Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas. . .

Wow, it's been a while. SO much has been going on!!
First of all, even though this is by no means chronologically right, WE GOT SO MUCH SNOW!!!! We got about 19 inches and two extra days of Christmas break. This is really exciting, because last year we got a total of two snow days, and there wasn't even any snow. I know that this is no comparison for my grandmother who lives in Michigan, but we live here and I'm thrilled! And the snow's supposed to be there on Christmas this year, which means that we'll have the first white Christmas for a really long time. [That's my mom out in the snow.]
Anyway, moving back to. . . well, the beginning, I mentioned a while ago (okay, a long while ago) that I was in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Well, that ended about... a month and a half ago. But it was fantastic! Or as fantastic as we could do with that show (sorry, Andrew Lloyd Weber, but it's just not for me). We managed to rock it with only a few major mistakes (i.e., the microphones, the sound system, and the time that a column got caught on a curtain and almost fell over onto the stage crew as the audience watched on the edge of their seats. . . although that last one was pretty awesome in hindsight), and the audiences seemed to love it. So, I say that it was a job well done. And. . . we looked pretty awesome, too. I just love working with these people. We get to meet other people who, otherwise, we would never know, and we have SO much fun togther, all while putting on a great show. I love it.
Sometime in early November my mom and I went up to PA to visit some colleges (Temple University and Penn State). First of all, I drove in Philadelphia which is both very exciting and very terrifying, particularly when your mother makes you back out of a service entrance to a parking garage into the street because she doesn't want to go around the block again (thanks, Mom). We toured Philly for a day, which was fun, and our hotel was right down the street from all of the historic stuff that I just learned about in US history. We also learned that there are two ways home from Penn State and that we pretty much took the wrong one and discovered many towns that were. . . small. There was one that went like this: we passed the town limit sign, saw a couple of houses, a barn, and passed the next town limit sign. It was a little bit ridiculous, but I though it was hilarious. The roads were all windy and roller coaster-ish, and I thought it was fun, but my mom was freaking out a little bit, especially since we were running low on gas and we had no idea where the nearest gas station was (it turned out to be this dinky one on the side of the road with two pumps: one diesel and one regular, and they had the old-fashioned pumps on the side with the numbers that spun when the gas pumped). But anyway, I LOVED both campuses, and both schools have REALLY good journalism programs. Right now I think I'm leaning more towards Temple, just for the city environment. I like the excitement. But we're also looking at some other schools, so that'll come later.
And then there was my mom's birthday (the big FIVE-OH, to be exact). We all got together and went to the delicious and lovely Russia House for some fantastic Russian food. After my mom's birthday was Thanksgiving, when we all got together again and ate MORE delicious food and played Scene It (and... *ahem* won). After Thanksgiving, all of us Pickwick people (in case you don't know, Pickwick is the community theater group that I'm part of and with which I did Joseph) got back together to put on a lovely Christmas-palooza of everything Christmasy. There were songs and skits and tap dancing (that was what I did), and we all got to get together with people from past shows that we'd done and meet people from other shows that we didn't do. Now, to satisfy my acting thirst, I'm in my school's competitive one-act, War on Tatem, which is about a bunch of kids. So, not only do I get to act, I also get to be a little kid. How much better could it get?
And then. . . THERE WAS USO! Every year, my school's history club (of which I'm an officer, and which also happens to be the best club in school. Just saying.) puts on a 40's-style USO swing dance. We teach our members about the history and the fashion of the times, make sure they know what to wear, teach them swing, bring in the jazz band to a perfectly-decorated venue, and let them dance. Now, you have to understand, for most of us, this is basically the highlight of our years. We look forward to it for months. And you also have to understand that we're not the type of kids that would be stupid about it, either. We really do swing dance the whole time. And we're good. It's pretty much the best thing ever. It's really amazing to watch, too: a bunch of teenage kids dressed in period dresses and military uniforms swing dancing to a live jazz band. Wow. Pretty freakin' amazing!!!
So. Now we only have a couple of weeks left in 2009! We've made it to the next decade! I hope you have a wonderfully merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year! Woo, 2010!
And here's a list of movies that I've recently watched:
  1. New Moon: I admit, I saw it. I'm somewhat ashamed. But you have to understand that my friends and I went for the sole purpose of laughing at it. And we did, because Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (and especially Kristen Stewart) don't have any talent and, we've decided, singlehandedly (or... double-handedly??) ruined the movie. The director of this one was really, really fantastic. The direction was really creative, and whoever it was that played the bad guy was great, and Taylor Lautner was (besides very, very good looking) a decent actor. I have to admit that this one was actually an okay movie. Still not that great, but it was good (not that it can really get much worse than the first one).
  2. The Imposters: Really funny and different. Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci are hilarious. And Tony Shaloub plays a Communist first mate on a cruise ship. Um, I don't really know what else to say about it. It's funny.
  3. Eagle Eye: I have to admit that this was actually a pretty good movie. I'm not usually much of an action movie person because they're all pretty much the same, but this one was decent. Shia LaBeouf is a good actor. I never knew, because I can only see him as the kid from Even Stevens on Disney channel (which was an awesome show). There was a lot of pointless explodey stuff, but it was an action movie so that was to be expected.
  4. Time Bandits: Wow, what a strange (but excellent) movie. It's Terry Gilliam, so of course it's wonderfuly different. It was one of those movies that leaves you thinking, "Huh. . . never would have thought of that." I love those movies. This one spoofs on different historical figures, like Napoleon (who lists every short conqueror in history) and Robin Hood (who is played by John Cleese so is automatically hilarious), and Shelley Duvall plays this really random character who keeps getting her romantic hopes dashed. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Ain't it a glorious day? Right as a mornin' in May. I feel like I could fly!"

