Monday, September 26, 2011

Puppet Up!

On Friday afternoon, Hubby asked me if I wanted to go downtown that evening.  He mentioned there was a show he wanted to take me to as an anniversary gift (belated, but still appreciated!).  I agreed and he asked if I wanted to know what it was or if I wanted it to be a surprise.  I decided to be surprised.

This decision nearly killed me.  I spent the whole afternoon thinking up possible shows he would take me to, but kept my curiosity in check enough not to go searching for the answer.  Hubby had said I should dress casually, no kids were allowed and that the doors opened at 6.  That was all I knew.

We parked downtown and walked past the Riverside theatre.  Hubby had thought we were headed there, but the show was at the Pabst, which is a few blocks away (confusing, but at least it was close).  He got our tickets from will call and asked if I wanted to see them.  So he handed them to me.  The show was listed as "Henson Alternative: Stuffed and Unstrung."  Oh dear.

"Do you know what it is?"
I looked at Hubby.  "Uh, I have a pretty rough idea.  I'm guessing... puppets.  But, adult-themed puppets?"

Confirmed.  Hubby said he had found out about this from his boss/owner of the company and that it was essentially "naughty" Muppets.  So we wandered in to have a drink in the lobby and eventually settled into our seats, which were right in the center, row E (and yes, that's approximately equal to row 5).  Beautiful view of the stage, and also of the ginormous monitors.  Prior to the show, the monitors showed information about the performers involved in the show.  Among them were Paul Rugg (the voice of Freakazoid, a childhood favorite of mine) and the woman who voiced Chairry on Pee Wee's Playhouse.  Needless to say, I was pretty psyched.

When the show started, I knew we were in for some fun.  A nice Muppet (and his pet fish) informed us that this was like seeing two shows in one.  On the monitors, we could watch the Muppets doing their thing.  On the stage, we could watch the puppeteers doing everything else.  Pretty cool actually.

It turned out to be part scripted and part improv.  The scripted parts included recreations of two original Jim Henson sketches from back in the day.  They showed the original on the screens, and the recreation occurred on the stage.  It was amazing and the performers did a beautiful job paying tribute to some classic sketches.

The improv...  Holy crap.  First of all, the "host" was Patrick Bristow.  You might remember him from Ellen (as in, her original comedy series) or, if you're a Disney Channel freak like me, you might know him from the Suite Life of Zack and Cody.  Either way, he's awesome, and watching him crack up on the side of the stage was almost as funny as some of the improv.

Whenever performers were called up for some improv, we got to yell, "Puppet up!"  According to Patrick, we were louder than the audience in San Fransisco.  (Never underestimate us Sconnies!)  From hot dogs staging a cheese intervention to Scott Walker as a super-villain in the next James Bond movie to a bedtime story about a trip to the proctologist (as told by a giant, digitally created brain puppet), everything was hilarious!  They had a whole stash of Muppets to choose from (we were a little disappointed that a few weren't used) and some fantastic performers to bring them to life.

So, if you ever get the chance to check out Henson Alternative, do it.  It is SO worth the time and money, and it's an experience you'll never forget.  When else do you get to hear Muppets swear or reference Linsday Lohan's beaver?  Never, my friends.  Never.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

5 Reasons You Should Stop Whining Whenever Facebook Makes Changes

1) It's never going to stop.  No, seriously.  Remember back when it was only for people with college email addresses?  When Facebook first opened up to the general public, a lot of people were PISSED.  I may even have been among them (even though I wasn't actually in college at that point, so I was kind of bending the rules to begin with).  These days, I'm actually happy that it's open.  I have tons of friends I can keep up with, lots of random games to check out, and opportunities that wouldn't have existed if FB had never changed since its original format.  And because FB wants to stay around, they will KEEP updating to try to get the most out of its existence.  I wish you luck in finding a social networking website (or, really, any website worth anything) that never changes things up.

