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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Inception

NOTE: For the spoiler-phobic, do not click through, do not press play.

We went to see Inception last week. It was immediately great. However, the mark of truly good speculative fiction in my mind is whether or not I'm still thinking about it a week later. In this case, I'm still thinking about it and planning when I can next get out to see it, because I need to go back and see it again knowing what I know now and overlaying some of the theories in my head.

Then BoingBoing got me with this one last night:


Dude, it's frikking awesome movie on so very many levels. You can even go well outside the bounds of the reality that's created and treat the whole thing as a metaphorical exploration. If you haven't seen it yet, just make time. See it on a big screen with a good sound system.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

RHPS with the Bawdy Caste

Rocky Horror is playing outdoors in San Jose tomorrow. I realized earlier this week that I was probably 18 the last time I saw a live performance with the show. Why yes, that is half a lifetime ago. And yet, I think I can still remember the words to every song, and I can still remember a lot of call-back lines. Dare I bring toast? A newspaper? Rice? Confetti? Who knows. Mostly, I'm planning to bring a folding chair.

Kitty update

Kitties captured in my yard are now available for adoption at the Humane Society. Meet Hansel and Gretel! I just wish I could tell Mama-kitty that her babies are doing well and about to get forever homes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On Marriage

So a lot of folks who know me, probably have a lot of questions about my plans to get married. For most of those questions, feel free to ask me in person. I'm not posting EVERYTHING to the great big wide internet. But for one very important question, I took Dan Savage's advice. As much as I don't want to get married when good friends don't have the right to do the same, Dan says, go ahead, and fight from the other side of the fence.

Donate to Human Rights Campaign or Marriage Equality USA

Also, we plan to include this in our ceremony:
“Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition. It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a ‘civil right.’ Without the right to choose to marry, one is excluded from the full range of human experience.” -- from the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in that state.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Day in the Park

The Cute Boy, he does this thing where he listens to me. It's pretty awesome. I always say that I prefer experiences to stuff. Stuff has to be stored and experiences just enrich my memories without a lot of dusting. So, after hearing me say that someday I'd like to stay at the Grand Californian at Disneyland, Erik made my birthday present a 2-night stay.

We picked the weekend of July 10th, planned to take Monday off work, and headed down Saturday morning. Alex and Sherman met us there Saturday evening. We checked into the Grand Californian. The attention to detail is something that kept us in awe throughout the stay. As we checked in, we were told we were upgraded for free to a DCA park view room. Aw shucks! We had a view of the lagoon with the new World of Color show. Since this had been my birthday present, someone along the way had noted that in the reservation, so before we could leave the front desk, out came balloons and buttons emblazoned with my name and Happy Birthday. The park is on a campaign to "Celebrate!" all the reasons that folks have decided to be there, so this was right up their alley. Mind you, my birthday was in May, but since this was my birthday *present* and it seemed to make everyone happy to celebrate as such, I played along. Every cast member I passed from the lowliest janitor to Goofy in the park wished me a happy birthday. At first I was a bit mortified, but over time, I got used to it and cheerfully thanked everyone for their good wishes.

Heading up to the room, the first thing we noticed was how wonderfully responsive the elevators were. You press the button, and within a few seconds, the doors open. After too much time standing for multiple minutes waiting for an elevator at gaming cons, this was like a breath of fresh air. Our room was gorgeous. The carpet was specially made and included hidden Mickeys. It was also sooooo quiet. We opened the balcony slider and were suddenly overwhelmed with the sounds of the park. I closed it again. And opened it again. Utterly amazing sound-proofing. We changed into swimsuits and robes hung neatly in the closet and headed down to the pool. Four pools, two hot tubs, and an awesome curvy water slide. After a 30 minute soak in the hot tubs, we headed back upstairs.

Alex and Sherman arrived soon after and we met them and led them back to the room. We watched a bit of World of Color from the balcony and then headed out to dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. I'd always meant to get around to eating there, but never had. We got some soups, some Andouille grits, beef medallions, and a filet muffelletta and shared. They brought birthday beignets for dessert and promised that they didn't sing! We retired to start the morning early, eligible for Magic Morning an hour before park opening.

Magic Morning is still the best thing ever. We rode Space Mountain twice in an hour, hit Peter Pan with a 5 minute line, ran on to tea cups with no wait at all (where Sherman and Alex got a fastest teacup victory from the cast member!), hit Astro Blasters, had breakfast at the Carnation Cafe, and still were able to get a fast pass for Splash Mountain before it warmed up enough to make that sound like a good idea. So, we walked on to Indy with a 10-15 minute wait, toured Pirates and the Haunted Mansion, wandered through New Orleans Square, ran around Tom Sawyer's Island, and finally headed to Splash Mountain where we got more than ordinarily soaked. While dripping, poor Sherman wringing his shirt out repeatedly, we decided that what the heck, we should do the canoes. More splashing ensued as we raced past the boat that left before us, easily beating them back to the dock.

