He Sees Me Rollin’

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On Feb. 13, I took B-cat to the Richmond Animal Protection Society Valentine fundraiser. We liked the burger buffet and goody bags, made use of the donation cupcake table, and tried the coin toss for booze, but B-cat’s favourite was the guess-the-number game.

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Cupcakes!

Like its high school/office/supermarket variations, this involved a container (an oversized novelty martini glass here) filled with candy (cinnamon red hots), the number of which you’re supposed to estimate. Instead of guessing like anyone else, B-cat the physicist sat down to serious calculation and was only 100 pieces off the total of 2950.

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Cupcake in hell

He won a pretty backpack, speakers, and a large bottle of Grey Goose vodka (from France!). We don’t drink, but he was planning to buy vodka just for making vanilla and mint extracts anyway.

This is what you show kids when they say they shouldn’t have to study math in school “because you never use it in real life”.

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Math, yeah!

 

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Hello, 2016?

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B-cat at the ballet

B-cat and I started 2016 doing what we didn’t do last New Year’s: heading out to sea. For some reason, the surrounding park closes at 5, so I probably shouldn’t discuss trespassing… We did have a scenic walk alongside a sewage pipe, or at least it would’ve been scenic if it weren’t too dark to even see our breaths in the freezing air. Didn’t make it to the pier by midnight, either, but the picnic by the water was lovely. We even counted down on an analog clock this time!

And the sewage smell was somewhat filtered out by our layers of scarves and mucous, too, thanks to the Christmas cold from B-cat’s little nephew and the flu from the waiter coughing on everything at Edo-Ya Sushi in Delta.

Other than that, I’ve only dragged myself outdoors a few times, like for the previously mentioned Ballet BC/Ballet Alberta Nutcracker. (I promise I didn’t cough on anything.) The tickets B-cats gave me for my birthday were for the best seats I’ve ever had at the ballet. I was right in front of the centre stage marker, close enough to see the lace detail on costumes, and just far enough to admire the dancer formations as a whole.

S, who met up with us there last-minute, thought the production was lacklustre. I think the stage looked bare with hardly more than two dancers on at a time, and part of the choreography made no sense (Drosselmeyer rode off in the Snow Queen’s sleigh, leaving her to walk alone to her palace, where they met up to drive back for Clara??), but the costumes were tasteful, the dancers had solid technique, and no one made mistakes as in Goh Ballet’s last production.

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We brought cough drops

B-cat’s family made this the best holiday season I’ve had, and this ballet evening out with B-cat still managed to be the best day of the season.

Now if I can get my beloved 10-year-old laptop repaired, I could be equally optimistic about the upcoming year!

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2006 Asus, shimmery white with silver edging, my love

My brother gave me this laptop after two years of use (and numerous drops, I might add), and I’ve been typing at high speeds, playing MMORPGs, Photoshopping ads for work, watching movies, and simply Internetting for long hours over the past eight years. This was the last of the Taiwanese-made Asus laptops. I suspect manufacturers who say laptops break down after two or three years are making excuses for their Chinese-made wares, but either way…

It’s the end of an era.

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Ballet BC’s next performance is in March, by the way. March!

Full Circle (and Vancouver Opera) Disappoint with Words

Two weeks ago, Vancouver Opera came across this post (Summary: I complained about a VO rep we shall call Maureen being rude. VO told me to email them and then ignored my email) and told me to contact them. While I didn’t see the point of complaining again, I thanked them for reaching out and figured they’d finally apologize or give me boilerplate copypasta about their customer service just for the record.

Well, they ignored my email again. Fool me twice…?

For the Pleasure
Quick selfie with the poster

This previous week, I saw Full Circle: First Nations Performance‘s production of For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again at Gateway Theatre. I and all other volunteers at Vancouver Writers Fest got two free tickets, but the room wasn’t full.

[Only the vaguest of spoilers]

The narrator relives various conversations with his mother — as the middle-aged actor morphs, through speech and mannerisms alone, from a prepubescent boy to a college student — before giving her life a (surprise) ending.

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I know, I know, the play is a tribute to a dead mother, and who can criticize someone’s mother?! But as a character on stage, “Nana” (Margo Kane) comes across as such an unintelligent, unfunny (unless physical comedy is your thing) stereotype of a housewife that I was really surprised by the narrator’s (Kevin Loring) spiel about her wit and brilliance. Just because someone gave birth to you, it doesn’t mean you’re capable of breathing life into your idea of her.

As with the opening monologue, every rant, every joke, every idea is stretched too long. The 90 minutes feel like days worth of tedium and cliches. While B-cat finds the 10- to 12-year-old narrator’s vocabulary unlikely, Loring is convincing in his role(s)… except when he’s completely unfazed by his mother’s melodramatic cries about being “pregnant with [her] death”. B-cat and I both notice Kane’s numerous mistakes in speech that are not part of the writing, and I doubt Nana’s slang is period-accurate. Mentions of drawers (as in underpants) and wringers garner dry chuckles from the senior members of the audience, but it’s little more than “oh, I get that reference” a la Family Guy.

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Stage set-up

The ending is B-cat’s least favourite, but, to me, the only worthwhile part. Visually, it’s stunning; if anything, it looks as if the whole budget went into it, because the rest takes place on a too-small platform beneath too-tall walls and harsh, uneven lighting. I love its absurdity and its message about writers and their power or need to rewrite lives or truths, the latter of which writer Michel Tremblay handles more effectively than, say, Ian McEwan in Atonement. (McEwan is better at basic research, though — Tremblay obviously knows nothing about ballet lessons.)

Too bad the rest of For the Pleasure is mostly noise.

[Insert obligatory joke about the discomfort of seeing this play] It runs until Oct. 24, 2015.