PEOPLE OF ATLANTIC CANADA AND QUEBEC! There are but seven scant days until solarbird and I will be among you for two weeks of hanging out, meeting up with people, and general musical awesomeness!
We are looking very, very forward to meeting up with cow, with fellow Le Vent du Nord fan Susan, with framlingem hopefully (HEY EM ANSWER YOUR MAIL mmkay?), with lyonesse if she’s still in Montreal by the time we get there, with scrunchions, with Krista in St. John’s, with lethendy, and with anybody else we get a chance to talk to at Memoire et Racines, the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, or the Great Big Sea show in Torbay!
Internets, I AM EXCITE! Almost as much for the chance to see Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer as I am Great Big Sea, really–because this’ll very likely be my only shot to see the Charbonniers, and did I mention the part where HOLY CRAP THOSE MEN CAN SING? And did I also mention the buying of French Canadian SF/F, and of tasty maple sugar products (I am informed that maple sugar ice cream is a thing that exists and THIS MUST BE SAMPLED IT IS REQUIRED), and of taking the Haunted Hike tour through downtown St. John’s (research opportunity WOO!), and of going to the Duke of Duckworth pub, renowned to me in song and story and Twitter updates?
Save us some bagels and Growers cider! We’ll be there next week!
Dara and I started serious work on booking this last night, and discovered to our chagrin that the fares for cross-country Canada trains are prohibitively expensive! So our Trainventure is going to have significantly fewer trains than expected.
But that’s OKAY. Because this entire trip is going to brimming over with so much awesome that we may have to break some laws of physics to cram all of the awesome into two and a half weeks! Hey, I’ve got a supervillain for a spouse, if anybody can break laws of physics, it’ll be my beloved solarbird!
First up–Toronto, from roughly the 24th through the 26th of July! Agenda: enjoy the hospitality of cow, the very best bovine in the eastern provinces! Meet up with Susan, the most awesome Le Vent du Nord fan that ever awesomed, because we owe that woman a proper thanks for the wedding champagne! And there may even be a house concert featuring Dara at Chez Cow!
Next–Montreal, from roughly the 27th through the 30th of July! Agenda: meet framlingem and scrunchions! Convene the Independent Panel of Montreal Bagel Judges! Locate and raid the best possible music store to get me yet more Quebecois trad for my ever-growing collection, and bonus points if I can find anywhere that’ll sell me any album I’m missing with Éric Beaudry on it. :D Locate a bookstore and see if I’m brave enough to bring home some French SF/F! And, if at all possible, find and boing to any appropriate nearby source of podorythmie! (I note, O Internets, that there are TANTALIZINGLY OPEN HOLES in the tour schedules of Le Vent du Nord AND Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer AND De Temps Antan AND La Bottine Souriante and you had better believe that if ANY of them drop shows into this time frame, I am ALL OVER THEM.)
Next–Moncton, from July 30th through August 1st! Agenda: enjoy the company of brightbeak, and perhaps there will be another house concert! Pauline is flinging us a million awesome Moncton-area things we may be doing as well!
And last but not least–St. John’s, from August 1st through August 6th! Agenda: meet lethendy and any other local GBS fan crowd peeps! Absorb the general ambience and look for inspiration for Book 3 of the Kendis and Christopher books! Attend this which will, assuming that the booking of things goes well, is in extremely easy walking distance of this place where we want to stay!
And the crowning, shining glory of this entire Adventure: go to THIS because ZOMG GREAT BIG SEA IN NEWFOUNDLAND YES B’Y! Dara and I had previously been sure it would not be possible to top the magnificent awesomeness of our beloved B’ys at the Olympics in Vancouver. Our beloved B’ys on their home turf, with a Newfoundland crowd, is very likely the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY TO DO IT. You thought I got good altitude on La Danse Verticale for Le Vent? This concert’s Movement will not only be Vertical, it may well reach ORBIT.
Bookings of planes and trains and places to stay begins TONIGHT. Any of you in these places, Internets, who want to meet up with Dara and me–let us know! We look forward to seeing you all!
