Tag Archives: Cabin Pressure

How to Festival

18 Oct

Greetings, friends! I’m afraid you’ve caught me in my semi-annual if-it’s-not-about-OSF-don’t-talk-to-me post.

Obviously, I’ve just returned from my group trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. As you may know by now, I typically take this trip with a gathering of twenty-something high-schoolers, and it was with that group I saw the plays and attended a few activities – but for the most part, my mother and I stuck with our carpool team, my friend Gracie (the Wasp) and her parents.

The Ashland carpool teams in themselves are always an interesting study.

Every year, when our group congregates outside the Angus Bowmer theater, you can always tell which kids took cars together because a highly-caffeinated four-hour drive has a certain affect on people. They walk in sync, they say things in unison, and they basically walk around going

As Gracie was sentenced to sit next to me for the entirety of the trip, the image above is more or less an accurate photograph of us (she’s classic Dipper) ((Plus, she brought a couple of Cabin Pressure episodes to listen to. 10/10 would sit by again)

This year we enjoyed a spectacular trip, and should you consider making an Ashland trip of your own, I dearly hope it is as good as mine. The OSF experience is different for everyone, but there are some constants in the equation. I’ve recorded such constants in the below five steps that my group took and would now highly recommend.

1. See Ashland

Ashland is a gorgeous place. Simple as that. Gracie and I took many walks downtown, exploring stores we’d not seen before and trying out new restaurants, always making sure to drop in what became one of the taglines of our trip, “Oh my gosh I want to sit down so badly.” Of course there were high-energy times of the trip as well, and you could tell when one was going on, because one of us was belting out “SUITS” at two-second intervals and the other was swirling around street lights, crooning “THE WINGMAN I CAN WEAAR.” Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit is the first track on the official soundtrack of this trip.

2. Participate in the activities Ashland offers

Museums, walking tours, the Green show – Ashland won’t let you get bored. The group with which we bought tickets arranged a field trip to “Exploring Design,” a workshop led by Chris Tufts to explain how the costume designers at OSF use symbolism and character studies to decide on the best possible costumes. During the group activity, my team got so into the spirit of things that we very nearly dressed The Tempest‘s Caliban in Steampunk Darth Maul regalia. In any case, I expect a job offer with the festival within the month.

3. Meet the people

When you separate from your group of peers, you are freed up to meet more of the fascinating Ashland locals. Of course everyone has different ways of getting connected. Some people may strike up a conversation with their neighbors in the audience of the plays they see. Others might greet the people enjoying beautiful Lithia Park. My personal strategies included holding eye contact with the SOU students wearing fandom t-shirts and talking loudly to the Wasp about the Festival in the presence of OSF actors who were trying to get errands done in peace. What’s that? Passive socializing is not for you? Then may I recommend seeing Into the Woods and waving so hard at orchestra musicians onstage that you nearly lift off your seat?

(My row and the trumpet section really bonded. We’re going for coffee next week.)

4. Enjoy the plays

Obviously the plays are a must. The people at OSF know what they’re doing, and each play is a masterpiece. This season I saw The Cocoanuts, The Tempest, Into the Woods, and A Wrinkle in Time, though I would have loved to see more. They were all astounding in their own ways, from the ingenuity of the stage design in the Tempest, to the frankly ridiculous amount of fun the cast of the Cocoanuts was obviously having. There are tips to enjoying it as much as possible. Before A Wrinkle in Time, I read a chapter of the original work out loud to my seat buddy, and I finished the Tempest shortly before making the trip. Pre-show preparation can only do so much when the play is actively going on however, so my most certain suggestion is that you sit next to someone you may punch in the arm mercilessly, should the mood take you.

Sorry, Gracie. But I’m pretty sure we were even on that front, right?

5. Be a good audience

I love a lot of things about live theatre, but one of the main things has to be that it’s one of the few story-telling outlets where overt, unbridled enthusiasm is encouraged. Actors don’t want to play in front of a room of people half-asleep. They want to know you’re there. And considering that my one true gift is enthusiastic response, there’s no question as to why OSF is my happy place. Every audience I was a part of was excellent – it’s hard not to be responsive in Ashland. Like I said, they know what they’re doing.

When we went in to see A Wrinkle in Time, Gracie even started a small-scale round of applause for Calvin’s impressive basketball-twirling, and the actor went on to do that move for far, far longer than he had when I’d seen this play before.

Encouragement! Try it today!

At the Q&A session after the play, the darling who played Mrs. Who bounced in and said that the whole cast had asked her to tell us that we’d been a wonderful audience.

