cowgrrl: (gwen-thatscene)
I've decided to put part two here instead of my (mostly) fic journal because I got so many comments I was constantly having to back and forth between the two journals. So I'm making this a public post. This post is going to focus on the Doctor Who and Torchwood fans, and also a little on Brittrack, the wonderful people who made this all possible at Dragon*con. click here for lots of pics including bears, fans, costumers, and all sorts of wonderful and creative people. )
cowgrrl: (plane)
I'm home from work now -- I left early so I can pack because I leave in the morning to go to Atlanta for Dragon*con! Yikes! :-)

I don't know if I'll have computer access there but hopefully I will come home with lots of photos to accompany my con report. I've left my days mostly unplanned thus far, other than all the Torchwood programming, some of the Doctor Who programming, and the parade.
cowgrrl: (10-sarahjane-hug)
On Tuesday, January 8, we left Cardiff and took the train to Birmingham, checking our luggage at the station and heading to the Hippodrome to see John Barrowman in a Panto of "Alladin". I had no idea the Panto itself was going to be so fabulous. For my American readers (who are sadly without this art form because they don't do Pantomimes here in the States) you can read about it on Wikipedia. An excerpt from wikipedia: Traditionally performed at Christmas, with family audiences consisting mainly of children and parents, British pantomime is now a popular form of theatre, incorporating song, dance, buffoonery, slapstick, in-jokes, audience participation, and mild sexual innuendo.

Words cannot begin to describe how much fun this was. Between the sense of humor, the 3-D glasses that actually worked (3D glasses usually make me ill), the audience participation, and OMG, John Barrowman! It should be illegal for anyone to be that beautiful! And there we were in the second row! *swoon!*

But the best is yet to come... After the show, we noticed a small group of people at a side entrance to the theatre so we decided to join them there. We didn't really expect to see John Barrowman, after all, they had a second performance to do that same day. But then I noticed the two actors who had been hilarious as the policemen in the show, but before I could go photograph them, I realized John Barrowman was now there, signing playbills.

And now here's when things get really interesting. In Cardiff, we'd used a guide to Doctor Who/Torchwood filming sites written by a fan who'd stayed at the Inn. Her friend, who'd also stayed there, had gotten her photo taken with David Tennant while they were in Cardiff -- he'd been amused to see that she was dressed exactly like his Doctor Who character - and this photo was in the guest book at the inn. So, back to the present: we're with a small crowd of people crowded around John Barrowman, and suddenly I notice a woman who looks exactly like woman in the photo at the inn, dressed, once again, like David Tennant's Doctor Who. And I went "omg, it's YOU!" totally startling the poor woman, who wasn't expecting to be treated like a celebrity. :-) I found out both she and her friend (the one who wrote the guide to filming sites, who was dressed that night like "The Master!") are on livejournal - and since returning home I've been in touch with both of them, exchanging photos, that sort of thing, and you can read their versions of the event at their LJ's if you choose: they are [ profile] nightbeast and [ profile] todd_loves_mc. Both of them of course had their writeups of that night posted long before me since they didn't have to travel all the way home to the States.
and now for the photos! squeee!!!!! )
cowgrrl: (ducky)
As you might guess, the title of this post contains a bit of foreshadowing...

Our original plan for that day was to take the train to Caerphilly Castle. However, the forecast was rain (surprise!) and we'd heard from Michael, another guest at the Inn, that this castle is mostly ruins and therefore mostly outdoors. Few chances to get out of the cold and rain. But we were still wanting a road trip. One of the innkeepers suggested Merthyr Tydfil, a town that also has a castle to explore, but is also much more of a town so there could potentially be other places to see. Upon closer examination of Merthyr's castle's brochure we discovered the castle is closed on mondays during the winter. Drat! But at least during the train ride we'd get to see some of the Welsh countryside. We decided to go to Merthyr Tydfil anyway.

When we arrived in Merthyr, the sun was out! We found the visitor centre and got walking directions to the castle. I'm sure the castle is walking distance from the center of town, but definitely not a short walk. Probably a couple miles. I wouldn't know because we never got there. We stopped to take photographs of a rainbow and behind the rainbow there were ominously dark clouds. Did we want to continue onward, toward a castle that's closed on mondays? Nope! We turned around and started trudging back toward the center of town but the sky soon opened up, bringing with it a wind-swept rain and we were drenched by the time we reached somewhere we could duck into for lunch.

