their tissues ready before the movie even started.  Yeah, I needed the tissue, too.  We needed to sit for a while in the theater to soak it all in before leaving, because Linda was still emotional.  It was kind of weird to hear the lounge-type music from the theater while we were still sitting there, though.
Great movie.  Still.  If you haven't seen it, or if you haven't read the book, you need to do so.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Cappella Goodness, College Style

Southern California A Cappella Music Festival (SCAMFEST)
Friday, November 9, 2012
Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College

After a long work day, I met up with Jeff and Wendy, whom I followed a little bit in the parking structure after driving around campus for awhile.  The line was REALLY long to get into the auditorium, but we were still able to sit together in the center section, albeit toward the back and on the aisle.  

  • The event was hosted by The Claremont Shades, whom did little Award Presenter-type announcements between the different groups.  They also opened and closed the show.
  • Mood Swing sang songs that I wasn't familiar with, so if I didn't already feel old surrounded by college kids, I felt older listening to songs that they all probably knew.
  • Bruin Harmony was a lot of fun, especially with "Rehab" and "Starships".
  • Ah, girl groups.  Thanks for keeping the tradition alive, Women's Blue & White.
  • After School Specials has some cool vocal percussion going on, beatbox style.  I liked the soloist/duet for "Payphone".
  • MIdnight Echo has funky pants.  I'm just saying.
  • Wow, Reverse Osmosis rocks!  Their female soloist is amazing, especially in "Find My Way".
  • Why can't I remember anything about Men's Blue & White except that they were all-male, and the oldest a/c group out here in the west?  Yes, I see their repertoire in my program.  Can't remember.  Duh.
  • Yes, I remember the Kosher Chords, mostly because of that one girl's dress.  They sang a song that I love, "Carry On My Wayward Son".
  • Scattertones had a really nice sound, especially in "Paradise".
  • 9th Street Hooligans are obsessed with Lip Gloss.  :)
  • The SoCal Vocals are an embarrassment of riches.  Seriously. They have the incredible sound, the cool arrangements, and the awesome moves.  Backflips?  Who can compete with that?!  Not that I'm surprised, because they've always been great.  "Tight Rope" just completely killed.  
The event was a lot of fun, and it was good to see some a cappella with Jeff & Wendy, although it did make me miss Rockapella even more than I already do.  Somebody needs to get me out of this withdrawal yuckiness.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

DLR LotD 11/11/12

Disneyland Resort
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

"To Cindy and Glenn" -- Sherry, V, Bro and Linda, somewhere in DCA

DLR LotD 11/08/12

Disneyland Resort
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Special Edition:  Benovian Wine Dinner at Catal

Amuse Buche: Compressed Melon with Yuzu Pearls and Micro Mint
NV Cuvee Patina Brut
"I didn't know that Sherry was coming." -- Glenn 

First Course:  Autumn Spiced Butternut Squash with Maple Smoked Bacon Essence
2010 Russian River Chardonnay
"Yeah, you have to stand on your head to eat it." -- Matt

Second Course: Seared Day Boat Scallop with Caramelized Pineapple and Vanilla Foam
2010 La Pommeraie Vineyard Chardonnay
"I keep thinking, 'I'm Ron Jeremy'." -- Sherry 

Third Course: Wild Skuna Bay Salmon with Roasted Beet-Farro and Corn Puree
2010 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
"It just tastes like butter to me." -- Glenn

Fourth Course: Confit Suckling Pig with Cavalo Nero, Sun Choke Puree and Smoked Cherry Jus
2009 Bella Una Pinot Noir
"I'm drunk." -- Sherry

Bonus for sitting with cool people:  El Capricho Tequila
"NICE!" -- Matt, Glenn and Sherry

Fifth Course: Lacquered Beef Short Rib with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Creamed Parsley
2009 Sonoma County Zinfandel
"Ow." -- Sherry

Dessert: Tahitian Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Coffee-Chocolate Crumble
NV Bodegas HIdalgo, Faraon Oloroso
"Let me smell you." -- Glenn, to Sherry

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

There's A Glitch in the Matrix

Opening night of "Wreck It Ralph" at the El Capitan.  Of course I was there with my friends!  We had our usual VIP seats and Glenn got Linda and me to check in with the FilmPulse app, so that we could get a prize: either a small popcorn or a medal.  Who are these clowns that opt for the popcorn?  Maybe they didn't have VIP tickets that include popcorn.  

