Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's all about the candy.

I love that Google does funky stuff with their logo on special days, but I *really* love what they did for today. If you're reading this on Halloween and want to experience it for yourself, here's your chance.




















OK, presuming you've either already done it, or don't want to do it, or can't do it because it's too late, here's what Google did.


This is what you see when you go to the main page.







If you hover your mouse over the logo, then it has a little pop-up instruction.







If you actually do as instructed and click on it, you get a candy-ized Google logo.







If you click on it again, you get a whole bunch more candy.







And if you click on it again, you see what happens after the candy has been gotten into.







And if you click on it one more time - it just goes to boring listings.




And speaking of it all being about candy, a friend sent a link to this cartoon that I thought was pretty funny. I actually thought it was funny enough that I then proceeded to propagate it everywhere I know, including here.




Hope everyone has a happy, safe and fun Halloween. And don't forget - you get an extra hour tonight to recover because it's daylight saving.

Friday, October 30, 2009

the naked man and Donald Duck orange juice

Multiple years ago, I was at a party. Not a crazy party with drugs and alcohol and such, but just a get-together among adult friends, hanging out, munching on snacks, listening to music, chatting and the like. The party was actually thrown by a friend of a friend who I'd met through another friend, so there were a lot of people at the party I didn't know.

At one point, I'd gotten up to mill around and wander over to the snack table to see what I could find to munch on. On the way there, I passed by a group of people sitting on and around a couch. One particular man caught my attention. He was sitting cross-legged on the couch, with a cushion over his lap. And nothing else. Now, I didn't stare, but it was hard not to notice when he obviously had no shirt on and no pants on. I couldn't tell if he was wearing underwear, but then, I wasn't looking that hard. It was also not a particularly warm time of year where people would be in shorts. I'd also remembered hearing stories from the friend that I'd met through another friend about this particular person who has part of said friend's other group of really good friends.

I had been told that he wasn't an exhibitionist or anything, but rather, that he just didn't like clothes. Sure, he adhered to clothes-wearing in the regular world, but at parties, he had a tendency to just take them off, and his friends pretty much just got used to it.

So I continued on to the snack table and was browsing around when I heard a voice next to me ask if I knew where the Donald Duck orange juice was. That in and of itself was a funny question because even back then, before my Disney-obsession days, I wondered how having Donald Duck on the label was supposed to be some kind of indication that it was good orange juice. Did Donald have some secret interest in orange juice that we never knew about? Were ducks in general experts on good-tasting orange juice?

But more than simply being asked about Donald Duck orange juice, it became even weirder when I realized that the person asking me about it was said naked man who was now standing next to me. I think I turned a tiny bit when I heard the voice but stopped when I realized who it was. No, I didn't look at him to make sure he was the naked one. I kind of recognized his face, and the fact that I could tell that he wasn't wearing a shirt was pretty much a dead giveaway since everyone else at the party had a shirt on.

Now, maybe it's just some weird quirk in me, but if I'm going to be having a conversation with a naked man, I generally prefer that he's someone I'm having an intimate relationship with. Talking to random naked men is not my thing.

I told him that I didn't know where the Donald Duck orange juice was, and he wandered off in search of said juice.

I did make it a point the rest of the night to not sit on the couch or be anywhere near the cushion he had used to cover himself. Ewwww.

Years later, I told the husband about naked man because we were going to a party that naked man might be attending. The husband never encountered naked man in a full state of undress. I think he might have seen him at a party or two without his shoes on and shirt partially unbuttoned, but that was pretty much it. We then happened to no longer go to the parties where naked man might be attending, not because of him, just by circumstance.

And then a few years after that, the husband and I were at some kind of one-night special screening at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. After everything was done, we were getting up to leave, and we had recognized a number of people in the audience since some of the same people tend to turn out for this sort of thing. I saw someone a couple aisles over who was leaving, and the guy looked really familiar but I couldn't place him. I pointed him out to the husband, and it was the husband who recognized him as naked man. How funny to see him at a screening for a Disney movie!


And as a coda to this whole story, we recently had a chance to visit the archives at The Walt Disney Studios, and in the lobby area that we could visit, there was a whole case full of products with Donald Duck's name and picture/face on them, since he was the Disney character who had originally been used to license a ton of products. Inside the case was a carton for Donald Duck orange juice. I laughed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I wonder if Odin likes fava beans

I'm still a little iffy on the forthcoming "Thor" movie, but I was excited today when I heard that Anthony Hopkins had been cast as Odin, Thor's father. I think Anthony Hopkins is a terrific actor, deftly able to play a gamut of characters, equally brilliant in "The Silence of the Lambs" as he was in "Remains of the Day" and "Howard's End". And now, playing the head of the Norse gods? I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

But where would you put the kitchen?

Having a treehouse would be a very cool thing for kids - somewhere to go and hang out, away from adults, and hopefully, with a really good view too.

Well, what about the ultimate treehouse? It's 11 floors tall and even includes a basketball court. I'd just be worried that it would all go up in flames the first time I tried to boil some water.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

first game is in the bag

The Lakers' new season started tonight, but not before getting their championship rings for winning it all last season.







There was also the small matter of raising the championship banner.


And then came the next task at hand. The score was closer than I had expected, but fittingly, the Lakers won their first game of the season, beating the Clippers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

baby girl is an angel

Players for the National Football League have a bit of a reputation. They get in trouble, they do stupid things, they do illegal things, they get caught and sometimes get jail time. They are trouble.

