Travel Theme: Sculpture

This week on the Ailsa Travel Blogging Network, the Irish lass wants to mold us to. . . and that metaphor dies a deserving death. Anyway. . .

There is only one piece of art in the entire world I wish I owned, and this is it:

18

And for bonus points, see if you can figure out what this is. . . hint: look at the name of this blog. . .

bruin head

;o)

Advertisements

Travel Thursday: Suzette in Salzburg

Sometimes you meet people in the most painful ways. . .

Salzburg

I shot this photo from the castle up on the hill in Salzburg, and didn’t realize at the time that I was walking in exactly the same place about an hour later, still taking photos. There really isn’t that much to do in this town in the morning.
A few minutes later I heard a thudding behind me, so of course I turned to see what was causing it, and was tremendously surprised by what I saw: a tall blonde was jogging toward me, still some distance away but closing in a hurry. Luckily I didn’t wonder why she was making the ground thud so hard–she wasn’t that big.
More amusing, I could plainly see each and every male, from the little ones in school clothes to the old geezers wheezing on the benches, had stopped in their tracks to stare at her, which was all the excuse I needed to gaze at her too. I moved over next to an empty bench to give her room and watch the performance; with a little more warning, I woulda brought my camera up as I wondered if these old guys were here for what was an everyday show.
As she came closer, I could see she was smiling. . . at me. Perhaps I was the first healthy person she’d seen on her jog–the town does run a bit old–and as such was the only one who could appreciate what she was doing. She had no idea my knee was throbbing just from the walking, and watching her pound the pavement.
Even though I hadn’t gotten my camera into position, my mind still went into shooting mode. First thing I noticed was the blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, bouncing from side to side as she ran. That wasn’t the only thing bouncing, of course, but as I continued watching her, I couldn’t help but notice she wasn’t a very efficient runner. Her arms were flapping all over the place, not helping her movements, even hindering them by increasing wind resistance. But that thought quickly fled as she came closer and I saw she was encased in a white sweatshirt and purple tights. Her facial beauty needed no make-up, and her blonde ponytail flapped in the breeze created by her running all conspired to make her look younger than she obviously was.
She was looking at me, not the path, as she arrived near my position. I’d seen her dodging previous puddles–snow melt, in this suddenly fierce heat–but there was no way she could react in time to avoid this one. Her foot came down hard and the water splashed my leg.
When she swerved, I had the horrifying thought that she would tumble down the grass slope and into the very chilly river. But before I could move, she was filling my eyesight with her body, slipping toward me at high speed. My reflexes as far as my arms were concerned were up to the task, catching her delightful body, but I had no time to switch my weight, and as a consequence we went tumbling onto the wet bench, which was far better than the wet grass we had just avoided but also far harder.
Neither of us said anything for the next few minutes, out of breath, wet, and in some pain. The bumped knees hadn’t helped either, since mine had already been hurting and the collision made it ten times worse. I was sure her knee felt the same way, since she might have sprained it while sliding through the puddle. Her ankle could be sprained as well.
But I didn’t say this right away; her elbow had crashed into my stomach and knocked the wind out of me, and my backpack had smacked hard into the bench and bounced back against me, so I gasped like a bloated fish while she cried softly in pain.
Yet when I looked up at her and saw she was looking back, I knew we were both struggling not to laugh. There was still pain in our gazes and gasps, but neither of us wanted to be the first to lose control.
Finally I asked, “Are you always this shy?” which forced her control and caused her to let out a burst of uncontrollable giggles, punctuated by tiny sobs of pain.
Taking a deep breath–now that I could–I stood up to test my knee; there was only a small twinge when I straightened it. I knew knee bumps were painful–very painful, bump into a car fender at full speed while playing with your dog and you’ll see–for only a few minutes, after which they settled down to tenderness for the rest of the day. The previous pain I had in the knee always went away with rest, and I’d had plenty of that in the last few minutes. Despite the heat of the sun, the air was still cold, and I was glad I had worn thermals underneath the jeans; the water from the bench hadn’t soaked through to my skin. Even my hands were dry, thanks to the gloves, though the camera had taken a knock against both our chests.
It was a different story for her, though. I could see patches of wetness across her purple tights and, more importantly, her white sweater. As a matter of fact, I could see the entire curve of the outer side of her left breast, the sweater and white bra having been rendered transparent by the wetness.
Finally she tried to get up, but gave a little whimper as soon as she put weight on her foot and fell back against me. Luckily this time I was ready, and in the mood for helping a damsel in this dress. In full hero mode now, I proved my reflexes were up to speed when I saw her bend down, wincing at the pain in her knee, to take off her right jogging shoe; my hand shot out to stop her.
No doubt due to the cold and nothing else, an amazing spark shot out on contact between our hands. Usually I would have pulled back, but this current made me grip her hand tighter, and I could tell it had the same kind of effect on her.
I gazed into her lovely face, finding t full of puzzlement, so I said, struggling to remember some of the words in German, “If you leave your foot confined, it won’t swell. Believe me, I’ve had enough of these to know.”
She relaxed and leaned back a little, and I heard her voice for the first time, thankfully in English. “Since you seem to be such an expert, I put myself entirely in your hands.” With that said, she leaned completely back onto the bench, satisfied, until she touched the wet metal and recoiled. Only then did she realize how cold and wet she was; despite the heat starting to have an effect on the day, it was still breezy and the air cool.
Suddenly she was gazing at me, in a sultry way, I thought. “If my hero can get me back to my apartment before I freeze to death, I will give him a major reward. It is only a few blocks away.”
I looked into her eyes, a unique shade of purple, acutely aware of her panting mouth, her wet breasts heaving against the white sweatshirt, and those fabulous legs. . . Again looking deep into those wide violet eyes, my peripheral vision saved the day again.
“Taxi!”

