Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscars 2009

I always watch award shows if I can, especially the Oscars and the Tonys. I have a special tie to the Oscars as I worked on the pre-show one year. It always amuses me to watch the pre-show now.

This year's Oscars were much better than they have been in the past. I don't know if it has to do with Hugh Jackman as host or the new format or what.

I both liked and disliked the way the best actor/actress and best supporting actor/actress awards were presented. I think it was lovely to have a somewhat personal tribute and thanks to the nominees by previous award recipients. It did have the tendency to drag things on a bit. Good choices on the previous award recipient presenters.

Mad props to Hugh Jackman for his opening number. Almost as brilliant as Billy Crystal. But only Billy Crystal can be Billy Crystal. I thought Hugh Jackman was a brilliant host. He's funny, he can act, he can sing and he can dance. And ad lib... and his sense of comedic timing ain't bad. And the directors let him do what he does best and not force him to be what he's not.

The "movie musical is back" was all sorts of brilliant. I'm a sucker for all things musical, and I enjoyed the number. Even if it had the silly pair from High School Musical (yuck) and the possibility that Beyonce was pre-recorded. (My viewing companions and I had a debate on that). Nevertheless, Hugh Jackman was live and dazzling.

I'm damn proud of Heath Ledger and the Academy for awarding his amazing performance in "Dark Knight". I often forgot that it was Heath in the movie when I watched it. It truly was a memorable performance - and completely deserving of the award, whether he was alive or dead. I'm sure the other nominees were well-deserving, but he deserved it more in my heart.

I'm also damn proud of Sean Penn. I haven't seen the movie "Milk" yet, but from what I've seen and heard, he definitely deserves the award. Go him! Though, truth be told, I wouldn't have minded seeing Frank Langella or Richard Jenkins win. Richard Jenkins was brilliant on "Six Feet Under" - but this nomination will hopefully get him more high-profile work.

I thought Viola Davis was robbed, no offense to Penelope Cruz. She was AMAZING in her two scenes in "Doubt". Amazing.

The rest of the awards show was so predictable that it was sickening. It'll be a long time before I see "Slumdog Millionaire" because of all the hype surrounding it. That's almost a sure-fire way for me NOT to go see something. I stayed away from Harry Potter until the hype had died down significantly.

Sadly, I haven't seen a lot of the movies that were nominated, but I've added to the list of ones I want to see: Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Revolutionary Road, Rachel Getting Married, Wall-E.

Can I also say that you definitely noticed that it was live TV. From the opening curtain gaffe (hah, someone on the fly rail just got fired) to silly little delays. I adore things like that. Live VV is BACK and it's the kind of reality TV I like.

In case you weren't watching, here are my highlights of the evening:


Happy List, Week 13

Perfect Rose

In no particular order:

1. Bingo. It's not just for old ladies anymore. I've gone three times now and had a blast every time. It's relatively inexpensive, moves slow enough to have a conversation with your companions and is a welcome change from just going to a bar/restaurant/movie.

2. - because it will help me budget better. I'm always looking for better ways to track my income and spending. Thank you CB and LMB.

3. My apartment. i may not like my complex, but I am thankful to be in my own place with my own things.

4. My neighbors. They really are great. I dropped in to see them the moment I got home and said hello. I've never really known neighbors before and I'm loving it.

5. Macy's for finally having the swimsuit that looked the least worst on me. i detest swimsuit shopping and I'm glad it's done with.

6. Capris that don't look ridiculous on this 5'2" frame. I detest shorts and this helps me avoid them.

7. Chocolate Bar. Because it's good, yummy and so far every time I've returned to Houston, I've gone there within 24-48 hours of arriving.

8. Hugh Jackman as Oscar host. See next post for more details.

9. The makers of my futon for making it so comfortable to sleep on.

10. AT&T U-Verse. Did I mention its nice to have internet again?

I may have forgotten somethings but I'm pretty sleepy and unfocused. Time off is a wonderful and dangerous thing.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Alaskan Zoo Adventures

One day, TR, CB and I decided that we'd go for a drive, but didn't want to drive as far as some of our other adventures. So we decided to go to the Zoo. It might have been 5 degrees F out... and CB might have been in a skirt and tights. She was still willing to explore the zoo, and explore we did.

I think the Zoo folks thought we were crazy, and despite the chilling temperatures, we did have a lot of fun. The Alaska Zoo definitely has some animals that zoos in the lower 48 don't. Like I never saw a wolverine before (and it's kind of small - and doesn't make me think of Hugh Jackman).

Here's irony for you: the cafe where we took refuge for hot drinks and thawing may have served reindeer sausage or reindeer hotdogs. This is 'normal' for Alaska - but I'd like to point out that there were definitely reindeer in the park. I've never been to a zoo where the cafe serves food made from a kin of one of their zoo animals.

