Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Huzzah!

Congratulations, Sir Terry Pratchett!

This is a joyous day for hedgehogs everywhere because Terry is the inventor of The Hedgehog Song.  The version that I've linked to was strung together by Heather Wood using bits of verses taken from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels.  Warning: extremely suggestive lyrics.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bat's Day...Part One?

I think I've mentioned this before in brief, but I'll say it again for clarity's sake: once a year a bunch of goths get dressed up and go to Disneyland. This is known as Bats Day. It started back in 1999 when a group of about 80 death rockers, under the promotion of local goth/industrial and death rock clubs decided to go to have a blast at Disneyland in full goth regalia (which, keep in mind, would be normal attire for them). The next year they had about 200 people and the number has continued to grow. To quote the website, Bats Day has become possibly "the premier event on the West Coast for the Gothic and Industrial subculture of all ages." Yep, that's right. This event is entirely family friendly! There is nothing more adorable than seeing a young goth couple, dressed head to toe in black velvet and lace pushing around a stroller with a sleeping infant wrapped up in a pink blanky. Nothing.

Much like Gay Days, which should be obvious enough not to require furthur explanation, Disneyland is not officially associated with this event. Meaning, it's not an event run, advertised, or officially hosted by the park. That being said, nearly all the cast members know about Bats Day and the park treats it like any other group event or convention.

Those who know me in real life know that I'm not really what you'd call "goth" unless we're talking about the literary and historical sense of the word. I might have gone goth for a while when I was a teenager if it wasn't so much damn work and when it comes right down to it I am, after all, a lazy genius. So I spent Middle School with my nose buried in a book, wearing inordinate amounts of clacky jewelry and High School much the same...sans jewelry. But the one thing I have always loved since I was five years old is an excuse to dress up. An excuse to dress up and go to Disneyland? Even better!

So the next morning I woke up and went to make sure Evan was awake. Once that was done I decided to let the girls sleep for a bit while I took my medication. Afterwards I crept into Kyra's room to wake the girls. They rolled out of bed and I went to get dressed and do my goth makeup, which was pretty minimal considering how elaborate goth makeup can get. I made myself a skirt with a faux bustle (someone remind me to take a picture of that and post it) and a pair of purple bloomers with black lace that I wound up not wearing cause I thought it would be too warm. I'll probably wear them for Bad Faeries Day at the next Faerieworlds or something.

So I put those on and shared my lip stain and sparkles with Kyra and her friend Sarah. Evan came out in black pants and some kind of long sleeved shirt that made him look perfectly emo. We were going to put eyeliner on him but I knew if we did he'd be rubbing his eyeballs all day. So we left it at that and went out to say bye to Jolie. She took some pictures with her iPhone, which for some reason blogger doesn't want to upload. I'll try those again later.

The kids decided they wanted Jamba Juice and bagels for breakfast so we drove down the hill to...Ventura? Normandie? I dunno, one of those major streets in L.A. that runs along the 101. Anyway, the girls waited in the car while Evan and I split up to get breakfast. Evan went for the bagels and I got the smoothies. We met up back at the car and devoured breakfast before getting on the freeway and starting off for Disneyland. We listened to Kamelot and Ayreon on the way there, which is symphonic power metal and rock opera/progressive metal, not goth music. But it was fun anyway. I know, I know. I listen to to weirdest stuff. Anyway, going to Disneyland from Jolie's house is an interesting experience because it's almost like taking the 5 back to my house. It took a little longer than I'm used to but we made it there without any trouble.

We parked in the character parking lot and made our way down the escalator towards the tram. Kyra was feeling a bit nervous all dressed in black and pink and immediately started looking around for goths, as if I had made up the whole concept of Bats Day just for giggles. She didn't have to look hard though. As soon as we got down to the tram we were met by the familiar sea of black that marks Bats Day in the fun park. One guy in particular was standing in the middle open area of the tram stop sporting an elegant walking stick in one hand and a skull in the other. Don't know about the skull but he was wearing this beautiful 18th century floor-length coat that I totally wanted to steal.

I soon wished that I'd worn my bloomers. It was uncharacteristically chilly that day and I kept my pirates of the caribbean jacket on most of the day. It has skulls on it though, so it's all good. We got in line to buy our tickets and just as Evan was purchasing his and Kyra's tickets a group of three goths came up to us and asked how many tickets we were buying. It turned out that one of them worked at Disneyland and could sign in a certain amount of people and she needed to use up those spots before they expired. So Evan took his ticket that he'd already bought an Kyra wound up getting in absolutely free! How cool is that? This just goes to prove what I've been saying for the longest time: goths are really nice, friendly people underneath all that makeup and spooky clothing. We thanked them multiple times and wished them a happy Bats Day before continuing into the park.