;o)

When tall girls ruled

Just got home from Trader Joe’s, where I saw a lady about 6’5. I happen to like tall women–i get along better with them than the shorter lasses– so I was a little sad that this no longer seemed like a big deal to me.

;o)

Poetry Tuesday: Return

BY C.P. Cavafy

Return often and take me,
beloved sensation, return and take me —
when the memory of the body awakens,
and an old desire runs again through the blood;
when the lips and the skin remember,
and the hands feel as if they touch again.

Return often and take me at night,
when the lips and the skin remember….

;o)

Everything’s Better With Redheads

This time I got to the bus stop with one red light to spare, even though I left way earlier than usual. The drivers insist on getting here early, as though testing me. Then it did the 40-minute route to downtown in 25. Next, I only had to wait two minutes before the subway took off; I’m gonna be way early again. . .
And of course I was, despite more time in Radio Shack than I’d anticipated. Was greeted by Annabel–you don’t know her–right at the door, who helped me choose some cheap folding headphones, then led me to the counter, where we find that because of a printing glitch my $10 off coupon is not working. But since I still had the email, I took out my Kindle Fire and she plugged in the store’s wi-fi code. . . but then the email didn’t show up on the app, so she suggested I go through the web. . . and it worked! Got my $10 off, then got another $10 off coupon. That’s the most satisfying shopping experience I’ve had in a long time. . . I know, I know. . .
Always feel better after my Jamba Orange Dream Machine, or more likely during. And as many times as I’ve been in this elevator in Ackerman, and seen the sign, it never seemed funny until now. “Bridge to Kirckhoff Hall, this is the Captain. Mr. Hall, please respond.”

002
Just like it happened at the Daniela Ruah play last month, I was way early, even with the long walk up to the NE corner of UCLA. 003

Even though I spent countless days studying in the sculpture garden,010

I had never been past it into what must be the Theater, Movie, and Television Arts area. Found a theater, but it was wrong one, so I changed direction and walked past a group of loud kindergarteners apparently graduating. . . ah, there it is. Finding the place open, I ask about doors, where I find it would happen only ½ an hour before showtime instead of the usual hour. . . see, that’s why you ask.
And as I move back the way I came for a shady bench on which to have the first half of my Subway bacon and egg footlong–not a plug–there’s Molly Quinn striding into the theater. . . once again, timing is everything. Later, as I went to throw away the drippings into the trash, I almost bumped into Susan Sullivan, who did not look like she wanted to be bothered, so I didn’t.
Bored with sitting, I stroll around the area–like I said, I’d never been up here–and then watch as a clarinetist in a black strapless ballgown sets up to entertain the people waiting. As she got her reeds ready I asked her some basic clarinet questions–no Rhapsody in Blue or Mozart today. Only thing recognizable throughout her entire show was Somewhere over the Rainbow.