As we were getting on the train to return to Cardiff the sun came back out again! Upon returning to Cardiff we set out toward Cardiff Museum, which we'd heard is quite nice, but when we got there, the sign said "closed on mondays!" Oh joy. :( We ended up in the Cardiff City Centre visitor center, where they had a display about the history of flooding in Cardiff (extensive, and going back many centuries.) And that was our museum for the day. three photos including the above-mentioned rainbow )
cowgrrl: (shaun)
Our first full day in Cardiff it rained almost continuously. That didn't stop us from riding the buses out to Cardiff bay, where we visited the Millenium Centre and the Doctor Who exhibition. The following day the weather was much better so we walked to Cardiff Bay (a little over a mile from the B&B), revisited many of the places we'd seen earlier, took photos of filming sites (using as a resource a really helpful list a previous guest at the B&B had given the innkeepers--it was better than the map from the Doctor Who exhibition), and eventually making our way to Cardiff Castle. We'd hoped to take the waterbus to the castle (getting in both sightseeing and transportation) but it wasn't running on sundays in the winter. (grrr...) Meanwhile, back at the B&B, I'd gotten my own room so I was able to sleep a little better, and I'd sampled laverbread, a traditional Welsh food that my stomach hated, and bubbles & squeak, a traditional British food that my stomach quite liked. and now, on to the photos! Lots of photos! )
cowgrrl: (shaun)
We checked out of our blah hotel in London and made our way to Paddington station where we took a train to Cardiff. Unfortunately I was stuck riding backwards the entire way but I discovered if I kept my eyes closed most of the time I didn't end up with motion sickness. And it was just a 2 hour ride. It was raining when we arrived, and it took us a while to find the B&B host who was kind enough to come pick us up, but at last we arrived at the fabulous Ty Rosa B&B. The proprietors, Stuart and Paul are warm and friendly, they have a wonderful dog, Max, and the decor was great. I highly recommend this place, if you're ever in Cardiff. (And I'm not just saying this because Paul is likely to read this, LOL.)

By the time we were settled in it was already getting dark (it's dark by 4pm this time of year) and the rain was really coming down, and we were in an unfamiliar city so we decided to stay in for the evening. The B&B has an assortment of DVDs guests can borrow (and leave some spare change in the piggy bank which goes to charity). We watched some episodes of Shaun the Sheep, and the guys fixed us tuna sandwiches and a yummy apple crumble dessert. And of course we photographed the decor. wanna see? )
cowgrrl: (geekycow)
(I'm currently having a weird problem with photobucket--the photos are appearing in LJ really large even though I reduced their size. Right now the only thing that's working is for me to post thumbnails instead. When you click on them they should enlarge to the size I actually want them. What a pain. Sorry to make you take that extra step to see the pics larger! Next time I'll use another site, but photobucket used to be so easy!)

Ok, on to the trip report, continued. We saw two museums and one play. (Denice saw two plays.) this will be mostly photos )
cowgrrl: (plane)
I've spent the past two days recovering from severe jet lag and sorting through 160 photos, photoshopping some, resizing, etc. And I'm still not done. But here's a start, the first of several posts about the trip to England and Wales.

The weather: chilly (though never below freezing, hurrah!) We experienced drizzle, light rain, showers, heavy rain, and (my least favorite) wind-swept rain. We also saw blue sky and glimpses of the sun at least daily. And there was very little daylight. By 4pm it was completely dark, and we never seemed to get our act together to leave the hotel or b&b until 11am.

My health during the trip: sleep-deprivation with continuous low-level anxiety. Bleh. I now know I need my own room as much as possible when I travel, raising the cost even more. :( But it was still worth it, of course!

