reileen: (general - strawberry)
The 12+ hour roadtrip to and from the Falls:
Even though my dad took what he called "the shorter route" and went through NW Indiana and Michigan to get at the Canadian border, it still took us the better part of the day to arrive at the Falls. We left on Friday morning at around 6:00am and didn't get there until about 6:00pm or 7:00pm. It was even worse on the way back because we didn't actually start for home until maybe 3:00pm or so. Daddykins got so tired that he had to pull over at a rest stop for a bit and nap for an hour. The rest of the family (minus my hyperactive little sister) took this as a sign to get some shuteye too. Because of the way people and things were arranged in the van, I ended up sleeping on the floor between the front and middle seats. That was fun, like getting to emulate the lifestyle of a drifter or a vagabond who has enough money for gas for her car but not nearly enough money to spend on even a cheap motel, so she has to sleep in her car. Although I'm pretty sure said drifter/vagabond would have been traveling alone, so she'd be sleeping on the seats instead of the floor.

The cheap-ass Admiral Inn motel:
Is "cheap-ass motel" a redundant phrase? It probably is.

All the affordable nice hotels were booked for this weekend, so we ended up at the Admiral Inn, which was about one of the most depressing places I ever stayed at. First off, the parking was so cramped that it would make the Chokey from Roald Dahl's Matilda look absolutely spacious. And then the room that we got was a special sort of shittastic. There were the requisite vomited floral print curtains and bedspreads, staple of any temporary lodging. The floor didn't even look like it had been vacuumed before we walked in. Two of the windows (one in the bathroom and one in one of the bedrooms) wouldn't even lock, which was bad because we were on the freakin' first floor. Management managed to get a piece of wood that we could put on the inside to prevent the window from being slid open from the outside. Also, the lamp in my room was missing a bulb, and then when we got one in, the lamp still wouldn't work, until we determined that the outlet we'd plugged it into was shot. And then we were trying to figure out why the wall lights in my parents' room wouldn't work when we flipped the switch, until we determined that the bulbs just hadn't been screwed in tightly enough.

Then there was that Mountain-Dew-can-green mold colony flourishing inside a hollow in the clear plexiglass sink faucet handle...

The shitfast buffet on Saturday morning:
For foodstuffs on Saturday morning, we decided to check out this all-you-can-eat buffet place (Mommykins, for some reason, was very insistent on eating at buffet places - I tried to get the family to try Tim Horton's like [ profile] dantaron told me to, but alas). Looking at the interior of the place was like someone had taken a moderately priced Italian restaurant and fused it with a school cafeteria, and the food basically tasted like it came from the dusty posterior of said school cafeteria. I knew things were going to be bad when the iced tea I got was way too sweet - I had to swirl the ice in it to water it down a bit. The pancakes were tough like pleather and didn't taste like anything; the peaches were sour; the muffin's crap taste could not be captured in words.

Readers, if you fear for your lives, I must advise you to avoid the Breakfast Buffet near the Admiral Inn that's paired with a Bocelli's restaurant.

The Skylon Tower:
We were tired and cranky, and yet my dad still dragged us out to the Skylon Tower to get a view of the Falls at night. Before we went up to the skydeck, we saw this super-cheesy 3D/4D movie about the creation of the Falls, which involved a modern-day woman with Native American heritage being summoned by her ancestors to restore the Magickal Sparkly Rainbow of Nature's Goodness or something by collecting samples of the three elements involved in creating the Falls and offering them up to the spirits of the land. There was bad acting, tacky 3D effects, and an entirely too dramatic orchestral score. Hey, don't look at me, I was just watching the film, aight?

The view from the skydeck was cool. The air from the skydeck, however, was fucking cold.

I'm looking down on you. If it weren't for the ceiling, I'd be looking down on you from an even higher angle. )

Dinner was at this really nice Italian place located inside the general area of the Casino Niagara building (...I think?). It was incredibly posh. This is a picture of a fountain from one of the hubs.

On Saturday, we returned to the Skylon Tower for a daytime view of the Falls.

