Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I won't have to draw a line up the back of my leg.

I was browsing through Interweave looking at the impractical and odd designs, and a little article about the knitting exhibt at the V&A caught my eye. Scroll down to the bottom and note that there is a pattern to knit fishnet stockings. Yes, FISHNET STOCKINGS. I must knit them. They'll hurt the soles of my feet and leave little liney imprints on my legs, but I'll have KNIT them. Myself. And then I'll have to knit the balaclava for Christian. It's just so "defending the homefront".

Monday, November 27, 2006

Walt Disney World, November 11-18, 2006

Sunday, Nov. 12, 2006
Day 2

C: We started Day 2 at Animal Kingdom. First up upon rising was a dash to Expedition Everest (heretofore referred to as EE). We hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, but upon seeing a short line we decided “what the heck.” It was probably a wise decision in hind-site, as the ride was one of the more “extreme” rides in WDW. EE is, as usual, immaculately themed as a Himalayan base camp/Buddhist temple, with ratty prayer flags all over the place. Actually, quite dirty looking, but authentic. There are many sacred prayer bells hanging in the queue to reach up and clang. Or at least I did, prompting other teenagers behind me to do the same.

S: And every other person in line plotted how best to kill Christian for starting the cacophony.

C: We sat in line for about 35 minutes, which to date has been the longest line we’ve endured!

S: We found out that every line was shorter than the notice stated, and EE is a really fast loading ride, so the wait was really too short. I wanted to see the theming better.

C: After EE came “Flights of Wonder,” a live bird show.

S: And all of our friends gasp in shock! The Salases went to a bird show? I never would have thought it!

C: This has been my favorite attraction so far, as it featured…PARROTS! First we heard Oscar the amazing talking Amazon Parrot sing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandee” and “Camp Town Racetrack (Oh, the Doo Dah Day),” complete with vibrato.

S: It was so adorable! I can’t even think of anything snarky to say about it. The handler had to follow his head with a microphone since he swung his head back and forth as he sang.

C: A buzzard buzzed within inches of our heads, and one lady held out a dollar bill at arm’s length for a bird to steal.

S: I wish I had been the volunteer as it was a rose breasted Cockatoo, one of my favorite birds, and I think I could have made it out with the bird in my arms before anyone noticed.

C: Finally a spectacled owl with enormous eyes came out and stared at us, and she was the outright champion of the staring contest, defeating all comers.

Other highlights were the Kilimanjaro Safari, in which we saw and photographed many an animal, (unfortunately blurry due to the bumpy ride), including the elusive lion, and “Dinosaur” in which we traveled back in time to save an iguanadon!

S: Same ride vehicle as Indiana Jones in Disneyland, more noise and fewer snakes and rolling boulders.

C: All rides and shows had mercifully short lines.

S: No kidding. Everything was a walk on and Fastpass machines weren’t even running.

C: God bless the off season! But one casualty is that we missed a lot of that special Disney theming. For instance we sprinted through the Yeti museum at EE so fast we couldn’t stop to read and even see most of the pieces. Poor us…

We then bought a Pal Mickey, which turned out to be well worth the $65 we paid for him.

S: I love him and feel the need to cuddle him constantly.

C: Pal Mickey reacts to microchips embedded around the park to inform us about where the short lines are around the park, locations of animals and fun facts. Our own personal tour guide. Case in point: as we were leaving Animal Kingdom for the day, Pal Mickey perked up and vibrated repeatedly, reminding us about the parrots and anteaters we should’ve been looking at. We looked around in confusion, and eventually found the somewhat hidden side exhibits of wallabies, pygmy deers, rhinoceros iguana and other exotic fare. Unfortunately we ran to the Macaw areas just after they had retired the birds for the night. But we shall be there again.

S: Apparently, they’re not caged and hop to and from their perches and the fences surrounding their enclosures. Hello, people, how am I supposed to refrain from kissing them?

C: Next it was back on the bus for a short trip to the Ticket & Transportation Center, and from thence onto the Monorail for another quick jaunt over to the Magic Kingdom. It’s always quite an emotional moment seeing those damn spires of Cinderella’s Castle, and Suzy shed a few tears.

