Wednesday, September 30, 2009

panda baby

I saw a blurb early today and then tonight found this article that a panda at the San Diego Zoo has given birth recently. I always find it amazing how teeny tiny pandas are at birth, and then they grow up to be these giant things!

Many years ago, a friend and I went to Washington, D.C., and we visited the National Zoo and spent quite some time looking at the pandas there. It happened to be feeding time during part of our visit, so we just watched the giant panda chomping away at bamboo leaves.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


So on this particular column of Dear Abby, there was this letter:

DEAR ABBY: The day before my wedding, my fiance's aunt left me a gift. After the wedding I opened it and read the card that was enclosed. It was lingerie, which seemed like a well-intentioned gift.

The card, however, was a bit puzzling. Turns out the lingerie was her own, and slightly used. On the card she said it had been "only used a few times." It struck me as inappropriate to receive "used" (and wrong-sized) lingerie from a new aunt-in-law. However, I do believe she was well-intentioned.

Abby, her gift made me uncomfortable. Am I wrong in thinking it was inappropriate? Any thoughts on how to write a thank-you card for such a gift? -- FLUMMOXED IN THE USA

My first thought?


Lingerie should *not* be shared!

I don't know that I agree with the response from "Dear Abby", but I have no idea how I'd write a thank-you letter to that!

Monday, September 28, 2009

a Genesis reunion - what I wouldn't give to go

I'd seen the article last week that Genesis was on the list of nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I know that the Hall has its detractors and that it really only means so much, but I still think it would be cool.

Well, then I saw this article today that they're at least working on stuff in case it happens and they're inducted. All the boys AND Peter too. That would be cool.

As much as I loved seeing the "Turn It On Again" tour, seeing Peter with them would be awesome.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This is definitely a guy's only thing.

I ran across this story about underwear for left-handed men, and when I'd just seen the headline, I wondered how it made a difference what kind of underwear you have if you're left-handed or right-handed. But, having now read the article, it makes sense to me, if the situation is as described in the article.

But, I guess I was under the assumption that men didn't actually use the little slit in their underwear. I mean, even if you're right-handed, I would think it would be uncomfortable and awkward to have to do those kinds of maneuvers with your ... ummm ... thing. They don't pull their underwear down like we women do?

In any case, left-handed men - REJOICE!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

one more week

This time next week, I'll be on a flight to Boston. And am I ready for my quickie trip? No way in heck. Yeah, I've got my flights, and I've got my concert tickets. The friend I'm meeting there has booked our hotel room, and she's also taking care of getting a car.

Do I know what I'm going to be wearing to the concert? No.
Do I know where anything is in proximity to anything else? No.
Have I figured out what I'm doing with Ron Jeremy's book? No.

You'd never believe I'm supposed to be going somewhere in a week, would you, given how unprepared I am, even though it's going to be a really quick trip?

So, this weekend, I've got to try on a couple dresses. I think I have an idea of what I'm wearing to the show, and one thing I did do this past week was to check the weather in Boston for next weekend. It was looking pretty good then, but I just looked again, and they're now forecasting rain for next weekend, which I'm not happy about, but, I'll deal. It just means I have to remember to pack a coat and an umbrella.

I figure I'll stop by AAA this week to get some maps of Boston just so I can familiarize myself a bit, so maybe I can help navigate if need be.

Ron Jeremy's book. I had thought about doing a new cover with Kevin's picture on it, but I'm not that good, and at this point, I don't have the time. And really, I don't think Kevin wants an actual copy of the book himself. Explaining that to his wife and daughters would be interesting. So, I think I'm going to put a generic kind of cover on it (just so I'm not obviously carrying around Ron's autobiography), and I'll see if I can get Kevin to sign it for me, if they have a meet and greet.

I won't need to pack until next Saturday morning, as long as I've figured out what all I'm wearing while I'm actually in Boston and not at the concert, which should pretty much just be Sunday. I have types of clothes that I like to wear on the times when I'm on a plane, so that shouldn't be hard to figure out. I do need to buy one more thing before the trip.

The husband will be taking me to the airport very early and dropping me off. I'll just need things to amuse myself with on the airplane, and hopefully, I'll be able to take advantage of their free wi-fi, if we can figure out how to get my phone to do that.

The friend will be picking me up from the airport in Boston. We'll just need to figure out where to have some dinner before the concert.

Our flight out of Boston on Sunday isn't until the evening, so we can have some time in the day to do something at least.

