amelialourdes: (the office ; it is your bday)

Again, falling asleep as I type this so... photos! Details tomorrow.

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Beautiful day in Los Angeles! Sky was so blue and you could see all the way to the downtown area.
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amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

Gonna be a quick one because I am about to fall asleep where I sit. Throwback Thursday photo! Happy Boxing Day to those who celebrate and happy nothing to the rest of us? Aw, tragic.

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#TBT to Mixtape Fest in Hershey, PA in honor of Backstreet's loyal and long-time security guard Q who died this week.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; gold)

Well, my day was wonderfully relaxing. Started the day with the annual Disney Parks Christmas Parade on ABC followed by viewings of Home Alone, a Disney movie, Babes In Toyland (live action 60s version), and the Santa Clause. I went straight from the Christmas movies to the fandom stuff starting with the Doctor Who Christmas special (ALL THE SOBBING), the Sherlock minisode (ALL OF THE SQUEEING), and finishing right now with Downton. I'm holding back my opinion until it's all over but I don't have strong opinions of S4, anyway.

Feel free to talk to me about the shows! Spoilers will be abound if you haven't seen them yet. I still have to get back to other comments and messages. My work schedule this week has been particularly wacky. It's been one day off and one day there and it's pretty tiring. All I want to do is stay home and have two days off in a row. Thankfully, I'll have that next week and I am looking forward to it.

As for gifts and greetings, I bought myself the complete Home Improvement DVD set on amazon today since they were all on sale. Joy! Can't wait to get them so I can watch them. But I still have my new Sherlock blu-rays to watch. So many things to watch! Not enough time! I already need another vacay, haha.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! What'd your hauls look like?

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Christmas lunch: baked potatoes, turkey, gravy, my mom's caldereta (Filipino dish), homemade spinach pies (first time I made them and they were delish), and hot apple cider enhanced by this mix I bought at the Biltmore on vacay this year in North Carolina. The cider was particularly good. Nom nom.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; white)

Family gathering is finished. Kids love their gifts. Adults loved their gifts. It was hectic and really, really hot but it was a lot of fun to gather for a little while. There was a family emergency in someone else's family so our gathering was cut short a little and everyone was sort of rushing to leave since they had to catch a flight to New York tomorrow. But, it was still nice to see everyone for a little while. Hope everyone has a fantastic day tomorrow and a great night tonight! Merry Christmas!

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My Uncle's tree tonight.

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My tree!
Too lazy to photoshop better lighting.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

Does everyone have something planned? I sure hope you do! For the past couple of years we've been in Vegas for the holidays enjoying a ridiculous amount of room service and gambling and shows but decided to skip that this year for a traditional Christmas gathering at my Uncle's house. And I can't wait for it!

As for Christmas Day plans? Sure, I have them. They're called -- the ABC Christmas Day Parade, Elf, Home Alone, and Home Alone 2, a new Doctor Who episode, The Muppets Christmas Carol, Babes In Toyland... okay, I won't have time for all of these but Christmas isn't over until New Year, damn it! I have movies upon movies to watch and a very minimal amount of days off this year.

Honestly, I can't even think right now. I just got through a whole lot of wrapping and I need to wake up early to leave work early to drive to hang out with everyone. Blog post from the house tomorrow!

amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

I saw the touring production of Evita four times. The first time was in October the day before it opened in LA and the entire cast was there. The second time was LA closing night and the two leads had understudies. I was trying to catch Josh Young so I bought tickets to see it last weekend. Understudies again. I told that story. So, here's the conclusion of my Evita adventure.

I worked yesterday and the earliest I could get out was 3:22. On the dot. I still had to get cash and then figure out where the freeway was. There was no freeway entrance near my work for the direction I wanted to go to... is what I discovered. I asked my phone where it was and it guided me to the correct freeway. I decided to take the 405 because it LOOKED like it was free and clear. I checked sigalert before I left and it was green after a part of the freeway but I was wrong. I was so, so wrong. It took me a little over two hours to get there. I was panicked I'd be "late" for the rush but turns out there was no one there or lingering and I guess that's just not something people do down there?

