Sunday, December 30, 2007

White Knuckle Christmas

Hey kids! Bored of the same old security checks at airports? Don't you sometimes wish you could yell something like "Fire!" just to get that dead-behind-the-eyes look off people's faces, or do something really crazy like sneak a 4 oz. tube of lotion through security without claiming it? Is your new year's resolution to be a risk-taker? Ready to shake things up?

WELL...just try flying with an expired license! It makes airport security so much more interesting!

My license expired on my birthday, which I didn't realize until I was at John Wayne trying to board a flight to Seattle on the 22nd. Luckily, it didn't raise any eyebrows. I couldn't believe I let my license expire. According to my always-balanced checkbook, I wrote a check to the DMV on October 25th for a license renewal, and never got a new one. Although I made it to Seattle, I was still concerned about flying home. SeaTac is a little more security-happy than John Wayne.

Today in the airport, as we mindlessly shuffled through the security line, licenses in hand (some more valid than others), the security guard took my license. Oh gosh, here it comes. The moment of truth..."Oh, wait one minute, girl. You know this license is expired, right?"

"Yep, the new one's probably sitting in my mailbox at home," I said with a charming smile.

She wrote "SSS" on my boarding pass and told me and my family to follow another security guard through a gate.

Oh, no. The worst-case scenario instantly flew through my head: my family would desert me, I'd have to take a cab back to the grandparents', my parents would have to Fed-Ex my passport to Seattle and somehow get me on a different flight, and I'd eventually make it home sometime next year.

But that's not what happened. My family was just escorted to our own security station to run our bags, shoes, baggies of liquids, and coats through the machines. No hassle, no questions, no waiting.

So, basically, if you don't want to wait in line at the airport, just bring your expired license (and passport, just in case). Works like a charm, a la Disneyland Fastpasses.

It's not like the signs say "Must present VALID government-issued I.D." anyway.'s good to be home!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Rainy Night in Hollywood

For my birthday, my friend Brent got me tickets to “Behind the Emerald Curtain,” a behind-the-scenes look at Wicked. Brent knows I am a big fan of the theater and the first time I saw Wicked was with him, front and center, for his birthday back in April.

The tickets were for yesterday afternoon’s tour, so Riley and I took the afternoon off work (thanks Kerri and Brad!) and drove up to L.A. for our Wicked adventure. We got there early enough to stop at a hole-in-the-wall pizza place for a bite before the tour. Los Angeles is a dirty city, but the grunginess actually adds to its mystique, if you ask me.

The tour took place in the lobby of the Pantages and inside the theater. It was given by two cast members and was super cool. Here are some things we learned:
Elphaba’s black dress weighs fifteen pounds.

It takes fifteen days to bead Glinda’s dresses. Her dress is the only symmetrical dress in the production, meant to exude order and normalcy in the off-kilter world of Oz.

The costumes are cleaned with water and vodka.

There are 25,000 pounds of electrics/lights hanging at any given time.

Wicked was originally developed as a film, not a musical.

The story never contradicts the original Wizard of Oz.

Glinda always has a pink spotlight and Elphaba has a green one.

The actors only have to be at the theater a half-hour before the show!

"C'mon, we'll be late for Wizomania!" --Glinda

Over 90 wigs are used in the show and they’re made with human hair.

After the tour, we bought tickets to the actual show and then had some time to kill, so we wandered up Hollywood Blvd. in the cold rain to Lucky Devil’s for dessert. Hanging out in Hollywood on a rainy Tuesday night was definitely a new experience! Riley was an awesome not-really-a-date date.

The lobby of the Pantages Theater is so gorgeous!

The show is so hilarious, exciting, beautiful, fun, interesting, and witty. The lights, costumes, music, acting, sets...everything comes together to create an experience that just blows me away every time I see it. I walked out of the theater last night as excited as I was the first time I saw it. After the songs, we just looked at each other wide-eyed, thinking, “I can’t believe how amazing the singing is.” Wicked is incredible!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Not so Spectacular

On Saturday night I saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

I was ready for a fantastic night of all things Christmas! The show was getting rave reviews in the newspaper and they even added ten more shows than they had originally offered, which also sold out immediately.

First, my parents and my friend and her parents had an amazing dinner at Maggiano’s at South Coast Plaza. I had never been there and the food was delicious! I loved the atmosphere, the d├ęcor, the food, and our amazing waiter, Charles. He kept those cherry cokes coming…

After dinner, it was on to the show…

And…it was, well, weird.

Weird because there was a dance number with a ton of dancers in bear suits, rat suits, and more bear suits. There were bear soldiers, bear ballerinas with tutus and bows…I felt like I was having a weird Christmas dream.

