Thursday, June 26, 2014

ALA - A Mecca for Librarians

What a whirlwind this week has been! It's only halfway over too!
I went to my happy cabin last weekend, but just before I went,  I found out I needed to be in Lehi, UT on Monday, so I prepared for that and made the trip up and back in one day. I did get to meet up with my friend and eat SUPER good Korean food, so it was worth the trip.
Then, Tuesday, before I got to work, my boss messaged me and asked if I'd like to go to the ALA (American Library Association) conference in his place on Thursday, since he had a family thing come up. I happily agreed, having absolutely no idea what I was really in for. I mean, I had gone to ULA back in April, and loved it, but ALA is HUGE! And the trip is 5 days long!
Anyway, we got the proper paperwork setup so I could go in his place, and then today (Thursday) I drove down with the library's assistant director to Las Vegas to get the party started. The drive was nice enough, until we got to Vegas; traffic is always crazy! We also got a little lost, but my co-worker's sense of direction is impeccable, and we found our way soon enough.
I'm staying at a nice inn, where there is a full kitchen and bathroom and living area....basically it's a full studio apartment. It even has a fireplace, because, you know, Vegas is...cold...?

After we arrived, we walked over to the convention center to register and I got my swag bag and name tag (rhyme!) and went back to my room...and bought a ticket to Cirque du Soleil's KA!
After I bought the ticket online, I rode the monorail (is the monorail new? I swear I didn't know it existed until today) to MGM Grand and got my actual ticket. Then I wandered around that place for like an hour and then went over to the New York, New York to waste time there.
And finally the time came!
So, I've seen "Worlds Away" and I love the soundtrack, but actually seeing Ka was phenomenal!
As you walk in, there is no stage, just a big dark pit with fire balls bursting up into the air sporadically, and the sides of the theater look like this:
It's mesmerizing. It like a sci-fi forest or something. It was really intricate and even was used by the actors to fly from and drop down into the audience and even to pound on drums. Oh, and they shot flaming arrows onto the stage from these catwalks. 
Then there was the stage itself:
The stage was that platform sticking straight up. It could move in any direction, and the action worked with that feature. It was an amazing thing.
The costumes, as in every Cirque show, were amazing. This one below had very long feathers that did float and dance around with every step. What I'm saying is, if it were mine, I'd never take it off.
 There was a storm scene, and the boat rocked and people fell off and down into the pit, and then when the boat sank, there was a really cool scene where there was a projection of waves rising (projected onto a silk screen or something) and then the actors were "swimming" through the air/water and bubbles were projected and rose from where the actors were. It was a pretty surreal scene, and visually dazzling.
 There were countless amazing parts, but one that stands out was this:
The actors were in and on those wheels and zooming all around, and once guy had a rope and was doing jump rope tricks while the contraption rotated around and around. I actually gasped (along with most the audience) when the jump-rope caught on the guy's food and he stumbled for just a moment. Seeing these kind of things live is a rush in itself!

So there you have it. 48 hours ago I would not have even guessed that I'd be here. I'm very much looking forward to the actual ALA conference, and who knows what else I'll do while I'm here!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New York City!

Ok, so I know it's been forever and ever since I last updated this blog. Every time I open up my Internet browser, one if my default tabs is blogger - I set it that way so I'd always be reminded to write, but lately it's been more of a guilt initializer. Not this time though!
Clear back in March I took a trip to New York City to visit a friend and have lots of fun, and rest assured, both goals were met! Besides the frigid cold, I did so much fun stuff that only the pictures of my bundled-up self remind me that it was cold. 
Since I'd been to the city before, I was less worried about seeing everything, and more into seeing new things and just enjoying my time. Here's the condensed version of my trip (with pictures!):
I took a red-eye from SLC to NYC and thus arrived at about 7 am, and my super awesome friend Caleb picked me up from the airport. We went to his place where I dropped off my stuff, and from there went to a breakfast diner to begin our super long day. We went to the ground zero memorial, which was nothing but construction the last time I was there. It wasn't too crowded, which was nice. 
After that we went back to the apartment to relax and chat. My friend and I met at our teaching job in Korea so there was plenty to catch up on. Our other friend Natasha (also met in Korea) lived in NYC and she came over and we had a great time catching up. It made me miss my Korea friends so much! To compensate, we went to Koreatown and ate a Korean dinner and topped it off with noraebang. I'd been awake for nearly 40 hours by the time we finished that so we called it a night and I slept deeply. 
The rest of my trip was a bit more leisurely. We got rush tickets for 'Chicago' and had pretty good seats. It was a fun play and different than how I imagined it would be. The orchestra was on risers on the stage. It had a really vaudeville feel to it. I liked it a lot. I also went to the Nintendo store, called Nintendo World. I want part of my ashes scattered there. There was a launch party for a new Yoshi game so they had games and prizes to win. I won a piece of gum. Caleb won a real prize and got a Yoshi keychain.
I went to lots of stores and spent time at the Rockefeller plaza, went to the Brooklyn Bridge, went to Brooklyn, which was the very most 'hipster' place I've ever EVER been (or seen or heard of) but there were some great bookstores!
I also went to the library, which I didn't do last time. It was astounding! I loved it so much! They had an exhibit on children's literature, and it was fantastic! There was also a section on banned books, and some of the reasons for the bannings were so stupid. For example, 'A Wrinkle in Time' was banned because 'it makes young people believe in the imaginary.' There was a tower of banned books, even!
My trip was 4 days and every bit of it was great. My friend even got me started on the show 'Attack on Titan' which I've since devoured and shared with more friends and family. 
I ate awesome huge pizza, Korean food, bubble tea, Chinese, and ice cream after just about every meal. 
The whole trip was so fun, I just love traveling and catching up with friends! Where should I go next?!?

Rockefeller Plaza:
Brooklyn Bridge:

Banned books tower:

THE Winnie the Pooh toys! Eyeore's tail was actually nailed on!

I am standing in the 'Goodnight Moon' room:

New York I love you!

A Gannondorf statue I really want:

Nintendo World is so great!

Pikachu, I choose you!

One World Trade Center. It's almost finished: