Two Wild and Crazy Guys!

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That’s me there on the right. My chest hair is coming in nicely, don’t you think?

“Hey, do you want to go to a movie tonight?” I said early Saturday morning to my husband, as we were about to leave for my son’s flag football game.  “We don’t have anything planned for later this evening and haven’t gone out in forever.  Maybe we can even stop at the casino afterwards for a bit.”

“Sure, why not?” he responded.

So, I set up childcare for that evening (easy when you have a live in au pair who apparently feels guilty that she gets to sleep all day while my kids are at school, and offers to watch them on the weekend all the time, only to be finally taken up on that offer this night), and looked for movies that were playing.

After the game, while sitting at lunch with the kids at Panera, the hubs and I reviewed the movie options and settled on American Hustle, since it had received good reviews and been nominated for a bunch of awards.  It had been so long since we had seen a movie that didn’t have animated characters singing about letting things go, that we were really looking forward to a nice adult film.  Not like that!  Head out of the gutter, stay with me here folks . . .

Later that evening, once all of the errands were run, and the kids’ hairs were properly shorn, and a few more Christmas boxes were relocated from the living room floor to the storage room (don’t judge), we set off for our big night out!  I had earlier asked the hubs if he wanted to do dinner as well, but he declined.  I didn’t challenge it because we were both dieting and had been eating like crap lately.  Instead, we just got some bottles of water and a big bag of popcorn at the movie theater.  The movie, as is the norm it seems, started after 25 minutes of previews, none of them particularly noteworthy.  But then, once the movie finally started, we settled in for some fine quality entertainment.

Eight hours later, it seemed, I looked at my watch and realized we were only an hour and a half in.  Fifteen minutes later I looked again, thinking that it must be morning by now at least.  I leaned over to the hubs and asked, “is this the longest movie ever made, or is it just me?”  “It’s not just you,” he responded.  “Plus, I really have to pee!”

What seemed like a week and a half later, the movie ended and we walked out of the theater having aged a few years and gained a couple hundred extra grey hairs.  Rather than go to the casino, as we had planned, we were ready to go home and go to bed, even though it was only ten o’clock at night.  As we left the building and walked to the car, the hubs asked me if I liked the movie.

“NO!  I did not!  Damn it.”  He just laughed.  I don’t think either of us really had to ask that question of the other.

Rather than limping home disappointed, we decided to rally and go over to the local casino.  We didn’t have a lot of cash, but the last couple times we had visited this very same venue, we had walked away with more than we brought, so we were hoping our luck would be the same.

It was not.  Every machine we played sucked down our money like a greedy toddler being handed cotton candy.  Slurp, munch, giggle.  It was brutal. We jumped around, trying to find something that would at the very least let us play a little, but luck was definitely not in our favor that evening.  So, we decided to quit while we were ahead.  And by ahead, I mean behind and broke.

As we were leaving, we realized that we were both very hungry.  Splitting a bag of popcorn 3 hours earlier apparently didn’t sustain us for the night.  Rather than wait until we got home, we decided to drive around to see if anything was open so we could grab some food.  Nothing was.  Except, that is, a 24 hour Safeway.  Figuring they would have some pre-made sandwiches that we could quickly grab, we decided to give it a shot.

And they did have lots of pre-made sandwiches for us to choice from, so that was good.  The hubs grabbed a buffalo chicken wrap and I got a turkey and cheese sandwich on a roll.  When we got in the car and unwrapped our finds, I realized that mine had one tiny piece of turkey and a slice of american cheese within the large roll, and the hubs realized that his was pretty much inedible.  He took about 3 bites before he put it down and started making blech hrrrk blech noises, indicating that is really tasted horrible, while I actually ate most of my bread sandwich.  It was a pretty pathetic end to an otherwise disappointing night.

So, as you can see, we party like rock stars.  Anyone want to do a double date next week?

Shenanigans with Val: Elf, Old Lady Beatdowns & Hipster Bars (Part 1)

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Here it is.  The moment you all have been waiting for . . . the recap of Val‘s most recent visit.  Well, at least the first half of it.  It was, as always, the most epic of days, which means we packed a ton of epicness into a small amount of hours.  So, I’m gonna have to split this thing up so as to do the entire story justice.

We begin our story with both of us arriving in Baltimore, where we would spend the next 24 hours, traveling in and around the city.  Somehow, she beat me there, even with her mandatory stop at Waffle House, and the fact that I only live a little less than an hour away.  Normally, I’m waiting for her ass, so this was different.  However, I found her comfortably ensconced in a nice lounge chair in the lobby, and didn’t make her wait too long.  Once we checked into our room and changed into our good, theater-going clothes, we set off to our first planned destination . . . Elf: the Musical.

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When Val and I first decided that this would be the day she would once again grace my fair state with her awesomeness, as always, I did my due diligence to see what was going on.  When I found out that Elf would be in Baltimore that weekend, it was decided.  I asked Val how she felt about it, she responded “smiling is my favorite,” and we were off!

When we arrived at the theater, we obtained some beverages, lest we get parched during the long performance, and then found our seats.  They were excellent seats, about 12 rows back and right in the middle.  Perfect view.  When the show started, we were so excited.  The first thing we saw was Santa, and we were like two little girls on Christmas morning again.  “It’s Santa!  I know him.”  We were giddy with excitement.  When Buddy came out, who looked like a six foot tall Martin Short but sounded exactly like Kenneth from 30 Rock, we were already completely enchanted and in love with the show.  It was like the movie, but just different enough to make it fun.  And musical, of course.

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Being super excited and stoked to be there, and loving everything about the show, we occasionally made a comment to each other about some of the funny or interesting parts of the show.  But quiet-like, because we have class, dammit.  And we were laughing at all the funny parts, of which there were many.  Well, apparently, our joviality and friendship highly offended the woman to my left, because about 40 minutes into the show, I suddenly found myself face to very ugly mug with the meanest and nastiest person ever.  She thrust her puss right into my personal space and proclaimed:  “If you two don’t cut it out, I’m going to call the manager and report you!”  Commence my shocked look towards Val to see if this was for real happening.  “I’m getting really sick of your shit!”  Holy crap, I think that really DID just happen.  What the hell do we do now?

Yeah.  We were actually and totally struck speechless.  Us.  That NEVER happens!  We just could not even believe that someone would actually be offended that we were enjoying ourselves and laughing at a musical comedy, and would so nastily and rudely tell us to stop having fun.  We weren’t bothering her in any way, but apparently she was a very angry elf.