The animals seemed to have a propensity for sticking their tongues out:

Caribou - Tongue

Wolf - Tongue


Some animals I wasn't expecting:


Trumpeter Swan


The brochure for the Zoo, also may have advertised a Valentine's Day activity for kids where the older kids learn about the animals' birds and the bees. Somehow, I found this hysterically funny. Still is. Don't know why. Animal Sex Ed on Valentine's Day. Heh.

I'm almost caught up on pictures, I think. Still behind on blog posts, ah well.

More pictures from Zoo and Alaska can be found at my flickr photostream.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alaskan Adventures/Talkeetna 4

Between show #1 and show #2, there was a four day gap. My colleagues-turned-friends aka the Talkeetna 4 (TR, BF & CB) and I decided that a trip outside of Anchorage was in order. BF was our leader since he had been to Alaska before and knew where to go. We headed up to Talkeetna which is a few hours north with two things on the docket: seeing Denali (Mt. McKinley) and the Northern Lights.

My Three Traveling Companions

Talkeetna used to be a mining town, I think, and it's pretty small and quaint. We stayed in the Roadhouse there, in the Bunk Room. Literally, two bunk beds for four of us. Once we dumped off our stuff, we hopped back into the car and drove towards Denali. The closet we got was about 40 miles away (I think the park itself is closed at winter) but we were rewarded with two gorgeous views of the magnificent mountain.

It was simply stunning and there was no shortage of pictures taken. And there was no shortage of CB or I falling up to our knees or waists in snow. Somehow BF and TR managed not to make complete fools of themselves like we did. And there's picture proof too, proof you won't see on this blog. But we had a ton of fun.

Mt. McKinley aka Denali

That's a lot of snow...

Mt McKinley aka Denali

The evening was filled with hanging out by the fire and consuming large amounts of wine. We also had a fabulous dinner at Latitude 62 down the road.

We stayed up far too late, especially since after an aborted 11pm trip to the lake to see Northern Lights, we had planned at getting up at 5:30am.

Unfortunately that trip failed too, because of this:

Near Full Moon

... but perhaps the low probablility in the forecast didn't help either. But the attempt was made, and quickly at that. It was definitely -25°F. No kidding.

Needless to say, we rushed back to the warmth of the Roadhouse, our beds and the fire.

Not much sleep was had on this overnight trip, but a lot of fun was had in its stead.

Our drive home included a trip to our second lookout to Denali only to discover that clouds obscured most of the view. Apparently, we had an extremely rare clear sighting. Another colleague of ours had to wait a year before seeing it for herself.

We also drove by Hatcher's Pass and got a gander at this view:

More Mountains

as well as some crazy skiers who hiked to the top of the slope and skied down.


Crazy Insane Skiers

It was totally worth it - I just wished we'd seen some Northern Lights!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy List, Week 12

Perfect Rose

1. Traveling with colleagues/friends. When we left Alaska, we all left on two different flights, a few gates away from each other. We had been dropped off so early we had the chance to spend some time together before leaving our separate ways. It was the perfect cap to a great trip.

2. My great cast. I know they made the list last week, but they make it again. I don't know what I would've done without them.

3. TR, BF and CB. Again, they made the list last week, but they make it again for good reason. They know why. Invaluable.

4. Adrenaline. it's a wonderful thing. Certainly kept me going through show #3.

5. Alcohol. I know, this isn't usually on my happy list, and I'm a little surprised at the amount of alcohol consumed by this individual in the last few weeks as it is atypical for me. However, it was a great reward for hard work. No worries, all, I'm not going to turn into an alcoholic.

6. Good staff/colleagues. Without them, show #3 and #4 would not have gone they way they did. It was a team effort all the way. No one person made those shows happen on their own.

(I'm not going to elaborate more since this is a public blog; but those who know, do.)

7. Good flying companions. From being on my first flight with two colleague/friends to a lovely seat companion on the second flight - they all made my day from hell (all day flying) better than expected.

8. PS for being a familiar face at the airport after a long day of flying.

9. AT&T text messages have saved my life and made it better in the last month.

10. AT&T U-Verse for giving me internet - at last, consistent internet!! And lovely episodes of TV to watch when I got home and stayed up far too late because I'm used to being 3 hours behind my current time zone.

Again, majorly behind. But I will be posting/uploading photos in the next few days and catching up.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy List, Weeks 10 & 11

Perfect Rose

Okay, so I missed two weeks... but my internet access has been incredibly sporadic - I'm incredibly behind on blogging. So here's the belated list - which is one big one, so I'll keep going until I run out of happy. As always, in no particular order.

1. Laughter as a defense mechanism. Somehow, I've managed to curb some of my anger into just laughing and/or acting goofy. It really helps defuse some pretty decent outbursts... and there have been some situations where all you can do is throw your hands up in the air and laugh.

2. The kindness of this company. They might be small, but they're mighty and they love what they do. I'm so glad I came up here.

