Monday, August 24, 2015

Soda. Pop. Seltzer

I went to see "Sleeping Beauty" (by the Canadian National Ballet) a few months ago.
It was quite...trippy. Here are my takeaways.
  • Carabosse rolls with her own Insane Clown Posse. They have been haunting my dreams. 

To the left, to the left!!!
  • The set design was stunning (moar tassels!) but the costumes need a serious upgrade. Everyone wore a feathered headdress (even the men) and they all looked like Vegas showgirls, and not in a good way. 
  • I'm pretty sure one of the fairies gifted Aurora with ADHD. At least that was the dance interpretation I took away. 
  • The "spindle" was somehow interpreted into gigantic knitting needles. At one point, the evil fairy enlists 3 street urchins who trick innocent townladies to the joy of knitting, causing these ladies to be manacled (uh-huh) when the king finds out that they can't stop knitting and purling. It was bizarre. Very bizarre. And as a knitting fan, I felt for those ladies. 
  • A for technique. The leads were very, very, precise.  But I felt no warmth or chemistry between them, which was a shame. 
  • I bought a new ballet bag so I can bring it with me to practice. Woo, jewels! 
Then I went back to the hotel and watched Steph Curry work his magic.

Over the weekend, I traipsed to NYC and spent a celebrity studded 2 days involving a play with my current crush, Dame Helen Mirren sightings, and consumption of delicious, divine, smokey salmon. It also involved quite a bit of shopping, which I will not list here for fear of admonishment. On Monday, I intended to go to Boston, but my luggage was too big and too late  - I ended up waiting in the airport for 9hrs.

Once I finally got there, Boston welcomed me with misty rain and Dunkin Donuts tea, which was really strong and surprisingly nice (Assam FTW, I daresay). I also learned that there are different ways to refer to carbonated beverages. I tend to say "sparkling water", but in Boston it's "seltzer". I like to say soda for sweetened carbonated beverages (or fountain drinks, etc), but in Toronto it's "pop".

I also encountered a gigantic furry centipede that dropped from the ceiling of my brick hotel room in Toronto. In NYC I stayed at a very new, very quiet, very spacious room atop Times Square. It was interesting to have a view of rooftops that warrant a visit from Daredevil. Travel always knocks me off kilter a bit, like what I am experiencing isn't really real.  Did I really get soaked head to toe in the most bizarre rainfalls? (yes) Did I really see Dame Mirren in the flesh? (yes)  Was Bill Nighy staring into my eyes to ensure I realized that every line was directed at me? (yes...I mean, no...I mean, who knows?).

Lost & Found at Tokyo Disneyland

Just returned from a journey of multiple theme parks in humid Florida, and the experience was so jarring that it opened up a memory I've long forgotten.  I figured I'd document it here in the lab as the worthy depository for all my RAMs.

There's a reason rides at these parks are called "attractions" - its mechanisms are designed to remind you of sex (if you're old enough to know). The loss of control, being tossed about in the dark,  that moment of exhilaration as things accelerate, squeezing eyes shut at the intense definitely draws a parallel. Some rides you want to go on again as soon as it's over, and others you regret utterly. Some are just, well, meh. But I digress.

Once upon a time, I had a summer job working the lost & found at Tokyo Disneyland. I think I was a freshman or sophomore at university at the time.  A close childhood friend of mine lived near the area, and she had an interesting living arrangement- she had her own apartment and her parents lived 2 doors down.  We thought that a summer job at the "Happiest Place on Earth" might be fun, and since our families were close, it wasn't difficult to get permission for me to crash at her place all summer.  We went to cast orientation, and since both of us were bilingual (we met in SF around 5th grade), we were assigned to the Lost & Found so we can accommodate non-Japanese speakers. This was prior to smartphones, so people needed to leave handwritten messages at the Lost & Found  (i.e. Meet you at Cinderella's castle at 4pm), and people definitely left behind a lot of stuff. Wallets full of cash, keys, camera cases, purses, tags, hats, passes, etc.  I was a bit disappointed to be in this position, because I really wanted to wear the outfit of the Disney Tour Guide . I mean, you get to wear a cape, riding cap, a kilt skirt, and on top of that, carry a little riding crop with a bell on it to point out the sights!  Sadly, this was limited to full-time employees, and was also a much coveted position. So instead I wore the cardboard-colored floor length skirt and unsexy matching suit jacket and catalogued all the lost (and found) items daily. My favorite part was writing letters to children. Tokyo Disneyland would ship back any items that had names and addresses on them, and usually, if it's a child's item, we would add a little note along with it, with something along the lines of "Thanks for visiting! Mickey (or Pluto, or Peter Pan, or some princess) found this by the (insert ride or landmark) and wanted to make sure it's sent back to you. Come again soon!"  on Disneyland stationary.  It was fun to come up with 75 or so different ways to write letters every day (I love letters) and pick out the right stationary and stamps and envelopes. More often than not, the children would write back thank you notes which were pinned on the wall of the staff room.  My friend and I would rush out after our shift using Twilight passes and ride the near-empty rides in the dusk, watch the moog enhanced electrical parade, and ogle the fireworks eating ice cream. It was a good (albeit super long and hot!) summer and I have fond memories of hanging out in the backyard of Disneyland with off-duty princes. I once ran into Mickey himself, and he shook my hand. It was soft yet firm, like having your hands enveloped in marshmallow (although probably less sticky).  The most difficult thing is keeping the magic alive, every day, every night, and I have to admit they did an amazing job. I'm glad to have been a tiny speck of it for a short while.