After we recovered from our initial shock (and wondered to each other if we were allowed to laugh any more), we were pissed.  At intermission, Val was pretty much set on beating her ass at the end of the show.  However, that mean old Grinch was just lucky that she was as fast as she was mean, because she raced away from those seats the second the show was over, and Val was unable to catch her.  Probably best, or we would have spent the rest of the day at the police station.

Once we escaped (barely) having not murdered anyone, we took a quick trip back to the hotel room to change into a bit less fancy duds.  It would be the last we would see of our lovely hotel room for the next 12 hours or so.  However, we were unaware of that at the time, so we did not dally.  We turned right around to head out to dinner.  We had made plans to meet another blogger, who lives locally, for drinks and some food before we went off to our next destination.  (Yes, we were very busy girls that day).

When I set up our meeting place with Bluz, he checked out the locale online and immediately balked at the idea of going to a “hipster bar,” averring that he was decidedly “unhip.”  Reassuring him that I had no idea of the restaurant’s hipster status when I chose it, but that I only chose it because I had reviewed the menu and was intrigued by the offerings, and also that it was within walking distance of our hotel, I convinced him that his non-skinny jeans wearing ass would be just fine.  Plus, I had Val.  He would have met us in Satan’s bathroom if that’s where we were headed.

And actually, he almost got his wish for a different joint, since we arrived there before him and were gonna text him to meet us across the street at a beer garden that looked rad, but that was right before the bartender got his hooks into us and realized we were easy.  No, not like that!  We’re ladies, yo.  But he offered us a free shot, so we had no choice but to stay.  Free booze?  Um, yes please.  I mean, obviously.  We have class.

Oh, and did I mention that we spent most of the time making fun of him?  The bartender, that is, not Bluz.  I mean, what else could we do when he tried to get all fancy by flipping bottles, and then ended up dropping one.  And then there was the attempted selfie (he was supposed to be taking a pic of us), where he just looks like he’s eating his thumb.

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Plus, he patently refused to light our shots on fire!  What kind of crappy bartender was he, anyway?  Damn.  I mean, it didn’t stop me from pimping out my good friend Val to him, so that he may actually own her now and have her living in a pit in his basement.  As long as she just keeps putting on the lotion, she should be fine.  Besides, I’m not worried about her.  She’s a tough bitch.  She’ll be wearing his skin by the end of the week.

Once we finished our food and drinks and lovely conversation, we had to say adieu to our friend Bluz, so that we could head on over to our next destination . . . a haunted pub crawl in a historic seaside area known for its lively nightlife.  Oh yeah, it was on.

Alas, my dear readers, this is where I must leave off on this marvelous tale.  I will continue with the second half, and thrilling conclusion, later this week.  And just to give you a taste, there will be . . . beard biting, top hats and canes, and much late night (early morning) drunken shenanigans.  Pretty sure you are not surprised by that last part.  Until then . . . . .

The Big Apple Bites Back

As I mentioned last week, the hubs and I took a little trip to New York City this past weekend for our anniversary.  The original plan was to just go up Saturday afternoon and return Sunday morning, but he figured out a way to cut his trip to Brazil short, thus enabling us to get up there Friday night.  This allowed us to do a few extra things, such as have sushi that night at a really great place I had eaten at 2 years prior, sleep in on Saturday, and have all day to explore the city.  All good things.

Once we dragged our tired asses out of bed Saturday morning (the first number on the clock may have been a double digit), the hubs ran across the street to one of about 4 Starbucks on that block, and returned with a much needed latte . . . and a few other things:

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He may have felt a little bad about not really getting me a present (I told him no gifts), since I got him a car and all, so he picked up some chocolates, a tiny cab and a card to go with the latte.  I assured him that we were fine since he was basically giving me NYC for my anniversary, and that was enough, but he’s a gifter.  He can’t help it.

The day was off to an auspicious start as we headed out from the hotel towards 30 Rock to go to the Top of the Rock.  I had never really done the touristy thing in NYC, since the one and only time I was there, 2 years ago at BlogHer, my time was filled with conferencing and some brief walking around (I did get to experience Times Square, which was enough for a lifetime!).  So, this time, I wanted to do as many touristy things as time allowed.  First stop was the closest super tall building we could find, so I could get a view of the whole city.

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See?  Proof that I was there!  You even get to see the view from up top!  What?  Ok, fine . . . here’s the real thing:

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View of Empire State building and Lower Manhattan

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View of Central Park and Upper Manhattan

And speaking of Central Park . . . that was to be our next destination.  That was the one place that I regret not having the chance to visit the last time I was in NYC, because it was a mere 3 blocks away.  I just never had the time or opportunity.  So, we descended from the 60-something stories of 30 Rock, and landed in the bowels of the building, only to come out on top of the ice skating rink!  It wasn’t quite open yet, but they were preparing it, so it was close.  But I was happy to at least get to see it, even if I didn’t get to skate.  It will happen, damnit!  Someday . . .

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How much did I want to leap onto that Zamboni and ride around the rink? Yeah, that would be A LOT.

On our way to Central Park, we stopped at a Jamba Juice and picked up some smoothies and sandwiches, so we could cop a squat in Central Park and eat a late lunch.  Our dinner reservations weren’t until 11:00 that night (after the show), so we figured we’d eat something and hoped it would do us until dinner (it didn’t).  We opted not to take a horse drawn carriage ride, and instead just hoofed it into the park ourselves, where we parked our derrieres on a grassy knoll and ate our little lunch.  It was pretty bizarre being surrounded by trees and grass and huge rocks and streams, then looking up behind us and seeing massive buildings towering over our heads.  Surreal.  As we walked further in to the Park (which is massive by the way), we began to see some very Central Parky type things.  Basically, if you’ve seen a TV show or movie shot in NYC, you’ve probably seen these things at some point.  This is a very famous walk:

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And this next picture just screams Central Park to me.  As in, this is exactly what I envision when someone says “Central Park,” even though I have never previously been:

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At this point, we realized that we needed to start heading back to the hotel so we would have enough time to get ready for the show.  We only made it about a quarter of the way into the Park , so I definitely want to return and get to experience the rest at some point.  Did I mention that it’s huge?  Yeah.