2) If FB changes are the worst thing that you encounter today, your life is pretty flippin' good.  Seriously.  Clearly you have access to the internet, which makes you luckier than a lot of people in the world.  Odds are you're using a computer or smart phone that you own or can easily access, so you likely have an income of sorts and/or a place to live.  If your main complaint for the day was that FB made some stupid changes, maybe you should take a look around and realize how good you have it.  

3) It's a free site.  Free.  As in, no money needed to participate.  As long as you have internet, you can be a part of Facebook.  In all likelihood, no one's forcing you to use it.  (If someone out there reading this currently has a gun to his or her head and is being forced to stalk others via FB, my apologies.)  When you don't pay for something, should you really expect it to be perfectly to your liking?  No, you really shouldn't.

4) There are other options.  The internet is bursting with random websites.  Some of them are even other social networking sites (anyone remember MySpace?).  If you're that unhappy with FB, why not just go somewhere else for entertainment?  Goodness knows there are other ways to keep in touch with friends, if you're so inclined, so it's not like FB is the ONLY way you can live.

5) Facebook (not to mention many of your friends) doesn't care.  With more than 750 million active users, my guess is that your whining doesn't really matter to them.  Empty threats of leaving aren't going to garner much attention.  Hell, even if a bunch of you DO leave the site, there are still MILLIONS of other users willing to put up with a few stupid updates.  Sure, you might get a few "Likes" on your status about how FB can suck your reproductive organs or copulate itself.  And a few friends might write some encouraging comments noting their agreement with your feelings.  But in general, your words are falling on deaf ears (or blind eyes... is that how it would work on the internet?  Oh well...).   

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Anniversaries Abound

Five years ago today, Hubby and I decided to make things official and begin dating.  It's amazing to me that it was so long ago, but also that it has only been five years.  Boggles the mind, kids...  

As if that weren't enough, on Sunday, Hubby and I had our first wedding anniversary.  Yay!!  :)  It was a pretty awesome weekend, if I do say so myself.  Allow me to recap:

Friday night - Drove into Madison to my parents' house.  Zach went out to see a friend; I did homework. (OK, so that sounds lame, but it gets better.)

Saturday morning - Headed downtown to the Farmer's Market!  We bought honey straws (they actually had real bees at the tent!), cheese curds, a block of 6-year cheddar (that's Hubby's), a container of raspberries, a small thing of apple cider and some hot and spicy cheese bread rolls.  Everything was delicious!!  The square was PACKED, but it was still a lot of fun.  When we finished, we headed across the street to Tabby & Jack's, since Hubby hadn't been before (and I'd only been to the other location).  We got Maxi a shirt that says, "Wicked Cute" and has a little witch's hat on it.  And we got a cool collapsible bowl to keep in the car in case Maxi needs water while we're out and about. :)

Saturday afternoon - After a quick trip up and down State Street, we decided to head to lunch at my favorite place in Madison, Ella's Deli.  For those who haven't been, Ella's is like ADD Heaven.  There are things moving and spinning and singing and clicking all over the restaurant.  I know some people aren't big fans, but I've been going to Ella's since I can remember.  I love it so much that I had my 16th birthday party there AND had lunch there for my 21st birthday.  The best part about Ella's, though, is the carousel.  And yes, Hubby and I rode it on Saturday.  And yes, it was awesome.  Sure, I don't fit into the stirrups as well as I used to, but whatever.  Once we were done, we headed back to my parents' to check on the puppers and then we headed to the hotel to check in.  We stayed at the same hotel where we spent our wedding night.  Nothing too fancy, but definitely nice enough.  Once checked in, we promptly took a nap.  Yeah.  We're exciting.

