Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's Christmas in July!

Ok, so remember waaay back in November when I went to San Francisco to visit my Dad? And then on the flight home I was trying to upload my novel to NaNoWriMo and there was too much fog for my plane to land in Long Beach so they took us all the way to Ontario and I managed to find internet and submit my novel at the very last second? Well before that nightmare happened, Dad and I went to the Dickens Fair. I meant to write about it in November but, well, I was working on my novel. And then I just kept getting distracted. So, in the spirit of TV specials everywhere, I bring you Christmas in July!

The Dickens Fair is held indoors every year at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. We got there rather early this year and wound up waiting for I think an hour for the doors to open. We walked around aimlessly for a while and then got in line when more people started to show up. A little while later some carolers appears to keep us entertained. They sang all the classics, Jingle Bells, The Holly and the Ivy, Deck the Halls. But the best by far was "O Tannenbaum O Tannenbaum and something else in German..."

The fair opened up soon after and we all shuffled inside to see the opening ceremony. I think they do this on the opening day of every year. So far we've always gone on opening day but this time we got to see the ceremony from the beginning. Charles Dickens came out and started talking about the various characters we would see at the fair. You'll run into pretty much every Dickens character imaginable. Of course there's Scrooge and everyone from a Christmas Carol but there also Oliver Twist, The Artful Dodger, Fagin, Nicholas Nickleby, etc. I resisted the urge to tell Mr. Dickens that I kind of prefer Mark Twain.

After the opening ceremony there was ballroom dancing and they let us in to the rest of the fair. If you like Christmas or the Victorian era, the Dickens Fair is the place to be. If you're in or around San Francisco at this time of year I strongly recommend going. Everything's shiny and pretty and it really gets you into the spirit of the holidays. Even if you're a grown up. Plus, there are a lot of great places to buy presents. Although, since the Dickens Fair is run by the same company that does the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire, most everything is going to be expensive. It's the only way the merchants are able to make any kind of profit.

One thing I love about the Dickens Fair is that the smell of cinnamon is everywhere. If you don't like cinnamon this may not be so pleasant for you. The cinnamon smell comes from the roasted almond stations spread out all over the fair. They're warm and delicious with a sugary cinnamon coating and I can never resist getting some. They also have roasted chestnuts in case you've ever wanted to try them. Dad bought be some last year and they were not as good as the song had led me to believe. In fact, they tasted a little bit like soap. I gave the rest of mine to Dad and he ate them all up.

This one store had some really beautiful wreaths. I always think about getting one but it seems silly getting one when I live with my parents. Maybe I'll get one for Skeeve and Jerome next year :)

Ooo, pretty

There were also harps!

And people singing!

This is the singing group that Dad and I went to see. I can't for the life of me remember what they were called but they were more or less the Dickens equivalent of the RenFaire's Poxy Boggards and Bells of Bedlam. Almost

As I mentioned before, they had pretty much all of Dickens' characters walking around the fair. But they did something special for Ebenezer Scrooge. They actually reenacted A Christmas Carol in various places throughout the fair. Dad and I watched Jacob Marley appear and tell Scrooge that he would be visited by three spirits, etc. The dude had chains and everything. Neat.

I left Dad with the singing group while I went to look for a present for Kyra. Not only did I find something for Kyra, but Timmy met a new friend. This guy belonged to the merchants that sell hair spirals and they were nice enough to let my hedgehog take a picture with their hedgehog. I think they were kind of surprised that I had one. Well after all, hedgehog fanciers are a very special breed as Timmy well knows. He wont rub noses with just anyone.


I walked around some more and got a couple pictures of the ladies in the corset shop. They take turns posing in the windows, I'm not sure for how long. But they sure do look neat.

Wish I could afford one of these corsets. But they're very well made and thus expensive.

Nice veil.

Of course Dad and I had High Tea at 4:00. It's just something you have to do when you go to fair. It's not as good as The Vintage Tea Leaf of course, but the atmosphere is very nice. And about halfway through a bunch of chimney sweeps crash the party by way of the fireplace and sing Christmas carols. One of then asked me when the last time was that I had my chimney swept...which is not really something you want to answer when your father is sitting right next to you. But it was all in good fun. They sang a couple songs and then the kitchen staff chased them out. Timmy thought it was most amusing.

So that was the Dickens Fair. If you're going to be in the area I highly recommend going. It's lots of fun for hedgehogs and humans alike.

As an added bonus, here are some pictures from when Dad and I were walking around San Francisco!