When we got back to our hotel room, this was waiting for us:

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Very beautiful, and from my husband.  Gorgeous roses, a bottle of really good champagne (we’ll get to that), and my favorite . . . chocolate covered strawberries.

Now, I’m not usually a big champagne drinker, but I figured I’d open it and we could have a glass while getting ready for the show.  But let’s go back and review, shall we?  Because this is where it starts to get interesting . . .

– A latte for breakfast
– Smallish sandwich and smoothie for lunch
– Lots and lots of walking around the streets of New York City

Add all of those together, and you will get two pretty hungry people with empty stomachs.  Even though we had not planned it, we decided to order some room service, since we didn’t think we’d make it until 11:00 without some food.  Well, that was a debacle, as they forgot one of the two things we ordered, so we ended up having to split an ahi tuna wrap.  Which was fine, because that, along with a few strawberries, basically tided us over.  Oh yeah, and we also drank the entire bottle of champagne.  It was just really really good, so I kept pouring more glasses.  We split the bottle, but honestly I probably had 4 glasses to his 3.

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Sooooo good.

Once we were all clean and dressed purdy, we decided to take a cab to the theater.  Now, we definitely could have walked, as it was really only about 6 blocks away (big NYC blocks, but still), but I was wearing some super high heels and didn’t want to take the chance of killing myself trying to hurry in those things, or killing my feet by walking too much.  So, cab it was.  Although, we ended up having to walk about 3 blocks anyway, because the cab driver had no idea where he was going, so at one point we just got out and walked it.  We made it with just enough time to get to the bar, get a “double” glass of wine in a sippy cup, and settle into our 12 inch wide seats for the show (seriously, I got real cozy with the stranger to my left.  In some cultures, we are now betrothed).

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Well, the wine was delicious (and gone by the intermission) and the show was hysterical.  I would highly recommend it, unless you are easily offended, especially by any religious satire, because holy hell, they really go far out there with it.  I loved it.  The hubs . . . not so much.

Once the show was over, we really needed to book it to the restaurant.  In fact, we were so worried about making it on time, and trying to find a cab to get us there, we had to turn down the very generous offer of a backstage tour after the show from a friend’s husband who works sound for the show.  I was so sad, but the hubs was really nervous, so I deferred to his OCDness and we just left right after the end of the show.  We did, in fact, have some trouble finding a cab, so we started walking a bit, hoping we could get one once away from the theater and everyone else who was trying to get one.  However, once we started walking, we realized that we were not that far away, and that we had enough time . . . so we foregoed the cab and just kept walking, which was not the original plan.

So, of course . . . I twisted my ankle and fell onto the sidewalk.  Because, of course.  But, I soldiered on, and we eventually made it to the restaurant.  Where I ran to the bathroom to check the carnage, and saw this:

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So sexy.  And yes, the stockings came right off and were placed into the trash right there at the restaurant.  Because I’m classy like that.

When I returned to our table in the restaurant, the hubs had ordered us a celebratory glass of champagne.  Which was not quite as delicious as the one in the hotel, but was still quite tasty.  Especially after all that walking (and falling).  Then, we ordered a 3 course prix fixe with a wine pairing for each course.  The dishes were delicious and the wines matched perfectly.  However, by the time I got to my third course, I began to realize something . . . I was drunk.  Seriously, it just sort of hit me like . . .  whoa!  Looking back, it was not that surprising, as I had consumed about 3 bottles of wine so far that night, with very little to eat at that point.  The hubs was quite surprised, though, saying “but you train for this!”  But I had to remind him that one glass of wine 3-4 nights a week does not constitute “training” for that level of drinking.  It’s like someone merely training for double A college sports and then told they will be going to the Olympics!  As you might imagine, we cabbed it back to the restaurant and I fell asleep soon after.

But that is not the end of the story!  Oh no . . . because when I woke up the next morning, I discovered this on my upper left arm:

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A HUGE complete and total mystery bruise!  I have no idea where it came from, the hubs had no clue, and I never blacked out or anything the night before, nor do I remember even bumping into anything at all.  When I fell, it was straight to my knee (as you can see above), and I didn’t hit my arm in the slightest.  I have no idea what this is or where it came from!  It is truly bizarre.

So, all in all I would say it was a pleasant trip to NYC.  Despite the falling and the drunkenness and the mystery bruising (!), it was otherwise a fun and enjoyable trip.  I can’t wait to return to do the dozens of other touristy things there are to do there!  What a great city.  I just hope next time, I leave with less blood loss.

The Quest to Fall Out

The first time I dialed, I received a busy signal.  That was normal.  I was not deterred.  The second call was met with ringing.  Wait.  But it never rings.  That’s odd.  After three tones I heard a voice . . . “HFS.”  A bit too shocked to comprehend the meaning of those three little letters, I responded as if I had never used a phone before.  “Hello?”

“Hi!” was the response I received.  Starting to realize what this meant, I started talking.  I have no memory of what I said next, but it was apparently enough to convey that I did indeed know why I was calling, I was a cognizant and vocally able individual, and yes please, I would love the prize.

Concert tickets.  Along with a meet and greet before the show.  And even a possibility (although this was not firm yet) of a private show prior to the concert.

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Holy cow!  This was awesome.  Best day ever!  My luck is turning around.  Things are looking up!

But then it got a lot less awesome.  Obviously, not being forward thinking enough to listen to any details before my hot little fingers furiously dialed in to the radio station, I had to ask the DJ when and where the show was.  Tuesday night.  In Virginia.  “And the meet and greet is early, so you should probably take the day off. ”

Hold on now, what’s this you say?  I just wanted to go to a concert, not have to invest an entire day into this whole endeavor.  But, at that moment, all of those were just details.  Because I won.  I won.  That just doesn’t happen.  So, this was a good day.

I arrived home to share the news with my husband.  He was happy for me, but luke warm about the entire prospect.  He would not be able to escort me, since he already had plans to be out of town.  Although, if I had won Kenny Chesney tickets, I bet those plans would have changed.  But regardless, I was now in a position of needing to find a date.  So, I started texting friends.  And began to get many rejections.  For many different reasons.  Childcare issues, Back to School night, Surprise Going Away Party, work meetings, unchangeable doctor’s appointments, etc.  Apparently, this was a very busy Tuesday night for all of my friends and family.  (Either that or they were all coming up with very different and creative ways to blow me off).