Before the movie, I arrived early and went shopping for something warmer to wear over my short sleeved blouse.  I found a wrap/sweater in a store that I like at Hollywood & Highland, then I bought the marquee pin of Wreck It Ralph at the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store.  Glenn met up with me and did the same.  Bought the pin, I mean.  He didn't buy a cute wrap at the store that I like.

I got a picture of the big Wreck It Ralph guy in the lobby.

There was a little show before the movie, which included dancing from a couple of the characters from the movie.  Then on with the show!

  • How could I not enjoy that group therapy Bad-Anon session?  So very much my thing.  :)
  • Got all nostalgic for the arcade that was very close to my house when I was growing up.  Ahh, memories of my friends and me frequenting that place as much as possible.
  • Loved seeing all of the characters in the power strip.  I'm hoping that TRON was somewhere in there, since this is a Disney movie about video games, for crying out loud.
  • Also love that the station's openings are the sockets for the plugs, although I didn't get that until I saw a still a couple of days later.  Duh, Sher.
  • I want a doll of the little Asian-looking girl with pigtails, but they don't seem to have any merchandise of her.  Just the other mean girls.  I'm sure she's mean, too, but I like her style. But Vanellope is way cute, too.
  • Cotton candy clouds!  Cindy needs to go there.
  • Jane Lynch is all kinds of awesome, especially in such high definition, as Fix-It-Felix would marvel at Sergeant Calhoun.
  • I want to make a candy car!  
  • OK, I loved it when Ralph was in Pac-Man's game and took the cherries.  Awesome.
  • Diet Coke and Mentos.  Coolness.
  • Well, milk my duds!
I really enjoyed this movie, as did my companions.  I recommend it especially for any of you that grew up in the video game era.  Now I need to get back to the Disney website and play some games.  

DLR LotD 10/27/12

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Why does she have to be so upset?" -- Some girl in Haunted Mansion Holiday, about Dodie getting crushed upon the instructions of the CM

Monday, November 19, 2012

From Star Wars South

Carrie Fisher - Any Questions?
Friday, October 26, 2012 -- 7:30 pm
Brea Improv

I enjoyed Carrie Fisher's HBO Special, so when I saw that she would be having a show in Brea, I invited my buddy Linda, and we met there for dinner.  As we stood outside in line, I noted that the marquee said "Carrie Fisher From Star Wars", and lamented that people really should know who she is besides that movie, but the kids today probably don't know her unless she's referenced that way.  

