Friday, November 4, 2011

Birthday party!

Editor's note(s):
1. McKenzie made her first post yesterday. It is located below this post. Don't miss it. 
2. I have been embedding links in most of my posts. They show up in a different color than the rest of the text. I assume most of you know this. However, I have just now learned how to embed these links in a way that opens the links in a new window. I assumed that, if you're anything like me, you don't want to click a link and lose your place in what you were reading. Now you can click a link and it'll open in a new window. You may need to disable whatever pop-up blocker you have in order to click the links and have them show up. Or you could just 'right click' and open in a new window on your own.
3. I will no longer be embedding videos into the blog. I don't like that blogger makes youtube videos so small. I hate small videos.

Is this what we have to look forward to when we return?

Now that October is over, McKenzie and I can no longer say that we're mid-twenties. We are officially late-twenties. I assume the median age of people still reading this blog is probably well beyond late-twenties and pity is not in order, but we've been lamenting the perceived loss of youth for a few days now. I'm over it.

I didn't take any pictures from my birthday, so I'll focus on McKenzie's for the majority of this post. We did, however, go to see Les Miserables for my birthday. Those of you who know me well know that I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to the 25 year old opera. Yes, it's technically an opera. The distinguishing factor between a musical and an opera is whether or not all of the dialogue in the show is sung. Les Mis is entirely sung. To further indict myself, I had noted when we arrived here that Alfie Boe was playing the part of Jean Valjean during the months of October and November. I consider him to be in the top tier when it comes to playing the Valjean part (the absolute best being Colm Wilkinson. This video is taken from the 10th anniversary concert - not to be confused with the stage production, which has the set and, well, acting - not just singing in front of a microphone.).

I made sure to book tickets in order to get to see Alfie (this video coming from the 25th anniversary concert.). If you're in the mood, you can watch this video which has Colm, Alfie, and two other top tier Valjeans singing the very same song I've just linked twice (taken from the same 25th anniversary concert. I use this song because it's both one of my favorites from the show and a bit of a litmus test for how good a person can play this character). For good measure. You don't have to. I won't know whether or not you did. And you can laugh at me if you want, too. I know I'm ridiculous.

That being said, Kenz got to nerd out for her birthday as well. She has read the entire series of books by Gregory Maguire which tell the stories of various Oz characters. As a result, we went to see the musical Wicked for her birthday.

Birthday girl leaving the house in her new jacket! 

We had received a glorious care package with some birthday gifts from the best mother-in-law a husband could ever dream of the night before. We got salsa, cheese dip, tobacco, and lots of warm clothes! Kenz couldn't wait to wear her new jacket. And the weather was good to boot!

It was the day before Halloween, so employees were "allowed" to wear costumes.

I couldn't tell whether or not this guy was loving it. At least he was warm. 
The theatre!

It's hard to show without a video, but the sign is made of big sequins that glimmer in the sun and wind. 
Playbill salesman dressed in drag. I don't think the other employee was participating in costume day.
The map of Oz substituted as the curtain. 
The dragon moved and blew smoke at the beginning of the show and after intermission.
Stage left.
Stage right.

Birthday girl and her husband (trying to take a picture without causing a scene). 

The show was impressive. It's a part of the new generation of musicals where no expenses were spared when it came to set, props, and costumes. I wasn't as excited as Kenz to go, but was blown away by the production. It was fun! The woman who plays the wicked witch was powerful in her delivery - Kenz and I were glued to our seats whenever she had a solo.

For the rest of the day, Kenz heard me humming one of the songs to myself. When we got home that night, we took to youtube to watch several videos about the show. We realized that no youtube video compares to actually being there. I got her the soundtrack as well. She insisted on playing the song that I had been humming all day to get it out of my head. Fair enough; I'm no singer. Best to leave it to the professionals.

But that was Saturday, and Sunday was her real birthday. We went out to brunch at a place called My Old Dutch, which serves Dutch style pancakes. The pancakes are thin like crepes, but have stuff cooked into them. To be honest, I can't really tell the difference between crepes and these pancakes. Both are equally delish.

This was mine: cheese, bacon, chicken, corn, and sweet pepers.

The things are HUGE. 

Kenz opted for tiny, scrumptious pancakes. 

A happy birthday girl! 

We left breakfast and it started to rain. Kenz wasn't ready for her birthday to be over, so we went to a movie. Movie theaters here are different than what we're used to: when you purchase a ticket, they ask you where you want to sit. That's right - you have assigned seating in the movies. And they have luxury seats (which are big like American ones, but don't rock back and forth). At first, my American-ness was offended. I thought to myself, who are they to tell me where to sit? Then I realized that we could take our time getting some concessions because no one would take our seat! That was when we experienced the second little cultural difference of our movie outing: salty and sweet popcorn!

And they mix it if you want!
The theatre was huge. Granted, we were in Leicester Square, and the theatre itself was built in 1937. It has 2,116 seats. Can you imagine going to a movie with 2,000 people? The movie wasn't sold out, but it was still quite an experience. The closest thing we've come to it was when we went to see The Sound of Music with Kara and Jerry this past summer in the Tennessee Theatre.

Then the movie was over. Then we went to another one. Well, it was her birthday after all!


Have a good weekend!