^Mary Poppins, "Jolly Holiday" Best Disney movie ever. Today was so perfect!! It was a lovely 65 degrees, sunny, and breezy. None of the rain that was so torrential yesterday, no humidity, just perfection. I spent several hours of my Sunday afternoon lazing on the trampoline outside with my iPod on my playlist of my favorite songs, just loud enough that I could listen but soft enough that I could still hear the sounds of the outdoors: the birds, the occasional airplane, the neighbor's lawn mower, a cow somewhere next door, all the lovely sounds that are sometimes a perfect escape. Perhaps my escape would have been somewhat better if I hadn't been reading a history textbook (about the Revolutionary War and the effects. Fascinating, I know) and a book that I've been trying to finish for about a month and a half (Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak). But that aside, I can't complain. Even reading a history textbook is tolerable on such a perfect day as this. I'd forgotten how much I love laying on the trampoline with a book and some music. I hadn't done it in a while. The sun was warm on my back, the breeze was just right. Even the tiny spiders that seem to live in the trampoline that I had to flick away incessantly were just a reminder of the beauty of simplicity. After I finished Doctor Zhivago (FINALLY!!!), I rolled over onto my back and just listened. I love to do this; it's really relaxing and really takes one's mind off the stress of life. Eventually it got a little too cold and my playlist ended, so I reluctantly headed back inside, my feet blackened by the trampoline and my hair shooting out in every direction from a combination of bed head and static from the trampoline. As I came back into the house to face the Psych essay I should be writing right now, the house seemed so dark after laying in the sun and staring at the blinding white pages of the book for so long. Ah, what a perfect way to spend my Sunday. Sundays have become my days off, since practices for Joseph have been picking up (I have a rehearsal every day this week). Can't wait for performances, though. We open in less than three weeks!!! Yipes! Anyway, last Saturday was homecoming at school. Quite honestly, the best part of homecoming is dressing up in pretty dresses (sleeveless in the middle of October, of course) and eating dinner. This year we didn't plan well (or really at all) and ended up eating at my house, which was perfectly fine, except that it was extremely last minute. Oh, well. Strangely enough, when we got to the dance, no one was dancing. I know, that's what I thought too: "It's a dance... why is no one dancing???" Everybody was standing around talking to each other (besides the people in the middle of the circle in the main gym that were getting, quite literally, very close). We didn't understand. They played the Electric Slide, which is a must, of course, and get this: I was the only one that knew how to do it!!!!!!! I don't know what the world is coming to. About ten people started following me, but everyone else still just stood around. It was very strange. Eventually, though, people started dancing and it was fantastic. Here are some more movies that I've just recently seen:
  1. Psycho: Okay, so I know that this is by no means new, but I just saw it. WOW. What a fantastic movie. I think I spent the last twenty minutes of the movie with my mouth open. The ending was so unexpected. And the shower scene? Wonderfully frightening, even though I already knew that the blood was chocolate syrup. Hitchcock was such a genious. Definitely a must-see. But don't make the mistake of watching it while you're home alone at 10 PM like I did. Never again will I do that. I literally ran down the hallway and up the stairs to go to bed, and I left the hallway light on. I guess that just goes to show how good the movie was. Norman Bates is such a creepy, creepy guy. . .
  2. Max: Very excellent film. It's set just after WWI and it's sort of a thought-provoking "what-if?" movie. John Cusack plays a rich, Jewish art dealer named Max (hence the title of the movie), and Noah Taylor plays Adolf Hitler before he became anybody. Basically, Max tries to convince Hitler to express his anger through his art instead of his angry, anti-Semetic speeches. But there's another man who took notice of Hitler's ideas and talent as a speech-maker and tries to convince Hitler to give speeches. It's kind of about Hitler's struggle between the two. It has a horribly sad ending, but it's a really all-around great movie based loosely on a true story, and it kind of makes you think about what might have happened if Hitler had turned to art instead of speeches.
  3. Noises Off!: I had never, ever heard of this before, but my school is doing the play and I happened to find it on the Netflix Instant-Play thing (best thing ever) and so my mom and I watched it. It's really hilarious. It actually has some big-name people in it for being so obscure. It has Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, and Christopher Reeve, to name a few. It's about a traveling theatre group that has internal relationship issues that basically take over their performances. There's a lot of clever slap-stick and excellent timing involved, and it's a really, really funny movie. I hope the play is just as good!!