I think the first thing we did was get junk food. Kyra had some cotton candy that she was nice enough to share with us. We ate that while we waited in line for Space Mountain. Here's Kyra in the black and pink tutu I made for her to wear on Bats Day. It's got a black velvet pointed overskirt with silver bells and it was hella easy to make.

She's cute, isn't she?

After Space Mountain we stopped to watch the Jedi Training Academy show. For those who have never seen this before, you are totally missing out. I wish I was seven years old again just so I could join in. It's totally unfair that this wasn't around when I was a kid, but I'll admit it's pretty cool for the kids that are around now. Basically they give a bunch of kids Jedi robes and lightsabres and teach them some moves with the lightsabres. Then Darth Vader and Darth Maul show up and each kid gets a turn to fight them. The guy playing the Jedi Master, who runs the whole thing is always wonderfully sarcastic and it's always enjoyable to watch.

Just look at this kid. Holy crap, it's Darth Vader! omgomgomg!! Remember your training, Kid! May the Force be with you.

After that I think we did the Matterhorn. I love the Matterhorn. It's especially fun when you're not sharing a seat with anyone else because then you slide all over the place. Weeee! We stopped in front of the castle at some point to see what the turnout was for the first scheduled group picture of the day and all I can say is Oh. My. God. You couldn't even see the castle from Main Street. Just an ocean of black across the drawbridge. I think the final count at the end of the day was around 2,000 people. We opted out for the castle picture and decided we would make it to the Haunted Mansion photo shoot later that night.

We went on Thunder Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean after that. Two major musts when visiting Disneyland.

Ooo, there's shiny things down there!


Avast me hearties! Ye haven't seen any 'o them Jack Sparrow fangirls hereabouts, have ye? They give me the willies.

We also made Evan go on Peter Pan. Why, you ask? Because Peter Pan is awesome, that's why. The line for Peter Pan is always an hour wait. No more, and hardly ever less. It used to be that every time I went to Disneyland I had to go on Peter Pan. I'd make my parents stand there and wait an hour for a ride that lasts less than two minutes. Remember those days, Dad? I'm sure you do. The fun part about waiting in line for Peter Pan is you get to stare at Snow White's Scary Adventure, which is right across the way and is easily one of the most hilarious rides in the park once you get inside. No, really. It's up there with Winnie the Pooh in terms of hilarity. Go ride it.

But the fun part isn't just staring at the outside of the ride, it's waiting for this to happen:

Mwahahaha!!!

I'm kinda surprised how few people know about this, but I guess it just goes to show how many times I've been to Disneyland in the 22 years of my existence. For those of you who may not know, get this: there's a curtained window above Snow White's Scary Adventures and every five minutes or so (I've never timed it, but I probably should) the curtains draw back and the wicked queen appears in the window. Just look at that smug expression of her face. You know she's plotting something. This bit of Disney trivia brought to you by college students who have nothing better to do.

Here's Kyra and Sarah about to board the magical pirate ship that will take them to Candy Mountain Neverland.


Think lovely thoughts ^.^

We did lots of stuff after Peter Pan. Ran around, ate junk food, had our picture taken by random people while we were minding our own business. Some of them might wind up on the Bats Day website if the webmaster ever gets around to updating the photo section. I'm sure I made them go on Winnie the Pooh, which is the closest you will ever come to experiencing an acid trip. We thought briefly about going on Splash Mountain but Kyra was getting over the flu and it was still kinda cold so we decided not to. Perhaps next time.


Here's the gratuitous Timmy shot, kindly taken by Kyra's friend Sarah as we waited outside Pirates of the Caribbean.


Later in the evening the kids decided they wanted to go on Autopia before heading over to The Haunted Mansion. There's another ride I used to drag my dad on when I was little. Ah, how I fondly recall his argument of "I didn't drive an hour to get here just so I could wait in line an hour to drive again!" But hey, I was too short to reach the pedal so he went on with me whether he liked it or not. I get it now if it's any consolation, Dad.

