albadger: (Carol Channing!)
I ask because I ordered an iced coffee at Starbuck's, and they "sweetened" it without asking me. This normally only happens east of 100 degrees West longitude.

A quick glance out the Starbuck's window confirms that this is Burbank, California, whither I have flown to attend tonight's performance of the Ghosts of Versailles, part of my LA Opera mini-subscription. I'm excited for this, it's been getting great reviews, and it's been staged by my favorite theater director, Darko Tresnjak. After that, I'm heading farther south, meeting my brother & my sister-in-law, and we're going to Disneyland! So, of course, I forgot my Disney Annual Pass, which is in my top desk drawer (I meant to swap it out with my library card last night, and I blame the cat).

...or perhaps I can blame the excruciating pain I was in most of last evening during the West Edge Opera performance of Rossini's Zelmira. Not pain from the performance -- that was magnificent, with the lead tenor in particular shaking the Freight & Salvage rafters -- but from my dress boots, which have remained the same size even as my feet have grown. Wrong footwear aside (when I am rushed I gravitate towards the pull-on boots instead of the lace-ups), it was a great evening, but I hobbled home around Midnight, and had to be up & moving at 6. Fortunately, Disney has an easy policy for things like forgetting your annual pass. Also fortunate is I'm wearing my Red Wings now.

I still have a few hours to kill here in the greater Los Angeles area; it's 11:16 AM as I keyboard, and the show doesn't start until 8:00 PM. Any ideas? Please note that any ideas will reach me after it's too late for them to be of any use. I'm still interested, though.
albadger: (Oh Cat Don't fly away again)
The most terrifying moment of my life wasn't a car wreck, or a robbery at gunpoint, but a quiet conversation. Sometime in the 1970's, my mother said to me, "We made fun of your grandparents for liking Lawrence Welk, but if you give him a chance, he's not bad!" And I thought... will this happen to me someday?

Why am I thinking about this right now? Simple. I'm on a cruise ship. The Holland America Statendam. I've been going to the evening shows. And I'm starting to... enjoy them...

Haven't posted since Lima because Precious Internet Minutes ("buy 250 minutes for only $100!"). I've been diving in for email retrieval, but a single photo-free blog post should fit in my self-imposed quota. Want details? Click on the thing.Read more... )
albadger: (Bill Oddie -- Mister May)
Leg 2 of the "Little Trip" is Sarasota, Florida; a relaxed 2 days, with only one scheduled event. Sarasota is amazingly full of stuff to do, and here is a list of the things I would have done if I'd done them but didn't do:

  1. the Van Wezel Stadium! If I was staying until Saturday I could see Joan Rivers!

  2. Sarasota Jungle Gardens! Their new "Flamingo Cam" provides 24-hour viewing of the flock!

  3. the Mote Marine Laboratory! Their giant squid specimen preserved at Mote Aquarium originates from New Zealand and measures 27 feet (8.2 m) in total length!

  4. Dog Racing! Oh, I so want to do this but am terrified of accidentally adopting a greyhound.

  5. And best of all,
  6. the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy! I want to stay pure on this, and will avoid looking at the web site or learning anything else about them until I actually can go next time I'm here. It sounds too perfect to spoil with foreknowledge.

But I was here for one thing and one thing only: Sarasota Opera's production of Verdi's Jerusalem, his rewrite of i Lombardi for Paris, which gets done never, anywhere -- so this may the only chance in my lifetime to experience it. As the woman sitting next to me said, "Check this off the bucket list, don't need to see it again."

She's right; the music is almost entirely from the earlier opera, and it is magnificent, but not as strongly placed emotionally. The revision straightened out the original's whack-a-doodle plot, reduced 2 star tenors to 1, and made the love story central -- but the politics are still as regressive as i Lombardi, and entirely free of the irony. Key change that informs everything: in the original, the leading lady curses the Crusaders for murdering in God's name; in the rewrite, she curses the Crusaders for sending her boyfriend to jail.

But it's rare, and I'm glad to see it, even if Sarasota's traditional production bent looks stodgy after Hamburg and Bielefeld. I understand the approach -- they see themselves as curators of museum pieces, not as daring thinkers -- but they should have rethought the scene where a hefty crusader smashes the hero's helmet and shield with a large mallet. Anybody my age would have trouble not thinking of Gallagher.

Fortunately, there was nobody my age there aside from me. There was nobody younger. I actually got called "young man" by another patron. This isn't the only reason I go to the opera, but it is a bonus.

