To get the cast excited for our DVD release party this weekend I edited together a trailer of epic proportions, full of cliches and dramatic music. Check it out below.
“Oh, those are plates. No wonder they don’t look like bowls…”
“It’s going to taste beautiful… like rainbows and sunshine!”
– Rachel (on Charlotte’s homemade apple pie)
“Cannibalism is my one no-no.”
“Where is this coming from?! This is coming from cray-cray.”
– Charlotte (on Twilight)
“It seemed ridiculous we didn’t have cocoa in our arsenal of beverages.”
“Can we invent a hand spatula and, like, get a patent, and then never have to work?”
“And then Charlotte asked me to lick her finger, and it was just strange…”
Rachel: Can I help?
Charlotte: No, it’s just kind of wet… and not in a happy way.”
“She tells us that our dreams should have more weird stuff.”
– Rachel Geistfeld
“802: Where everyone offers you tea.”
Charlotte: I had kind of a field day with your spice rack.
Dani: It was more of a love affair…
“She’s a Rachel, not a skipper.”
– Jackie, on Charlotte
“I saw them walking together with coffee, which obviously means they’re having sex.”
– Kaitlin G.
“Oh no! Two of them mated!”
– Charlotte, on snickerdoodles fresh out of the oven
“I think Charlotte can do no wrong!”
“Hey now! I french-broed!”
– Dani (going for french-braided)
“I find it kind of ominous that it’s called ‘Brother’…”
– Dani (on Rachel’s space-station sewing machine that’s going to take over the world)
Rachel: I’m sure all my ancestors will be so proud I’m making a Battlestar Galactica jacket.
Dani: And your decedents!
“Your teabag is so explicit tonight! ‘You only give when you love… in bed’.”
“Frictional forces can’t beat my breast-warmth.”
Dani: I guess we would judge an orgy.
Charlotte: Even if only for technique.
“The paper is paper! …that was more descriptive in my head…”
“The words fell out of your face…”
“You initiated this stage in our platonic physical relationship.”
– Rachel to Charlotte
“I always like the dark ones…”
“I have butter in my breasts.”
“Surprise fucks are the worst.”
“Have faith in the internet.”
“I was really hoping you’d want to be an abstract squiggle.”
– Rachel, in a hypothetical conversation with her block of alabaster
“I just don’t have as much experience fitting large things in my mouth as you do.”
– Rachel to Charlotte
Rachel: Baking and booze always help.
Charlotte: Bacon and booze…
– a conversation had while making french toast bacon cupcakes
“On a scale of one to married…”
– Rachel G.
“Guys! There’s a torso in my present!”
“Dani knows what to do with bodies that come in boxes!”
“I love how it says ‘America’s Favorite Horse Race.’ I feel like that’s another way of saying ‘The Only Horse Race Americans can name.'”
“This dressmakers form is like a new Han.”
“I mean, it’s the Catholic studies class. What can she say? There’s no forgiveness?”
– Rachel, on turning in a paper slightly late
Tuesday Night Dinner Quotes
“Tori has the stripper version.”
“My gesture-box is invading your bubble.”
“I shower naked…. yes.”
“Today I had feelings. They lasted for two hours.”
“Dear Mary Wollstonecraft, you heteronormative bitch.”
“Signs you’ve been working on your homework too long…”
“You’re just not so good with gravity.”
“Just because it wasn’t lewd doesn’t mean it can’t be memorable.”
“When my hands are not gross, we will embrace.”
-Tori, to Dani
“It was kind of an impulse buy…”
“Sinners Anonymous equals church.”
“….A Gingerly Journey, over rice.”
-Ethan, naming one of our Tuesday Night Dishes
“God is the one holding the heart-gun!”
“All my metaphors lock from the inside.”
– Rachel (on the Damien Jurado song, “Rachel & Cali”)s
“Old McNietzsche had a soul…”
“Can you give us all a lifetime of food? Cause we’re all a little nervous.”
-Tori, to Rachel
“I can’t even find my bones right now.”