Ok, so on to the first of the photos! view from the hotel window, followed by several pics for Harry Potter fans )


Sep. 18th, 2007 11:19 am
cowgrrl: (Default)
In case anyone was wondering what [ profile] sophiaserpentia and I ended up doing last weekend after we canceled our New York trip, here at last is the answer. We decided to go all the way to Rhode Island (a whole hour away by car!) to go to Waterfire. Neither of us had ever been to this event before. We thought about getting a hotel room and staying in Rhode Island but decided it wasn't worth spending the money so we went there and back in one afternoon/evening.

here's what we saw. Sorry I take crappy night pics but I did the best I could. )
cowgrrl: (geekycow)
Before I forget...a list of things I want to do during future trips to NYC:

See the first half of Spamalot! (If I can afford it...ticket prices have doubled!)
Hang around the theatre hoping for glimpes of Tim Curry! (Yeah, I know, pathetic. :) )
Go to Coney Island.
Go to Ellis Island. (I really want to do this!!)
Visit museum of Broadcasting and Television (or whatever it is called)
Visit newly-reopened Museum of Modern Art.
Look into television studio tours (like they have in LA) or maybe even being in the studio audience of something silly.
Go to The Village.
Spend more time in Central Park.
Take advantage of half-price ticket booth now that I know where it is!
Eat at a good kosher deli. (Recommendations, anyone?)

[ profile] secret_willow: is there anything I'm forgetting?

[edit on 12/8/05 to add: find John Lennon's memorial in Central Park. (hint: it would be near the Dakota)]
cowgrrl: (summer)
After a high cholesterol breakfast at a nearby diner, we checked out of the hotel and walked two or three blocks back to Times Square. Magic_Girl was doing a gig at the giant Toys 'r Us, demonstrating magic tricks for sale at the toy store so we headed there to watch her make things disappear. The store is huge! It has an indoor ferris wheel and several floors of merchandise. Magic_Girl told us about the large animatronic dinosaur on the 3rd floor so we had to go check it out! There were also enough giant Lego structures to remind me of Lego Land.

After the toy store we tried to meet up with [ profile] secret_willow's Platonic NY Boyfriend for lunch but he didn't have much time to spend with us. We contemplated an NBC Studio Tour, we thought about lunch, but I was hot and cranky and didn't want food yet. What I wanted was Central Park. By now it was about 2pm and if we'd been sensible we would have been heading home. We weren't sensible so off we went toward Central Park (a mere 15 blocks or so from where we'd started out. In oppressively hot weather.)

The first thing we found in Central Park was a strange sculpture!

strange elephant sculpture )

And soon after we entered the park we came across the Central Park Zoo! And admission was inexpensive. Oh what the heck...we went in, looked at animals, birds, snakes, sea lions (who looked like they were having fun swimming in nice cool water!) And then we entered the nice, airconditioned, penguin building where a lecture about the penguins was taking place. The speaker told us penguins are extremely monogamous and mate for life. They apparently also only have one baby at a time, because a female laid two eggs and pushed one of them out of the nest. So, the humans who work at the zoo got the brilliant idea to give the rejected egg to the resident gay male penguin couple! The gay penguin couple took care of the egg and raised a baby penguin of their very own! Just don't tell the right-wing Fundie lunatics, otherwise they'll be picketing the zoo!

penguins! )

It was getting late so we reluctantly left the zoo and started the long walk out of the park and back to the hotel.

A last look at Central Park )

It seemed insane to go back to Chinatown when we were walking distance from Port Authority Bus Terminal. We just had to go through Time Square one last time to get there.

some pics of Times Square, since we spent so much time there! )

However, when we got to Port Authority we discovered an absolutely humungous ticket line. There were ticket kiosks all over the station but all of them were out of order! It was now 5:25 and there was no way we'd get through that line in time for the 6:00pm bus. Even worse, the price was $28 per person, much higher than the $15 Chinatown bus. We decided to take a taxi to Chinatown, in the hopes of hopping on the 6:00 bus there, but due to traffic, we reached our destination just in time to see the 6:00 bus pull out! (We wouldn't have made that bus anyway because we discovered the bus was cash-only and we were out of cash, and needed time to find an ATM machine.) So we were stuck in Chinatown for the next hour, but even with the taxi fare we still paid less than we would have for the trip home than if we'd stayed at Port Authority. And this way we had time to round up a few meager snacks for the long bus ride. The bus pulled into South Station at 11:30pm and we were home a little after midnight (after paying for yet another taxi).
cowgrrl: (Default)
After a not-so-great night's sleep (what was it with all those doors slamming inside the hotel? sheesh?!) we set out in search of breakfast. One block later we were surprised to arrive at a street fair on 6th Avenue! There was a booth selling crepes: what a great idea for breakfast! After the crepes, we wandered, looking at merchandise. It was extremely hot out already, and I'd foolishly left my sun hat at home. As we continued up 6th Avenue I started feeling really weak. Caffeine...I needed caffeine...and airconditioning. We ended up at an Au Bon Pain at Rockefeller Center and sat inside for quite a while, planning our day.