Saturday evening - I finished up some homework while Hubby watched TV.  Once I was done, we decided that dinner sounded good.  We wound up going to Olive Garden.  We hadn't been there in awhile, and it was somewhere we actually went fairly frequently when we were first dating, so it seemed like a decent decision.  I had an awesome Moscato (I love my sweet, white wines) and an awesome dinner, so I really can't complain.  After dinner, we headed back downtown and walked around the square at night.  It was MUCH nicer without the crowds, though my shoes were sadly not made for walking, and I got a couple nice blisters.  Full and happy, we headed back to the hotel, turned on the TV and made a few drinks.  It wasn't long before we gave up and went to sleep.

Sunday morning - Had breakfast at the hotel ($9.50 each for what would normally be "free" at other hotels, but whatever) and then packed up our stuff.  Headed back to Mom and Dad's to catch the Packers game.  As I had told my mom, all I wanted for my anniversary was a Packers win.  I got it.  :)  I also got a Brewers win.  Bonus!!  :)

Sunday afternoon/evening - Lounged at the parents' house until it was time for our dinner reservation at Bellini Italian Restaurant.  We love Bellini not only for their food, but also because it's where we had our wedding ceremony and reception, so coming back for our anniversary was a no-brainer.  Dad drove us there limo-style (he said he wished he had the hat for it) and we were seated right away.  Now, at the end of our wedding night, the staff had told us that if we came back for our anniversary, we would get a free meal.  (This, of course, was merely a bonus for us.)  We made sure to tell the waiter that this was our first anniversary and that we had gotten married there a year ago.  He was very nice and congratulated us, but made no mention of the free meal.  We figured it like this: Worst case scenario, we paid for everything.  That's cool.  It's our anniversary.  We planned to spend money.  Best case scenario, we got free entrees and paid for some drinks and appetizers.  Awesome.  So we decided to go all out:
  • I started with a Bellini (a champagne drink with peach nectar) and Hubby had some kind of whiskey drink.
  • We shared calamari for an appetizer.  YUM!
  • For dinner, Hubby had a nice salmon dish and I had a fantastic rib eye with asparagus and broccolini on the side (and we each got a salad and bread to go with).  
  • With dinner, I had a melontini (Midori, Malibu, and some other stuff) and Hubby had a Jim Beam and Coke.
  • After dinner, we decided to split a (large) piece of tiramisu (the ONLY coffee-flavored thing I enjoy).  I had a chocolate martini and Hubby had an espressotini (it even had 3 coffee beans floating in it for garnish).
When our waiter came at the end of the meal, we assured him that everything had been phenomenal.  He then said, "I just wanted to congratulate you again on your anniversary.  On behalf of Bellini's, we thank you for having your wedding here and for celebrating your anniversary with us, and so we would like you to have this meal on the house.  Have a great evening."  And then he walked away.  Our jaws dropped.  The WHOLE THING was covered.  Holy.  Shit.  We had NOT expected that!!  Thankful to no end, Hubby dropped a REALLY nice tip and we cabbed it back to Mom and Dad's.  It was another early night for us, but we fell asleep completely content with the way the whole weekend had gone.  

We drove back home on Monday early afternoon (we both took the day off), and that was that.  :)

To extend the festivities, though, part of my gift to Hubby was tickets to the last Brewers game of the season, at Miller Park.  Needless to say, we can't WAIT to go!!  :)  YAY!!!    

Thursday, September 8, 2011

So Ready...

For some football!!!

Yes, kids, it's football season.  Just under 7 hours to kickoff and already I can hardly contain myself!  Looking forward to watching the Packers crush the Saints tonight in Green Bay.  Puppers is already wearing her Packers jersey, and Hubby and I will be joining her later.  

What's your favorite part about football season or what are you looking forward to most this season?

Personally, I'd love to see Ryan Grant have an excellent year (after being out most of last season) and I can't wait to see Clay Matthews make his first sack.  And, as always, I look forward to seeing Donald Driver's beautiful smile all season long. :) 

Da-nah, da nah nah nah...  


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor (Free) Day Weekend

I mean, really.  It's called Labor Day, but the whole point is to take a break from said labor.  So why not Labor Free Day?  

Anywhoozles, it's been awhile, so here I am to tell you all about my lame-ass weekend.  Huzzah!!

