Random Roundup

I have a few things I’ve been meaning to post about, and thought I might as well do it all in one go:

1. I went to NYC and had a great time. Saw lots of friends, did lots of wandering, and ate lots of good food. My 3 favourite things!

12049486_10100121342851474_5207737945734156213_nTimes Square

12063845_10100121342706764_8052982763288268484_nWashington Heights

2. Still no luck on the job front. I’m starting to feel really disheartened. Like, what do I do with my life if I can’t find a job in the field I want?

3. I thought I’d been kicked out of my outpatient anxiety program for being a flake, but it turns out I wasn’t. Apparently vanishing during your first 6 weeks isn’t all that uncommon. I start back on Tuesday, and hopefully this time goes better.

4. I’ve become obsessed with adult colouring books.

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5. I joined an online creative writing club. I’d heard about it through some friends, and I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve been partnered up with someone in Ottawa for a couple of projects, so it’s been a pretty cool experience. I haven’t really done creative writing before, so it’s nice to have someone to bounce everything off of.

6. I got quite frustrated with my Panic Project and put it on the back burner a couple of months ago, but I think it’s time to get it going again. I just need to figure out where to start! The creative writing project has made me realize how helpful having a partner for it would be. Sigh. Maybe one day!

I think that’s it. My life is pretty boring! How are you doing?

 

 

 

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12 Days In New York City

I love New York, but boy was I ready to come home after 12 days in it. Had the last 7 of those days not been so stressful it might be another story. But the fact was that I barely had enough money to get me through the 6 intended days, so the additional 7 weren’t overly enjoyable as I tried not to use much public transit or eat out or really do anything that involved spending any money…

But, despite all that, it was still a lovely and much needed holiday!

I arrived in the city on a Wednesday at which time I wandered to Vi’s and collapsed on her couch. On Thursday made my way to Brooklyn to go see the Botanic Gardens. I’d seen someone post about it somewhere, and thought it might be worth a visit. The weather was great, the colours gorgeous, and it turns out there’s not admission cost on Thursdays.

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That evening I headed to Times Square to meet up with Vi. We were hoping to the lottery for a show, but missed it for both The Last Ship and Hedwig. Instead we got omlettes and watched Netflix.

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On Friday I headed down to Union Square where I spent a couple hours getting lost in the racks at The Strand. Paul Giamatti was there. We stood in the ‘Banned Books’ section together. It was pretty cool.

15911_935531347244_5967592703995276388_nStrand Bookstore

I then went and wandered around the West Village and people-watched in Washington Square Park. It was chilly, but sunny, so I was happy.

10676367_935525339284_7555660138133744980_nWashington Square Park

That night I headed back to Times Square to meet Vi. We lost the lottery for Idina Menzel’s show If/Then, but were able to grab ‘Lottery Loser’ tickers for only $5 more. I guess the show isn’t doing so well… I thought it was okay. I’m glad I saw it, but really it’s only selling points are Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp.

Speaking off, we did stage door, of course! I’ve seen them both before, but it’s always fun!

10422083_935529480984_5726191222963934932_nIdina Menzel

10613008_935529241464_6093073703670348153_nAnthony Rapp

On Saturday I met up with Carly, Sara, and Annie for an excellent 4 hour lunch. We’d never all gotten together as a group, so it was a lot of fun. Eventually Carly had to head to work and Annie to a housewarming party, so Sara and I met up Vi and went to dinner.

Vi and I saw ‘On The Town’. I liked it well enough. It’s a classic, so, you know. The dance numbers seemed a little drawn out, but the music was great.

On Sunday Vi and I went on a roadtrip to Baltimore. She rented a car and got tickets to see Next To Normal, I tagged along. Oh, and I can now say I’ve been to Delaware. Woo!

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On Monday it down-poured so we went to the movies to see ‘The Theory of Everything’. I also dragged Vi from shop to shop in search of a single magazine, as, you know, I do that. The weather cleared up later in the day though, so I went for a nice stroll around mid-town.

