Friday, May 27, 2011

Fleet Week!

I've never really cared about Fleet Week, but for some reason, I think it's fun to see lots of people walking around in uniforms.

Have you guys heard of Fleet Week? New York's been doing it for years, since I was a kid at least. It starts a few days before Memorial Day with the Parade of Ships - a bunch of battle ships and air craft carriers cruise up the Hudson and park next to the Intrepid at Pier 86.

This pic was lovingly stolen from :)
After the ships dock, the public can tour them for free, and over the next week the City holds lots of events and demonstrations. Like today, Isa and I happened to be wandering around Times Square (because unlike the vast majority of New Yorkers, we like Times Square, probably because there's always something fun happening there), and we saw them creating sand masterpieces in honor of the military:

And behind the sand sculptors was a stage, and the Navy was singing.

Yeah. Fun stuff. If you want to see the ships, watch the Marines put on a demonstration, or watch Top Gun on the flight deck of an air craft carrier (yeah, how ridiculously cool is that?!), check out the full Fleet Week Schedule.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Glee Live Tour - Las Vegas

Remember that time we said we were big Gleeks? We went to see them last night!!!

It was amazing. Not just because we love Glee and it was so fun to see the cast in real life (which was very exciting), but the actual show (as far as concerts go) was really entertaining. I'm talking fireworks inside the arena, visual effects with their video screens, and an LED floor:

Oh yeah, as you can probably tell from those three pictures, we're loving our new camera. The 80-300mm lens is pretty dang awesome, and it let us get pics like these:

Quinn and Sam - Lucky Duet
Brittany professing her love to Blaine
Lea Michele with the fans
We also got some rather provocative and sexy pics of Brittany doing Britney Spears' Slave, but they're a bit too risque for our little PG blog. But that doesn't matter anyway, because to really appreciate Brittany, you need to see her dance. Because holy crap, she's an amazing dancer.

Brittany and Artie
They sang all the favorites: Don't Stop Believing by Journey, Glee's original song Loser Like Me, Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind, and Queen's Somebody to Love, among lots and lots of others (you can shove a lot of 4 minute songs into 2 hours). Our favorite, and I think the whole crowd's favorite, was the Warbler's version of Pink's Raise Your Glass:

Another one of my favorite parts was Artie's Safety Dance. Because Artie is such a good dancer, like Mike Chang good. And it's a real shame that he's stuck in that wheelchair for the whole show.

Safety Dance

Artie in his throne
And, of course, Kurt and Brittany and Co doing Beyonce's Single Ladies dance:

...shoulda put a ring on it...
Oh, maybe I should have warned you that this post was going to be one big pic explosion. I took LOTS of pictures. The ones that have made it to the post have actually already gone through two cuts.

Mercedes and the Girls
Another crowd favorite (no, seriously) was the boys' "unplugged" version of Rebecca Black's Friday:

Puck and Sam played the guitar.
Partying, partying, YEAH!
I didn't even tell you. So, we're in Vegas just for a few days, and it just worked out that we could even go to this. The show's been sold out since it became available, and the tickets on StubHub were going for hundreds of dollars each, and we just couldn't justify spending that much. So we kept checking and the prices dropped dramatically day of the show. We ended up getting tickets less than 2 hours before the show for less than half of face value. Here's the crowd at the Events Center at Mandalay Bay:

...makes that zoom lens pretty cool, huh?
Crazy thing was, the vast majority of the audience were 30-somethings. Not teenagers. We really didn't see that coming. Is that the demographic that Glee appeals to? I always thought they made the show for high schoolers. Right?

And then you know how at the end of Loser Like Me at regionals, they "slushie the crowd" with confetti? They did that at the end of this show too. It was pretty cool:

Overall, it was an extremely fun show. It was entertaining throughout, partly because the music was great, mostly because it was so cool to see all the characters in real life. If you like glee at all, you should get tickets to Glee Live 2011.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I Do (Forever)

Once upon a time,
a handsome prince and a beautiful princess fell in love...
and this is their story.

They flirted and dated and laughed so elated 
  and fell even deeper in love. 
They sang and they danced (it was quite a romance!) 
  it's the stuff fairy tales are made of.
And soon, yes, you guessed it. Her hand he requested.
It was poetic and sweet, so lovely indeed.
  Without all that razzle and dazzle.
She said, Yes! I will! And boy was he thrilled!
  And they married in New York's own Palace.
And never will there be a happier pair,
  The smiles on their faces will tell us.

But something was said, that stuck in their heads
  They married, "til death do you part."
But that's not good enough for a fairy tale love.
  No, death could not tear them apart.
Now our couple knew, and you should learn too,
  that life does not end when we die.
Families continue, and friendships will too.
  No, death's not a final good-bye.
True love will transcend, and last past the end
  It will never die, no, not ever.
So why should their vows be not allowed
  to go on with them for forever?

With prayer and research, they knew of a church
  that claimed to contain the authority
To marry and "seal" two lovers who kneel
  in the Temple for all of eternity.
Now this sounded great! So they set a date,
  and their love continued to grow.
And soon it was real, and they sealed the deal
  on a spring morning in San Diego.