I'm looking forward to this trip, even though I still can't believe I'm actually going - and it's not to see Phil or Peter or Genesis! It's for a different set of 5 boys this time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Another Brick in the Wall Part 2"

Sometimes, a song gets so popular and is played so much on the radio that it gets a little overused, and we pretty much just take it for granted.

For me, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" is that kind of song. It was ALL OVER the radio in its time, but it's really still a pretty awesome song, all these years later, and it still packs a punch. And the video was pretty good too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Single Ladies - football style and then some

OK, I don't normally post two days in a row about the same thing, but I can't help myself.

What's better than Beyonce's "Single Ladies"? The song being danced to by the football team.

And then, there was the opening number of the show, also to "Single Ladies".

I loved this episode.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Single Ladies

After watching tonight's episode of "Glee", I'm totally in love with Beyonce's song "Single Ladies".

YouTube won't let me embed the video like I'd like to, but here's the link.

I love the dance versions on the show tonight, though. I'm so getting the DVD when it comes out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

bad fashion choices are just the beginning

So a friend was telling me a little while ago about a particular website that documents bad fashion choices. Bad fashion choices are just something some of us marvel at, and let me tell you, there's a lot to marvel at.

This was the particular page that he sent me to - I mean, I know things are supposed to match, but yeah, I do think that's going too far.

I've taken a few pictures myself of interesting fashion choices, but I'm only brave enough to Twitpic them. Some of us had talked quite some time ago about doing a website just like malingering's world, but we never did, so I'm glad she did. I've got a couple of pics I might send her just for her amusement.

And I will admit that on any given day now, and on many given days in my lifetime, a picture of me would fit nicely on the site. I have never claimed to be a fashion maven, which is why sometimes, I wonder at people who seemingly have less fashion sense than even me!

But, as I browsed the site, I found a whole smorgasbord of tasty tidbits!

For instance, this one made me laugh out loud really hard - it's totally material!

But this one is definitely the Holy Grail of my discovery. OMG. It's not like I go to Dodger games all that much, but the loathing with which I regard beach balls is beyond description. I totally agree with her that playing with beach balls during a game is totally disrespectful to the players and to the people who went to the game to, oh, I don't know, ACTUALLY WATCH THE FRICKIN' GAME????!?!!?!? I mean, if people want to play with the beach balls before the game starts or in between innings when nothing is going on anyway, that's one thing. But that *never* happens. And yeah, same with the wave. Sit the f down - I'm trying to watch the game!

I've added the site to my list of sites to peruse on the right side of this blog.

Thanks for the tip, Mox!

Monday, September 21, 2009

she's a lady

I am completely not in the mood to write, so how about a picture I took of Orkid tonight instead?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Haunted Mansion 40th anniversary event - September 9, 2009

I've previously mentioned that the husband and I were going to be attending an event in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

Well, that happened about a week and a half ago, and I finally finished the report today. Be warned that it's *very* long, and unfortunately, it contains much more criticism than I normally like to include, but there were just so many things that did go wrong during the course of the event. However, we did have a good time overall and don't regret having gone.

Here's a tasty morsel from the evening.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"9" - spoiler movie review

I'd mentioned back in March that I'd seen the trailer for "9" and was really excited about seeing the movie. Well, the release date for the film was 09-09-09, which happened to be right smack dab in the middle of a very busy week for us, so we figured it would be at least a few days after opening before we'd be able to see the film. The husband then suggested the crazy idea that we could see if there was a midnight screening we could go to. The midnight screening idea in and of itself wasn't crazy, since we've done that for numerous other films, but with the schedule we already had in place, adding one more thing to our schedule seemed insane. But we looked into it, and initially, it wasn't going to be playing anywhere that was convenient by home or Anaheim, which is where we were going to be the evening of the 8th. But, the weekend before the release, I saw that the AMC complex in Downtown Disney was in fact going to have a midnight screening, so we got tickets for that. That location ended up working out really well, because our plans got completely thrown off due to other factors. If we'd had to drive back near home to see the movie, we would have never made it. As it was, we were done around 11pm at the Grand Californian, were able to get something for dinner at their lounge, and made it to the AMC complex (with a friend who was joining us) just in time for the movie.

Overall, I did like the movie, though it wasn't quite what I expected based on the trailer. Some of the story was a bit complicated or convoluted - I'm not sure which - so I didn't entirely understand everything. I never got a really good handle on the character of each of the other numbers, so when they would just talk about them using their names, I wouldn't immediately get what they were talking about. I did like the twins, though - they were cool.