And don’t fret, Gracie and I went ahead and took way more credit than we probably should have.

The morning after I arrived home, I awoke with a cough that announced itself as the incarnation of the last four days having been spent alternately singing at the top of my lungs and scream-shouting “WHY A DUCK,” “YOU’VE GOT DREAMBOAT EYES,” and”AGONYYY” at every shadow of an opportunity.

If anything is a sign that a trip went well, that’s got to be it.

All by following five easy steps!

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What’s December Without Christmas Eve?

24 Dec

I’m munching a candy cane as I write this, and although the peppermint stickiness of my fingers is trying to tell me this brand of multitasking is a bad idea, I have to say something to everyone.

Merry –

Wait

I can’t do this until you’re feeling the Christmas spirit.

And you know what that means.

Everyone knows what that means.

It’s time for some seasonal goodies.

Whether that means a musical Doctor Who Christmas,

A present from the BBC straight to the Sherlockians (THANK YOU BBC),

A Balloonshop Christmas with all the joys of the holiday season,

Or whether you just still don’t know the lyrics to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

Whether you’re set up to have a white Christmas, a green Christmas, or some sort of in-between grey Christmas, I wish you the very merriest. I know well that Christmas spirit has a way of being uncharacteristically elusive at times, but I still hope it manages to find you and your loved ones well.

I would love to help, if I can. Let me build you a fire and put on some music.

Merry Christmas.

I hope it is full of joy, song, and Christmas cheer. I hope no one plays “Christmas Shoes” or forces you to watch some horrendous “classic” Christmas movie. I hope you eat whatever you like. I hope you answer the phone with, “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” Most of all, I hope and pray that you are very, very blessed on the day of our Savior’s birth.

Now, I get it – at this point in December, it’s entirely possible that you have found yourself torn between the careful, yet ambiguous “Happy Holidays” wishers and the people who punch you in the face and aggressively wish you the Christiest Christmas that ever did Christ.

You definitely can’t please everyone, not even [especially not] at “the most wonderful time of year.” However, the angels in Luke 2:10 proclaimed that they had good news of great joy for all the people when they announced Jesus’ birth. All the people. Impressive. There are few things that are really universal, but love is one of them, and Christmas is about love. Plain and simple. 1st John 4:8 says “God is love.” John 3:16 says “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.”

Jesus Christ, the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, is the embodiment of God’s love for us. It only makes sense then that the preferred form of Christmas celebration is, in fact, love (followed closely by singing loud for all to hear). Now, by no means should love be a seasonal affair, but the fact remains that it is often treated that way, brought out and dusted off just for special occasions. What if this Christmas could be the time when the love starts to stick?

Love isn’t about a feeling, after all, it can stay long after Christmas spirit has been boxed up for twelve more months.

Christmas is about love, but, really, so is everything else.

Shall we celebrate?

[Note for the Whovians: in case you were about to ask – yes, tears can be a relevant way to show love. I’m sure I’ll be there. But of course, as we bid farewell to our adored Eleventh Doctor on Christmas day, we remember: same software, different case. Merry Christmas, everyone.]

The Hunt (Or: Did/Did Not Meet Expectations)

2 Nov

I recently returned from a hunting trip on which I did not hunt.

See, everyone has a role on a hunting trip, be it driver, hunter, guide, comic relief, or some combination of two or more of those and other additional choices.

And sometimes, it’s nicer to not be a hunter. Sometimes, like earlier this week, you get to be the person who’s along to make sure everyone is presented with a healthy dose of British humor and makes donuts.

That was my role.

I was proud.

Taking my job seriously, I boarded the car armed with the Cabin Pressure audio drama and Fawlty Towers VHS tapes, two quality British sitcoms with which I was determined to indoctrinate the group before the adventure was over.

My dad does a trip like this for hunting kids every year, and this time, our carpool consisted of my dad, my friends Alexa and Paxton (brother and sister), and Elijah, a slightly antagonistic and squeaky-voiced twelve-year-old. Everyone had a tag for a blacktail doe but me.

But that was comfortable with my role.

I promptly pointed out my place in the performance by forcing the entire group to listen to an episode of Cabin Pressure on the three-hour drive to our hunting spot.

When we arrived, we got straight to the hunt – Alexa’s deer was the first we went after.

