Sunday, December 10, 2006

Eye Spied

Went up on the London Eye last night! It’s quite an impressive view of London. It felt good to look over the buildings and be able to recognize major landmarks after three months here.

Afterward, we went to Wagamama, since a few of our good family friends had recommended it so much. I had the ginger chicken udon. Pretty good stuff!

And here’s the promised picture from The Snowman!

More pictures here.

OK, back to work. Getting a little stressed about my papers.

Advice, please

Do you think I should apply to be a weekly Daily Northwestern columnist? Hmm.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Snowman

I probably won’t have time to update as much anymore. It’s my last week, and I have a lot of papers to write. I’d also like to suck all I can out of London. I’m not sure how much time there will be between work and play.

Last night, Shann and I saw The Snowman, the panto I was really looking forward to. It was good, even if a little weird. Some of the costumes were very unusual—the snowman, for instance is HUGE, in both height and circumference. Now that I’m older, too, I was also perturbed by the “Chinese” snowman with slanty eyes and an inclination to bow excessively. In addition to this, there were only two women in the show. One was the mother. The other was a ballerina who was the snowman’s and scary ice man’s object of desire. There is not too much substance to her character besides dancing prettily. The snowman abandons the ballerina at the end of the play without even a goodbye. Out of pity, Santa Claus gives her a small stuffed version of the snowman and then motions to indicate that the snowman will never come back again.

The end was also very sad when the boy wakes up to find the melted remains of his magical friend. It made me want to cry.

The snowman is a great production for children and their parents. This makes it interesting for everyone else. We were lucky to get running commentary from dozens of children. Popular among them were those translucent spaghetti lights—perfect toys to swing around in the darkness (either to the beat of the music or not to the beat of the music—your choice).

Actually, the kids were really cute and added a lot to the show. When the really loved a scene, they would jump faster and faster and at the end yell, “AGAIN!!!”

Surprisingly, the other present demographic was young couples. They had a somewhat different reaction from the kids—not quite as vocal and sans fun light toys. They looked straight ahead politely.

Right on, Snowman!

(no picture today because I forgot my camera. Took some with Shann’s though, so those are coming your way.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

From John Mayer's Blog - 12.3.06

Copied and pasted all the way down, since the entries don't link:

I can't really explain what happens when, as an artist, you get that message from the inside that says "time to make another one." One day you're sitting around, living off the fat of the land, and then as if from out of nowhere, it taps you on the shoulder. The slate goes shiny and clean. Those colors come back - it all starts as colors - then moods, then settings, then sounds, then words. And churning beneath that the entire time is the doubt; doubt that you'll find the rhyme, doubt that you'll ever connect that verse with that chorus, doubt that you have anything left to say that matters.

I live for that streetfight, though. The knock-down drag-out anything-goes battle between what you have in your hands and what you *think* you might possibly have in your mind but have no proof of. But when you win, man... look out. There's nothing better. Why go back at it so soon? Because I suck at everything else and I hate being reminded of it.

If you think we writers do what we do for anything else than patching up voids, you're mistaken. It's all void putty. Take away the guitars and the songs, and my life story becomes completely unremarkable. I'm not getting down on myself, I'm getting up on the gift... I'm not much without it, and I'm blessed to have it.

So I'm getting back in line for another round of musical code cracking, a cell phone voice mailbox full of my own scattered melodic ideas, and sheets of paper in every pants pocket scribbled with words I swore were cool at the time.

Tuesday afternoon I lay down the first idea... because a man can't get a solid groove on putting out records every two years.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

(Birth)Day in Review

Today was a productive day, and that makes it a good day by my standards!

Woke up early this morning to go to the US Embassy. I had to pick up tickets to see Tony Blair next week. When I got there, there was a long queue snaking along the side of the building (which is HUGE, by the way). I guess everyone is applying for a visa. The security guard put me in my own queue under a tree. I guess the security guard didn’t realize I was a queue, though, and I just stood there for a long time. Finally I went up and learned they didn’t have our tickets yet, and I’d have to come back sometime closer to the date. The guard wasn’t sure when, but gave me a rough estimate of Friday. So I guess I’m going back!