But that's not true of all of them. Those are the ones you just hear about the most.

And then there are those like DeMarcus Ware, who plays for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys themselves have been home to quite a few news-making players, but for Ware, he made news for a different reason. He had a wife that he loved and who loved him. He was embarking on a successful career in the NFL. He was on his way to fame and fortune. And yet, none of that could buy him the happiness that he and his wife were looking for. The joyous news of her pregnancy soon turned to sorrow when several months into the pregnancy, it was discovered that the baby had no kidneys and could not survive outside the womb. The child was stillborn.

Happy news came again with another pregnancy. But again, several months in, the baby's heart stopped, and again, it was another stillborn child.

I can't even imagine how devastating it would have been the first time, but for it to happen a second time is unthinking, unsurvivable. But then a miracle happened. Through circumstances, Ware and his wife were able to adopt a baby girl, from a young girl who wasn't ready to raise a baby and who had initially wanted an abortion but then decided to give her baby up for adoption instead.

The Wares didn't care what gender or color or anything about the baby. (It so happens that Ware and his wife are black and their daughter is white - the pictures of them all together are beautiful.)

Ware is fierce on the football field, but his real joy comes from being a father.


Here's a fairly extensive article that tells the whole story.

Here's a second article with other details.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

the East Coast series

Well, the Angels lost the sixth game of the American League Championship Series tonight. It wasn't just the loss, though. It was the form in which they lost, an inning in which they committed two stupid and fatal errors.

The Dodgers were eliminated by the Phillies previously, so the World Series is now an East Coast affair, between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees. Which means that I don't care that much about the Series, other than that I want the Phillies to beat the Yankees only because I am anti-Yankees.


At least I have the NFL.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

pumpkins and pancakes

This is just a sort of random post with a couple things I found funny or cool.

During Halloweentime, Disneyland has a section in Big Thunder Ranch with a person who carves pumpkins to resemble cool characters. I love the work they do there.

The lighting on this picture didn't come out great, but the detail on Bambi was pretty awesome.






I think Eve is pretty cool, but Wall-E looked to me more like R2D2. I only really recognized him because of his "E" in the middle. That, and the fact that he was right next to Eve.









And this morning, we had breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen, which was actually very good. We haven't had good experiences the last couple times we've been there, though admittedly, this time, we were there *very* early, at 7am, pretty much when the restaurant opened, and we were part of a special tour group. The food selection was very good, and the character interaction was good too.



Start your day the Mickey way.

Friday, October 23, 2009

early morning at Disneyland

We had an opportunity this morning to be at Disneyland very early, at about 7am, before park opening, so I got some pictures without any crowds and in different lighting than usual.



Sleeping Beauty Castle



The view from in front of the castle, looking back down Main Street.



Looking towards Space Mountain.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Jim Henson Company studios

Earlier this week, the husband and I had the opportunity to visit the studios of The Jim Henson Company. The sign out front proudly displays the name of the company, and the presence of Kermit is also a pretty big hint as to what lies past the closed gates.


The company name on the gate and the figure of Kermit.



A better look at Kermit.




The Jim Henson Company is located on the grounds of Charlie Chaplin's former studios, and the giant Kermit atop the entrance pays tribute to Chaplin in his costuming.


The view of giant Kermit from inside the studios.




We had an opportunity to tour some of the locations on the lot.


A bench near the entrance of the studio.



We had a visit inside the reception building of the studio, where we saw a very familiar figure in the waiting area.


The picture of Jim Henson is currently covered in Halloween decorations.



We also had a chance to visit The Barn, which was formerly Chaplin's scenery shop and which now serves as the creature shop on the lot. I was very happy to see the original latex creature of Baby Sinclair in his high chair from the TV show "Dinosaurs", but unfortunately, no photos were allowed at that point. We also saw the device that is used to create live digital animation that we originally saw experimented with at Muppetfest back in 2001.


Being at the Henson studios, some images are both surprising and not.


Hmmm, who or what is that sticking out of the building?



A close-up of Kermit.



After our tour, we had a chance to enjoy lunch made from the Backstage Kitchen on the lot. I had chosen the garlic shrimp penne, and I have to say it was quite delicious, very garlicky, and not only were the shrimp a very nice size, but there was also a very generous portion of them in the pasta. I wonder if they do take-out? :)

A very nice visit to the Henson Studios.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

addicted to the internet

On a discussion board that I participate in, someone posted a link to an article about people being addicted to the internet. I didn't actually read the article but I did think about the idea of being addicted to the internet. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm addicted, but I am pretty dependent and connected. A couple of months ago, I got a new phone and also got full data connection, which means that from my phone, I can connect to the internet at any time, with no extra charge for how much I'm on. I can check my email and Facebook and visit most websites (my phone has issues with Flash, so that is prohibitive for some websites), and most of all, it means I'm constantly connected to Twitter. I'm pretty active on there, whether it's tweeting my own messages or responding to others or just reading others' tweets.

There are times when Twitter is having problems, and that means Twitter is unavailable, sometimes for hours, or possibly, even a day. And during those times, I'm lost. I use Twitter to keep in touch during the day with a number of friends, so when the service is down, I can't tell them what I'm doing or know what they're up to.