It was getting very frustrating.  And I was starting to get worried, and feared that it was hopeless.  I began thinking that I would either have to go by myself, which was not a concept I embraced, or not go at all.  It seemed as if my luck had not turned around at all.  And this would be the second time that I wouldn’t see the band perform whilst having tickets.

Two weeks prior, they played at the State Fair.  I had bought tickets, good seats as well.  But when the night arrived, there was just no possible way that we were going to be able to go.  It was impossible.   And here I was again, in possession of presumably good seats to see this very same band, and needing to forego them because I could not find anyone who wanted to go.

Then I received an email from the DJ with details for the day.  Arrive by 2:45 to meet the band.  Get your tickets there.  Oh, and by the way, they will play a private show just for the winners before the concert.

Damn, this was a game changer.  I had to go to this thing.  Even alone if necessary.  Because while the meet and greet was no big deal, since I’m not a squeeing teenaged fangirl of the band members, I did love their music.  Seeing a private and intimate performance from the band would be a once in a lifetime experience.  Not to be missed.

But 2:45 was early.  So very early in the day.  I would basically have to take a half day to ensure I arrived at that time.  DC traffic is notoriously awful at all times of the day.  All I would need was one backup and I’d be done.

But I had to do it.  There was no other option.  Now, I just needed to find someone to go with me!  Getting desperate, I posted on both of my facebook accounts (private and blog), offering anyone who could do it the chance to go with me and see the band.  I will neither confirm nor deny the fact that I also offered up the opportunity to molest the lead singer.  Nevertheless, I had zero takers, unless you count my former au pair who now lives in Venezuela and another friend who lives in Oregon.  So, basically nobody.

And then I finally got a bite.  I had texted my niece to see if she could make it, and she was very wishy washy about the whole thing.  Then, I let her know about the private show, and she was onboard.  She would make it happen.  She just had to pawn off her nephews to her parents for babysitting and get a substitute teacher for her class.  No sweat!

The day of the show, I somehow arrived at the venue very quickly, although already a bit sweaty because it was 95* outside and the A/C in my car is broken.  Nevertheless, I was there on time, met my niece there, and rendezvoused with the other winners and DJ.  We were all very excited and ready!  So, after some ridiculousness involving trekking all the way around the stadium (did I mention it was really hot?) to go down to the band entrance and go into a very nicely air conditioned lobby, only to be unceremoniously kicked back out into the sweltering heat because security had to show us their big balls, we eventually were escorted inside and into a room.  Within thirty seconds, the band came walking right in.  I had never seen them in person before, and my first impression of them was that they were very wee.  Like teeny tiny boys.  I wanted to just grab all of them and stick them in my pockets.  They were precious and adorable.

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Fall Out Boys

As they entered the room, one of the guys joked with us that we looked like we were lined up for a firing squad (we had all been told to sit on all these window seat benches against the wall, and we were good little lemmings, so we did).  Then, he went on to say that the lead singer wasn’t going to speak because he had voice issues and was saving his voice for the concert, so if he wasn’t singing on stage, he was mandated not to make a peep.  Now, you might have some clue as to what this portends, but at that moment, nothing registered in my noggin that foretold trouble and disappointment.  But we’ll get there.

The band was awesome.  Very laid back and personable.  Accessable and gracious.  Fun and funny.  I met them, got my picture taken with them (after which I thanked them, to which they responded with a very genuine, “no, thank you.”), and got them to autograph my CD case.  There were about twenty of us, and they took pictures and signed things for all of us.  It was very nice.  And very quick.

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Before we knew it, we were being asked to leave the room and were sent back out into the heat.  Wondering what the itinerary was for the rest of the day, I asked the DJ.  He very deftly avoided my question and moved away.  Hmmm, that’s odd.  But I did not have long to wait for the answer to my question.  He got everyone’s attention and announced that since the lead singer was saving his voice for the stage, that meant that they had to cancel the private concert.

I was crushed.  What a disappointment.  We were all a little shell shocked at that point.  I mean, we met the band and that was cool, and we still had the concert to attend much later in the night, but . . . The private concert was a once in a lifetime event.  And we were so looking forward to it.  But, it was not to be.

But, we had to rally.  So, my niece and I hooked up with another pair of winners, drove to a local sushi restaurant, had some food and drinks and chatted away the time, and then returned to see the show.  The original plan was to leave soon after the band went on, thinking that we lived very far away, we both had to work the next day, and anyway, we were going to get to see them play their songs before the concert just for us, so who needed the concert for the masses?  Yeah, well we ended up staying until right before the first encore. I hated to leave, because the concert was incredible, but we had to start our long trek home, as we had been there for almost eight hours.  As for the lead singer’s voice, you could tell he was strained on some of the higher registers, but you could only tell if you knew he had an issue.  Otherwise, it was fabulous.

I was finally able to see the band in concert, so that’s a relief.  But the addendum to this story is that laryngitis and I are officially fighting, and the band owes us a private show.  I’m holding them to that.  Whether they know of this or not.

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Beach ball-apalooza

As You Wish: A Movies Teach Us Guest Post

Today I’m phoning it in over here visiting another (now recently Freshly Pressed!) site, and spewing forth my witty writerly skills on someone else’s unsuspecting blog.  Thoughtsy, over at Thoughts Appear, is travelling this week for business, so rather than allow her lovely blog to be neglected while she’s away, collecting spider webs and dust, she enlisted the assistance of some of her blogging buddies to do guest posts in her Movies Teach Us series. 

When she asked if I wanted to join in on the festivities, at first, I was at a loss.  The last movie I can remember seeing without computer generated talking animals was probably . . . Titanic?  Yeah, maybe not quite that far back, but it’s been a while at least.  I had recently purchased a movie on DVD that I was hoping to be able to watch at some point.  You know, like maybe sometime over the summer.  But that wouldn’t do.  That damn demanding Thoughtsy . . . she actually wanted a post for this week, meaning I’d have to watch the movie, have it teach me some crap, and then regurgitate those lessons into a somewhat coherent blog post.  So much pressure!!

But then . . . a lightbulb moment.  I realized that I didn’t have to pick some new release or cinematic masterpiece.  I could delve into the recesses of my mind and pull out some crusty dusty memories of when I used to actually go to the movies and enjoy films.  You know, back in the 80’s.

So, this is why you will be treated (ahem) to the lessons from a classic film from my childhood . . . The Princess Bride.

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Head on over to Thoughtsy’s joint to read the post there

Bye bye.  Have fun storming the castle!!

