Yet again, it's been forever since I did anything real with my own journal. So, here's a "quick" update. Wicked:
Amy & I went to see Wicked
in Philly a little while back, and it was incredible. It's been a while since we've gotten to see a professional musical, which is a little surprising since we used to go so often. At any rate, I'd heard the CD over and over, but hearing the songs performed live really made them more meaningful. Plus, it's nearly impossible to understand the full plot of the play from just the soundtrack (you also miss the fact that Glinda is quite the cheerleader on speed). The costuming and sets were simply breathtaking...it was a spectacle all around. Two thumbs way up! Interestingly, on the night we went, the role of Elphaba's talking-goat-teacher from school was performed by K. Todd Freeman, who played the recurring role of Mr. Trick on Buffy the Vampire Slayer's third season. (I felt silly reading through the soundtrack liner notes the first time, as I had never picked up on the fact that the Wicked Witch's name in the book/play, Elphaba, was created by combining the sounds of L. Frank Baum's initials.)
We got our tickets a little over three months ahead of time, so naturally there were almost no seats left. I found some on the floor, but in the slightly raised area on the side where we were next to a pole. It didn't block our view at all fortunately, so no loss there. It turned out to be some of the best seats we've ever had for a play. Also, the sound quality is much better down there. We've been on the second & third balconies before to see other shows, and we could barely understand anything at all. We'll definitely have to stay lower from now on.
Everything is coming out soon. I'm waiting expectantly for new albums from Stuart Davis, The Dresden Dolls, Regina Spektor, as well as a couple of others. The Dresden Dolls CD came out this week actually, but we ordered it from Amazon and need to wait for it to arrive. When I get new albums, I always have to find time to devote my full attention to them. I can't put a new album on (at least one I've been waiting to hear), and just listen to it in the background while I do something else. That'll just bug some deep part of me. No, I have to set aside a little time with the album and the lyrics sheets and take in all the music and lyrics to the best of my ability...maybe light a few candles...pour a couple of glasses of wine. You get the idea. At least the first time anyway. I don't want to half hear or half understand music from an artist I know I respect. Until I can really listen
, I try to avoid hearing it at all. Crazy? Yes, but not the scary kind. (At least I like to think so.)
We went to the Regina Spektor show at the TLA last weekend, and it was phenominal. That she can perform so amazingly with only a keyboard, a guitar, a drumstick, and a chair boggles the mind. I kept watching her hands while she played and was astonished that she's not even playing very many chords. It's mostly just single notes to add to the sound of her voice a little. Wow! She's one, like the Indigo Girls, that I could sit and listen to all night long, never wanting the concert to end. I know the album coming out has a lot more instrumentation than normal, but what I've heard already still keeps me excited that nothing is going to overwhelm that beautiful alto voice of hers.
Amy & I picked up one of our puzzles again. We used to work on puzzles all the time a few years ago, but I don't even remember the last one we did. Right now, we're putting together a puzzle with no borders, 5 extra pieces that we know won't fit anywhere, recurring patterns, and the actual puzzle image isn't displayed anywhere on the box for you to compare it with. Now that's a challenge. It's been fun to flop on the floor together and work on it a little each night. We can put on music and drink tea and talk while working on this in the background. We normally talk all the time anyway. Talking with Amy is one of the things I look forward to every time I'm stuck at work or she's out visiting people. But, it's also nice to work on something fun while we talk. Besides, every time we play any of our games - any
of them - she seriously kicks my ass, so it's nice to be on the same side.
Puzzles are one of those things that keep my brain feeling stimulated. I really enjoy watching them slowly take shape. Plus, working on them makes use of my tendency (usually seen only while gaming) to finish every last bit of something - and put it into something fun for both of us. (Not that finding every jewel, trophy, coin, or whatever in every game I play isn't fun for me, but the rabid, pointless obsession is somewhat lost on Amy).
Unlike this time last year, we actually have grass. This is a big source of joy for me. Sure, it still has patches here and there, but they're small, and I know we'll get them fixed with a little more time. It took nearly five years to get the yard at our old house in great shape, so I'll see this thing through as long as it takes (although sooner is always preferable to later). The fact that our house is built on top of a swampy bog and all of our soil is clay the consistency of Silly Putty tends not to help matters much. I just want to do what I can now
while the temperatures are not unbearable or the lawn too dried out to improve.
Amy, as always, has done a terrific job planning out our flower beds. I love watching all our plantings from last year raise their heads again - seeing each one burst back to life. I'm very excited by the new acquisitions this year as well. It'll be wonderful when the new plants get settled in and start to spread out. I think our garden has a terrific amount of potential. Plus, giving up on the red cedar mulch we've always used and going entirely over to black licorice root was a stroke of genius on her part. Everything looks much better everywhere. I always used to enjoy the color of the cedar, but it faded rather quickly and tended to wash away quite easily. The licorice root looks much more natural and sets off the color of the plants and flowers much better.
Anywho, that's all for now. I'll try not to be a stranger so much, but I'm not making any guarantees.