My current musical obsession is Kristin Chenoweth’s new album, Some Lessons Learned. In this album Kristin Chenoweth get’s to go back to her semi-country roots. I would describe the album as country-flavored-pop. The songs are all very upbeat, not many “crying in my soup songs” as Chenoweth put it. The lyrics are quirky, fun, and sometimes tongue-in-cheek.
- I Was Here
- I Want Somebody (Bitch About)
- Lessons Learned
This morning began the long process of returning home. I got up, finished packing, and showered at the last possible moment so I would clean as long as possible. Dad and I managed to repack our suitcases underweight. Our only crutch was one small duffel bag stuffed with some dirty laundry and leftover toiletries.
Delta said we needed to get to the airport three hours in advance of our international flight. Murphey’s law dictated that we made it through check-in and security in record time (maybe 15 minutes).
But, the good news is that Australians apparently like to shop while they wait for their planes (or maybe when they get off the plane and buy stuff duty free…). I had $25 Australian dollars to spend and I managed to use it all up on a couple of stylish coffee mugs for Evanston.
We got to chill in the Air New Zealand crown room after that. It was so nice! They had a hot breakfast buffet set up AND (more importantly) free wifi that was faster than anything we’d paid for on the trip.
I was feeling a bit peckish so even though we’re probably going to be fed at least 6 times in the next 24 hours I had some toast and a piece of kiwi-fruit (because it just doesn’t taste the same in the states).
We were on exactly the same kind of plane going out of Australia that we were coming in, so the seats were definitely fantastic. And because we were flying through what I considered day-time I was awake to use more of the media features.
In fact, I used most of the trip catching up on all the media events I’d missed out on in the last couple of years. I watched a couple of movies, LOTS of movie trailers, some music videos, and listened to several Delta radio stations, learning that Kristin Chenoweth has a new album called Some Lessons Learned that is fantastic!
The selection of movies on the flight was huge! There must have been more than 100 to choose from. They had a little bit of everything too… Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Ice Age (1, 2, and 3), Tangled, Inception, Citizen Kane, Harry Potter 1-7a, the LOTR trilogy, Sideways, (500) Days of Summer…
I watched two full length movies, Ice Age and an old classic I’d missed out on, Tootsie. Both were hilarious. Of the movie trailers I watched the list of movies I thought looked interesting and I’d like to see included Never Let Me Go, Just Go With It, Black Swan, and Barney’s Version (note to the reader: I have not checked these out on Rotten Tomatoes yet, so if there are any duds in there I’m not responsible).
Unfortunately, because the flight was mostly during my daytime I wasn’t able to sleep much. On the way over I got almost 8 hours. This time I might have dozed through two play-throughs of a Pink! best of album. I love the noise-canceling headphones they give you though… man, do they make the flight quiet.
Also, the oddity flying this direction is that you get two Wednesdays. We left Sydney at 10:30am Wednesday morning and arrived in Los Angeles seemingly before we left at 7:00am Wednesday morning. This is a fun peculiarity, but doesn’t weird me out nearly as much as not existing for a day going the other direction.
At any rate, we arrived in LA and got our bags/cleared customs really fast. We recheck the bags with a sigh of relief and headed to the Delta Crown Room to wait for our next and final flight to Orlando. I think Dad would have gone to the El Cholo’s in the airport (even at 8am) for nachos but he decided that they probably wouldn’t be as good as the real thing, and he’ll just have to look forward to them in November. (Nachos are traditional Thanksgiving food, right?)
This crown room was not as nice, but they did have some breakfast foods out. Also, I know this is a really random thing to notice (and definitely to photograph) but they had a really nicely decorated bathroom… (jet-lag is my only defense here).
Finally, we got on our domestic flight. The seats were definitely a step down. They fed us a burger and I managed to snooze for another hour and a half or so. Oh, I should also mention that even with all the movies/music/etc I read an entire Kindle book on these flights as well. It was Forever Neverland, an interesting twist on grown-up (gasp!) Peter Pan.