Make ’em Laugh

Last week was tough.  There were deaths, explosions, maiming, manhunts and lockdowns.  The entire country seemed to be in a state of shock and depression, and I was no exception.  So, by the end of the week, I was really glad that I had scored some tickets to go see Kathy Griffin.  We really needed some comedy in the midst of the non-stop horrors being replayed on the 24 hour news stations. 

We left the house with every intention of getting downtown with enough time to grab some sushi at a nearby restaurant.  An accident, closed street and 20 extra minutes of traffic via a detour derailed that plan.  So, we headed straight to the theater, and instead decided to drink.  Seemed like a valid alternative.

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I found it interesting that a bar in a theater that regularly has operatic performances serves Jello Shots.  And no, I didn’t get one, but I was tempted.  I instead had the Caramel Apple Martini.  In a plastic cup.  It was classy.  But also delicious!

When we found our seats, we realized that we had somehow ended up with pretty good ones.  We were about 5th row centerish, which was unexpected.  See, I ordered the tix months ago through Groupon, so I had no idea what I was getting, especially at half price!  But we were hooked up. 

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After a few minutes, a pair of girls sat down beside me.  I happened to overhear them mention something about getting the same deal, and asked them if they also got tickets from Groupon.  They said yes, and we started chatting about the great and unexpected seats.  I talked to them for a bit.  They were very . . . vivacious.  At one point, I turned to the hubs and said, “look at me being social!”  I could tell by the reluctant momentary glance away from CNN.com on his iPhone, that he was very impressed with my feigned extraversion.  At one point in our conversation, I happened to notice the top of one of the girls’ foot.  There was a face there.  I remarked about how cool it was, thinking she would tell me it was her boyfriend or husband or something.  Nope.

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In case you can’t tell, that’s a picture of James Dean.  On the top of her foot.  That just seems . . . painful.  She had another face on the top of her other foot as well.  Any guesses as to whose face might be there?  You know what . . . I’m not going to tell you.  I’ll let you try to figure it out . . .

Once Kathy came out, we were pretty much ready to get our laugh on.  And she didn’t disappoint.  She is basically one of those people who you either love or hate, I’ve found.  So, I’ve included a video of some of the performance, and if you are so inclined, you can see some of her show below.  (Warning:  NSFW).

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(Click picture for video)

photoAfter the show, we were pretty much starving, since we hadn’t had dinner yet, and it was approaching 11:00 at night.  So, we figured we would revisit the sushi place we had initially had our sights set on.  The only problem was, according to their website, they closed at 11:00.  It was 10:45.  We had to hurry.  When we arrived, they didn’t want to serve us, but we noted that it was still 15 minutes until they closed, that we were starving, and that we would order right away.  They graciously allowed us to come in.  We quickly ordered some rolls, and within a couple of minutes, except for the waitress, we were the only people in the place.  It was a little strange.

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After 11:00, we started noticing something else a little strange.  A very raucous noise that sounded like it was coming from the basement of the place.  We soon discovered why the wait staff was so keen on shutting the doors at 11:00.  Apparently, that was when the karaoke started downstairs.  It was . . . loud.  And not entirely pleasant.   Pretty much exactly how karaoke is supposed to be.  So, as we finished our delicious rolls, we were serenaded by some incredibly poor singers, that apparently did not understand the concept of reading the words of the song they were attempting to sing.  There was a lot of mumbling is what I’m saying.  And then!  Then, a guy started making what can only be described as ear shattering and soul crushing noises.  We deciphered that it was supposed to be Never Gonna Give You Up.  Wow.

But look at me!  Being all selfish.  I mean, why should I be the only one to experience the gloriousness that was this singer’s voice?  No, that would just be wrong.  In fact, when I was listening to this sweet serenade of Rick Astley’s wonderful hit song, I was thinking, “you know who would really enjoy this?  Everyone!”  So, that’s when I hit record.  You’re welcome!

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Not that anyone asked, I’m sure, but immediately after this stirring rendition of the song, the gentleman decided to perform an encore.  That was pretty much our cue to flee the premises.  I don’t think we could take that . . . twice.

It’s a Major Award!!

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The first time I saw A Christmas Story, I was 8 years old.  And I hated it. Well, I didn’t really hate it. But, unfortunately, I was a very impressionable and meek young girl who was eager to please. Obviously, this was before I became a teenager.

Christmas of 1983 was spent in Arizona, visiting with my grandparents.  One day, during this holiday season in the desert, my grandparents decided to take me to see this new Christmas movie that had just come out in theaters.  So there I was, sitting in a dark theater, about the same age as the main character I was watching on the big screen, and first experiencing the gloriousness that was A Christmas Story.  Obviously, I didn’t understand a lot of the more adult humor, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

However, when the movie was over, my grandparents asked me what I thought about it.  And feeling very nervous and on the spot, I told them I didn’t really know.  It was then that they told me how much they hated it and how they thought it was incredibly stupid and horrible.  They railed on it.  Continuously.  So, wanting to be a good agreeable little girl, I heartily agreed with them.  And thus my opinion of the movie was cemented . . . until many years later.  I don’t remember the next time I saw the movie.  Maybe high school, possibly college, or even later in life.  But I remember realizing how brilliant and hysterical the movie was.  Since then, I have seen the movie dozens, if not hundreds, of times.  And my love has only increased with each watching of this epic tale.

And this is why I am incredibly excited to give away this epic and fun Christmas Story prize!  Even though it took me a while to realize its brilliance, it has become one of my most beloved holiday movies.  And I am happy to share these treats with some lucky winner.

As I foretold, my son 7 would be picking a name out of a hat to choose the winner this time, thus releasing me from all blame and guilt for the decision.  Yep, that’s how I roll.  I place all blame squarely on the heads of my kiddos.  I am a super duper mom, yo.

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And while the picking of a name is not based on the quality of the stories, I want to say that those stories were fantastic.  Some painful, some hilarious, all wonderful.  Thank you for sharing your crazy holiday stories with me.  I enjoyed them all!!

So, without further ado, the winner, as picked by my son 7, is:

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WINOPANTS!!!

Congrats to you, my girl.  Your story was full of awesome, and you were the lucky name picked by my son!  Hooray for you.  Now, you just need to send me your address, so I can get these fab prizes off to you, and hopefully even get them to you by the big fa ra ra ra ra day.  Send to:  mistyslaws at gmail dot com.