This is dessert from the restaurant Dad took me to for Thanksgiving dinner. Everything was so good! Way better than the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And you could have all the dessert you wanted! :D

Timmy wasn't about to pass up on that offer.

This is actually the bathroom wall in the same restaurant. I thought it looked neat and happened to have my camera in my purse.

This is a shot of the French cafe that Skeeve and I went into with Tim and Melissa. It's right outside of China Town. She really liked it.

This is the city Christmas tree. Though I can't remember the name of the square that it's in. It was right outside of Macy's and they were getting ready to do the tree lighting ceremony.

And here's the front of Macy's all dressed up.

Happy Christmas :D

Monday, July 27, 2009

Holy crap!

I just realized that today is the one year anniversary of Travels Aboard The Blue Selkie! Woo! *throws confetti*

O hai!

First of all, allow me to apologize for the lack of updates. My room is a mess and it's been virtually impossible for me to write anything much less think coherently. Don't believe me? Look at this.

And that's only one corner *shudder* I've been trying to get it organized and put some things in storage but it's been difficult deciding what goes and what stays. Especially since it's hard for me to part with my books, even the ones I don't read very often. I'm not getting ride of them, but putting them in boxes and carting them off to the storage unit four blocks away means they wont be easily accessible :( One day I'm going to move into a house big enough to devote an entire room just for my books.

But I guess in the meantime I'll start where I left off. A little over two weeks ago was my 23rd birthday. I had planned to do something with Evan and Kyra. We didn't know what yet, just something. Kyra decided she didn't want to go to Disneyland so we went to The Vintage Tea Leaf in Long Beach. I think I've mentioned The Vintage Tea Leaf before in this blog. It's absolutely delicious and one of my favorite places to be. But then again I am kind of a tea junkie. I'd wanted to take Kyra for the longest time and even though Evan isn't much of a tea kind of guy I figured he'd at least enjoy the sandwiches.

Turns out Evan didn't like any of the sandwiches they had :( But he was happy just to order dessert. Kyra and I had the full tea service and enjoyed scones, soup, salad, samiches, and cake :D For dessert we had a choice between a vanilla bundt cake or a blueberry crumble. Evan and Kyra had bundt cake and I had the crumble. It was sooooo good but after scones, soup, and sandwiches I just couldn't finish it. Of course the fact that Mom had made me pancakes for my birthday breakfast didn't help much. I let Timmy finish my blueberry crumble. God only knows where he puts it all.

One of the many great things about The Vintage Tea Leaf is that they have a huge collection of teacups, all bone china, that you can use for your tea. Kyra had a really hard time deciding which one to choose (I know what that's like!) but finally settled on a pink one with flowers. I chose a cream colored cup with gold accents (pictured with Timmy above) and Evan managed to find the manliest teacup they had. It was white with a coat of arms surrounded by blue tartan. Close up below.

Aye, that's a man's teacup, that is. I think I'll go put on my kilt and throw some tree trunks around because I'm manly!

After tea we spent a fair bit of time exploring the gift shop and I showed Kyra all the sparkly things ^.^ Evan was hungry, having only enjoyed dessert, so we drive back into town so he could get some In N Out. The boy managed to put away a 3x3, fries, and a Sprite. God damn. A 3x3 in case you are wondering, is a cheese burger with three patties on a single bun. I've never been brave enough to try anything on the secret menu aside from animal fries, which are sinfully delicious and probably full of fat but also very, very, tasty.

So after Evan finished his lunch we went to the movie theatre at the Del Amo mall to see Up. I love that movie. After that we walked over to Barnes and Noble to get us some books! Evan got a Pearls Before Swine collection and some book with a shiny cover that I forget the name of. I got a couple young adult novels. Artemis Fowl, FTW! I also showed Kyra where to find Kim Harrison and now I've got her reading the Rachel Morgan books (or The Hollows series, whichever you prefer). She started reading Dead Witch Walking immediately. And she likes it! YES! *punches arm in the air* So glad I got her into vampires that don't fricking sparkle.

We tried to decide if we wanted to eat out for dinner or go back to Mimi and Poppy's. It was starting to get late so I wasn't sure what would be open. I told the kids there were probably some Chinese buffets still open and they expressed an interest in that. It's a good thing I insisted that we call Mimi and Poppy and check first. Mimi told us she was already making pasta so we'd better come home or else. I'm glad we did cause pasta was tasty. After dinner I stayed and hung out with the kids until Mimi and Poppy went to bed and I had to go home.