10417639_935529875194_770824464564860528_nFlatiron Building

On Tuesday I headed out at some ridiculously early hour only to reach the far end of West-nowhere (aka the Megabus stop) and learn that there were no buses. No one seemed to know why. So, my enormous backpack, suitcase and I hiked it over to Penn Station to see about a train. I got a ticket, all looked well, until it’s announced that all Toronto bound rail service will be suspended in Syracuse. Again, no one could say why. So I got a refund and started frantically texting everyone I knew for a place to stay. Annie was kind enough to offer her couch right away, so I made my way 160 blocks or so uptown to Washington Heights.

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I eventually came to learn about the horrendous storms in Buffalo and every 12 hours or so would get an update that train and bus service remained suspended. That week is a bit of a blur with regards to what happened when, and in what order. Again, I stayed in a lot. I mean I managed to watch the whole first season of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, so…

I did go for several nice walks around Washington Heights and Fort Tryon. One day I took the subway down to the Upper West Side to go to Barnes and Noble, and then took a very long city bus journey back to the George Washington Bridge (if you catch a bus within 2 hours (maybe 3 hours?) of catching the train they don’t charge you again- HEY OH!). Washington Heights was pretty cool though, I’m glad I had some time to explore it.

10339759_935648637194_174245830662665114_nView of Hudson Heights and the Bronx from Fort Tryon Park

10406411_935648617234_5416060134614959295_nHudson River, Fort Tryon Park

10421163_936189343614_8391701833344519889_nUpper West Side

And then of course Saturday was the insane Into The Woods evening. I’m still not over that one! Earlier that day though I met up with the wonderful Jennifer Eolin for tea and trading of horror life stories, and a couple hours later went for hot chocolate with another online friend. All that made for a very nice day. Adding in Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, and an early Into The Woods screening were just icing on the cake!

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I didn’t sleep Saturday night, and had to leave for my bus around 4:30am. Thankfully though when I arrived there was no one advising of a cancellation, and I even managed two seats to myself for the entire journey home.

It all kind of worked out. Sort of. Maybe.

Two Midnights Gone: ‘Into The Woods’ Review & Event Recap (With Photos)

Though the show cautions to be ‘careful the wish you make’, I’m here to attest that every so often a wish can indeed come true.

This past Saturday evening a strange and inexplicable happenstance of events took place (that’s another story), resulting in me attending a screening of Into The Woods at the Directors Guild of America Theatre in New York. It was followed by a Q&A with director Rob Marshall, writer James Lapine, and the films incredible cast.

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The Film

Minor spoilers ahead…

I was both excited and scared (ha) for the release of the film since I first heard it was happening about 2 years ago. After all, movie adaptations of stage shows can be hit or miss. I was hopeful that with Rob Marshall at the helm this film could do it, especially since I hold ‘Chicago’ (which Marshall also directed) as the gold standard for modern transition.

Now, I won’t go so far as to say that Marshall repeated the perfection of ‘Chicago’, but he did come pretty darn close on this one. He stayed true to the book, where possible, and brought the sights and sounds of the show to incredible new heights. I wasn’t as visually blown away as I was by ‘Chicago’, but I think that was the point. ‘Into The Woods’ is a very dark, character driven story. It has no need for the glitz and accoutrements, so comparing the two in that respect feels a bit like apples and oranges. (But don’t get me wrong- ‘Into The Woods’ is visually stunning.)

The first half of the film followed the book very closely, and the strays that came after were understandable. ‘Ever After’, ‘So Happy’, and ‘Agony’ (reprise only) were removed, as was the character of the Mysterious Man. This allowed them to toss/alter a few smaller plot points, while keeping the story moving. (Though I will forever be saddened by not hearing Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen sing about ‘their things’ with dwarfs and blood.)