I flashed back to the last film I'd seen by Focus Features, "Coraline", since the beginning of this film also involves the sewing of a doll.

I liked that the numbers of the dolls showed a succession of progress in the development of the dolls.

I didn't really expect that the apocalyptic outcome was because of a fight between man and machines - it was like "Terminator" all over again.

The major plot problem I had with the film was that they didn't explain why 9 put the talisman in the socket. It was obviously what the baddie creature thing wanted, so why would he finish the job? Yeah, he'd already done something else before without knowing how dangerous it was (playing with the bullet), but you'd think that would mean he'd be more careful.

I was also disappointed that the music from the film wasn't anything like the music used in the trailer. I know, trailers usually use temp music or music from other films, but I was hoping in this case that it would be different. I really wish I knew what the great music was that was used in the trailer.

During the man/machine war, the dolls trying to escape under the hat made me think of "Toy Story 2".

When the spirit of the dolls was released at the end, it also reminded me of "Coraline", when the spirits of the kids who were kidnapped and trapped in the closet were freed.

I was amused and completely conscious of the fact that Elijah Wood voiced a character who had to travel to a giant tower in an effort to save his people. I thought he was fine.

Christopher Plummer was pretty awesome as 1, but then, you'd expect that from him.

While I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend this film, I would say it was definitely worth watching.

Friday, September 18, 2009

taking back "bitch"

I happened upon the following, and for the most part, I agree wholeheartedly with it. That's probably not surprising for anyone who knows me. There's a lot below that applies to me, and yes, there are many times when under the circumstances described, I am regarded as a "bitch". And in those circumstances, I don't have a problem with that. Now, I will also admit (and anyone who knows me will also attest to this) that there are times when I can also be the definition of "bitch" that's not covered below and that's not regarded as a good thing under any circumstances. Hey, I never claimed to be perfect. But I also don't like that the label "bitch" is applied any time a woman says what she thinks and does what she needs to do and doesn't lay down as a doormat to everyone else. So here's to all the "bitches" in the world.


When I stand up for myself and my beliefs, they call me a bitch. When I stand up for those I love, they call me a bitch. When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts, or do things my own way, they call me a bitch.

Being a bitch entails raising my children to be strong people who have a solid sense of personal and social responsibility, who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in and who love and respect themselves for the beautiful beings they are. Being a bitch means that I am free to be the wonderful creature that I am, with all my own intricacies, contradictions, quirks and beauty. Being a btch means I won't compromise what's in my heart. It means I live my life MY way. It means I won't allow anyone to step on me.

When I refuse to tolerate injustice and speak up against it, I am defined as a bitch. The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone's maid, or when I act a little selfish.

I am proud to be a bitch! It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I "should" be. I am outspoken, opinionated, and determined. By God, I want what I want, and there is nothing wrong with that!

So try to stomp on me, try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me. You won't succeed. And if that makes me a bitch, so be it. I embrace the title and am proud to bear it. B - Babe I - In T - Total C - Control of H - Herself.

Send this to all the women you know, or anyone you feel should become a bitch. And by the way...if I were a man with these same qualities, I would be called independent, strong, self-assured, confident, determined and driven. This was not intended to offend anyone, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

author unknown

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What should Madonna be "aloud" to do?

I'm on a discussion board that has ads in some cases, and I'd noticed a particular ad pop up a few weeks ago, but I hadn't been able to get it to appear again until recently.

It's not a spelling error, so spell-check wouldn't have caught it. And I've tried to twist my head and brain to see if I can force it to make sense somehow (like, you know, how an "ATM machine" could in fact be a machine that spits out ATMs?). But nope - nothing I can do with this except laugh.

I've submitted it to FAIL blog, so we'll see if they end up using it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

MILK - lunch review - September 16, 2009

I was able to duck out for lunch at MILK today. It had been a while since I'd been there, and I wanted to drop by before this weekend.

I'd also been trying for some time now to be able to go on a Wednesday, because I know that one of their Wednesday specials is an ahi tuna salad, and it sounded really good, and I've really been wanting to try it.

The shared parking area between MILK and the nearby Mexican restaurant seemed to be under construction so is currently unavailable, but luckily, there were a few empty metered spots on Beverly Blvd., so I parked at one of those. They are one-hour parking spaces only, so keep that in mind if you plan to stay a bit longer.

I ordered the ahi tuna salad and a large iced tea and found an empty table. Dave, the executive pastry chef, was talking to someone at the next table, so I had a chance to say hi to him, but we were only able to have a short conversation since he was busy and I didn't want to take up his time.

My iced tea was brought to me, and then the salad was brought to me a little while later. Wow, that salad looked amazing! Officially, it's chile crusted ahi tuna with hummus, romaine lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, pita chips, mint and lemon, at a price of $12.

The four slices of fish were very good quality tuna. The chile really served as flavoring rather than being spicy, and I would have actually liked if there was a bit of a kick to the flavoring - not too much - because it would have been tempered by the cold salad anyway. I really liked having the hummus around the edges. The flavoring of that with the crisp lettuce and lemon juice was *really* good, and the hummus makes the dish more than "just" a salad. The heirloom tomatoes were cut into nice chunks, and there was just a bit of cucumber - not overwhelming to the salad as a whole. The pita chips were seasoned and broken up, adding a bit more flavor overall and a bit more texture to the salad.

Can you tell how much I enjoyed this salad? It was the perfect lunch, especially on a hot day like today - the salad was filling but also refreshing.

I'm really glad I had a chance to try the salad, but when Dave asked how I liked it, and I told him how much I enjoyed it, he said it would probably only be on the menu for another month or so because they like to keep their daily specials seasonal.

I had noticed earlier that they had a few interesting flavors for dessert today. The peanut butter ice cream and the pineapple sorbet both sounded intriguing, but what really caught my attention was the mojito sorbet. After my salad, I asked for a taste of that to see how I liked it. Wow, it was good. I decided to have a scoop of that to enjoy on my drive back to work. The girl at the counter asked if I wanted it in a cup or cone, and I said that I thought it might be weird in a cone with the added sugar and asked what she thought. She said she agreed with regard to the hard sugar cone, but she thought the cake cone (what I've always called a "soft cone") would be ok, so I said ok to that.

When I tried the mojito sorbet, I happened to be talking to Bret, executive chef and owner of MILK, and I told him how much I enjoyed it. He said that he had to be careful how much rum he put in it because rum doesn't freeze, so if he puts too much, the sorbet won't set. I was surprised that there was actually rum in it! We also joked that he had to be careful how much rum he put in because you wouldn't want people to be unexpectedly tipsy from having that sorbet!

The mojito sorbet was very tart, which I really enjoyed, but it did also not hold together as much as normal sorbet, and I had to be careful not to let it drip while I was eating it. (The picture above was taken after I'd already had some of the sorbet, making sure that there were no rivulets of sorbet that were going to drip off.) The cone was useful for holding the sorbet, but when I got down to it, it was kind of weird to have the tastes mixed together.

I had wanted to visit MILK this week because Bret had mentioned some time ago that MILK had been asked to provide the desserts for Entertainment Tonight's post-Emmy party this Sunday night, so they were very busy preparing for all of that. The party starts late, as you'd expect, so they're going to have a very late night, but I envy all the party-goers who will be able to enjoy MILK's dessert delicacies on Sunday night, but I know that those who aren't yet fans of MILK will surely become fans after Sunday night.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hitchhiking without Douglas

A friend had mentioned this to me a little while ago, but when I was in Borders today to buy something else, I saw a poster for the new Hitchhiker's Guide book that's coming out October 12. Wait, how can there be a new Hitchhiker's book? Douglas Adams isn't around, and he didn't leave any unfinished Hitchhiker's book. The unfinished book he left, The Salmon of Doubt, was originally supposed to be a Dirk Gently book, but there wasn't even enough there for someone else to finish it.

Well, it seems that another author, Eoin Colfer, has written a book in the series.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. The Hitchhiker's Guide wasn't a collection written by a number of different authors. It was Douglas' world. I think he had someone else write the novelization of the Starship Titanic game, but that was his choice - that book was quite good, btw.

The only other time I've had this problem was with Isaac Asimov's Robot books. I loved the stories, absolutely loved them. His Three Laws were amazing, and what he did with those rules was a joy to read. When other people starting writing books using those laws, it was difficult to get used to the idea at first, but I read a number of stories and novels that also did a great job playing with the nuances of those laws. And ultimately, they weren't really writing in the same world as Asimov had been in, just with the same rules.

This is an entirely different proposition. These are characters I know, and know well. Is Arthur still going to be like Arthur? Will the characters still have the same voice? Will the story still be riddled with tangents that have nothing to do with the main story but are hysterical to read anyway?

I can't buy the book without knowing more about it. But on the other hand, I can't completely ignore the book. I expect that what I'll end up doing is setting aside a half-hour or so sometime after the book has come out, and I'll spend that time at the bookstore, reading the first couple chapters of the book. That should give me a good enough idea of whether or not I'll like the book. If so, then I'll buy it. If not, then I won't.

Douglas, I hope Eoin does you proud.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze - thanks for the dance

I got a news alert today that Patrick Swayze had died, losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. I thought he'd been somewhat successful at fighting it, even though I'd see pictures of him and could see how much weight he'd lost, so it was disheartening to hear this news.

It's not like I was a rabid Patrick Swayze fan. I liked him in "Ghost", and I thought he was decent in "Point Break", even though I didn't much care for the film in general and I thought Keanu Reeves was horrid in it.

But like a lot of other people, it was "Dirty Dancing" that introduced me to him. I didn't see the film in theatres, but at that point in time, we had cable at home, and that's how I saw the movie. And I loved it. And it was shown over and over again on cable. And I watched it every chance I got.

I loved the behind-the-scenes part of the plot - what do these nice dancers do when they're not actually on the job, when they don't have to cater to old people and be on their best behaviour and do safe little dances? They were *hot*, that's what they did and were. I loved all the dancing, but the chemistry that erupted between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey was just incredible. And yeah, "nobody puts Baby in the corner" was a stupid line, but the fact that he came back for her was just melt-inducing. Oh, and I mentioned that the dancing was seductive, right?

Patrick Swayze had a song that came out of the film, and I've always loved it. It's so beautiful and romantic and sappy - ok, in this instance, I'm totally a girl.

I've included the video below. I can't imagine what the past 2 years have been like for him and his family. I hope that he is finally at peace now, no pain, no suffering, and I send warm thoughts and best wishes to his wife and family.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

when a stick of butter by itself isn't enough

So we've all heard the crazy "deep fried [insert food here]" stories that pop up every year with weirder and weirder things.

Well, how about deep fried butter? Yep, you read that right. It was one of the finalists in the 2009 State Fair of Texas. Now, I love butter like a lot of people, but I seriously don't get deep frying it. And seriously, that *can't* be good for you.

But a fried peanut butter macaroon though - that might have possibilities. Or, just skip the frying - a peanut butter macaroon sounds really good. I'll need some milk too please.

And as it turns out, deep fried butter was voted the winner for most creative.

Hmmm, I wonder what Julia Child would have thought of that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


We've spent the last two days at the D23 Expo, and operational problems aside, we've really had a good time for a number of reasons, including that we've seen a lot of friends there, including some we haven't seen in many, many years.

We are also collectors of Robert Olszewski's work, and the Olszewski Studios has a booth in the dealer's room equivalent of the Expo, so we've stopped by there a few times to see the booth and to talk to Bob himself or to Travis, the general manager of the studio.

On Friday, the husband and I had gone to purchase an item related to the Pixar short "Presto", which was released last year in front of "Wall-E". Well, with our purchase came free a plush of Alec the bunny himself. He is a cutie! I was playing with him a bit (yeah, no big surprise there), and we took him to show some friends. We also stopped by the Olszewski Studios booth for another reason. Travis was talking to someone else, so we were just waiting to talk to him, and Bob himself was away from the booth because he was at an official Expo signing. We had seen Bob's personalized embroidered chair the previous day, and with Bob away and Travis otherwise occupied, I couldn't help myself.

I propped Alec in the chair and took a picture. Yes, I did pose his one ear because I thought it was just too cute and funny.

Seriously, isn't he a cutie? For the moment, this picture has also displaced my prior picture of Orkid as the wallpaper on my phone.

I had thought about carrying Alec around as a sort of "flat Stanley" to take pictures of him in different places, but because he's white, I didn't want to risk getting him dirty, so we just went to put him in the car. And because I'm a nut as well as the fact that Alec has really long floppy ears, I carried him upside down. Yes, I did in fact get a lot of looks - what's your point? ;)

2 more days left of the Expo!

