Sunday, February 12, 2017

random thoughts on the 2017 grammy awards

It's time for my annual tradition of watching cool musical performances with some awards sprinkled in between. This year, for the first time in eons, LL Cool J is NOT hosting. This year, that "honor" goes to The Late, Late Show's James Cordon of "Carpool Karaoke" fame... let's see how well he can control this wild bunch..
  • Yay Adele is singing first! Can she just sing the whole time?
  • Okay the weird picture-in-picture thing going on on the screen behind her is super-annoying. Maybe they shouldn't have put the screen *right* behind her...
  • James Cordon's opening intro/dance disaster was less than funny.
  • His rapped monologue was good though.
  • J-Lo is getting political.. now you know we're in deep sh*t.
  • So John Travolta has finally admitted to not being able to read the teleprompter. (Two years too late.) Next, can he finally admit that's not his real hair?
  • The psychedelic scrolling background stolen from Real Player (or was it the Windows Music player?) behind Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood is hurting my eyes.
  • Twenty One Pilots missed the pantless LA Metro ride day by a month or so...
  • Jetsetter and one-man band Ed Sheeran.... from SNL to the Grammy stage in 16 hours (+ a 3-hour time change). I keep meaning to actually buy his music. He's awesome.
  • And David Bowie wins Best Rock Song for "Blackstar." #sniff
  • Since when do singer's moms get to do Grammy intros? I guess when they are Beyonce's mom...
  • So is this pregnancy going to be Bey's next concept album?
  • Um... how can these professional musicians (roped into a live Carpool Karaoke) NOT know the words to "Sweet Caroline"? Shame on you John Legend... for that, the two songs you're performing at the Oscars this year should lose. (Props to J-Lo for at least getting into the performance aspect.)
  • Bruno Mars looks like he's going to the Olympics.
  • And OMG.. I swear that triangle thing behind/above him is leftover from the NHL All-Star Game! #staplescenterhand-me-downs
  • If anyone can follow Beyonce, it's Katy Perry! Love the #resist armband! And The U.S. Constitution graphic. The fence makes more sense now. (Yes, it takes me a while...)
  • I'm really loving Gary Clark Jr. lately.... makes me wish I'd shown up earlier to the Foos concert he opened for on the Sonic Highways tour.
  • Adele performing the George Michael tribute. #love
  • Adele's luck with earpieces on Grammy live shows. #hate
    • Seen just now on the EW Twitter: "Only Adele could make the Grammy's start over." Yep. #queen
    • "I'm sorry. I can't mess this up for him." #sniff #love
    • She slayed. Beautiful.
  • Lady Gaga with Metallica. Not as odd as you'd think...
    • What is odd is James Hetfield's microphone not working. Someone's not getting hired as a sound tech again next year. 
  • Note: Demi Lovato was not alive when Stayin' Alive came out. Neither was Tori Kelly. Lady Antebellum was... well most of them.
  • How sad is it that they keep cutting to Barry Gibb.. the sole remaining Gibb. #sniff
  • Andra Day apparently thinks kimonos were big in the '70s. She wasn't alive then either.
  • Yay! Adele's "Hello" wins Song of the Year. #love
  • Cutting off her co-writer Greg Kurstin to intro a Tribe Called Quest #hate
  • The Prince tribute from The Time isn't nearly as sad as the George Michael tribute was... 
  • And now "Let's Go Crazy" -- my fave Prince song. Bruno has the look down. But he still reminds me more of Michael Jackson.
  • Bruno also has the guitar playing down. Wow!
  • Yay Adele's "Hello" wins Record of the Year! And yay Adele for calling the producers out for cutting Greg off last time!
  • Yay Adele's "25" wins Album of the Year! I love that album... shows her true beauty, heart and sass. #love

sunday funday: nature

Most Sunday mornings, my friend James and I go on a 3.5+ mile hike through Fryman Canyon. We've been rained (or Disneyland-ed) out the last few weeks. But today we were BACK and EVERYTHING was SO GREEN!!!  Fresh air, new life sprouting from the ground everywhere and pretty clear blue skies looking both West and East. It was gorgeous!

I can almost see my house from here! 






Saturday, February 11, 2017

sunday funday: main street electrical parade

If you can't be a Disney employee with a Silver Pass, the next best thing is having a friend who's a Disney employee with a Silver Pass... or Disneyland employee holiday party passes with an expiration date!

That was me last weekend, when my Disney employee friend Linda invited me, Daryl and James to drive to Anaheim on Superbowl Sunday (a historically very crowded day at the Park) to use her passes and free churro coupons! 

We each arrived with one specific thing we wanted to do at the Park, since we knew going in we wouldn't get to do much due to the crowds. My one thing was watching the "back for a limited time only" Main Street Electrical Parade

Some of my earliest memories of Disneyland include this parade. And while the theme song annoys some (Hi Daryl), I love it! In fact, I started jumping up and down like a little kid, bopping along to it as the parade approached our viewing spot in Town Square, at the end of the "early show" route.

video


Here are photos of some of my fave floats in all their light-bright glory. Enjoy :)

The lead float, driven by Goofy, with the main Mouse riding on top.