Tomorrow -- back home, and I'll finally advise you on filling out your pesky Oscar ballot!
albadger: (Oh Cat Don't fly away again)

Last night, as I was packing for my Little Trip (Washington DC and Sarasota FL -- the BIG trip is to Peru later this month), I couldn't find my phone. My new phone, the Nexus 4, and now my only phone, since the iPhone finally wet the bed permanently. Nowhere -- not in the jacket pocket where it travels, not tethered to the computer where it lives at home, not in my bags, not in the car. I panicked enough to ask [ profile] bigjohnsf to call me in the desperate hope that I would hear it. No dice. Well, I'm still going, I thought, I'll just buy a cheap throwaway when I get to DC. And who calls me anyway?

And then I went to bed, and dreamt of fighting the hot/cold monster boss of the Snow Temple in Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. I woke up around 1:00 AM and looked at the Nintendo 3DS XL on my nightstand, plugged in to its proprietary charger. "No, 3DS XL," I told it, "I'm not taking you on this trip. I'd do nothing but play games, and I need to memorize my lines for the Provoked Wife." Then I went back to sleep and dreamed about Grunka Lunkas from Futurama.

Around 3:00 AM, I woke again, needing to use the bathroom. I got out of bed, and took one step in the dark, and WHAM, something hit my foot. I turned on the light, and saw that I'd nearly tripped on the charger cord for the 3DS XL, and the 3DS XL had been propelled under the bed. I reached under to grab it -- and it was sitting directly on top of the missing phone.

I'm still not taking the 3DS XL. I'm grateful, of course, but I still need to memorize my lines.

albadger: (Killing Spree!)

Yesterday took the car to the car wash -- way overdue, plus there was the sand in the back seat from going to Baker Beach with [ profile] bigjohnsf and his non-lj'ed dog Teddy (fun trip, but beaches have too much sand and should cut down on that). One of those car washes where the chain pulls your car through the soapy rags & the sprays of water, and then underpaid young people towel it down, and the lead underpaid young person raises his or her towel as a sign that they're done.

When the lead UYP raised his towel, I hobbled over to the car, handed him the claim check & a tip, and said "Gracias." Apparently my accent was spot-on, because he smiled and replied in conversational Spanish, which of course got me to smile and nod. "¬°Buenos Dias!" I replied when he slowed down, and got in the car. The key was not there. I opened the door and said (in English), "Wait! The key isn't here!"

He came back, grabbed the key from the top of the right front tire, handed it to me and said (in English) "Sorry, forgot to put it back in the ignition."

And here's how much of a fraud I am.

I said "Danke!"

I my defense, I did travel to Germany twice last year. And thanked people while I was there. In French.

Today I took [ profile] scottasf and [ profile] progbear to the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, an amazing place and highly recommended. They have 8 decades of pinball history crammed into 5 tiny rooms, nearly all the machines playable for free, and all of them with descriptive cards. Best example was New York, a 2-player version of Gottlieb's Spirit of 76, produced to celebrate the legalization of pinball in New York City.

Yep. Pinball was banned in NYC until 1975. Which is just weird.

What did we learn? We learned that if you want to actually play the games, you go to pinball museums as early as possible. As we left, they were ushering in a private party of 75. We also learned that I can't stand and play pinball as long as I used to be able to. Good news is that the museum is set to move into much bigger & classier digs. They have a fund set up to support the move, and we should all contribute to it!

albadger: (Krazy Kat)
So, lemme esplain a little here: I'm currently appearing in Fringe of Marin, a twice-yearly program of short original plays. I scream at my wife for 10 minutes and suddenly die. I'm in Program 1, and I haven't seen Program 2 yet, so I thought, I'll drive up there to see the Program 2 matinee on April 27. Well, yeah, there isn't one, which I didn't notice until I was in San Rafael. But it's okay, I went shopping! Because I have a $100 credit at Macy's. Why do I have that? Lemme esplain. I don't answer phone calls from 800 numbers, or 877 or 888 or 866 or 855 numbers -- especially 855 numbers -- but I do google them if they call me. The 877 number I got a call from last week googled out as "Macy's Collection Department." Why would they call me, I wondered? Do I owe them anything? I did buy a suit there recently, did I pay that off? I couldn't find a bill anywhere in my squalor clutter. Well, heck, I thought, better safe, so I sent them a hundred bucks just to be sure. Then yesterday I got a Macy's bill in the mail. Said I owed them a Minus 100 bucks.
To put this in context, I am planning on transporting the brain that did these things to Germany for a week. I bought a money belt!
albadger: (Real Badger)

Do muttonchops count as fur?

albadger: (Real Badger)

Do muttonchops count as fur?


albadger: (Default)

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