Archive | August 2012

Certainty of death? Small chance of success? What are we waiting for?

Exactly, my dear Gimli. What were we (and by we I mean Aisha and myself) waiting for before embarking on our epic quest? Not much thankfully, just the third member of our little Fellowship to arrive. While we were waiting for his arrival on a black horse I mean car, we may not have been sitting in the beautifully woodsy Rivendell, but we were certainly eagerly anticipating setting out towards our goal. And what goal was so lofty and ambitious that it required three of us to complete? None other than the Holy Grail of our generation’s Hollywood Epic Trilogy Challenges: the viewing of all three Lord of the Rings movies–extended editions of course–straight through in one day.

What’s the big deal about a triple feature day, you may ask. Well, let me put it into a bit of perspective for those of you who haven’t attempted to conquer this feat. There are three movies (hence, the trilogy) based on classic literature. No big deal? Not until you learn the total running time, a meager 11 hours and 23 minutes. Psh, easy peasy? NOT. With almost 12 hours of footage, more than 7 of those being battle scenes with vile looking Orcs and the remaining 5 hours being walking around or running around or riding horses chasing after something,  one must be prepared with a steely attention span. Thankfully the landscapes of New Zealand are stunning or else the constant traveling shots would burn holes where your eyes should be.

Yet every true fan of the Lord of the Rings movies has done the marathon viewing at least once in his life, and the three of us were no exception. Once, however, is rarely enough and we decided on Friday to all join together on our one common day off from our respective jobs and indulge our inner nerds. Provisions were laid, timing was set, ground rules were made.

1. Begin The Fellowship of the Ring at 9:30, 9:45 at the absolute latest.

2. Have extra pillows on hand since we were watching in our loft and thus were spending the whole day lying on the ground.

3. No pausing the movie for bathroom breaks, phone calls, ab workouts, water runs.  The only acceptable pausing is for the dinner hour and letting the adorable dog outside to eat and pee.

4. Carrots in ample supply. Thank the Costco gods for bulk quantities of this eventually stomachache inducing orange veggie.

5. Other sustenance must include peanut butter and Wheat Thins in some form. A peanut butter with cinnamon, raisins, granola, and peanut chunks is doubly appreciated.

6. Talking during the movie is allowed, especially for conversations regarding the severity of spider fears, gymnastic techniques and skills, deciding which character you would most want to be, where in Middle Earth you are going to live, and what creature you want as a pet. (Answer to that by the way: Aisha wants an Ent, Pej wants an Eagle, and I called dibs on Shadowfax.)

7. A picture must be taken with Hercules and all of the movie cases to commemorate the achievement.

8. It is completely appropriate to quote the movie to nauseating detail. Embrace the nerdiness of the entire day!

With us all being college graduates, we are definitely not accustom to failing, and we never fell afoul of these rules. And probably the most amazing part was how on schedule we stayed! We took exactly 12 and a half hours from starting The Fellowship to ending Return of the King. Last time I did this marathon with friends, I’m pretty sure we started at 8 am and only finished around midnight. Hence the creation of the ground rules from all of our previous experiences.

Sometimes there is nothing better than a lazy day with good friends and great movies. You can talk when you want to, or you can stay silent and just rest. What you want out of the day is entirely up to you and perfectly within your ability to do. Everything went completely according to plan and made for an awesome end to a very hectic and sometimes very stressful week. But after 12 hours of laying around, curling up in a ball, or sitting cross legged on a floor, I am looking forward to being active tomorrow and crossing my fingers that I’m not super stiff.  Still it was so totally worth it! Long live Middle Earth!!!

Viva Las Vegas!

What do you do when you finish a really long and busy term in college? Provided you are 21 of course…you go to Vegas! Yeah it’s a stereotypical young adult weekend, but without a ton of time to travel, a two day jaunt to the Strip is kind of one of your only options to blow off some steam. And continuing in the honesty thread, Vegas would be pretty boring alone, so I begged, pleaded, implored, and practically dragged Aisha along with me (yeah right, she totally came willingly and without hesitation!). Two girls (and Mom) off to Vegas the morning after final exams, definitely a recipe for awesomeness.

