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Monday, October 27, 2008

To Do List #46 - Vote.

Our two most important rights as a citizen. Choose our leaders. Let our voice be heard.

Choose who we think will best run our country and tell others why we made that choice.

Choose and be confident in our decision.

This week I voted by absentee ballot for my candidate, Barack Obama. If you have read my blog in the past, you will know that I registered voters during the primary campaign for nomination. I have also continued this work by registering voters at the nearby college in Sonora, California. I am honored to have even been a small part of this campaign - to let people know how strongly I believe in Barack Obama and what he can be for this nation. Because I love my country so deeply. I love the opportunities I have been given by being an American Citizen - but I also see flaws. I see the chance to bring change to the country. To bring peace, understanding, empathy and acceptance to a nation of people who are craving just that.

And I know some people are reading this and saying "ah - that liberal girl, just a bunch of hippie talk". And yes, I am liberal. But I only believe what I have been taught by my parents, who raised me in a conservative home. I was taught to love and respect people. To help people at any opportunity I could. To show compassion. True family values. Those values, I believe, transcend parties.

So I cast my vote for Barack Obama. Who believes that a nation with empathy is a strong nation. Who believes in helping the normal citizens, the ones struggling with mortgages and health care bills. Who believes in sending our children to public schools that provide children with a great education, not just an okay one. Who believes in me. Who believes in you. That to me, is a great man who could be a legendary president

Monday, August 18, 2008

To Do List # -- well actually - it wasn't a to-do list, but I am glad I experienced it! -- Crazy Rock Festival

So this week a few people from the lodge (Lana, Corey and I) went to The Vans Warped Tour. I know. Me? At a all day punk-rock extravaganza. How silly. We drove to Fresno that morning and spent all day in the blazing heat surrounded by pink hair, mohawks, 12 year olds with lip peircings and more skinny-jeans than I have seen in my entire life! We saw a million bands - Cobra Starship, Ludo (who I loved), Angels and Airways --- or is it Angels and Airwaves -- oh whatever... Story of the year, The 3OH!3, and Say Anything. There were all kinds of cool booths set up for the bands and other random things - like TRUTH and Peta, a place to register to vote -- unfortunatly no Barack Obama booth though!

But here is my to-do list that I get to scratch off my list. As we were watching Story of the Year -- people starting Body Surfing!! I mean - I was like about 10 feet from the stage and people were flinging themselves into the crowd and being carried effortlessly (until they fell to there impending doom of asphult!) towards the security at the front! THEN - I am standing a few people away from Corey and Lana and a mosh pit started. Like a real mosh pit. Lana and Corey started screaming for me to get by them so I wouldn't get sucked in. It was horrifying and hilarious!

Overall the whole experience was a lot of fun (except for when one guy who was way to big to be body surfing was practically thrown on top of me. Not fun.) and I really enjoyed the bands. Thanks Lana and Corey for taking me!

Monday, June 16, 2008

To-Do #92 - Say goodbye, love.

There are so many memories connected with this show and the experiences it gave to me. I have signed the wall. I have only seen RENT on Broadway one time. I have no idea how many times I have seen RENT on tour. I have only sat in "normal" seats 4 times, and out of those times, I paid for the seats just once... My first Roger was Christian Mena. I was secretly (well not so secretly) in love with Cary Sheilds. I met Anthony Rapp as I was first getting into the show and had no idea who he was and acted like I did. I met Anthony Rapp again after seeing him in concert and acted like a complete fan-girl. I cry every time I see Angel look back at Mark during the eulogy. I have slept on a sidewalk overnight to make sure I was at the closing of a touring cast. I have held a birthday party for my sister in a rush line for another closing of a touring cast. I saw the movie twice, the night that it came out, with my sister. I bought the DVD the day it came out. I have not watched it a single time. I actually let people know in a rush line that I will not discuss the movie. I think my heart actually stopped when I heard that Adam and Anthony would be in the touring cast next year. Didn't yours?

So this is my way to say goodbye to Jonathan's Masterwork. The Nederlander will go dark on Sept 7, 2008. But the amazing thing is, Jonathan Larson's legacy will live in all the RENT-heads out there. He changed my life. This show changed my life. I am who I am today because of RENT, because of the show, because of the rush lines, because of the friends I have made in those rush lines.