Needless to say I didn't feel much like driving, so I decided to ride with Evan even though he didn't need any help reaching the pedal. Kyra and Sarah went for separate cars of course and the two of them thought it would be hilarious to practice their bad driving skills by calling each other on their cell phones. Evan got in on it too and called his mom as we raced with Kyra.


*Ka-THUMP!* Aw, snap. Floor it Kyra! I think that was Pluto you hit back there o.o



Evan, just so you know...I really don't wanna die.

Nah, just kidding. Evan did really good considering the Autopia is a heck of a lot harder to drive after you've learned how to drive a real car. Evan's getting his license soon, he's already got a car and everything. We got to go "off-roading" this time. I've never been on the dirt path before, it was neat. We managed to beat Kyra, which wasn't hard because she kept stopping every time she answered the phone. It was pretty funny.

After that it was time to get in line at The Haunted Mansion. There was a huge amount of people there. The cast members managed the crowd by having one line for people doing the Bats Day photo and another line for everyone else. We got into our line with all the goths and sat around to wait. Everyone was really nice ^.^ We made small talk with the people next to us and a couple others even offered us leftover Halloween candy! This is more or less what the line looked like from where we stood. Taken from the side of The Haunted Mansion

There were sooooo many people!

Eventually the line started moving and we got to have our picture taken at the front of the mansion. One of the dudes running this thing was counting us as we went in. I think Kyra was number 1,500 or something and the guy threw up his hands and shouted, "Congratulations! You win...nothing!" We laughed and kept going. I think the final count by the end of the night was around 2,000 people. We had our picture taken and then went through the ride. Everyone there was really cheerful and witty and we had a bunch of fun participating in this whole thing :D

Afterwards we went and saw the fireworks cause the fireworks are awesome. Evan was sad because we missed Fantasmic, though. Sorry, Evan. We'll get it next time. We tried to go on Indiana Jones but it was broken :( Jolie called right around then and told us we had to go home because poor Kyra had school the next morning. So we went down to Main Street so I could load up on caffeine for the drive home.

I got my nummy Disneyland coffee and we got on the tram and fetched the car. Evan stayed up for a bit but the girls passed out the minute I got on the freeway. I made it back to Jolie's without any problem, though I had to change the music to something less predictable when I started getting drowsy. I switched it over to one of my mix cds and the girls woke up when the Moulin Rouge songs came on because they recognized them. We got home shortly after (around 11:45) and all went off to bed.

I wish I had The Haunted Mansion photo to post, but I'm still waiting for the website to put them up :( I keep checking frequently and will post it here as soon as it's up. According to the Bats Dat website, Bats Day has been moved...again. This Bats Day was in November, before that it was in August. Now they're moving it to May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and saying that it's going to stay there. So who knows? We may wind up going again. Yay for Bats Day! :D

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Timmy visits the Getty Museum.

Ok, Skeeve reminded me that I need to post about Bats Day. But first, the Getty!

So for my art history class I had to visit the Getty Museum and write about three works of art that I liked or otherwise found interesting. It turned out Evan had to do something similar for his ceramics class so I made arrangements to spend the night at Jolie's the day before Bats Day so Evan and I could get our homework done. Timmy was excited. This was his first museum trip!

For those who don't know, or if it's been too long since you've been there, this is what the outside of the Getty looks like! This is a shot of the steps leading up to the main entrance after you get off the tram. Yes, there's a tram that takes you to the museum. Just like Disneyland!

The Getty Museum is home to a wide variety of modern and classical art. With that being said, Evan and I had fun trying to figure out what the hell this thing is. I thought it looked like a lacrosse bat and Evan thought it looked like the end of a putting iron or something. Somehow I don't think either of us were right.



We wandered around and looked at stuff. Ancient stuff, old stuff, classical stuff, modern stuff, and food stuff. Evan and I hadn't eaten so we decided to grab a bite at the cafe before they closed. I had this chicken sammich thingy with fig spread that turned out to be pretty good. Evan had caesar salad and m&ms. No, not at the same time, geeze.



We didn't get to the Getty until 4:00 or so. So the sun started to set shortly after we arrived. I don't think I've ever been to the Getty at sunset before, it's quite pretty. We finished lunchfest and continued to wander around the museum. I wanted to try and get in a couple of modern paintings since my art history class this semester covers the Renaissance to the present day.