Mom met us outside security at the airport and it was sure nice to see her! We got our bags in about 25 minutes (lightning speed for MCO). Mom drove home, since Dad was jet-lagged and I couldn’t remember what side of the road you were supposed to be on (seriously, I kept walking down the wrong-side of the hallway and going to the wrong side of the escalators).
By the time we got home at 7pm I was kind of on a second wind and managed to unpack, chat with mom, and putter until about 9:15. Then I went upstair, took the best shower of my life, and went to bed.
I’m writing this now at 6:45am the next morning. Jet-lag being the bitch it is, I woke up at 5:00am, managed to doze until 6:00, then finally gave up.
All in all, this has been a really great trip. I feel rested, relaxed, rejuvenated, and enlightened. What more could you ask for?
This morning’s wake up was profoundly unpleasant. As Murphey’s Law seems to dictate whenever you have to get up early, you have trouble falling asleep…
But we managed to get ourselves and our bags downstairs by 6:00am. I was shocked to see that our ride to the airport was a personal tour bus. We had the whole thing to ourselves! It was… spacious.
It was also raining and cold in Auckland this morning. It seemed like we were getting out just in time, since the rain was supposed to settle in for the next few days.
Once we got to the airport it was indeed a blow to have to deal with all the hassles of flying commercially. As always my bag was 1kg overweight, but the person checking it in was nice and turned a blind eye. Our flight didn’t have a gate posted until about 20 minutes before it started boarding so we camped out on some chairs next to an incredibly over-priced bookstore.
The flight was uneventful. We had purchased tickets that were “The Works” so we got breakfast. Dad tried their hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, a rasher of bacon, and potatoes. I decided to play it safe and stuck with museli and a muffin. I discovered I actually like museli. It was like granola in really really light yogurt with raisins, fresh peach and maybe orange bits in it. It was actually pretty tasty.
I watched Super 8 after we took off. Dad and I had contemplated going to see this film earlier this summer, but we never ended up going. We should have! It was directed by J.J. Abrahms and I should have had more faith in him, given that I love his previous work. I would really like to see Super 8 again someplace where I can actually understand all the dialogue. The kids in the movie all gave great performances. Especially Elle Fanning!
I dozed for the last hour of the flight. It was weird how empty immigrations and customs were… there were no lines anywhere and I think once we’d gotten our bags we were out of there in a minute and a half.
We took a cab to our hotel in Coogee, which is where Pamela grew up! She’s already departed on her grand tour of Australia cruise so she can’t be here to show us around, but after Dad and I checked in to the hotel, we slathered on the sunscreen and went to take a walk along the beach.
It turned out to be a really scenic walk. There were huge waves coming in at the beach, and we climbed up to one of the coastal cliffs and clambered over rock formations. We returned to the waterfront for lunch. After a bit of wandering we ended up the Coogee Hotel’s brasserie/beer garden. Dad and I shared a Caesar salad and a cheese burger. One of the normal ingredients on burgers here is tomato relish. It was okay, but not as good as Fergburger!
After lunch we got brave and went over to the beach, despite all the things that can kill you. We took our socks and shoes off and (avoiding anything that looked remotely like a shell – stinging shells, look it up) went and stuck our toes in the water, or in my case since a wave twice as strong as all the others snuck up on me, up to my calves, splashing all over. It was cold (Dad hammed for the camera)!
We stayed for a little while, watching some boys trying to body surf on the large waves. Dad saw one really stupid person narrowly avoid getting smashed on the rocks, but since we saw his head bobbing after a few minutes, we figured he hadn’t actually managed to drown himself.
After about twenty minutes we decided to quit while we were ahead and nothing had bitten/stung/or poisoned us. We went back to the hotel for the afternoon and chilled.
For dinner we went to a restaurant called Ceviche that was diagonally across the intersection from the hotel. There was a private function going on inside the restaurant but they sat us on the balcony. The evening was quite mild and with the heater taking off the chill it was lovely.
