arei.net - family
Twelfth Night, Spring Awakenings and Glenztravaganza

Every year in July Jennifer holds the annual Glenztravaganza, an event of unspecified link celebrating my old age.  This year she out did herself with not one trip to the theatre, but two wonderful trips.

Friday night we headed up to Ellicott City’s Patapsco Female Institute to see the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company‘s production of Twelfth Night.  I’m one of those rare huge Shakespeare fans out there and Twelfth Night is one of the plays I have never seen nor read before.  We had never been to PFI or a CSC production before, so it was a complete shot in the dark for us.  Jennifer made a nice picnic lunch and we got there early to eat and attend an informal lecture.

The informal lecture was fine, the instructor very passionate and intelligent on the subject, but somewhat focused on the basics.  I had hoped it might talk a little more about understanding Shakespeare as Jennifer often has a great deal of difficulty with that and getting her more comfortable with it will mean more play attendances for Glen.  I don’t suffer from that because I know that just about every Shakespeare writes is meant pornographically.

The production of Twelfth Night itself was excellent.  Both Jennifer and I enjoyed it and we both were very taken with the woman playing Viola.  We both independently felt that she really captured the role and was an exceptional actress.  We came away from the entire evening wanting to see a lot more from this company and planning our next visit for Julius Caesar.

The very next day Jennifer whisked me away to DC for a showing of Spring Awakening at the Kennedy Center.  This was a good production with lots of energy and a good show, but we just weren’t crazy about it.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a fine show, a very good cast and an excellent production.  Just the story, the music, none of it grabbed us the way some other shows have grabbed us.  I like to judge my musicals by how much I feel like I need to buy the music when I get out of the show.  I didn’t have any urge to rush out and buy the CD when we left.  I do remember Duncan Shiek as a a perform from back in the 90’s and a lot of the music definitely had a familiar ring to it.  It was good, just not amazing, which I seem to have come to expect from my musicals.  I loved Avenue Q immediately, for example.

After Spring Awakening we went to the District Chop House and Brewery for dinner, it being my Brithday and all I got to pick.  I was in the mood for a good steak.

We spent sunday relaxing by the pool, watching movies, playing games, and just generally being really low key.  I’m a lazy person at heart, so relaxing is always a good thing in my book.

All in all, an amazing Glenztravaganza weekend.

Beer

Since moving to Maryland from Northern Virgina I have had two problems:

1). Finding good restaurants, and

2). Find a good beer store.

Jennifer and I are slowly trying out some of the lesser known restaurants and mostly avoid the chain places.  Back in NoVA we had found a bunch of places we really, really liked.  I guess this sort of this just takes time.  So far we’ve found one place we absolutely love, Victoria’s Gastro Pub, and we’re looking for some more.  I enjoyed Coal Fire Pizza which is new in Ellicott City/Columbia, but Jennifer has yet to try it as we don’t eat much pizza.  Also, from the BaltimoreBeerGuy’s site (discussed below) I found a Howard County food blogger, so I’m totally going to start reading that as well.

On the beer front, I have been very unsuccessful.  Everyone says go to Cooridor, but I was largely disappointed.  A buddy said to check out a place in Clarksville, but I found it the same as every other liquor store.  However, I have a hot lead… And while searching for the address to this lead, I came across a fellow beer fan’s site which I really enjoyed… and he also thought it a good place.  So I’m off to check it out and maybe get a few decent beers I’ve never tried before.

Wish me luck!

Staying Busy

Jennifer and I had a nice Fourth of July weekend.  We went to the pool, relaxed, took naps and fired up the grill pretty much non-stop.  Grilling is fun.

We did go down to the Columbia MD fireworks for a little while, long enough to see that it was a complete zoo.  We parked over a the mall for a strategic quick exit and then walked to the lakefront.  By the time we had got to the lake front we knew we’d be better of watching from the mall parking lot.  The crowds were enormous even walking through them was almost impossible.  A police or medical emergency in that crowd would have been devastating.  And a panic there, and people would seriously have died.  It was amazingly poorly managed from a crowd control perspective and the authorities in charge should be ashamed.