Friday, September 11, 2009

never forget

Eight years is a long time. Some people thought that 3 years or 4 years was enough time. Time to forget and move on. Well, moving on to some degree is one thing, but forgetting is another. I am thankful that, to the best of my knowledge, no one I personally knew lost anyone on September 11, 2001, but I am still never going to forget that morning, hearing the news reports and not being able to believe that they were true, and watching the towers crumble. And then in the aftermath, hearing the stories that came out of that awful day, both heartwarming and tragic. For many of us, there are no constant reminders of that day eight years ago, but for a lot of people, they lost loved ones - family and friends, whether in the towers or in the planes or the Pentagon or elsewhere, whether civilians or firemen or other rescue workers. And then there are those still suffering today from the effects of having been the rescue workers. It's not over for them - it will never be over for them.

For those who don't regard September 11 as anything other than a regular day, that's fine too. Everyone needs to do what works for them.

For me, every year, I do still remember. I'm thankful and I'm sorrowful.

And maybe this is a really weird seque/connection, but when the Super Bowl was played several months later, there was a lot of talk about what the normal high-profile commercials would be like, still so close to that tragic day. Anheuser Busch always had the best Super Bowl commercials - funny and touching. I don't care about their beer, I just liked their commercials. And in early 2002, I thought that of all the commercials that paid tribute to the events of September 2001, they did the best. The commercial has me in tears now as it did then.

We will never forget.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Extract" - spoiler movie review

When I heard about "Extract" and that it was a movie about a company that makes vanilla extract, I wasn't interested. And then I saw the one-sheet and saw that the film was made by Mike Judge, whose name I recognize, but I don't watch the shows and films that he makes, so I had no feeling for him one way or the other.

So what made me want to see this film? OK, I'll admit it - it was because Mila Kunis was in it. I only know "Family Guy" because the husband watches it, so I'll sometimes hear parts of an episode from the other room, and I know that the daughter on the show is named Meg.

And then the husband and I saw "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", and I found out that the woman who plays the new romantic interest is the same person who voices Meg. Really? No way? She doesn't look like she should be voicing Meg. But, duh, she's a voice actress so her "voice" wouldn't necessarily be exactly the same as her real voice. I really liked her in that film, so when I saw that she was in this film, and this film had gotten some good word from some people I've gotten good info from about other films, I decided I wanted to see it.

This is definitely a quirky, art house film, and I absolutely loved it. The story was small and simple but interesting and engaging. And the performances all around were excellent.

Joel is the owner of a small company that makes a couple of different flavors of extract, and he's got a little assembly line shop that he oversees. His workers are varied (and sometimes petty), and he often has to mediate disputes. He also has a manager who isn't particularly good at people skills (he doesn't really know the names of the employees but just refers to them by a disparaging term), but a work-place accident which results in the injury of one of his employees sets in motion more than he bargained for. Joel is already dealing with a large conglomerate offering to buy him out, which he hopes for so that he can spend more time with his now-distant wife (the bit with the time and sweat pants was hilarious). However, the accident brings to town grifter Cindy (can you imagine why I giggled at that name?), who wants a piece of the settlement from the injured worker. She's also working Joel, who dreams about having an affair with his new hot temp and at the prodding of a questionable friend, he decides to try to arrange for his wife to have an affair so that he doesn't have to feel guilty about cheating. Plans made during a drunken, drugged state look much less pleasant in the cold, sober light of day, but his attempts to stop the plans are futile when he finds out that his wife very willingly let herself be seduced. Joel now has huge problems at home and at the company to solve, not to mention his insanely irritating neighbor, which was funny to watch, but everyone can relate to knowing someone as completely clueless as he was.

Jason Bateman was really terrific in this film as Joel, though I'll admit I still have some problem seeing him as an adult, even though I did love his work in "Juno". It's really his movie to carry, and he does an excellent job of that.

J.K. Simmons is hilarious as Joel's crass manager, and he's also in "Jennifer's Body", so I look forward to seeing him again.

Ben Affleck is quite good and quite convincing (looking very much *not* like his usual self) as Joel's questionable friend, and the cast that fills out the employees in the company are also very good. Dustin Milligan plays Brad, the two-tacos-short-of-a-combo-plate gigolo that Joel hires to seduce his wife, and he is absolutely hysterical in this film. I couldn't pinpoint why he looked familiar, but it was the husband who figured out that he plays Ethan on the new incarnation of "90210".

And yeah, Mila Kunis was good in this movie, but she really didn't have that big a part in the film.

And then we get to the person who played sleazy lawyer Joe Adler. I'd seen the person's credit during the opening sequence, but when he actually showed up, the husband and I laughed so hard during his scenes. Gene Simmons was funny as hell in this part, especially in his major scene about how they'd call it even if Joel was willing to let him slam his balls in the door. That's not usually my kind of humour, but this was just perfect. Whoever came up with the idea of getting Gene Simmons to do this part - BRAVO!

