Thursday, June 2, 2011

Well, I guess I better post again

So. It's back to fabulous RussVegas.

I'm taking a summer course at Arkansas Tech with some of my friends from home, and also doing a show, so the tales are sure to be a-rollin'.

My family is also going to Washinton, D.C. and Williamsburg, Virginia in a few weeks. Ian is competing in the National level of National History Day and my mother's early American singing group is performing in Williamsburg. I will, alas, be staying behind, but I will still chronicle their adventures.

In the meantime, I'm laying low, trying to sort through the mass of stuff I managed to accumulate whilst at school. I'll stalk around, trying to find funny stories and happenings.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What happened next...

There was no internet access in the airport, aside from a Boingo hotspot you had to pay for. Like I would do that, you connection-monopolizing scoundrels.
The following is my log of our journey home.

John F. Kennedy International Airport. 27 May, 2011. 4:43 a.m.

In New York, it is 4:43 am. In London, it is 9:43 am. A few sparse airplane/port naps aside, we have been up for well over 24 hours. 

And sanity is beginning to ebb away.
We made it back to the US of A okay, but our flight to Indy was canceled. It was so weird; we were on the plane for about 2+ hours in taxi before they made us get off. They had us get on again, and then they told us the flight was canceled. Due to insane Memorial Day travel, the next flights we can get on are for Saturday evening.
I’m sure, even in our miffed, half-delirious states, we can wrangle up some adventure later on, but as it is still the wee hours of the morning, little in the airport is open besides an obliging Dunkin’ Donuts.
I also finished my book.

5 something a.m.

Positive news: We have tickets for a flight to Cincinnati at 3.
The delirium continues to increase.

She's lookin pretty rough, ladies and gentlemen.
6 a.m.

Carson, Molly, Morgan, Sarah and I find a sit-down place for some breakfast. We're a bit giddy and can't stop laughing.

9:30 a.m.

Pretty much everybody is asleep on the floor, aside from Carson, who is asleep in a chair, because he refuses to touch the floor with any part of his body except his feet.
11:30 a.m.

I wake up from a nap. I have finally managed some sleep.
Doesn't really help the sleep-deprived giddyness.
Carson and Sarah get into an argument over the grammatical usage of "we" and "us." They have bets placed. 


The card games, they are a-rollin. Only, we're really bad at E.R.S., since in our sleep-deprived states everybody's reflexes have basically died.
Keeping my fingers crossed about the flight.

3 something p.m.
We finally board...

Saturday, May 28, 2011. Morgan's House.
Well, we got to Cincinnati alright, where Morgan's parents were waiting for the two of us with open arms and a car full of pillows and blankets.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day the last (assuming the ash cloud doesn't eat us first)

It’s the last night in London. Or so we assume. Currently, the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland is causing flight delays and cancelations in the U.K. We may be moving in to an airport for a while.

Three Mills Studios.
In addition to housing LISPA, the site also has studios used for filming and West End rehearsals. Sitings of major performers (i.e., Sir Ian McKellan, Lady Gaga) are not uncommon.
We had to pass through a subway walk on our way, and it occurred to us....
Sarah as Harry Potter in the part in the film of The Order of the Phoenix where he is attacked by Dementors.
I'm a Dementor
  • Afternoon: Hampstead. This is a positively charming neighborhood. 
  • It is where the John Keats House is. We saw the House and went on a really informative and interesting tour. 
  • Morgan and I also saw the Fenton House, a beautiful house with delightful gardens and positively dozens of harpsichords. Amidst the harpsichords could be found the occasional lute.

  • Evening: Morgan and Sarah and I went to another part of London that is off the general tourist map to see a show put on by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA)
  • It was put on by the school’s second-year students, and was an adorable play called Daisy Pulls it Off. It was set in a girl’s boarding school in 1927, and felt kind of like a The Little Princess-type book for young girls. It was a very tight show, and the student performers were very strong.

Harpsichords in the Fenton House

This has been a really nice trip. I’m exhausted and a little sick, but I would stay longer if I could. It’s great to have been able to see the sights and visit the places we’ve spent the entire school year reading and studying about. It adds a whole new level of appreciation.

Even though we fly back tomorrow, I refuse to say that the trip is over yet. Who knows what kinds of ridiculous things might happen to one in an airport or thousands of feet above solid ground/ocean?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Things of epic proportions

We visited the Tower of London today. While Westminster Abbey may be my personal favorite site in London,  I would say if you are going to London and can only visit one place, visit the Tower, and make sure you have plenty of time for it. There is so much history in one small spot, and so many different kinds of history as well.
I made a point to scamper to the Crown Jewels and the White Tower, which is where the Armoury exhibit is. When my family visited last year, these were the areas my sister and I were zippy-zooing through at the very last minutes. It was nice to actually take time and look at them.

 This time, instead of pretending to be a Roman goddess or Florentine artist, I imagined being Queen Elizabeth I, or Lady Jane Grey, locked in the Tower with no certainty to my future. It was quite dramatic.