I had gnocchi that was edible, tasty even! It was unusual, it was very large, about as long as my hand and had been stuffed with ricotta, spinach, and walnuts, and was served with a pesto sauce. Dad had tuna tartar. For our mains we both had fish, his was barimundi and mine was ocean trout served with wasabi mashed potatoes. It was a lovely evening and a great way to end the trip.
Yesterday’s weather blew away (literally) leaving us with one last beautiful day in New Zealand. Having fairly thoroughly explored the city, we kept things pretty low key. We decided to go check out the art museum because it just received a huge private collection as a donation. There are apparently many paintings that haven’t been seen in several generations.
We walked over to the art museum, which is near the university. It was very breezy! But beautiful and sunny.
The museum staff was very friendly. Dad got a map. He tried to hand it to me to chart our course through the museum, but since I’m only luke-warm about art museums to start with, I told him he should do it, since he actually cared about what was there.
It’s not that I don’t like art. I do, but I’m the first to admit that I know nothing about it. Certain periods (back when things were representational) intrigue me and every once in a while I find a painting I absolutely love, but I have no use for anything after impressionism and I think paintings by chimpanzees and elephants have more artistic merit than most modern art.
The museum turned out to be a fairly eclectic mix of all styles and periods. There was one gallery dedicated to New Zealand art, but most of the upstairs was for the new stuff. It was sort of haphazardly arranged I thought. There was no unity of time period or style, just a bunch of paintings hung together with statues in the middle of the room.
I found one artist I liked. His name was Edmund Blair Leighton and he painted things inspired by Arthurian legends. I loved his compositions. They all told stories. My favorite was one of a woman sitting on a window ledge tying a scarf (as a love token) around a knight’s helmet. The mounted knight is outside the window, leaning down, reaching out for the helmet. The look on his face was difficult to interpret. Was he impatient or did he love her back? Was he going jousting or was he going off to war? Did he think he’d ever see her again? I guess that’s what I think art is supposed to do. Make you ask questions and spin stories in your head.
After the art museum we walked over to the University again to go to the Relax Lounge and get another Chai Tea Latte. It was just as good as I remembered. I think what makes it better is the powder they put on top. My educated guess based on smell and taste is ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sugar. I’ll have to experiment when we get home!
We had a lazy afternoon at the hotel and went to Eight (the hotel restaurant) for dinner because everything (literally everything) else in the city was closed on Monday. Eight didn’t disappoint. We decided it would have been Mom’s favorite restaurant on the trip because the papadums were less than 10 feet away from the sushi…
I had: salad (honey mustard dressing), vegetarian hoisan stir-fry, butter chicken and garlic naan.
Dad had: salad (Eight dressing), sushi assortment, a variety of Indian dishes and garlic naan.
Dessert is the only thing Eight doesn’t seem to get. Consistently the best thing seems to be pineapple dipped in the chocolate fountain. I did manage to get a slice of pretty good chocolate cake and Dad and I discovered that we sort of like Turkish Delight (although it get’s stuck in your teeth…).
Tomorrow’s wake up call is before the crack of dawn (5:30am… 3:30am Sydney time yuk!). I mostly packed before bed so that leaving in the morning will require minimal brain power.
I sure will be sad to leave New Zealand! I had no idea how much I’d end up falling in love with this country!
This morning was very lazy. I slept in, Dad went to breakfast and ran into a few of our tour-mates before their bus left. The morning was quiet because it was raining buckets outside. We didn’t really mind though, it was nice to have a quiet day to relax.
Around lunchtime we decided to go brave the weather and take a walk. Restaurant options are pretty limited in this city on Sunday. There was a whole line of Asian restaurants we remembered from last time, and they seemed like likely suspects.
Armed with umbrellas and long coats we managed to time our walk to lunch with a break in the rain. We ended up eating at a good Korean place (which was sadly empty). Dad had bibimbap and I had a lunch box with Korean BBQ chicken. My lunch box was good, it came with white rice, a shredded salad, apple slices, tempura shrimp, tiny spring rolls, dumplings, a strange fried ring-shaped thing which was not onion, and a lot of chicken. It was really good but I didn’t make my way through too much of it!