As I posted on the social networks earlier tonight, Dara and I will very soon be commencing the formal planning of the Great Atlantic Canadian Trainventure! We are looking at a rough range of dates from July 21st through August 7th, as that’s about as much time off as I can spare and still account for Norwescon and for the minor oral surgery I have to have in May. (It’s a dental thing, and no real big deal, but I need to take a day off for it.)
We will be targeting arriving in St. John’s in Newfoundland on the 2nd so we can be there in time for the festival to start on the 3rd, and we’ll come home on the 6th, and I’ll take the 7th to get over being jetlagged and to decompress from OMG 2 1/2 weeks in Canada. :D
And that, O Internets, means that depending on when Dara and I can catch a train from Vancouver to Toronto, we will be arriving in Toronto somewhere between the 24th and 26th of July! We want to visit people in the Toronto area (including cow and possibly also eeyorerin), but also to make bonus stops in Montreal and Moncton! So if you’re in any of these places OR within shouting distance of St. John’s, and you’d like to meet a couple of friendly and musical Cascadian elfchicks, I want to hear from you! Let me know if I should factor you into my plannings!
The last time I remember having my passport was on the way back from Vancouver last year, when solarbird and I went up for the Olympics to see Great Big Sea. We haven’t been back since, so I haven’t had reason to need the thing–but the problem is, I cannot find it for the life of me. Dara and I have looked in all the reasonable places it should have been in and many of the stupid ones, to no avail.
This is important because we want to go to VCON next month! One, we want another excuse to visit Vancouver, and the B’ys have not favored us with another Vancouver show on the tour schedule yet this year. Two, it’s a fairly tiny convention and we’re looking forward to attending a convention Dara doesn’t actually have to work. Three, we haven’t had a formal vacation this year, and don’t have one scheduled, so this’ll be a bit of a mini-vacation!
So I’m going to have to fill out the forms for reporting a passport lost and applying for a new one. Fortunately the courthouse down in Lake Forest Park takes the appropriate forms, AND they have Saturday hours. So I’m going to get that done and dealt with next weekend, and pay the fee to expedite a new passport, and hopefully that’ll get VCON all squared away. We have hotel reservations but we don’t have train tickets yet.
Anyway–yo, Vancouver peeps, if there’s any chance you’ll also be at that convention, let Dara and me know! It’d be nice to see you.
I’ve got to say, two weeks of just hanging out at home has been one of the nicest vacations I’ve had for a while. It hasn’t been fancy or exciting or expensive, but it sure has been relaxing. The last few times I’ve had this much time at home have been surgery recovery–and by comparison, this has been more like the Longest Weekend Ever. All things considered, an excellent way to round out 2010.
In brief, here’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks:
Saw and enjoyed both Tron: Legacy and Tangled. Both were quite pretty, and while T: L had less plot than one might have liked, it actually had more plot and emotional weight to it than the first one did. And I say this as a fan of the first one, which I rewatched during this downtime, too! As for Tangled, I liked it more than I expected it would, given my prior fear that it’d screw up my favorite fairy tale. It was Disney by the numbers, but then, Disney does do awfully catchy numbers.
Did Longest Night with , in which we did what seems to be becoming my yearly tradition of rewatching The Lord of the Rings. We are sure you’ve noticed by now that the sun did, in fact, come back up.
Speaking of Solstice, and Christmas by extension, I didn’t really want much loot this year thanks to having gotten the Awesome Guitar of Awesomeness. But a few lovely bits of loot were had nonetheless! Most notably, Dara gave me a really clever little capo that lets you capo individual strings and therefore simulate different tunings. I also got Peter Jackson’s King Kong on Blu-Ray from , Matt Smith’s just-concluded series of Doctor Who from , a B&N ebook card from , a lovely hardbound copy of a Norwegian graphic novel from , and the obligatory pile of stocking stuffer candy.