Along with our core group, we had two guides, one of which we will call “Gus” for my purposes. Gus was an eccentric fellow with a hearing problem and a healthy regard for himself. Neither of those things really seemed to be noteworthy until our third hour of wandering about the property, when six o’clock rolled around. Our group settled down to watch a ridge for signs of life, and Gus took to talking. Loudly.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a hunting trip or not, but a piece of common knowledge for you – when you’re waiting for an animal to walk by, don’t just hang about speaking in loud volumes.

And in the situation you must? Then don’t just hang about saying things like “Not many people are a better shot than me, so I’m just being kind,” when giving people advice, nor “… That would have taken someone of, excuse me, my skill” when telling stories.

(That doesn’t relate to the hunting process, by the way, that’s just etiquette)

Come on son.

Anyhow, after hours of roving around, listening to Elijah talk about how good he was at Temple Run, and looking for a blacktail deer for Alexa, the long-sought animal finally presented itself. It was about 130 yards from where we stood, and my dad began to talk to Alexa about finding a rest and looking for a clear shot.

We all started to get excited for Alexa.

Well, most of us.

At this point, Gus began to look skeptical. After looking extensively at the deer through binoculars and making a grimace or two, he turned and said to my father, (loudly)

“I could make that shot. And you could make that shot. But…”

He shrugged and trailed off.

I took a moment to glare at the back of his head, and I have a feeling that Alexa had a moment of bitterness too, as she silently accepted the challenge. Gus just sort of drifted about as if he’d said nothing at all. In any case, however, Alexa dropped her blacktail deer with a single shot through the heart, and the animal was hollow an hour later.

I never asked, but I wonder how Gus felt about that.

Expectations exceeded.

Speaking of which, when we got back to the cabin, it was time for me to fulfill my role on the adventure.

I finished the donuts the next morning, taking care to make sure everything I touched for the next hour or so was entirely covered in oil. (that wasn’t intentional, it just sort of happened) But as this was my first time making donuts, I have to say, they were really rather not bad.

In fact… they were pretty darn good.

Not to mention entirely gone within four days.

But there was hunting to do on the donut day as well, and this time it was Elijah’s turn.

He’d been slowly psyching himself up for this moment – he made sure to say (several times) how well he’d done cleaning out other people’s animals last year. I had been with him that year, and I must say, I had very different memories of this particular instance.

This was going to be his first deer. Apparently, this was an opportunity that a certain deer just couldn’t pass up, because it was waiting for us not two minutes after we got on the property. We got out of the car, someone handed Elijah a gun, he took the safety off, pulled the trigger and sixty yards away, the doe he was aiming for fell right in its place. It was a great shot, and Elijah was ecstatic.

That was easy. What could go wrong now?

Well, thirty minutes after the high fiving, congratulating, and, altogether, the world’s easiest hunt, Elijah stood over his deer with a knife in his hand, squeaking, “Now I remember why I don’t like deer hunting.”

This happened on our trip last year too, when we asked for his help. You see, Elijah is an unfortunate victim of being both incredibly whiny and revolted by the animal-gutting process.

Obviously, I can’t judge him for that last bit (gutting isn’t really a blast); it was the combination of the two traits that really slowed down the procedure.

I sometimes forget that not everyone was raised the way I was; with a hunter for a father, I saw more than my fair share of this particular task, and it no longer disgusts me.

But I’ve found out: Gutting a deer is not for the squeamish.

In addition: Gutting a deer is not for Elijah.

It’s just that this is not the first deer hunt he’s been on; it’s not even his second. What does he expect the deer to be full of?

As six of us stood around him, urging him on, giving him tips, and ultimately telling him to please hurry up, it occurred to me that my role as official donut-maker and British-sitcom-bringer did not list this as one of my duties.

But again, this happened last year, and I’m sure I could have adjusted my expectations accordingly.

The deer did eventually get packed away, thanks to a lengthy group cheerleading effort.

The rest of the trip was just as successful. We gave some donuts to our nicer guide, made a visit to a dog breeder’s, and Elijah and I discussed [at length] whether or not blood banks would benefit from the Nile turning to blood (his choice of topic – but an interesting one nonetheless).

In a way, all my broader expectations for the trip were met and/or exceeded. Alexa, Elijah, Dad, and Paxton all got their deer, I made donuts that were surprisingly not revolting, and the whole group watched Fawlty Towers on our first night in the cabin.

This was a comfortable thought as we were driving back home.

The rain that had so nicely been holding back for the past few days began to fall down on the windshield.

My dad reached into the console, pulled out a donut from a Ziploc bag, and indulged in a heavenly bite.

Elijah called out from the backseat, “Can we listen to more Cabin Pressure?”

And my work was done.

