Even though I kept throughout today, I needed a change of scenery. Wound up dragging my Dad out to get coffee at a Coffee Bean in Torrance for a couple of hours.
While we were there I checked my school portal and saw the last two Comm Law assignments we needed to complete over Spring Break were finally uploaded.
I would have preferred to work on them at the beginning of the break… But I can’t force my professors to do things just for my convenience.
Luckily the assignments were quick enough to blow through that I can’t complain.
One of them just happened to come with some bizarre imagery.
For our section on copyright and trademark, a case we went over was Mattel v. Walking Mountain Productions. In which Utah artist Tom Forsythe created a number of images using frazzled Barbie dolls in domestic appliances and common food items to comment on the brand’s effect on society’s treatment of women and gender roles.
Once again I spent the evening in Torrance enjoying the second Shakespeare by the Sea performance of the season.
Last night showcased The Winter’s Tale, a drama that arguably wasn’t very dramatic, but tonight was comedy night with The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Honestly, this play was much better in my opinion. I’m usually one for the Shakespearean dramas, but something about this show in particular really tickled my funny bone.
It was essentially the story of two women getting revenge on a man who tried to steal both of them from their husbands at the same time, not knowing they were close friends and would figure it out. As always, the actors really brought the story — and all the innuendo it carried — to life in the best of ways.
Plus the show told me that Shakespeare was a proponent of cuckolding and crossdressing as a means of humiliating people. The guy may have changed the English language and culture forever, but he was a freak when he wanted to be.
God… What am I doing. Making fun of the Bard in a random Saturday blog post.
This is what happens when you don’t have any ideas, people.
Well okay that’s not necessarily true. There’s a few things I could think to talk about from tonight.
Like how I had a great time going out to the show with Aly tonight.
Or the fact that having a seat further back from the stage facilitated seeing a lot more of the special extraneous stuff surrounding the production.
It’s harder to notice the actors slipping out from the side of the stage to make their approach through the center aisle when you’ve got a more centralized, engrossing view of the show. For example.
On top of that, when it came to this show specifically, I noticed a lot more of the things going on in the park around us as well. For instance, the venue happens to be in front of an outdoor hockey rink:
That thing has a very loud buzzer, even when it’s outside.
Yet that buzzer is only barely louder than the little kids playing on the playground over to the right of the stage.
All especially fun distractions when you’re far enough away from the action that even the speakers don’t pick up all the slack in helping us hear what was going on.
That’s about all I can think to say though, I’m afraid. I went to the gym again earlier today, and that coupled with the late play has left me a little burnt out.
So I’ll try to get something more significant out tomorrow.
Even though the plan is to spend the night with my friends. We’ll see.
After a rare day spent almost entirely outdoors at the Manhattan Beach Pier and at Wilson Park in Torrance, I’m pretty beat.
I’m also pretty sunburnt at that, so I’m sure I’ll come to regret not putting on sunscreen once my face starts to seriously burn up. ‘Tis the unfortunate truth of being an overtly pale, caucasian shut-in.
But that’s neither here nor there. Just consider it my excuse to not write the Citizen Kane of blog posts tonight.
All my tired, complexion-driven complaints aside, it was actually quite a lovely day. My friend Mimi and I spent the afternoon just catching up and venting about all of the drama pervading our lives lately.
Excuse the wink. I swear it’s the sun, not me trying to be a douche.
Of course there are few catalysts better for bonding than pizza. So luckily I was able to take the opportunity to introduce her to my favorite pizza place: The Manhattan Beach Pizzeria.
Ain’t that a tasty-looking slice? I’ve certainly been a proponent of it since days long past, when this particular joint was a preferred spot to hang out at after volleyball camp every summer.
Plus the calzone was definitely worth the long journey through L.A. traffic, from what I heard through a totally objective third party.
Speaking of that long journey through traffic, it facilitated my having a little bit of extra time before we started to hang out to just wander the shopping plaza at the top of the hill there. It has been a while since I’ve had the chance, as I haven’t gone nearly as much as I should have over the summer.
For some reason, the thing that stood out to me most while I was traversing the grounds was all the public art all around. A lot of it was new, clearly meant to spruce up the area around city hall and the library.