I should start by telling you that Hubby has been on vacation since last Wednesday night.  Ugh.  I dropped him off at the airport around 4 and have been missing him since.  It's a good thing I have Miss Maxine, or I might've lost it.

So I made it through to Friday night somehow, and then headed to my parents' for the weekend.  I waited until 7 to leave so I could avoid the horrendous holiday weekend traffic, and was pretty successful.  There were still some assholes out, but that's pretty standard fare.  The puppers and I made it to our destination right around 8:20 and Mom and Dad were having dinner.  I got to sit down and have some bacon-wrapped filet (nom nom nom) and unwind from the drive.  (Yes, I know it's not a long trip, but when you're not used to driving, and you're alone except for a dog who'd rather stick her head out the window than sit next to you, it FEELS like a long trip.)

We watched the Brewers game together (well, Mom and I did anyway; Dad went to bed to watch) and then said goodnight.  The pups and I headed downstairs to our bedroom for the evening and watched some TV.  The next morning I was up too early for my liking, but got up and got started on homework.  Mom and I went grocery shopping around eleven, which was a nice break in my day.  I actually think I saw some people I knew from my CBH days, which was kind of random.  Mom asked if I wanted to say hi, but I declined.  

After that it was back to homework before Mom and Dad's friends D and M came over for cocktails and dinner.  Dad decided it was cool enough downstairs for a fire in the fireplace (according to the thermostat, it was only 63 degrees).  Despite the generation gap between myself and the four of them, we always seem to have a good time together, and Saturday was no exception.  I fixed myself a Captain & OJ and enjoyed the fire, talked some sports, and played with my pup.  Mom made a fantastic spaghetti dinner (enough to feed a mid-sized army) and the night wound down.

Sunday morning I finished up the last of the week's homework before we headed out to the Taste of Madison.  Apparently, it's entirely possible that I haven't missed a year of The Taste in my entire life (as Mom confirmed they took me with the year I was born, and I can't recall a year when I didn't go), which is pretty awesome.  Normally I stuff myself silly when I'm there, but without Hubby, I just wasn't feeling like myself.  I did, however, manage to enjoy a delicious churro from Caracas Empanadas, my favorite pumpkin spice cheesecake from Grace Cheesecakes and a really tasty steak fajita in a teeny tiny tortilla from Abuelo's

The afternoon called for a nap, and the puppers happily joined me.  Later, we spent the afternoon out on the front porch (or as K and I call it, Kentucky) talking and drinking and listening to music.  Dinner was leftover spaghetti, and I made a delicious spaghetti sandwich on a bun.  Mmmmm...

Monday was a lazy morning.  Not much to do but sit around and watch TV.  Eventually Mom and I headed to my aunt's house for some wine tasting.  It was a girls only event: my mom, mom's two sisters (my aunts), mom's sister-in-law (another aunt), and my cousin were all there.  We tried wines and played Apples to Apples (which is a family favorite, but I'll save that story for another time) and I had to get between my mom and one of her sisters when a political discussion got a little too heated for my liking.  (Let's just say it's not easy to piss my mother off, but God help you if you do.)

Of the wines, I liked the two whites the best (of course), and the dessert wine.  Evidently, I was the only one who liked the dessert wine (it was REALLY sweet - they said that like it was a bad thing!), so I got to take the rest of the bottle home.  When Mom and I got back to the house, Dad was out on the porch with some of our neighbors, so we sat down and joined them.  Dinner was, of course, more spaghetti leftovers (it's a good thing I love my mom's cooking so much).  And right after dinner, the pups and I made our trek back home.It wasn't an overly exciting weekend, but it was nice not to have to spend the whole weekend alone at the house.  

On a very happy note, Hubby will be home tonight!  YAY!!!!!  I can't wait to see him.  I hate when he's gone, and this was a LONG trip for him to be away. :-(  But, I survived.  That's gotta count for something.