Third Time’s the Charm

If you are a frequent visitor to the world of Misty’s Laws, you might remember a couple posts I have done previously about a friend of mine, and our often calamitous attempts at going to events together.

(If you are new, go here and here to acquaint yourself with the previous stories of our disastrous nights out).

A couple weeks ago, we tried our third, and possibly final, attempt at going out together.  We were once again trying to go to an anniversary showing of a classic cinematic masterpiece.  Our first foray, Singing in the Rain, malfunctioned before the ending and left us disappointed from having to miss the final 5 minutes of the movie.  This movie would be at the same theater, so we were desperately hoping that they had worked out whatever kinks had occurred to cause the problem we had the previous time.  But, foolhardy and kid-free fancy free, we were willing to take the chance.  Even if it might be the death of one of us (See: my friend passing out at Wicked the last time we attempted to go out).

The movie we saw was a true cinematic classic . . . To Kill a Mockingbird.  It was the 50th Anniversary of the movie’s original theater release.  It had been years since I’d last seen this movie, so I was really excited to see it again, and this time on the big screen.  Hopefully to the very end even!

To Kill a Mockingbird is a movie based on a novel by the same name, by Harper Lee.  This was actually the first book I remember reading in school and falling in love with.  I was in 4th grade.  I remember using a typewriter to peck out words I wrote for a book report on the novel.  Everything about this book touched and effected me in a way that would grip me and shape many of my scholarly choices over the course of my life.  I fell in love with literature because of this book.  I was a voracious reader throughout my school years, and eventually became an English Literature major in college because of my love of just reading books. 

I would go on to read this book multiple times for many other school projects (the danger/benefit of going to 4 different schools before 12th grade is the repeat of certain subject matter), and then on my own a few times after that.  It has been years since I picked up the book, but it still holds a special place in my heart.  I can say with certainty that this is my absolute favorite book (with Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury coming in a very close second).

We started our evening with my friend driving to the event.  I have driven to all the other events, as 1. we were usually running late, 2. I always knew exactly where we were going, and 3. I drive like a speed demon.  On this occasion, however, we were not late and when she offered, I graciously accepted her offer to drive.  I spend close to 3 hours a day driving during my commute, so really it was a welcome break.

We arrived at the theater in a timely manner and even got really perfect seats (as opposed to the last movie where we were the last to arrive and had to sit in the first row, craning our necks up to the screen).  We even had time to run out and get snacks before the movie started.  While we were waiting for the movie to begin, they played a little TCM biography type short about the movie, talking about the awards it won (3 Academy Awards, including best actor for Gregory Peck), some interviews with the cast and crew, and a surprising bit of information to me.  I had not previously known (or I had and just forgot) that Robert Duval plays a vital character in this movie.  And apparently, it was his first cinematic role.  He doesn’t speak at all in the film, but you definitely know it’s him.  Especially after they tell you he’s in it and you are looking for him!

I discovered, as the movie was about to begin, that my friend had not only never seen the movie, but had not read the book.  I guess since I’ve read it so many times, mostly assigned by schools, I just assumed everyone had read it.  It was unfortunate that I didn’t ask her if she had read it when I was getting the tickets, many weeks ago, as I probably would have insisted that she at least attempt to read it before seeing the movie.  But she has vowed to read it now, saying she owns it but has just never gotten around to reading it.  I guess that will just have to do.  Of course, she loved the movie, and even vocally reacted to some of the best scenes (the courtroom verdict being her most vociferous exclamation).  My favorite scene is probably the scene at the jail.  There is just something so moving about innocence triumphing over hatred and anger.

The good news is that we actually got to see the movie in it’s entirety.  Yay!!  The bad news, at least for my friend, is she will apparently have to play chauffeur from now on, as that seems to be the key difference between this successful event and the previous disastrous ones.

And, I’m not sure if you were aware of this, but this movie was not the only significant cinematic event that was scheduled to occur that evening.  As we arrived at the theater, I saw a few people lined up on the side of the aisle leading to the entrance to the theaters, obviously waiting for something to start.  I really didn’t give it much thought . . . that is until we left the movie some 2 1/2 hours later, and that line had grown to this:

That’s right . . . that line (which extended far beyond my camera’s capacity to capture it) was for the opening of the final  episode in the Twilight saga.  When I told my friend, Jen, that I had gone to a movie that night, she asked me if I had gone to see Twilight (threatening bodily harm if the answer given was in the affirmative).  I simply replied with a “have you met me?”  To which, of course, she conceded was a valid point.  But seriously . . . one time showing of a classic cinematic masterpiece of theater based on my all time favorite novel v. sparkly vampire dreck?  Yeah, pretty sure you know which one of those options wins out in my book.

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Please tell me you have read and/or seen To Kill a Mockingbird (and refrain from telling me how much you just love Twilight and how you are Team Edward).  What is your favorite book to movie adaptation?

Just a Little Wicked

Last week, I finally got to do something I had wanted to do for many years.  I went to see the broadway show, Wicked.  As with most things that I do, it was not without some drama.

When I heard Wicked was coming to my city a few months ago, I got very excited.  Thus commenced the mad dash of texts to friends to try to find someone who wanted to go with me.  I needed a girl’s night at the theater and someone would be coming along for the ride!  Luckily, my friend who also came with me to the Singing in the Rain showing, excitedly agreed to join me for the show.

Tickets were purchased.  Husbands were informed of their dad duties for that evening.  Anticipation was building.  It was going to be an awesomely fun night.

Then, the fateful night arrived.  Despite the fact that I drove all the way home from the city in ridiculous traffic, just so I could change out of my suit, grab the tickets and my friend, and immediately turn right around and drive back to the city, the evening started off without a hitch.  We chatted in the car about our equally crappy job situations, and just generally enjoyed each others’ company.  When we got downtown, we went to a local mexican place for some quick chow before the show.  I had asked if she wanted to grab some food before dinner, as this area is kind of my hood, so I knew of a good but fast mexican joint across the street from the theater.  Luckily, she is a fan, so we went ahead and got some delicious burritos and nachos.  Once we were finished our Mexican feast, we were off to the show!  First stop . . . alcohol.  We both got a glass of wine before going into the theater, of course.  Once we made it to our seats, we realized that they were actually pretty good.  They were on the floor, right Orchestra, about 15 rows back.  We had a great view.