When we were seated, I got a little worried, because we were right up front, like my knees could touch the very small stage.  The set was a couch, coffee table, a throw rug, and a lamp or two, with a big screen behind the couch.  As we ate dinner and had a wonderful conversation with also-worried tablemates Sarah and Jeff, I noticed that people were placing question cards on the coffee table.  I had asked a question when I bought the tickets online (the system wouldn't let me finish my transaction without one), so I didn't write another one.  I also noticed some pens, and 4 cans of Diet Coke, and a couple of glasses of ice.  Those didn't all turn out to be pens, though.  One of them was an e-cigarette, to which she wondered if she would get e-cancer.
  • Ms. Fisher entered from the back of the middle aisle, with her dog Gary on a leash.  She had glitter on her eyelids, and Gary had glitter on his back.  So cute!  
  • Gary was restless for a bit and Carrie was distracted by his antics.
  • Carrie also noted the marquee, and said that she's actually "from Star Wars South...I'm from the wrong side of the tracks."
  • She played some of "The Star Wars Holiday Special", and even sang along with herself.  I don't remember ever seeing it before, but it seems that may have been a good thing.
  • When someone asked about her taping her breasts for Star Wars, she showed the clip as to why that was done.
  • Carrie was also distracted by the journalist blogger sitting at the table behind us, because he was writing down every word she said.  Hmmmm...sounds familiar.  I tried to find his website so that I could link to it here, but I couldn't find it.  At one point, she even asked to look at his notes, then threatened to make him take his shirt off.
  • Instead, some other guy took his shirt off for the line from "Soapdish", and she had a senior citizen woman get up on stage to hug him.  
  • Most of the questions were about Star Wars.  When she did mention her mom at one point, a gal in the office asked MY question -- "How is she?"  She's fine and performing and living next door to Carrie when she's not in Branson or Nashville or wherever she was.
  • She did talk about her past drug use, which started during "The Blues Brothers", and was also happening during the filming of "The Empire Strikes Back".  I'll now watch the scene of Billy Dee kissing her hand with the knowledge that they were all still blitzed from partying the previous night.
  • Carrie really wants to have a drag Slave Leia contest.  She just needs to go to Comic Con, I think.
  • Linda and I felt like we were sitting in her living room, listening to her tell stories, because she had eye contact with us numerous times, and even asked Linda what she said about Gary when Linda was just kind of whispering to me.  
It was an evening of hilarity.  It makes me want to watch "Wishful Drinking" again.  Actually, I could watch "Wishful Drinking" just about any time. If you haven't yet, take a gander.  She's awesome, even for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Argo F*?% Yourself

After our post-CHOC Walk brunch, Glendy and I went to the AMC to watch "Argo".

  • Great movie.  Ben Affleck has become quite a talented director.
  • Very cool to see the old 1970s WB logo to open the film.
  • Ah, those 1970s hair and clothing styles!  I wanted to cut everyone's hair, especially Victor Garber's hair.
  • I just learned that the storyboards for the fake movie were, indeed drawn by Jack Kirby, the famous comic-book artist.  Cool!
  • I was tense throughout this movie.  At one point, I noticed that my hands were clenched and I needed to relax for a moment.  The relaxation didn't last very long.
  • I was pissed off that the one guy wouldn't agree to the plan until way later.  Dude, you've been in hiding forever, and you're just going to stay there and do nothing?
  • John Goodman and Alan Arkin are hilarious, as usual.  They need to do a buddy movie. 
  • Hey, Adrienne Barbeau!  Even though she wasn't playing herself, it just reminds me of the whoel 1970s era thing.  So did the reference to "The Love Boat".
  • Also, Tom Lenk from Buffy!  
  • Had my history classes been as entertaining as this movie, I would have paid more attention.  No, it wasn't a documentary, and artistic license was taken, but I learned a lot about the US relations with Iran in this movie, which I didn't understand as much when I was younger and it was all actually happening.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Improv Away

Whose Live Anyway?
Friday, October 19, 2012 9:30 p.m.
Smothers Theatre -- Pepperdine University

Linda saw that Goldstar had tickets available for this show, so I happily agreed to go with her.  We met at Coogie's for dinner, and the server seemed to be less-than-pleased to have to work on a Friday night, but he perked up a tiny bit before we left.  We got some coffee at Starbucks (Linda finally had a Pumpkin Spice Latte and loved it), and we talked to a guy whom is a limo driver.  He told us stories about celebrities that I will not mention here.

