wan-na find something?

Monday, January 31, 2022

an extraordinary date night with the girls

did you ever watch zoey's extraordinary playlist on NBC?  it was a super cute show that ran for two seasons with a cast that included jane levy, skylar astin, and mary steenburgen.  i was super bummed when it was cancelled because there was still so much story they could have told.  plus it was very glee-like, and you know how much i loved that show.  but while the regular show was cancelled, somehow they got the roku channel to pick them up to do a christmas movie, which gave the fans hope that maybe they'd get picked up for at least one more season.  as of right now i don't think anything has been confirmed, though.  bummer.

so anyway, when i saw a post on twitter that was offering free tickets to a screening of the christmas movie, i jumped right on it.  it was going to be at a movie theater somewhere in downtown l.a., with the creator of the show, the cast and other key people present. i managed to secure three seats, and although neither of the girls had ever seen the show they were game to go with me.  thank goodness, because it would have been kind of sad to go all by myself. 

the theater was located in one of those newer trendy shopping centers in the financial district, and it was pretty easy to find and park (which is always my concern when heading out to the west side).  


since we'd arrived early, we walked around a little to check out what shops and restaurants there were.  i'd read that the theater was one of those dine-in spots, so we decided to just head over and see if we might be seated early.

the staffers there were friendly and helpful and directed us to a spot in line for check-in.  there weren't too many people there when we arrived, but it got busier as time went by.  the red carpet was behind us:


at the check-in desk, i showed our e-tickets and our proof of vaccination and then we were handed tickets with our assigned seats plus masks to wear while inside.




we stopped at the bar, but found that it wasn't yet open for business.  oh well.


upstairs there was a fun photo op, and since we still had plenty of time and there weren't too many people in line we stopped to take a picture because why not?



we went into our theater and found our seats, where we each had a bucket of popcorn and a special themed menu along with the other regular menu items to order from.





i had to try the spiked hot cocoa served with two sugar cookies, while the old lady opted for the spiked eggnog.



the old lady had the buffalo cauliflower bites for her appetizer:


while the bean went for the non-spiked hot cocoa and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  hey, it was the christmas season.  cookies are kind of required like every day, right?


the food was typically overpriced, but at least it was decent.  i only got a picture of my pizza, but i don't think you'll have any trouble visualizing a plate of chicken tenders and a salad, right?


i'd given the girls a quick summary of what the show was about, although the movie also kicked off with a nice little recap of the storyline so that anyone could watch it even if they hadn't been fans of the original show.  the movie was just as cute and fun as the show, and they said they enjoyed it.  when it was over the creator of the show and the cast assembled for a Q&A in an adjacent theater, and someone set up a laptop to stream it for those of us in the other theaters to see.

it was a school night and we got home kind of late, but it was worth it.  at least i think it was.  heh.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

finally making the bean's dreams come true

the bean was extra thrilled when thanksgiving was well and truly done this year because she was laser focused on something happening that saturday night - her very first BTS concert.  i guess this wasn't technically her first, considering they'd headlined jingle ball in 2019...you know, in the before time.  and she (along with millions of other fans, known as "army") had waited a long, long time to get the chance to see them perform live for more than fifteen minutes.  later i found out that having this concert to look forward to was what kept her going through the days, which sounds a little dramatic but also makes sense considering what the world has gone through over the last two years.

the concert was at sofi stadium, a brand new venue that had just officially opened not too long before the concert.  the hub had already been to a football game there, and had told us horror stories of trying to find parking passes under $300 (!!!) and long lines to get through security and what have you.  and so when i bought the concert tickets i made sure to secure a parking pass right away.  this paid off big time when we got to the stadium and found only a few cars in front of us to enter the lot.  

like her sister before her, the bean had used some window markers to decorate the car before we left the house.



as we walked around trying to figure out which line we needed to get in to enter the stadium, we encountered several different groups of fans who had prepared little gifts to give away to their fellow army members.  based on the other BTS-related outings we've done, i've learned that BTS army is among the most thoughtful and generous groups of fans.  they're always giving each other things like photo cards, wristbands, and all kinds of other trinkets just to share their love of the group.  it's really sweet, and the bean was stoked when her sister snagged one of these packages for her from a passing group of giggling girls.

it was madness, i tell you.  there were so many people there, with lines that snaked around the entire property and so many of them didn't even know what they were standing in line for.  the lack of organization and staffing to ask where to go was pretty alarming.

an ambulance coming through the crowd didn't seem like a very good sign.

it seemed to take forever, but we finally figured out where we were supposed to be.  what a shitshow.