Mom and I picked Aisha up mid morning for the 5 and a half hour drive into Vegas. The peak of the drive’s excitement was entering San Bernadino and Fransicquito Road. Of course, the only ones who were excited by that were Aisha and me, but that day was a truly a defining moment for us, so to relive it was a great kick off to the weekend. The rest of the drive was The Aisha and Jenna Sing Along Spectacular! courtesy of “Hairspray”, Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, and a smattering of Adele. Poor Mom. Aisha can sing, but I certainly can’t.

We made it in at around 3 pm, and our first stop was M&M World!

M&M World Wall of M&Ms

I was super excited to re-experience this place that was always a highlight of my childhood Vegas trips, and we only went there because of how much I remember loving it as a kid. But if it’s the same now as it was then, then I must have been an easily amused child.  All it was was 4 floors of every kind of M&M merchandise they could think of. I felt bad for taking Aisha there because it was so awfully lame and we were tired from the drive. M&Ms took away from valuable nap time.

We went to our hotel (The Mirage, my first time staying there) and barely walked in the door when a club promoter gave us coupons for discounted drinks. And remember Aisha was in her boot cast! One would think that two grimy girls, one only a few weeks out of surgery, would not be targets for club promoters, but one would apparently be wrong. After we checked in, we got ready for the evening and headed over to the Venetian to kill some time before seeing Phantom of the Opera.

Venetian

There really isn’t much else to do in Vegas apart from walk around the hotels if you aren’t gambling or clubbing, so that is exactly what we did. And we made a stop in the food court for a snack and leg ice-down (on Aisha’s part with that one).

No weird looks at all…

Phantom was great! Even though it was an abridged version, I think I actually liked it better than when I saw it on the West End.  Some of my favorite songs were cut short though which was unfortunate, but at least the Phantom didn’t crawl around the stage like Gollum. After the show, we went to dinner at the Italian place in the Venetian that my family always eats at. We had a blast “drunk people” watching which can be infinitely more entertaining than “sober people” watching. It makes me really never want to get drunk again though. Especially knowing that we were not the only table watching people, who wants to open themselves up to that? Though I guess Laura and I probably will be when we go to Vegas at the end of the month.

Palazzo

Then we walked over to the Volcano show outside the Mirage. It was cool because I’m a closet pyro, but the heat from the fire was nearly unbearable. On our way back into he hotel, two more promoters stopped us and gave us VIP passes for both of the Mirage’s club/bar lounges, so we figured what the hell, we are only in Vegas together once. We ended up at King Ink (the lounge). $10 cover and unlimited free drinks? Of course it was the cheap drinks like a vodka cranberry or a gin and soda, so not really worth it unless you are really taking advantage of the free alcohol which of course we weren’t. One vodka cranberry each and we were both back in bed, sleeping like babies.

We actually slept in until 9:30, something neither of us have done in I don’t know how long! By the time we finally made it through the madhouse line at Starbucks and over to the Paris Hotel, it was past 10:30. As I said, about one of the only things to do around Vegas is walk around the hotels and window shop. We went from Paris to the Bellagio and then through Caesar’s casino into the Forum Shops. In that casino, we ticked off one more thing in the “typical Vegas experience” checklist: gambling! We each played $5 in a slot machine, and I won $20! And then I immediately cashed out and we moved on to the Forum. We didn’t last long. A bit of walking around and then sushi was all we needed before we were totally ready to go lounge by the pool at the Mirage. We were in massive need of relaxation and sun! Not that getting sun in Vegas is a challenge, but tan lines get really uneven when you are just walking around and although neither of us are all that appearance oriented, anyone from Southern California understands how awful awkward tan lines are.

Now here is where the irony of all ironies came into the weekend. We were lounging, aka baking in the million degree heat, drinking our Pina Coladas and being rained on (just like in the song!) when I found out that I knew one of the cute British guys in the lounge chairs in front of us! He was a fresher at Teddy Hall this last year. He and his brother were traveling though North America with their family. Of all the people and all the places, the coincidence is just incredible. ANd completely awesome. We four hung out for a few hours before we had to get ready for O at the Bellagio (which was absolutely breathtaking and inspired Aisha’s newfound calling for a career once she is out of rehab). Once the show was over, Aisha and I ran or rather hobbled across the street from the Mirage to Harrah’s to buy Bailey’s and joined up with the guys for drinks and the Olympics in their room. We ended up talking and hanging out until 2 am when we left because I had another 5 and a half hour drive home to look forward to in the morning.

Bellagio

It was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend with my dear friend and mom 🙂 The only regret is that there was no tiger in our bathroom at the end of it.