S: Yes, I’m a giant weenie.

C: Walking onto main street, seeing the castle and the newly erected Christmas decorations was an amazing site.

S: And, I cried again. It’s just so GORGEOUS! And huge. Huge, huge, huge. And Gothic. Preeeeeety.

C: We got there for “Extra Magic Hours” around 6pm and thanks to our ticket package were eligible to stay until 11pm that evening.

S: Per tradition, we started with Pirates (our review of the Captain Jack additions is that you can barely tell. The animatronics are very, very good, and I didn’t feel that the storyline had been compromised. We went next to Big Thunder, which just so rocks…

C: … and then we ran onto Space Mountain, which turned out to be an excruciating experience of “almost but not quite.” We were all buckled in and heading down the track to the main coaster, when the ride shut down due to someone unloading too slowly, and stopping the whole ride. The long and the short of it was that they had to reset the ride, and turned the lights on to do it! It has been one of my dreams for the last few years to be able to see Space Mountain with the lights on. Unfortunately, we were still in the dark tunnel and stopped at the top of a short, dirty tunnel that led into the actual ride area. All I could see was a few tantalizing feet of wall at the end of the tunnel, bright in fully-lit glory! We sat in our little toboggan-like spacecars for about 20 minutes before the ride was reset and we could ride…with the lights off! If we had only walked a little faster…Ah well. I suppose the magic would’ve been ruined…

S: We unfortunately were kept company by CM Manly Cheesy Guy McKnowitall, who was quite the blustering buffoon. He didn’t even know that Rockin’ Rollercoaster goes from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, not 2.3. Sheesh.

We had time for Buzz Lightyear (seriously pathetic scores all ‘round) and were so exhausted that we stumbled to the Monorail and back to the TTC to head back to the resort. Apparently, there is a gate slightly to the right of our view of the savannah and the animals migrate back and forth from our savannah to the neighboring one at night and in the early morning. We had gotten very lucky in that, every time we are in our room, we see giraffes and zebras and antelopes of all kinds and wildebeests and other wonderful creatures. Not the same thing as moving them from game park to game park, but the closest we’ll ever get without having to actually get dirty and sweaty.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I just can't bear it.

I know I'm a hypocrite. When I read a story like this, and get so crushed by it that I tear up whenever I think of the tiny parrotlets which were the first ones I ever saw in real life, I know that I should give up eating meat. I mean, a story in a David Sedaris book about how he tried to drown a mouse that had been injured but not killed in a mouse trap made me cry because of the mouse's suffering, so how can I still consume animals that are killed in more terrible ways than these poor creatures in either story? This is particularly timely the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING. I love turkey, to eat, I mean. I don't love turkeys, per se, as pet-like animals in their own right, but how do I reconcile the love of one type of bird for my disregard of the welfare of another type? Maybe this is why we should all hunt for our food. If we had to look our dinner in the eye before shooting it, we'd eat a lot less meat. Of course, we'd never have to HUNT cows, as they are, well, stupid and would just stand there, but can't we kill them humanely? I could eat them, then. Raised humanely, killed humanely...wouldn't that solve the problem?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Walt Disney World, November 11-18, 2006

What will follow in the next few days is a day-by-day diary of our wonderful trip to WDW last week on our belated 5th anniversary trip. The "C:" is Christian's entries, the "S:" is mine.

Day 1
Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006
C: Whew. We made it. The travel went mostly without incident. The alarm rang at 5:30, and we stumbled out of bed. Rich and Shelly were nice enough to drive us to the airport. Unfortunately, after grabbing the boarding passes out of Suzy’s purse, I didn’t zip it closed and when she swung it ‘round, her Treo cell phone fell out onto the floor, pieces skittering in all directions. I quickly put it back together, but alas the screen now had a giant diagonal crack going through the middle of it, and the “touch screen” function was damaged so that only parts of the screen could be clicked on…Oy. We did enjoy a healthy breakfast of Wendy’s sausage muffins.

