Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When Shall We Three Meet Again?

Well I can do next Tuesday.

Seriously though, Tuesday is now my favorite day of the week for Disneyland.  It's such an awkward day of the week for most people that Disneyland attendance is very low on that particular day.  Of course Skeeve, Jerome, and I made sure to go one last time before they left for Washington.  We chose the Tuesday before they left which meant that I got to skip my Art History class.  I went to my 8:00 am class (Humanities) and they made plans to meet me at school at 9:35.

As usual, we left a bit later than we originally intended.  Once we got there we decided to take Jerome to California Adventure first so he could go on the new Toy Story ride.  I like that ride.  It's fun.  Plus, you get to talk to Mr. Potato Head.  Mr. Potato Head is animatronic (duh) with computerized eyes, probably an image projected inside his head and reflecting off the curve of his eyeballs.  Or I guess the eyes themselves could be screens.  Jerome could explain it better than I can.  Anyway, Jerome was looking at Monsieur Pomme de Terre through polarized sunglasses, which make everything look creepy.  Particularly this vegetable's computerized eyes.  Through Jerome's magic lenses they became purple and red and glowing and see-through.  Who knew a starchy vegetable could be so unnerving?  

The Toy Story ride was broken when we got there.  Mr. Potato Head was working fine, however.  That's suspicious if you ask me.  We wandered around a bit and enjoyed the nice open area because nobody else was there.  Once the ride opened up again we only had to wait about half an hour which was a mere fraction of the time Skeeve and I waited the first time around.  We finished the ride and I was happy to see that my score had improved since last time.  This and Astro Blasters are the only two "competitive" rides in the park and yes, we take them fairly seriously.  

We continued to wander around California Adventure for a bit as it was nearly deserted.  It's kinda weird living in California and being able to see the most recognizable parts of your state broken up into what serve as "lands" with bad puns and cheesy names.  There's a section of the park which is clearly Santa Monica/Santa Cruz/any other boardwalk area you can think of.  It blends into the wharf area that makes up what's supposed to be a portion of San Francisco.  San Francisco Land is missing two important components.  One of them being the obvious rainbow flags the other being sea lions.  I've been to Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf and the sheer number of sea lions is astounding.  The place is crawling with them.  Though perhaps "lounging" would be a more appropriate term.  Wouldn't it be great if California Adventure did a Gay Pride Parade through the San Francisco section every two and a half hours?  I think it's imperative to capture the unique and diverse atmosphere of our glorious state.

But anyway, back to Santa Cruz.  We looked around and I took pictures of random stuff.  We wandered through the shops and found that they were starting to put out the halloween merchandise.  Apparently this year is the 15th anniversary of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I still remember the first time I saw it.  I was seven years old and God brought it home for me to watch when I was sick.  I should mention that she also brought me Little Nemo.  That's right, I watched two of the strangest, most surreal kid movies ever made while I was sick.  Gotta love my mom.  As I recall I watched most of Nightmare and Nemo from behind a pillow, but I watched it regardless.  Years later (after getting over my fear of the Beetlejuice soundtrack) came an appreciation for Danny Elfman.  The Nightmare Before Christmas holds a special place in the hearts of my generation.  But not quite enough for me to buy an $18 commemorative travel mug...though I may go back to The Disney Store for that one sweater (it was comfy, ok?).

Jerome found The World's Strongest Man inside one of the shops on the boardwalk.  Look at this guy, he's holding up the whole store!  We eventually convinced Jerome to go on the marine carousel with us on the condition that he got to ride a sea lion.  I got a sea otter and Skeeve got a dolphin.  I don't think Timothy was terribly excited about the carousel.  He does kind of look like a sea urchin if you squint a bit and that sea otter sure looks hungry.  Remember guys: hedgehogs are friends, not food.

we were wandering around we started to think about what we might want to do for dinner.  It suddenly occurred to me that we had never been to The Blue Bayou restaurant (OMG overpriced!!) in New Orleans Square and this was possibly our only chance to go all together.  Jerome seemed to like the idea so we hoofed it over to Disneyland to make the reservation.   We managed to get in for a late lunch at 4:00, fair enough.  So we went on a few rides, had a snack or two, and went back to The Blue Bayou around 3:45.  

We gave the hostess our name and went to sit in the little waiting lounge.  It was...um...fancy?  I guess?  There were mirrors and chandeliers and, uh, cushioned benches.  So I guess you could call it fancy.  Finally someone called out "Cawley-party of three" and we got to go inside the exclusive,  mysterious and by far, most expensive restaurant in the park.  So yeah, we got into The Blue Bayou.  Barely.  We were seated, I kid you not, at a table a mere five feet away from the door.  Not quite the same atmosphere as by the water or in the center of the restaurant.  We knew we were going to be paying at least $30 a person for this meal.  Skeeve and Jerome decided to splurge and got the filet mignon.  I wasn't in the mood to shell out (pardon the pun) $50 for a lobster and filet so I went with an interesting looking jambalaya for $28.  We each had a choice of soup or salad.  Skeeve got one of those wedge salads realizing too late that it had the word "wedge" in it.  Jerome and I each had a cup of gumbo.  