In unrelated news, Bert still shows up every once in a while. He's doing very well.

In more unrelated news, my friend, Michelle, and I got to write and design the center-spread for our school's newspaper, which was both extremely exciting and a huge headache. The program that we use for layout is horribly frustrating and badly made. It took us many hours and many terrifying moments of "OH NO!!! We just added one comma and it messed up the entire thing!!!" But it turned out very cool. Perhaps the best page in the paper. But perhaps I'm a bit biased. What's fun is that it's the reason I watched Psycho. Only in classes as cool as newspaper does one get to watch a movie like Psycho to do an assignment. We wrote the spread about horror movies and why they're scary. We hadn't really seen any of the movies we used as examples, but we wrote it to make it sound like we knew what we were talking about. It's pretty awesome. I hope there are more days a lovely as today coming! I need my Sunday escapes!!! ~Snooty Crumb P.S. Here's a silly little story for you. So, in my English class, we have to write something for every Friday we have class, and then we have to read it to our "writing groups." It's very annoying. But anyway, I didn't really know what to write about, so I recycled a story from seventh grade and rewrote it to make it a bit better. I was almost positive that she was going to call me out on it, because it's a story about a middle school girl and it's pretty childish-sounding. But here's the kicker: She LOVED it. She gave me an 11 out of 10 on it. She complemented my character development and said that my style was "so engaging" or something ridiculous like that. I giggled to myself when I read her comments because I'd written it when I was twelve. She apparently had no idea. I wonder what she would do if I told her. Heh. Just a little chuckle for you.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Life is short, and it's here to be lived."

Emma Thompson said that.^ I suppose I’ve fallen a little behind, no? Not that anything worth reporting has really happened. But. Um. . . it’s been pretty boring, because this is the point of the school year when everybody just falls into the rut of doing the same thing over and over and over and over, day after day after day after day. . . (That was an example of polysyndeton, for you English nerds out there like me. This is what I’ve learned in school.) I forgot over the summer how routine school is. I remember why I’m always ready for it to end now. I don’t particularly enjoy doing the same thing every day. I’m one that enjoys excitement and interesting things. Needless to say, school does not fall under either one of those categories.
However, we still have 30-something weeks left, so I suppose that means I’ll just have to suck it up and find something else to be excited about. . . . . . Like theatre! I’m in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (by Andrew Lloyd Weber, so if you’ve seen any of his shows you know exactly what the music sounds like in this one) with a local community theatre group. This is my third show with them, and even though it’s often a bit disorganized, it’s always a blast and the people are just fantastic. They always make new people feel very welcome, even though everybody that’s done it before is a pretty close-knit group. I love theatre, particularly the non-musical variety. I love musicals, don’t get me wrong, but they’re much harder for me to get a part in because I’m much better at acting than at singing. But I love the idea of being on a stage and entertaining the people watching. I love getting on stage and having the lights be so bright in my face that I can’t see anything past the first row of the audience. And I love being in the center of attention in situations like these. Theatre is a great way to stay on one’s toes, because in theatre there’s no way to redo it. There's one chance and that's it. And when you mess up, the hardest thing (and the most interesting thing) is to pretend like it never happened and keep going. Part of acting is making everyone believe you know what you're doing even though you're clueless. That's what I love about it. My high school is also putting on Oliver! and I tried out and got into the chorus, but I'm not doing it because of Joseph. I think I might play in the pit orchestra, depending on when the practices are. I played in the pit last year when my school did Sweeney Todd, and that was a fantastically fun experience. So I might do it again this year since I can't actually be in the play. Performances for Joseph are in November, so practices haven't really started up completely yet. More on that when something happens. In completely unrelated news, Bert is still hanging around. He comes and goes when he pleases and eats lots of food. His foot is much better and he can put a little weight on it. He limps around on the table outside when he visits. There was some other random pigeon that showed up one day, but we never saw that one again, and we're not really sure what happened to Bernice. In more very unrelated news, Netflix is perhaps the most wonderful thing ever!!!! We've finally gotten it and I could spend hours just looking at movies on the website. My mom and I have already streamed a couple of movies to the computer that's hooked up to our TV and our queue is already up to 9 or 10 movies after 4 days. So far we've seen:
  1. Then She Found Me, which is this really random chick flick with Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, and Colin Firth (we had to watch it because both Matthew Broderick and Colin Firth are in it). I really, really liked it. I usually don't like chick flicks that much because they're all the same. But this one was very different and particularly excellent.
  2. Murder by Death, a murder-mystery spoof by Neil Simon. It had a bunch of really old comdey actors in it like Peter Sellers (he played a Chinese guy, true to form), James Coco, and Peter Falk, and it also had Maggie Smith (whom you might recognize as Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter.), Elsa Lanchester (who was Katie Nanna in Mary Poppins; my mom and I had quite a debate over who she played. I was right.), and Truman Capote, who is a very, very strange man.
  3. Ed Wood, which I've been dying to see for quite a while, because I'm a HUGE fan of both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. It was a very strange movie, but then, it was Tim Burton. I had no idea that Ed Wood (or Edward D. Wood, Jr.) was a real person, but he really was called "The Worst Director of All Time" and he really did have an obsession with angora sweaters. It was much darker than I expected, because Ed was good friends with Bela Lugosi and Lugosi had serious problems. But it was very, very excellent. I liked how Johnny Depp played Wood; think of how he played Willy Wonka and you've pretty much got it, only I liked Ed Wood better than Charlie. But he talked in a very similar way and he had that same sort of attitude.