I decided to try and take some artsy, angled pictures of all the different pieces I found as a sort of miniature time-killing project in the middle of the grey, overcast afternoon.
So yeah if you’re interested in strange, not necessarily copacetic public art, enjoy:
After a couple of hours at the beach, we decided to hang out longer with no real plans set for the next day. That time spread into more fine art, as mom pointed out that there was a Shakespeare by the Sea performance in Torrance.
For the uninitiated, Shakespeare by the Sea is a theatre troop that has done free performances across California for the last 21 years. It’s a popular event for my family, and one I enjoy bringing my friends to.
How can you go wrong with Shakespeare, after all?
I guess to be fair the show tonight was one of the stranger plays: The Winter’s Tale. It was particularly funny at token moments, but overall holds the distinction of being the only Shakespeare play I can recall seeing where everyone was alive at the end — including many characters who had died during the course of the play.
While attending the show I had another obscure little observation. This one relating back to seeing the audience watching it.
I’m not entirely sure why, but I felt a strange sense of pleasure watching a large crowd of people all quietly engaging with the live performance. As if they were watching a particularly awe-inspiring television program.
Maybe I was just drawn to the idea that we’ve retained the same kind of interest with live performances, particularly Shakespearean performances, as we once had in the days before being overwhelmed by the constant media barrage of the 21st century.
Especially considering just how timeless and relentlessly clever the Bard’s works are.
I was going to write something tonight about Wizard of Legend, an indie game developed by the two-person team at Contingent99 that’s all about being a dope mage who is basically the Avatar in a rogue-like dungeon crawler. It’s super fun and my current gaming venture with Alyson on the Switch, since she’s about to finish her school year and we wanted something to play together.
Unfortunately I still haven’t figured out a good way to pull pictures off of the damn console because it needs a Micro SD card and we only have a Mini SD card.
So a discussion on the merits of that amazing little couch co-op action game will have to wait for another day.
Instead I figured I would just ramble a bit about something that got me thinking during my travels today.
While driving to Hof’s Hut in Torrance this morning, where we had breakfast with my grandparents as an early Father’s Day celebration, we passed through a part of the city that could best be described as an industrial park.
Lumber yards and other mills interspersed with office complexes in a compact grid. That kind of a region.
What struck me in particular was the foliage in the part of the city we drove through, as odd as that sounds.
There’s a clear divide between the two residential areas and the industrial park between them along the path that we took to the restaurant. Especially crossing Hawthorne Boulevard, where one side of a train track-covered bridge is as classic a suburban area as it gets — tightly packed houses dotting hills and strip malls all around — while the other side is office complexes, empty lots, electrical towers and lines of hedges across entire sides of some streets.
Everything on the industrial side is much more spaced out and very clearly grossed out as if purposefully designed by someone playing Sim City.
The hedges are what intrigue me the most, as they seem like the outer walls of large mazes, complete with a singular entryway that has a sign indicating what’s on the other side. A lumber yard, like I mentioned, happens to be the one kind of facility I recall specifically.
Thinking it over I can’t help but wonder… For what reason have these facilities decided to cover themselves up?
Is there a law leading to that kind of exterior decorating? Or simply a way of building a better public image by preventing citizens on the outside from seeing any sort of “eyesore?”
Who decided to use hedges in particular? Why is that a common practice?
Also, in a more wide-ranging aspect of the question, is that practice common around the country? The world?
I’m not sure any of this brief flirting with the ideas of how industrial parks work from an aesthetic level amount to anything more than a dumb blog post. It could possibly be a future research opportunity for a story of some kind…
But for right now I’m a little too tired to dig through the history of industrial parks in any sort of hard research excursion. Especially considering my main computer seems to be having problems and I had to copy the entire post here off on my phone a second time.
If nothing else, I suppose being thoughtful about the nature of some foliage surrounding a lumber yard has inspired at least a little bit more than just an ultimately pointless blog post.
I’m thinking about potentially building something with a hedge maze in Minecraft on my friend’s world. Perhaps a revival of a project I tried to construct years ago.
Or at least I’ll think about building that more when I’m not running around zapping fools as an incredible wizard.
For the second year in a row I have made the pilgrimage out to the Double Tree hotel in Torrance for the end-of-year Redondo Union High School band banquet.
