Obsessed: Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory’s been on for years, and I’ve been into it for years. But now that ShAmy’s relationship is mega serious (Amy broke up with Sheldon right before he’d planned to propose, she dated a few people, then Sheldon declared his love for her and they got back together) I’m waaaaayyyy into it.

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Apparently last night’s episode is about Sheldon and Amy finally… “getting physical.” I’m gonna watch it today. I’ll be surprised if they actually, er, go the distance. Either way it’ll be funny, though. And one of my favorite comedians, Bob Newhart, is guest-starring again. (If you’ve never seen The Bob Newhart Show, you’re missing out.)

I don’t have much to say today. I’ve got the flu and can’t really think through the chills and aches. But I hope you all have a great weekend!

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OBSESSED: Kid’s Costumes

It’s the day before Halloween!
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I have fun memories of Halloween: trick-or-treating and trading candy, staying up all night watching scary movies, walking down the main street in my college town in costume in the freezing cold with my friends. While I don’t miss the overabundance of “slutty [noun]” costumes (“Sexy Ladybug”? Really?), I do miss stumbling across those folks with genius costumes in the midst of all the “sexy plumbers” and frat boys in those creepy bodysuits that cover your face.
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It’s even more fun for me when brill parents pull out all the stops and make costumes for their kids that make the rest of us laugh our asses off. So, without further ado…D’AAAWWWWWWW! LOOK AT THESE CUTIES!

Static Cling

Laundry mishaps = Annoying. Tiny laundry mishaps = Adorable.

Crazy Cat Lady

…AKA me in about 5 years.

Easy Mac

This actually makes me mega nostalgic. But not for dressing up as pasta (though, those were some good times…)

Bacon & Egg

Because the only thing better than eggs is eggs and bacon worn by a small child.

Cruella de Vil (and a captured dalmation)

Looks like “Lucky’s” luck ran out…

A Paint Set

I love that the paintbrush is so much bigger than the tiny person holding it ๐Ÿ˜€

Army Guy

This one’s actually a little creepy (and reminds me of those damn bodysuits…).

Max from Where the Wild Things Are

C’mon, I HAD to put a book costume in here!

Lumberbaby

Because beard appreciation should begin at a young age.

and my favorite of all:

Rapunzel in her tower

One of the best things I’ve ever seen. XD

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYBODY!
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Avenue Q

I first heard the song “It Sucks To Be Me” as a college freshman. My friend Ryan and I were in his dorm, pulling an all-nighter before our first semester finals. Obviously we found about 10 billion ways to procastinate keep ourselves awake. One of them was listening to soundtracks from our favorite musicals. College: the only time in life when you can belt out songs from Rent, Wicked, and Rocky Horror and no one will look at you funny b/c they’re all too busy weirding it up themselves. We found songs from a show called Avenue Q that I’d heard of and was desperate to see as soon as I found out puppets were starring in it. Hearing the songs sealed the deal.

Scratch that, knowing that one of the characters in the show is Gary Coleman after he’s hit rock bottom and become the superintendent of some crappy apartment building sealed the deal. Fast forward 10 years (holy f***, WHYYYY), and I’m FINALLY watching the UK touring cast perform Avenue Q… and it’s even better than I’d hoped.

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Avenue Q hit home for me far more than I ever thought a show about puppets could. Every character — the humans, the monsters, and the puppet-humans — is trying to find happiness. Princeton is a college grad who’s just moved to the big apple and wants more than anything to find his purpose in life. Kate Monster is a kindergarten teaching assistant hoping to advance in her career…and find a boyfriend. Brian’s been laid off, and wants to be a comedian for a living (but his act kinda sucks). His fiancee, Christmas Eve (lol) is a Japanese-American therapist with no clients. Rod is a closeted gay investment banker whose best friend and roommate, Nicky, keeps trying to persuade him to come out. Trekkie Monster is a shut-in who does nothing but watch internet porn all day. And Gary Coleman…is Gary Coleman.

Everyone knows and loves each other, and tries to help each other out in their own ridiculous ways. But there are other characters, like the Bad Idea Bears — who always try to convince people to do the worst possible thing — and Lucy The Slut — a Girls Gone Wild veteran, and…puppet — who constantly complicate things. Eventually, everyone takes responsibility for who they are and what they want, and figure out that it’s best not to force anything; every feeling and situation, the good and the bad, are only ever “For Now” anyway.