The Cast

The Cast

The Poster

The Poster

The scene

The scene

The clarinetist

The clarinetist

First here, almost last in, as usual; not as big a deal this time because seating was reserved. Still, people got seats wrong, so I had to stand up a lot. Finally took a look at the stage, finding only seats, stools, and old-timey microphones, making it obvious this is gonna be a radio play.

The stage

The stage

There’s a screen up there, as you can see in the photo, running commercials for their previous stuff, including apparently their whole collection for $1000 dollars instead of the normal $1500. One of the previous plays was Art, which readers of this blog might remember I saw earlier this year; one of the actors in this version was the incredibly Machiavellian Cyrus from Scandal.
First we get the media guy telling us about the taping and make sure all the cell phones are off–yeah, right–then the director came up to inform us this was the 75th year since the crux of the story, the Kinder Transport. Interestingly, the final paper for my history minor at UCLA was the different ways in which people escaped the Nazi regime; my favorite was the Danish fishermen, but that’s a story for another time. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who’d ever heard of Schindler (besides Spielberg) before that movie came out. Anyhoo, this is just to say that I had heard about this story, but hadn’t read more than the basics; even though this is fiction, it personalized everything to a tremendous degree, with the repercussions that are bound to happen when kids leave their parents. This was especially important, since the director announced three of those Transport Kinder are here! Wow!
According to the program, the playwright has also written about Mata Hari; suddenly I wish she were here, as I have some interesting theories about that dancing lady. . .

Cast
Shannon Lee Clair–Eva
Jane Kaczmarek–Helga
Angela Paton–Lil
Susan Sullivan–Evelyn
Molly Quinn–Faith
Hugo Armstrong–Ratcatcher/other roles
Foley guy at stage left