  • Ryan Stiles
  • Greg Proops
  • Joel Murray (subbing for Chip Esten, whom was working on Nashville)
  • Jeff Davis
My thoughts:
  • While waiting for the show to start, we tried to guess who would be chosen to participate in the evening's show.  I was right about one person.
  • Hilarity all around, of course.  I miss seeing the TV show.
  • Proops was the moderator, and he said that yes, they were missing the bald guy, the black guy and the rich guy.
  • Lots of audience participation, although Proops declined someone that was too eager to join them on stage.  
  • That one girl was really not good at sound effects, to the point where Ryan decided that all of her sounds were like he was urinating, and narrated as such.  I wondered how surprised they would be if they chose Jeff Thacher without knowing his talents.
  • Loved Celebrity Jeopardy, during which Murray played his brother Bill,  and Davis played Keanu Reeves.  I wanted to tell Joel Murray that his brother was actually in "Space Jam" because he acted like he didn't know, although he did do a great impression.  Jeff Davis was awesome as Keanu.  Like, so very, very Keanu.
  • Can't remember the name of the game, but it was fun to watch them change film/theater genres as they read lines given to them on slips of paper from the audience.  The audience favorite was High School Musical Kabuki Theater.  When Gangnam Style was suggested, they reacted with "What?"
  • Great idea:  "Name an unlikely place for two people to meet."  Answer: A cemetery.  The guys then started the game as grave robbers with metal detectors.
That was a good time.  My cheeks ached from all of the smiling and laughing.  

Friday, November 16, 2012


Zoo Trilogy
Day 3
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We were up and ready early enough in the morning that the line for waffles was fairly short, so I made a couple of them.  One of them was kinda jacked up because I forgot to spray the skillet first, but at least I didn't leave any batter on it when I left.  They also had hard-boiled eggs still available, so I was good to go.  We finished packing up our belongings and made our way over to Safari Park.  Since it was a weekday, there were only a few other cars in the parking lot, so we were able to close to the entrance, even if we didn't use our placard.

I haven't been here since I was a little girl, so I wasn't familiar with the surroundings at all.  The kids wanted to take a picture on the big shiny rhino, so they did that, and Brady also wanted a picture by the elephant.  Today was a day of "Brady smiles for pictures in a regular way" instead of being all goofy-like.  Well, for most of them.  

Rhiding the Rhino
We found some reptiles for Miss O to admire, and I saw a chinchilla that reminded me of Yoda.  There were cute places all along the pathway to take pictures.  One of the displays was of bat-eared fox ears so that you could get a sense of what the fox can hear.  Brady read the sign to me, and I was overwhelmed by the way he so easily read the word "enable".  That's not a word that most 7-year-olds can just rattle off, you know.
Bat-Eared Fox Kits
They had an area that appeared to be a place for African family entertainment.  Look, a very tall drum!  They must have very tall people in Africa.  Or maybe the giraffes play this when they're not fighting each other with their long necks.
Somebody needs a boost

Of course, when I saw that the bat exhibit, I could not resist going inside.  Yay, bats!  Brady was very excited to take this picture.  So was Tita Sherry.

Bat Crazy

We walked into the Rainbow Lory aviary, but didn't buy any food to place on our arms to attract the birds.  I'd rather just watch that happen to someone else, thanks.  The birds were beautiful, but I kept getting startled when one would just fly by me.  

We took a gander at the savannah before taking the elevator down to catch the Africa Tram.  I wish that we had the time and money to take a more close-up tour. I would become a member if I lived in the right zip code to afford it.  On our way to the tram, a lion and his lionesses were hanging out nearby, taking over the no-longer-working jeep.  The lioness looked at me just as I was about to take a picture, so that was cool.  More animals posing for Sherry!  

Our bus driver/guide had a lot of interesting stuff to share, like how the zebras kept fighting for the food, so they had to isolate them.  She said that this is a known personality trait.  MIss O fell asleep, but Brady was sitting in the sun, so he wasn't as comfortable as she was.  Every animal reminded me of a game I play on Facebook, so it was neat to see the animals in real life.   Afterward, we were all pretty hungry, so we had some lunch at a cafe near the tram stop.  