I was early at the box office. I ended up talking to the girl I talked to last week who said, "You look so different when you're not crying!" Yes, I would like to think so. It turns out they put me on some rush exception list. But I was curious about Orchestra seating. I wanted to be as close as possible. I had second row seats last week so I wanted to replicate my experience especially since the person I wanted to see was there.

But I was waiting for them to update the board to see if there'd be any understudies. I wasn't going to spend $129 only to find out that Josh wasn't in it again. I saw them change the board and there were no major cast changes. Still, I don't really believe it until that person steps out on the stage and I see him or her with my own two eyes. Due to some NECESSARY encouragement (THANKS, [livejournal.com profile] bigboobedcanuck) I went to the box office and told them to take me off the rush list because I was willing to buy the $129 ticket in the second row.

After waiting for a few minutes, the man at the box office turned to me and said, "That'll be $20." Now I felt like crying for an entirely different reason. I said, "What?" And he said, "Don't question it. Just give me $20." And then told me that they appreciated how far I came to see it again and that I put a lot of effort into it and they appreciated it and hoped I'd enjoy the show. I was on cloud nine.

I know it was an exception and they absolutely did not have to do that and I couldn't be more grateful that they did.

Afterward, I got something to eat nearby and went back to the theater. At 7:35, I could finally relax. Josh Young was singing to me from the stage and I couldn't have been more thrilled. It was just as perfect as I imagined it would be. He just has such a strong, dynamic voice. It's the reason I started following him in the first place when I saw him in Jesus Christ Superstar. I'm always drawn to those Broadway belters and he belts with the best of them.

After the show was over, since I was there, I decided to head to the stage door. I usually never stage door but when it's someone I really, really like, I've finally managed to gather some balls and just do it even if I am alone. I ran into Krystina Alabado from the first national Spring Awakening tour that I saw multiple times in California. We reminisced about Spring Awakening in the same venue and she was delightful. I talked to a couple of cast members as they were leaving and then Josh came out.

I was there with a teenager and her father. We were the only two waiting at the door... for Josh. She was a theater geek like me so we bonded. She talked to him first and then it was my turn. I don't know why but I did tell him I've been trying to catch him... and this was my third time. He apologized! Sweet boy. He doesn't have to... I mean, it was nice to hear but I understand that that's why understudies are there. I really do get that. But he was really nice about it. We talked about Stratford a little and he "aww'ed" over the whole Jesus Christ Superstar playbill from La Jolla. Basically, I made him sign all the things...

Sign it. Sign all the things. )



He even apologized again as he was walking away! So sweet. You're forgiven, Joshua. You're forgiven. So, third time really was the charm and it was a fantastic night of theater.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

Extremely tired. Been at work since 7:00 this morning and driving most of the day. But I will just say that karma is an amazing feeling. I got to see Josh Young in Evita and the man even apologized to me for missing the shows I went to. Boyfriend redeemed... plus, adorable photo alert! The whole story tomorrow.

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amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

It sort of defeats the purpose of blogging once a day but some days you just can't. Here, have a photo from the Saving Mr. Banks event.

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amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

This is a tough one as I don't really have a lot of obligations or responsibilities in my life -- by choice. I like being able to do what I want when I want to. The only obligation I have is to my family. I love my family. And they come first. That being said, it's not always an easy decision to put them first. For example, I won tickets to see Evita tonight in Orange County.

I was incredibly torn. I wanted to go. I wanted to see where the tickets were and I wanted to go. On any other day, I would've driven down there on a whim, no hesitation. Unfortunately, I made a prior commitment to my family. It's my Uncle's birthday. He'll be here for the next few weeks and tonight was his birthday dinner.

I immediately said yes to the tickets and I told my cousin I won them and that I'd be missing dinner. I even called my mom and told her I wasn't coming because I was going to Evita instead. But the guilt was eating at me. My family was going to be there and I needed to be there. I wanted to be there.