As the play starts the main character seems to be Eva, and Shannon gives her a huge German accent; actually, she speaks quite a bit of German here, and sounds natural to my semi-experienced ear. Jane alzo. . . I mean, also with a heavy German accent, which is fun for me, having so many German friends and even an ex. Molly, on the other hand, has a delightful–almost subtle but definitely there–soft British accent. Angela, on the other hand, had a bit of a cliché lower-class British grandmother tone, not nearly as bad as Monty Python though perhaps owing a little bit to Benny Hill; still, it worked. Hugo did German as well as a number of British drawls, all very well. Did not detect any accent from Susan.
The first scene is between Evelyn and Faith takes place in the attic–we know that by the photo on the screen–where Faith is moving out to go to college; it reminded me a bit of Alexis doing the same with Castle, which was cute. Then Molly went into even more adorable range by singing “Runaway Train,” which I know I’ve heard Benny Hill do, though not as well. From there on it was too dark for me to write many notes, though I do remember a point where Eva is on the train heading for England and mentions the “Hook of Holland,” which made me laugh because I’ve taken that train route and she’s right, it looks nothing like that.
Not to toot my own horn–couldn’t reach anyway–but I figured out Eva was Evelyn long before the script expected me to. Yay me. . .
I know this is a little ridiculous, but having seen Molly only on Castle and Avalon High–definitely need to see Hansel and Gretel Get Baked–it was a bit jarring to hear her utter “Shit!”–twice!–as well as “Fucking!” But then I grinned and moved on.
At this point I should mention that, since it’s a radio play, what the actors wore didn’t matter, yet I think some of them did dress up. Susan didn’t seem to, even wearing heels, but Jane was all in black, in seemingly dowdy clothes, and Angela was draped in a housecoat that looked distinctly like something a woman her age would wear in England. Shannon was dressed cutesy in a short dress and stockings, but Molly was in jeans and a tight purple top. At one point I thought she looked hippie-ish with her multicolored belt and long blonde-looking hair, but more on that later.
So, I know four of the five actresses here, so leave it to the one I’d never seen–Shannon–to give such an overwhelming performance that left me breathless; really, everyone was fantastic, but she nailed this role–sometimes it seemed like it was dual roles, her German life contrasted to her British life, with corresponding accents–so amazingly I really can’t imagine anyone doing it better. It also occurs to me that the Foley guy must be having so much fun. . .
At halftime, after navigating the steps down to the restroom–can’t imagine how the wheelchairs get there–I stayed standing against the wall just outside the seating area, stretching a bit, only to notice an open door to the side, with an old lady on a cell phone and two guys who were probably crew smoking. Taking a peek outside like a curious gopher, I spot written on the wall next to me “George Burns Soundstage” in giant block letters. I look further, and indeed it looks like a studio backlot; once again I’m amazed that after all these years I still find new places at my alma mater (and not in the science area!) I hope Molly got a chance to explore. . .
As the second act begins I take more notice of the way the actors are seated when not standing at their mics. As I mentioned, there are stools between the seats and the microphones, short ones that seemed to swivel; at times the actors’ backs would be to the audience, while at others they would be facing to the side, all planned I’m sure. At one point Molly and Susan were facing each other, really close, and Molly grinned so delightfully. . .
A few funny lines: first of all, apparently Hitler smells! All Germans do, according to the male British character. I’ve actually heard that before; I had an Ethnic Studies teacher who’d been in WWII who’d said the same thing. Too bad for him I was dating a German girl at the time, and she smelled divinely. He retired soon after, thankfully. Another funny was when they were talking about the parting of the Red Sea and how the Egyptians drowned trying to follow the Jews: “They deserved it!”
Pretty sure Angela has been in every scene in the second half, switching between present day–though not really present day, more on that later–and back when Eva first came to England. I haven’t mentioned it before, but all of the actors were holding scripts, with Shannon the only one using a folder. It’s about at this point, when Molly’s character Faith forces her mom into hidden revelations, that we find out Helga–Jane’s character–survived the concentration camp and met with Eva–now Evelyn–after the war; not even her English mother knew about this. Having given up her parents for dead, resigned to making a new life, Evelyn–who insists that is now her name–won’t go with her birth mother to New York, and apparently never sees her again. In about fifteen minutes of heartbreaking disclosures, this was the toughest of all to watch. . .
At this point Molly’s character gets to tell Susan’s character some really terrible stuff, making me wonder if Molly gave her a hug after the first time they rehearsed it. There was just so much to take in–before a bit of a happy-ending finale–that the only way I can think of putting it is. . . shit got real. . .
Considering I always have trouble going into the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam, I feel I did pretty well with this. . . but still. . .
Talked to the Foley guy after, I told him it must be so much fun and he definitely agreed, even if he didn’t get to break anything this time. Waited a while to talk to the cast; they were speaking to the special guests, the original German kids sent to England, and I wasn’t about to interrupt that. But when Molly was finally free, she passed close enough for me to ask if I could get a photo, and once again I’m stunned by my calm demeanor; I think I was even more composed than I was with Daniela, since I now had the previous experience of speaking to a favorite actress without getting rattled.

Cuteness overload

Cuteness overload

Molly is incredibly cute in person–though she is on stage or camera too, of course–and very nice. After the photo I told her how fun it was to watch her as something other than Alexis, then asked what kind of accent she was doing. She seemed to light up as she told me about the research she did, how the counterculture in the late 60s in England wanted to sound anti-posh, definitely not at all like their parents; to this point I hadn’t been aware the play took place in that era and not in modern times. . . though this did make wonder if that belt and her hair style were part of the same characterization. It looked like she enjoyed it when I realized it was all her and not in the script; I can only hope she was pleased to have all the work she put into it acknowledged. We talked about accents a bit more, which is an interest of mine, and though she seemed okay with it I could tell she wanted to go, so I shook the hand she offered and went away happy, my only regret being I forgot we were both lefties and shoulda shook that way.
After the longest walk through UCLA I’ve ever suffered through,

Men! {and pigeons!}

Men! {and pigeons!}

I Just missed the Sunset bus as usual, so on to Wilshire again, where after only a couple of minutes a regular turned the corner, thus guaranteeing me a seat, even if it would take longer to get to Vermont–the street, not the state–than the express; as it was we didn’t get passed by an express until we were almost there, so that’s okay. Unfortunately I was in a bit of a dead zone transportation-wise, with no way out of a long wait for one bus or the other after I was done with the subway, but no time to eat the second half of my Subway bacon and egg footlong either.
On the subway I saw conclusive proof that not all babies are cute, though I can’t imagine why anyone would pierce the ears of a three/four month old; that’s just wrong. Kid already has bags under eyes too. Is that enough evidence to call child services?
Got a little harassed by a painted-blonde deputy checking passes while looking so bored, in direct contrast to the last time, when the male cop had seemed friendly as a puppy. Looking over these photos you see here while on the light-rail, I played around with the buttons on the still-new camera, making sure once again I had it set to never use flash, since that’s against my photographic religion. Once I saw the symbol on the display area I couldn’t help but laugh as I named it flash/slash.