The gumbo was really good.  Not too terribly different from the regular gumbo you get in the park.  After all, there's only so many ways to prepare it.  This one was a bit thicker with better tasting sausage and it seemed to have some different spices in it.  Skeeve's salad came as a little wedge of lettuce with some dressing and other little vegetables on the side.  She had to cut it with a knife and fork though, which she didn't like very much.  We also got cold (yes, cold) rolls and butter to eat while we waited for our main course.  Maybe I'm asking too much, but you'd think for the amount they're charging they'd have to decency to serve us warm, or at the very least, room temperature rolls.  But no, these were cold like they'd just come out of the refrigerator.  What gives, Disney?  Uncle Walt would be so pissed right now and you don't want to make Uncle Walt angry...you wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Eventually the main courses came.  I had a taste of Skeeve's filet mignon.  It was ok.  The meat was cooked well but they were really unimaginative with the spices.  I've had way better filet mignon for the same price Disneyland was charging.  The potatoes were good though.  Yummy, cheesy, delicious potatoes.  My jambalaya wasn't too bad actually.  It wasn't worth $28 but it wasn't bad either.  It was spicy with a mild after burn that wasn't too overpowering.  They tried to offer us dessert afterwards but we said no thanks and asked for the bill.  I think it came out to around $120 just for entrees and drinks.  I whipped out my magic passport of doom, however, and saved us $20--woohoo!  So basically my pass paid for my meal, that's always nice.

After that we went on more rides.  I can't even remember what anymore.  Maybe I should get one of those stupid little tape recorders so I can take notes.  We did all the important stuff obviously: Thunder Mountain, Materhorn, Space Mountain, etc.  We went on Indiana Jones and Jerome got to drive.  He was happy about that.  

The park closed at 8:00 that night.  Which was a good thing because I had to get up for class the next day.  It was kinda weird being at Disneyland at night and not seeing any kind of show in progress.  No fireworks, no Fantasmic.  It was all just...quiet.  Even on Main Street the atmosphere seemed to say, "We're still staying open an hour past closing but really we just want you to go home."  We didn't shop this time but we did get ice cream for dinner.  I had cookies and cream in a waffle cone and Skeeve and Jerome had sundaes.  

Now we all know how much Skeeve like maraschino cherries (eww).  I'm not particularly fond of them as I'm sure you can tell.  So whenever I get something like a sundae or a shirley temple that comes with one or more maraschino cherries I usually give it to Skeeve.  Or Evan.  Basically whoever's around at the time and wants it the most.  Anyway, Jerome knows how much Skeeve likes them so he gave her the cherry off his sundae.  Then he turned around and pulled a second cherry out of the air and Skeeve couldn't figure out where it came from.  Here we see Skeeve with a puzzled expression on her face as she points at her husband in  an accusatory manner.  Obviously someone gave Jerome two cherries but he transfered them to Skeeve in such a stealthy manner than no one knew what happened.  Ok, maybe you just had to be there.  After ice cream we decided to go home.  We were all pretty tired from waking up so early.  I stopped in front of the firehouse on Main Street and took a few pictures because I hadn't been in there in so long.  After that we got on the tram, got in the car, and went home.  Certainly the earliest any of us have left Disneyland in a long, long, time.  

So that was it.  I don't know when I'll be at Disneyland again since everyone I know who has a pass has moved away.  Might still go for Bats Day with the kids but that will depend on their schedules since Bats Day is on a Sunday this year.  I could always bring them home early but that's up to their parents so we'll see.  I'm still somewhat amused that they changed Bats Day from August to November because all the poor little goths cried that it was too hot.  You know what?  Real goths are hardcore enough to wear black in August in Southern California.  I'm not a real goth and I still pulled it off last year, so there.  Anyway, we'll see what happens.  I'm sure I'll be there soon enough with Evan and/or Kyra in any case.  Might look up Christina from high school choir and see if she wants to go too.  Turns out she's a passholder as well.

Gonna try and make Halloween fun this year even though I suspect it will be pretty boring.  Gonna clean out my room and get my paperwork together so I can volunteer at Pt. Fermin for the Halloween Carnival.  I'm also working on making a ghawazee coat so I can wear my tribal belly dance garb to Pt. Fermin without being called a tramp.  After that I'll probably have to stay home and chuck candy at small children.  Denise might come over and hang out if she doesn't have to do the same thing at her house.  Ah well.

Stay tuned for project-type things to appear.  I'll post pictures of the ghawazee coat once I start working on it.  God's got some things she wants me to sew as well.  In the meantime, better go clean.