So. That's what I've seen so far. Now I'm waiting on Psycho, because I have to watch it and write an article about it with my friend for the school newpaper. Hardship, I know. But seriously, I'm probably not going to feel safe in my shower for a while. But, anyway, I am very much enjoying Netflix.

So. . . That's really all I can report as of right now. ~ Snooty Crumb P.S. Sorry once again for the lack of pictures.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bueller. . . Bueller. . .

So. School's back in. Though I sincerely wish it was still summer, I guess that couldn't go on forever (and if you read the post about my summer, I don't think it could get any more awesome, either).
The first day of school always includes the new clothes, the new supplies, and the famous (or infamous) "first day of school smell." At my school it smells like old school and floor wax. Not particularly pleasant, but it's always the same every year. I hate the first day of school, to be honest. Even though no work is involved, it's the most boring day of the year. I don't know about anyone else, but listening to teachers talk about syllabi or their classroom rules (that are the same in every classroom) is not exciting. I also do not enjoy filling out countless papers about myself: my name, all of my contact information, what I like doing, my schedule. . . But, like I said, it's the only day we don't really have to do anything (unless you have my chemistry teacher, and then you have to do a confusing lab), and it's also likely the first time seeing those school friends that you're only friends with because you happen to be in the same class.
It amazes me that, even after an entire summer, I still find myself doing things exactly the same way. My friend, Isabelle, and I are creatures of habit like you wouldn't believe, and we fell into the same routine that we had last year (albeit in different places): at the end of the day, I met Isabelle at her locker, we went to the bathroom in the bathroom next to the gym (even though that's stupid because it's on the other side of the school from us now), and went outside to wait for the buses. . . in exactly the same spot as last year. Our buses even came at the same time. It's honestly like we never even left, which is somewhat distressing.
I don't know if this happens in anybody else's house, but the first day of school always includes the lovely first day of school pictures, with the nice first day of school outfit and the backpack and lunchbox and everything. They're always very half-hearted pictures (on our parts), but are always insisted upon every single year. Ridiculous and sarcastic poses are quite common. A cat at the bottom of the shot is also often seen in our pictures. It's extraordinarily entertaining to look at first day of school pictures as the years progress, because it's always interesting to see how fashion has changed (for the better, I might add) since I started kindergarten. Do you remember pleather? I wanted nothing more than a pair of pleather pants. It got some, and they got all cracked and little bits of the shiny part started falling off after I wore them a few times. I'm just going to say that I'm glad pleather didn't last long.
Anway, so school is back in. I've made it through the first week. Well, actually, the first four days, because we started on Tuesday. We'll see how the rest of the year goes.
To be continued. . .
Dancin' A Little Smidgeon Update:
Bert has been coming and going for this past week. We haven't seen Bernice since last week, and we're not sure if she just went home or if she has a nest somewhere. Bert is much stronger and looks quite healthy, but he still can't stand on his injured leg. He's able to stand on his one leg with no problem now, so he'll probably just do that forever now. Poor Bert. But he still flies perfectly fine, so he's doing all right. And that's the latest in Dancin' A Little Smidgeon.
~ Snooty Crumb

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dancin' A Little Smidgeon: The Saga Continues

