Weekend Fun: Quantum of Solace, The Santa Monica Pier and the McGill Jazz Orchestra

Note: This post somehow disappeared from my blog, so I’m reposting it. Seriously, it’s a total mystery to me what happened that would erase the whole post from last night to today. Apologies if you’ve seen this twice now.

We’re still getting the apartment set up, but it’s been sort of slow going because we’ve been having too much fun. Friday we went to a late screening of Quantum of Solace after getting Martinis with some friends. I’m not normally a big Bond fan, but I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. It’s action sequences were pretty amazing and covered close to every mode of transportation, from cars to boats to planes to feet to hanging from the ceiling by ropes.

There was also a point in the movie, when Bond is at a party in Bolivia, that one of the voices sounded exceeding familiar. I leaned over to Evan and said, “That sounds exactly like Guillermo (Del Toro),” and he said, “Oh, it is him! I almost missed it!” Apparently Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron both have voice cameos in Bond. I was pretty proud to have picked that up, even without knowing.


Santa Monica

Saturday we got up late and went down to Santa Monica to meet up with my friend Terri, her two little kids, John and Lexi, and some of her friends. We walked along the beach, ate some french fries and then walked down the pier to take the kids on some rides. Johnny absolutely loved them and just kept waving at us and smiling and enthusiastically driving his mini bumper car, airplane or jeep.


Johnny on the bumper cars

Earlier in the day we were surprised how clear it was despite all the nearby fires, but by late afternoon, we started seeing a lot of ash in the air and the sun was an eerie pink-red as it was setting, creating a very fiery reflection on the water.

Saturday evening, my parents came over to the apartment for happy hour — bruschetta, cheese and crackers, and wine — then we all went out to Bel Air to see the McGill Jazz Orchestra play at an alumni event (both my parents are McGill alumni). We drove on a very windy mountain road to a beautiful home and drank more wine and ate hors d’ouevres outisde in the warm night. When it was time for the jazz to start, my parents snagged front-row seats, and we sat just feet away from the high-energy band.

There were plenty of impressive solos from piano, guitar, trumpet, saxophone and trombone players, a guest performance from an alumnus, and an incredible sight reading session where the band was handed new music — it was even new to the conductor — and started playing and even improvising solos on the spot. There was even an tuba solo! My dad started a standing ovation at the end of that song and the rest of the audience joined in, then he started yelling for an encore. The band obliged and ended with “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky, which nearly deafened us since two of the trumpet players stood in the front row.

We met some of the students in the band after the concert and it turns out they had also been having fun in Santa Monica earlier in the day.

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