As Dad aptly put it, the event marks the end of our family’s sixth year of high school. Two for Aly after I finished my four. The whole band portion is obviously newer to me personally, but we’ve spent more than enough time discussing the fact that my sister is a great musician (whose performances you can see in my blog posts here and here).
One thing that stood out about this year compared to last year is the fact that my friend Tiana was not in attendance. Her brother graduated from RUHS last year, so she had no reason to go back.
As silly as it sounds, I actually missed seeing her for what had become a regular game of phone picture tag at most of the high school band events.
But oh well, I suppose that’s life. Just made things a bit more boring than before.
Even if she wasn’t there, however, the room was certainly packed:
RUHS has a huge band program, but it wasn’t just the band kids and parents, the school’s dance guard was also represented at the event.
Essentially the banquet was a celebration of a year’s worth of hard work. Graduating seniors were given a sendoff, the booster club that fundraises for the program passed the torch off to next year’s leaders and awards were given out.
Unfortunately, the microphone didn’t work. All night. So because I was in the back of the room, I couldn’t hear anything that was happening in any detail.
So instead of doing that, I figure I’ll make this post something a bit different.
First impressions are important. Often one can judge how a meal is going to be based on the salad course.
At least, that’s what my brain is making up as something that sounds intelligent.
This salad course was decent, I’d say. It was mostly just leafy greens with shredded carrots, a single cherry tomato and a single slice of cucumber. While I ate the whole meal happily, some of the greens left a rather bitter aftertaste that made everything feel a little less great than it began.
The rolls that were also laid out alongside the salad tasted quite good. They were perhaps a little dry and grainy, but with just a bit of butter it made up for that small flaw.
Really the worst aspect of this part of the meal, I’d say, was the lemonade. Maybe I’m too accustomed to a sweet, sugary lemonade, but this one tasted somewhat blandly sour. I quickly replaced it with water as soon as I could finish the glass.
For a fancy dinner banquet that fed probably close to 500+ people, the dinner course was better than I might have expected. For the most part.
The chicken was good, though it did have dry patches and a few bones that messed with the experience. What helped it shine was the sauce, which tasted something like teriyaki to me.
That was not only delicious with the chicken, but mixed in with the vegetables and mashed potatoes too.
On those two subjects, the vegetables were hit-or-miss. Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots were all tasty. All the squash wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m not a huge fan of squash in the first place so perhaps that bias colored my opinion coming in.
The mashed potatoes, however, were easily the star of the entire meal. They were fluffy and honestly delicious, especially when run through the sauce like I mentioned. I could’ve eaten a few plates of the stuff by itself, and my Dad readily agreed on the ride home.
Double Tree, your mashed potatoes won my heart. 10/10.
It’s hard to go wrong with dessert. Especially when that dessert is vanilla bean ice cream with a little whipped cream, some chocolate sauce and a vanilla wafer cookie.
It was about as good as it sounds really, I don’t have a hell of a lot to say about it.
Perhaps my only complaint with this latter portion of the meal was the fact that the ice cream tasted a little grainy at times, perhaps too heavily stuffed with the ground vanilla bean.
To be completely honest, the ice cream almost took a back seat to the secondary dessert that was laid out at each table — not as a part of the hotel’s meal plan:
Some genius in the band program decided to put out chocolate and taffy at each table.
While most of my personal consumption came after the official dessert course, I happily gnawed on chocolate coins, Hershey’s Kisses and licorice-flavored sea salt taffy throughout the night.
Thank you whoever made that decision.
With that food review out-of-the-way, I’ll be sure to make this post a part of my resume whenever I wind up at some Lifestyle magazine somewhere.
Because I couldn’t really hear much of what happened, like I said, I suppose that’s also all I have to say about the banquet. The night ended on a high note, with the speaker for the music that was going to play not working.
Up until it did work and blasted music from right above our table specifically out of nowhere, scaring everyone. That was about the point where Dad and I decided to skip out early, as Aly stuck back to dance with her friends.
In the end I suppose that’s what it’s all about. Aly got to have a great time with her friends. She is pretty much the social one, after all.
I do appreciate that she wanted me to come along though, if I can be real for a second. It may not have been the most fun event in the world for me, but I was still glad to come along and support her.