Mom had promised to get slushies for the kids, so they enjoyed that for a while before we walked some more around the park.  I had taken a short detour on the Tiger Trail, but it seemed to go much farther than my party was willing to walk, so I didn't take the whole trail.  Instead, we walked around the exhibits, and saw Winston the gorilla.  He was picking up leaves in each of his 4 hands/feet.  I tried not to look into his eyes because he's shy and I didn't want to piss him off.  I don't think I'd want people staring at me all of the time, so I looked for his kids.  

Winston Gathering Leaves
Miss O and Brady loved seeing the different kinds of ducks, as well as the flamingos.  This duck type appears to have a pompadour hair style.  Those red eyes are not a camera error, by the way.  They're demon Elvis ducks!
Demon Elvis Duck

I loved that there were animal babies everywhere.  Here's a baby flamingo with the teenagers and a momma.

  I loved watching the meerkats pop their heads out of the different holes that they had dug.  

Mom and Dad were tired of walking, so they let me go off on my own, and I went to the Tiger Trail.  The terrain was rough, so it was good that they didn't come with me, although Brady did try and then he changed his mind.  I saw one of the tigers for a brief moment while he was walking around, but he was far away from us, which I guess is a good thing, being that he is a wild carnivore and all of that.  I also checked out the elephants.  They had a big family of elephants there, and I just had to get lots of pictures of the newest baby elephant.  So cute!
Baby Phant

I then wanted to take a look at the California Condors, so I walked that way as well, and saw a couple of bald eagles on the way.  I also saw a Western Harris Hawk, which is the type of hawk whose baby was in my yard one day.  Those condors are HUGE!  A couple of times, they flew a little bit, and the motion kicked up some wind toward us.

Hey, look!  One last hippo!
Somehow in the heat I found my way back to the park entrance.  I don't know how, because I was hot and tired and walked in the wrong direction a couple of times, but I guess I followed whatever sign I eventually found.  Miss O walked up to me so that I could carry her back to the car, and we made our way back to my parents' house.  Miss O was knocked out and couldn't even wake up to say goodbye to me.  I went home shortly afterward, exhausted from the 3 days of walking around, but happy to have spent a fun time with my family.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hippo Happiness

Zoo Trip Trilogy
Day 2
Monday, October 8, 2012

We woke up and had a free hotel breakfast.  It wasn't really early, so there was a long line for waffles.  Also, they didn't have any hard-boiled eggs when I looked for them.  So I would have to get better food later, and just settle for a continental breakfast for today.  Too bad the fruit was not pretty, or I would have at least been happy with that.  But no.  I'll just go ask some monkeys for bananas or something later on.

We drove to the San Diego Zoo, and I declared to my twitter friends that if I didn't get to see any hippos, there would be much pouting.  Dad remembered about our placard today, but the parking was still a little bit of a walk to the entrance.  We were early enough that it wasn't that far from where others were parked.  When we entered, we noticed that the zoo doesn't bother with that whole fingerprint thing that we dealt with at Sea World (only my fingerprint thing worked there).  We saw trams and buses and we didn't know what we were doing, so we found out that we could take a bus tour around the zoo so we could get familiar with the place first.  Since we had our 3-park pass, our bus tour was free.  I made the family stop to take a picture, which they refused to do when we were at Sea World.  I just have fun taking the pictures, but don't necessarily buy them unless I really like what I see.  The kids decided that they wanted to sit on the top level of the bus, and we sat in front.  Then after we were up there, we were told that the bottom had a better view because it was closer to the animals.  Whatever, the kids were happy and we got to sit in front.  I got to see a hippo! 

 And then I saw this hippo, too!  

Lifeguard hippo!