Now, of course, there are other methods of keeping in touch, but there is a certain quality and feel to the information that we exchange on Twitter. Sure, we have other methods of communicating that we use also, but there is a special flavor to what we post and say on Twitter that is hard to duplicate in other ways.

Previously, I wasn't as accessible to my friends and vice versa, but with cel phones and texting and Twitter and all such things, I'm just used to being more connected to my friends, and it's disconcerting when that lifeline is interrupted.

Does that make me addicted?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

change of perspective

So the husband and I are doing a lot of Disney-related events this week, so we're taken the rest of the week off work. I have been hesitant to let some of the people at work know what I'm doing during my time off. One particular person has always given me a hard time about my Disney obsession, but he managed to get the information out of me. I told him that he always makes fun of me when I take time off to do Disney stuff. He responded that he doesn't do that anymore because he sees how much I enjoy doing Disney things and he sees how much joy I get out of it and how much fun I have. He said that out of everyone he knows, I seem to have the most fun overall while others are just looking for things to do to occupy their time, so why would he have the right to make fun of me for doing something I liked so much. I'll admit I was quite surprised but it was also pretty cool to have him say that.

I don't expect people to share my obsession (though I'm glad many of my friends do), and I don't have an agenda to recruit others, but it can be tedious to deal with comments from people who can't seem to just let me enjoy something even if they don't. Lately, I've been encountering more people like that, so that's been nice.

Other people's opinions aren't going to affect the things I'm interested in, but getting hassled less for it is nice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

things I don't understand - Am I invisible or do you just not want to wait your turn?

So I was in a food place today getting a sandwich. The person at the counter was making the sandwich for me, and she was the only employee that was visible, and there were no other customers waiting to be helped. She was almost half-way done with making my sandwich when another customer walked in. He walked around me, went up to the counter to about where she was on the other side of the glass, and he said he wanted to buy a soda, and he had his money out.

Ummm, ok, dude, she's IN THE MIDDLE OF MAKING MY SANDWICH. She's got plastic gloves on to make the sandwich, she's busy, there's no one else to help you, and I was already here when you walked in. OK, so you only want a soda, which mostly just involves her giving you a cup and taking your money since you'd be filling the cup yourself. I'm getting a sandwich that takes more time. But did you expect that she'd stop what she was doing for me, take her gloves off, take the money from you and ring you up and hand you a cup AND THEN go back to making my sandwich?

To her credit, she looked at him and said she'd be with him in a couple minutes. She finished making my sandwich, rang me up and took my money, and then when she was done with me, she asked him what size soda he wanted.

So, did he just think she was standing there doing nothing and somehow, I was just invisible to him, which is why he just went up to her and told her what he wanted, even though she was busy already helping another customer? Or did he think that since all he wanted was a soda, he would get to cut in front of me to get her to help him? I've seen people do that where they're interrupting to ask a question, which I still think is weird since it's not their turn yet, but to actually expect her to stop helping someone else to help him instead?

I don't get it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

submarine on the freeway

This is pretty old, but I still think it's cute.

A friend was in a car on the freeway some time ago - October 2007 - and this was right before the re-opening of the submarine voyage ride now themed to the Disney animated film "Finding Nemo". There was APPARENTLY some kind of bus promoting the new attraction that was made to look like one of the submarines, and she saw it and took this picture for me because she knew I'd be interested.

It's really cool, but I'm thinking that it was such a distraction and attention-getter that it could have caused a lot of accidents!



Saturday, October 17, 2009

one if by land, two if by tea

When I was in Boston a couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to visit Christ Church in the City of Boston, probably better known as The Old North Church, where the events of April 18, 1775 would make the history books.

After spending some time inside the church, it was time to visit the gift shop. They had some really cute things in there, including a little church mouse. I looked at it a few times but finally convinced myself that I didn't need to buy it.


But he is very cute.




And as I looked around the store a bit more, the friend I was with called me over to where she was looking at things - the tea section.

Uh oh.

OK, now I have to explain the tea thing - and this is only in reference to hot tea. Iced tea is a whole different, un-drama-filled deal. I like tea. I like tea a lot. I REALLY like tea. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say that I *love* tea, but I'm as close to that as possible without necessarily actually saying that. But, I don't like all teas. My preferences in tea are pretty simple, and they mostly tend to be the English-made teas. I don't generally do fru-fru fruity teas. I like the dark bold teas, straight up - no lemon, no milk, no sugar (except when I'm sick, in which case I do take my hot tea with lemon and honey, but that's the only exception). I like jasmine tea, I like green tea, and I really like English Breakfast Tea. OK, maybe with regard to English Breakfast Tea, I can say that I love tea. It's got rich flavor and doesn't just taste like slightly flavored hot water. And I love it enough that I've bought English Breakfast Tea made by multiple tea producers. And that's where the husband's objection comes in. It's not that he objects to tea in general or my purchase of tea. His objection seems to be that I buy multiple quantities of the one tea when I've already got quantities of the same tea made by other companies.

