International diplomacy

In Lisbon, they make the best breakfast pastries imaginable. We hop on a train every time we're there and go to a different district just for these puppies. We also eat lunch at the same chicken place every time - Conjardim. They make the best chicken in the world. We also enjoy their Vino Verde - green wine. Not really green, it's a really light, sweet and refreshing white wine that is relatively inexpensive.

Lisbon, you are winning.

Rebecca and I taught a workshop today called Klass Klowns - Improv for Kids. Actually, they don't spell those words with K's, but they should. We had about 8 kids turn out for the workshop.

Half spoke no English. This presented a problem.

Fortunately, it turns out that Zip Zap Zop and Pass the Clap are universal.

Thank goodness for silly improv warmups. We should teach them to our ambassadors.

A mystery no longer

So I solved Stonehenge. Turns out, it wasn't that hard. The way I see it, about 4000 years ago, some tribesmen were like, "You know what will be really big in the future? Tourism. Let's put up some rocks for people to puzzle over."

Case closed.

One of the best attractions at the amusement park that is Stonehenge was this guy, an actual druid named, no joke, Arthur Pendragon. Apparently he's mad about some promises the English government made about taking the fence around Stonehenge down. They haven't done it, so he's out there every day in protest. Hence the tan and leathery skin.

I taped Nick interviewing him because he hoped he'd be crazy and hilarious. Sadly, he was quite normal and well-spoken. Just really passionate about this issue, I guess. The funniest thing about him was watching him use his cell phone.

Or as the Brits call it, his mobile. I guess it's okay for druids to use them now?


Picture picture

Oh, and because everyone loves looking at other people's vacation pictures, (even though we're not on vacation - we're working, thank you very much) you can check out photos of our travels at picasaweb.google.com/timothyryder

This is Rebecca and I next to a cool fountain in Lisbon. Occasionally the fountain erupts like a volcano in an attempt to drench people posing next to it. This is hilarious if it is not you.

(It was not us.)

I am currently writing this in an Australian bar in Vigo, Spain. I don't understand it either, but they have fast Internet and Olympic field hockey on the TVs. It's fun.


Hot Fathers

Rome is interesting because of its old stuff. Most of that stuff is connected to Roman Catholicism in some way, so there is a ton of Catholic stuff around. A lot of Rome is like walking through a Catholic Wal-Mart, only it's outside and all the wares are in carts on the sides of the aisles, which are streets.

Above is a picture of me with a 2009 calendar of - no joke - hot young priests. It is the ultimate in forbidden fruit. They are attractive young men, clearly with good values, but they are extremely unavailable. Seriously. They have taken a vow of celibacy and you don't just go around breaking those willy-nilly.

Apparently this is attractive to some people? Do ladies just enjoy tormenting themselves with guys they know are great but can never have? Or are they specifically for Catholic mothers to point to while chastising their daughters and say, "Why can't you date a nice young man like Mr. August, only not a priest?"

It's worth noting that I did not buy the calendar as I am waiting for the one with hot young nuns.

We would call it a "soccer game"

In Barcelona, we caught wind of a big football match going on that evening. (Thanks to the British dad who was excited about it.) We decided it would be a fun cast excursion and so set out to find the stadium where FCB (Futbol Club de Barcelona) played.

Bottom line - it's the coolest thing I've done so far. We all bought general admission tickets and hiked up to the very top of the stadium, which was huge. It wasn't a big game, but there were still tons of people there. People with airhorns and rhythmic chanting and the potential for riots! JUST LIKE IN MY DREAMS!

Rebecca and I were just talking that day about how cool it would be to go see a big football match and then WE GOT TO DO IT. This trip is pretty awesome for reasons like that. Also, FCB won 4-0. Take that, some team from Poland.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to introduce you to the cast of characters you may hear about from time to time. In the picture above, the people are:
Back row - Cody Dove, Nick Vatterott, me and musical director Jesse Case
Front row - Rebecca, Dean Evans, Lauren Dowden and Jessica Joy

I would tell you all about the fun I've had with each of them already, but long-windedness is not good for blogs. I will get to it eventually.