Weird because Santa’s elves were five little people. I felt strange watching little people play elves. One of the elves was the “cool” head gangster elf, with sunglasses. Yikes. They also dressed up in mini snowmen outfits and kind of waddled around the stage. Is that allowed? Isn’t that mocking and degrading? There was even a little person in our section attending the show! AWKWARD…

Weird because some of the outfits that the dancers wore were so ugly. I was expecting a glamorous, New York, swanky Christmas show. But no. Think Christmas on acid. Neon colors do not go with Christmas. Nice try, people. Fire that costume designer, stat, especially if he/she was also responsible for the blindingly sequined poinsettia outfits that some of the Rockettes had to wear. It was Christmas meets Dream Girls for a second…

Weird because I thought we were seeing a Christmas show starring the Rockettes, you know…like how it was advertised…and they only did a few numbers. I understand that their dances are demanding and they have a lot of costume changes, but I felt like I hardly saw them. When they actually were on stage, they were very impressive.

What was NOT weird was the ending scene of the nativity. Thank you, Radio City, for reminding everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. It was a touching way to end the show, and the live camels were cool.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

25 Days of Love

Today is my 25th birthday. My friends know how much I love my birthday, so for the last 25 days, they have celebrated with me by counting down to the big day.

Every day for 25 days I’ve received something special from a friend. I’ve been made lunch, treated to breakfast and lunch, kidnapped for a manicure. I’ve been given gift cards, stationary, flowers, books, chocolate, picture frames, journals, movies, even a platter of mini cupcakes. I’ve gotten a High School Musical 2 calendar, tickets to “Behind the Emerald Curtain;” a behind-the-scenes tour of Wicked, Aqua Net hairspray, and even swim goggles! I’ve been surprised with presents on my doorstep, left on my desk, and even in my (locked!) car. I’ve gotten encouraging phone calls, texts, and e-mails. I was given a scrapbook to keep all of my encouraging notes and cards. I’ve been lavishly showered in love and gifts…every day for 25 days. At times the attention was embarrassing, but a friend told me, “Just enjoy it and let us love you. It’s how God loves you…extravagantly.”

This has been the most memorable and meaningful birthday of my life. I cherish you, friends. “Thank you” just doesn’t seem like a big enough phrase to express my gratitude to you. I will never forget the “25 Days of Lisa.” Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me feel so special and reminding me of just how much we are all extravagantly loved and valued by God.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A confession

The other day, my friend admitted that until very recently, he thought that “approximately” meant “exactly.” So whenever he was given essay assignments from professors that had to be approximately 500 words, he thought they had to be exactly 500 words. All through college he thought about how totally unreasonable it was of his professors to ask for exactly 500-word essays, and always shaved down sentences to make his essays exactly 500 words.

I think that’s pretty funny.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Oh, what a night!

On Friday night I went to the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa with my mom and dad to see a sold-out performance of Jersey Boys. It’s a musical based on the real-life story of falsetto-voiced Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, an incredible rock band that hit it big in the 1960’s with hits like “Walk Like a Man,” “Sherry,” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Panning the audience, I couldn’t help but notice that there were virtually no young people attending the performance! “Dad, there are, like, ten people here under the age of thirty,” I said. Obviously, it’s a musical that might pull in the baby-boomer demographic, but come on…the Four Seasons’ music is timeless. My dad then said that probably none of my friends could name a single song by the Four Seasons. I begged to differ…I know y’all know them, right?

Jersey Boys won the Tony last year for Best Musical. It was INCREDIBLE! The actors were funny and charismatic. It was so cool to see the journey that these four nobodys from Jersey made to the top of the world—and how they handled fame and fortune. And the music—phenomenal. What an interesting, poignant, funny, feel-good musical. I loved it and hope to see it again!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Am I asking too much, dudes?

Yesterday it poured for most of the day. So of course, I could not find a parking spot close to Starbucks when I went for a mid-morning visit to get beverages for my co-workers.

I ended up parking not too far away, but far enough that it was a hassle with the weather being what it was. I parked at almost the exact same time as, and right next to, a man in a giant truck. And get this…he practically raced me to the door to make sure he got in line ahead of me so he could order his venti white chocolate mocha and chocolate-filled croissant.

Really, guy?

So I order, get my drinks, pop them all in a cardboard tray, and head out to my car, walking under the awning as far as I can to avoid the downpour. It’s a narrow awning; there’s only room for one person under there at a time. So I’m walking…both hands balancing a tray of three hot drinks, and a man is walking toward me. And…he doesn’t budge, forcing me to step out into the rain.

Really, guy?

Don’t lose faith, ladies. Although I was involved in two back-to-back lame-o incidents involving discourteous men, when I think about the guys in my life, my faith in the XYs is restored. The guys that I know are the greatest. They respect and protect me. They are caring and kind. I am blessed to have them in my life.

I know that chivalry is not completely dead. It's just...wounded.