Sunday, March 16, 2014

To Grant on His Birthday:

I know this isn't post all of you were waiting for (I haven't really rested since I started spring break and I haven't uploaded pictures yet) but I just wanted to take a moment and say how much I love my brother Grant.

Today is his sixteenth birthday and I am so glad that he wasn't a girl like my parents had hoped he'd be. Sure, having a sister seems nice to most people, but I've never really wanted one because I have Grant. He's the one who will watch Reese Witherspoon chick flicks with me. He's the one that will go anywhere I will go because he just wants to be with me. He's the one who always greets me with "Sissy!" when I come home or talk to him on the phone. He will sing "Popular" from Wicked in public with no shame. He is unapologetically and unabashedly himself.

I love him and hope that he never changes because he's the best sixteen year old brother out there. Anyone who thinks or feels differently is wrong.

I wish I could call and tell him all this, but he's out partying it up on a cruise.

Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Concrete Jungle: Day 3

Today was much more relaxed than the past two days I've had here.

My dad and I decided to honor the request of my mom and make the pilgrimage to Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey. We thought that it would take a really long time to get there, but it turns out that it was basically just a matter of getting to the train station and taking a few right turns once we got across the river to Hoboken. I was told beforehand that there would be a line out the door, so I would need to wait about half an hour or so. But when we got there, the line was only to the inside of the door.

The inside of the bakery- taken while waiting in line.

He's usually checking e-mail and stuff while we wait for things. You know, important dad stuff.

That spread, though.

We then went back to our hotel room and tried to decide on something else to do... only we didn't actually go out again until dinner. We entertained the idea of going to Louis Armstrong's home, but that was an hour away. We then thought about the Natural History Museum, but that wasn't particularly interesting to us either. So dad took a nap and I dozed for a bit. 

After we ate dinner, we headed to the theatre and found out that Lorde was performing across the street. So many hipsters and little girls all over the place. I mean, we are in New York City, so the hipster thing is a a given. It was still interesting to see all the different variations of hipster and little girl were waiting to see her.

Next we came upon what I had been waiting for all day: the Neil Simon theatre where we would partake in the experience that is All the Way.

It was about three hours long, but was one of the best shows I've ever seen. It was a ride from start to finish and the entire cast was brilliant. I can't sing its praises enough. I will say this, though: if you are in NYC while this show is happening, SEE IT.

So did I meet Bryan Cranston? You bet your sweet bippy I did. He is one of the most warm and kind individuals I think I will ever meet. He touch my hand while signing my playbill. He smiled at me. He addressed me directly. He looked me in the eye when speaking to me. You know that he wants you to feel important no matter how many other people are looking to get his attention. He is the kind of performer I want to be, not just because he really is engaging onstage, but because he's the kind of person you want as your friend, uncle, or in my case, back up dad. I love my dad more than any other dad out there, but if something were to happen to mine, I would want Bryan Cranston to be my dad. Could I continue counting the ways I adore and admire Mr. Cranston? Probably. But I'll just let you look at the pictures.

They wouldn't let you take pictures with him, so I don't have any selfies or anything with him. Just know that I love him and that I met him. He's wonderful.

One of the best shows ever.

Time Square was super busy tonight. There's a lot going on.

It's been a wonderful trip and it'll be sad for it to end tomorrow, but I'm so glad that I got to do all that I've done thus far. I can't thank my parents enough for doing all this for me!

Concrete Jungle: Day 2

Today I learned many things and also got back to the hotel around midnight, so today's stories may be limited to a few sentences.

It's currently 1:50 a.m. and as I reflect on today, all I can think about is how cool certain things I saw were. As Maria Von Trapp said, here area few of my favorite things:

1. My dad and I went to the almost finished 9/11 Memorial this morning to discover some really cool memorial things like this:

The rose means that today would have been Jon's birthday.

We also found a really good vantage point for taking pictures of the Freedom Tower.