The songs are hilarious. I liked all of them, but my favorite is still “It Sucks To Be Me.” Runners up are “If You Were Gay” and “The More You Ruv Someone.” Some songs are about hard truths, like “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” (self-explanatory) and “Schadenfreude” (about how other people’s misery makes you happy). I found out that Kate Monster is my spirit animal. Her songs were full of heart and made me think about those times I liked someone new and drove myself crazy over it. My favorite Kate Monster tunes were “Mix Tape” and “There’s a Fine, Fine Line.”

I was going to say how impressed I was with the actors who played multiple parts (Richard Lowe, Sarah Harlington, and Stephen Arden), but honestly, I was impressed with everyone. Especially with how well the cast worked together! There are parts of the show where both puppets voiced by a single actor are in a scene together, and another actor/crew member has to operate one puppet while the actor who does the voice for that puppet speaks for them (and controls a different puppet at the same time). I don’t know if I explained that well, but it was pretty awesome to see. The timing of speech and mouth movements was always perfect, and I thought that was so cool. It just showed how hard they all worked, and how talented they are.

Also, Avenue Q is a perfect example of how, just because something is full of furry, colorful characters doesn’t mean it’s for kids. Avenue Q is like The Book of Mormon with puppets. (One of the co-creators/writers of Avenue Q actually co-created The Book of Mormon, so…yeah.) It even has a puppet sex scene that lasts the length of an entire song. Not a family friendly show, unless your family consists entirely of folks over the age of 18. But if one of your family members is a toddler who smokes cigars and has a mustache, that’s probably OK.

I Believe…In Planet Orlando

I spent Tuesday in London with a flatmate, essentially killing time until the real reason we were there:

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We wandered through Chinatown…

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We stopped in at one of the best comic book shops I’ve ever visited (Orbital Comics — if you are at all into comic books, graphic novels, good/weird art, or other interesting finds, you won’t be disappointed with this shop), then we had lunch at Spaghetti House. I ordered the pappardelle with Yorkshire venison & wild mushroom ragรน. It was simply prepared and delicious. There’s no picture because after the server piled my dish high with fresh cheese, a mountain of dairy is all you would’ve been able to see.

We went by the Prince of Wales Theatre to see if our tickets were available for pick-up. We collected them from the box office, and I took the opportunity to immortalize the moment ๐Ÿ™‚ :

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We headed to Waterstones determined only to use their facilities and not buy anything (because there’s a Waterstones in Guildford town centre, which I’ve visited approximately 8 billion times since I’ve been here). But of course I couldn’t escape the pull of the shelves completely and ended up buying two books: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (which I’ve been looking forward to reading for ages), and YOLO by Lauren Myracle (the unexpected (for me anyway) follow-up to her teen trilogy of novels written entirely in Instant Messenger format). After losing my flatmate and finding her again, we went to Caffe Concerto for dessert…and I ended up eating a duck & roasted pear salad (after having had profiteroles covered in a sheet of chocolate, and some hot chocolate to drink).

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After we ate, it was finally time…!

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I grabbed a cocktail before the show that I promptly spilled onto my seat and the seat in front of me (have I ever told y’all how clumsy I am?), but only a bit — most of the drink made it into my actual mouth ๐Ÿ˜‰ The screen pulled down over the stage had a dreamy scene of clouds and the moon painted in blues and purples. I saw it and immediately heard the opening bars from The Princess and the Frog (๐ŸŽผThe evening star is shining bright/So make a wish and hold on tight/There’s magic in the air tonight/And an-y-thing can happen).

The first half of the show was pretty funny, and I loved the character Arnold Cunningham (so awkward, sometimes creepy, and always funny). My favorite songs from Act I were “Hello” (because it absolutely had me flashing back to the time a pair of Mormons came to my door, and memories of my own childhood door-to-door experiences as a Jehovah’s Witness), “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (Lucy St. Louis sang so beautifully!), and “Man Up.” I liked Act I well enough, but I wasn’t particularly wowed by it; it generally went the way I expected it to story-wise. Have you ever been exposed so heavily to something that you start noticing patterns in people’s work? The humor, storyline, and song lyrics in Act I were pretty much what I expected from the guys who created South Park and Robert Lopez, the co-creator of Avenue Q (another musical with hilarious songs that I have to see one day).

Act II is where things really picked up for me and I started getting excited about what was happening. I L-O-V-E-D “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream.” Easily my favorite number of the entire show. I credit about 85% of the reason why to the line “I can’t believe Jesus called me a diiiiiiick!!!!” and the look on Jesus’s face as he haughtily glided away. I. DIED. Those were two of the best things I’ve ever witnessed. Period. Runner-ups for favorite number are: “Baptize Me” (the actors were so into it! If you weren’t laughing during that one, you were dead. Only excuse.), “I Believe” (especially when Elder Price went to see the general. YEESH…), and the reprise of “Hello” because it was just perfect.