On the 19th of May, on a bright sunny day,
  in a temple, majestic and pretty,
Our prince and princess, clothed all in white dress,
  were sealed for all time and eternity.

Just like a fairy tale castle, huh?
Princess Isa
Prince Brian

...happily ever after
Yay! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hello San Diego

We’re in San Diego!!

We woke up early. (apparently my internal clock has been set to wake up for work now, so I crawled out of bed at 6:40am. On vacation. Blarg.) But somehow we managed to not get on road until after 11am. The drive from Vegas to San Diego isn’t that bad. We made a stop in Barstow, which was annihilated in Chuck after Chevy Chase tried to upload the Intersect at their drive-in theater. (What? we’re nerds, ok?) But anyway, we were excited, so we stopped and found some food, something I’ve been craving for quite some time and Isa’s taste buds have never enjoyed:

I love In-N-Out, and Isa would have enjoyed it more if it weren’t for Shake Shack. But Shake Shack’s burgers are so dang delicious that she thought In-N-Out’s were just good, not “blow-the-competition-away” excellent. Whatever. I was happy. :)

We checked into our hotel (Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island) which falls somewhere in the middle of a Tahitian bungalow and a fancy log cabin. It was really nice. It's right on the Marina:

Here’s a night picture of the main building:

It also had a classy restaurant (we get free breakfast every morning), an open-air concert stage (they host summer concerts with big name stars), and a nice pool, although we probably won’t go swimming while we’re here – too much to do.

We only had the afternoon to see San Diego, so we went to the one place I’ve always wanted to go: Belmont Park on Mission Beach. I didn’t get to ride the roller coaster last time I was here and I’ve always wanted to do it. The coaster, much like Coney Island’s Cyclone but less bumpy/painful and with much better views, is situated right on the beach.

The Giant Dipper
The view coming around the second turn is amazing! I wasn’t ready with the camera; it kinda surprised both of us and took our breath away. We toyed with the idea of paying another $6 each to go on it again just to see that view one more time, but we figured we’d be back again.

So on we went to Old Town. This was a cute little section of town with antique-y buildings with old architecture and lots of flowers. It was fun to roam around in there. Oh, by the way, everyone is SO NICE in San Diego. That’s all. Just nice people here.

As we were leaving to go watch the sunset, Isa spotted our church logo on the side of a building. Turns out it’s the Mormon Battalion Historical Site. We went back there after sunset, and when you’re done looking at the picture below, click here to read more about this place. It was SO COOL! It’s like a Harry Potter version of an interactive museum. Yeah. Click.

We shot down to Sunset Cliffs, but the sunset wasn’t that amazing tonight. Oh well, it’s hard to compete with some of the sunsets we’ve seen.

Mormon Battalion Historical Site

This place is so cool!! If you’re in Old Town San Diego, whether or not you’re Mormon, you should check this place out:

To be honest, we weren’t really sure what we were in for. They said the tour was starting now and we sat down in the cute little waiting area looking at antique black and white pictures of people we assumed were in the Battalion.

Another couple sat down and two Mormon sister missionaries welcomed us, but their greeting was interrupted by the people in the black and white pictures behind them. In true Harry Potter style, the pictures came alive and started talking with the Sisters and joking around with each other. Before long, they wandered off into the next room, and the Sisters asked if we’d like to follow them. We still had no idea what we were in for, but how could you say no? We had to see what would happen next.

We found ourselves in the 1800’s, somewhere in the Midwest. The characters now danced around on three screens around the room, playing the fiddle and showing us what life was like back then. It was a lot of fun. Soon, the call came from the U.S. Army for 500 men to enlist to aid in the war. (I’m not really clear on history. I think we were fighting Mexico back then.) Regardless, that’s how the Mormon Battalion was formed, and we followed battalion to the next room, where we learned about military life and their uniforms:

Apparently, they wore sandals too.
They taught us all about the uniforms and conditions back then, and the characters continued to interact with us by knocking on a window outside the cabin (the one next to me in the pic above) and asking us questions. The whole design of the place was really fascinating and realistic too.

Next we went on the trail with the Battallion, learning about the miracles that took place and the trials and tribulations they went through. They really draw you in, with a campfire, and interesting storyline, and even seats that shake when we find ourselves “under attack.”

We ended up in the room below, where the characters gave us a sort of epilogue that tied everything together. This is that part I thought was the most interesting. I had heard of the Mormon Battalion, but I always thought it was a waste (they never fought a battle, they just hiked for 2000 miles and then played in San Diego for six months – or so I thought).

The Battalion was actually quite crucial to the settlement of San Diego and Salt Lake City. The six months they spent in San Diego, they built buildings and showed the locals how to use brick. Old Town, where we had just spent the afternoon, was in large part a result of their efforts and leadership. Salt Lake City, where the Mormons were starting to settle, was mostly desert and practically uninhabitable when the Saints arrived, but part of the Battalion (sick members of the group went to Puebla, Mexico to recover) had learned irrigation techniques that enabled the Mormons to grow crops to survive.

The final room had actual artifacts from the Battalion:

Many thanks to our tour guides for all their insight and cheerful dispositions. We had a great experience!

Yeah. So you should go. Click here to learn more.

Oh, and they take your picture:


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