01 October 2012

Welcome to Laradise

Some marketing "genius" came up with the nickname of "Laradise" for Laramie. Right... (definitely said in Dr. Evil's voice)

While it may not be a paradise, for the Reynolds Tribe, Laramie is fast becoming our home. We are completely unpacked (well, except for the pile of Ryan's clothes that we need to buy a dresser for...). Our new house is awesome. It has two levels, and TWO BATHROOMS, plus a washer and dryer. We love it. It was worth coming out here just to live in this place. I haven't taken any pictures yet, so maybe next time we will show off our new space.
We've been keeping busy here in Wyoming. Ryan doesn't work at the hospital on weekends anymore (obviously), so we have much more family time. Here's a recap of what we've been doing:
Now that we live so close to Ryan's family, it is much easier to get together with them. For Ryan's birthday, the "Other Reynolds" all came up to Laramie for a visit. We even had enough space for all of them to spend the night! Richard slept outside, but that was his choice. I did offer him a place indoors.
We have been down to Fort Collins, where we went to school. It is so different now than it was 4 years ago. Old Town has exploded. Our reason for going was to buy tap shoes for me (yeah, I tap dance now) but we also got to see some friends and eat at Pizza Casbah.
Then we took the boys to a Rockies game. The Rockies are terrible this year (oh, to relive the glory of 2007), so by the end of September none of the regular starters were in. Which meant we didn't feel bad about leaving early when our kids got out of control.
This ridiculously over-priced ice cream cone kept Sam entertained for half an inning

Look how good our seats were! Thanks for the tickets, Mo!

This picture pretty much sums up the evening

Part of Ryan's new work responsibilities includes observing early morning Seminary classes from Rawlins, Wyoming to Sidney, Nebraska. When he has to go really far away, the Church will pay for Ryan to stay in a hotel, which means mini-vacation! We went with him to Scottsbluff, NE last weekend.

Sam loved having a queen-sized bed to himself

Benjy, however, slept in his bassinet like always
Don't worry, B, you could have had to sleep like this:
Which was how I slept the last time I stayed in a hotel

At least he had a comfy nap

We had fun swimming in the pool, stuffing ourselves with free breakfast, and jumping on the beds. On the way home we stopped at a McDonalds in Cheyenne so Sammy could visit the playplace (guess what? Laradise doesn't have one).

Benjy entertained himself with the paper bag. Why do I bother buying toys?

And that's what we've been doing this month. Sorry I've been such a slacker. I promise to do better this month...

The Soap Opera Experiment

I watch a lot of TV.
Part of it comes with the territory of spending the vast majority of my day in my house, alone (or at least, bereft of company that can speak in complete sentences), and the other part is a lifelong fascination with the "dramatic arts", be it film, TV, or the stage. Here's my list of primetime viewing must-sees:
New Girl
Go On (could I BE any happier that Matthew Perry is back on TV?)
The Big Bang Theory
The Mentalist
and my British imports, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Doctor Who.

In the summertime, when primetime essentially shuts down and gives its time to idiotic nonsense (eg any reality TV show), I get a little fidgety. This summer, I decided to try something new: a soap opera.
I picked The Young and The Restless by accident: it happened to be on right after The Price is Right. Soap operas are often picked on for being so different from "regular TV", and I wanted to find out why.

Neil and Harmony

First off, the amount of characters (not guest stars, but actual well-developed characters) on a soap is mind-boggling. I think it took a month before I was confident that I could recognize and name every character on Y&R, and remember their connections to every other character. And because characters marry and divorce and change their names for other, weirder reasons, you just refer to them by their first names.
Time out: did you know that soap operas are so-called because the radio stations that originally broadcast them were often sponsored by companies that made soap? True story.

Nikki and Jack

Soap operas are broadcast five days a week, in contrast to primetime shows, which are only once a week. They don't take a break- no summers off. This means that the writers are on a tremendous deadline to churn out stories. I think that's probably why the dialogue is often stilted. Plus, due to the heavy serialization, a fair amount of each show is given over to exposition, which always seems clunky no matter what medium it's used in. A day in real life frequently equals one soap opera day, so the action moves pretty slowly. Instead of a complete scene between characters, scenes are often brief, ending with a dramatic pause (which in my brain usually gets filled in with dun dun DUN). The scene is resumed later in the episode.

Michael and Lauren

Soap operas are a dying breed. In fact, only 4 remain on daytime television. General Hospital is the longest running soap that is still currently on TV. It's been on since 1963. There's another insight into why the storylines on soap operas are frequently ridiculous: They've already done everything normal! Probably several times! No wonder characters are constantly backstabbing each other, "coming back to life", and becoming amnesia victims (which happens every time someone hits their head- two characters had amnesia on Y&R from June-September).
The last thing I want to touch on is Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome. Babies get born a lot on soap operas. But how fun are babies? I mean, in real life they are great, but on TV? Meh. They can't get amnesia, so they must be no fun to write for. So frequently a child or teenager will get SORASed. For example, Abby on Y&R was "born" onscreen in November of 2000, which should make her 12 years old. However, the character is now 24, with a revised birthday of November, 1988. A 24-year-old Abby can get into much more interesting hijinks than a 12-year-old can. And the crazy thing is that you just have to accept it. No one takes notice when a new actor comes along to portray a character (which happens a lot during contract negotiations). In the soap opera universe, nothing has changed.

Daniel and Phyllis
Does she look old enough to be his mother? They are only 14 years apart in age...

Now that primetime TV is back to normal, I'm saying goodbye to my soap. It's comforting to know that it will be there next summer if I get bored again, with all the same characters (just in different relationships). Meanwhile...