Cinderella's pumpkin with her Fairy Godmother riding shotgun. 

Peter Pan and Captain Hook battle it out!

Tinkerbell and pretty fauna.

Dopey driving the Dwarves sparkling haul down the route. 

The Elliot from Pete's Dragon float... this is one of my earliest memories of Disneyland from my first trip there when I was 4 or 5. I'm not sure if it's because he scared me or because I had the soundtrack record ;) 







all-star spectacular

For the second time since the opening of Staples Center, the LA Kings got to host the NHL All-Star Weekend this year, Saturday January 28th and 29th. 

Being me, I of course had to be there for both the All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday and the All-Star Game on Sunday. 

Here's a photo essay of the weekend-o-hockey-fun!

Saturday: Fan-Fair and the Skills Competition


Oh, hey Drew Doughty. You look a lot better up there than Crybaby Crosby does ;)


Because it's LA, we of course had an All-Star Weekend Sand Castle  :) 


My favorite All-Stars, for obvious reasons


In honor of the 20th Anniversary of Wayne's World, a pop-up Stan Mikita's All-Star Cafe was set up in front of the Fan Fair. They gave away free donuts (that tasted like Krispy Kreme) and hosted autograph sessions and player/celebrity panels every few hours. 


We just happened to arrive at the All-Star Cafe in time to catch the Great One (aka Wayne Gretzky) on a panel with Brett Hull and David Boreanez, talking about the All-Star Celebrity Shootout game Saturday afternoon they were all participating in. (Wayne was not as grumpy as he looks in this photo, I swear.)

We also caught Hall of Fame hotties Mike Modano and Chris Chelios signing autographs. (And I was super-annoyed when some lady who just showed up for the free donuts asked me who they were!)


The NHL Fan Fair had food, kids stuff, autograph lines I wasn't going to wait in, collectibles and a really cool display of all the NHL Awards. Here are the awards with LA Kings on them (minus the Stanley Cup.. you had to reserve time to see that up close).

The Norris Trophy for Best Defensemen, won by Rob Blake in 1998 (photo on right) 
and Drew Doughty last season.


The Selke Trophy for Best Defensive Forward, won by Anze Kopitar last season.


The Conn Smythe Trophy, for NHL Playoff MVP, won by Jonathan Quick in 2012 
and Justin Williams in 2014.


The Veznia Trophy, for Best Goaltender, never won by a King (yet... Jonathan Quick has been nominated twice). But I include it here because, seeing it close up, I noticed that is has a goalie net in the middle of it, which I think is pretty cool :)



The Jennings Trophy, given to the goaltender with the fewest goals against, 
won by Jonathan Quick in 2014


The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, for the player exhibiting the best sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct, won by Wayne Gretzky multiple times, and Anze Kopitar last season.


Inside of Staples Center decked out (see the walls below the restaurant) for the weekend with logos from all the teams and the names of the four divisions competing.


The pre-Skills Competition intros.



Jeff Carter (#77) and Drew Doughty (the 2nd #8), being from the host team LA Kings, were the last players introduced before the four fan-voted Captains.


Sunday: All-Star Game

Dreeeeew and Carts during warmups.






Prior to the game, the members of the "NHL 100" (who had been introduced in a ceremony Friday night) all walked onto the ice and were introduced one by one. This was probably the coolest moment of the weekend...seeing that caliber of talent all in one place at the same time, in their jerseys. #chills

The current All-Stars went down that line as they were introduced (they skated out from under that triangle thingy), shaking hands with each historic player. Then, after the anthems, the members of the 100, all dropped a puck to a current All-Star to start the game, performing the largest, most talented puck-drop in NHL history!



The final score of "Round 1" which sent my Pacific team to the Final Round against the Metropolitan division, who ended up beating them 4-3 (cuz they were coached by Gretzky ;p).





Sunday, January 22, 2017

marching for all of us

"We stand together in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country. 

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. 

We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us." 
 -- Women's March Los Angeles Mission Statement



Aerial view of #womensmarchla January 21, 2017 (Obviously not my photo.. I think this is from NCB4)

Saturday morning, at 7:45am, I joined my friends James and Linda and headed to the Universal Studio City metro station. We were going downtown to join the Women's March. I've never been to a political march before. I had no idea what to expect, and just hoped that there would be more of my like-minded people there to over-chant any opposing people. I hoped no one would get violent. And, bitchily, I hoped that worldwide more people would show up than had shown up at the inauguration the day before.

Well, based on the crowds of people milling about above the escalator to the underground metro tracks, any fears we had about a low turnout were immediately wiped away. The parking lot was also full... 2+ hours before the march was supposed to start. Luckily, James works across the street at Universal, so we parked at his office and then began the first trek of the day -- across the Universal/Lankershim pedestrian bridge -- and down to the trains.