We soon discovered that the Getty Museum is awesome at night. They were open till nine that night and I think we stayed until at least 7:30. Hardly anyone is around and thus you can take as long as you like to browse the artwork. There's no crowding, no tourists pushing to the front, and no noise. Museums at night are just neat. If you've been reading my novel for NaNoWriMo this year, it's probably what inspired that museum scene I put in there.

Here's a picture of everyone staring at the sunset. I'm only posting this because Evan thought the kid running through the shot was cute. So eventually we went back inside and started looking at more art stuffs. I found three paintings I wanted to use for my paper and wrote down the necessary information. Then we just sort of goofed around for a while and looked at art. These are the paintings I chose to write about:




The Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light by Claude Monet



Mars and Venus, an Allegory of Peace by Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée




Musical Group on a Balcony by Gerrit Van Honthorst



This painting is on the ceiling and a lot of people miss it for that reason. Evan lied down on the floor and took the picture for me. I like this painting a lot. I want it in my house. I also took some pictures of a few painting purely for reasons of comedy but I'll post those one day out of the blue when I'm bored cause this post is pretty image intense already.


After I decided on all the paintings I needed we explored the rest of the museum. We found this neat exhibit where you sit in a chair and a video camera inserts your image into one of the furniture rooms in the Getty that you're not normally allowed to go in. This is what the room itself looks like. The chairs are models of historical pieces of furniture from different rooms. You sit in a different chair, you get a different room. Here we have Evan checking out the video screens in what everyone is now calling the perfect facebook picture. I think this is the artsy-est photo I've ever accidentally taken. This is what the screen looks like when you sit down. Pretty neat, huh? We had fun playing around with that for a while.


Afterwards we wandered around those outside areas where nobody goes and saw some weird statues we'd never seen before. Eventually we realized it was getting kinda late so we went back to the Greek and Roman stuff so Evan could do his ceramics assignment and take down some information on pottery. Evan finished his homework and we went outside and had a snack at one of the food carts that were still open. We had hot chocolate and walked around outside.
We got slightly lost along the outside stairs and balconies trying to go from one pavilion to the other. It was...interesting.

Once we finished our drinks and found our way back inside we decided to check out the exhibits that are usually too crowded during the day to enjoy. I finally got to see Van Gogh's Irises unobstructed. Why is it that Van Gogh painted all his best stuff while he was institutionalized? We wandered around the empty museum a bit more until we found some of Timmy's relatives.



They're guinea pigs in case you can't tell. We spotted them at the bottom of a much larger painting. I can't even remember what it was supposed to be. Some kind of grand painting of mythological figures I think. All Evan and I could care about what the fact that there were two cute little guinea pigs in it. Of course Timmy had to take a picture.


We tried to take one closer but we scared the security guard, who told us we had to maintain a distance of 1 foot from the artwork at all times. I guess he was worried Timmy's quills would scratch up the painting or something. Eventually we decided we'd seen everything there was to see and went back to Jolie's house for the night. I stayed up and worked on my novel while we waited for Kyra's friend to show up. She finally got there around midnight and she and Kyra stayed up into the wee hours of the morning looking up goth makeup tutorials on youtube. I'm not sure when I finally closed the laptop and went to sleep, but the girls were still up when I drifted off to sleep.

Up next: Bats Day! Followed by The Dicken's Fair!

Monday, December 1, 2008

In which novels are born and fog is terrifying

Ok. You guys want to know what happened last night, right? Here goes...

Dad and I got to the airport around 2:30-3:00. My flight was originally scheduled to depart at 4:00 pm. We got there and found out it was delayed until 6:15. I just kind of went "Bwuh..?" while Dad laughed his ass off. So we sat around for four hours. We talked, we looked at the airport museum, we had a snack, I did a little writing for NaNoWriMo. We checked the time again and saw that the plane had been further delayed to 6:50. Oy. Found out later the flight was coming from Seattle and there was too much fog for the plane to safely take off.

So fast forward a bit later when I finally said bye to Dad and got to go through security. The plane boarded at 6:45 but we didn't take off until about 7:15 because they had to re-enter the flight into the computer -_- Finally we got off the ground and were on our way home. I took out my laptop and did some more writing. I was almost to 50k!

So an hour passd and they told us to put our electronics away and prepare for landing--huzzah! Everyone complied and put up their seat trays and then we all started to realize that we were going in circles. WTF, mate? The captain came on the loudspeaker and told us that it was too foggy for us to land in Long Beach. What the f#@%ing hell?! Are you kidding me? Don't you people know I have a novel to turn in tonight?! Sadly they weren't kidding and we continued to circle for twenty minutes while they decided if the weather would get better or if we were going to have to land at another airport.