So the threat of pouting was over, at least from me, especially when my mom said that we'd go back to see the hippo after the bus ride was over.  We were able to see several animals on the bus tour, mostly different types of deer and big cats.  My favorite was the very pretty Giraffe Antelope.  I have also always loved the beauty of giraffes, and here are a teenage brother and sister being cute.
Bro and Sis Giraffes

After the bus ride, I sneaked away and bought the picture that we took before boarding the bus.  Ssshhh...they still don't know.  Mom suggested that we go to the petting zoo, so she and I ate the fruit that I bought and the rest of them went in to pet goats.  I was hoping that we would hear the Kookaburra's call, but that didn't happen.  But all of that was not until after we found this to sit on. There are hippos all over the place around here!  YAY!

Pink Hippo

Then I found out that, APPARENTLY, Miss O is quite fond of snakes, and has a fake one at home. This doesn't freak out my mom as much as when Bro terrified her with a rubber snake.  Oh, no.  Now, with Miss O, she brought her all around the reptile area, and pointed out all of the different snakes.  Who replaced my mother with this being?  She was still a little squeamish, but was willing to let Miss O look at every single one of the slithery animals.  Mom even had a favorite: the green mamba.  That thing is fast.  But here is Miss O with another green one.  I think it's a viper.

Happy MIss O with her snake

Then after Brady and Dad came back from the restroom for, like, the 5th time, we somehow lost Mom and Miss O.  You see, people?  THIS is why each adult should have a cell phone!  Anyway, we decided to have lunch because I whined when Mom had the idea to just leave at that point.  Hello, we have not actually seen the hippo up close!  OK, I didn't exactly whine, because I needed to not do that in front of the children, but I did voice my opinion on the whole leaving-before-hippo thing.  Brady said that he had blisters on his toes, so I took him to First Aid to get a band aid before we walked the Hippo Trail.  I mean, really, this place is practically made for me.  Along the trail, we saw some monkeys.  One of the capuchins stared at me and followed me a little bit so that I could take more pictures of him.  Perhaps he liked it when I said, "Pose for me!"  (I did that a lot during our 3-day tour, and most of the animals obliged).  One of the capuchins wanted to get leaves from a tree that was beyond their rope-fence, and we marveled at him in his successful effort.
Posing Capuchin

We also saw beautiful Red-cheeked Gibbons, and this  female gibbon was so gorgeous that she felt confident enough to pee while we were all watching her.  This pic is pre-pee, because I'm sparing you from the other one that I have.  For now.  

Red-cheeked Female Gibbon

We also saw a beautiful Okapi (one of my other favoritely-designed animals), then I got totally distracted because I saw the Hippopotamus sign.  There was a mama and baby!  The mama was so big and it was so crowded in that area that I could only get a picture of her butt, but I was able to get one of the baby's face.  YAY!

Baby HIppo

Then I needed to take a solo photo with the shiny hippo.  :)

I want one of these in my backyard

Then Miss O wanted to go back to see the real hippo again, so I happily obliged.  I love how interested she and Brady are when they watch the animals.  On our way back to catch a shuttle bus to the entrance, we visited the panda exhibit, and saw baby Yun Zi.

Yun Zi

While waiting for the shuttle bus, I saw huge porcupines. I didn't know they got that big, but maybe it was just their quills.  I don't know.  They were big.  At the last stop for the bus, we ended up by the rhinos.  We had seen them from the regular bus tour, but this was a chance to see them much closer.  At one point, this happened.

Rhino Love

The guy standing next to me said, "Are we about to see something here?"  I giggled and said, "Maybe!"  He said, "They shouldn't allow them to do that here!  There are kids around!"  I'm pretty sure he was kidding, because I couldn't stop laughing.  The one in front ended up trotting away from the other one, but was still being followed.  I will always think of this moment when I see rhinos in the future.  

Did you know that the zoo brings in dogs to calm down the wolves that they have at the zoo?  I thought that was pretty neat, and they even had pictures of the wolf companions at the wolf exhibit.  

