Tag Archives: Teletubbies

My Friends Visited the Set of Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand, and All I Got to Do Was Write About it in My Blog

My friends Matt and Vanessa went on vacation to New Zealand recently.  I didn’t get to go.  I’ve got 2 kids, and I think it is like a 4 day flight.  At least it would feel like 4 days if I tried to do it with my 2 kids.  Vanessa and Matt don’t have any children yet, so I am living vicariously through them.

I like to live vicariously through Vanessa, because she doesn’t have any gray hair or wrinkles yet.  Except those cute little wrinkles around her eyes when she laughs.  My wrinkles aren’t cute.  You can see what I mean below.

Vanessa

Vanessa with my daughter Emma, on a field trip to Las Vegas.

Vanessa with my daughter Emma, on a field trip to Las Vegas.

Me

Me and my daily stogie

Havin’ my daily stogie

Anyway, back to the New Zealand trip that I didn’t get to go on.  I am a bit of a J.R.R. Tolkien geek.  I own all the movies and books, read The Hobbit to my kids and am currently reading them The Fellowship OTR.  I own one or two action figures (Treebeard! Bilbo! Gandalf!), Lego sets (really, the Bag End set was for the kids), and I have the key to the back door of the Lonely Mountain that leads to Smaug’s lair hanging from my rear view mirror.  So when Vanessa posted on FB that she was off to New Zealand with Matt, I asked about their plans to visit Hobbiton, which I was sure they must be doing, since who in their right mind would fly all the way to New Zealand and not visit Hobbiton?

BTW, I know that it’s not really Hobbiton, but until I see it for my own eyes that it’s not real I’m going to pretend that it is.  Same goes for Hogwarts.

When Vanessa and Matt got back I asked to see their pictures from Matamata, which is what non believers call Hobbiton.  The scenery was gorgeous, which makes me regret AGAIN how far way New Zealand has the temerity to be from me.  I also noticed that there were some odd people hanging out there, besides Vanessa and Matt.  Look at some of their photos below to see what I mean.

On their drive out to Matamata it got a bit foggy on the road.  It was all well and good, sort of atmospheric really, until this weird guy, dressed all in black, sitting on horse, kept popping up.  Asking for Baggins.  Matt told them they hadn’t done their shopping yet, they didn’t have any bags (he thought that baggins was plural for bags Down Under), and that they couldn’t help.  Even the black rider’s horse looked confused.  So Matt and Vanessa kept going.

Foggy road.rider

Then this kind of crazy, old, homeless guy with a giant Q-tip thought they looked a little lost, and was helpfully pointing the way to Matamata.  It was kind of annoying the way he kept screaming, “This way, YOU FOOLS!”  Whatevs.  Some people just like getting worked up.  But his directions were spot on!

Gandalf

Soon Vanessa and Matt emerged from the fog into a beautiful glorious day!  The sun was shining, the sheep were grazing, and WHAT THE HELL?!?  What are they doing here?  No, no thank, no Tubby Toast for us.  Hobbiton is waiting.  No, we don’t want to rub your tummies.

Sheep+TT

Well, that was unexpected.  Anyway, back to Matamata.  After arriving Matt and Vanessa headed off on the two hour guided studio tour (insert Gilligan’s Island theme song joke here).  The original Hobbiton set used in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was not preserved, and had to be completely rebuilt for The Hobbit.  It will remain as it is now, so hopefully, eventually, sometime before I shuffle off this mortal coil, I’ll get to visit too!  A peek at the tour brochure.

Hobbiton.tour.brochure.2

Matt and Vanessa got on the bus to take them to the set.  They were really happy, so excited to be off on this great adventure together.  It would have been a totally perfect moment, except for Mr. Bad Naked, who you can see over Matt’s shoulder.  A few ideas for you dude.  One, take a shower, a long one.  Two, cover up!  Three, muttering about lovely fishes and preciouses being stolen and how you hates Bagginses forever makes other people who are stuck on a bus with you really, really nervous.  Just saying man, just saying.

V+M.bus

Actually stepping out of the bus, onto hallowed ground, made all the uncomfortableness disappear.  HOBBITON!  HOBBIT HOLES!!  ROUND DOORS!!!  CABBAGES!!!!