Last week on Dancin' A Little Smidgeon, Bert found himself a new girlfriend, Bernice. They had just begun a new life together on the deck... So, the pigeons are, obviously, still here. Still nothing from the owners. Bert and Bernice have made themselves comfortable, spilling food and pooping all over the deck. But, as you know, things can't be perfect forever. Yesterday we looked out at them and noticed that Bert was panting heavily. Even if you don't know anything about animals, seeing one pant sends an alarm to your brain: Something is not right! (Just like Miss Clavelle in Madeline.) Eventually somebody went outside to give them some more food and scared him enough that he flew to the railing, where we noticed that he only stood on one foot. The other, his right foot, hung limply over the railing. We didn't know what was wrong with it, but he couldn't seem to stand on it at all. He eventually came back to the table, where he laid down and panted tiredly. Bert still seems to be hurting; he has difficulty standing on his other foot, like he's not strong enough to lift himself on just one leg. It takes him a few tries to stand up, but he can eventually stand and hobble to his food. He's been eating and drinking, which is good, and he hasn't been panting. We're not really sure what's wrong with his foot. We think it might be broken or sprained, because there's no blood or anything. Bernice has been adorable. It almost seems like she is protecting him. She stands close to him most of the time and sometimes looks like she's talking to him, comforting him. She'll look at him for a little bit and then start eating messily, as if showing him what he should do. Yesterday, when they were scared up to the roof by my dad (who was barbecuing), my mom saw that Bert was sitting a little farther up on the roof and Bernice was sitting closer to the edge, like she was standing guard. Whether she's really protecting him or not, it's really cute. I can safely say that I never thought I'd be this interested in the well-being of a couple of birds, especially pigeons. But when Bert started hobbling around, I honestly can say that it made me extremely sad for him. It's just so distressing to see an animal in pain like that. What makes it worse is that we don't have any clue what to do for him. We're just going to have to wait and see if it heals. Somehow we've actually grown kind of attached to Bert and Bernice. I know it's best that they go home, but they seem so happy here, and I almost don't want them to leave. Um, anyway, on a happier note: If you're looking for some great movies, you've come to the right place. I've seen three:

  1. Julie and Julia- EXCELLENT movie. Meryl Streep is absolutely perfect as Julia Child, capturing her spirit and personality perfectly, and Stanley Tucci is perfect with her. Amy Adams played her part wonderfully, as she always does. The two stories blended flawlessly, which I was a little apprehensive about. An all-around wonderful film.
  2. Never Been Kissed- Okay, I know this one's a little out of date (1999, to be exact), but I just saw it for the first time and thought it was very cute. The film depicts the high school horrors of being a nerd, which is a concept that I always find particularly relatable, and also the ever-important concept of second chances. This movie was about the nerds of every high school, and how there's more to them than people realize. Movies like these are precious and few ("'Cause precious and few are the moments we two share. . ."), and this one was excellent.
  3. All About Steve- I never thought I'd say this, but this was a chick flick that wasn't predictable!! If you ever see it, don't go into it thinking you know what's going to happen. Not only was it extremely different, it was also really hilarious (another movie about someone who's a little bit of a nerd.), and my mom and I found ourselves laughing our ways through the film. It was very refreshing to see Sandra Bullock (whom I am very fond of as an actress) let herself go and play a character besides her usual uptight businesswoman. Another excellent movie to add to your must-sees.

Well, I'll keep you posted with news of Bert, and if I see any more excellent movies, I'll be sure to let you know!

~ Snooty Crumb

P.S. Sorry there are no pictures.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dancin' A Little Smidgeon of the Kind of Ballet Sweeps Me Away...