Act II took some turns I didn’t expect both musically and with character development. While the performances in Act I were fun (and funny), the performances in Act II blew me away. Most importantly, the way the story progressed and ended made me see the purpose of religion a bit differently. I’ve always seen it as a tool of hope and, as a result of past dealings with it, have certain opinions about the workings of religion within specific contexts. However, realizing how much hope it can give to people whose lives are an endless nightmare was incredibly heartwarming. The musical also points out that it’s possible to appreciate what religion can do for someone without believing the claims of said religion yourself. I love hope. It’s gotten me through some terrible situations. But I have a whole new appreciation for it now, which is something I, hands down, did not expect to come away with after watching this show.

I am so impressed with The Book of Mormon and can’t recommend it highly enough. My message to anyone who hasn’t seen it: buy tickets. ASAP (unless you’re very easily offended, in which case it may not be your cuppa). The cast is crazy talented, but it’s easy to see that everyone involved also takes tremendous care in putting this show on. Afterwards, the actors told the audience about a charity called Acting for Others — an organization that collects money for actors and theatre staff who are having a hard time either because of disabilities, severe illness, or because they are responsible for children with special needs — and they, along with some members of front-of-house staff, collected money for it in the lobby. I gave as many loose ยฃs as I had on me.

See this show. That is all.

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores

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I picked this book up on a whim; can’t remember when or where. I opened it… and could not stop laughing. Jen Campbell (“poet, short story writer, and bookseller”) compiled the funniest, most outrageous and sometimes offensive things customers of her bookshop have said. There are also plenty of contributions from booksellers in other cities. The crazy quotes are categorized in the following ways: Literary Pursuits, What Was That Title Again?, Parents and Kids, You Want What?, Customers Behaving Badly, Isn’t it Obvious?, Books for Kindling, The Adult Section, Higher Powers, and Out of Print. After dumping all my books out, reorganizing them, and picking out which ones I want to take on the plane with me, I decided to reread this one. Here are a few of my favs from each section:

Literary Pursuits

Customer: Where’s your poetry section?
Bookseller: It’s just over here.
Customer: Great. Do you know who wrote the poem “Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey, and you smell like one too”?
Bookseller:
Customer: Do they have their own collection?

Customer: Hi, could you recommend a book for me?
Bookseller: Sure. What kind of thing are you looking for?
Customer: Well, I was let out of jail this morning, so something not too heavy would be nice.

(Customer arrives at desk with two baby books, a stuffed bunny toy, and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov)
Bookseller: That’s an interesting selection you’ve got there.
Customer: They’re all for different people.

What Was That Title Again?

Customer: Do you have a copy of Nineteen Eighty Six?
Bookseller: Nineteen Eighty Six?
Customer: Yeah, Orwell.
Bookseller: Oh — Nineteen Eighty Four.
Customer: No, I’m sure it’s Nineteen Eighty Six; I’ve always remembered it because it’s the year I was born.
Bookseller:
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Customer: Do you have Campbell’s Soup for the Soul?

Customer: I need A Few Good Men by Joe Steinbeck.
Bookseller: Do you mean Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck?
Customer: No, I said A Few Good Men.
Bookseller: The movie?
Customer: No. It’s a classic book! Steinbeck.
Bookseller: I don’t see that here by him. But he did write Of Mice and Men.
Customer: What? Just show me where to find his books.
(Later)
Customer: Here it is. Of Mice and Men. Right there on your shelf.

Parents and Kids

Customer: Do you have a book with a list of careers? I want to give my daughter some inspiration.
Bookseller: Ah, is she applying for college courses?
Customer: Oh no, not yet. She’s just over there. Sweetheart?
(a four-year-old girl comes over)
Customer: There you are. Now, you talk to the nice lady, and I’m going to find you a book on how to become a doctor or a scientist. What do you think about that?
(the girl says nothing)
Customer (to bookseller): Won’t be a sec.
(Customer wanders off into non-fiction)
Bookseller: So, what’s your name?
Child: Sarah.
Bookseller: Sarah? That’s a beautiful name.
Child: Thank you.
Bookseller: So, Sarah, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Child: … A bumblebee.
Bookseller: Excellent.

You Want What?

Man: Where are the pianos?
Bookseller (leading him towards the music section): Sheet music is on the bottom shelf; piano tuning and repair books are on the next shelf up.
Man: No, no, no! I need a piano.
Bookseller: We don’t sell pianos.
Man: I hear music.
Bookseller: … That’s the radio.
Man: Are you sure?