I needed to find a hippo shirt, and didn't find a damn thing.  You have hippos everywhere, but no shirts?!  Grrrr.  So I got a little plush one, and Brady helped me pick out a book for Miss O (she had been sleeping since the last bus ride).  He was also allowed to get a sticker book, and we also got a couple of mini puzzles for the two of them.  On our way back to the car, I realized that the hedges were huge topiaries.  Yeah, I was blind before or something.  

Brady and Elephant Hedge

We then headed for the beach, where I just stood at the shore and watched the waves and the surfers, missing my college days of living on Balboa Island.  Brady looked for shells, and Miss O played far away from the water, because she doesn't like the waves.  Mom eventually got her to stand in the water for a while, but she still didn't like it as much as Brady did.

Balancing Act

We picked up some dinner from Panda Express and ate dinner at the hotel.  We watched "The Voice" on TV, and the kids danced during the upbeat songs.  Brady read Miss O's new book to her.  I enjoyed watching this, because it was just incredibly sweet.  What a nice way to end a great day!

Bedtime Story

Next up:  Safari Park

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shamu Splash!

Zoo Trip Trilogy
Day 1
Sunday, October 7, 2012

Brady had the week off of school, so my parents picked up the kids from their parents' house, and I spent the night at my parents' house on Saturday night, so that we could leave  in the morning.  Dad drove us down to San Diego, and I tried to get the kids to rock out with me in the car, but they're far too cool for me.  I love this picture:

The cool kids sit in the back

We somehow found the correct hotel on Hotel Circle Drive after making a u-turn or two.  Did you know that there are 2 Comfort Inns there?  Did you know that if you don't follow directions exactly, you'd be on the way to the wrong one?  You know now.  We dropped off our luggage because it was too early to check in, and made our way to Sea World.  Dad had forgotten that we had a Disabled Parking placard for Mom, but luckily for us, the gal at the parking booth noticed it on the dashboard, and directed us to those spaces.  Dad got in line for tickets while I took pics of the kids by the Shamu VW bug.  Then we found Dad in the shade of the ticket booth, and after doing some math for the best deal for our trip, he bought our tickets and we entered the park.  I took pictures of the kids with the Halloween stuff, and then they went through a trick-or-treat line (free for everyone) for some Choc O Rocks on our way to our first show of the day:  Sea Lions Clyde and Seymour.  This season's show was Halloween-themed, with one of the human performers being a sheriff, and the other one being the maid, whom wanted the money from the uncle's will.  There was a painting of the walrus, whom was not in the show.  What was his name?  I don't remember.  The otter kept stealing the will, and kept appearing on stage at the wrong times, which was cracking up the sheriff.  Also, they did "Thriller".

Clyde, Seymour, and their human cast

After the show, the guys and I lost Mom and Miss O, because we walked too fast and I guess Mom never heard our plans to eat lunch at Mama Stella's Pizza Kitchen, because Brady chose pizza for lunch.  I had a salad and breadsticks.  While we were there, we planned the rest of our day.  We decided to go to Blue Horizons for the dolphin show.  Miss O decided that she wanted us to sit in the Soak Zone.  So I took out my poncho and we spread it out as much as possible to at least cover us up a little bit.  The show was about a girl who lived by the ocean in a castle, and wanted to know what it was like to be in the sea.  So the animals and birds show her.  The dolphins splashed us plenty, but not as much as the pilot whales.  Wow.  Those pilot whales are huge!  I guess that's why they're called "whales".  

Pilot Whale

We also saw huge birds fly overhead, and there were aerialists dressed in wet suits with bird-like hoods for their heads.  I wanted the music to be Stravinsky's "Firebird" during the phoenix portion, but that didn't happen.  The dolphins jump high!  They focused a bit much on the human performers, as I could have used less Cirque and more Sea World, and just one pass overhead from each bird did not really give enough time to see them.  