The Thursday before Christmas, Dara and I went downtown and spent a lovely afternoon at Ummelina, the spa on 4th. We did their two-person Pacific Rim package, and mmmm relaxing. This was redeeming the gift card I got Dara back in April for her birthday, since we’d decided that “while I am on vacation” was an excellent time to do so. After the spa, I did a lightning-quick raid on the marketboys, catching them JUST as they were closing up shop and surprising them by my arrival. They looked pleased to see me! Or at least pleased to sell me literally last-minute raspberries. ;)
Christmas Day itself was fairly quiet. Dara and I went back downtown for the aforementioned viewing of Tangled, and afterwards had Chinese at a place downtown we hadn’t tried before. We didn’t care for the place much, but they were awfully overworked that night so we couldn’t quite hold it against them. And the food, while mediocre, was revived by Dara later for two more meals’ worth of nomming. So it was a win in the end.
Have been doing a lot of trying to fill out all the achievements on Plants Vs. Zombies, as well as trying to play through the new levels in Angry Birds. Raise your hand if you’re surprised.
The high point of Christmas Day was definitely the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and big kudos to BBC America for having actually broadcast it in a timely fashion and uncut, as I previously posted!
Also as previously posted, Dara and I had an almost impromptu totally blottoed viewing of “Spock’s Brain”!
Also watched a lot of MST3K as I was seriously in the mood. Bought one of the DVD box sets we hadn’t owned before and watched all of those, as well as The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (PERFECT followup to “Spock’s Brain”) and Hercules Against the Moon Men via YouTube, streamed over the Blu-Ray player. (Which worked amazingly well, I might add, and way better than playing those same videos over any of the computers in the house would have done. Even given that it’s on the exact same network!)
Some light reading was done, and way less writing or editing than should have been (read: none to speak of).
Caught a cold, which was NOT so fun. But really, it didn’t change much of what I was doing anyway, except while I was shaking it off, I was doing the same things with added blankets, Nyquil, and sneezing. George was very, very happy to occupy my lap the whole time regardless.
And last night, we finished off the year with a lovely visit from Jenny as well as , , and their children, for consumption of homemade pizza, some more boozahol and snacks, and playing of Rock Band 3. Jenny stayed overnight with us so she wouldn’t have to drive all the way back to Issaquah with a bunch of drunk New Year’s Eve partiers out on icy roads, and we got up to have tasty breakfast cooked by Paul. A great way to finish off the old year, and start a new one, indeed.
So yeah. Feeling ready and rested if not tanned, and rather looking forward to getting back into the swing of normal things on Monday. Bring it on, 2011!
As is our custom at the Murkworks, we had our annual Homeless Waifs Thanksgiving Day Turkeyfest, and this time around we had a very respectable turnout of 16 people, including children. Much obliged to , , , , , , , , , and Mimi’s friend Chad who all showed up to make a wonderful evening. Callie brought her stepchildren with her as well and they were charming little tykes and very happy to play with the various toys we had around the living room.
has been spending the week with us as well, and we’ve been doing various low-key amusements since he’s had to be on call for work, which means he doesn’t have too much time free. We have, however, had quite a bit of fun attending both the Battlestar Galactica and Harry Potter exhibits downtown; last night, too, we saw the new Harry Potter movie.
Friday afternoon was exhibits day. We wandered downtown and had lunch at the Dick’s not far from Big Fish, as it turned out. It was really kind of weird actually getting that food in a sit-down restaurant. was amused by overhearing a nearby child asking another child, “Y’gonna drink that ketchup?”
From there we wandered over to the Seattle center to hit the exhibits. We tried Potter first, only to be told that we wouldn’t get in any earlier than 6:30. So we bought tickets for that time slot and hit the Battlestar exhibit instead.
The BSG exhibit was super-tiny, but what it had rocked. There were several excellent costumes from both the old and new series, an assortment of props, and interesting little snippets of videos spaced around the area. We were happy to see some of Starbuck’s stuff in particular, since Dara and I do miss our crazy TV girlfriend Kara, even now. ;) The big draw for this exhibit though was hands down the two Vipers and the Cylon raider, full size! took oodles of pictures. They’ll be going up for viewing soon enough, as soon as she figures out where to put them, I expect (her Flickr account is full).