When I came home I got to enjoy my birthday loot from Skeeve! :D She got me cake, actual cake, for my birthday! It was from this company called Cupcakes in Jars and it was delicious. Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and fudge on top. I ate it all! Skeeve also gave me some yummy bath goodies, a cute T-shirt, Hank Green's album So Jokes, and Chameleon Circuit's CD of the same name full of Time Lord Rock! Woot!

In short, my birthday was awesome. I still can't believe Skeeve got me cake. Cake!

The next day I hung out with Evan and Kyra some more until they had to go home. I swam with Kyra and got sunburned. So now I have to even out my tan so I don't look silly in my strapless dress when I go on the cruise with Dad :/ I had some henna left over from the last time I did tattoos so I used some of it up on Kyra.

Parts of it came out kind of blobby because the henna had been defrosted and needed to be shaken up

Heart! <3

I hope she managed to get home ok without it smudging on Evan's car. Once henna stains it does not come out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot

Yay, a blog post!

So this past Saturday I went to the Ahmanson theatre in Los Angeles to see Spamalot with my family. I say family because everybody was there. Mom, Richard, my grandparents, my cousins, and two of my uncles and aunts. It was a Monty Python free for all.

Spamalot is the musical lovingly ripped off from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And if you've never heard of Monty Python...well, then, there's just no hope for you at all. You've probably been living in a cave your whole life. You might as well end it now and throw yourself to the killer rabbit. But I digress.

More than anything, Spamalot is Eric Idle's latest excuse to make more money. And we all love him for it.

I wont go into too much detail about the plot. Mostly because there isn't one, really. If you've seen the movie you already know what the musical is about. And if you haven't seen the movie what the heck are you doing reading this blog? Go rent it and absorb some culture why don't you.

We met up with everyone outside the theatre just before the matinee was about to start. So after a quick round of hugs and kisses we all shuffled inside and found our seats. One of the things I really liked about the show was that the still managed to have the little cartoons that accompanied all of the Monty Python sketches and movies. Basically, there was a big screen that would come down every so often and the cartoons would be projected onto it. It captured the spirit of the old Monty Python sketches beautifully.

The best part was the French taunting. There were many other good parts, (the killer rabbit was awesome) but it just figures that since the French taunters are my favourite part of the movie then naturally they'd be my favourite part of the musical. There I go spelling "favourite" like a Brit again :P

The comedy was brilliant. Lots of great sight gags and word play. One of my favorite bits went something like this:

King Arthur: We must go on a quest and retrieve the Holy Grail!

Sir Robin: The what?

King Arthur: The Holy Grail! The vessel from which Christ drank at the last supper.

Sir Robin: What? They had a boat at the last supper? Was it some sort of dinner cruise?

Sounds like something my dad would come up with, doesn't it? Anywho, to make a long story short as they say, the musical was a lot of fun. I've had the original broadway cast recording (featuring Tim Curry, Hank Azaria, and David Hyde Pierce--Squee! ^.^) for a couple years now so needless to say the singing wasn't quite up to the standards that I'm used to. But you know what? It's Monty Python. If you're hung up on the music there's something wrong with you.

The ending was the best. They pulled some guy from the audience on stage and I was so jealous. Then they exploded confetti everywhere! A bunch of it rained all over me and I picked it up and put it in my purse because I'm a dork like that.

I guess Mom wasn't feeling well after the show and she and Richard decided to go home early. They left me to have dinner with Mimi and Poppy and everyone else. We went to this French/Italian restaurant a little ways from the theatre. The inside looked very French in comparison to the French restaurants Dad has taken me to. But most of the food was Italian. Whatever it was, it was pretty good.

The best part was I got to sit with my cousins Evan and Kyra and enjoy their company, but not after a brief moment of panic. Everyone else had already sat down, leaving two seats open for Evan and Kyra next to their dad and one seat open for me next to my grandmother. The three of us just stared at each other for a moment, Kyra with a growing expression of distress, as our brains kept flashing, "Does Not Compute! Error! Error!" Then finally Mimi looked at us and said, "Why don't you kids sit together?" and got everyone to move down a seat. Evan and Kyra were immediately relieved as I sat down between them. Because the three of us cannot eat unless I am sitting in the middle. Because we are five.

The food was yummy, though Evan was disappointed that we didn't get dessert. I told him we would get ice cream on Friday. Friday is my birthday, by the way. We decided we're gonna go do something. Probably Disneyland. In any case there will be ice cream.