Caught the tube back to the library and picked up a peppermint mocha on the way. Got a lot of work done in the reading room. The only bad thing is that after drinking so much coffee I really had to use the bathroom, but 1) I couldn’t leave my stuff on its own and 2) the bathroom is all the way in the basement—this meant, I’d have to return the Ethernet cord I borrowed to retrieve my library card to exit the library to go down the elevator to use the bathroom. Whew! What an operation!

I went to Chinatown for lunch and had chowfun and this mango tapioca drink. Yum!

Went back to the library. Filled my backpack with books. Then walked to Chinatown for my birthday dinner. This year my parents gave me money to take my friends to dinner for my birthday. Xin was really awesome and helped me find a Korean-run Japanese restaurant. They gave us a long table upstairs. Huge portions and good Japanese/Korean food. What a lot of fun!

On my way back to the tube station, I stopped by at the Mary Poppins theatre to buy myself a program. Sort of a mini present to myself, I guess. Playbills in the UK aren’t free, and I just started collecting them halfway through the term. I saw Mary Poppins before I started buying them, so it was nice to add it to my collection.

And now I am sitting at my computer, having just finished a load of laundry. Now all I have to do is shower, read a little, and then off to sleep! Woo hoo!

All in all, a very happy (birth)day. Hurrah!!

Here are some pictures from the night:

Of course, as always, more pictures here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bloom and Grow Forever

Shann and I got into The Sound of Music!!!! HURRAH!

I called the box office a few times last week and was disappointed to discover that there were no tickets available through January. The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies, and the musical opened to shining reviews. The musical isn't on Broadway, so this was my chance.

Shann and I decided to show up an hour before the show to see if we could buy any return tickets. And thank God, they had two seats for us! Not only that, but they were some of the best seats in the house. The Palladium theatre--supposedly the most famous theater in the world and presently home to The Sound of Music--had two tiers. Shann and I got seats in the first row of the first tier, dead center. We could see the whole stage beautifully, without any obstructions. The distances wasn't too far to prevent us from seeing the actors' expressions either. The only downside was that the tickets weren't cheap...but we understood that tickets were rare and that this was an opportunity worth the money.

I believe it was worth every pence. Maria and Capt Von Trapp were especially marvelous. They had great singing voices. Maria sounded a lot like Julie Andrews! The kids were also impressive (and very cute) performers. I think the youngest member of the cast is six. So young, and yet she didn't show a stitch of nervousness.

I forgot how moving the story is. I especially liked the parts when Capt Von Trapp decides to spend more time with his children, when the whole family sings Eidelweiss, and when they all go over the mountain together. I've always enjoyed books that have connections to the world wars, for some reason. I don't like the wars themselves, but I suppose I am fascinated by the dire circumstances that test people's characters.

Anyway, all for now! Have to get up early to head out to pick up my parliamentary passes from the embassy and to go to the library.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Beat Goes On

Quick entry because I'm about to go to sleep.

We got back from Barcelona late last night! Barcelona is a fabulous city. Everywhere you turn, there's amazing architecture--the shapes and colors are quite unlike anything I've ever seen. The climate was also a welcome change from the chilly London temperatures. On the last day, it was warm enough to go to the beach and sit on the sand in my tank top. The atmosphere is a bit like Hawaii's in that it's really laid back--probably even more than Honolulu (especially with the siesta they take during the middle of the day). Someone told me Barcelona is the densest city in the world, which was hard to believe, based on the wide open streets. What a nice city.

Tonight I retuned to the National Theatre, this time with Shann, to see Caroline Or Change. The score is awesome! Plus, every single actor had outstanding acting and singing abilities. The story is about a black woman in the year 1963 in the American south. The music is loaded with all those excellent gospel/soul riffs. Although I enjoyed the show thoroughly, I can't help but wonder what the American production is like. I bet American actors have more experience with gospel and soul music.

Tomorrow we're going to try to get into Sound of Music. It all depends on if there are any returned tickets....

Here's a picture from last Thursday when Xin and I went to Coram Boy--also at the National Theatre.

Ah, and a last pictorial taste of Barcelona. I haven't had time to go through my pictures and put up an album yet, but I'll work on that sometime. I have quite a lot of school work to do before I leave London!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Off to Barcelona!

Tuesday, I went to Evita...

Wednesday, I saw Les Miserables...

Tonight, I saw Coram Boy at the National Theatre...

Tomorrow I'm going to Barcelona!!! See you Sunday!