We seem to have a sort of soap opera happening right at our house. The interesting thing about it (as if that's not interesting enough) is that the stars happen to be. . . PIGEONS.
It began that fateful day, August 22nd. We were eating dinner, and I happened to glance out the kitchen window and see, um, a pigeon sitting calmly on our deck table.
"Um, there's a pigeon outside," I said, completely bewildered by the presence of a pigeon anywhere in the vicinity of where I live. Needless to say, dinner was abruptly halted as we all gazed out the window at the pigeon standing on the table.
He was actually quite a lovely pigeon, not one of the ugly, dirty ones you find in cities. His body was a light shade of grey, with a dark grey stripe across his wings. His head and tail were dark grey, and his neck had a patch of almost-iridescent purple and green. He watched us curiously through the window, but didn't seem to be afraid of us at all. He was, as made clear by the yellow tag around his ankle, a racing pigeon.
By reading the tag and doing a little research on the Internet, we discovered that he was from a pigeon racing club in a town called New Tripoli, in Pennsylvania, on the other side of Allentown. My dad, who knows more about geography than both my mother and I, told us that Allentown is about 5 hours from here by car. Quite a long way for a little pigeon to fly, although we've learned that some pigeons can fly up to 50 mph!
My mom called the leader of the club, who knew to whom this pigeon belonged. According to this man, eventually it would be rested up and would fly back home. In the meantime, as we read on a website explaining what one should do with a lost pigeon, we should feed the bird, whom we named Bert, in honor of Sesame Street's resident pigeon fanatic, who happens to be very well-loved in our house, un-popped popcorn and grains with some water until he was rested enough to fly back home. We could also box him and take him several miles away and let him go, but we decided to let him be.
We assumed he would fly away after a few days, after resting for a while on our deck (while also pooping all over the place, including his water dish and food plate. Appetizing). After all, that was what the man had told us. Apparently Bert either had lost his way home or did not want to return there, because he never left. He would fly away for a couple of hours, but he kept returning to eat some food and rest on our porch table.
Four days later (he was supposedly supposed to leave after two or three), my mom headed downstairs and peered out the window to check if Bert was still there and discovered. . . another pigeon. This pigeon was not from a pigeon racing club, evident by the lack of tags on its ankle, and it was also a different breed. This one was almost entirely dark grey, with some lighter grey spots on the wings.
As we watched this strange and random drama unfold in front of us, we began to speculate Bert's story. Was he tired of racing? Did he want adventure? Did he have a forbidden love with this wild pigeon, whom we had named Ernestine (after Bert's friend and roommate Ernie from Sesame Street)? Was he lost? Did he need help from Ernestine, who could show him the ways of the wild? With these questions, we invented an entire story, called Bert's Big Adventure, in which a racing pigeon escapes from his coop and flies down to a small town to start a new life in the wild. But he eventually needs help, because he doesn't know how to survive by himself in the wild, and he finds Ernestine to help him. Eventually, they fall in love and live happily ever after on our deck table.
However, after two or three days, we never saw Ernestine again. Perhaps she was not up to the superior standards of this high-class, pedigreed pigeon. (Racing pigeons have extensive pedigrees, as we've discovered). After all, it was likely she came from a Kohl's parking lot. . . or worse, Home Depot. Perhaps she was too wild for him. But whatever the reason, Ernestine was gone, and Bert's Big Adventure does not end quite the way we thought it would.
We assumed that Bert would go home after Ernestine stopped showing up. However, assuming is not always the right option (you know the saying. . .). This morning, my mom got home from an errand and looked out the window to find yet another pigeon sitting on our deck table with Bert, this one with a tag on each ankle, one red and one yellow. This one was of the same breed as Bert and looked quite similar, except for the larger amount of dark spots on its wings and feet with a slightly darker red shade. This bird we named Bernice, which happens to be the name of Bert's beloved pigeon in Sesame Street, and is now thought of as our Bert's new girlfriend.
From reading Bernice's tags, we found out that she is also from Pennsylvania, from a different club in a town called Ashland. I did a little research myself and found that Ashland and New Tripoli are in neighboring counties. Perhaps Bert and Bernice had met before in races. We don't know, but they seem to be enjoying themselves. We think that it seems that Bernice is a little hesitant to be joining Bert in his wild adventure in the real world, because she didn't seem to want to leave the comfort of the deck often. She even almost seemed to want to come inside the house, as she sat in front of the glass door and stared in the entire time my mom and I watched a movie.
It has been exceedingly interesting to watch these birds. We still haven't heard from the owners, so they evidently aren't missed too much. I usually can't stand pigeons; they're dirty and steal food from unsuspecting tourists. But these pigeons are very clean (aside from the fact that they've been pooping all over our deck for the past two weeks) and are honestly kind of beautiful. We're having our doubts about the genders of Bert and Bernice. We haven't quite been able to figure out if Bernice is actually a male or if Bert is actually a female or if they're both male or whatever, but we're working on it. Anyway, whatever becomes of these birds, it's definitely not something I'll soon forget. It's certainly not something that happens often in a place where pigeons don't live.
~ Snooty Crumb
Doin' the Pigeon- Bert (Sesame Street)
Every time I feel alone/ And slightly blue/ That's when I begin to think/ It's what I'd like to start to do/ And though it may not be the kind of thing/ That's quite your cup of tea/ I recommend you pay attention/ To the little dance you're gonna see/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Dancing a little smidgeon of/ The kind of ballet/ Sweeps me away/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ People may smile but I don't mind/ They'll never understand/ The kind of fun I find/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon everyday/ People may smile, but I don't mind!/ They'll never understand/ The kind of fun I find/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon everyday

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How Can One Summer Possibly Be This Awesome??