Hobbit holes and gardens

Here is Vanessa by the Party Tree  And views in the village of Hobbiton.  It’s all so green and lovely.

Hobbiton village

After the tour it was time for a drink.  Vanessa made the acquaintance of two shortish guys who kept calling themselves “The Sexy Dwarves.”  They were handsome, if hairy, but Vanessa already had a guy of her own, so they left for greener pastures.  Even if she wasn’t with Matt it’s not like she’s that kind of girl anyway.  Two dwarves are not always better than one, no matter what Fili and Kili were telling her.

Shire's rest

Well, Matt and Vanessa had a tremendous time visiting New Zealand, and made tons of new friends while they were down there.  They were married just a few months later in San Diego.  Some of their new friends became so close to Vanessa and Matt that they flew in for their wedding!  Fili and Kili were not invited.

Wedding with hobbits

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Lala and Wen Jiabao, the Premier of China – Their Untold Story of Forbidden Love

First and foremost this is a love story.

Think Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Anne Romney and her horse, Mitt Romney and his wallet, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.  I know, everyone thinks that last one is over, but I say not.  Clearly, if you have looked at the photos in US Weekly of the alleged encounter between K-Stew and her former director Rupert Sanders in a car parked on the side of the road (which I felt I had to, to discuss them in this post), he is OBVIOUSLY just looking for HER KEYS!  She dropped her keys people, Rupert is picking them up for her, that’s it, end of story.  I can’t accept that Bella and Edward…I mean Kristen and Rob…could end this way.  But I digress…

I got a call a few days ago from an old friend of the family, we used to see her every day, but she and my daughter have kind of lost touch over the years.  She lives in L.A. now.  She asked me if I would come up for a visit, so I hopped on the 5 North and was there in a couple of hours.  I met her at her house, where she shared with me the greatest secret of her life.

Lala looked the same as ever, as if she hadn’t aged a day.  Such a lovely shade of yellow, polished screen in the middle of her tummy, antenna and ears as perky as ever.  But I noticed a shadow in her large eyes, and her smile seemed strained.  I asked what was wrong, and she told me her heart had been broken and she wanted the world to know.  Broken by Wen Jiabao, the Premier of the People’s Republic of China.

Our love, she said, was completely forbidden.  I was hidden by him for years, whisked off to secret meetings where we stole a few precious hours of happiness.  The only people I was allowed to tell were Tinky Winky, Dipsy, and Po, not even the giant baby in the sky or the Noo-Noo knew.  Not that they were much help.  Tinky Winky was so busy playing the field, he couldn’t understand my commitment to Wen, my willingness to sacrifice.  Tinky wouldn’t know true love even if it walked up to him and tried to sell him a lifetime subscription to “Why Don’t You Find a Nice Girl and Settle Down?” magazine.  Dipsy’s name didn’t come out of nowhere, and Po was so immature, that I was basically alone.

She paused for a moment, staring off into space.  Not that it was all bad, she finally continued.  I spent some of the happiest times of my life with him.  She got out some photos to look at, her eyes misting up several times as she gazed down at all that was left of her moments in the sun with Wen Jiabao.  Here, look at this one.  We met President Obama, such a nice man, and I wore my fanciest pink tutu.  He told me I looked beautiful, and that Sasha had one just like it.

Here is photo of us on one of the vacations we took together.  It was my birthday, and Wen surprised me with a trip to the Great Wall.  I don’t know what lie he came up with to keep his wife Zhang from finding out, but we spent 2 blissful days together.

Of course, it was very rare that we got away, between my television schedule and his running a country.  And even when we were together, we had to pretend it was for something else, like our weekly Tai Chi class.  It was difficult to be so close to him, and yet so far.

Well, we all know how the story ends, don’t we, Lala said with a combination of bitterness and regret in her voice.  My show was canceled, he is still with his wife.  I knew in my heart of hearts he would never leave her, but I kept on hoping, right up to the end.

It was time for me to go, I wanted to get back to San Diego by dinnertime.  I gave her a hug, told her not to be such a stranger, that our door was always open.  I inquired about her weekend, she told me she was thinking of looking up an old friend who has had some recent, highly-publicized romantic troubles of his own.  Last I saw, she was Googling directions to Robert Pattinson’s lonely mansion, ready to lend him a plush yellow shoulder to cry on.

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