For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Unexpected awesomeness

I love it when plans turn out so much better than expected!

Our city has a number of winter festival events going on.  Most of the time, we ignore them.  It's cold, there's lots of crowds, and the entertainment events are usually not the type we like.  For those farther away from us, there's the added irritation of either driving and finding parking, or taking transit that may or may not actually go anywhere near the event.

One of the handy things about these events, however, is that a prime location for them is just a few blocks from us, across the street from our local library.  During a recent outing to the library with Eldest, we saw things were being set up in the square, so we checked it out before heading home.  We found a sign that piqued our interest enough to look it up on the city's website and decided that we might actually want to check it out, if only to hear the choir.  There was supposed to be some kind of circus thing going on, which we were curious about, but that's about it.  We're not big circus fans, except maybe Cirque du Soleil.  There was mention of pyrotechnics worked into the show, and past glimpses of that sort of thing had left us unimpressed.

It was a bitterly cold night when we headed out.  We didn't bother being there for the start and just made sure we were in time to hear the choir.  They were fabulous!  We had only a vague idea of what to expect based on the descriptions.  The choir was put together for this event only, and was made up of some of the best singers of other local choirs.  Having enjoyed listening to some of these choirs, we knew it would be good, and we weren't disappointed.  We've got some really great singers in our city!  One of the songs, which was something like 10 minutes long, did drive a few listeners away, though.  Part of that could be blamed on the sound system, though!  Especially when the sopranos kicked it up a notch.  I think they could have done with the microphones quite a bit farther away from them, but with the space they were using, that wasn't exactly an option. 

There was other entertainment besides the choir, including actors in character wandering around the square.  After the choir, though, we had about an hour before their second performance, in connection with the circus thing.  So we went to the library's coffee shop for some hot drinks, bypassing another shop right on the square that looked absolutely full.  Glad we went when we did, because it didn't take long for the coffee shop to be overflowing with people coming in to warm up with some hot drinks!  When we finished and got up to leave, a guy with his two small children saw us and sent them over the grab the table right away.  Good thinking, on his part!  Not that there were enough seats for all three of them to sit, but better than nothing! *L*  What a crowd!

Then it was off into the cold again.  We eventually figured out where the choir was going to perform again and managed to be right in front.  They did their one song, then the all turned around to grab lanterns on poles behind them and wandered off into the crowd.  Then the circus thing started.

There was a main stage set up behind where the choir sang, and during their song we did see costumed performers gathering on the side, then moving around someplace else.  I still expected the show to be on the main stage.  I was completely wrong!  Instead, there were a series of stages, with the performers leading the crowd from one to another, pausing for a brief show before moving on to the next.  There was a giant tricycle, flames, explosions, fireworks, clowns, stilt walkers and aerial displays, all set to just the right music for the performances.  The entire crowd was led from staging area to staging area (Eldest and I eventually got separated and didn't even try to find each other again until the end of the show - though Youngest would have loved it, the crowd along would have prevented her from actually enjoying the show).  I'm usually don't enjoy shows that attempt audience participation; they tend to be very uncomfortable and forced, I find.  Not this time!  The audience participation was enthusiastic.  Clearly, the people around has hadn't known what to expect any more than we did, and they were all eagerly moving to each event, looking forward to what would be waiting for them. 

The procession of performers eventually came back to the main stage for the finale, which involved more flamed and fireworks and ended with an amazing aerial display of pyrotechnics surrounding the aerial performer.  It was absolutely fantastic!

All in all, Eldest and I were outside for about an hour and a half for this.  It was so cold, my camera batteries kept dying and I had to shove the camera under my coat and into my armpit to warm it up enough to take a few more shots.  I took more video than stills, actually.  I spent most of the time with my camera held up high, hoping it was pointed in the right direction, because I couldn't really see all that much.  What is it with tall people that insist on pushing themselves to the front?  It seemed that every time the procession stopped for a show, some big guy would end up right in front of me, sticking his head into my camera view.  I'd move to the side... the head would move to the side.  I'd move to the other side... the head would move back in front of me.  It's not like they could see me trying to take photos behind them and were doing it on purpose, but geez!  What an annoyance. *L*

Still, the show was so fantastic, it didn't matter.  We were totally blown away with awesome.  Then we ducked into a nearby theatre to warm up while I called Dh for a ride home!  Sure, we could have walked home in just a few minutes, but after so much time outside, I figured warming up was more important.