Customer: Do you have any medical textbooks?
Bookseller: Sorry, no. They go out of date so quickly that we don’t stock them, but I can order one for you.
Customer: I’m not worried about it being in date.
Bookseller: Does your course not request you have a specific edition?
Customer: Oh, I’m not a medical student, I just want to know how to do stitches.
Bookseller: … Right.
Customer: Do you have a book on sewing, instead?

Customer: Where do you keep your maps?
Bookseller: Over here, what kind of map are you looking for? A county, a state, a world map?
Customer: I want a map of the sun.

Customers Behaving Badly

Customer: Hi, I’ve just self-published my art book. My friends tell me that I’m set to be the new Van Gogh. How many copies of my book would you like to pre-order?
Bookseller: You know, Van Gogh was never appreciated in his lifetime.
Customer:

Customer: Do you have security cameras in here?
Bookseller: Yes.
Customer: Oh. (Customer slides a book out from inside his jacket and places it back on the shelf)

Customer (peering over): Do you have brown eyes?
Bookseller: Yes, I do.
Customer: My mother told me never to trust anyone with brown eyes.
Bookseller: … You have brown eyes.
Customer:

Isn’t it Obvious?

Customer: Hi, I’d like to return this book, please.
Bookseller: Do you have the receipt?
Customer: Here.
Bookseller: Erm, you bought this book at Borders.
Customer: Yes.
Bookseller: … I’m afraid we’re not Borders.
Customer: But you’re a bookstore.
Bookseller: Yes, but we’re not Borders.
Customer: You’re all part of the same chain.
Bookseller: No, sorry, we’re an independent bookstore.
Customer:
Bookseller: Put it this way, you wouldn’t buy clothes at Urban Outfitters and take them back to Gap, would you?
Customer: Well, no, because they’re different stores.
Bookseller: Exactly.
Customer: … I’d like to speak to your manager.

Books for Kindling

Customer (inclining her head): How are you guys doing?
Bookseller: Oh, we’re clinging on.
Customer: Oh you poor dears, it’s this Kindle!
Bookseller: Well, really, it’s the supermarkets making people think that books aren’t worth paying money for.
Customer: I hadn’t thought of it like that. It is terrible, isn’t it?
(five minutes later)
Customer: How much is this book?
Bookseller: That’s $10.
Customer: Could I have it for $5?

Customer: Do you guys sell used e-books?
Bookseller (laughing): No…
Customer (angrily): Why not?

The Adult Section

Customer: Do you have a restricted section?

Customer (buying the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy): Do you sell batteries?

Daughter: Dad, will you buy me that book?
Dad: Which book?
Daughter: Fifty Shades of Grey.
Dad: No!
Mom: I have it, I’ll lend it to you.
Dad (in the tone of one deeply betrayed): Why do you have it?
Mom (calmly): It was for the neighborhood book club.
Daughter: Nevermind.

Higher Powers

Customer: I saw The Passion of the Christ this weekend and somebody told me there was a book about it. Do you have it?
Bookseller: You mean a book the movie was based on?
Customer: Yes. I didn’t see it on any of your displays.
Bookseller: Sir, the movie was based on the Bible.
Customer: The Bible?
Bookseller: Yes, sir.
Customer: Oh, the Bible! But isn’t there a book?

Customer: Do you have a book that interprets life?
Bookseller: I’m not sure what you mean.
Customer: Well, I was out hiking the other day, and I saw a wolf. I want to know what that meant.

Out of Print

Customer: I have The Pickwick Papers, first edition. How much will you buy them for?
Bookseller (examines book): Sorry, but this was printed in 1910.
Customer: Yes.
Bookseller: The Pickwick Papers was first printed in 1837; this isn’t a first edition.
Customer: No, it was definitely first printed in 1910.
Bookseller: Dickens was dead in 1910.
Customer: I don’t think so. You’re trying to con me.
Bookseller: I promise you, I’m not.
Customer: (Glares for a while, then snatches the book back up) I’m taking the book elsewhere! (Storms out)

Customer: I’ve got some books to sell.
Bookseller: Hi, thanks. I’m just helping some customers at the moment. Could you join the back of the line?
Customer: Er, I’m selling you books; I’m here for your benefit.
Bookseller: These other people are here to buy books, they are also here for the store’s benefit.
Customer: You’ve got thirty seconds to buy them, or I’m leaving. You need to learn to prioritize.

I didn’t know what to say after the first, second, or third time I read this book. These people are hilarious, and some are just plain out of control. It’s a quick read, and I think it’s a safe bet you’ll chuckle at least once reading this. Also, there’s a sequel:

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If someone buys this for me before I can buy it for myself, that heroic individual will be my new best friend XD