Tag Archives: snobism

Two Down, Many to Go

Josh and I went to the Kalahari Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells to celebrate our second anniversary. I would normally eschew something so touristy (I am a snob in several ways…), yet Josh wanted to go somewhere warm. I was happy to go, especially since he got a special deal through work.

We arrived, as planned, before our room was ready, and went to the waterpark. There were, I dunno, a thousand people in there? The Lazy River wends its way through the whole place, which is punctuated by rides here and there, as well as four hot tubs.It wasn’t as warm as we were expecting–at first, anyway. we walked around for a bit, then went on a couple of the rides, then a couple laps of the Lazy River. What’s very cool is that they have single- and two-person innertubes. We jumped in a two-person and floated around, then went down more rides in that same tube. Then we went down a ride that used no tube–lie on your back, cross your legs (lest you want something unpleasant to happen) and put your hands behind your head. Unfortunately, I put my hands behind my neck, which did not serve the same purpose–I bumped my head. Not too bad. The ride itself was very fun! It involved shooting down a snaking tub into something large that was akin to a toilet bowl, then getting dumped unceremoniously into the pool below when the centrifigal force dropped. We had a lot of fun!

After a while we sat in the hot tub. However, after a few rides, we were warm enough everywhere in the park.

We went back to the room around 4:30 and had a nap, then got ready for dinner. We went to the Cheese Factory for dinner on Diane’s suggestion (thanks, Diane!). If you’re a Facebook member, you can read my review.

After dinner we went back and walked around the game area. Not so fun–lots of cheap, shiny things to attract kids’ attention. It just seemed kinda lame. However, we stopped and took a sequence of four pictures in one of those machines–that was fun. I’m attempting to get the picture up here or on Facebook and am being stopped at every turn–don’t know why.

We went back to the room and played a really fun game of Settlers of Catan cardgame. The game lasted 3 or 4 hours. I just squeaked out a win before Josh was about to take over and win.

What changed our plans was a call before dinner from the “showing line” that someone wanted to see the house a second time at noon the next day! We wanted to spend more time in the waterpark, but that was not meant to be. : ( However, we had a good time while we were there, and will probably go back another time.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – An Experience

The Tickets
Last week at work I learned that our accountant had two tickets for Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) that he couldn’t use, so they were going to be raffled off to staff, as is our custom. Understanding that my boyfriend, Josh, likes TSO, I wanted the tickets. As soon as Megan sent the email, I shot to her office and said, “I WANT THOSE TICKETS!” rather scaring her…

I realized I wanted to increase my chances, so I asked Steph, Jill & Peg to sign up for the tickets, even though they didn’t want them, and I’d pay them for the tickets if they won. I found out later that Linda won them. Rats. I went to Linda’s office to see if I could buy them, and she was on her way out – no time to talk. The next morning I went to talk to her, and she stated the only reason she signed up for the raffle was so that she could win them for Megan! I ran into her office playfully screaming that the whole thing was rigged! She promptly handed me an envelope. Huh? I opened it – the tickets were inside. “I thought I was free Saturday, but I’m not. So the tickets are yours.” (!) Wow! Such a little epic (if that’s not totally contradictory).

Before The Concert
I picked Josh up, late, after a frustrating late afternoon/early evening (see next post). We stopped at Jade Garden and got a quick bite to eat, then made our way to the Coliseum–I guess it’s the Alliant Energy Center now… Getting in was surprisingly quick and easy, although I was intrigued that we had to pay $5 for tickets…

The tickets were pretty good! Section 223, seats G11 & 12. This is stage left on the first section above the floor. I could tell there was quite a bit of lighting hardware on the stage, and the center section of techs was quite sizable.

Two men and two women sat directly behind us. Josh and I found them highly amusing. A TSO version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D was playing before the concert. One of the guys stated, “Hey, this is that wedding music!” Johann turns slowly in his grave…

One of the women responds, “No it’s not. It’s [something else].”

“Yes it is – they play this at weddings all the time.”

I listened to this for a short while, then turned my head and added, “This is Pachelbel’s Canon in D.”

He: “Isn’t this played a lot at weddings?”

“Yes, this is often played as the processional at weddings.”

He: “See? Of course, it’s played at nice weddings, not weddings like yours.

She: “Oh, you mean where the bride isn’t pregnant?”

He: “Right.”

Josh and I totally cracked up at this. These four–mostly the guys–talked throughout the concert. It didn’t bother me much.

The Concert
The first “act” of the show was a Christmas Vignette of sorts. There was a black male narrating the story of an angel who came down to Earth on a Christmas Eve to find something for God or some such. Between narrations TSO played songs that took themes from popular and classic Christmas Carols.

To be honest, I was pretty turned off during much of this part of the show. The orchestral players (Madison Strings!) could not be heard at all the vast majority of the time. The TSO rockers lacked musicality in my estimation. Lots of light and sound. However, the thing that turned me off the most was the self-aggrandizing nature of the performance: pregnant pauses before ‘codas,’ etc. I’d rather see and hear someone make great music rather than witness the cult of personality.

However, I did enjoy one of the pieces in this section: it was a take-off on Good King Wenceslas. Scout (black male, bald) sang this song, and finally there was some musicality! I also enjoyed the guitars in this song, doing what guitars do best: a bluesy back-and-forth.

At the end of this ‘act’ most everyone gave them a standing ovation. I remained seated, as did Josh. Call me a snob; I guess I deserve it. However, if you’re going to call yourself an orchestra, and even have orchestral instruments, I’m going to demand a higher level of musical quality.

The second half of the performance was more enjoyable. They did more fun pieces, even if they continued to rip a few classical pieces to shreds. At one point the guitar and violin (rock violin) were doing Flight of the Bumblebee, but they weren’t playing the melody correctly! The end of the phrase of the main theme was missing – they just repeated the first part again. Uck. And at one point a young woman (no idea who – there were so many young blonds who could tell the difference?) was singing some pretty high notes. Badly. Flat. Uck. Boy, I thought, if someone taught her how to sing, she’d be pretty good.

But I said it was more enjoyable, so enough with the criticism. The light show is amazing – they probably use enough electricity to run a small city for a year. And the flame and pyrotechnics were fun as well. And the string master’s wife plays piano – and she totally rocks. Julliard trained. The highlight of the entire evening for me was a song called Wishlist, where she and a younger male keyboardist were doing some dueling. She is a truly talented musician.

At certain points there was so much light I literally had to close my eyes. The light displays were also very cool. And as to simply having a wall of sound, that they did. The numbers that they obviously love doing were fun to listen to.

Josh and I walked out into the hallway to exit. We were comparing notes. I was looking for the words to describe what I thought, and was just about to say them, when Josh stated my exact words: “white trash classical music.” I was stunned! I wished that they had given out (instead of selling) programs so that folks could know the pieces that inspired the concert. It could be such a great way to get people interested in classical music. Perhaps, since many of these folks are fans, they already have this opportunity – I don’t know if on their albums they make the source pieces clear.

All in all it was a fun evening. Would I pay to see them again? No. Would I go see them if I got another pair of free tickets? Maybe. Am I too much of a snob? Probably. You tell me. Leave a comment.