This was a wonderful little film - a definite recommend.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Australian Pink Floyd

Some years ago, I happened to have gotten into Pink Floyd. Unfortunately, it was really way after the fact of their heyday. I mean, yeah, I knew about "The Wall" and "Dark Side of the Moon", but I only knew a couple things from the former. There was a time when I would visit Laserium (when they were still at the Griffith Observatory) fairly regularly for their "Dark Side of the Moon" show, partly because their visuals were pretty cool, but mostly because they had a kick-ass sound system, certainly tons better than mine, and you really need to listen to "Dark Side of the Moon" on a nice sound system. Yeah, I paid money to listen to a CD I owned on someone else's better sound system. Leave me alone.

I became interested in them enough that I bought a boxed set of some of their CDs (though it turns out it's not really a complete collection), and I even joined "echoes", a Pink Floyd mailing list. I was way out of my league there and contributed very little. I pretty much just read other people's messages and soaked in what they had to say about the various songs and albums and such. And of course, there always seemed to be the division between the Roger Waters and David Gilmour factions. I think I even bought a "history of the band" book at the time, but I don't think I ever got around to reading it.

That was right around the time when "The Division Bell" was released, and I really love the album, and not just because of Douglas Adams' connection to it. There are some really dark and biting songs on there that just speak to me during certain times. But, that was also one of the albums that tends to get dismissed by earlier fans, so it's not always "safe" to admit that you like it. Some people would regard you as not being a "true fan", but I've always hated the "true fan" argument, which I've gotten involved in more than once on very different occasions.

One of my regrets is that I never went to a Pink Floyd show - yeah, I know, once Roger left, it really wasn't Pink Floyd anymore. Let's drop that argument, OK? They were touring after "The Division Bell", but their local concert was either the day of or the day after my return from a week-long vacation in London, and I really didn't think it was going to work out in my schedule. Had I known that was the last time they were going to be around, though, I would have gone regardless.

So the resurgence of my Pink Floyd interest started late last year. I was listening to some of their stuff again, and I noticed that a group called the Australian Pink Floyd had a couple of concerts locally. I thought about going, but the timing and venue weren't quite working out right, and I really didn't know if I wanted to see basically a tribute band to a band that I didn't really know that well anyway. Yeah, that sounds confusing, doesn't it? So I just didn't go.

And then a couple of weeks ago, I saw that Australian Pink Floyd was going to be playing the newish Nokia Center (I thought originally that they were going to be playing Staples until I actually looked up the tickets). Not that September and October aren't already very busy months for me, but I toyed with the idea of going to the concert anyway, which is in late September. And for one ticket, they had a really good seat available, and it wasn't all that expensive, and throwing reason out the window, I bought the ticket.

So in the meantime, I've been immersing myself a bit in Pink Floyd, since there's quite a bit of their stuff I don't know. I'm not exactly sure what of their songs that Australian Pink Floyd will play though, and one thing I have realized is that I am not in fact going to see Pink Floyd. I probably know David Gilmour's voice much better than Roger Waters', and David's is probably more of what I associate with Pink Floyd (put down that rock - throwing it at me is going to do neither of us any good). And I have no idea what Australian Pink Floyd sounds like, so I don't know how I'm going to react when I hear another voice singing the songs that I'm now in the process of familiarizing myself with. I'm not particularly good at handling new voices with songs that I know. As much as I liked Genesis' album "Calling All Stations", it did take me a while to get used to Ray Wilson as the new lead singer, but at least they were new songs. Listening to a recording of him singing "Mama", though, was a whole different proposition. Since I'm not as entangled in Pink Floyd as I am in Genesis, it won't be quite as bad hearing a different voice singing familiar songs, but I'm kind of preparing myself for that anyway.

Oh, and this past weekend, I bought another Pink Floyd book, this one written by one of the guys in the band. I expect it to be an interesting read. You know, in all the spare time I have.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How can I contact thee, let me count the ways...

A couple of weeks ago, I needed to send a message to a friend, and it occurred to me that for some of my friends, I now have a multitude of methods to contact them. Remember the old days, when the only option was to call them on the phone? If they were home, great. If not, maybe you left a message with someone else, or you left a message on an answering machine, or, if they had neither, the phone just rang and rang and then you just had to call back another time when you thought they might be home.