So, I sucked it up and canceled the tickets I won. I'd like to think I know where my priorities are.

amelialourdes: (disney ; castle from above)

Went to see a special screening of Saving Mr. Banks on the Disney Studio lot today. They've only opened the studio to the public for a movie exclusive twice -- once for The Princess and the Frog and for this movie. It was an incredible night. I've never been on the Disney lot before and it was certainly an unforgettable experience. As you watch the movie, you see the buildings you JUST walked past as locations for the film! And there's nothing more magical than watching a Disney movie inside of the Disney theater.

It's almost midnight so I'm trying to fit this entry in but definitely more photos to come. It was an incredible movie and an even more incredible experience made possible by Disney.

Photos on the lot! )

amelialourdes: (cmas ; white)

bmw2

I honestly cannot remember the first time I saw an episode of Boy Meets World. I feel like I've always known of it and it's always been in my life. I started my strong teen idol crush years in 1994 around the time of Man of the House with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. So I'll say I started regularly watching Boy Meets World in 1994. They were kids in school going through the joys and challenge you experience as a child and I could certainly relate to that feeling. But I can't say I cut my hair to prove I wasn't vain about my appearance! (shoutout to Topanga circa late-90s)

I grew up with that show. By the time it ended, I was still in high school but they certainly filled me with expectations I would never be able to fulfill because how perfect were Cory and Topanga? How could you ever find a buddy like Shawn or a brother like Eric? I wanted to be their friend and it felt like I was. I knew their lives, I knew what they had gone through, and I really was there every step of the way.

I didn't really know what to expect from Girl Meets World. I was unsure about the decision to take a beloved show and give those characters new lives. It's been done and it's been done successfully. The recent successful reboot of Dallas is an example of that. But, admittedly, it's a different world. Boy Meets World was filmed as a sitcom during the age of sitcoms. You watch television and it was littered with sitcoms and laugh tracks -- over-the-top reactions captured from a microphone above your head. It was the norm. Today's television sitcom gravitates toward the more of the single-cam perspective rather than multi-camera. The most popular sitcoms of the modern era are your Modern Familys and documentary-style shows like The Office.

That's not to say that television doesn't stop trying to continue the legacy of the multi-camera sitcom through shows like Girl Meets World.

After waiting in line, we're escorted into the building that looks like any other television show created for an audience -- there were three main sets configured for tonight's taping: Riley's (Cory and Topanga's daughter) bedroom on the far left, the Matthews living room/kitchen area in the center, and the classroom set-up on the far right (not used tonight or anywhere throughout the episode).

The audience was mainly comprised of mostly kids and young teens. The only adults found were in the VIP area and adults escorting their kids. I certainly felt a wee bit out of place as a 28-year-old Boy Meets World fan who grew up in the 90s. I was seated in the third row with a great vantage point of the stage.

Before filming began, we were lucky enough to view the pilot. It's been my experience with new shows (as a regular attendee to I Hate My Teenage Daughter, I saw the pilot EVERY SHOW) that they often show the pilot episode so you have a feel for the show and its characters.

The pilot was fantastic. I can completely believe Cory as a History teacher at his daughter's school. I admit, it threw me for a loop. Even now, I'm only used to seeing Cory in the classroom being taught by Mr. Feeny with Shawn behind him and Topanga seated in front. My brain was trying to adjust to seeing him from an adult's perspective. It's a new Cory Matthews. It's the story of a boy who grew up, met the world, and was now living in it. Not that the Cory Matthews we knew and loved is gone but the story is no longer his -- it's his daughter's. He's merely a player and she takes center stage.

I won't give away the pilot but I will say it's not a Hannah Montana. She's not a secret superstar parading around as a "normal" teenager. What's different about our generation and the new are television shows geared to make kids appear more mature than they are. In my shows, kids were kids. They did stupid goofy things that made absolutely no sense. As they grew, that's when they involved themselves in deeper, darker topics like sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. And watching the pilot episode, I'd say that it was geared for this new generation that deals with a completely different set of rules from the ones I grew up with.

But the pilot was only one episode and I continued to have an open mind to see what tonight's episode held.