I found the flashbacks inconsistent, and mostly unnecessary. For instance, when Little Red Ridinghood is recounting her tale to The Baker in ‘I Know Things Now’ there’s a flashback. However when Jack recounts his own adventure to The Baker in ‘Giants In The Sky’ there is no flashback. And the latter worked much better for me.

I was thrilled to see that the characters of Little Red Ridinghood, Jack, and The Baker were given so much screen time (I’d say the most, aside from The Witch and Wife). I was worried that given the cast, the roles played by lesser known screen actors would be cut down. But, as I mentioned above, the film followed very closely to the book. No extra time was given to The Wolf or Cinderella’s Prince simply because they were played by A-listers (albeit both parts were brilliant – Chris Pine stole every scene he was in). This was a truly an ensemble piece, and a remarkably well cast one at that.

Meryl Streep as the The Witch, Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife, James Corden as The Baker, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince (or “The Prince” in the film), plus Billy Magnussen, Lilla Crawford, Johnny Depp, Tracy Ullman, Christine Baranski, and more. Honestly, every role in this film was perfectly cast. And every last one of them can sing! (As is not the case in some… *cough* Phantom… movie musicals.)

My big concern going into the film was that it would by Disney-fied, as they say, and I am happy to report that that was not the case. There is just as much death, destruction, removal of toes and heels, and general dark humour in the film as is in the original show.

Though this fact does leave me wondering who their intended market is. While the film will certainly appeal to fans of the stage show, who else are they gearing it towards? The theatrical trailer gave no indication to an unknowing audience that it’s a musical, or that it’s meant for an older audience. I have a feeling that despite the cast and aggressive advertising, this release will not be a great one. I’m sure it’ll do well enough, but I don’t think that it’s going to be the box office and awards blitz that Disney is hoping for.

But, I hope that I’m very wrong on that count, as I personally loved the film and will definitely be seeing it again (and likely again) in theatres after it’s released on December 25th. I am extremely excited about the soundtrack, which contains 50 tracks (!!!) and will be released on December 14th.

The Q&A

I still can’t believe my luck on this one. Not only did I find myself in a screening, but then a massive portion of the cast shows up, sits 10 ft in front of me, and chats about the film for an hour.

blog1Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Tracy Ullman, Rob Marshall, James Lapine, Anna Kendrick.

blog2Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, James Corden, moderator.

The Q&A was a nice mix of moderator, audience (both NYC and LA), and social media questions. Everyone got a chance to talk for a bit, lots of insight was provided, and some great stories were told.

Yahoo has the entire 50 minute event online, should anyone be interested in watching:

https://screen.yahoo.com/woods-live-q-event-200000218.html?format=embed

As you can watch it yourself, I don’t need to say much on it. So, instead, I’ll share some photos:

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It was a very fun night, an excellent film, beautiful people, and I still can’t believe I was there.

Stranded

What does the universe do to the gal who was having a million panic attacks thinking about her upcoming trip and had actually decided not to go up until 5 minutes or so before she left? Why, strand her at her destination, of course!

If you’re unaware- I am currently stuck in New York City and am not sure when I’ll get home. I was meant to head out at the break of dawn Tuesday, but some nasty storms have swept through Buffalo. Seriously, it’s horrifying what’s happening: 70-some-odd inches of snow have fallen in the last 48 hours and several people have frozen to death in their cars after being buried. The NY state thruway will be closed until at least Friday, all cross-border bus and train services have been suspended, trucks aren’t being allowed to enter the US on the Peace Bridge. And the snow is still coming down!

There’s now thousands of people stranded in The City (and elsewhere), and I’m incredibly grateful to have friends who don’t mind a couch surfer. I know others aren’t as lucky, and I hope no one has found themselves in a dire situation. I might be tight on cash, but I’m safe, warm, and surrounded by good company.