Here is one of my birthday presents. A Spamalot T-shirt from God and Richard. It reads "Fetch the cow!" in French. Though somehow I doubt "Fetchez" is in fact a French verb. Now if you'll excuse me, I must go a fashion myself a killer rabbit puppet.

Friday, July 3, 2009

My room is a mess

Wow. I have a lot of Disneyland pictures. Two-hundred and twenty seven of them on my computer. All right. Priorities are as follows: Clean room, finish book, and sit down and do some scrapbooking for Christ sake.

Then again, considering the amount of Disney photos I have, maybe I should go get a whole new scrapbook just for Disneyland pictures. I mean, I go there often enough. What do you think, Bloggers?

I still have those pictures Eden took from the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball. I need to scan them onto the computer and mail them back to her. Cept last I checked my scanner was broken. Oh well. Gotta get my ass over to Kinko's.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Holy cow, Salinger's still alive?

Apparently so. The guy is 90 years old now and still cranky as ever. He was recently seen in court blocking the release of a "sequel" to The Catcher in the Rye in the United States. Link here.

From the Associated Press:

"By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jul 1, 8:34 pm ET

NEW YORK – A Swedish author whose new book was promoted as a sequel to J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" cannot publish it in the United States because it too closely mirrors Salinger's classic without adequate parody or critique, a judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts issued her written ruling in Manhattan after considering arguments in a lawsuit brought by the 90-year-old reclusive author against the publishers of "60 Years Later:Coming Through the Rye."

Batts said Swedish author Fredrik Colting had "taken well more from `Catcher,' in both substance and style, than is necessary for the alleged transformative purpose of criticizing Salinger and his attitudes and behavior."

She said Colting's claim that he also wrote the book to critically examine Salinger's most famous character, Holden Caulfield, was "problematic and lacking in credibility."

She also rejected arguments that the depiction of a character in Colting's book to represent Caulfield 60 years later was a parody. She said in a footnote that Colting and his publishers made no indication before the lawsuit was filed that the book was meant as a parody or critique of Salinger's work.

"Quite to the contrary, the original jacket of '60 Years' states that it is '... a marvelous sequel to one of our most beloved classics,'" the judge said. "It is simply not credible for defendant Colting to assert now that this primary purpose was to critique Salinger and his persona."

A lawyer for Colting and SCB Distributors Inc., which would distribute the book in the United States, said the defendants were "very disappointed that the judge chose to ban Mr. Colting's book."

"Because of the Court's decision banning the book, members of the public are deprived of the chance to read the book and decide for themselves whether it adds to their understanding of Salinger and his work," the lawyer, Edward H. Rosenthal, said in a statement.

SCB Distributors hoped to reverse the judge's ruling on appeal and sell the book in the United States this fall, company president Aaron Silverman said.

Marcia Beth Paul, a lawyer who argued on Salinger's behalf, declined to comment on the decision.

The book was scheduled to be published in the United States late this summer, but the publication was challenged by Salinger, of Cornish, N.H., who did not attend arguments in the case last month. The book has already been published in England. No legal action has been taken there to block publication, although distribution companies had agreed to block its shipment into the United States while the lawsuit proceeded.

During last month's hearing, Batts said she read both novels and agreed with Salinger that the new book was substantially similar to his, published in 1951.

She wrote Wednesday that Colting's narrative "largely mirrors" Salinger's and it was "unnecessary for Colting to use the same protagonist with repeated and extensive detail and allusion to the original work."

"The Catcher in the Rye," which has sold more than 35 million copies, tells what happens to the 16-year-old Caulfield for several days immediately after he is kicked out of a prep school just before Christmas and decides to explore New York City before returning to his family home.

Colting, who lives near Gothenburg, Sweden, said in a court document that he did not "slavishly copy" Salinger when he wrote his first novel under the pseudonym J.D. California.

"I am not a pirate," he wrote.

He said his book transforms "the precocious and authentic Holden into a 76-year-old man fraught with indecision and insecurity." The character, identified as Mr. C, escapes from a retirement home and experiences similar to those Caulfield went through decades earlier.

Wednesday's ruling by Batts was a temporary order meant to remain in place until the full facts of the case could be aired at a later trial. She said that Salinger was likely to succeed on the merits of his lawsuit and that he would face irreparable harm if the new book were allowed to be published in the United States.

Defendants can appeal the temporary ruling to the federal appeals court in Manhattan."