Michael Jacobs, creator of the show (CREATOR OF MY CHILDHOOD), introduced the cast. He introduced every cast member and then surprised the hell out of me when he introduced Rider Strong and Will Friedle. Though they lined up with the rest of the cast, they didn't make an appearance on today's episode and their future is still unknown on this show. But it was incredible to see them there supporting their friends... and I may or may not have reacted like a 12-year-old as soon as I saw them. I might've gone into a fit of inner hysteria when Ben and Will hugged LIKE THE BROTHERS THEY WILL ALWAYS BE. (And bonus Maitland Ward showed up about halfway through filming!)

They filmed six scenes in front of an audience with large portions of the episode pre-filmed for us to watch. I imagine that the short filming schedule (about three hours) has a lot to do with union rules for the child actors on set. I'm used to such long filming schedules -- Will and Grace, I Hate My Teenage Daughter -- that I wasn't prepared for it to end so soon! But what I did saw was satisfying.

The majority of the episode revolved around the two kids. Cory and Topanga have another child, a son, played by an adorable, rambunctious, and talented 6-year-old who held his own among the teenagers and adults he performed with. It really hammered home that Cory and Topanga had been married for years and this was their new normal. As an older fan, it takes a bit of getting used to. For example. Feeny's no longer next door. They're living in a really nice apartment in New York. They take the subway! It's a different world with new challenges for their kids.

Ben Savage slips back into the role of Cory Matthews with plenty of ease. You look at him and you see Cory. You see Cory's mannerisms, his unique facial expressions, and the way he delivers a joke. Danielle's a little less goofy as Topanga and a lot more grown up and admittedly, it's a bit jarring, at first. Again, I feel like it's just because I'm faced with my own age slapping me right in the face. I'm no longer watching them as kids and I'm no longer a kid. Right? Jarring. But the family works well together. Cory and Topanga are parental and they're just the parents you always thought they'd grow up to be. They're very much the people you imagined they'd grow up to be.

For me, it works so far. The audience sitcom format still has its disadvantages. There will be a lot of canned audience laughter that I hope will work for this show. But it's no reason to turn away. The cast are talented, the show is well-written and tries not to be too heavy handed in terms of life lessons, and I genuinely laughed out loud several times. You know, that gives it the seal of approval, obviously.

I told myself I was only going to go see it once and that'll be it. But seeing Cory and Topanga again and seeing them as adults raising their children? I think I'm already jonesin' for visit number two.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

*throws hands up in the air* It's done! It's all done. Christmas cards are completed and ready to be mailed, Christmas gifts are bought and ready to be wrapped, extra Christmas things have been purchased (I got stocking stuffers for the first time in my adult life), and I am finished. The lights are on the tree and I'm about to do the ornaments. My Uncle's visiting for two weeks starting on Wednesday and there's still some cleaning to do. I'm helping out a little but I have something going on tomorrow (for tomorrow's entry), and Wednesday I won't be home (for Wednesday's entry). But... I'm done.

And it feels good. Like I said, I love giving during the holidays. It's just a time to be thought of and remembered and thinking about your loved ones and friends. I'm grateful I do have a hand cramp from writing those cards. It tells me I have people to send those cards to and that makes me pretty happy. I still have a million things to do but that's the gist of it for today's entry: gratitude. I'm grateful for friends to send cards to, people to give gifts to, and the job I have this year. I was recently laid off last year and I was aching to go during this time. I already knew I was laid off for two months and they wouldn't set us free. This time last year, I was preparing to leave and I didn't know what the future held. Well, I still can't predict the future but I know I have a roof over my head, money in the bank, gifts to give this holiday season (unlike last year), and people I love. It's been a good day.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; white)

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Beautiful day today in Los Angeles.

I woke up pretty late after staying up really late last night. I haven't stayed up that late in a long time and I have no idea why. After all the crying and unexpected annoyance of yesterday, I'd have thought I'd go to bed early but that wasn't the case. So, it was close to lunch by the time I woke up and my mom and I decided to go out. We were going to get our tree anyway. We had a really nice lunch, a really nice talk, and a bit of shopping. I crossed a couple more people off my list and I'll send their gifts tomorrow. I'm still working on Christmas cards. I hope I can get those out tomorrow, too.