There was a TV on, playing some movie. Our best guess was it was a Japanese film dubbed into Korean. The only reason I paid any attention to it was that it sounded a lot like the dialog between Sun and Jin in LOST! The plot was completely incomprehensible, and I don’t think it’s because I don’t speak Korean…
After lunch Dad and I found another break in the rain and scooted back to Real Groovy, the same interesting little CD shop we found last time. We decided to have a contest to see who could find the best CD.
1. There was a $7 cap on the cost of the CD.
2. The CD had to be by someone you’d never heard of
Other than that, it was a free for all. We actually ended up pitting 3 CDs against 3 CDs. After we cashed out and returned to the hotel we started ripping them and the judging commenced.
It was close, but I beat the pants off him 🙂
My strategy did seem to have been more effective than his. I was browsing in the Pop/Rock section, looking for female artists recording under their own names (no bands), with interesting/professional album artwork. He was in the Alternative section, looking for similar things, although he was more amenable to bands.
One of my CDs was actually so good we’ve already ordered three of her other CDs from Amazon.
- That Girl by Stephanie Kirkham: B-, Good voice, good lyrics, needed more interesting music.
- Storybook by Texas: B or B+ (depending on later tracks), good voice, nice orchestration, first two songs much better than middle tracks, but it’s got potential.
- The day’s winner: Darkness Out Of Blue by Silje Nergaard: A+, Amazing album! fascinating orchestrations, brilliant lyrics (so good Dad actually noticed). Definitely a new favorite artist.
- Tuning In by Beki & The Bullets: C, material more interesting than performance, first two tracks are almost the same song, sounds like it belongs in the Twilight Soundtrack, but they have a great name.
- Beneath The Sleepy Lagoon by Ghostplane: D (assuming F is reserved for rap and death metal), too horrible for words, nice packaging.
- The National Velvet EP by Dana Eclair: C-, Nothing special here, his voice isn’t great, it’s a little repetitive and most of the songs don’t go anywhere.
Dad purchased one additional CD that he chose not to enter in the contest. However he should have! Technically it might not have been sporting because it was a compilation of a whole bunch of different artists who played live at a folk music festival in Dunedin, New Zealand. It had a whole bunch of really good songs on it! It included a few by the guys from Flight of the Concords and today’s first hand’s down 5 star song, “Waiting For Love” by Raylee Bradfield, who has a myspace at www.myspace.com/rayleebradfield and sells some songs on iTunes. The live recording on this album is the best recording of “Waiting For Love” but she also has a really good Christmas song called, “Luke.”
The other find from the shop was a Bic Runga CD. She performed live with the Christchurch Symphony. They guy who produced the CD desperately wanted to record the event, she was a little hesitant because most live albums are a mash up of 6 or 7 performances and have been rehearsed ahead of time. This event was one night only and there was no chance for rehearsal. Finally he convinced her to let him record it, and if it was no good, it would never be released. It’s fantastic! Definitely a find.
Tonight for dinner we went across the street (because even if it’s raining it couldn’t take more than 30 seconds to cross the street) and had a fairly authentic pizza, although the crust wasn’t very Italian. It was quite good and the lighting was really cool!
- Lunch with Janis and Adriaan on their veranda
- Lunch with Pamela’s family
- Jenolan Caves
- Feeding Kangaroos
- Lunch at Kerry’s dairy farm
- Ozzy’s mussel boat in Marlborough Sound
- The drive into Milford Sound
- The Kiwi Bird Park
- T.S.S. Earnslaw’s engine room
- Best Breakfast: The Langham
- Best Included Meal: toss up between the dairy farm and Kiwi Bird Park
- Best Hotel Dinner: The Langham’s 8 buffet stations
- Best Asian: Chat Thai
- Best High-Brow Dinner: Tetsuya’s
- Best Low-Brow Dinner: Fergburger
- Best Chai-Tea Latte: Relax Cafe!!!!!!!!!