If you can't look at a mystery from a high place, you can't solve it. )

The Falls themselves, of course:
We walked along the boardwalk that bordered the Falls, and I taked moar picamatures, thankful for the good weather (which was not meant to last).

Do not forget. To forget is to forget how to evolve. )

The Maid of the Mist boat tour:

This tour took you right near the base of the Falls, inside the mist. Needless to say, even with the disposable rain poncho they give you, you got immensely soaked. It was windy too, so I couldn't adjust the hood over my head comfortably - it kept on blocking my view of the Falls. So I gave up on the hood and let my head get drenched. It was refreshing, though.

Well, then, I shall vomit on you. Be glad - becoming an object of vomit will suit you well. )

As cool as it was to get up right near the Falls, though, I'm still having problems envisioning why and how this became such a tourist hotspot. (Though this may be just me being insufferably cynical and bad-tempered lately.) I suppose it has something to do with the fact that this is probably one of the oldest North American tourist attractions, so it's had a long history and it's become quintessential to the experience of the continent, or something. I think Niagara Falls is one of those things where you really have to make your own fun, with the people around you. I probably would've had a lot more fun going with friends, since I'm really not very close with my family. Although if I went roadtripping to Niagara with friends, we probably wouldn't survive the driving.

The Cesspit of Tourism, a.k.a. the Clifton Hill area:
No pictures here, sorry - I was getting kind of lazy and cranky by this point. But we visited the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum, which was really awesomecool and featured quite the assortment of "Are you fucking kidding me?"-inducing oddities, like the dress made entirely out of Starburst wrappers, and the chair once owned by one of the tallest men (he was 8'8" - there was another one taller than him who was 8'11.5", whoah), and the funeral wreath made from the locks of deceased relatives' hair, among other cool things. Dinner was a Chinese restaurant called Star Dragon, which was decent enough.

The overpriced waterpark, with an added guest:
On Sunday morning, after signing out of our hotel, we went to frolic in an indoor waterpark. The fee was $55 per person, holy shit. Then again, it was a pretty nice waterpark...located on the top of a hotel parking structure...


The best part of the vacation was...:
The maple shortbread cookies I got from one of the souvenir shops, duh! [/Yako Katsuragi impression]

All in all, it could've been better...but I suppose it could've been worse.

you left me tattered and torn, just like that sweet Spanish doll
reileen: (music - proofread score)

I went with my friend Melissa to see a live performance of Vienna Teng for the third year running that I almost forgot I was going to go see because I haven't been paying close attention to the passing of the days. We had a quick dinner at Clark's Diner off the Belmont Red Line, and then since we had a ton of time to kill and the weather was wonderfully cooperative, we walked the couple of blocks straight down Belmont to the tavern.

Vienna was playing with percussionist Alex Wong, who is a music deity in his own right. I swear, a few more extra arms and legs and that man could play an entire orchestra. Instruments he played during this performance included standard drums, the glockenspiel, the waterphone, the guitar, and the...shit, I forget the name, but it's like a small keyboard with a mouthpiece. And he has a really nice voice as well. The combined awesome of him and Vienna together on stage was so overwhelming that I'm surprised that the place didn't collapse from that much epicness gathered in that tiny tavern.

Highlights? What, you want me to just pick out a few moments? Oh, fine:

*As I mentioned before, Vienna performed three new songs here: In Another Life, Antebellum, and Grandmother Song. The first two were, of course, brilliant (because it's Vienna, durrr), but Grandmother Song took it to an entirely new level. She sang it only with Alex accompanying on varied percussion, as she stood at a microphone shall I describe it...she acted the song, which was from the POV of her grandmother giving a speech to her about her choice of a career. The music is great, but you really do have to see this woman acting the song. Vienna once said that she felt more at home in the studio than in live performances, but when I hear her live recordings and - even more - when I see her live, I'm often reminded that her recordings tend to fail to capture the immense presence and energy she has in-person.

