Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saturday Morning Pancakes

This post will be about Saturday morning pancakes. I will write it tonight at our internet-less home, then post it tomorrow morning. For now, enjoy a few pictures of Matilda.

Playing in the Bumbo Babysitter. She doesn't like it much. Maybe once she actually fits in it she'll like it more.

Cross-eyed on the couch. Nothing more to say.

She likes to fall asleep while I read her Harry Potter in Italian.

You remind me of the babe. What babe?
The babe with the power. What power?
The power of voodoo. Who do?
You do. Do what?
Remind me of the babe.

Tilly doing a little Tae-Bo to David Bowie.

Another one of those weird things that Matilda likes to do. She is exceedingly strong for a 7-week old. I have the bruises to prove it.
More to come...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blame it on Aida

These last couple weeks have been filled with preparations for Aida, which opens next Tuesday, September 23rd, at the Hale Center Theater Orem. For those of you who don't know, the Hale Center Foundation for the Arts and Education, of which HCTO is a part, is my employer. My official title is Director of Advancement, and as such I am in charge of all the marketing, advertising, special events, fund raising, sponsorships, philanthropy, communications, publicity, etc. Along with that comes the dubious honor of working to produce a quality playbill for each show. This includes writing sections about the history of the show, the authors/composers of the show, and the history behind the setting of the show. I'm also responsible for proofing the grammer and legibility of all other written material and ads in the playbill. It can be kind of a daunting task, but I enjoy it.

For all of you local yokels, you definitely need to come and see the show! Why? 1) So you can get your own copy of my published writings. 2) Because it will be one of the best shows ever produced in Utah Valley. I'm not kidding on this. We've got top talent, top music, top costumes, lighting, effects, etc. And if you ask really nice, I might just be able to offer you some kind of discount. As a teaser, here is the piece that I wrote about the history of Aida and its most recent authors/composers:

From Shakespeare’s “star cross’d” Romeo and Juliet to Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, from Austen’s Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet to Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester, forbidden love never fails to capture the attention and hearts of all. Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida takes the same theme—love between a Nubian princess and an Egyptian heir to the Pharaoh’s throne—and wraps it in a rapturous rock-musical score, immersing the audience in the woes and heartbreak of their plight and the dire consequences of what a decision to transcend the easy road and submit to true love would mean. Unlike Romeo and Juliet’s tragic finale, there is a ray of hope gleaming off the Egyptian hieroglyphs for our protagonists. Perhaps Westly from The Princess Bride expressed the sentiment best when he said, “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.”

But the road to Broadway—and more importantly to the Hale Center Theater Orem—was not short for Aida. It began in 1869 with Giuseppe Verdi when the Khedive of Egypt wanted to commission Verdi to write an opera worthy of Egypt’s theaters. Verdi refused twice, but after reading an outline for Aida his interest was piqued and he agreed to the task. Egyptologist Mariette Bey is generally credited with the original story.

Aida opened to universal acclaim on Christmas Eve in Cairo and Milan in 1871. At one point in the opera over 300 performers (and a few elephants) were on stage. The theater in Cairo only sat 600 people! Verdi’s Aida remains popular around the world to this day. It has also been remade over twenty times for television and the big screen. In 1998, Elton John and Tim Rice collaborated to bring you the version of Aida that you are enjoying tonight.

Elton John – Born in Middlesex, England, in 1947, John took up the piano at the age of four and continued throughout his youth, later honing his skills at the Royal Academy of Music. Although his first few years in the industry were rough, once he produced hits like “Your Song” and “Rocket Man”, he hit the top of the charts and stayed in orbit for over 30 years. His rewritten version of “Candle in the Wind” remains the biggest-selling single of all time. In 1998, in honor of his contributions to charity and the arts, the Queen of England knighted John, bestowing the title of Sir Elton John CBE.

John first teamed up with Tim Rice for Disney’s 1990 film and 1997 Broadway Musical The Lion King, and has since worked with him on The Road to El Dorado and of course Aida, which won the 2000 Tony® Award for Best Score.

Aida presented John with a challenge unique to his prior experience, writing a full-length musical directly for the stage. Although he found the project daunting, says John of Aida, “It’s a beautiful, complex love story, where bigotry and hatred are swept out the window, and love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding triumph. In this day and age, I’m a great believer in the human spirit triumphing over evil in any way.”

Tim Rice – Although he began his career as a lawyer, in 1965, at the age of 21, Rice teamed up with the 17-year-old Andrew Lloyd Webber as a lyricist, and together they went on to create such monumental Broadway musicals as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Evita. He also worked with Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba fame to create the 1986 musical Chess and contributed to Disney’s Aladdin after the passing of Howard Ashman midway through production. He also contributed to the original music added to the stage version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and won three separate Academy Awards® for Best Music, Original Song. Rice also received British Knighthood in 1994.