Monday, September 22, 2008

In this edition of "Today At The Craft Store"...

I stopped at Michael's today to get some foam paper to make manipulatives (math toys) for my Math for Elementary School Teacher's class. All the Halloween stuff was out of course, but it was being pushed aside for even more Christmas stock. This is to be expected at craft stores. Everything becomes available a season or two before the actual holiday so you have time to do your crafts. But seeing this stuff out early in regular department stores still puts me off.

Anywho, I looked at all the Christmas and Halloween stuff. They had a bunch of those little Christmas village houses all set up. Part of me wants to start collecting them. I blame the Bongiovanni genes. As much as I'd like to I think Aunt Cathy has the crazy Christmas village category all tied up.

So I didn't get any Christmas stuff. But I did get these!

The smaller print on the sign says, "Check out our exciting Electroscope Special! We carry the most Demure & Distinctive Dissection Jars. Free Rusty Lancets for the Kiddies!" Yeah, you guessed it. It was the rusty lancets that sold me on this one. It's made in China though, so don't put it in your mouth or anything. Then again at the rate they're going it could be radioactive. Sometimes I wish I had a geiger counter just for the fun of it.

The other thing is, of course, a cookie cutter in the shape of a witch's (or wizard's) hat. I'm going to have so much fun with this one. I told God I'd make cookies for the office at Pt. Fermin.

I dunno what I'm gonna do this year in terms of holiday cookies. Usually I make them for everyone as Christmas gifts but no one's around to eat them this year. I guess I could still ship them overnight and not tell the postman. Yeah, that's it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Off to the Theatre!

Today I went with my grandparents to see 9 to 5 the musical. I've never seen the movie but the musical (music and lyrics by Dolly Parton!) was really funny. The opening scene was the best. Everyone starts waking up and singing the title song, "9 to 5" in various stages of dress. Some people are in robes, some in pajamas, others in bras and panties. And this one guy wanders right through the front of the stage sporting a t-shirt, boxers, and huge morning wood. It was hysterical.

Allison Janney (playing Violet Newstead) isn't really a singer, but she sure can act. You could tell that she had extensive coaching on her one song and just kinda did what she could with the rest. Don't get me wrong, the woman was good and she could at least pull off a tune. Unlike some other actors turned singers I've seen. Everyone else was great, too and the dancing was awesome! The Music Director for the show was surprisingly young. I'm suck a dork, I always like to watch the musicians playing as much as the actors performing. The music director, Stephen Oremus, not only conducted but played keyboard during the entire show. Now that's just cool.

Of course Timothy came along as well. He quite enjoyed it. Especially the pot induced hallucination scene. They were either smoking real marijuana onstage or somehow got pot flavored smoke. Either way the whole theatre smelled of pot for the rest of the show. It was great watching the wheels turn in the heads of all the old people in attendance. Once the smoke started to disperse and I got a whiff of it I immediately thought, Oh my god, did they get actual pot for this production? Sweet! Meanwhile all the old people around me are turning their heads nervously and whispering to each other in hushed tones. It was most amusing.

On the whole, I really enjoyed it. It was very funny and the choreography was fantastic. I also found out whilst reading the program that the LA Opera is currently doing three of Puccini's one act operas in a single performance: Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi. Gianni Schiichi is the one I really want to see. Woody Allen directed it, which sounds interesting. We'll see if someone wants to go get rush tickets with me. Otherwise maybe I'll see it by myself. They're also doing Mozart's The Magic Flute in January, which I would also be interested in seeing considering I sang the famous aria from that very opera. Did anyone else know that they made The Fly into an opera? I didn't think so. I guess it could be opera material...if you think about it long enough. Placido Domingo is conducting buuuut I'm not sure if I wanna see that one. Maybe next time.

Disneyland cometh

With the Oregon trip wrapped up you can be sure yet another account of Disneyland is on the way. Expect a lot of these. I am an annual passholder you know. In the meantime I'm off to the theatre with my grandparents to see Dolly Parton's one woman show. Hey, it's free theatre.

I think I'm going to miss Jerome's old hair more than his wife. Sure, she got to play with it more but I got to plait it with little ribbons and flowers that one time.

I mean, just look at this, will you? Here we have Old Jerome, early 2007.

Aaaaaaaaaand New Jerome. Present Day.

It still does not compute :( Oh well, at least he's still a geek. Keep up the Good work, Jerome.

Heceta Head Lighthouse Part II cont.

Alrighty, this post should just about wrap up the Oregon trip.  After the Sea Lion Caves we went to an A&W for lunch because Skeeve had never been.  The food was good but the floats are generally better.  We ate fast and got on the road so we could make it to the airport on time.