S: We then bought 4 magazines and 5 books for reading material. I’ve apparently been out of the book loop for a while as I had NO IDEA that Susannah Clarke and Jasper Fforde each had new books. The downside is that we now have to schlep the books around. One thing we learned was that we should always print our boarding passes at home from the internet. We got our boarding pass for “Group C” which boards after groups A and B, each of which have around 50 people. So we were forced to squeeze into the second to last row for flight #1 from Seattle to Chicago. If we ever manage to sleep on a flight, the heavens will crack open and pour down manna. And everyone needs to take a shower and wear clean clothes when they board a plan. The androgynous girl next to us had obviously not changed her enormous men’s jeans in weeks and she smelled faintly of poo. Yay.

C: After a lunch of hot dogs in Chicago (S: With neon green relish! Hooray for regional cuisine), we parked in the “B Group” line for the hour wait before boarding. We were miraculously rewarded with seats in the second row, thank God, as getting off at the end of the disembarkation process is very traumatic for me. All went well and we enjoyed watching Spinal Tap, while excited Disney World-bound children kicked the back of our seats (S: over, and over and over).

Our triumphant arrival in Orlando came some 12 hours later (3 hours added for the time change). We were supposed to use the “Magical Express” service to take us to the Animal Kingdom Hotel, but after asking two different people in the airport for directions, we were getting frustrated. But we pressed on and by the third person we were able to find it, in another concourse at the very end of the (very long) hallway. Suzy was ready to call a cab, but I wasn’t about to blow $30+ bucks when the Magical Express was already paid for in our package. So a 30 minute bus ride and inspirational video later...

S: which is what FINALLY pushed me over into intolerable excitement, we were dropped off at the AKL, and oh heavens, it is so beautiful!

C: And lush and dramatic. The main lobby is an amazingly gorgeous slice of Africa, especially beautiful at night, due to the muted light from the Masai warrior shield light fixtures. We were upgraded from 3rd floor pool view to 4th floor Savanna view, which was a pleasant shock, and utterly unexpected. The only down size is that the room is at the very end of one of the enormous “octopus” arms of the hotel, so it’s a bit of a hike from the lobby, but we’ll be in walkin’ shape by the end of the week.

S: When we got our room assignment, I could see us in a few days, sobbing and weeping from exhaustion, footsore and weary, stumbling to our distant room, but it’s really not such a bad walk. We also have already seen a giant giraffe and big-horned cattle ambling by in the night! It’s actually a smoking room, but surprisingly not that stinky. There’s a faint whiff of smoke but the view is worth it. Man, seeing a giraffe amble out of the trees not 30 feet below you and no fence to peer over was just astonishing. And thus ended our first day of vacation, with the giraffes and zebras and Watusi cattle lowing outside of our room.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I swear there were brains in that tissue.

Have you ever had so much snot in your sinuses that when you blow your nose you feel as though you must be getting grey matter as no one person could ever possibly contain that much mucus in their head? I mean, it has to be stored somewhere, and the cavities aren't that big. It MUST be brains.

I got sick the day the show closed. Opening night went fantastically well, we were all very pleased, as was an audience member from another opera company who gave me her info and told me to call her for an audition. Does that really happen? I thought I had to be the eager young soprano clawing her way to the top to get that blessed phone number, not the 30-something mezzo who plays everything for laughs. Go figure. I woke up the morning of the closing matinee with that ominous feeling of needing to drink a lot of anything in the vicinity as my throat felt oddly dry and scratchy. I honestly didn't know if I would make it through the opera, but I did, only to have nothing left by the final note. Nothing. I couldn't even hum in the car on the way home. Thank God I had Monday off. Every night this week with the coughing and the heaving from the coughing. I got codeine cough syrup yesterday and had to restrain myself from chugging the entire bottle just to ensure that I would get enough sleep. I infected Christy when she came to commiserate with me on Monday and now she is feeling the snot love. I have a fear that I'm going to get to the airport tomorrow and start coughing and they won't let me on the plane because I'll sound like a plague carrier. I'm not contagious anymore, I swear by all things Godly.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Another blow to the ego.

I just read my new boss' CV. Harvard, Oxford, Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes Scholar. I'm going to take a nap now.