The tree we picked this year is beautiful. It's the perfect shape, the perfect size, the perfect height. We haven't decorated it yet. I was planning on getting started tonight but I still have the cards to do. I'll post a photo when the tree's decorated and there's something underneath. I solved my little (non) problem about Christmas gifts from my mother. I ordered a few things from amazon and that's that. I'm definitely happy. Gift taken care of! I think I have a small gift for her for Christmas and then I'm probably gonna go all out for her birthday -- present, card, food, the works. I got her a laptop bundle from Best Buy. She's always wanted one and it was so cheap! You get a laptop, mouse, case, and flash drive all for $329 + tax. Crazy, right? My first laptop cost $1,000 and it had 6 GB in it. And the only laptops I buy now are Macs so those are $2,000 but for a basic laptop with the bells and whistles, $329's a great price.

My mom and I are pretty quick about getting a tree every year. We usually see one, make sure it's a nice height, size, cut, and then that's it. Two years in a row now we've picked the first tree we saw, had it wrapped up and tried to the roof of my car in less than half an hour.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is this time we had a Toyota station wagon. We picked a really large tree and we put it inside the car, put the seats down so it would fit. I know this was illegal as hell but we didn't live too far from where we picked the tree. Me and my dad laid down on either side of the tree and held on to it while my mom drove us home. We smiled and laughed the whole way home, holding on to the branches to make sure the tree wouldn't fall out. I mean, I couldn't do anything about it if it fell. I think I was 5 or 6 years old at the time but it was fun, doing something dangerous, all of us happy.

Happiness comes in other ways now. Like today when I was driving the tree home and I drove my mom past a studio we live near. Then *N Sync's "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" started playing on the radio. I blasted the song at full volume and sang the rest of the way home. Always good to form new happy memories.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

I had a long week. It's just been a really long week and I hadn't been feeling at my best. I've written that this week and I was very much looking forward to seeing Evita in Orange County. Me and my friend Lisa drove down, at a rushed lunch (SO MANY PEOPLE AT THE MALL AND WE FORGOT) and went to the theater where I saw... Josh Young will not be performing the role of Che.

You have to understand that this happened before. I went to the Pantages on closing night, the last performance and he wasn't there either. It was his understudy. And I understand, that's what understudies are there for. I've seen enough shows to just deal with it and move on with my life. I was upset but it was fine. It happens. But, I was determined to see him perform again. His voice just moves me. Hearing those songs from him just elevates the show for me. So I wanted to see him and I bought tickets for today's matinee in Orange County. He performed the last matinee in Los Angeles so my logic was that he would perform during a matinee performance.

So when we got to the theater today and I didn't see his name on the board, I was disappointed. I told myself not to be. I told myself to just enjoy the show from my second row seats because I do love the show. The show was about to begin and the announcer said that the roles of Eva and Che would be played by their understudies. I knew that the show must go on and I'd have to accept it.

I lasted about three songs before I high-tailed it out of there.

I kept feeling my disappointment creeping up on me. It was soul crushing. When I watch musical theater, my soul is involved. I'm so emotionally connected that I can't help but get involved. Josh Young's Che changes me and like I said, it makes the show for me. It was hard to listen or pay attention to anything when all I could think about was how I had such a long, tiring week and the one thing I was looking forward to turned into a moment of crippling disappointment. I couldn't concentrate and I had to leave.

I just wanted to know if I had said something, is there an opportunity to change my tickets for another night? You can do that on Broadway. If the performer's name is above the marquee (starring in the show) you can request to change your tickets for another night. I wasn't sure if you could do that for a touring company but it couldn't hurt to ask. Guest services couldn't help. I needed to be a season subscriber to change my tickets. I went to the box office to ask if there was any way to get a guaranteed performer's schedule so I could maybe come back and try to see him again. I know that it's impossible but I wanted to hear something.

I get to the box office, tried to explain my situation and BOOM. I start crying and doing a little sobbing and I felt awful for the girl at the box office who had to deal with me. She felt so bad for me and I felt so guilty for crying and for being upset about this in the first place. These things absolutely happen and usually I'm more than ready to accept them. But, I just couldn't. I couldn't. Not today and not this week.