We drove for a while and stopped somewhere on the 101 for coffee at this little farm/road side cafe cause I was starting to fall asleep at the wheel.  The farm had a border collie in residence or was it an australian shepherd?  He was a nice doggie in any case.  Skeeve had a smoothie and I got a triple espresso and we were back on the road.

An hour later we got back to Eugene with time to spare and then couldn't find a gas station!  You'd think there'd be some near the airport, right?  Nope.  They were around, but they were off the freeway a couple exits away from the airport, what gives?  We managed to find one and by now time was running short.  Oh yeah, did I mention that buying gas in Oregon is weird?  I didn't find this out until recently but apparently it's illegal to pump your own gas in the state of Oregon.  That's right.  The state of Oregon does not trust you no to blow yourself up.  And here I'd been wondering why people were opening my gas cap and sticking the pump in the minute I pulled up.

I'm going to go off on a tangent here because it's just that stupid.  The first time we got gas this guy came over, stuck the pump in my car, and asked if I wanted regular.  This was at an Arco station which, in California, is self serve so this is where the confusion really began.  Somewhat taken aback I said yes and the guy instructed me to go pay at the island or inside.  So I did and then went back to the pump and proceeded to push the button for regular and pump my gas.  I stood there until it finished and then put the pump back.  They guy came over and asked if I got it.  I dunno, maybe I looked like I knew what I was doing.  I said yes, thanked him, and that was the end of it.  

The same thing happened the second time I got gas as we were on our way to the airport.  I pulled up, the guy unscrewed my gas cap, put the pump in and told me to go pay.  I paid, I came back, filled up the tank, and as I was finishing replacing the pump on it's holder the guy trotted over with a cranky look on his face and said, "Next time let the gas guy do it."  Now I know why he was so cranky.  Apparently, as I only just found out, not only was I doing a job that should be left to specially trained professionals (riiiiight) I could have been fined $500.  For pumping my own gas.  I think I just discovered the first thing I don't like about Oregon.
I'm sorry it's just stupid.  I really don't think preventing people from pumping their own gas significantly cuts down on gas related accidents.  Based what information I could find, "gas attendant" is an entry level job.  Maybe it wouldn't bug me so much if the majority of gas stations in Oregon weren't pre-pay.  Because you have to get out of your car anyway in order to pay before the guy can pump your gas.  Maybe it prevents people from talking on their cellphones or smoking while pumping gas, two of the main causes of gas station fires, but it doesn't stop anyone from driving away with the pump still in the car when no one's looking.  And don't try to tell me there aren't those people who still smoke in the car while the gas is being pumped.  Oregon, you're not making anyone safer, you're making my life more annoying.  Stop trying to protect people from themselves, it never works.

Yeah, I know I'm taking this a little far.  But I'd honestly rather get out and pump my own gas (since I have to get out anyway!) and be on my way than sit around and wait for someone to do it for me.  Oregon, you're a lovely state, but you have some weird fecking legislation.

So, um, long story short we got to the airport, returned the rental car and rushed through security and managed to get on our flight.  We were cutting it pretty close, but we got there...stupid gas station.  The flight back was much smoother than the flight there and the landing was a lot less nauseating.  God picked us up from LAX after we got our luggage and we dropped Skeeve off and went home.  I forget what I did after that.  Probably slept.  I got a whole bunch of stuff in Oregon.  Among them were:

A Celtic tapestry of faeries braiding each other's hair
A little ceramic faerie door
A Greenman pendant
Armwarmers from the nice faerie lady
Blue hair falls
A green tassel belt
A signed Brian Froud print
Two Faerieworlds T-shirts
An old (new for me) Woodland CD
Three beautiful heart-shaped stones (clear quartz, rose quartz, and lapis)
Four bone pins for RenFaire (one Celtic kitty, one Celtic tree of life, one reading "Mostly Harmless", and one reading "And then they made me their chief...")
A hand carved hairstick
A blue shoulder bag
A dragon tapestry for Richard
A "Dragon's Lair" plaque for God
A "Knight Dwells Here" plaque for Richard

I probably missed one or two things, but you get the idea.  It was fun and I'm astounded at how much Faerieworlds is growing.  I hope it one day reaches the point where it's just as immersive as RenFaire.  I liked it a lot and I'll probably do it again next summer and meet Skeeve and Jerome there.  Maybe by then Scott and Eden will be able to join us.  I'm kinda hoping I'll be able to find someone to drive up with me the next time around, however.  I don't like the air bus.  I'll even put up with strangers pumping my gas.

Anywho, thus ends the first official adventure from the log of The Blue Selkie.  Keep checking back every so often for many more adventures, I have a lot of things in store.  You'll probably see Disneyland up here a lot.  There will also be trips to San Francisco, I'm sure, as well as visits to my mom's school, craft stores, museums, tea houses, and the like.  In the meantime, check out some of the links to the left as they are currently some of my Favourite People of the Internet (tm).  See ya real soon!