- Best Hotel: The Four Seasons in Sydney
- Best Hotel Room: The Copthorn in Wellington
- Best View: Queenstown
- Best Turn-Down Chocolate: The Crown Plaza in Queenstown
Today is the last day of the tour. It’s mostly unscheduled, they only things we need to do are get from Queenstown to Auckland (our last time in the private jet) and then our farewell dinner is at the Skytower in Auckland.
Bags had to be out pretty early, but it wasn’t too bad, only a 6:45 wake-up call to pack and get them out by 7:30. Dad and I went downstairs for breakfast and checked out. He managed to have eggs and toast, but after last night’s Fergburger (my breath still sort of tasted like onions after three brushings) I opted for a banana and a pot of tea.
Our coach didn’t leave for the airport till 9:45, so we had some time to kill down in the lobby. Dad showed me a game on his iPad that is quite fun, and I sat next to the “fireplace” (an art deco-ish counter with three gas powered flames behind glass panes) and played for a while.
It was raining in Queenstown this morning, but we didn’t really mind. I just figured it made the fire cozier.
We checked the seating chart on the bus and discovered that we’d come full circle throughout the tour, and we were in the front again.
The ride to the airport was short and security was not too much of a hassle. We boarded the plane and Miles and Charlotte served us all tea and coffee after we took off and tasty little smoked chicken sandwiches for lunch, with rocket and aioli. There wasn’t much too look at over the South Island because it was covered in clouds, but Charlotte came around to chat with a bunch of us. She was just so personable! It was really nice having the same stewards all week. Charlotte genuinely seemed interested in what we’d done on our trip, and wanted to make sure we were having a good time. It seems like a pretty cool job. They got to stay in Queenstown with us, so they had a bit of down time in a beautiful part of the country.
It will definitely be a real step down to fly commercially again…
There were horror stories in the morning paper about traffic in Auckland due to the Rugby World Cup, but we had no problems at all getting to the hotel.
It’s going to be a little confusing, because after as many hotel rooms as we’ve had in the last week and a half, we’re now back in our original hotel… in a different room… So far I haven’t gotten lost or forgotten where I’m supposed to sleep, but our stay is young…
Our room is almost identical (except this one smells a little more like old furniture, but oh well). Dad and I opted for a quiet afternoon at the hotel, updating our blogs now that we finally had a fast enough internet connection. I remember when we arrived at the Langham the first time I thought, “wow, this is a slow internet connection!” But now that we’ve spent two weeks in even more obscure parts of New Zealand, when we arrived this time I though, “wow, this connection is fast!”
Our farewell dinner was at the Skytower, which is over 1,000 feet tall. We had drinks in a little partitioned area, then went to the tippy-top to the rotating restaurant. Renee did a fair amount of hovering for us, making sure everything was being taken care of, because Tauck has never done a dinner at this restaurant before.
It was quite an enjoyable meal. We sat near Renee and she had some pretty amazing stories to tell about places she’d been and things that have happened on various Tauck tours. The food was good, the highlights being the pumpkin soup and grilled snapper.
When we were done with dinner we descended from the tower and (surprise, surprise) had to exit through retail. The gift shop had life-size displays of various Lord of the Rings icons and other movie tie-ins filmed in New Zealand. I was too much of a nerd to resist having my picture taken with Avatar’s Neytiri…
Renee bid us farewell back at the hotel. She gets to fly home with most of the group tomorrow, and has 5 (whole) days off before her next tour.
Renee has been an absolutely wonderful guide! Never on a tour have I felt more taken care of, entertained, and enlightened by one person! She was wonderful with us, but what really impressed me was how she was greeted by everyone we visited. It was like she was a member of the family, everywhere we went. And everyone told us how much they looked forward to seeing her and her guests.
This was definitely one of the best vacations Dad and I have ever taken! It was everything a vacation should be, entertaining, enlightening, relaxing, fun… I’m so glad we decided to come spend time with Pamela and her family and visit New Zealand. I can’t wait to come back!