All that said, the fireworks themselves were nice and our quick escape route worked well getting us well out in front of the crowds.

Next year we’ll go try laurel or maybe somewhere a little more rural in hopes of less crowds and more well thought out crowd control.

Nationals

Jennifer and I along with my friend Scott went to DC last night to check out the Nationals.  Scott and I are big Red Sox fans, and Jennifer’s a red sox fan by extension, so the only game we would go to would be the Red Sox ones, of course.  Well they finally are playing the nationals for the first time and we took advantage of it.

First, let me just say that charging extra for some games and less for others is a completely dick move.  For some games at the nationals, ticket prices are normal.  For other games, because they are more demanded, they charge extra.  Prices for the Red Sox series were nearly double.  That’s bogus and it really will affect my buying decisions with regards to that club in the future.  The red sox play the Orioles 9 or 10 times in Baltimore and you don’t see them charging premium prices.  Bad form.

The stadium itself is very nice.  Extra large, extra comfortable, lots of options.

The food at the stadium basically sucked.  Jennifer stood in line for 40 minutes to get a turkey sandwich only to find out that they were out of turkey at the deli place, and in fact out of all kinds of lunch meat.  And we really would have liked some Five Guys burgers, but the line was crazy long.  Now, admittedly, we didn’t get a chance to sample some of the more specialized food offerings, but what we did have was fairly unimpressive.  Decent beer options though.

The game was good though with a 3 run jack by Big Papi and only one error by the nationals, a record low for them.

So, would I go back?  Maybe.  I’d want better selection when buying the seats, no premium prices, and I’d definately take more time to find some of the specialized foods.  I almost certainly would not go back if the Red Sox were not the visiting team though.  Unless the Nationals start playing much better baseball.

Where the Weekend Went

This past weekend had the Dad in town which, despite icky weather, was a nice visit.  We wandered the inner harbor, checked out the cherry blossoms, hit some of the favorite restaurants, and did some grilling.  The inner harbor was fine, but in my opinion made better with a stop at Pratt Street Alehouse to get some of their very tasty hand pumped beers.  The cherry blossoms were mostly gone, but it still made for a nice walk around the tidal basement hunting for the remaining blossoms and allowed my dad lots of picture opportunities.  We followed that with a stop to Arlington’s Rock Bottom Brewery for some cask conditioned beer, which is the only way to serve beer.  Other various places we visited were Victoria Gastro Pub, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Indian Food in Columbia.  As I mentioned, we also fired up the grill for the first time this spring cooking some tasty fresh salmon for Jennifer, and some steaks for the old man and I.  I was especially proud of how the steaks came out.  Very tasty.

The dad’s visit gave me a chance to rest the broken finger by not being able to play any frisbee all week.  I think that worked out well, but with Tuesday night being to rainy for frisbee, I have yet to test my frisbee abilities with a broken finger.  The doctor took another x-ray yesterday and said that things were progressing very well and that so long as I wear a splint there is no reason not to play frisbee.  He also said that otherwise, no more splint, just buddy taping the finger to the other finger for a while should be fine.  Good news all around.

Avenue Q

For Christmas Jennifer got me tickets to go see Avenue Q at the Warner Theatre in DC.  We went yesterday and rolled a little Valentine’s Day celebration in there as well.  It was a wonderful show and I am completely enamored of it now.  However, there’s this odd choice that the viewer of such a show must make and it’s kind of breaks the expectant theatre model… the question is, do I watch the puppet or the puppeteer.  I tried to watch mostly the puppets, but at times I also noticed I was watching the puppeteer as well.  It got kind of confusing.  And it’s not helped by sometime some puppeteers are doing lines for puppets they aren’t controlling.  Very odd when I actually think about it.

Ultimately, as I said, I loved the show and it was a great christmas present and valentine’s day outing.