11 May 2009

Buffalo NY: ASES 2009!

My God, things have been hectic!

Lion King finished up the 1st week of May. Been back and forth between that, and another (100% fucked) job that really...I don't know how a job could get any worse...plus more PV calls coming in so I'm really hoping that I'll be able to start installing solar arrays full time coming up soon.

In the meantime, I'm attending ASES 2009, a solar power conference put on by the American Solar Energy Society. It's my 2nd year here, and I've got classes and seminars up the yin-yang but I absolutely love it. (Except the flight in, but I'll get to that later.) This time last year so much of the industry was still foreign to me, and now I'm finding that some of it is actually a review for me. What's strange is that guys with 10 years field experience are just learning the theory I learned before I touch a module for the first time. It's ego-boosting and humbling at the same time.

I went to Niagara Falls, and got pics of the falls and of the Nicola Tesla statue (I'm a geek, I know)...gonna head to Anchor Bar later in the week, and see what there is to see. I'm actually staying with a friend in a small town right outside Buffalo, but it saves me tons of money, plus I get to see her little town after hearing about it for like 5 years. I forgot to bring the cord to connect the camera to my laptop to get my pics on here so I'll have to do it when I get back but still...some good ones. :)

Okay my flight: I left Friday morning, and it started getting really turbulent sometime after we passed the Rockies -- which were amazing by the way. And it went from regular turbulent to OMG turbulent, where the it felt like a roller coaster and the pilot was like, "Um...we just called Chicago O'Hare and they said it's even worse to Cleveland so we're going to divert." So we diverted. Then undiverted. Then diverted, then snuck over to Cleveland anyway (like the storm wouldn't see us??), then waited, then waited...and waited...then we were going to connect straight to Buffalo, then they decided against it and we went to Newark (what a shitty little airport!) and after running from one gate to the next I barely made it to my connection to Buffalo and landed only an hour after I was originally supposed to. I think. Time zones are a bitch. And I slept for about 15 straight hours and awakened to a supposed "springtime" that felt more like a "dead of winter in Vegas" to me, but aside from all that...I've had a blast so far. :)

Oh, but I will say that the airline food I had was seriously above par. Kudos to scientific advances in that area because honestly, I've never in my life had better raisin bran, and that really says something.

03 May 2009

Lion King FTW!

Since the first week in January I've been on the remodel crew at Mandalay Bay, turning Mamma Mia! Theatre into Lion King Theatre. It was actually pretty demanding; the as-builts were completely wrong, for instance, since in-house apparently came in to change things as was needed and their version of as-builts didn't match what the architects gave us. I was in charge of turning over the dressing rooms, and I re-routed so many circuits, it isn't funny...and in one particular dressing room, not even ten minutes after I signed it over, it was decided that all the vanities were moving to opposite walls. This included the lighting and power circuits. It was maddening.

However, it was a good experience, nothing like the monotony of building towers that comprised much of my apprenticeship. I even liked coming to work, though alot of that had to do with who I was working with and working for. (My foreman, in his own words, is both firm and fair. I quite appreciate it.) But it came with an added bonus: comp tickets for a matinee show today.

Usually, when a theatre is turned over, the general foremen and foremen get comp tickets to see the show on a soft opening or final dress rehearsal. However, for whatever reason, Disney saw fit to give tickets to each person who worked on the project, plus a guest. I took my husband, of course. :) I was actually really surprised, since it's incredibly rare that we, as construction workers, are ever recognised; however, right before the show started, Thomas Schumacher (president of Disney's Theatrical Group) came on stage and thanked us for our hard work and dedication. It was really amazing.

But not as amazing as the show!

"Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!..."
I'd always adored the beginning of "Lion King": the Zulu chant, the animals making their way to Pride Rock...all of it. The full 3 minutes or whatever it is. So much so, that often I'd put in the DVD, watch that part, then take it out, as the rest of the movie has always been mediocre to me. But this show...somehow was a seamless African-themed Noh drama. Just breathtaking. And oddly, the character I liked least in the animated version -- Rafiki -- is now my favourite. I know it's going to sound girly, but I cried during the opening and ending. Just the beauty of it. I felt very close to Ogoun then...

Disney's Lion King: Las Vegas will open to the public in about a week, so far as I understand it. It's incredible, the cast here is vibrant and the theatre is basically new, since we basically rebuilt it from an empty shell. Mamma Mia! Theatre was, quite realistically, annihilated. So when in Vegas, check it out at Mandalay Bay...and try to get a lower level seat, there's all kinds of action that takes place in the aisles from time to time. I won't ruin it. :)