Not-so-super moon. . .

Not-so-super moon. . .

So. . . if I were to extrapolate the happenings of the past few months, hopefully the next checkmark on the actress bucket list is Katherine Heigl. . . hey, dare to dream!

;o)

Travel Thursday: Mountains of Pain-E

Took me all this time to realize a cinnamon roll is just a rolled up churro.

Like the title? Didn’t even think of Wall-E. . .

Snow was all around us, but these mountain peaks were so strangely shaped that there were certain areas where the snow didn’t stick or even hit. Receding glaciers, my analytical mind instinctively told me, even as I tried to make my camera realize these peaks had no foothills, seemingly thrusting out of the grasslands. Then switching to telephoto, the granite towers looked like they’d been carved by some drunk sculptor, or more like a chef grading cheese but unable to cut straight.
I smiled at the silly thought, and my cheeks hurt, so I tightened the scarf around my lower face and promised myself to wear the balaclava next time, no matter how spooky it would look to anyone we ran into here.
Like we were gonna run into anyone out here. . .
“You ever walk on a glacier?” Aliya asked over the churning of the snow.
“Yes. Very dangerous. Crevasses.”
That hadn’t been where she was going, actually wondering if her tourist charge would enjoy such a thing, but she let it die. You didn’t actually have to walk on the glacier to see all the birds, of which there was an astounding variety for such a cold place, as well as guanacos, an animal related to a camel but without a hump, the memorized speech in her mind told her. She figured a photographer shooting the mountains would like an animal change of pace, so maybe she’d lead him that way on the return.
As she turned to see how I was doing, she saw my camera pointed her way. She hadn’t asked me not to, but still. . .
“I need perspective against the mountains,” I grinned.
For whatever reason this made her smile hugely and fakely for the shot.
“Wow, those chompers look great against the black granite.”
She instantly closed her mouth, but remained smiling.
She was going to be fun, I grinned to himself, much more fun than I ever expected to find in the furthest reaches of Chile. . . well, Southern Chile, Patagonia area, so as not to confuse it with the desert up north. According to the almanac–or whatever they were called online–this area was 600,000 acres of deep aquamarine lakes, rushing rivers, glaciers, pampas, and fjords, but mostly known for those previously mentioned weirdly-shaped granite peaks named after some guy called Paine.
“Gimme your usual spiel,” I grinned at the gorgeous brunette, amused to see she was still holding the smile. Or else her face was frozen.
“Why? I’m sure you checked on the internet.”
“Perhaps I like your voice.”
Her grin widened, so her face wasn’t frozen yet. “You’re a very perceptive man.”
“And I haven’t heard much English recently.”
“I see.” The temperature grew even more cold, if that was possible, but she was sure I knew she was just playing. “When’s the last time?”
“Well, only once since arriving in Chile, before you.”
“Oh?”
“Yeah. When I was driving down from Santiago. . .”
“And it was on this drive you heard English?”
“Some guy stuck his head out of his car and yelled, ‘Dude, ride the glacier!’ Which is just about my speed, so yeah, I won’t be doing any white-watering.”
“But the package price covers it,” she said impishly.
Snort. “Hell, I didn’t pay for it. Keep it.”
“Hmmm, I might have to split it with the water dude, but yeah, that works.” The impishness in her cheeks grew. “Bet you heard plenty of German.”
“Sure, but since that means plenty of schnitzel, I’m okay with it. What I haven’t heard is the spiel.”
“Oh, right!” She closed her eyes, and I saw her lips moving, but waited patiently, since I was already frozen. “In Patagonia, the elements of sky, sea, mountain and glacier come together in a spectacular display of natural beauty.”
I looked around, but couldn’t spot the sea here. There was a lake, though, so I shot a wide-angle that incorporated all of them. Though according to my map studies the really beautiful lakes were on the other side of the mountains, and I didn’t want to be on a horse that long. Oh well.