*We now have what I am currently calling the Reuben's Sandwich Remix of "I Don't Feel So Well", which was inspired by the fact that, when Vienna and Alex took the Lake Express boat from...I forget where it was, they were either headed to or coming from Milwaukee and I can't remember the other destination...but at any rate, they got on the Lake Express because they thought it would be a nice, scenic way to get around. Except that Alex got seasick not long into the ride after eating some crappy sandwiches. So this remixed version of the song (by the way, I adore the live performances of this song for the jazzy piano improv) includes these changes to the lyrics:

Reuben's sandwiches are no good
I thought that you should know, I thought that you should know that
Reuben's sandwiches are no good
I thought that you should know before you fall

I saw it begin to dawn on us both
And somehow it wasn't surprising
And so you're preparing to swear every oath
But all the while, I'm realizing

I don't like the Lake Express
I thought that you should know, I thought that you should know that
I don't like the Lake Express
I thought that you should know before you fall's probably funnier if you hear it, but what the hey. If I manage to get a recording of this song later, I'll post it.

*Vienna played "Harbor" as a birthday dedication to me! I was surprised - I'd mentioned the proximity of the performance date to my birthday in a post on the forums, but when one of the other forumites offered to shout out a dedication for me, I declined. So either someone went and tipped her off despite me turning down the offer, or she just happens to keep up on her forums. No one yet has taken credit for telling her about my birthday, so I'm going to assume that she is just so awesome that she keeps up with what her fans talk about at the forums. *glee* And I find it interesting that she chose "Harbor"...I know that there's probably no real reason for her deciding on it besides "Well, hey, I've got a birthday dedication and this is one of the happier songs I've got", but to hear that particular song for me at this point in my life means more than I can express, and the song itself has taken on new meanings for me. I guess this probably also means I should really finish mastering the vocals for it...

*I found out when I went to talk to her after the show that she's aiming for her next album to be released on February 6th next year. Mark your calendars, all ye that be interested! Even if the date changes, at least we've got one to fixate on for the moment!


I'm headed out on a roadtrip to Canuck-side Niagara Falls with the family for the weekend. I'm...not sure what to expect. I'm mildly miffed because that means I can't immediately get at the next Weekly Jump chapters for Gintama or Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro (a series that I really need to write about soon in this journal - both the anime and the manga). I can deal with missing Gintama, because the "WHAT ARE YOU DOIIIINNNG SORACHIIII D:!!!"-inducing events seem to have quieted down in the current arc, but Neuro's seriously going to pwn Genuine's ass in this week's chapter of MTNN and I want a front-row seat to the smackdown. I BET HER BLOOD WILL TASTE LIKE SPARKLY CANDY Daaah. I'm debating on whether I want to bring my laptop with me so that I can check e-mail and sites. But I probably won't, because 1) my parents will probably bitch me out for it and 2) I have a huge-ass laptop anyway that's not very ideal for carrying around. And it's not like I can use it for working on my writing either, because I found out the hard way (working on a philosophy final paper the morning of the day it was due on the way back to the campus from home in my dad's car) that I will get hellishly, fiendishly carsick.

Still, I'll probably end up bringing a few books to read (not necessarily in the car) and a notebook to doodle or to scribble in.


In other good news, I managed to get my scholarship back, even though I wrote the letter of appeal for it only two days ago! Here's to hoping I can make this school year worth it.


"Fallen Goddess" still isn't behaving for me. I have the lyrical melody, and I can play a rough accompaniment from the second chorus all the way through to the end, but I'm not happy with it. Myuuuu. I think I'll probably leave it and muck around with simple instrumental piano melodies, or practice old classical favorites of mine...

I know the border lines we drew between us
reileen: (general - strawberry)
The Good: I show off my geek cred by making 1upcakes!

The Bad: They got burninated, though. I think I'll add more green food coloring the next time around (with maybe a dash of yellow), and I'll pick up red food coloring so I can make Super Mushrooms as well. And if I decide to be even more ambitious, I'll mix up purple cake batter and orange frosting for Poison Mushrooms! XD Or, as [ profile] dantaron suggested, intentionally botch a batch and then color them the same as the Super 'Shrooms.