There are so many perfect memories of my friends during the years. My first rush line and the animal crackers. The girl who made me take a picture with some random guy (who turned out to be Anthony). Being annoyed by Sandy before I even knew who she was. The fight in the bar in Durham. CB extreme - flaming you in person. FDR or JFK? -- ALWAYS FDR! Superior Beds. Superior slabs of concrete. My dearest Ken, Lani and Brian. Living on a Prayer. Oz and every memory attached to that friendship. My frustration with Eeyore, You know who you are. The closing shows and that amazing extended Seasons of Love. Constantine jumping on stage at the end. Darryl and that inspiring conversation that truly changed my life. Falling asleep while eating Calamari. The Lizard Lounge. Rushing on college campuses, always an experience. Two star quality, One star price. Having the amazing honor of seeing the plaque. Rushing with my sister - she is my one true love and I will be forever grateful for all the crazy, beautiful, insane and sometimes death-defying memories attached to her because of this show!

So I say it now, because I will not be in New York to say it in person. Goodbye, love. The Nederlander is the end of an era, but through the amazing passion that Larson shared with us, we all know how to spend our minutes. I live my life with no regret, and it is because of this show.

Thank you Jonathan.

My Brother makes a valid point. I left him out of here! How can I leave my brother out of so many RENT memories. I have rushed with him many times -- my favorite was when I flew up to Baltimore to see the show at The Lyric Theatre - he drove up from DC just so I could see Cary Shields before his last show. Now that is a cool brother! Sorry Adam!

Friday, May 2, 2008

To-Do List #17 - Drive Across Country - Part Seven **the final chapter!**

So first we wake up 2 hours late... So much for alarm clocks! Or at least so much for setting them when you are sleepy! But to make matters worse - LJ's Jeep was really tired from so much driving and really didn't want to sit in traffic (which was really bad that morning) So Frankie (the Jeep) starts overheating. Crap. One more day of driving and it starts overheating. But I know my way around Vegas enough and had my handy-dandy GPS in hand, so we avoided traffic and was able to continue on. I drove the first half while LJ slept - but it was a really easy drive. We stopped and switched off after about 4 hours and LJ continued on through California. The butterflies in our tummy kept getting worse and worse until we were at the last town outside of Yosemite and I just wanted to drive back to Vegas! We were both so nervous sitting at McDonald's that I know people must have thought we looked ridiculous! But we managed to pull ourselves together and keep trekking on! LJ did great through the mountains where I closed my eyes and tried really hard not to pay attention to the cliffs. We drove through Yosemite completely and came out the other side. About 3 miles outside of Yosemite we turned onto Evergreen Rd. We thought we were there. No. About 10 minutes later we were finally seeing signs of the Lodge. We are really out in the middle of nowhere!

Alex was there to meet us and gave us the tour of the property. We met many people that first day - most of whom I do not remember - but I know they will become family very soon. The next day Alex, the maintenance guy- GW, LJ and I drove to Yosemite Valley. We saw Bridalveil falls, Lower Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Lodge and of course the Yosemite Camp Store where I can remember the first boy who ever flirted with me. I think he still works there! :) ha ha.

Afterwards we came back to the lodge and LJ and I set up house. The room is small but we have bunk beds so it gives us more space. We are looking forward to a paycheck so we can get a few things to help out.

So there you have it - my drive across the country with my end result being in the middle of no where. The closest Target is like 3 hours from here.

Did I mention they laugh and call me the city girl out here?

To-Do List #17 - Drive Across Country - Part Six

Sorry for the delay on the last part of my adventure! I have been getting settled in here in California -- so the good news - I have not been eaten by a bear yet! The bad news - I am in the middle of nowhere!!

Okay - so day one in Vegas was great! It was a lot of fun for me because I got to be the tour guide! LJ and I slept in that morning which was a real blessing and then went to the strip at about 11am... We started at the MGM where I showed LJ the lions - which were so adorable! We just wanted to take them home with us! I think they would have had a heck of a time in our small cabin though... From there we crossed the street to New York, New York and toured around for a bit and then decided to ride the Roller Coaster. On an empty stomach. I mean -- I have ridden that Coaster a few times - I love that one - but on an empty stomach? Yeah, I was about to throw up. We got a NY pretzel after that! From there we walked to M&M world, Alex wanted us to buy him jelly beans. At the M&M world. Yeah. So that was a no-go. After that we wandered around the Hawaiian Marketplace - that was really great fun - a lot like the International Marketplace! We had a great time with that! After our trip down Hawaii Memory Lane we walked through the mile shops at Planet Hollywood - which was uneventful until the end where this adorable boy selling relaxation things stopped us - we talked for a while and we said we had no money to buy whatever he was going to try and sell us - but he said that was okay, he just got to work and he wanted to warm up on us... So we stayed there for a half an hour while this gorgeous man (with an accent of course- I mean, it's Vegas after all!) massaged our heads and put lavender scented neck warmers on us. Good Times ;) We even managed to get him to take a picture with Booga - the road-tripping Tiki God!