Now, understand that while I do like tea, having hot tea in warm weather isn't really my thing, and living where I do, we have warm weather a lot. Having hot tea on a cold day/night is very nice, but we don't get a lot of those. Hot tea is also quite time consuming, because I have to keep adding water to my cup, so it's not like I can just sit with a cup of hot tea for hours. It requires getting up and pouring more hot water in on a regular basis. Much less convenient than, say, a bottle of water or a can of soda. So, no, I don't drink as much hot tea as I might other beverages, and tea boxes often come with 16 or 20 tea bags. That's a lot of tea to drink. But, I see that tea is available somewhere, and I want to look, and I pretty much want English Breakfast Tea. So, I have purchased multiple varieties of that particular kind of tea, but if the husband is around, I often don't end up buying tea.

When he's not there, though, that's another matter.


So one of the teas they had in the store was Boston Harbour Tea - it's even got the British spelling of "Harbour"! This was the same brand of tea that was dumped in Boston Harbour during the infamous Boston Tea Party. Well, now that's exciting. I was amused that it was actually advertised as being the Boston Tea Party dumped tea. And, it's a blend of Darjeeling, Indian and Ceylon teas, so that sounded really good. So I had to buy a box of that.


The story of the history of the tea is on one of the side panels of the box.




Slight derail to tell this story: I was at the cash register paying for my purchases, and my friend was looking at something else, so I was explaining to her that this tea was the same tea that was dumped in Boston Harbour. This elicited a response from the cashier that no, it wasn't the same tea, it was just made by the same manufacturer. OK, seriously, I didn't mean that the contents of the box of tea I was buying was the ACTUAL tea that was tossed in the Harbour oh those many years ago and that they had APPARENTLY gathered all the tea dumped overboard and had been selling them piecemeal for the 200+ years since the incident occurred. And no, the cashier was not kidding in correcting me. W.


So, ok, one box of tea. Well, I didn't just buy that one box of tea. They had another tea in the store that was in a souvenir container with a picture of the Old North Church on it. How cool is that? And, I found it highly ironic that the tea inside the souvenir container with a picture of the Old North Church, where events had taken place to thwart the British invading force, was English Breakfast Tea. It wouldn't have been as funny if it was Darjeeling or even Earl Grey, but English Breakfast Tea? Someone has a wicked sense of humour. (Yes, I use the British spelling of that word too.) So, I had to buy the tea. The English Breakfast Tea. The kind that I really like. The kind that I already had a lot of.


This either shows that the English and the Americans have made up after that particular incident, or it's the Colonies sticking it to the British yet again, rubbing in their defeat.




And yes, before I actually made my purchase of the teas, I actually thought about it and considered that the husband wouldn't be too happy with me buying more tea. At least with the Boston Harbour tea, it was a different kind of tea, so he might have been ok with that even if he was there, but notwithstanding the nifty souvenir container with the picture of the Old North Church, it was that EBT again. The friend I was with said that really, there was no need for the husband to even find out about the teas. They would fit nicely inside my luggage, and it wasn't like the husband was going to go through my luggage when I got home, and all I had to do was take the teas to work the next day (I bought the teas on a Sunday afternoon when we'd be flying back to Los Angeles that night) and leave them there, and he'd never be the wiser. But I figured, if I bought the teas, what was he going to do? It's not like he could make me return them - the teas were purchased from the other side of the country, not just in the neighborhood and easily returnable. He wasn't going to throw my teas away. He wasn't going to ground me or take away my television or computer privileges. And I really wanted the teas. So I bought them.


And, when I got home that night, the husband was still awake, and I told him a bit about my trip. And I confessed to buying the teas. And I explained to him how cool each tea was. He just laughed at me when I told him that the nifty souvenir container had EBT inside it. I mean, he knows I like the stuff, so it couldn't have been that much of a shock that I bought more, right? And he couldn't have been too disapproving, since he did agree to take the pictures of the teas that I've used in this entry.

I haven't tried either tea yet, but I will indeed now be bringing them to work so that I can have them there.

:)

Friday, October 16, 2009

no Angel left behind

The Angels who pretend to be in Los Angeles but actually have a stadium in Anaheim play the first game of the American League Championship Series today against the New York Yankees. They had clinched the America League West, but their celebration drew some criticism.

It's customary in baseball victory celebrations to pop champagne and, instead of actually consuming it, shower fellow teammates with it. In their celebration and champagne dousing, they did not forget a member of the team who was no longer with them, Nick Adenhart, who had been killed early in the season by a drunk driver in a crash that also killed two others in the car and severely injured the fourth person. The Angels had Adenhart's jersey and included it in the dousing as well.

However, those actions drew criticism from some who thought it in bad taste to drench Adenhart's jersey in alcohol when he'd been killed by a drunk driver. I suppose on some level, it might be a little odd, but I guess I didn't look at it that way. When I heard what they had done, I was touched and in tears. It was the normal way for them to celebrate, but it's not normal to have one of your teammates murdered early in the season. And they never forgot about him. He wasn't an ex-teammate. He was right there with them, and they wanted to celebrate with him, to include him in their victory.

Shortly after this happened, I was talking to the husband about the entire situation, and he relayed to me that a friend of his had been at the Angels game the night they clinched the title. The friend hung out for a while after the game ended, and then those still in the stadium noticed the Angels coming out of the dugout and heading for the center field wall. I hadn't known about this, but since Adenhart's death, a picture of him and his number had been up on that wall. The Angels went to that spot to be with Adenhart for a moment before going back to the clubhouse for the traditional celebration.


Here's an article about the celebration and tribute.