They were awfully nice about it. They put my name down and hopefully I can try to get another ticket before the show leaves. I'm going to try my luck again next weekend. I'm just going to hope for the best. That's all I can do, right? Hope? I just hope it results in what I've been looking forward to.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

I haven't finished my Christmas shopping yet. My list isn't extensive but it's enough. I still need something for my dad, grandma, both boy baby cousins... still waiting on my other cousin's Christmas gift that should be coming in the mail any day now. I know presents shouldn't be the most important thing at Christmas. But, presents are important to me because making them happy is important to me. I love seeing how excited the kids get at Christmas. I love that my parents think I think enough of them to get them gifts. And I love thinking about what to get them. I always try to think of something that they absolutely want. It doesn't have to be something you need but why don't you get something you want? I do that enough for myself.

My mother always says she doesn't know what to get me for Christmas or my birthday. And sometimes that feels bad. She's known me for 28 years and she doesn't know what to get me? I'm so easy to buy presents for. Blu-rays, theater tickets, etc. I feel like I'm so easy and it's not the present. It's the thought that counts but she doesn't think about me. Do you know how much jewelry she gets me? I don't wear any jewelry. Only sometimes. And she insists on these gaudy rings. When do I ever wear rings like those? Ever?

I know. I'm awful. Seriously, awful. It is the thought that counts and she just wanted to get me something. And then I hurt her feelings when I don't want it or wear it. Again, I know how ungrateful that makes me sound and I feel awful for it. But, that's parents, right? They don't always get it right and as her child, I'm not getting it right. She gives me so much more during the year that a wrong gift every holiday or special occasion doesn't really matters. It matters to me that she's here and she does more for me than anyone in my life will ever do for me.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; gold)

may02
Disneyland as a youngster.

It's going to be a ridiculous temperature next week in my city. It is the holidays and I don't know why this damn city isn't cooperating. When it's 80 degrees, it doesn't feel like Christmas. I despise the heat and yes, I do feel bad for everyone who's experiencing harsher, cold temperatures and I wouldn't want to live in that kind of extreme either. But, let me reiterate, I hate the heat. I can't take off my skin when it's hot but I can shed a jacket if it gets warm while it's cool outside. But, it's my city. I grew up here. I'm used to here. I'm comfortable here. This is my home so even though there's that one element of this city I don't like, I'll get over it, and take it for what it is. It does cool down here, sometimes. It's funny because me and my best friend feel the same way about our cities. She lives in San Francisco and isn't a fan of the cold and I live here and dislike the heat. Still, these are our cities.

There are a lot of things I love about Los Angeles. Zachary Quinto recently said in an interview that our city is soulless. I completely disagree, Zachary Quinto. I think when people think of Los Angeles, they think of what they see on television. And, sure, if you're in a particular segment of the entertainment industry where the focus is on aesthetic and who you know and superficiality, yeah, that's soulless. But there's more to Los Angeles than if you're an actor or an agent or vying for this role and that role.

Southern California is huge. Where else can you go to the beach and snowboarding or skiing in the mountains on the same day? Where else can you go get your morning coffee and run into the paparazzi trying to stalk Miley Cyrus who's standing in line behind you? Where else do you go to work and run into your favorite celebrities? Los Angeles, for me, is about variety. When I was living in Sacramento, I flew down five times throughout the year just to be able to go to a few concerts since it's rare that artists I like come to Sacramento.

may03
In front of the Chinese theater as a tot.

Los Angeles isn't for everyone. It can be a city where one feels isolated. It's true, we don't have the interaction that one would in spaces where you're forced (or not forced) to interact with one another. We like our space out here and that can make the city a very solitary one for someone who doesn't have ties here. But, that changes. You meet people just like you would anywhere else. You meet people at concerts, grocery stores, walking down the street. We like our cars and we're a traffic-congested city. Most of the carpool lanes are empty because everyone travels in their own car to a place they need to be. But we also like singing at the top of our lungs while you're stuck in that traffic.