After that we were all giddy like 12 year old girls and as we are walking out of the casino a guy with the club passes stops us -- he's about our age and LJ hadn't learned at that point not to acknowledge the people selling you stuff on the street. So we pass him and she says no thank you and he asks for a hug. BAD SIGN. So LJ gives him a hug - so then I have to give him one too. And then he gave LJ like 3 more hugs - wanted us to all go out that night with his roommates. It was all a little two freaky - so we quickly got away from the crazy boy and ran into the Paris Hotel and Casino. I love this place - I mean it's one city I love inside another. It's great. So we walked around and enjoyed the french-ness of it all! After the Paris we crossed Las Vegas Blvd again to walk around the Bellagio. Unfortunately the winds were high when we were there so we did not see the water show - I was hoping Lana could experience that. The Bellagio atrium was done beautifully for Spring though. Poppies, Delphinium, Azaleas, Gerberas, Roses, Hydrangea and tulips everywhere -- complete with a butterfly house! I got some great photos! It was really one of the prettiest I have ever seen the Atrium - and it is always incredible!

After the Bellagio we decided to head back to the hotel to get ready for the evening - as we were meeting some friends of mine. So by 8pm my friend Max picked us up and we went to the Yard House for dinner. We had a really great and fun time there. Afterwards we drove to the Venetian where we had the almost-traditional-now coffee with Max, LJ, another friend Sardin and I at a very fancy mens clothing store that I can't remember the name of. I love coffee there though. Russian men always make the best coffee. Sergey always did - and he always knew what to put in it. American men don't make good coffee. This could be my problem.

After the great coffee we headed over to Sardin's house. He shares a great house near China Town with yet another friend, Arslan. But, we got there and Arslan wasn't there! We did have enough time however to fall perfectly in love with Arslan and Sardin's kitten (just days old) named Al Pacino. I mean, too cute!

Arslan was already at a club with some other cast members (did I mention Arslan is a contortionist in Zumanity? That's how I know him -- and all these people -- through Sergey) So we met him at the Freakin' Frog -- a jazz club with a great feel to it. We stayed there for about an hour - but Max and I were both up for some good House Music and dancing. So the four of us (LJ, Max, Sardin and I) drove to the Mirage. We tried Jet first but opted out of the two hour wait and instead went to Revolution (the beatles/cirque club) Very Techno/Electronica - it was great! The crowd was mainly Cirque dancers from Love - so it made for a great dance night! We ended the night early because Sardin was "tired". I was annoyed. I wanted to keep dancing, but we didn't drive our own car...

The next day we slept in and headed back down to the strip in the early afternoon by way of the Stratosphere. I had never been before! We opted out of going to the top - my fear of heights and lack of money was enough to do it! It is amusing though - inside is all Parisian - it was like The Paris but just cheaper looking... From there we walked around the Fashion Show Mall for a while (which I had also never been to!) We had a lot of fun wishing we could fit into Betsey Johnson dresses! After the mall we walked through Treasure Island and out through the front by the big ships! It just made us feel like home! After wandering around we hadn't heard if we were able to see Zumanity that night (did I mention that Arslan was trying to get us seats?) Well we finally heard that he was not able to so we went to the half price place and decided that we could afford to buy them! So we went anyways! We didn't even have time to change out of our jeans! I was really excited to see the show again and having LJ experience Cirque for the first time! The show was great -- so funny and it was amazing (and gross) as ever to see Arslan twist and contort his body. LJ was very impressed with the many acts, but how could anyone not be?

Afterwards we ate dinner in the New York and then walked to the Bellagio to see the fountains - which like I mentioned earlier, were cancelled due to high winds. So we took the bus (we decided to give her car a rest while we were there) to where we thought was downtown. Instead we ended up at the last stop by the airport where they told everyone to get off. Yeah - at this point we were exhausted and slap-happy, so we were cracking up. It didn't take one of the drivers long to realize that we had no idea where we were and he helped us get on the right bus, which he was actually driving. So the whole way back through the strip to the downtown area, our bus driver was hitting on LJ, serenading us, and all together just cracking us up! It was a great way to end the night! We had to get a really early start in the morning, so we went back to the El Cortez and crashed.

We set the alarm for 5:30am to leave town the next morning. We woke up at about 7:45. Oops...