I have a feeling this could take a while. I don't know how I crammed SO much stuff into one summer. To quote the great detective Adrian Monk, "Here's what happened:"
1) Church Camp- Mount Pleasant, PA, in a nice little Mennonite Church Center called Laurelville (I'm putting it out there now that I am not Mennonite). Lovely place, lovely people. We learned a lot about each other and played lots of Buck Buck. If you have never played Buck Buck (chances are pretty big that you haven't), it's a really stupid game that's ridiculously fun to play. One team stands in a line, each person bending over and holding the waist of the person in front of him/her. Then the other team jumps on the backs of the first team's line one by one. The team that falls first loses. Stupid, right? Also quite painful. But fun, nonetheless. Okay, moving on.
2) Elton John/Billy Joel Concert- Okay, seeing one of the two of them in concert would have been unbelievable. But both?? Geez, I don't think I could have been more excited. We learned on the way in that every woman stops at the first bathroom they come to when they get to the stadium, so if you ever need to use the bathroom before a concert, go to one farther down, because there will be no one there. Anyway, a couple songs into the concert, the pedal on Elton's piano stopped working. First of all, an Elton John/Billy Joel concert is the sort of concert for which these things should most definitely be checked. But, alas, it stopped working anyway. I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but Elton John is known for his horrible temper. So we could all tell that he was not pleased by this at all. Billy Joel was hilarious, because he was doing everything he could to keep Elton from losing it completely, but in all honesty, I think he was making it worse. He played the Battle Hymn of the Republic, he offered to switch pianos (to which Elton replied, "That wouldn't fix the pedal," obviously not finding the joke to be very funny), and at one point he threw off his jacket and dove under Elton's piano after offering to fix it himself. Keep in mind that Billy Joel is 60 years old. But he couldn't fix it, so the stage crew pulled the piano off the stage and the show went on. I honestly think that the whole ordeal made the show better. "At least," said Billy when they realized Elton's piano was broken, "you know we're not recorded. This is what you call a real rock and roll f***-up." I think we all agreed that if we were to pick one of the two to hang out with, we would definitely choose Billy Joel. At one point somewhere in the middle of the show, he pulled out a flyswatter and started wavnig it around everywhere. Evidently there was a fly, but I think after a while he just enjoyed the attention he got while he waved it around. Anyway, the music was absolutely amazing, and they played basically everything that was of any importance in both of their careers. They played music for almost 3 solid hours. I have never seen such amazing piano playing. So. That was incredible.
3) NYC- So, before I begin this description, I'm just going to say that I forgot my camera and was very angry with myself for the whole trip. This is the reason there are no pictures to go with this section. Anway, my dad and I went to New York City for my sixteenth birthday, as is tradition in my house. It was pretty excellent, as NYC usually is. We went to Ellis Island, which was WAAAAYYY cooler, and also way bigger, than we expected, and required another day to finish. We also went to the Statue of Liberty, which was not as cool (and also involved many more stairs than we expected), but is something that every American should do at some point in his life just to say he's done it. We also saw a show on Broadway, which is also a must. We saw an Alfred Hitchcock story adapted into a comedy called The 39 Steps. It had a cast of four people, in which one man played the main character, one woman played three women, and two other men played every other person the man and woman came across. It was extremely creative and very well done. We walked down Wall Street and 5th Avenue, and we saw Ground Zero, where they're building the 9/11 Memorial (it was literally right across the street from our hotel--we could see it from our room). We also doot-dooed our way through the entire 16 1/2 minute recording of "Rhapsody in Blue" on the way there, which I found to be quite amusing.
4) The Wedding!!!! Wow. It's still hard for me to believe that my sister is married. This is going to sound remarkably cheesy and overused, but to me, Tiff is still my big sister that I played Barbies and House with when we were little. So, anyway, the day before the wedding, all of the girls (including my mom) got mani-pedis, which was exciting, because I'd never done it before. We had lovely nails. The wedding was at a beautiful little stone house/wood cabin from the 1700s. All of us bridesmaids and Tiff had stayed the night before (after having our bachelorette-type party thing), so that we could just wake up and get ready. We didn't exactly account for all of the waiting, though, so we passed the time by staring at some puzzle pieces while Melissa actually did the puzzle. I have to give credit to Tiffany, though, because she was very patient, even though she wondered why she chose an evening wedding. I don't blame her at all. Eventually, after all that waiting, it got to be about an hour before the ceremony started. And... It rained. Hard. Immediately after Tiffany came back in after her photoshoot. It was not supposed to rain that day, I might add. But, with the help of a Doppler radar, some patience, and some nail-biting (not literally, thank goodness), we chose to wait it out and squeeze the ceremony between storms. So the ceremony began, a little late, and slightly more damp than we had planned, but just as beautiful. It progressed as planned, if not a little tearfully, and right as the couple lit their unity candles, it started to pour. Again. Luckily we had a very large reception tent, so somehow every guest and every member of the wedding party managed to get under the tent with chairs and everything in five minutes. I have to sincerely thank the wedding planner for the umbrellas, too. So, with everyone a little bit wet but just as happy, the ceremony finished and Tiffany and James were officially married. I think the rain just added to the beauty of it all, and I personally think that it's very fitting that it rained at Tiffany's wedding, because Tiffany happens to be one of those people that can never do anything the normal way, and I mean that in the best and most loving way possible. Apparently there is an old wives' tale that when it rains on your wedding day, your knot (you know, "tying the knot" when you get married) will be tied tighter because of the rain. It couldn't have been more perfect. Tiffany and James are absolutely perfect for each other (and not just because they're both very small), they had the most beautiful wedding, and I love them both!!!! They're living in Denmark now, trying to figure out exactly where they're going to settle down. Best of luck to you both!!!!! *I'm going to be professional here and thank Broadleaf Photography for the pictures.*
5) Hollywood, CA- My mom and I took a lovely trip out to Hollywood a couple of weeks after Tiff and James left, a) to relax after the wedding, and b) to take a trip during band camp since we don't have to be there anymore!! With lots of help from our GPS, Rupert, we made our way through the city. Here are a few things I learned about Hollywood during the week:
  • Hollywood is only fun if you're a tourist or a movie star, and if you are the former, it's really only fun once.
  • The mountain that the Hollywood sign is on are NOT as pretty as they look in the movies and pictures. I don't know what they do to them in photoshop to make them look so nice, but they are really ugly. The entire landscape of Los Angeles is brown, scrubby, and hilly. Not exactly the most beautiful place ever.
  • The cities you see in movies are usually on a backlot of some movie studio, in which there are no built-in doorknobs, benches, lightposts, or newspaper stands, because these are things that change over time. They get put in when filming starts.
  • If you ever want to go to a movie premier with any remotely famous person, get there at least two hours early and be prepared to shove people out of the way to get pictures.
  • Brad Pitt needs a shave. Badly.
  • George Hamilton is just as tan and dapper in person.
  • The Judge Judy set is made of plywood that's been stapled together with a staple gun.
  • Lots of stars drive black Range Rovers.
  • The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a several-day task.
  • There is a dress code for seeing a taping of The Family Feud: no white shirts, no shirts with logos, and no shorts. Interesting. And when you clap, you have to clap up by your face so the people watching at home can tell you're clapping.
  • 1/2 hour Sitcoms take 5 1/2 hours or more to tape but are very entertaining because they hire a comedian to keep you laughing between takes. If you ever go, expect your face to hurt a lot when you leave.
  • The Kodak Theatre has a MASSIVE stage.
  • When watching the Oscars, no seat is ever empty because the Kodak keeps a line of extras in fancy clothes to fill in seats whenever someone gets up.
  • The Oscar is named such because some woman that worked for the Acadamy in the '30s or '40s thought the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar.
  • Stars' Homes Tour busses are extremely tacky and have annoying guides. Never take a tour. Get a map and find the houses yourself.
  • Hollywood is not actually a very nice place to be if you leave the middle of Hollywood or Sunset Blvd., and Sunset Blvd. does not have much to do unless you're extremely rich.
  • US 101 (the highway) is extraordinarily useful if you're driving from Universal City to Hollywood Blvd. Also, if you ever get lost, chances are you'll end up on Cahuenga Blvd. We did. Every time.
  • Road signs are not very clearly labeled in Los Angleles.
  • Madame Tussaud's is awesome (if not a little creepy), and the Hollywood Museum has tons of interesting movie trinkets.
  • John Wayne's feet are not actually as small as people like to joke. He was wearing riding boots, which make your feet look smaller, so his feet appeared to be very small. John Travolta, whose spot is right next to John Wayne's, bought the biggest pair of boots he could find just to make fun of John Wayne.
  • There are a lot of interesting trees in Los Angeles.
  • A cemetery in the middle of a city actually exists. It's between a parking garage and a bank or something.