I don't have that problem here. I have my family here and I know if I ever needed them, they would be here for me. I know others aren't as lucky and usually we say goodbye to the transplants when the holidays come. Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas are when the roads are a little more sparse than they were just the previous week. But people stay and make this their home because it feels like home and it feels like the city they love. So, Los Angeles isn't for everyone but don't judge it by what you hear or what you think you know from television. Enjoy it when you're here and have a good time doing something fun!

amelialourdes: (cmas ; white)



I remember Christmas used to be a tough time. I have nothing to complain about and I'm not comparing or thinking about the Christmas experience of others but I used to have great Christmases. My family used to come over and we'd celebrate all Christmas Eve and well into Christmas Day. Me, my mom, and my cousins used to sleep next to the tree with the fireplace lit on blankets on the floor or on the couches. Just because. We'd wake up in the morning and open up our presents, watch the parade on ABC. It all ended when I was 7, of course. Christmases were never really the same after that. I think we tried our best to make it like it used to be. Family still came over sometimes but when my dad left, it was like reality came crashing down and I knew things were never the same.

I was 10 when I spent my first Christmas Eve almost completely alone. I was at my Uncle's house and my Aunt and Uncle must've been downstairs. I was in my cousin's room, working on a research paper I had due when I came back from Christmas break. My mom had left to be with a friend and my dad dropped me off early so he could drive to Tennessee to marry his second wife. My mom didn't know my dad was leaving me early and she felt so guilty when she came back. But, I didn't fault her. She didn't know. I just remember this crushing and overwhelming sadness. It's really such a shock to the system when things alter so drastically -- having family over, a big house with lots of laughter and food -- to an empty house and silence.

Things changed again after I was 16. My dad stopped spending Christmases and major holidays with me. I got phone calls, sometimes. Things are still the same. A phone call every major holiday. The one Christmas I tried to make things feel right for myself was just a couple of years ago. I tried to take a photo with both of my parents in it. My grandmother was there and immediately called us all out on it, saying it was "bad luck" to be in a photo together. At 26 years old, I don't think I should've been meant to feel like what I was doing was wrong. I wanted a photo of me and my parents together. I can't remember the last picture we have as a family. They're my parents.

Things are a little better, I think. I don't feel disappointed at Christmas anymore. I take it for what it is and I'm happy spending time with my family when I have it. I think I know not to be disappointed during the holidays. Things change and things can't be the way they were. It was a happier time but there'll be happy times to come and sad times to come. Have to take them as they come and the day is what you make of it.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)

This is the tough part about blogging daily. I've had a headache all day. The day hasn't gone as planned. I've been miserable and I've been feeling down and no amount of retail therapy (literally, no amount -- I did some damage on one of my cards today) is making me feel any better. So, I don't really have anything to say other than this. I dislike talking when I feel this way. I'm not much of a talker when it comes to this kind of stuff. I don't really confide in anyone about anything. I try not, anyway. It's the way I am and just the way I've been. It's part of only child syndrome. Which, you know, is bullshit. There are plenty of only children without intimacy or isolation problems. I'm just not one of them.

I always have a smile on my face and sometimes I know I'm a phony -- I'm a pessimist parading around as an optimist. I haven't really figured out who I am yet. Part of me feels like I am changing into that happier, content person. Then there's that other side that thinks it knows better and knows what's really there and who I really am. I'll figure it out one day but in the meantime, I'm just this.

amelialourdes: (icon ; music is love)

My very first concert was Janet Jackson at Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA in 1994. My second concert was Whitney Houston during her Bodyguard tour in the same year, same venue. Seeing two vocal powerhouses in a short period of time really set the bar for me and my concert experiences. I go to a lot of concerts by a lot of different artists. And like I said last night, I can't just go once. I have to go repeatedly. Part of my addictive personality. I wrote in a previous blog post that Our Lady Peace was one of my favorite shows. I'd say they're in my Top Five shows of all time.