we stood there for the longest time without moving.  as we looked ahead of us, we could see the lights flashing as people went through the metal detectors, but for some reason there was just no movement in the lines.  it didn't make any sense, and time was ticking.  we knew there was no opening act, and with a half hour till showtime and hordes of people still in front of and behind us, the vibe was starting to bring on some anxiety through the crowd.  i gotta tell you, with the disaster of astroworld still fresh in our minds, i was a little worried.  there were so many people there all trying to get through those gates to see this group of global superstars and i knew the old lady was starting to feel a little panicky along with me.  what seemed like a minor annoyance had turned into a real concern, and i kept scanning the area to make sure i could find some way to get the hell out of there if we needed to.  

it was probably about 20 minutes till showtime when we finally found ourselves in the dividers that led to the security checkpoint.  one of the event staff came by to yell out instructions to everyone, asking them to have their vaccination cards and IDs ready for inspection, and as he scanned the crowd you could tell he was super overwhelmed at the task at hand.  finally he shouted "okay guys, hold up your cards so we can see them" which was completely useless because of the sheer number of people in front of him.  and then we found ourselves moving forward at a much faster pace as we heard more staffers walking up and down yelling to each other "stop checking everything, just let 'em in!  STOP CHECKING EVERYTHING!" and then we were inside.

jesus h. christ.  they were literally letting everyone in - they'd stopped checking bags, scanning tickets, literally everything.  i heard stories later of people coming in and finding seats and spaces in VIP suites who didn't even have tickets.  and i couldn't help but be nervous throughout the entire show because if they weren't even checking bags or having everyone go through the metal detectors anymore - well, you can imagine where my mind was wandering. 

our first stop was to the restroom, knowing that we wouldn't want to go during the show and finding that the line to get into a stall wasn't long yet.  and then we found our seats and plunked our happy asses down in them.

our seats were pretty good, i gotta say.  we're not really floor seat people because i learned the hard way that i can't see shit when we're down there on ground level.


legalese.

the bean was super excited to finally get to use her army bomb - the official BTS light stick that she'd already synced up to her seat so that it would glow in unison with the thousands of other light sticks in the audience.

the lights went down and the video intro began promptly at showtime.


when the lights went down again it was ON.  the fans went nuts and the volume turned way up as the anticipation built up to the max.


and then...they were there.  i could practically feel the excitement radiating from the bean as the guys took the stage and she took in the fact that they were all under the same roof at last.




after the first couple of songs, they took a few minutes to stop, introduce themselves and say hello to the audience.  and it was clear that they'd taken advantage of the downtime during quarantine to work on improving their english.  

RM, the unofficial leader of the group:


this is v:




jin, bringing the blue steel.


jungkook, the baby of the group:


jimin, the bean's favorite.


last but not least, j-hope.


it was a really entertaining show, with the guys bringing 100% of their talent and showmanship to the stage.  we've endured countless hours of videos plus a full concert movie with the bean, so we knew that it would be a good time whether we knew the songs or not.  although since she has the music on pretty much 24/7, so we recognized all the songs even if we couldn't sing along.  and they brought all the concert tricks - lasers, streamers, confettti, fire.  you know the drill.





they split into two groups at one point, coming out into the audience in the safest way that they could to wave and blow kisses.


a little light stick magic.


it was over all too soon for the bean, who let out the saddest groan when the guys joined hands to take a bow at the end of their set.




the lights came back on and this appeared on the screen, which made us think that maybe, just maybe there might be an encore.  alas, it was not to be.


helpful signage to guide the crowds outta there.


oh, do you like my mask?


our last stop before heading back to the car was, of course, the merch tent.  the lines were really long but it seemed like they still had stock, so we got in.  of course, once we finally got to the front most of what we really wanted had just sold out to the people in front of us.  ugh.


the group was in town for four shows - this was the first one with another the next night.  the other two would be a little later in the week, and while i'd really wanted to get the bean tickets for all four (you know, like we used to do for her sister back in the height of her jonas brothers obsession), it was near impossible.  actually, it was damn lucky that we managed to get tickets at all because ticketmaster is so incredibly inept at organizing ticket sales.  don't get me started.  but because we'd bought tickets for several nights from the tour that was supposed to happen in 2020, we'd managed to score two presale codes which got us these seats plus two more on the last night.  the hub took her to that one, which was the original plan to begin with.  and so while she was bummed that this show was over, she knew she had at least one more to see before they went back to korea.

i don't have any pictures from that one, but they headed down much earlier than we did and had a way easier time getting through security and into the venue, plus scoring some merch.  it's always a different experience when her dad takes her places.  

and now we wait for them to announce the next tour.  it never ends, amirite?

getting to the point

so with the hyatt lake tahoe, i was 2 for 2 in finding peloton bikes in hotels.  and again, not just one or even two of them - a whole row o...