Exciting Mystery Destination!

And…we’re back!

Yeah, I don’t know, maybe Mercury is in retrograde in the seventh house of the moon of Jupiter or something, because technology has been going bananas all over the place, starting with the server meltdown for my website and followed by my laptop essentially shooting itself in the head. OMG! So not OK! Poor laptop. I suppose being stuffed full of downloaded TV shows and dropped a couple of times finally got to it.

So now I’m tapping away on my shiny NEW laptop, which I will shower with even more love and affection than the previous one, so it knows how much it has to live for. Also, I will try very hard not to drop it on its head.

And I know! What a tragic time to be separated from my blog, because oooh, the suspense, right? I’m sure you’ve all been dying to find out…just where did I take Kari for her top secret bachelorette weekend? What was the exciting mystery destination?

Here’s Clue #1:


HMMMMMMM. And Clue #2:


OOOOOOOOOH. And Clue #3:


I know, best picture ever. See, that one’s a trick clue. You might think you need to see past the rain to figure it out — and yeah, the building back there is a clue, too — but the rain itself is also a clue!

Did you guess England? If so, you’d be right! The above images, in order, are: Stonehenge (extreme close-up!), the Lord of the Rings musical we went to see on Saturday night at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (doesn’t it look like it’s magically glowing/exploding out of the sign? it’s not — that’s just how my camera deals with night photography), and the Houses of Parliament/Big Ben in the rain. Yes, it rains a lot in England, but to be fair, it also rained here in Boston for four days straight when I got back, and amazingly, the rain over there did stop long enough for us to walk up to Stonehenge and get some awesome pictures, so that seems like a fair trade for it raining the rest of the time, don’t you think?




So, yes, last Friday I packed a bag for Kari, picked her up from work, and spirited her off to London for the weekend. The main goal was to see Stonehenge, which neither of us had ever done before.


Now, I know that everyone talks about how it’s right next to the highway and smaller than they expected, but we were on a tour that let us go right up to the stones (instead of walking around the roped-off path around the outside), and maybe my expectations were low or I’m easy to please, but I thought it was totally awesome. Giant stones! Perched on top of each other! I mean, how did they DO that? Maaagic? Aaaaliens? WHO KNOWS?


There were other magical and fascinating things about England, too. For instance, when we checked into our tremendously cute and SUPER-friendly hotel near Trafalgar Square (the Hotel Grand –- I highly recommend it), just LOOK what the TV said:


It knew my name! It welcomed me! Almost as if my obsessive TV fandom fame preceded me! Like maybe there’s an underground network of international TV’s, and mine sent out a bulletin last week: “She’s coming your way! Quick, distract her while I record a Dark Angel marathon!” Er, not that I told it to do that, or anything.

Anyway, best hotel ever.

Kari and I were also amused by the fact that the exit signs in the subway (or “tube”) say “Way Out” instead of “Exit.”


Hee! I like how it sounds more panicked. Way out! Way out!

Among the photos I took, one might notice a lot of this building.


Why? Because there’s a DUDE on top of it!


OK, it’s not a real dude. It’s an art installation called “Man in the Sky,” and there are other statues like this on a couple other buildings. But the first time I saw it, I was like, whoa…there’s a guy on that roof! And, wait…also on that roof! Hey, wait a second… Luckily we were on a boat at the time, with a helpful tour guide there to explain why there appeared to be men standing around on the rooftops. Because it’s art!


Obligatory Red London Telephone Box Photo


Obligatory Double-Decker Bus Gets In The Way Of My Houses of Parliament Photo

(what you’re not seeing: the rest of the sign on this bus says “For The Love of Boobs”. Seriously! And it’s not about Eric from The Amazing Race. It’s a breast cancer thing. And there are buses with that sign all over the place! My goodness.)

Yeah, we had a serious geek-girl weekend. The Lord of the Rings musical was as spectacular and silly as I hoped it would be. The whole stage looked like a giant sawed-off tree trunk with tree growth rings spiraling around it, and parts of it lifted up and spun and moved and it was REALLY cool. Also, the curtain was an elaborate web of branches around a giant ring, and at the beginning of the second act, Gollum entered by climbing out of the ceiling and clambering down the branches. SO COOL!

Also, Galadriel was out of control amazing. Like, I could finally see why the hobbits were so blown away by her in the books, because this Galadriel was seriously wow, especially her voice. Apparently the actress (Laura Michelle Kelly) will also be playing the Beggar Woman in the Sweeney Todd movie that Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are working on, so that will be exciting.

(Side note: Did we know that Sweeney Todd might be based on a true story? I think we did not. According to the sign in the London Dungeon, the stories of the demon barber of Fleet Street are based on an actual nineteenth-century serial killer, although Wikipedia assures me that there’s no historical evidence to back that up. Hmmm. Who to believe?!)

But the craziest thing about the musical is that they condensed all three books into one three-hour play, and you know how they did that? By basically leaving out all of book two. No Rohan! No Eowyn! The best girl in the books! OK, I imagine horses might have been hard to manage on stage, but dude, they had orcs and Ents and SHELOB THE GIANT SPIDER (which was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen), so you’d think they could have squeezed in Eowyn and cut out one of the charming hobbity pub songs or the long hobbity ending instead.

My other biggest complaint would have to be the hobbit costumes. I know they’re supposed to be, like, 400 years old, but seriously, the hobbits were all wearing these huge baggy old man pants with room enough for four butts in each of them. And they were all sort of pear-shaped. Yeeeee. I know they’re not supposed to be Aragorn/Legolas-cute, but do they have to look like Oompa-Loompas?

However, despite the sizable pants problem (ha! get it? sizable pants!), Sam still managed to be my favorite character, and they added some very sweet scenes with his true love Rosie Cotton, including a song where she sings about how he’s really the hero in some ways, which is EXACTLY what I think. He’s so loyal! And true! And brave and steadfast! Awwww. I totally [heart] Sam. So, OK, maybe I’m a hobbit at heart (but I have way better pants).

In our next regularly scheduled blog, I’ll tell you about Bath and how I finally finished Crime and Punishment on the plane (advance note…of all the books you would not expect to have a “happy” ending, wouldn’t CRIME AND PUNISHMENT be somewhere near the top of that list? My GOODNESS.). But for now, I’ll leave you with my favorite picture from our trip.

It was our last day, and we were on our way back from the London Eye to our hotel to get our bags. Outside the Eye, there was one of those guys dressed as a statue, being perfectly, hilariously statuesque even though it was pouring with rain (he did have an umbrella, but I imagine without it there’d be gold paint pouring off of him, poor fellow). So I went over, gave him the rest of our change, and stood next to him so Kari could take a photo.


Much to my surprise, as soon as I dropped the coins into his hat, he went: “BE-BOOP! BE-BOOP! BE-BOOP!”, turned, and bopped me lightly on the head with his magic wand (staff? cane? thingamajobber). !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe one of the funniest things that’s ever happened to me. He’s so my new favorite statue in London. clip_image016clip_image016[1]clip_image016[2]

Quote of the Day:
Frodo: Go back, Sam. I’m going to Mordor alone.
Sam: Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.
LotR: Fellowship of the Ring