And then in looking around, I found that someone who had also been at the game that night actually captured the moment on video when the team was at the wall with Adenhart's picture.







When the team takes the field today, they will do so knowing that one Angel will be looking down on them, cheering them on.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Finale Desserterie - restaurant review

After the lovely dinner at Rustic Kitchen that I previously wrote about, the three of us headed to our concert, and then after we were done, we came back to the hotel. We were looking for somewhere to have dessert since we weren't ready for the evening to be over, but it turned out that Rustic Kitchen wasn't open as late as we'd hoped. We spoke to the doorman at the hotel and asked if there was somewhere nearby where we could go for dessert and coffee or drinks, and he mentioned that Finale was only a couple of blocks away, so we walked over.

I have to say that this has been one of the best recommendations I've ever gotten. Finale is a pretty small place, and when we got there at shortly before 11pm, there was about a 20 minute wait before a table opened up for us.

The dessert menu was tempting indeed, and we all perused the choices to decide what to have. In the end, we decided to just share a few desserts so that we could get tastes of different things.

First, we decided on the Retro Chocolate Plate because it had a nice mix of different items that sounded good to us. And, because we were in Boston, we also decided to share a dish of Boston Cream Pie.

One of my companions had the same affinity for moscato that I do, so we each decided to try a glass of the sparkling moscato with our dessert as well.


[Side note: apologies for the quality of the pictures. My phone doesn't do well taking pictures in low light, so I just lightened the photos enough to see the details, but that doesn't solve the focus or graininess issues.]


I had never had Boston Cream Pie before, and I discovered that I *really* like it. My companions informed me that this version was different than normal Boston Cream Pie, so now I guess I'll just have to try it in various places to see what it's like. I really liked the taste and the texture. I also really liked that the plate came with some fresh fruit - I think I ended up eating the majority of the fruit. The chocolate whoopie pie (the trio of cookie-like things) was ok, but I found it to be a lot sweeter than I prefer. When our server had told us about the whoopie pie, we all just stared at him, and he said we must all not be local because it's a regional thing, and then he explained what they were.







The Retro Chocolate Plate was a terrific choice. I think what we got varied a bit from what's listed on the site's menu from August, but we really enjoyed everything. The two favorites were the molten chocolate cake and the milk chocolate banana pyramid.







The sparkling moscato was also really tasty.


We had a lovely time at Finale, and it's a place I'd definitely go back to and highly recommend to others.




Finale Desserterie - Park Plaza
One Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 423-3184

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Australian Pink Floyd - concert review

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I was going to see Australian Pink Floyd in concert. The show was at the NOKIA Theatre at L.A. Live, which I'd never been to before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect of the venue, much less the band itself.

The parking around the area can be a bit odd, so rather than park further out at a Convention Center lot since I was attending the concert alone, I decided to just go ahead and pay the $20 for the adjacent lot designated for L.A. Live.

I had known from the seating chart that I had a really good seat, but it wasn't until I actually sat down that I could really see how close I was.


My view of the stage.
I was in the second row behind the "pit",
which was just rows of seats.



The show started promptly at 8pm, with a 20 minute intermission after about an hour, and then they played for another hour or so after that, with one encore song.


Since I'm not familiar enough with all of Pink Floyd's songs to recognize them simply by hearing them, here's the setlist that I think they played, but I don't promise that it's 100% accurate. I know what I listed is correct but I might be missing songs I didn't recognize. The song title is followed in brackets by the album that the song is from.


set list
Breathe [Dark Side of the Moon]
Time [Dark Side of the Moon]
Shine On You Crazy Diamond [Wish You Were Here]
Welcome to the Machine [Wish You Were Here]
Pigs (Three Different Ones) [Animals]
Sheep [Animals]

intermission

Astronomy Domine [The Piper at the Gates of Dawn]
Money [Dark Side of the Moon]
Take It Back [The Division Bell]
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun [A Saucerful of Secrets]
Learning to Fly [Momentary Lapse of Reason]
"The Gunner's Dream" [The Final Cut]
The Happiest Days of Our Lives [The Wall]
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 [The Wall]
Wish You Were Here

band introductions

suite from The Wall
Hey You
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
Vera
Comfortably Numb
Run Like Hell (encore)



So what did I think of the show? Well, I thought the band were terrific performers who put on one hell of a show for the most part. And while I basically enjoyed it, I still had very mixed feelings. And it was probably compounded by the fact that I generally am not into cover bands. The band sounded great instrumentally - it was like listening to the albums themselves. That is, until the singing started. It wasn't David Gilmour or Roger Waters. Yes, I knew going in that it wasn't going to be either of them, and I already thought that might be a problem, but I think it was the combination of hearing the same exact musical notes as on the album that then prepped me to also expect familiar voices. The music was dead on - the singing, not so much. As much as I did enjoy the show for the most part, I kept feeling like I was watching imposters and not the real thing. I guess for me, it's not just about the songs and the music, but it's also about a connection to the band itself. And the band I wanted was Pink Floyd, not the Australian version. If I want to hear a note-by-note recreation of the songs, I'll just play the albums myself.