After the tower, we visited St. Paul's Cathedral. It was very similar to many of the other cathedrals we have seen, only it takes an Anglican spin on things. Which really isn't much different from the Catholic spin on buildings, but it does have a bit of a different feel. Chris and Carson and I climbed up to the Whispering Gallery, and then on to the two upper levels that look out at London. It is a stunning view.
We logged about 500 stairs, give or take a few. Yeeeeaaaahhhhh, buddy.

This evening, we went to see War Horse at the New London Theatre. It was utterly phenomenal. Go see it. Now.
The technical aspects were spectacular, and very cinematic. The acting was also great.
Sarah and I stagedoored the actors afterward. It was a little awkward, because none of the actors was really high-profile, so there wasn't a crowd. We did manage to catch one of the puppeteers as well as the actor who played the lead. We had a good few minute chat with him about acting and acting schools and the show.

Also, I had a person (a Brit, mind you) come up to me in the Tube today asking if cell phones worked down there. I had to mumble about not knowing but I didn't think so sorry and he went on his way. BUT I LOOKED LIKE A LONDONER! yaaaaay
I wore my black tights today; that must have been it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Much Ado About SOMETHING.

Today was a remarkable day.

We went to Greenwich. As in meantime, prime meridian Greenwich. Greenwich is altogether a delightful town. It is very green and grassy and hilly, with lots of quaint shops and pubs.

The Maritime Museum is there, as well. I think we forget how integrally maritime London really is. This trip reinforced the importance of the Thames and the sea. We went to Greenwich by boat, and then walked near the pier for quite aways, passing through the grounds of the Naval College on to the Maritime Museum. The museum was fascinating, with instruments and art and history from even the earliest days of European naval exploration.

The Greenwich Meantime museum was also very cool. We had read about the “Longitude Problem” with navigation in class this past semester, and we got to see the four clocks made by John Harrison. These clocks, particularly H4, are arguably the most important pieces of their kind. They literally changed the face of exploration, allowing navigators to correctly determine longitude.

The world of the sea really is central to London, although it has been overlooked some in these days of rising technology. London wouldn’t be London without the sea, though, and the sea’s salty, rough, utterly enticing magic.

In the evening, Sarah and I went to see Much Ado About Nothing at Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End. The show was utterly phenomenal. It starred well-known actors Catherine Tate and David Tennant. We stagedoored them afterward, and got autographs. The Globe performance was pretty good and entertaining, but this show was pure art, and the entire cast was brilliant.

We met Ally and Frank while stagedooring. We helped each other get autographs. They are from Minnesota. Or maybe Wisconsin. In any case, they were very friendly!

And all the men and women merely players

Starting at Trafalgar Square, a group of us worked our way through the West End, Soho, and Covent Garden, browsing the shops. Mainly browsing meant looking in windows, since it was Sunday and everything opened late, if it opened at all. After the Jubilee Market in Covent Garden and a scamper through Gabriel’s Wharf Market by the Thames, we made our way to the Globe. 

We saw As You Like It. Matt and Jessica and Grace and Moly and I were groundlings. Everybody else was a weakling and got actual seats. The standing was actually not too bad, plus we got tomatoes to throw and drooled on the stage! :D Well, we didn’t really drool; we were too dehydrated.
The play was quite good, and very funny. The standing wasn’t too bad, and sometimes the actors came in to the audience, right beside us! Plus, the actors weren’t miked, and the space isn’t exactly conducive to acoustics, so being close to the stage was really nice. The actors did a nice job of clearly communicating the text, and many of them played multiple characters, which gave extra emphasis to the “all the world’s a stage” speech.

On our way home, we strolled through Kensington Gardens, seeing the Prince Albert Memorial and the delightful Peter Pan statue along the way.

I hadn’t really wanted to go back to Covent Garden; I saw it last year and felt that it was really one of those things that could be seen once. While I still sort of feel that way, I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed that area, finding new nooks and shops and getting inspired to live in an artist district. I’m returning to places I visited last year, and reinforcing them upon the brain, which is altogether quite nice.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Still stuck saying "grazie"

We got in to London yesterday, and after a long day of mildly stressful traveling, we decided the best thing to do was to simply go to a pub and call it a night.

TODAY, however, we began to embark on some more adventures.

First off, we went to the Royal Museum. I went last year, and was so glad to get to go back, although there wasn't nearly enough time to begin to see everything. I still match the walls.

 In the Westminster area, Matt, Morgan, Sarah, Diane and I went to see the Churchill War Rooms. These were the underground offices the P.M. and his cabinet and staff kept during WWII. I thought it would be interesting, but I didn't realize how enthralled I would be. The rooms stopped being used after the war, and they seem almost frozen in time. Military history is not what I find most enthralling, but this museum (which was part of the Imperial War Museum) may have started a change.

In the evening, some of us went on a ghost tour of London. It was, again, surprisingly enthralling. It was by no means a touristy, creepy, people-jump-out-of-the-crannies tour, but rather an amusing academic and intellectual tour of historically haunted places. Our tour guide was a very entertaining and informed man named Richard. You can check out his websites at and