And what we also had was some great pre-show entertainment.  There was a guy behind us, who was regaling his date with a vomitous amount of stories about himself, which my friend and I found highly entertaining and bizarre.  Some of the best things he said:

I was always typecast as a lawyer when I was an actor.  And then my kids actually became lawyers.  So, the fake lawyer paid for the real lawyers’ education. (Oh, and I snuck a peek . . . he was nobody recognizable).

My mom was an addict.  But it wasn’t drugs or alcohol.  She as a professional poker player.  She used to cuss up a storm.

Have you ever heard of the product Peter Pan Peanut Butter?  I was the first kid, in 1949, to ever utter the phrase on TV, “________________.”  (Yeah, neither one of us can actually remember what the phrase he said was.  But it was familiar to both of us).

I had a weird childhood . . . I never went fishing.  (There was a laundry list of normal things here, but I can’t remember anything but the fishing).

I never had any pets growing up.  I housesat and just fell in love with this dog.  We had a love affair.   (Um, ick?  And his date was a dog trainer or shower or something.  When she could finally get a word in, she talked about some dog with the hugest head ever that she had at a show).

Unfortunately, the show started in the middle of this rapid fire history lesson, but it was just as well.  Eventually, our incessant and uncontrollable giggling at his ridiculousness would have given us away.

Popular. I know about Popu-ular!

The show itself was great.  I will say there were a few wonky voice issues, and some bum notes throughout, but mostly it was very entertaining, if a bit long.  The first half lasted close to two and a half hours.  And that was just before the Intermission.  Unfortunately, this is when the trouble began.

As my friend and I were about to get out of our seats to go potty and probably get another glass of wine, she mentioned that her stomach did not feel well.  Uh-oh.  My first thought was that it was the Mexican food coming back to haunt her, as Mexican has historically been known to do.  Then, as we were walking out of the aisle, she said she was feeling light headed.  No sooner than she said this and we got past the seats, she told me she had to sit, and plunked down in an alcove to the side of the aisle.  Double Uh-oh.  She said she was ok, that she just felt a little dizzy and she needed to sit for a second.  Ok.  So we sat for maybe a minute or less.  She then said she felt a little better but wanted to go to the bathroom, so she got up, and while I held onto her arm, we walked out of the theater.  Unfortunately, we only made it about 10 feet, just enough to get us out of the theater proper and just barely into the hallway, before she dropped like a sack.  Once minute I was holding her arm and the next she was just gone.  She sank down to the floor before I could even react.  Now, I was worried.  This had gone way past uh-oh.

I crouched down beside her and asked what she needed.  She said she just needed a minute.  I felt her head and she was clammy, so I told her she should probably just lie down.  I didn’t want her to hit her head if she fell over, even from her sitting/leaning position.  So she laid there.  And I rubbed her arm.  And wasn’t sure what to do.  I wasn’t going to leave her laying there to get help, and she was conscious and lucid, but the problem was that I’m a lawyer not a doctor.  Plus, I’m not really the best in crisis situations.  My hubs is the calm, cool, logical, take action one.  I kinda fall apart.  But not this time.

An usher came out about a minute after this happened and asked if we needed help.  Um, there is a person laying in the middle of the floor, so I’m thinking the answer is, “Hell Yes.”  I asked her if there was a Medic or Medical Professional in the building that she could call.  She acknowledged my request and then walked away, presumably to find someone.  The next person who came over was obviously some sort of supervisor, and once again asked what we needed.  I reiterated that we needed someone with medical knowledge.  As we were waiting, people were pouring out of the theater and walking along the hallway, and many of them stopped to ask if we needed help.  I assured them that someone was coming.

Fortunately for us, the tenth person to ask if she was ok was actually a doctor.  She was just a lady who was there to see the show, and happened to walk by and see my friend laying on the ground.  So she came to give her assistance.  She was an angel and I was so happy to see her!  I have never felt so useless in all my life as when I was sitting next to my friend, petting her arm, and having no idea what else to do.  Around the same time, security came over and wanted to take her to the hospital, but she didn’t want to go, insisting she was fine.  They were very persistent, though, and it finally took the doctor to tell the security guys (off duty cops) to back off and “she has the right to refuse an ambulance!  You can’t make her go to the hospital!”  She was completely awesome and I loved her.

Soon after, my friend sat up and was ok.  I ran to the bathroom (once she was in the capable hands of our doctor friend) because she just kept asking for a cold washrag for her head, so I got her some wet paper towels, which was the closest facsimile.  The color returned to her face and the doctor, who was taking her pulse, said that it had slowed down and she seemed better.  She definitely looked better, and after a wet rag on her head, and a few sips of water, she said she felt better.  She figures it was the fact she had not eaten much that day, hadn’t drank any water, and had a glass of wine while sitting in a hot, dark theater.  Whatever the reason, the doctor thought she was ok enough not to go to the hospital.

At this point, everyone was working their way back into the theater to see the second half, and my friend asked if I wanted to go back in.  I told her absolutely not, she was not well, and I was taking her ass home. She felt really bad that we would miss the second half of the show.  Especially after paying over $100 for each ticket!  She even went so far as to suggest she could just sit on the floor outside of the theater while I went back inside to watch the show.  Yeah, that was gonna happen.  Pfft.  Despite all of my faults (and oh god, there are so many), one of my best qualities is that I am a kickass friend.  I will do anything and everything for my friends, which fact somehow contradicts my obvious selfish nature, but it’s true.  So, missing the end of the play was of no consequence to me when it came to helping my friend and making sure she was ok.   Of course I am disappointed that I didn’t get to see the entire thing, but my friend’s health was obviously more important than seeing a silly play, and there was no way we were staying while she felt the way she did.

Before we left, we were able to talk to a manager and filled out an “incident report” and I’m going to try to contact them to see if we can somehow get other tickets to see the end of the show.  I don’t have high hopes, but I’ll give it the ole lawyer’s try.  And as much as I love my friend, this is the second time in a row we have gone to some type of show and missed the ending.  I think she might be jinxed.  I may need to find someone else to go to any future entertainment events.

On the bright side, the ride home did contain the phrases, “You’ve gotta love an honest stripper,” and, “Well, that was just a show dick.”  So, you know, it wasn’t ALL bad.

Singin’ in the Rai . . . .