One thing I found a little odd was that for most of the show, the band members had very little interaction with each other. They were each sort of doing their own thing, playing and singing and jamming, but there was almost no recognition that other people were on the stage performing as well. One of the things I like about bands is the interaction between the members, especially if the members have been playing together for a long time. The history they've built together is evident in how they perform together. There was really none of that. There was a giant screen with various images projected on it, and I found myself watching the screen a lot because it was much more interesting than watching the band members just standing there and playing their instruments. It was almost like they were just providing the background music for the visuals, and it wasn't until maybe the last 20 minutes of the concert that they really showed any interaction and cohesive stage presence at all.

There were 3 band members who did most of the singing. Early on, the piano player/keyboardist, Rob, had a voice that I rather liked, but as the night wore on, he didn't really sing any more lead vocals. The majority of the lead singing was done by Ian and Damian. I thought Damian was the better of the two, though he had a habit of "singing" guitar notes, which I didn't really care for. They were doing a fine job in duplicating the guitar parts, so I didn't see why he needed to recreate the notes with his mouth instead. Ian did quite a bit of the songs, but I'm sorry to see that for the most part, I didn't care for his voice at all. I can't really describe what I didn't like about it - it just didn't sound right with the Pink Floyd he was singing. I think the song where I noticed it the most was "Take It Back", which is a song I happen to love and know *really* well. The music started and it sounded great - and he was just not even close to being David Gilmour or really even singing the feel and meaning of the song. However, I will say that he did a decent job with both "Hey You" and "Comfortably Numb".


As I mentioned, the musicianship was excellent. The lead guitarist and keyboardist and saxophonist were really terrific.

During "Time", one of the background vocalists did the wailing on the song, and she was amazing.

The crowd seemed to really enjoy the show, and they stood up, dancing and singing during "Another Brick in the Wall".

During "Wish You Were Here", there was a nice moment where footage of the members of Pink Floyd themselves were shown on the big screen.

During the course of the show, there were two giant inflatable animals - one a kangaroo and one a pig/boar (with glowing red eyes) - that were on stage. They were definitely a sight to see.


I don't regret having gone to the show, but I think I've learned my lesson now - if I can't see the real band, I shouldn't go at all. It's not really fair to the cover band since I have an inherent bias going in.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

take it off, Marge

OK, I'd heard about Marge Simpson being on the cover of Playboy. And I'll admit, I don't really get it. What is Playboy getting out of it? Are semi-nude photos of Marge Simpson really going to help their circulation? I wasn't under the impression that she was a female animated character in the league of Jessica Rabbit or Josie and the Pussycats or Wilma or Betty. And is having her on the cover of Playboy going to help the popularity of "The Simpsons"? I mean, yeah, ok, they've always had an adult level to their cartoon, but I guess I'm not getting the benefits of the cross-over, other than that it's kind of amusing.



Monday, October 12, 2009

the music industry is full of "Glee"

A lot of the reason that I love "Glee" is because of the music, music I know and music I'm learning because of the show. Well, APPARENTLY, the music business is in love with "Glee" as well. They do a great job with the covers of songs on the show, and I'm glad they're doing well on iTunes, but I'm hoping they'll release them on a CD or something, so I can have them all together, rather than one song at a time.

"Glee" is becoming the TV equivalent of "Rock Band" as far as *THE* place you want your song to be!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rustic Kitchen - restaurant review

A friend and I were in Boston last weekend, and we were looking for somewhere to have dinner for the night we were there. We hadn't made dinner plans ahead of time as we'd just decided to wing it. We later discovered that on the way to our hotel, both she and I had noticed a particular restaurant on the way, though she was the one that remembered enough of the restaurant name for me to be able to look it up and find it. It also turned out that the restaurant, Rustic Kitchen, was right next door, almost adjacent, to the hotel we were staying at, so that was very convenient, and a perusal of the menu satisfied us both. We were going to be joined by a new friend for dinner, so I called the restaurant at about 4:30pm, and I made a reservation for 6pm.

We walked across the covered valet area to the restaurant and discovered a rather circuitous route to the hostess desk. The main entrance of the restaurant was actually off the street, so we'd really gone in through the side door. There were signs directing us through part of the restaurant to get to the hostess desk, and when we checked in, we discovered our dinner companion had already arrived and had been given a table, though she had made a visit to the ladies room, so we were led to the table as well, where she joined us shortly thereafter.

We perused the menu and there were a number of items that sounded really good, but all of that went out the door for me at least when the server came up and told us about the daily specials. I ended up ordering off the daily specials choices. The special soup for the evening was Boston clam chowder with smoked pancetta. Well, I was in Boston - why not some Boston clam chowder, and the addition of the pancetta sounded even better. All three of us ended up starting with the chowder. I then ordered the swordfish with lobster mashed potatoes and broccolini while my companions each ordered an entree salad.

Bread was also brought to our table, and it was accompanied by some kind of hummus as a dip (which was delicious) as well as Italian olives, which I loved.

We chatted a bit, and then our chowder arrived. It was actually a much more generous serving than I had expected, and it was absolutely delicious. I love having clam chowder that actually has clams as a main ingredient and not simply as an afterthought. It also wasn't very heavy on potatoes, which I like. I like potato chowder too, but I don't like it when potato chowder masquerades as clam chowder.


Boston clam chowder with smoked pancetta. I thought it was amusing that they served it with chopsticks.
(No, they're not really chopsticks, just breadsticks. But I thought it was funny.)