After that we eventually toddled over to DCA. I'd ordered picnic lunches online with reserved spots for World of Color. I figured we'd eat them for lunch and grab something for dinner. The lunch was awesome - tasty salmon for Sherman, antipasti for Alex, yummy fried chicken for Erik and I, plus it comes with a free reusable tote bag and the reserved spots for WoC. We ate under the vines, enjoying the lovely summer afternoon. Then we popped into the Blue Sky Studio to look at the upcoming plans for the parks, and bumped into Kevin and Leslie Patterson. I had that perfect moment of standing there staring at someone, knowing that you know them, but it's so far out of context that you just can't quite wrap your brain around it. Then I realized it was them, and hugs and greetings went all around. We chatted a bit about Disneyland, architecture, and our parade victory. Back on our way to Midway Madness and the Silly Symphony Swings and finally Grizzly River Rapids, where it was my turn to get totally totally soaked. I think the only thing left dry on me was most of my right sleeve. But, this was all in the plan! We toddled back to the room, stripped down, and headed to the pool to try out the slide. Wheeeeeee!

Back in the park after a hot shower and a fresh set of clothes for World of Color, Erik said, "This is our first new thing together at Disneyland! This will be special." I agreed. We funneled into our spots, then ran to grab food. We chatted with a mom and her two girls, one of whom is hoping to pursue Med School at Stanford. Before the show, they have a nice pre-show with giant puppets and a sing-a-long. Then the show kicked off and it was pretty. It's more of a series of vignettes rather than a cohesive story, but the transitions were elegantly done and the water and lights were beautiful and vibrant. The show ended and we said our farewells to Hunter, Dylan, and their mom. I was busy planning what next and chatting about the cool parts of the show. Erik said, "I like doing new things with you." I concurred. He asked if I wanted to do more new things together. I said yes. He said, "How about getting married?" And he was onto one knee with a beautiful 1920's vintage ring in hand. Alex and Sherman were in on the game and caught a great photo:

I said, "Yes, but only if you marry me right back!" There was hugging and kissing and smooching and Alex whipped out a pair of new buttons that said "Happily Ever After." The birthday button went away and a little flustered and a whole lot of happy, we headed out to see what Glow Fest was all about. This was perhaps the oddest thing I've ever seen at Disneyland - a Disneyland sponsored rave.

complete with go-go dancers

and heat screens to dance in front of.


So, we celebrated by dancing til nearly closing, then headed into the Animation Studios to enjoy the lobby and chat with Crush (who called on Sha-nar-nar Sherman, but was thoroughly puzzled by the concept of waltzing).

We wandered back to the hotel, a lovely ending to a thoroughly perfect day.

The next day was the usual day at Disneyland, but far more crowded and warmer than the day before. With our "Just Engaged" buttons, we got a lot of congratulations from around the park. We made the day of Amber at the tortilla factory who thought it was the sweetest story she'd heard in a long time. She even recognized us when we popped in again the next day. At 4, we had to send Alex and Sherman on their way back to reality, but we had decided to stay another day ourselves, so we took a moment to check in to the HoJo (since there was no room to stay another night where we were). Just before that, we took one last ride on Space Mountain and used the photo system to take a cute engagement photo.

We opted to have dinner at the Napa Rose for the first time. It was divine. Lobster-stuffed squash blossoms, duck breast with chanterelles and cherries stuffed with goat cheese, skillet roasted rib-eye with blistered tomatoes, onions, and roasted garlic, and creme brulee with lime-soaked raspberries and passion fruit sauce for dessert. Two hours later, we headed back to the park to see Fantasmic. Meanwhile, a package had come for me. After Fantasmic and after fireworks, I turned to Erik and offered him a tungsten carbide ring with blue carbon fiber and said, "Will you help me keep the magic alive, even when we've done it all before?" He said yes. Hand in hand, we headed over to ride Space Mountain and Astro Blasters, then went to DCA to catch Tower of Terror before calling it a night.

In the morning, we wandered around DCA one last time before heading back to the real world. We finished reading The Lightening Thief just after getting home and happy kitties none the worse for wear and a beautiful hydrangea on the patio from Christyn and Brian (who had popped in to check on kitties when we decided to stay an extra day). We closed the evening lounging on the sofa, me catching up on email and Erik telling his guild the story. Ah, geek love.

