November 14th, 2008

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Shop Til You Drop

I've been scanning my purchases for Shoppers' Hotline since 2005, but sometimes I forget. They called yesterday to say I had no activity since October 1 and my membership would be canceled if I didn't scan in the next few days. I could swear I've scanned in the last 2 weeks, but who knows. I scanned some items in my refrigerator and hoped it would take.

They'd sent a debit card for rewards back in January, which was still sitting in a box where I keep their mailings. It had a website on the back to check the balance... and lo and behold, there was money on there! I'm not sure if this is normal or if I won a sweepstakes.

I'm determined NOT to use this on books (I have rewards from my B&N and Amazon cards for that), so I've gotten:

1) Slippers (mentioned in last posting)

2) Digital ear thermometer

3) Worldwinner deposit - At one time, I was playing so much my hand was cramped and way too much more money was going out when coming in. It didn't help that they discontinued their crossword game. After stopping cold turkey last year, I've still occasionally played free warmup Scrabble Cubes. We'll see if I'm back on the road to ruin, but so far so good.

4) VistaPrint - They constantly send discount offers, and I previously got two kinds of business cards (one with this blog as a URL, another with my MediaBistro resume) with a case, a 2009 calendar, and a stamp (unfortunately, smudgy) with Bookcrossing.com for book cataloging. So now I ordered some personalized items for my mother's 80th birthday (she'll never read this, but I'll be vague anyway), and holiday cards with a picture of my building to use for staff tips. The fun never stops!

And there's still some left. Whee!
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Culcha

My Mostly Mozart companion M (I know lots of M's, but they're all M unless more than one is in an entry, and then the second is M2, etc.) had an extra ticket to an all-American NY Philharmonic program. BBQ is open again, so we were able to have a traditional preconcert earlybird half-chicken dinner special. M's subscription seats are in the second tier, just above the orchestra's own box which usually has VIP guests.

An older gentleman we saw in the box was likely to be composer Elliott Carter, whose 100th birthday is next month. Sure enough, as the Carter piece progressed, we saw that man leave and he soon appeared onstage for curtain calls. M joked that unfortunately Carter's longevity means he's still composing, and I too didn't appreciate the atonal work with vocals. Copland's "Appalachian Spring" and a Bernstein symphony were more accessible and pleasing.

The final piece was also modern: "Rapture" by Christopher Rouse. This composer was also in the box (we recognized him from his picture in the program) with a group of family/friends, and left just before the end to appear onstage. This work turned out to be dramatic and satisfying, and we applauded enthusiastically.

I also went to Carnegie Hall, for a concert by Adam Gyorgy, a young good-looking Hungarian pianist. I invited N, who had never been to Carnegie Hall, and he was impressed with its ambiance, acoustics and history (we looked at pictures of famous people who played there, from classical legends to Stevie Wonder). The performance was amazing; talk about fastest fingers! Gyorgy blogged about it.

Continuing my circuit of concert halls, I was back at City Center to see Lar Lubovitch. I'm not sure why I hardly ever went to dance concerts in the past, but I really enjoyed this. These pieces were mostly by classical composers (Mozart, Schumann, Dvorak), with one by Philip Glass. There was even a male duet in "Concerto Six Twenty-Two" (can't find video).

On to Broadway, for a musical version of "A Tale of Two Cities." I never read the book, so the story was new to me. The music was not memorable, but the large cast put its all into the production, especially the handsome, talented James Barbour (Sydney Carton). His appeal lessened after I read this. He made an announcement during curtain calls, and since it was election night, I thought we were getting results (during intermission, people were busy checking Internet devices). But no, it was the sad news that they were closing.

Just saw one movie recently: "Slumdog Millionaire." I saw a screening notice online and RSVP'd on the Fox site, but when I got to the Angelika they asked for a pass or e-mail. I told them there was nothing to print out when I replied (and why bother replying if they didn't record it?), and they pulled me aside with a few other people. I had no indignantly righteous response other than that I really wanted to see the movie since I had worked for the show. Fortunately, the people behind me had extra spaces on their pass so I was allowed back in line and continued down the escalator to the theater.

The movie was an extremely well-done and often harrowing story of a poor orphan who goes on the Indian version of "Millionaire." Seized by police under suspicion of cheating (since how could a "slumdog" know anything?), he explains in flashbacks how each question related to his life. Some of the easy questions were hard for Americans, a hard question was way too easy (but necessary to the plot), and certain things would never happen under reasonable standards and practices ... but it was fun to see this parallel universe "WWTBAM."