“Steep glaciers plunge into the sea, condors soar above granite peaks and the shore is cut by immense fjords.”
“Hmmm, we’ll have to go shoot that after.”
She was about to tell me that wasn’t covered under the plan, being a bit far away, but it was her fault for bringing it up, and hell, I’d given her a nice gift with the non-rafting, so she might horsey me over on the last day.
“Guided by only the best in the business–me, I added that–you explore the Patagonian wilderness on foot, by raft, boat, horse, and overland vehicle. . . well, not raft, you added, or subtracted, that. Hike below towering granite spires, camp in delightful beech forests and flower-filled meadows, then–”
“Wait, we’re camping?”
“Hey, you told me to give you the spiel!”
“But you already altered it once, or twice.”
“Oh, right. Okay, since you paid extra, or whoever did, you get to stay in a cabin. And instead of rafting you will cruise the superb fjords between the steep rock walls of Last Hope Sound.”
“Last Hope? The fjord is half empty, not half full, huh?”
“Nice. Mind if I put that in my spiel?”
“Sounds like it can use all the help it can get.”
“Moving on. . . this province is also called Last Hope, but now with the Carretera Austral, it is considered Chile’s spectacular new frontier. This region was inaccessible before the mid-eighties, but has now opened its arms by way of the new ‘Austral’ highway–I just mentioned it–that allows you to explore the natural beauty of this region. There are numerous lakes, mountains, glaciers, thermal baths and national parks where you can trek, ride horseback and fish.”
“Fish? You’re supposed to provide the meals!”
“Okay, fine. You also get to hike to volcanoes and onto glaciers, where along the way you enjoy the diverse wildlife and plantlife. You visit a natural spring, hike around lakes, camp throughout the region and ride on horses through various hill regions.”
“Again with the camping.”
“Hey, I’ve got this memorized! Don’t make me hurt you.”
“With this cold, I wouldn’t even feel it.”
“Oh, you’d feel me,” she grinned naughtily.
An eyebrow went up. “I’ve actually tried that in the snow before, and it didn’t go well, but I might be willing to give it another shot. . .”
Oops, too fast, her face said. “Don’t get your hopes, or anything else, up just yet. Or I might actually have to hurt you, and you don’t want that.”
Too much ego, I sighed, having to bring her back to earth. “You mean you might try to hurt me. Not at all the same thing.”
She looked amused. “Just what do you think you could do to stop me?”
So she was taking it to the next level. Okay. “We’re out in the middle of nowhere. If I wanted to rape you, nobody could stop me.”
“I could.”
“Hmmm. You miss my point, on purpose, for some macho posturing.”
She grinned. “Got me. Do you know what makes glacier ice blue?”
“Loneliness?” Oops, I saw that was the wrong answer when she winced. “Pressure.”
She recovered quickly. “Correct!”
“What did I win?”
“What didn’t you?” Suddenly she looked me square in the eye and said, “Boned and de-boned mean the same thing.”
I gazed back into her incredible blue orbs and replied, “But ‘boned’ carries a much more entertaining definition.”
“Really?” She tried not to grin. Now that she realized I wasn’t pushing a seduction, she was more able to forgive the wordplay. Which was only right, considering she’d started it.
I rolled my glove up enough to peek at my chronometer, a subtle enough hint, she thought as she fake-spurred the horse back into action.
I’d always liked Chile, and I was taking a trip up to Machu Picchu after this, the only reasons I’d accepted this job. And the pay was well worth the while, which was why I found myself sitting on a horse in a snowy field, surrounded by weird mountains.
Though it wasn’t till I got off the horse that I found myself at the perfect height to get just enough of the plains as foreground to compliment the weird black mountains, and despite the cold the sun was shining enough to make them glisten against the backdrop of a surprisingly blue sky. Award-winning shot, I thought, shooting to my heart’s content for the next few minutes, not really knowing how many passed. . .
(And that was the end of the good stuff–the food and lodging were too terrible to relive)

;o)