3. Heat and hot water. You don't realize how much you miss them until you don't have them much or at all.

4. Good friends. One of the good/bad things about these contracts is the people you meet - and then you all go away. I'm not looking forward to that particular part but I'll keep enjoying their company until we do.

5. My down coat. Yes, it's purple, but it's been proven to -25 degree weather. More on that in a future blog post.

6. TR, BF and CB. They're the best. Just saying.

7. Snow/chilly temperatures. As much as I don't always enjoy bundling up or freezing all the time, I would feel robbed of a true Alaskan winter if I didn't get it at all. Plus, I adore snow. And it's easier to drive on than ice!

8. Bowling. TR, CB, JT and I have gone bowling several times and it's been a blast. Last time WC came and joined us and it was even better. Especially after a cast party.

9. Good resturants in Alaska. Between the many tasty options in town, BF, CB and I discovered a real hole-in-the-wall during one of our drives that had some surprisingly tasty food.

10. Gorgeous vistas all around. You don't even have to leave metropolitan Anchorage to see beautiful stuff, but if you do, you'll be amply rewarded.

11. A clear day when we visted Denali (aka Mt McKinley). By visited, we mean we drove within 40 miles and took pictures from several different viewpoints. We'll take what we can get, especially in winter. When people saw our photos, they told us all we were incredibly lucky.

12. Animals in the wild. sheep (no pictures though), bald eagle (see earlier posts) and moose. It's fun seeing them in a zoo, and even a disappointing wildlife conservation place, but it's more fun seeing them 'in person', in the 'wild.'

13. Sunrise/Sunsets. The days have slowly gotten longer, but when the sun rises and sets, its often stunningly gorgeous. Even more precious, it only lasts for mere moments.

14. My photography camera & habit. I'm so glad I have the camera I do because I might not have gotten the photos I wanted. Also, apparently, my habit is rubbing off on other people - yay!

15. Networking. I randomly met up with a schoolmate/colleage up here in Anchorage (hello random!) and now we're working together this summer - yay!!

16. Lack of TV time. At my first place of housing, I had poor access to a TV. So aside from watching the inauguration, I hadn't watched much. Now I have two in the hotel I'm staying in - and I've barely watched any. Maybe I'll give up my cable when I'm back. Then again, I won't have lovely distractions there as I do here.

17. Quirky notepads/postcards that have sayings like "I Moose Do That" or "Shut the Duck Up." Seriously - the funniest thing I've heard in ages. And its fun to have friends who also think its equally as funny.

18. A great cast. A show is always more fun with a good cast - but we have a great cast. They're talented and they're fun, both on and off the stage. I've seen the show countless times now, and I still laugh every show at something old and something new.

19. Doing opera in a place that loves the arts. Who would've chalked up Anchorage as an arts loving city? They do - the downtown is filled with shops with beautiful work from local artists. The performing arts also seem to be healthily supported as well. Thank goodness.

20. The potential that the future brings. In many ways, shapes and forms.

There you have it. I have SOOOO much catch-up to do, it's not funny. But sounds like I'll have plenty of time to do so in the near future. :-\ But lots of new pictures await!

Monday, February 9, 2009


Today, is the blogiversary of my blog. One year ago today, I started this blog on a whim. I've had other blogs before, but they tended a little more towards the personal and were usually 'locked down' for those who knew me. This is my first attempt at a more general audience type of blog, and specifically one that was photo oriented.

The name of the blog comes from a favorite side dish at House of Pies, one of the restaurants often visited by me and my friends in order to make it through life.

Here's a year in review:

February was all about sharing my favorite photos.

March was mostly about the March Project which was a photo a day about my life.

April showed a mix of photos I liked and photos I had taken recently.

May was a low-posting month, but shared mostly photo trips.

June chronicled my photographic adventures in Oklahoma City.

July was a little more of the same, but the low posting amount was directly related to the amount of free time had that month.

August began the chronicles of the East Coast Adventure.

September reads about Ike and the continuation of the East Coast Adventure.

October reflected my time in Utah.

November was the month I posted my to-do list.

December began the Happy Lists and more travel.

January continues the Happy Lists and begins to reflect time in Alaska.

Here's to a second year: I'd like to be better about blogging more, sharing pictures, and keeping up with my goals/to-do list.

If you're a reader, thanks for reading and don't hesitate to let me know if you like something or want to see more! I appreciate the time you spend here!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


At least, Opening Night is upon us - I can hardly believe it. But hopefully with all the time off inbetween performances, will come more photo opportunities.

Finally, at long last, I have internet access and have been able to upload some of my recent Alaska pictures. Check out my photostream for all of them, but here are a few highlights:






These were taken in the wild:

Baby Moose

Bald Eagle in the Wild

Bald Eagle in the Wild

but there's more to come from a trip to the zoo....