After enjoying our chowder, we had more time for good conversation before our entrees arrive. This time, I decided to spare my dinner companions the inconvenience of photographing their food, but they both enjoyed their salads very much. I also really enjoyed my swordfish. It had a nice texture and flavor and was very moist and tender and flavorful. The mashed potatoes were good, though I didn't finish them because the portion size was pretty generous, and I loved having the broccolini, which I'm partial to anyway, but again, it was a generous portion of vegetable on the dish.


Swordfish with lobster mashed potatoes and broccolini.



With my dinner, I had also decided to enjoy an adult beverage. I can't tell you what it tasted like in comparison to other drinks, but I can tell you that it was pretty yummy.


"Tastes like summer" is the name of this drink.



It wasn't particularly crowded when we had arrived, but that was probably earlier than most people normally have dinner. As our evening progressed, the dining room did get full.

We didn't end up having dessert at the restaurant partly because we were already full but mostly because we were headed to a show and needed to leave at a certain time.

Overall, we had a terrific meal, and the room was very nice and had great atmosphere, and our server was very good as well. He was attentive and available when we needed something, but he wasn't obtrusive as to interrupt our conversation. If I have the opportunity, I'd certainly go back, and I'd definitely recommend it to others.

Parking can be a bit tricky in that part of town since there's not much parking available, but there's a lot that serves both the nearby Radisson Hotel as well as Rustic Kitchen.




Rustic Kitchen
Boston at Park Square
210 Stuart Street
Boston, MA 02116-5426
(617) 423-5700

Saturday, October 10, 2009

so I guess for our next date night, we'll go to Burger King

I heard on the radio last week that Burger King is going to be making over its restaurants in an attempt to make them more upscale. Ummm, ok, I'm not really feeling the new look, but decor isn't that big a deal to me when it comes to fast food. On occasion, I go to McDonald's and Carl's Jr. and a few other fast food places, but I've never really been fond of Burger King, and really, I can't remember the last time I was there. Having different atmosphere isn't going to make me want to go back. Different food might.

And if I say that the husband and I were making jokes the other day about going to a Burger King, home of the Whopper (think of the pronunciation, not the spelling), and ordering a "Joshua" instead, would anyone get that?

Friday, October 9, 2009

helpless

I've never been very good at feeling helpless. For some situations, it may only be a matter of being there for someone to talk to. But in other situations, I really wish I was in a position to actually DO something, and it's really frustrating when there's really nothing I can do. Support, encouragement, words - that's all I can really offer. And it feels like nothing. Platitudes. If you're watching someone on a monitor who is slowly bleeding to death, just telling them you're sorry and that hopefully, help will arrive soon doesn't do any actual good. It doesn't help them, it doesn't save them, the words are empty.

There are a couple of situations going on at the moment where I feel like I should be doing something actually helpful or wishing there was something concrete I could do, but there isn't. I can't offer any practical assistance. I can do my best and try to say the right words - but ultimately, they're still just words. Fleeting. Temporary. Useless.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

that would be one humongoid pie

I'm not partial to all things pumpkin, but I do really love pumpkin pie. I wonder how many pies could be made from this pumpkin. And how do you pick up something that heavy? With a crane? But wouldn't it bruise the pumpkin?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Part of Your World" - probably like you've never heard it before

So tonight, my nephew posted a link to a YouTube video that I promptly stole and re-posted myself. It's the Cantonese version of "The Lion King", and it's a scene from that film. And in the related links, I found that there was a Cantonese version of "Part of Your World", and for reasons known to some, I just *had* to post that here.

Like with "The Lion King" segment, I only understand bits and pieces of it because my vocabulary sucks. With this segment, I understand the spoken bits more. The actual song itself is harder because they have to use more elaborate words, trying to fit both the meaning and cadence, which means it's going to be vocabulary I've never even heard of. But it was fun to watch.

And it made me realize that the Cantonese words for "street" and "chicken" are very similar, so be careful! ;)







This isn't completely alien to me because I remember sitting at my parents' house watching Cantonese versions of Disney movies that my brother had gotten for them so they could watch and understand what was going on.

But the weirdest thing was sitting there one day, and my parents had some music on, and it suddenly dawned on me that I recognized the music of that particular song. No, no way, can't be. And then the vocals started. And while I didn't really recognize the words much, I knew the melody and the notes and the song - it was Dire Straits' "Walk of Life", sung in Cantonese. I just started laughing because it was so unexpected. I have no idea where the song came from or why someone did a Chinese version of it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

good kitty

Hey, if you're going to climb into the tiger's den, then you deserve whatever happens to you. At least in this case, it sounds like they're not even considering doing anything to the tiger. Sometimes when this kind of thing happens, suspicion is cast on the animal. Umm, yeah, that's why the animal is caged. If you go through barriers to try to pet it, you're an idiot.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"FlashForward" - semi-spoilerish review

I hadn't really been interested in "FlashForward", but the husband and a friend were interested in the show (for slightly different reasons), and I heard a bit more about the premise and thought it interesting enough to give it a try.

We hadn't had a chance to watch the show until tonight. I was surprised to see Brannon Braga's co-creator credit as I hadn't known that he was attached to this show. After watching a bit of it, this was definitely right up his alley, and I think he's found a great outlet for it. I did like his episodes from "Star Trek: The Next Generation", but they didn't always fit in with the feel of the show as a whole. And he could only really do so much on "24". But he might just have found his element here.