In 1952, Singing in the Rain was released in theaters, and over the last 60 years, it has become one of the most beloved and popular musicals of our time.  To celebrate the pending 60th anniversary of the release of the film, an event was scheduled around the country in select movie theaters, to show the movie on the big screen for just one night.  When I heard about this event, I decided that I was going to wrangle one of my friends to go with me to see the movie on the big screen.  Since I had not seen the movie in many years, I thought it would be a lovely opportunity to once again see this brilliant classic and to also experience it as few others have had the opportunity to do. 

So that is what I did, dragging along a friend of mine, who I discovered had never seen the film, along with her 7 year old daughter.  She had read in Parents magazine that this was one of the movies listed as good for ages 5-10, so she figured her daughter might like it.  I saw no reason to disagree, so off we went!

Unfortunately, we arrived late to the theater.  It was entirely my fault because I just couldn’t get myself out the door of my house, and once I finally did, only then realized I needed to stop for gas.  So, we ended up with 3 of the very last seats in the theater that were together.  Second row on the end.  You know, the ones on the floor where you have to crane your neck up to see the screen?  Yeah, those are the ones.  Luckily, we only missed a couple minutes of the pre-movie interview with Debbie Reynolds that they were showing before the movie.  Basically, I remember her talking about being a virgin and having good boobs.  So it was pretty informative.  But at least we didn’t miss any of the movie!  Yet.  But, we’ll get to that . . .

Knowing that it was my friend’s first time (speaking of virgins!) and wondering if her daughter would appreciate the movie, I was keeping a keen eye on my movie watching companions.  They seemed to be enjoying it.  Her daughter giggled pretty much straight through the “Make ‘Em Laugh” routine, and was faux dancing in her seat to some of the other routines.  Her mom also seemed to be enjoying the movie and later said that the scene with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse dancing with the long flowing white piece of fabric was amazingly beautiful.  Score!  Everyone seemed to be having a good time.  And really, what’s  not to like?  Some of the best chemistry in any movie between two leading actors (and yes, I am talking about Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, thank you), fantastic choreography and musical numbers, witty repartee, very memorable and singable songs (Good Morning is one of my all time favorites), and a great storyline.  In fact, the whole audience was greatly enjoying it, as evidence by the clapping that would ensue after every famous musical number.  It was a good time all around . . .

Until the very end of the movie when disaster struck!  Now, if you have never seen this movie and do not want to know anything about what happened at the end stop reading now.  Spoiler Alert.  Ok, so if you are still reading . . . here we go.  We get to the end where they have shown the movie and Lena goes out on the stage to talk and the audience wants her to sing and the boys confer and get an idea and tell Lena to go out with the microphone and demand that Cathy sing behind the curtain.  Remember this part?  Yeah, so do I.  Because I just watched it.  Anyway, right after the part where Cathy yells at Don that she’ll do it but never wants to talk to Don again . . . the movie froze.  The outcry from the audience was loud, instantaneous and murderous.  People were pissed, y’all.  I just figured it was some glitch and they would get it started again, so I wasn’t stressing about it.  Plus, even though it had been many years, I pretty much remembered what happened next, so I wasn’t too worried.  I was a little worried about my viewing companions, though, since they had never seen it and it cut out literally two minutes before the end.

So, amongst cries of “WHAT THE HELL?” and “GET IT STARTED” and “ARGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” being yelled around us, we waited to see what would happen.  Then we saw this come on the screen:

Which immediately prompted more cries of displeasure from the audience.  I, being me, started to laugh uproariously.  A 60 year old movie . . . thwarted by modern technology.  And this was also about the time I figured we were good and truly screwed.  A lot of people got up and left.  But we stayed and waited to see what would happen.  We were treated to many more screens of processing and booting up as they tried to get us back to the movie . . .

And then . . .

More outcries as the option to “start over” was chosen . . .

But that’s ok . . . because they were just going to fast forward through the entire movie . . . on the screen!!  ((Facepalm))

Halfway there!!

Keep going . . .

Oh look!  There’s Moses Supposes . . . and there it goes-es.

Aaaaannnnnnddd . . . good morning to you as well!

Almost there . . .

Oh look, it’s the end.  Wait . . . what?  Yep, they fast forwarded all the way to the end.  As in THE END.  People in the theater once again were not pleased!  But, they rewound enough to get us right before the part where it previously froze.  So now we were back in business!!  Yes.  Let’s get on with the denouement, shall we?

Aaaaannndddd it stopped.  Again.  At the exact same spot.  Now there was a serious uproar in the theater, and I’m surprised people didn’t start throwing things at the screen.  They were pissed.  So, at this point we figure it’s probably pretty useless to stay, and half the theater agreed with us.  But, we figured we would give it a couple minutes, and if they couldn’t figure it out, we would leave.  We did decide that since there were a ton of empty seats at this point, that we were going to move up and have a much better view, assuming we ever did get to see the last two minutes.  So we moved.  And we waited.  And then we got this:

Oh boy, this cannot be good.  And yes, thank you.  I feel very lucky to have a Dish 500 right about now.  Sigh.

This is when we got an announcement from a guy up front (who obviously worked at the theater) that told us that they were very sorry, but they wouldn’t be able to show the rest of the movie.  ((Groan)).  But what they would be able to do was give us all free passes to return to any movie of our choice.  Bright side?  So, in lieu of seeing the last two minutes of the movie on the big screen after watching the entirety of the movie up to that point, I get to come back to see some other movie some other time.  Boo.

So, we left, and I got to do the final scene reenactment game in the car on the way home for my companions.  I gave them a very general idea, because like I said, I had not seen the movie in a while.  But I thought I remembered the ending.  In fact, the final picture of the fast forwarding up there is the big finale.  It is just a shame that a very special showing like that had to be ruined by a technical malfunction or loss of satellite feed.  Especially for the people who had never seen it before and the kids that were there (there were lots of kids there . . . must have been a popular article in Parents!).  It wasn’t so much the fact that you can probably see the ending relatively easily on YouTube or something (you can, I found it and sent it to my friend the next day), but being denied the experience of seeing the entirety of the classic film right up on the big screen, and having that feeling of satisfaction once you reach the end.  Instead, the feeling we had was disappointment.  Not exactly how I expected the evening to turn out, but what are you gonna do.  I do have free movie passes, so I guess that is some type of consolation.

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Ever been disappointed by something that you were looking forward to and was a one time only special event?  Did you at least get a consolation prize?

What is your favorite scene from Singin’ in the Rain?  If you haven’t seen it, what is your favorite classic old movie/musical?