When the first train headed downtown arrived from the one previous stop in North Hollywood, it was packed. No room for us. So we waved as it pulled away and waited for the next one. As it started to pull up, everyone on the platform cheered. We went to the front car and managed to get standing room in the aisle. Others followed us and soon our car was packed. And the one behind us and the one behind that. The conductor said the doors in the last car wouldn't close. People were packed in too close. After three or four requests, people moved and the doors closed. We were on our way...







When we pulled into the next stop -- Hollywood and Highland -- more people attempted to get on. Some did. Our car became a sardine can of humanity. But everyone was in good spirits so we cheered again as the train pulled away. Then, stop after stop, we looked sadly at all the people waiting on the platforms only to be denied entry. I doubt there has ever been a busier day on the LA underground Metro trains. It was like being in New York at rush hour. When we arrived at the 7th St/Metro stop, we had to force our way out of said-sardine can... all the downtown newbies were taking the train direct to Pershing Square stop (the next one) because that's where the march was starting. We decided to be rebels and walk three extra blocks, and hopefully find caffeine on the way...

All the people who didn't want to get off the train at 7th Street, and instead mass-exited into the mass of people in Pershing Square. 

Well, there would be no caffeine for me. The line at the Starbucks on the corner of 6th and Grand was about 100 people long. But, in the first of what would be many pleasant encounters that day, there were people handing out free water, bagels and coffee on the corner. If I liked coffee, I would've been set, but I don't so I gave up that idea and walked down the street towards Pershing Square. We made it as far as the first crosswalk at Olive and 6th a block away, where we stood for at least the next 45 minutes. 

We were surrounded by women and men, young people and old people, parents with kids in strollers and kids pushing their parents or grandparents in wheelchairs. All races seemed to be in attendance. Many, many people were holding signs (more on that later). And I've never been in a such a huge, crowd but felt so safe. The people in this crowd were more respectful than most people you meet in a given day... saying "Excuse me," "Sorry," and "Thank you" as they tried to work through the crowd to find their friends. They feeling was positive, hopeful and defiant at the same time.

                                       

Everyone was united in their mission -- to exercise our 1st Amendment rights to tell the new administration we won't stand by quietly as the president bullies, gaslights and disrespects just about everyone who's not a rich, white, male... and as he and his lackeys attempt to set the progress of the last eight years -- in terms of human rights and climate change -- back four decades.



About 45 minutes later we inched into the intersection. But as 10am came and went, we didn't really move. There was no where to march to. There were so many people there the crowds were gridlocked. Eventually people starting going in non-march route directions. We made our way into Pershing Square proper, and word started to filter through the crowd that City Hall was already packed and we wouldn't fit if we marched there.

We debated leaving... it was 11am by that point. But we ended up marching back the way we came down 6th Street, then we joined a crowd heading up Grand Ave. towards the Music Center and Grand Park. There were people with drums. There was an actual organized group (Citizens For Civil Discourse) chanting multiple different slogans.. the most repeated of the day being "Hey Hey, Ho, Ho. Donald Trump has got to go," "Love Trumps Hate" and "This is what democracy looks like." When we reached 5th and Grand, it was a just a sea of people looking down both streets. It was really amazing!



Marchers cross the intersection of 5th and Grand Ave. in Downtown LA near LA Central Library (in the background.) Love the "No More Mr Nice Gay" and "Free Melania" signs. There were MANY "Free Melania" signs yesterday....

People for blocks from Grand Ave. down 5th Street to the other side of Pershing Square.

A sea of people united goes for blocks and blocks down Grand Ave. in Downtown LA. This wasn't the official route. We had to break off and head up Hope in order to escape the human gridlock surrounding Pershing Square and head towards Grand Park and City Hall.


I had to leave at noon to go meet my new baby niece in Lake Elsinore. So I never made it to the finish line at City Hall. (By the number of people I saw having early lunches on my way back to the metro with their signs sitting in restaurant windows, it's safe to say I wasn't the only one who didn't make it there.)

But I left feeling incredibly inspired and hopeful by the smart, creative, respectful people making up that crowd of 750,000 Los Angelinos.  (More than at the inauguration and 250,000 more than the March in DC!)

And since we didn't do a ton of actual marching, the day actually turned into a "who has the coolest protest sign" photo opportunity for the three of us. They were all so creative and funny and serious and thoughtful. Made me feel kinda lame about my sign...


Here are many of the signs I saw and loved yesterday (did I say there were many?) ;)  



































And my favorite marchers of the day with their signs...




Finally, here's a link to the New York Times, showing images from the Women's March around the world.

Sadly, since I left the march yesterday, the current administration appears to have started using George Orwell's 1984 as a playbook, instead of the cautionary tale it was intended as. They are directly attacking freedom of the press and spouting tales of "alternative truth" bs. I have a feeling I'm going to be needing more signs... (and the LA Metro is going to need a LOT more trains!)