Since we had time to kill, and since we hadn’t actually explored the Experience Music Project part of the building, we wandered around through the rest of the place as well. That was kind of neat, especially the display about indie music history in Seattle. The huge exhibit on Jimi Hendrix didn’t mean as much to me just because I have no background with his music; plus, I think I was a bit nonplussed by the huge sculpture of instruments in the lobby. I couldn’t help thinking gosh look at all those instruments that aren’t getting played, although they did look cool, I must admit. And apparently, the sculpture is set to play at certain times, though we didn’t catch that part.
, , and also wandered through the Science Fiction Museum. I’d been in there before so opted not to look at that part; I wanted to check the swag shops and get me a Battlestar shirt, and also just see what else they had for sale. All in all a good way to kill time.
The Potter exhibit was doing mad crazy business, as you might expect on a holiday weekend, the first weekend following the opening of a Potter movie as well. It too was smallish, although bigger than the BSG exhibit. And unlike with the BSG exhibit, pictures were not allowed.
There were a whole lot of lovely costumes from the various movies: school uniforms and casual clothes for Harry, Hermione, and Ron; various teachers’ robes; Quidditch uniforms; and a lot of the Yule finery from Goblet of Fire. Those were neat, but I liked the set pieces better, such as the furniture from the Gryffindor dorms, Hagrid’s hut, and the big wardrobe and giant jack in the box from Prisoner of Azkaban. And there were props galore, including a Gryffindor notice board, a whole heck of a lot of Quidditch-themed props, and more. Big, big props though for the full-size figures of Buckbeak the hippogryph and a couple of the centaurs.
This of course leads nicely into talking about the movie. We did see Deathly Hallows last night, and since I never did get around to reading Book 7, now we’re getting into stretches of the story that are actually new to me (modulo the big best-known spoilers, which I am aware of at this point, yes). It was quite a bit different dealing with Harry, Hermione, and Ron outside the context of Hogwarts, and I rather liked that, even if the pacing of the movie could have used a bit of tweaking. Three words: too. Much. Camping.
(Paul in fact turned to us after the credits started rolling and said, “OH NO JOEL! CAMPING!”)
Dara noted and I agree with her that this is the first time that Voldemort and his followers really seem like a serious threat. The action scenes were certainly awesome, and I quite liked what we saw of the Malfoys and Bellatrix LeStrange. I must admit though that every time I see Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort I keep thinking “SAD MUPPET HAS NO NOSE!”
One more day of vacation tomorrow. We’re going to wander around Pike Place (and I am likely to do a fruit run with my marketboys), and then amble in the direction of I Heart for serious sushi goodness to send James home again on a tasty note.
By far the bulk of this past weekend was devoted to bringing ravyngyngvar up to visit Vancouver. Our main purpose was of course GREAT! BIG! SEA!, but my B’ys were hardly the only Awesome that Vancouver had to offer.
Details about the weekend in general, and pics as well, behind the fold!
With ravyngyngvar visiting us over this past week, one of the things we wanted to do was drive down to see Mt. St. Helens. solarbird and I have after all lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1991–and we’d never once actually seen this famous volcano. Plus, since this was Yngvar’s second visit, I wanted to give him a shot at seeing something cool a little farther afield than the immediate Seattle area. Ergo, I took Thursday off with the plan to allocate that to going to see the splody mountain.
As plans went it was a good one. It did however go significantly agley, as it were, when I chose poorly in selecting our actual destination at the mountain. Silly me–I thought that something calling itself the mountain headquarters would be, oh I dunno, near the mountain. But it turned out to be on the south side, way past where we needed to be. So Dara wound up having to do quite a bit of extra driving, and we wound up reaching where we needed to be–the Johnston Ridge Observatory–after the facility had closed.
Fortunately though we were still able to park in the parking lot and walk around quite a bit, which gave us ample opportunity to see not only the mountain, but much of the surrounding terrain. Here’s what we saw, including a couple of pics from my iPhone!