And aside from the being stranded, I’m having a nice time. I’ve been to several shows, including Idina Menzel’s newest. I visited The Strand for the first time, and looked at banned books with Paul Giamatti. I people watched in Washington Square Park, visited the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, took a road trip with Vi to Baltimore, had a mini MTT reunion lunch with Carly, Sara, and Annie, wandered the West Village, Union Square, Washington Heights, and did Trivia Tuesday in Harlem with some students from Columbia.

I have photos, but I’ll save those for another day. Well, okay, here’s one:

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I ♥ NY

I really, really do.

I mentioned in my last blog that in early September I was given medical clearance to travel again. As you can guess, I found myself in New York a week or so after getting this wonderful news. It was Vi’s birthday, the bus tickets were cheap, and it was 2 for 1 ticket week on Broadway. The decision was practically made for me!

Continue reading “I ♥ NY”

It happened again…

Update: This blog was a bit of a teaser. You can find the full story (with loads more pics) here- The Jenna Fischer Adventure.

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That’s right, New York City. I found myself in the Big Apple yet again this past week. For those of you planning the intervention, let me assure you that this time was for completely different reasons, that I just couldn’t resist! (Hmm, I feel that is the type of thing one would say at an intervention though… Ah well!) And, really, 3 times in 2012 isn’t *that* bad, is it?

Anyway, as I said, this trip was completely different. After what has been an, overall, shit (pardon the language, but, it’s really the best description I could come up with) year so far, my friend Sally convinced me to take a break. So, after my semester at school wrapped up, and some personal stuff was over, she headed over and we hit the road.

I’ve never driven to NYC before, but after a recent rise in the price of flights it became the cheapest option. Our wonderful friend Carly offered us a place to crash, and we were set for a few relaxing days out of town. And I must say, it was a rather fantastic holiday.

We went to the Tribeca Film Festival, saw Once on Broadway, did some window shopping (as actual shopping involves something I don’t have- Money! Heh), and took in the sites around the city. Oh, and we met Jenna Fischer. Multiple times.

Sally on The High Line:

Tribeca Film Festival

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Jenna Fischer-

On our first day in New York we went to see the premiere of Jenna and her husband Lee Kirk’s new film “The Giant Mechanical Man”. It was a lot of fun. After the show the cast got up to do a Q&A, at the end of which we were surprised by a shout of by Jenna asking if we were there. After the show we went up to meet her, where we received an invite to the films after-party. It was at a roof top bar in Chelsea, and was awesome. We spent the entire night star-spotting! In the days following we were able to see Jenna and Lee a few more times. Her publicist helped us get in to an event at Apple, and the filming of Live! With Kelly. It was all very exciting!

I just realized I never finished my last London blog. Woopsie. I’ll get to it, eventually.

New York City Round 1 and 2

As some of you know I’ve found myself in New York City twice in the last 6 weeks. The first trip was for my birthday and New Years, and the second, a few weeks later, so my best friend Tara could cross meeting Alan Rickman off her bucket list.

I’ve been meaning to write this entry for weeks now, but just hadn’t gotten around to it! But I’m now leaving for London in 3 days, and figured I ought to get it down now before I move on to the next big trip! Plus, I’m procrastinating from studying for the 5 exams I write before leaving for London…

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to go to New York City at Christmas time and see the tree in Rockefeller Centre, but the timing/prices have never worked out. This year I decided to just go for it. And thankfully Vi was in town as well! So a nice little 25th birthday/New Years trip was planned.

Of course, my first stop had to be 30 Rock. And that beautiful tree did not disappoint!

(As always, click pictures to enlarge)

While there we also saw two shows: The closing performance of Bonnie and Clyde, and Daniel Radcliffe’s last performance of How To Success In Business Without Really Trying. I didn’t love Bonnie and Clyde, but absolutely adored How To Succeed. And seeing Dan Radcliffe wasn’t too shabby either!

We also went to see The Artist at the Paris Theatre, which was great. The film was wonderful, and I ran in to Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Twice!

It was so nice to see the city completely decked out for the holidays! There were snowflakes, candy canes, and red and green decorations everywhere!