Air Dolphin

Since we had been sitting in the sun, Dad wanted to go to a cooler place (APPARENTLY, he wasn't splashed quite enough to cool down), so we trekked on over to Penguin Encounter.  I loved seeing the puffins swim.  So cute!  
Am I watching them or are they watching me?
Aw, they caught me faking!

We then went to Wild Arctic to check out the Beluga Whales and the Polar Bears.  There were 4 Belugas, and I had forgotten that there was a better view of them underneath, and took lots of pictures of half their bodies when they were getting air.  Duh, Sherry.  The polar bear pretended to sleep, but I did get a picture of her/him with open eyes.

We also checked out the sea turtle exhibit, and I smiled as I remembered kissing a sea turtle at Grand Cayman.  Aw, I wish that the kids could have done that, too.  They would have to settle for watching them through the glass, and they also liked seeing all of the different colors of fish.  I tried to get pictures of the fish as they swam by in their schools, but they were too fast for me.  The two of of them liked the turtles so much that they each got plush turtles for themselves.  Miss O's is named Speedy, and Brady's is named...ohmygosh, I can't remember.  He also got an Emperor Penguin earlier, and named him Happy Feet.
Dad, the kids, their turtles, and Mom's arm

We walked over to Shamu Stadium, but had the wrong time in mind, so Brady and I walked over to Dolphin Encounter.  We were situated by the trainer shelf, so the dolphin came right up next to us.  We didn't get to pet her while she passed other people with her belly up, but Brady did get to touch her briefly when she put her head up on the shelf.  Then I had memories of Gracie flowing through my head.  One of the dolphins names at the Encounter was also named Gracie, so that helped.  That wasn't the one that Brady got to touch, though.  He was excited about it because he really likes dolphins.  

Then it was time for Shamu, and we found the rest of our party safely out of the Soak Zone.  APPARENTLY, Miss O had chosen NOT to get wet again.  We had great seats on the bleachers right in front of the director's booth, and got to see other people get really, really wet during the One Ocean show.  I enjoyed seeing the Pas de Deux, and watching everyone scream during all of the splashing.  Miss O will show you how the trainers get the whales to splash if you ask her.  So will Brady. many times when you have posed the question to his sister instead of him.
Dancing in the Water..or out of the water

Brady was thinking that it was time to go home and play Angry Birds, but Tita Sherry wanted to see the bat rays.  Because they're like BATS!  And you can touch them!  Miss O almost had to get her whole arm into the shallow pool to touch one, but she did it, and Brady was able to touch one a couple of times.  Then I thought of Jenn thinking that a ray was me when we were swimming with them, again at Grand Cayman, like the dolphin and turtle adventures.  Oh, I want to do more stuff like that!  I also want to go on another cruise...but I digress.  We went downstairs and could see the rays swimming above us.

Happy Ray wearing a pearl necklace

We hadn't seen the sharks yet, either, so we walked over to the exhibit, and before we went underground, Brady needed to use the restroom.  So the girls waited for the boys to come back.  And waited.  And waited.  Meanwhile, I got this very cute picture as my girl posed for me.

Shark Girl

Then we stopped being so patient and went through the rest of the exhibit without the boys.  Miss O likes sharks.  She did not, however, want to pose beside the huge Great White Shark jaw.  

Finally, we got in touch with Dad, whom had left his cell phone in the car, and had to exit the park to get it.  We met the two of them at the main gate, and left.  I thought of getting a shirt with a bat ray on it, but we never walked back that way, and I figured that I might be getting a hippo shirt soon.

We returned to the hotel, and saw that I could have my own room with French doors and my own TV and pull-out bed!  Dad took the bed out for me, and then the kids proceeded to jump on it.  Mom had brought food from home, so she heated it up and we enjoyed our little picnic between the two beds in the main room.  Then we had a little slide show of the day's adventure before Miss O "read" her books to me and we all fell asleep with images of dolphins and turtles and killer whales in our heads.