Last month was eventful, to say the least. I feel like I should write about some stuff not deserving single posts. So here we go...
Early in the month, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra did a week-long residency at our beloved Dr. Phillips Center. What made it so great was that they were pairing up with a bunch of different artists. Sometimes I worry that I fetishize British things, but admittedly I was very charmed by London, during the 24-ish hours I got to spend there. I desperately want to go back. This also isn't the only orchestra to grace Steinmetz Hall, which I adore because of its extraordinary acoustic properties and engineering. (For real, I don't think Orlando people appreciate just how amazing it is to have something that's this great here. It's top tier in the world.) The Cleveland Orchestra, which I obviously love and have seen countless times from my time living up there, was also here but we couldn't get tickets because it was a subscription series. Fortunately, we'll be able to see them next time, in February. One of our first dates was to see the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by John Williams at Blossom. You don't forget that kind of thing. Oh, and we got to see our very own Orlando Philharmonic perform Carmina Burana with a UCF choir last year, which was every bit as mind blowing as it sounds. This venue has kind of reminded me how amazing orchestral music is. We've also had a few great party events in the space.
Anyway, Beck was the first of the two RPO shows we went to. I've always enjoyed his music, even if I've only bought it periodically. I think he's brilliant, and the idea of him playing with an orchestra was irresistible. He totally delivered, even though I only knew maybe a third of the songs that he did. There were multiple shows going on at the center that day, so the donor room overflow used the Pugh Theater, and after the show, Beck, his two band mates and lady friend showed up. I wanted to say hello, just to thank him for sharing his gifts and making radio more interesting when I worked in that field. Unfortunately, people who donated more than us kind of leveraged their way ahead of me, and I was salty about it. I could have bugged him when he was alone eating with his lady friend, but that's a dick move. He's a human, too, and I want to respect boundaries.
The next person we got to see was Sutton Foster, who was splitting the time with Brian Stokes Mitchell. No offense to the latter, but I've always had kind of a nerd crush on Sutton. I first saw her on Sesame Street, when she declared her love for levers, but really loved her in the series Younger, where she played a Gen-X'er trying to make it by faking her age in a Millennial world. Diana and I hoped to see her in Music Man before Covid, with Hugh Jackman, but when things opened up we just couldn't realistically make it happen. Still, she is legit, obviously. What a set of pipes. And on top of that, she seems fairly down to earth. She gave away her craft/memoir book to a guy in the front row, and did some crocheting while singing, something she does to remind her of her voyage. She's so f'ing cool.
It's worth noting that the rest of the residency was filled out with names you might now, like Harry Connick Jr. and Diana Ross. It doesn't sound like the shows sold that well, but they announced so late, and I don't think they had enough time to market them.
In other news, the family and I saw a Cirque du Soleil show together. Drawn To Life is their show at Disney Springs, replacing whatever ran there forever. It was literally two nights before, that we were sitting around the table, I building Lego, Diana doing a puzzle, Simon observing my work, that I played the album from Cirque's Delirium, an arena show that toured in 2006. We still mourn the loss of Blue Man Group here (owned by Cirque, oddly enough), so I thought, why don't we just go see the show that's here?
My biggest concern was that it was going to lean deep into Disney IP in a gratuitous way, but that wasn't the case at all. Given that they have a show with Beatles music, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. The narrative was straight forward... a young girl has dreams involving her dead father animator, and the dream has a bunch of human circus freaks. It was the expected kind of gymnastics and trapeze stunts that you would expect from a Cirque show, but it was artistically grounded. I loved it, much more than I expected. No one was more impressed than Simon though, who has been asking to go back every since. There are no bad seats, so mercifully, if we do, it doesn't matter if we're in the back row. They also under-sell so much that I imagine we could have gone to closer seats and no one would have cared. The interesting sidebar is that I introduced Simon to Delirium, and he's been listening to that album non-stop ever since. I feel like he's getting a good music education, and he's a lot like I was at that age in terms of obsession over very specific music.
Speaking of obsessions, it's hardly a secret that I enjoy buying the big, giant Lego sets, and collecting them. They recently introduced a Harry Potter Gringott's Bank set, that I was thinking I'd pass on, being "only" 4,803 pieces, but I relented. It has a bunch of coaster track for the underground bits, and I couldn't resist. It's really like two sets, the underground and above ground, but it's pretty cool. It also fits with the previously released Diagon Alley set. So I built that one finally, for the second time, and for a brief moment, had them all together. I've also, in recent months, built the Titanic and Millennium Falcon (the huge collector edition) for the second time. Since then I've also built the looping roller coaster for the second time, and the Haunted House with drop tower ride for the third time. It's such a Zen activity for me. I can listen to music, build, and maybe have some cocktails, and just kind of lose myself in that process. Diana often puzzle builds at the other end of the dining room table. I do wonder if I should sell some of the older sets that I'm no longer interested in, but I don't have the energy to get what they're actually worth.
And finally, Simon has been asking for ways to make a few bucks for months. Back in March, when I replaced my Windows, self-built PC with a stacked Mac Mini, I told him that I would let him have that computer, which is still competent for gaming, even after five-ish years, if he'd save to buy a new monitor. I even put a super fast new SSD drive in it, at my expense (the old one lives in an enclosure for data on the new Mac). Frustratingly, eight months later, he hasn't really made much progress toward that. But realizing it, he keeps asking for ways to make some money.
The driveway was starting to get moldy, because Florida. It has to be power washed once every year or two. So I asked if he wanted to do it, and he was surprisingly enthusiastic. He didn't do a great job at first, but I showed him what he missed, and he enthusiastically went back to it the next day. I gave him $20, which he promptly spent $10 on for Roblox currency. I'm only asking him to save $150 for the monitor, but he's still not there.
Oh, I power-washed my Weber grill, caked with five years of sludge, and it was super gross. I replaced the "flavorizer bars" over the burners that rusted, and now it's sort of like new again.
And finally, as an epilogue to the Model 3 saga, before the service, it was already throwing errors about one of the side cameras. Service asked if they should look into it, and I was like, no, you're already asking for too much money. So when we got it back, I first took apart the B pillar to make sure it was connected right. They had to remove it for the body work after the crowbar incident, so I was suspect. The connections seemed OK, but I wasn't sure. I also read online that sometimes you just need to push the "recalibrate cameras" button in one of the menus on the touch screen. I took a test drive, and it was still showing the problem, so I pushed the button. Next test out, the error went away, and Diana hasn't seen it since. Glad I didn't pay Tesla to look at it, because button. That was easy enough, but the aforementioned bad pyro fuse was certainly not something I could replace myself.