2. The Jewish Heritage Museum knows what it's doing. The way this place is set up is that it has three floors, each of which is dedicated to the foundation, past, and present of Jewish culture. Obviously the big draw for this museum would be its Holocaust exhibit, which was extremely interesting, but I like how it was set up. It began by teaching the visitors about basic beliefs and traditions of the Jewish religion and then went into the Holocaust. It ended by showing just how much stronger the Jewish people are even after the tragedy that occurred during World War II. I would definitely recommend going here the next time you venture to New York. Be warned: you will spend a really long time here. 

I happen to be really fascinated by the Nazis, especially Nazi propaganda and Adolf Hitler.

3. Ellen's Stardust Diner is way more fun than I thought it would be. I mean, I thought it would be cool, but it's definitely one of the most fun restaurant I've ever been to. They sing, they dance, they serve comfort food... what more could you ask for in a restaurant?

4. Les Miserables was very worth going to see. I've seen it many times and have gotten tired of it, but I wanted to do something my dad really want to do, so I initially decided to go because of him. Well, I found out that Will Swenson was playing Javert in this second revival and I knew that I needed to go. THEN I found out that an SUU alumni was playing Madame Thenardier and it further confirmed my need to go see the show. AND THEN I found out that Tony Award winner Nikki M. James was playing Eponine and I really knew I needed to go see the show. Needless to say, it was a good show.

My dad was way more excited about the show than he looks in this photo...

He always suggests that we take selfies. 

Mr. Will Swenson, everyone. This was what I had been looking forward to for the entire day, just ask my dad. I am so extremely proud of everything this man has accomplished. Love, love, love him.

The one and only, the fabulous Miss Keala Settle. She was seriously wonderful and I am so glad I met her!

Unfortunately Nikki M. James walked away before I could get a picture with her, but just know that she was beautiful and magical onstage. 

Needless to say, today was pretty awesome. Shout out to my dad for being a good cameraman. Hopefully tomorrow will have some even more exciting things for me to post about! I mean, it's going to be pretty difficult to top meeting Will Swenson, but I'll see what I can do!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Concrete Jungle: Day 1

Today was the first day of my adventure here in New York City. I'll admit right off that traveling through three time zones in less than twenty four hours during daylight savings time is not a good idea, but it's all been worth it so far. 

My dad and I started out the day by going to a little cafe/coffee shop called "World Coffee" where we both had muffins and I had a cup of freshly juiced apple juice. We're trying to be a bit more conscious of what we eat while here so that we don't have to roll each other back to the hotel every night. So far we've done relatively well with that goal. 

We then headed to the TKTS line to get tickets for Waiting for Godot, or Waiting for Gu-dot as one of the TKTS guys unjokingly called it. It was cold, but I felt just fine in the 31 degree weather while everyone around me seemed to be freezing even in their marshmallow jackets. 

My dad and I were able to get tickets and needed to waste time between lunch and the time the show began. We went to FAO Schwartz and of course, the Apple Store. It was a good time and we saw some things we really liked. For me, it was the Wizard of Oz toys and Beatles merchandise along with all the Apple products I don't already own. For my dad, it was some Beats headphones. 

After all this, he and I headed to the theatre and took our very small seats. The show was very well done and the cast was wonderful. I especially loved the set design. I felt like this play could easily be played too seriously, so it was good to experience this story through the lens of friendship that has a very natural feeling string of comic situations. It was also nice to be surrounded by a lot of people who would not normally go out of their way to see a Samuel Beckett play, well, going out of their way to see a Samuel Beckett play.  
Next comes the part many people know me for executing: the picture with someone I highly respect. 

After the show, security set up these small barricades to keep the already large crowd forming at the stage door in control. We waited for a small while and I sort of made friends with a young boy and his mom near the back of the crowd. You form this sort of short lived friendship as a means of having someone to laugh the situation you are both in off with another person. It's one of the best kinds of friendship. Anyway, I was able to get two autographs and pictures: Billy Crudup and the man himself, Gandalf the Grey/White a.k.a. Sir Ian McKellan, a.k.a. One of the coolest people ever. 

It was a good day and I'm looking forward to experiencing whatever this crazy city has in store tomorrow.