We'd been invited by [ profile] secret_willow's friend Magic_Girl to go to her afternoon gig at a nursing home in Brooklyn (she is a musician). The price was right: free. After her gig we'd spend a little time with her and then continue on the train all the way out to Coney Island, since neither of us has ever been there (or if I have, I don't remember.) At least that was the plan.

We arrived in Brooklyn and found ourselves at another street fair, which was also a bocci competition. We quickly escaped the fair, ducking into a very small modern art museum (only $2 admission) where we enjoyed the airconditioning and strange art until it was time for the performance.

The performance was nothing exciting -- Magic_Girl was playing piano while a woman sang show tunes and light opera. But as I sat there with all the old people in wheel chairs, some of them on oxygen, I kept thinking: ten minutes from now that could be me. After all, just five minutes ago I was celebrating my 40th birthday and now I'm 49! How did that happen?! I felt a sudden urgency to do as much as I possibly can, travel, live, see the world! All of which explains why we didn't return home till midnight on Monday, though I'm getting ahead of myself here.

After the show, we took the subway to Magic_Girl's neighborhood in Brooklyn and had a light meal at a diner. Yay, cowgrrl-safe food! And airconditioning! Then we went to her apartment, where I got to see her impressive MAD Magazine collection. She owns every MAD magazine ever published, plus original art work from MAD magazine cartoonists, and pre-MAD Alfred E. Neumans. Etc. In addition, Magic_Girl has an impressive collection of musical instruments. I tried counting them and gave up at around 40. It would have taken quite a while to find every instrument stashed in all sorts of nooks and crannies.

By the time we were done visiting Magic_Girl it was about 5pm, and we were still a long train ride from Coney Island. Given the oppresive heat outside, and our fatigue left over from the previous day's excitement, we reluctantly abandoned the idea of getting to Coney Island. Maybe next time. We headed back to Manhattan, and discovered - a day too late - the half-price ticket booth in Times Square. It was too late to get tickets to anything that day. Someone tried to convince us to buy tickets to a stand-up comedy show, but I prefered to watch comedy from the comfort of the hotel, so that's what we did. Yay, Comedy-Central.
cowgrrl: (summer)
I'm back from my whirlwind 3-day trip to New York. We got in late last night, yet I am somehow upright and pretending to be functional at the office. Here's a tidbit of my trip summary, with much more to come later.

We went to New York to see Spamalot but nearly missed the play entirely. Here is what I learned on this trip: When you buy theater tickets, always take a close look at them. Look at the date on the ticket. Look at the time on the ticket. We were sure we had evening tickets, but when [ profile] secret_willow looked at the tickets to double-check the time before making dinner plans he was horrified to see the tickets said 2pm not 8pm as he'd thought. The current time was 2:45pm. Luckily we were at our hotel which was only three blocks from the theater so we ran out of the hotel, wearing our grubby traveling clothes rather than the nice clothes we'd intended for our trip to the theatre, and managed to arrive just as intermission was taking place. So we were able to see the second half of the play, and see Tim Curry on stage. *sigh* What we saw was great. *sigh*

As consolation, after the half-a-play we passed a theater where Harvey Fierstein was starring in Fiddler on the Roof and on a whim managed to buy tickets for the show that evening -- way up in the back of the balcony (the "cheap" tickets). Since [ profile] secret_willow played Tevia in Fiddler on the Roof when he was 11 years old, he enjoyed it immensely. I enjoyed the second act more than the first, but more on that later. And more on autographs, photos with stars, (no not Tim Curry, sadly) and other insanity later.
cowgrrl: (summer)
The weather's gone back to being cold and dreary -- last night it was so cold the heat was on! I'm groggy two days in a row, probably from the shock to the system of the temperature dropping 40 degrees! But this makes it a good time to revisit a recent warmer, sunnier weekend.

pics from Ogunquit, first weekend in June )
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