*Just a note about this cake.* My friend Suzy's mom had made the little chocolate cookies that you see on it, and Suzy thought that they looked like cow pies, and she had the brilliant idea to make a cow pie cake. She was extremely excited when she found out that they were throwing me a party, so she made me a cow pie cake. And yes, we know that the 1 is backwards, but we didn't realize until after we took the picture. 6) Surprise Party- My friends are the coolest ever, and they threw me a surprise sweet 16 party! We had been trying to get together to have a party celebrating our AP scores all summer, so naturally I assumed that that was what we were doing. But when I got there, all of my friends were there and had a lovely party for me! We had a cake and everything! I still can't believe that I have friends awesome enough to throw me a surprise party. We played all kinds of games that have kind of become traditions in parties of ours, like Balderdash and Apples to Apples, and we also played Catch Phrase (which is very entertaining to watch) and Scene It, in which we learned that we do not know as much about movies as we thought. We watched the end of The Dark Knight, because the last time we had had a party we never finished it, and one of my friends had never seen the end. Apparently everybody kept telling her different endings. I don't know why anyone would do such a cruel thing as that... It's not like I did, or anything. Anyway, we had tons of fun and it was a great way to end the summer.

There's still one more week of summer left!!! We just had our Vikingfest, where we got our schedules, and most people that aren't anyone I'm friends with went to the football game and had tailgate parties and such the like. Believe it or not, the SCA actually scheduled tailgating into the Vikingfest timeline. Anyway, I mentioned that we got our schedules at Vikingfest. But what I didn't mention was that there were no teachers on the schedule. I think that everybody was extremely angry about this, because a lot of people already knew their schedules and just wanted to know who their teachers were. So it was really a waste of time and paper. Sometimes it amazes me how stupid our school system can be.

Anway, that's about it. Pretty amazing summer, no? I'm still digesting it all, so to speak. It all went so fast, and now school's starting and I have to go back to my boring routine. But I guess it's all for the best.

~ Snooty Crumb

P.S. I don't think that I'm ever putting this many pictures on here ever again.