Here's to our new adventure together!

Friday, July 09, 2010

What's that Chipping Sound?

Yesterday, a Boston judge ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act interferes with an individual state's right to define marriage. The journey to the Supreme Court will be interesting to watch.

Back in June in Iceland, one of the first people to use the new definition of marriage there was the prime minister. "Johanna Sigurdardottir has married her long-term partner, making her the world's first national leader with a same-sex spouse." Congratulations to the happy couple!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

He Dances With Me


During the spring quarter, Richard taught a tango class. I'd taken it before, but never gotten to take it with a partner who I'd be able to come back to consistently. It's definitely a class that's good for that, and Erik was up for it. After a couple of nights of class, he said, "This is fun. I like taking dance classes with you." It's such a simple thing to say, but I feel like I've waited my whole life to hear it. I've been dancing for 18 years now, and I've never had that before. It's magical.

We did Waltz Weekend about ten days ago. Getting to spend a dozen hours with the same instructor over two days is a very different experience than a one-hour class or a series of one-hour classes. Richard adjusts with nimble precision to the skills and comprehension of the assembled group and allows time for both broad strokes and fine tuning. We went to the Gaskell Ball on Saturday night, and already the new moves were integrating into our dancing. Learning more together and being able to put that learning to use is a joy I've rarely experienced.

Next up, we're trying to decide between Camp Swing and Down Home Blues. Meanwhile, we'll dance the night away at Friday Night Waltz like we are in the photo above. Thanks to David Bedno for once again capturing a great moment with his lens.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

With a Trophy and Everything



Let's be clear. When I wrote to the Fezzis asking if folks wanted to do the Fourth of July Parade in Alameda again this year, I was a bit dubious. It was hot. It was a lot of work. We had trouble keeping up. Sure, it was glorious. But one time was glory; again would be um, foolish, right? Right?

Still, nearly 30 Fezzis responded with, "Yeah! Let's do it again!"

So, okay, I'm in. But this year, it seemed like I couldn't get anything to stay done. It was tricky getting candy canes, a sound system, a truck, and so on. In the end, it all worked beautifully. Bob came through with a fabulous truck from City Car Share. Josh loaned us his PA system. Babs got 2000 mini candy canes. Kevin Patterson loaned us the Dickens Fair car magnets. Mackenzie made a totally adorable coupon for free dances and I got 500 printed, but realized that wasn't enough so printed some more and had Erik cut them out. Remington brought his 400 watt power inverter and it gave good warning before giving up. Let's just say, it was an amazing team effort.

The morning was bit rocky, getting out of Dave's place late, but with the whole parade running late it was not a problem. About 10:30 we stepped off on our 3.3 mile journey around Alameda. Walking down Park Street was awesome. We handed out hundreds of candy canes and free dance tickets. We ended up in front of the judging stand just in time for a Congress of Vienna. We passed Cynthia's house and were offered sips of sangria and smooches. We continued down Otis and found Karen, Paul and Crystal cheering us on. Down Central, Steve George waved and greeted Mr. Fezziwig. We turned onto Webster and met folks who'd loved us and photographed us last year. We marched up past the judges award station just as Congress kicked off again. And then the ran out and handed us a trophy. We won first prize in the Float category.

Now let's step back for just a moment. This was indeed a bunch of British reenactors celebrating Christmas on Independence Day. And we won first prize. Yeah, really. (Note: I love Alameda!!!)

So we made it back to Dave's place, undecorated the truck, and headed back to Sherman and Alex's place for showers. Something went wrong with my shoes and I had a huge blister on my left heel, and a small one on my right. Oops.

Forbidden Island opened at 3 and we retired there after lunch at La Pinata. Dave showed up carrying our trophy. Just looking at the thing cracks me up every time. Every time.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Fourth of July in Alameda

We're doing it again! Thirty dancers in full Victorian outfit celebrating the joy of Christmas over 3.2 miles of the Alameda streets on the Fourth of July. Why? We don't know! But you should see this, and the rest of the parade. Forbidden Island has announced they're giving out coupons and temporary tattoos. The Crucible is bringing their fire truck again too. Should be awesome!

Friday, July 02, 2010

This is officially the weirdest science news article I've read this year. There's a hypothesis that sleeping on metal spring beds on your right side may explain the increased incidence of left-side cancers (breast and skin) because of FM and TV transmissions interacting with the bed as an antenna to amplify the field. Now, let's just state for the record that this doesn't really work with Occam's razor, but really? That's just freaky.