I liked the first show a lot - good story, nice setup, and they really put together a terrific cast. I've always liked Courtney B. Vance, and I think Joseph Fiennes is really good in this as well, though I do lament that they didn't let him keep his English accent. Maybe they thought it would appeal to more people if he just had an easy-to-understand generic American accent.

I had heard rumbles about a connection between this show and "Lost", but I hadn't really paid attention to details. It took me looking at imdb to figure out that the lead female/doctor was the same actress who played Penny on "Lost" (and a friend reminded me that she also played Charlie's wife on "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles", which I had seen in her imdb listing but couldn't place her character name), and the husband saw the billboard advertising Oceanic Airlines. I laughed at the tag line about them having the best safety record or something like that. And from the imdb listing on the show, it appears another "Lost" alumnus will soon be appearing on the show.

The ending of the first show was great. All the people crumpled over weren't creepy, but the lone person walking around nonchalantly was definitely so.

I liked the show enough that I wanted to watch the second episode right then, and it didn't disappoint. The little girl who plays the daughter reminds me a bit of Heather O'Rourke from "Poltergeist" - little blonde girls who know things they shouldn't know are creepy. But, I was annoyed that she got in trouble for pushing the boy, but it seems no one else got in trouble when the other kids were the ones taunting her, and the boy was the one taking her stuffed animal away and even damaged it. She didn't hit him, only pushed him, and that's because of what he did. But she's the one who gets in trouble? Not fair.

Wow, Alan Ruck looks different! I recognized him but couldn't think of his name until I saw it in the credits. Cameron sure looks different.

I like all the side stories developing, and I think my hunch is right about girlie tech who saw her ultrasound vision and John Cho's character having no vision at all. That's gotta be unnerving, especially when the woman cop had no vision either and then bang, she's dead. Of course, phone call from random lady (who I know won an Oscar for "House of Sand and Fog", but I know her really from "24") confirming the date of his death probably doesn't do much to cheer him up.

But I think Joseph Fiennes' character is a bit of an ass. His wife is admitting to him her vision of being with another man, so she's wracked with guilt about cheating on him. But he completely withholds from her that he might be giving her a reason to leave him since he was drinking again in his vision, so he's totally letting her take all the blame!

But that last scene was amazing, and the look on Joseph Fiennes' face was perfect. Your blood would be chilled hearing your little daughter say that name too!

I'm hooked!

The website I liked to above also has links to each of the episodes if you didn't see them. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

maybe he thinks they're really called Bank of Universe

OK, I'm not a fan of Bank of America for various reasons, but really, even I think this dude is insane. I mean, I don't think he has any kind of claim whatsoever, but even without that, the sum of money he's asking for is completely ridiculous.

Who does he think he is, Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Beantown

So the day has finally arrived - traveling to another state solely for the purpose of seeing Rockapella. I had a 7am flight out of LAX this morning and landed in Boston at about 3pm, half an hour earlier than scheduled. Luckily, my friend who was already here had seen that my flight would be early and was already around to pick me up.

We checked into the hotel and then ended up picking the restaurant next door for dinner. She had met a fellow Rockapella fan at the Hartford show yesterday, and she was going to the show tonight, so she ended up joining us for dinner. The restaurant was really good - fantastic food - and we all had a great time chatting.

The concert was really awesome, and they had a meet-and-greet afterward that went really well.

Afterward, we ended up going to another place for dessert and more fun.

It's been a great time in Boston so far. I'm not sure what we're doing tomorrow, and then it's time to come home tomorrow night.

Friday, October 2, 2009

yes, I'm sure they have a five-year return policy

So I went to Borders today to purchase something. I was standing in line at the checkout, and the lady in front of me was talking to random other store employee about returning an item. She said that she had the book but didn't have the receipt. Employee said they need a receipt for all returns and exchanges. (This must have been a change in the last year or so because exchanges didn't require a receipt previously, but I digress.) She was annoyed and asked if he was a manager. He said no and called for one and had her wait at the end of the counter.

Manager came over, lady said she wanted to return book, manager asked for receipt, she said she didn't have one, manager said they need a receipt for all exchanges and returns. I couldn't hear the next little bit of conversation, but I then I heard the lady say it was a Photoshop book, and then the manager said that the lady purchased the book FIVE YEARS ago (emphasis mine), so they can't accept it as a return. The lady complained and didn't understand why they wouldn't take it back, especially since it still had a Borders price sticker on it, and they can just return it to the publisher. Manager said they can't do that, and returns can only be done within 30 days after purchase, not five years, and there were also probably newer editions of the book out. Lady continued to complain that some people want to buy older editions of the book. Manager said she was sorry but she couldn't accept the return and maybe the lady could try to sell it. Lady walked away mad, still shaking her head.

Manager asked for the next customer, who happened to be me, and after we exchanged greetings, and I put my purchase down, I said to her, "For what it's worth, I think she was insane to try to return a five-year-old book." She just smiled at me.

I really just cannot imagine someone thinking that it's ok to return a book five years later, especially a tech book. Those things are obsolete so fast. At least with a fiction or regular non-fiction book, that's a different thing, but how much demand is there really for a book for a version of a program from five years ago? Yeah, now that you're done with it, I'm sure the publisher would happily just return your money.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

a kitten, a mirror and shoes

A cute kitten doing cute things is always good, right?


My blog is worth $3,387.24. How much is your blog worth?