Monday, April 28, 2008

To-Do List #17 - Drive Across Country - Part Five

So driving through New Mexico is so incredible. It has to be one of my favorite places I have been to. We left in the morning and a little bit on the highway we pulled off again at a small Native American Arts Center. I purchased a horse hair ceramic vase and a Christmas Ornament, both made by local Navaho. Both are gorgeous peaces. We got back on the road again and drove through to Arizona where stopped at a GREAT rest area - we spent almost an hour there because the outside is all red rock boulders that you can climb on -- I took many photos of course. As we continued on through Arizona the view became more and more spectacular. From the red rock background - and then to the mountains of lush green that you snake through. It was all incredible. The drive was long and tedious -- but we finally made it to the turn off to Hoover Dam -- where we stopped and ate dinner. From there it was about an hour drive to the Dam (yes, I know mom, start laughing) as we were driving, the sun was setting over the mountains which just made the view that much more incredible! As we drove higher in elevation there was a turn off. We stayed there for a while, taking photos of the gorgeous sites - all the edgy Arizona Mountains turning different shades of blue. It was beautiful. We continued on the few miles to the Hoover Dam. Stopped at the Dam lookout (haha - yes I know...) and stayed there for a while -- by now it was completely dark and the lights of the Dam were up - it was spectacular, how it was reflected in Lake Mead... It was really really amazing. As we were there and I was taking my hundred and one photos - - a group of Bikers come riding down the road -- as they get closer we notice they were playing Uptown Girl! HA! Here are about 10 bikers, clad all in leather and jeans with there bandannas -- riding along to Uptown Girl! As they got off I noticed they spoke another language, maybe German. I watched them for a while as they took there pictures and when they continued on there bikes, the first bike to turn on blared "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" I AM SERIOUS! What a great visual!

We, I, ME - who is afraid of heights, I drove over the Hoover Dam -- my hands were clenched to the wheel! When we got to the other side of it we hadn't even realized we were driving over it. oops. Oh well!

As we were leaving the Hoover Dam we started noticing that the car was running a tiny bit hotter than normal-- so we stopped for a while. We have discovered that LJs car likes to go faster to get that air on his engine. So we started up again and drove the half hour to Las Vegas! LJ has never been before and I wanted to drive down the strip but with the car and the stop and go traffic down there -- I opted out of that. We drove downtown to the El Cortez Hotel and Casino on Freemont St and got ourselves checked in. I am always pleased with this hotel- I know it's not on the strip - but when you stay they always give you a two night free stay good for the next few months and they always upgrade you. So our room is a Tower room and it is gorgeous -- It has two queen beds, a sitting room, a desk, a huge dresser - it's beautiful! We decided that we were exhausted after that long day of driving and we enjoyed going to sleep without having to worry about another day of driving the next day! We are here for 3 nights.

Viva Las Vegas!

To-Do List #17 - Drive Across Country - Part Four

So we morning after the terrifying Texas experience, all we wanted to do was get OUT of Texas... But we had one REALLY BIG to-do list first. The Cadillac Ranch. I have wanted to see it for a really long time. So before going we stop at the Wal-Mart to buy a big can of spray paint - and on our way out Lana is accused of stealing a bottle of pills that were in her bag. yeah. They practically did all but count the pills to make sure she didn't walk out with them. They finally let us go and we drove on the the Cadillacs. Texas -- not great experiences.

The Cadillac Ranch was really great - as your driving down 40 on the left side you can see it off in the distance and a few cars parked on the side of the service road. I was so excited! As you pull off there is a sign telling you it is punishable by law to spray on anything outside of the fence. So we go in to the area - walk the short distance to get to the cars and just soaked the silliness of it in for a moment. 10 old Cadillacs buried face down. All painted insane - some had beautiful pieces of art work - some had political statements --- one even had a marriage proposal. We found a car to deface and started at it - First car I wrote CA OR DIE! Lana's car had BE TRUE and finally the last car said EB AND LJ. We had a great time out there and I took many many photos on the old 35 -- hope they turn out!

We got back on the road again to take the short trek over to Santa Fe, New Mexico. My mother and Aunt had a friend, also from camp-days of their teenage years, named Jimmy. Or Jim as he goes by now. I knew of Jim most of my life from stories from my Mom and Aunt Jill -- and then this winter for a World AIDS Day event my sister organized with him to display along with others, his partners piece of the quilt, his partner passed away in the 80's. He now lives in Santa Fe with his absolutely adorable Partner Eluid. We met up with them at about 5pm. They were both so much fun! We left our car at there house and went on to downtown Historical Santa Fe were we walked and talked for a bit. Santa Fe has got to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It was just so peaceful. The buildings seem to have grown straight out of the desert land. As Eluid said, there are 21 shades of brown in the buildings. Nothing seems out of place. After walking we drove to meet another of there friends, Kathy, at a wonderful New Mexican restaurant. Kathy is a trip - she fits in with the people in my life quite well! She was so much fun to listen to her stories! We had an amazing (and delicious time!) at the restaurant! After dinner we drove back to Jim and Eluids's house, took a few pictures so that Mom and Jill wouldn't have a complete fit and drove the short drive to Albuquerque, where we were staying for the night.

All in all it was out best and most relaxing day in the trip so far! Thank you so much Jim and Eluid for opening up your city to us - we had a great time!