The WTF: My brother is being sued by the other party involved in an accident back in December in which the only known casualties/injuries happened to the things made of metal, fiberglass, and rubber - all of which should have been covered by insurance. What the fuck does the guy think he can get from my unemployed teenage brother, seriously?!

listen up y'all, 'cause this is it
reileen: (general - strawberry)
Haha, wow. Here I was wondering how long my music muse was going to stick around, and then - through one of [ profile] sannion's oracles - I find out that Dionysos would like it if I didn't neglect my music and has, in fact, asked me to compose a song for Him as an expression of my gratitude for the advice He has been giving me over the past year or so. (Well, a further expression of my gratitude, since I already did an offering to Him and to Artemis a few weeks ago.) I'm sure composing that song will be quite the experience, in between pondering whether I seriously would like to write both "Professional Procrastinator" and "This Song Sucks."

Additionally, I've been trying to think of where in my crowded, book-and-clothes-and-general-junk-stuffed room I could possibly set up even a tiny altar to Artemis.

Folks, what you are looking at is a partial collection of my many unread books. (The others are stacked on top of the dresser.) If I could clear out this space (by reading all these books! ...or the majority of them, at any rate), I could find a small shelf or a table and then stick it there, and then decorate the altar appropriately. There've been a few Artemis statues I've been eyeing on eBay, let me tell you. (Such as this one or this one or this one.* I personally rly rly liek this one, but holy hell, 17.5 inches? I'm not having that while I'm still living in my parents' house. I effing love this cameo pendant, though, and would also like to get my hands on this. Never mind that apparently it's been "pre-blessed"...)

The fact that this space is pretty much in the center of my room could have interesting implications for the significance of my spiritual path in my life.

Or perhaps I'm just staying up too late thinking too hard about things, as usual.

don't you mess with a little girl's dream

*Or maybe even this one!
reileen: (general - strawberry)
Had a pretty interesting day today. To sum, in the process of staying up through last night/this morning after having gotten about of bed at around 6:00pm or 7:00pm(!!!) yesterday, I ended up - through a series of fortunately unfortunate events - learning a couple of things about the modern Hellenic religion as well as life in general, and was suddenly inspired to actually go out today. I mean, besides having to drop off something at the post office. It was also very heartening that the temps were up to about 60*F, with sunny and clear skies. So I was definitely motivated to get out of the house.

First stop: Post office to drop off a package. Nothing special.

Second stop: Salvation Army thrift store near the post office, along 87th and Cicero. This is the one I usually go to. I bought Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke and Patterns of Culture by Ruth Benedict. Yes, I know I'm an addict; I must've been to this thrift store at least three times in the past month. But I got both of these books for fifty-four cents total. Nyaaaah.

Third stop: Another SA thrift store, this time between 95th and 87th on Harlem. I hate the parking lot for this one - it's the most impractical thing ever. There's barely enough room for twelve cars to park, and barely enough room for two-way traffic...even though the parking spaces are slanted in such a way as to suggest one-way traffic. Which cars (like mine did when I first got here) routinely go against, either because of asshattery, laziness, or just plain confusion. Also, trying to get back to 87th is a pain in the ass because Harlem tends to be really fucking busy all the time, so making that left turn across four lanes of traffic from either part of the barely-there parking lot is a nightmare. Nevertheless, I also acquired tomes from here as well: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (which I'd read in 8th grade, but I couldn't seem to find my copy of the book) and The Iron Tracks by Aharon Appelfeld.

Fourth stop: Gamestop located along Harlem, close to 79th. I was hoping to stalk find Chris, the former assistant manager of the Gamestop I currently work at well, the Gamestop I would be working at if I hadn't been dealing with social anxiety problems and avoidant personality for the last couple of months. Before he left the Chicago Ridge Gamestop, he told me that I could find him at this particular Gamestop. I'd been meaning to talk to him for a while now, because he was awesometastically awesome, but I always found some excuse not to go out and see where he was. Some time last week or the week before, I did actually get out to the 79th/Harlem Gamestop, but I didn't see him there and was suddenly too fucking shy to ask the people who were working there about him. But finally, I went there today and asked, and lo and behold, he still works there, and lo and behold, he will be there tomorrow afternoon! Except that, whoops, I'm supposed to meet with [ profile] mugging_hipster that afternoon. Maybe I can just head out early tomorrow?