The second trip, just a few weeks later, was a jam packed weekend. Tara and I left around 4am on Friday morning and were in the city by 10. We checked in our hotel and dumped our bags before heading out in the pouring rain. We wandered around the stores in Times Square, grabbed lunch, and took an afternoon nap (I mentioned we left at 4am, right?)

That evening we grabbed some snacks and headed to the theatre to see Alan Rickman’s play Seminar. The show itself wasn’t my cup of tea, but it was fun seeing him live! After the show we waited by the stage door so Tara could meet him. He was quiet, and didn’t take pictures with anyone, but that’s okay. He signed our playbills, smiled at Tara when I said we came down from Canada just to see him for her birthday, and we took sly pictures with one another in the same shot with him. Heh. It worked!

On Saturday, our one full day, we wandering the city. I heard about The High Line from a friend, and decided to check it out. It was so neat! It’s a park that extends numerous blocks down the lower west side of Manhattan, about a story above ground level. It swerves around buildings, and even through them at some points. It was very cool!

After that we walked to Washington Square Park and then down to SoHo for some shopping and lunch.

After that we headed back to Times Square for a bit of a rest and then headed up to Central Park. We had such a gorgeous day. It wasn’t too cold, the sun was shinning. Perfect day!

That evening we went to see Porgy & Bess. Oh. My Gosh. It was without a doubt one of the best shows I have ever seen. I was familiar with it beforehand, but seeing it live was a whole new experience. I started crying about halfway through the second act and couldn’t stop. I was a hot mess by the end! Seriously, such a moving and incredible show. After we stage doored and met everyone. I was still a bit of a hot mess ;)

On Sunday we needed to be at the airport by around 2, so we headed out in the morning. We got breakfast and saw Grand Central and the New York City Public Library. Gorgeous architecture!

So, that’s been 2012 thus far! All that’s worth mentioning. Most of the time is spent on school work, or Twitter. Jenna Fischer just joined Twitter, so it’s been a pretty even split as of late ;)

Anyway, as I said, off to London in a few days. And I am so excited! I may blog mid-trip. We’ll see!

Happy Saturday,

Spencer

Stationary

I haven’t been able to update this blog in almost 5 months, and that makes me sad. 2010 was such a great year of traveling, but 2011 hasn’t been the same. I did get to New York and Boston, as posted about, but, that was it.

However, I can’t complain. This year has been filled with other important things. The spring and summer were spent working a few different jobs to help pay down some student debt. Two of my closest friends, Kristy and Tara, each got married this year, and I was lucky enough to be in both bridal parties. Tara, and her husband Mike, also welcomed a beautiful daughter, Lily, to the world over the summer. They asked me to be one of her guardians, which was an enormous honour. I’ve been trying to see her whenever possible! And, because she pretty much owns my heart at the moment, I’m going to make you all look at pictures ;)

I also started a grad program in International Development in September, which has ensured a stress filled fall for me! It’s been going really well though. The program is great and I’m finding it to be a great fit. For those of you who know my past experience with school, this is a pretty big deal! The course is a full year, followed by a field placement, which I’m excited about. My dream is to find a placement in London (England) and settle there. However, I’ve learned that long term plans never work out as expected, so, I’m trying to stay open to all possibilities. We’ll see how things unfold over the next 10 months.

I am happy to report that there will be a bit of travel during said 10 months! And I could not be more excited. At the end of the year, for my birthday, I am meeting up with Vi in New York City for a fun-filled few days. Birthday, New Years, Dan Radcliffe- It doesn’t get much better then that!

The big trip is coming up in February though. London. My favourite city in the world. Orla, Aideen and I will be meeting up for a certain someones, certain something birthday. And it’s going to be fantastic. I’m also planning to peruse some development agencies while I’m there, but I won’t hold my breath on getting too far with anything at that point. But, again, you never know!

Anyway, this blog was rather pointless. I can’t sleep, and am bored, so, here we are.