Of Aida, Rice says, “When you approach the creation of a new musical, the story is the most important thing, and we begin with one of the great ones. If you can add a wonderful score, you have a really good chance of coming up with a great show.”

There you have it. And I blame the show for now posting last week or until now this week. Not that I feel like I have any sort of ah-blog-ation to any of you (yuk yuk yuk). Just wanted to be open with you. That's what healthy relationships are about, isn't it? Openness? Communication?

And now for an update of my daughter, who is now over 5 weeks! She has begun sleeping for 5-6 hour stretches at night, and has 1-2 major ppd (poops per day). She can hold her head up for 30-45 second stretches, and at our best estimates tips the scales at 7.5 lbs, 23 inches. She loves having staring contests and will follow you with her eyes if you move around. She'll also start looking around when she hears Mommy or Daddy's voice. And when she has also learned the feeding position and pillow so that when the two combine, her mouth is open and head is shaking from side to side just waiting for a drink. Sometimes I like to put the Boppy pillow on my lap and put her in "the position", just to tease. My teasing is age-blind. I don't want to get slapped with an age-ism suit, you know. So yes, I do tease my 5-week old. And speaking of feeding, this child could out eat me in the evening. Megan will just finish feeding her and she's hungry again. Another 30 min and she's hungry again. 10 minutes later and she's gotta eat. Pacifiers won't do it. Nothing calms her except food. Maybe that's why she sleeps so long.

Favorite Songs:
Braham's Lullaby (Mom)
A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief (Mom)
Elephant Love Medley (Mom & Dad)
Waltzing Matilda (Dad)
Your Song (Dad)
The Mockingbird Song (Dad - with improvised objects bought - i.e. ball of twine, humming bird, toilet seat, etc)
I Believe in a Thing Called Love (Dad)
Beethoven's Seventh Symphony - Allegretto (iPod)
Stronger (instrumental version - no lyrics) by Kanye West - (iPod)

And now for some pics!
Tilly can't believe I've got the camera out again.

I pledge allegience, to my dad...
Daddy, Tilly, and Thing taking a nap

A good profile shot of our tightly bundled baby holding her head up.

Matilda on her one month birthday!

One too many flashes. Just kidding, she always makes this face.

This one, however, was a first. Not sure what inspired it.

Happy and cute, just like a one-month old should be.

Taking an interest in the rattle Mommy bought her.

...and she's done. Probably hungry. She always is.

Separate and Unequal

So the time has come to part ways. I keep feeling the urge to express my opinion about how I really don't like Palin (lipstick, anyone?) or McCain. I want to talk about how stupid people bother me. I want to make humorous references to poo. I want to go off on whatever tangents I feel like. I don't think I would, but if I ever felt like writing incendiary commentaries, I would like to do so without having it post right next to a picture of my beautiful daughter or lovely wife.

So in the words of Sir Winston Churchill, "I took the road less traveled." And as per Ghandi's definition of a real man, I kept my head while all around me were losing theirs.*

I did the unthinkable and started a blog for myself.

Don't worry, I'll still post regularly here, but for those of you who have been offended, fret no more. If you want to continue to take offense, follow the link... but not today. There's nothing posted there yet. Give me a day or two, okay? Thanks.


*And if you were planning on correcting my quotations. Don't bother. I know that both are found in the New Testament. I just wanted to see who was bright enough to pick up on it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Silly Tilly

All parents know that babies are capable of some pretty good faces. I'm glad to find out that ours is no exception. My question is this: Are all babies so gassy? I mean she got a bum deal (pun intended) on the gassy genes from ol' mum and pops, but seriously, she rivals me sometimes. Lots of good stories for any unfortunate suitors that may try and date my daughter. And to that end, I've recently joined the NRA. 16 years should be enough for me to develop a decent shot.

Enjoy the pics.

Matilda on her 2 week birthday.

The happy sleeper

Her first bath. She doesn't really know what to think.

Still unsure about this submergence in water.

Safe and warm in her turtle towel.

The following photos are all from a photo-shoot I did of her wearing her first dress to Church last Sunday, August 31.

And then I tried to do one in her crib yesterday (September 4) which she didn't enjoy as much.

Megan said that Tilly is the only person she knows who is grumpier than I am when hungry.

One minute after the feeding...

Two minutes after the feeding

Did I mention Matilda is going to be famous? They cast her in High School Musical 3. She's the new new girl who steals every scene. Chaos ensues, but all is resolved in a nice musically cheesy package.