On Catching Up

23 Oct

Hello dearies,

This post comes to you in five parts: Once Upon a Time, Emma Approved, Agents of SHIELD, Cabin Pressure, and January. (Yes, the month)

As of late, I have been catching up with a couple things and before you is my collective review of them. I’m sorry not sorry.

Once Upon a Time and I have recently reconnected after our squabble last season. Maybe it’s the thrill of being together again, maybe it’s improved, or maybe I just needed some time to myself, but it’s like we were never apart. He still has those annoying little habits, like relating backstory for days, and presenting cringe-worthy CGI, but if I can’t handle him at his worst, than I don’t deserve him at his best.

Don’t worry, even I find that last paragraph embarrassing.

No, but seriously, I’m quite enjoying the show now, between our lovely new villain (Peter Pan) and a delightful twist on our lovely old one (Captain Hook).

However, I admit that seeing my baby Tinkerbell dressed like a 90’s pop star wigged me out a bit.

But what can you do?

Emma Approved started a couple of weeks ago, but it’s still rather young as far as a webseries goes, so I’ll bring it up as well. I am loving it. It has been brought to us by the magical unicorns who brought us Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so there’s something to be happy about right there. In case you haven’t been informed, Emma Approved is a modern-day adaption of one of Jane Austen’s classics, Emma. I have not read this one, but I am planning to, and I have seen the Gwyneth Paltrow adaption and Clueless, so I have a pretty good grasp on what is going to happen.

The casting for this show makes me smile. Emma is perfect (perfect as only Emma can be – see also: adorable bossy steamroller), Harriet is perfect, and Mr. Knightly is perfect. (if you read those last four words with a certain emphasis, then you’re not reading it wrong.)

And I must say, I do love the relationship between Emma and Knightly at the  moment.

Sum it up in a gif? If you insist.

They’re simply charming.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a show that has dragged my expectations around in a very erratic manner since it began. I missed a couple of episodes because life happened, but I am pleased to say I am all caught up now.

I loved the third and fourth episodes, but I’m slightly less crazy about the others. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly enjoying it, it’s funny, has a good amount of fight scenes (but not an overabundance, where a lot of shows go wrong), but it is one of those shows that I’m a little bit embarrassed to watch if an uninterested party is in the room. Perhaps I’m just being overly cynical. Obviously, I’m going to keep watching it – I would be far, far sadder to see it go than I would to see it continue on in this caliber.

If you are looking for another episode of Mum’s Reviews (and who isn’t) like a couple of weeks ago, I’m sorry, but this week, Grey’s Anatomy took up the entirety of her attention during the episode, except for one Agents of SHIELD scene which induced me to say “WHAT” loudly, to which mum replied, “Is it believable?”

This was the scene in the hotel room when Skye’s surprise boyfriend, Miles, said he had been missing Skye like crazy.

(And no, not all that believable for me)

Also, thanks to Skymiles (are the writers doing this on purpose?), the latest episode really sent Skyward downward.

Shame.

But none of this changes the fact that Fitzsimmons are a pair of magical meerkats, and Coulson is a beauty. So of course I like the show.

Cabin Pressure is something else with which I am slowly catching up, and taking my sweet time too, in order to savor each delicious one-liner. If you are unfamiliar with this fabulous piece of ear candy, it is an audio comedy released by BBC One radio. Full of British humor and spectacular voice actors (Oh look, Benedict Cumberbatch is in there too), it’s a lot like Fawlty Towers set in an airplane.

What’s that?

You haven’t watched Fawlty Towers?

Well, in that case, it’s a lot like Cabin Pressure set in a hotel (And it has John Cleese in it. I rest my case). Go partake of both, and then come back here and laugh at everyone who isn’t enjoying life as much as they could be.

Now then, just one more thing before I go – but you’ve probably heard the news already.

It was spread fastest by the unified superfan shriek heard everywhere within three miles of civilization, after all. But in the case you have not yet been alerted, then know this —

The Sherlock season 3 air date has been released.

January 19th.

Yes, this January.

I know man it’s just so soon

How weird is it going to be when, as an entire fandom, we have no hiatus to weep about for nearly three weeks? People won’t even be able to recognize us anymore.

This day was always coming, I suppose.

Ready yourselves, Sherlockians. Today, that day is nearer than ever it was before.

*gently dabs away tears with handkerchief*

But anyway.

Thanks for catching up with me, dearies! If you have any experiences related to the above topics, I would love to hear about them in the comments.

Here’s to all our future adventures, fictional and otherwise.