I not only like going to rock shows where I can't hear when the show's over, my taste gravitates toward singer/songwriters. One of my favorite venues in Los Angeles is the Hotel Cafe. They provide a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere to see artists perform. It's a great venue that promotes artists of all kinds but I've mostly seen quieter artists there. One of my favorite singer/songwriters is Jay Brannan. I discovered him in the movie Shortbus directed by John Cameron Mitchell.



Though his big scene in the movie was sexually explicit, what really caught my attention was his voice. He sang his song called Soda Shop and I was addicted. His voice is so soft yet manages to have edge. He can sing a melody line that sounds so smooth, a voice that sings these beautiful, round notes so perfectly. I discovered that he had a YouTube channel and a website and I downloaded the four songs he had available: Soda Shop, Ever After Happily, Drowning, and Lower My Gun. I listened to those on repeat. Constantly.

As his EPs came out on CDbaby, I bought every single one of them. The very first show I went to was at this small restaurant/venue called Genghis Cohen. I didn't even get inside. I was outside, sitting on a stool by myself, near the restaurant, and I could barely hear him through the glass. He passed me several times and yet I couldn't utter a word. It was like I was frozen in place, intimidated by someone who was a regular presence in my iPod. I'm always extremely nervous around people I really admire -- whose talent I really admire and I have been let down by people I've admired. Part of me didn't want to feel the surge of disappointment I knew I'd feel if meeting him didn't go as planned.

I didn't meet him that night but I listened to his songs, a little muffled by the glass because it was blocking the sound. I wish I could say the next time I saw him it was awesome and spectacular but drunk people ruined both my mood and the concert experience. It's only in recent shows have I been really, really happy and content with the audience. The music's always been amazing but the mood and atmosphere can play a really huge part in my enjoyment. Thankfully, his recent shows have been great but I'll always remember those earlier shows where I either couldn't see, couldn't hear, and all I wanted was to be close to really experience the music.

His music has evolved since he started posting his videos on YouTube a few years ago. He's made great studio albums with backing instruments that never compromise or overshadow his voice. His last full album (all originals) called Rob Me Blind is really spectacular. Every song, every note rings so clear and so interesting like musical ear candy.


Rob Me Blind

I urge you to give his music a try because it's amazing and I really, really wouldn't steer you wrong. And to end on an even happier note, though I still feel intimidated at times to say hello, I have not been disappointed when I've met him. He takes the time to meet with every single person who wants to meet with him, signs every autograph, poses for a lot of photos. You can tell how grateful and appreciative he is that there are fans there to watch him perform. Well, I'm equally grateful and appreciative that he's there to provide me with music I feel connected to. Thank you, Jay Brannan.

amelialourdes: (cmas ; decor)



Went to see the Lion King last night with one of my best friends who has never seen the show before. I told her that she and her new roommate should sit toward the center and I chose my usual seat over to the left side. It was a little cheaper. Theaters really like to gouge people when the big hits come to town. I usually pay $30-$50 on that seat depending on the production but for The Lion King, it was over $100. The seats toward the center were going for $180. I mean, good lord. Other shows that don't receive as much acclaim or attention are usually discounted but something like a Lion King or a Book of Mormon rarely go down in price especially touring productions. Here in Los Angeles, the Pantages and our theater downtown, the Ahmanson, are mostly touring production houses and cater to productions that tour every year. Those two theaters battle it out and some go to one and some go to the other.

But it was a really great production of the show. I've seen The Lion King in Orange County and also the Las Vegas production at Mandalay Bay. What I love about seeing different shows in different cities is really experiencing it in several different ways. I have a really addictive and repetitive personality. That's just how I've always been ever since I was a kid. I can't just see something once if I really like it. I need to see it over and over again. The Lion King is one of my favorite shows and my favorite Disney production. Beauty and the Beast is a close second but The Lion King is tops.

It really does a great job of combining the joy and the content of the film and translating it to the stage. But the stage production adds so much to the story. They do a great job of really taking you to another place, making the animals come to life, giving the show more depth by adding incredible dancers in incredible costumes. If the show ever comes rolling into your town, go check it out! You won't regret it.

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amelialourdes

May 2016

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