They said we could use our phones so I called God and let her know what was going on. I figured if it was ok to use phones it must be ok to use laptops. So I pulled out my computer and kept writing. There was no way I was going to let this bull get in the way of finishing my novel.

The weather only got worse and they diverted us to Ontario, which is an hour away by car. We sat on the runway for another forty five minutes. Meanwhile I finished with 50,063 words by 10:00pm and I had no way of uploading it D: I tried looking for an internet connection from the plane but no dice. We sat there while they tried to decide if they would fly us back to Long Beach or shuttle us back in buses. I was on the phone to God and Dad letting them know what was going on as I got more details. All the while they only thing I could think of was my poor novel waiting to be uploaded.

Finally they told us they were going to bus us into Long Beach, which takes about an hour. But first we had to wait for them to find some stairs that would fit our plane. >.<>

Meanwhile I'm standing there with my laptop open, battery nearly drained, looking forlornly for a wireless signal. I found one that looked like the airport wireless network. I had to pay $3.99 for it. Damn. My insanity won out however and I purchased the internet only to find that the connection kept timing out and I was unable to log on. ARRRGGH! I turned off my computer again, wandered around the baggage area, and waited for my bag. I talked to God and we decided I would try and take a cab home from Long Beach since she had to be up at 6:00 the next morning to go to work. I found out that the airport was also a T Mobile hotspot, but that cost money too and I still needed to figure out how I was getting home.

I got my bag after much waiting around and found some other passengers who looked just as lost as I was. We found out that the buses were outside, all the way down the street, waiting for us. Luckily, we found them without any further trouble and boarded the bus. We sat there for another twenty minutes or so waiting for other passengers to turn up. It was getting closer to midnight and I was near tears at this point. It was so disappointing to have legitimately won the 50k challenge with no way to validate my word count.

My battery was very low at this point. I had maybe ten to fifteen minutes of battery left. In a fit of insanity I turned on my laptop and logged on to the T Mobile hot spot. I found a payment option for $2.99 for one hour. I bought it. I had internet access! I quickly opened word, copied and pasted my entire manuscript into the validation box and sent it in at 11:38 pm. I was rewarded with the image of a viking long ship and a message of congratulations with the word "Winner!" emblazoned across the screen. I did it. I was a novelist.

I was so happy and so relieved and so amazed at how important this whole thing had been to me. 50,000 words is the most I have ever written, ever and reaching that was a glorious feeling. I talked to Skeeve for a bit until God called and I decided to save my battery. The bus took off for Long Beach and it was an hour drive back home. Luckily I had my iPod so I rocked out in the dark, reveling in the feeling of being an author again.

The closer we got to Long Beach, the scarier the fog became. This was scary fog. This was fog that is going to swallow you up and eat you and spit out your bones fog. We couldn't see a damn thing. We made it to Long Beach airport around 1:00 in the morning. I got my bag and looked around for a taxi. After some initial confusion I found the place where they all live. Some guy was getting chewed out by the...um...I guess you'd call him the taxi manager for insulting a customer. I think he was fired. That was scary o.o

I got a cab and started home. It took a while because the fog was that thick. Creepy fog. Finally managed to get home at 1:45 am. The cab fare was exorbitant but at least I was home. Rob was so happy to see me. He was the only one awake when I came home and he would not leave me alone. By his reaction, it was as if Santa had just walked in and Christmas had come early. I said hi to Rob and then went in and woke up God to let her know I was home. I stayed up for another hour talking to Skeeve about the craziness of the evening and finally crashed right around 3:00 am.

So there you are. Now you're all up to date. Whew.

Oh my f#@%ing God!

I cannot begin to describe what I had to go through to get home from San Francisco. So look for an update this week on my adventures with JetBlue and the Fog of DOOOM.

In the meantime, I have discovered that noveling makes me insane. I actually bought internet while I was at the Ontario airport (long story) when I only had about fifteen minutes of battery left on my laptop and miraculously managed to upload my novel to NaNoWriMo by 11:38 and win. Not only did I win, but I found out when I got home that I still managed to beat Quizmo by 44 words. The Dark Gods of Writing have heard my prayers and answered my call. This means a sacrifice is in order.

But look what I have to show for it. Check this out, baby.



Oh yeah...


It feels good to be an author.