And to think that, because of the cold and my usual distaste for crowds, I was thinking it would be no big deal if we just stayed home, instead.  I'm glad we made the effort to check it out.  It was absolutely worth standing out in the cold to see!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Books, books, books... and movies, and cds...

Gosh, it's been ages since I posted here!  I've been posting on my other blog, plus Eldest and I have something in the works that will be coming live soon, but this poor, sad little blog is being neglected. *sniff* It's getting to the point that I don't know quite where to start anymore.

So I'll start with a library list.  Our weekly library trips aren't quite as regular - Eldest tends to go several times a week, these days, and a few times they've had regular library day, but I've had to stay home for one reason or the other.  So we've got plenty to list, I just haven't gotten to it.

For new stuff we got today, Youngest took out:

Dragons: a natural history
Kings, beasts and heroes
The Resistance (CD)
Showbiz (CD)

She's gone through most of the folklore and mythology section, but found a couple she hadn't taken out before.  She's not too impressed with the dragon one so far.  Mostly, it's the tone of the writing, as it's rather condescending towards dragon mythologies.  A pet peeve of hers when it comes to books exploring mythology.

Eldest, meanwhile, has taken out:

Polka's not dead (CD)
Alice (DVD)
Memento mori (DVD)
Vampire knits: projects to keep you knitting from twilight to dawn
Expletive deleted: a good look at bad language
The case for relgion
The twilight of atheism: the rise and fall of disbelief in the modern world

While sitting at Second Cup after getting our books, we were going through the Vampire knits book.  Oh, the horror!  The projects are great, but... well, let's just say we're NOT Twihards and leave it at that... ;-)

On my talke out list today, I've got:

The faith of the centure (DVD about communism)
Chicago (1927 silent film)
A guide to making guantlet mitts (teacher's resource)
Cultural accents

Other stuff we still have lying about from recent library trips include:

Batman, the animated series (DVD set, first season, if I remember correctly - Youngest had put it on hold)

Darling, maybe someday (CD)
I love the Escarpment (DVD)
The battle (CD)
Blank unstaring heirs of doom (CD)
The legion sessions (CD)
In the noise (CD)
Deadmalls & nightfalls (CD)
Visiter (CD)
Spelled in bones (CD)
Vanguard of the young and reckless (CD)
Oh little fire (CD)
Blind man on a flying horse (CD)
Dark shades of blue (CD)
Flying upside down (CD)
Release the sunshine (CD)
Lost channels (CD)
Omnibus (CD)

Yeah, that's a lot of CDs!  Eldest has taken to searching through the library website for interesting sounding music and putting lots of stuff on hold.  She actually maxed out her hold limit with mostly CDs!  Then she listens to them all fairly quickly.  With a stack like this, she considers herself fortunate to find 2-3 discs of music she actually likes, and as often as not, just one good song on each of those. 

Terribly happy (DVD)
A tale of two sisters (DVD)
The city of violence (DVD)

Edlest has also taken to watching foreign horror movies.  There's some very strange stuff out there!

Millennium actress (DVD)

This Japanese animation is one that's been taken out a couple of times already.  The first time you watch it, it's very confusing.  Then, after you see the very end, the whole thing just falls into place with a shock.  Then you watch it again, knowing what happens in the end, and the whole thing is less confusing, yet more heartrending.  It's worth hunting down.

I don't believe in atheists
The Devil's delusion: atheism and its scientific pretensions

These two books are research material for Eldest and I.  The first one got returned today, unfinished.  We really didn't like the author and a lot of what he was saying was basically BS.  The Devil's delusion, on the other hand, is one we're passing back and forth and reading with interest.  The author's writing style is much  more enjoyable, for starters, and he makes a much better case for his arguement.  Worth reading.

The G.O.D. experiments: how science is discovering God in everything, including us

Another research piece, I actually haven't had time to start reading it yet.

Perfect Blue (DVD)
The book fo the dead (DVD)
The ossuary and other tales (DVD)
The vanishing (DVD)
Tell me something (DVD)

I'm not sure how many of these actually got watched before they had to be returned. :-P

There's more, but I think that's enough of a list for now!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

All is quiet on the Western front...

... but not so quiet in the East. ;-)

We're just wrapping up our Christmas season, as tomorrow is Three Kings Day.  Posts might still be a bit light, however.  Eldest and I are putting something together right now, but it won't be officially up until the "foundations" are laid.

Thanks for your patience.