Fifth stop: Michael's Craft Store. I'd gotten the wacky idea while driving around that maybe I could actually do a (semi-)proper offering to Artemis and Dionysus today to start thanking Them for how They've helped me over the past few years. This is also something I have been meaning to do for a while, but never got around to doing it for some reason or another. I bought two tiny figures of a doe and her fawn (for Artemis, of course), two cardboard-colored Chinese takeout boxes (which I intended to use for holding the offerings, but I later had to discard them because they were too big to bury in the ground), two pieces of Ghiradelli dark chocolate (originally intended for my own consumption, but I thought that would be a little selfish and disrespectful to Artemis and Dionysos, so I decided to offer it to Them instead), and a mini metal washbasin (it was only $1.00! And it looked cute).

Sixth stop: Dominic's. General grocery shopping as well as finishing up getting the rest of the offerings. Dionysos obviously got a bunch of grapes to round out His end of things. Artemis, shamefully enough, was trickier for me because I simply could not remember if She was associated with any fruits or vegetables. (Doing a quick look-over of my sources, Artemis seems more associated with trees, flowers, and herbs as opposed to fruits and vegetables.) I thought of the apple, but I realized that that was from the Atalanta story, and that those were associated with Aphrodite. In the end, I bought a small crate of strawberries. Looks like Reileen will have to get cracking on her Hellenic homework. General grocery shopping included a sliced loaf of Italian bread, boursin cheese to go with it (omgs I ♥ boursin, I first had it in French II class in senior year of high school and was hooked), Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies, and a 24-pack crate of Mountain Dew. I eventually used one can as libations to pour over the offerings after I'd buried them in the ground. Go ahead and laugh; it's perfectly and whimsically ridiculous, as can be expected of someone like me with my level of knowledge. Seriously, though: Mountain Dew is my ambrosia. I drink the stuff like I breathe air every day. (IswearI'mtryingtobranchout!) I figured that it was worth sacrificing one can to the Gods.

Seventh stop: The park right down the street from my house. Actually, I wouldn't call it a park so much as a huge fucking communal backyard. It's this plot of land surrounded on all sides by the backsides of houses and fences galore, and it's really quite depressing. Highlights include two jungle gyms, a tennis court, and a tree marked with a red spray-painted X whose top half or missing or something. This is the closest thing you're going to get to "nature" in these parts, so you gotta make do. park pictures beneath the cut )

Overall, today was a day that was better than most that I've been having. From what I could tell, Dio seemed pretty all right with what I gave Him. The Bitch Upstairs was generally cool with Hers as well, though She raised an eyebrow at the strawberries and snickered at the Dew. But I'm trying.

I never walked away from you, I never walked alone
reileen: (general - strawberry)
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a whore for that omgposer!store Hot Topic, but today I made it official by buying this pair of bondage pants.* At full price.**

(Also, the hat came from Carson's and I also happen to have a dark red beret from there as well.)

but I'll come back to haunt you if I drown

*Oddly, I couldn't find the exact pair I bought while browsing HT's website (which loads slow as hell, seriously), so I just took a (rly crappeh) picamature.
**In my defense, I had a $20 gift card and a coupon that gave me 15% off my purchase if I redeemed my gift card, so when I bought the pants (and a half-off pact of green eyeshadow), I only paid about $26 for both. SO I'M NOT THAT CRAZY, REALLY WELL OKAY MAYBE I AM BUUUUUUT TTLY NOT THE POINT.
reileen: (Default)
Once again, I am getting messages in the snow outside my dorm window... )


Eating cereal for the first time in probably a year. Whoo. I think I need to have cereal more often when I'm actually up at the time when one normally eats cereal. Apple Jacks for major win.

the chill bites before it comes


reileen: (Default)
Reileen van Kaile

April 2010



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