I'm pretty sure that's right

Apparently in Spain, The Dark Knight is being marketed as "The Obscured Hatman."

Again, my Spanish is a bit rusty.

Cuidado! Un toro?

In Malaga, we went to a Picasso museum because I guess he lived here at some point? Things are occasionally difficult to understand here as they are in Spanish and all I remember from high school is "Me gusta comprar con Mama y Papa en el supermercado.*"

Anyway, the museum was awesome but they didn't let us take pictures which was a shame because that dude painted some cool stuff. Conveniently, most of it was available in postcard form in the gift shop.

Later, we found a bullfighting ring and I pretended I was a statue of a bullfighter. I did not pretend I was an actual bullfighter because I know my limitations.

* Translation: "I like to shop with Mom and Pop in the supermarket." I only remember it because I learned it in song form, officially the best way to learn and remember anything. It's the reason I still remember Stick Stickley's address, and who the heck needs to know that?


Also called "birds"

Rebecca and I were walking around the top deck last night after dinner and ran into two English girls who had seen our first show. They told us how much they enjoyed it and we got to talking about various things. At one point after Rebecca had said something, they remarked how much they loved our accents. Our plain, boring Midwestern accents.

Apparently, they think their English accents are "boring" and make them sound "posh," which is now apparently a bad thing?

So if nothing else, we at least sound cool to some of these people.


O Captain my Captain

The view in Villefranche

The captain of our vessel is Trond Kildal, which has been certified by a global governing body as the single coolest name of all time.

Rebecca likes him because he's a native Norwegian. Her goal for the 4-month contract is to talk to Captain Trond at some point and say "Mange takk," which means many thanks in Norwegian.

We had a chance on Saturday when we docked at Southampton. We went to the mall and saw him at The Gap, which was weird. He still managed to look very captainly even out of uniform. Rebecca decided not to say anything because he was busy looking at his cell phone or as the Brits say, "mobile."

Rebecca has just informed me that if we get a puppy and it's a boy, there is a possibility that we will name it Trond. This is awesome.

She has also just informed me that I should change the "if" in that last sentence to "when." This does not help my suspicion that she has only agreed to marry me because it might help her get a puppy.


Now this is happening.

Rebecca and I in Firenze, Italia

Yes...so. Here I am in Europe. At present, the waters southwest of England en route to Malaga, Spain.

Let us see if I can summarize the intervening time since the last post with anything resembling brevity. To catch you up, you see.

After my last day at Euro, I watched Rebecca's last home show with RedCo, which was great but also sad. We then headed west to visit some family. A lovely day with Josh and Allyn in Princeton followed by an equally lovely 4th of July in Ventura with Rebecca's dad and stepfamily* made for a lovely roadtrip indeed. INDEED!

Rebecca then flew down to Texas for a few days to enjoy the company of her sister and mother while I made some preparations for the journey ahead. We then spent a frenzied week and a half as such - rehearsals in the daytime, running lines or writing our own material or spending large amounts of money at Target in the evening. I really have never spent so much at Target in one visit. Shareholders of Target, you are welcome.

One cramped transatlantic flight later, we found ourselves in jolly olde England, only to jump right on the boat. We met the departing castmembers on the gangway and wished each other well. A wrestling-style tagout, if you will**. We then rehearsed a lot, did some shows and got the first cruise under our belt.

I may have oversummarized here. It is possible I will revisit some of the events of the first two weeks. Some of the things Nick did are especially worth mentioning, if only for their sheer audacity.

Regardless, this brings you to today. The beginning of our second cruise of the contract. Our producer and director have left and, some would say, our adventure has truly begun.

Onward, then.***

*This, I'm positive, is a term.

**And you will.

***It is entirely possible that my writing style has changed to reflect my new surroundings. If it seems overly pompous and formal, you must understand - I am surrounded by Brits.