But now:

1. phone - Yeah, that still works, but for some people, I have multiple phone numbers for them: home, work and cel.

2. texting - For some people, I know that they will accept texts, so for them, texting is an option that I can use to send them a message. And I can even send pictures in texts now.

3. email - Email has been around for a long time now, but I sometimes have multiple email addresses for people, especially if they have a separate email address for work, but some people also have multiple personal email addresses that they might check at various times.

4. Twitter - For anyone who's on my Twitter feed, I could send them a tweet publicly or I could send them a direct message, which is private and only goes to them to see.

5. Facebook - For anyone who is my "friend" on Facebook, I could post to their wall (if they have that enabled), or I could respond to one of their status posts, or I could send them a private message.

6. discussion board - I'm a fairly active member in a particular discussion board, so I could respond to one of their posts on there, or I could send them a private message, or I could leave them a public message on their profile.

7. blog - If the friend has a blog, I could respond to a blog post and leave a comment. If they've left a comment on my blog and have it set up to receive all further comments to that particular topic, I could respond after them, and my response would be sent to them as well.

8. home - And of course, I could just show up at their home, but then that would be stalkerish. ;)

There have been a number of occasions when I've had to figure out the best method of contacting someone, usually driven by the urgency of when I need them to get the message and what I think they might be inclined to see first. Sometimes, it's also driven by how private the message is. Of course, if it's not for public consumption, then I could either text or email or direct message. But if it's something I might want others to see, then I could use Facebook or a public tweet.

So many options! :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Up" - spoiler movie review (and spoiler notes on "Partly Cloudy" short) and The El Capitan Theatre experience

So with Labor Day being generally regarded as the end of the summer season, Pixar picked summer's end to release their latest animated film called "Up".

Yeah, ok, not so much - the film was actually released a little more than 3 months ago, right after the beginning of the summer season, which was Memorial Day.

And yes, it has taken me all this time to get a review of the film written. Part of my excuse is that I've had problems getting the videos I took at the El Capitan Theatre to work, but that really just turned into a convenient excuse since I was initially going to have separate blog posts for the film (and short) and the theatre experience, so people could read about the El Cap experience without encountering spoilers from the movie since they might not have seen it yet. But with all the time that's passed, I figured that's not really a concern anymore.

The major reason for the delay in writing the review is that I had a much different reaction to the film than a lot of people I know, even more so than with two of Pixar's prior films, "Cars" and "The Incredibles". I liked those films ok generally, but while there were specific bits I liked, they really didn't do that much for me overall, whereas they were favorites of a lot of people. And unlike other animated films from Pixar, I don't really have much of a desire to see either of those films again. And with "Up", I really enjoyed the film, and I thought it had a lot of humour and some really great bits. And inexplicably, even though on paper, it should have, it didn't make me cry. At all. While others were bawling numerous times during the course of the film, me, the one who cries easily at a *lot* of things - radio commercials, random stories, fireworks - did not shed a tear and didn't even come close to shedding a tear. And yeah, I got a lot of flak for that from people who couldn't understand why I didn't cry.

So I decided to give it another chance. I saw the film a second time. Still thought it was funny, still really liked some bits. Still didn't cry, not even close. OK, I give up. I guess I'll just have to settle for being a heartless soul. But I'm not. For whatever reason, this film just didn't hit me like it did most other people. (I think I only found two people among my friends who didn't cry at the film either.)

I loved seeing Ellie as a little girl. She wasn't your typical pretty little princess, and she certainly had spunk, and she was such the opposite of shy, timid, quiet little Carl. And opposites definitely attracted. And we saw in a montage how their life progressed, getting married, not being able to have children, growing old together and yet forever remaining in love, and the devastation when Ellie got sick and died, leaving Carl alone and without her.

There were at least two occasions during that short montage when I know a lot of people cried. I think I didn't because I was too stunned. Pixar had never dealt with such heavy themes before - miscarriage and the inability to have children, and then the on-screen (more or less) death of a beloved mate. Yeah, I know, most of the mothers in Disney animated films are dead before the movie starts, but that's already happened. And yes, Bambi's mother is killed on screen, but I guess to me, that's different, especially since the memory of her death doesn't linger, not like Ellie's does. Ellie's death doesn't render her a distant memory - she is constantly in the story because of her picture and because Carl continues to talk to her and because it's her that really prompts Carl's journey to Paradise Falls. When the montage happened, I was taken off guard because from the previews, I just knew that Carl was an old man alone, but I didn't know that he was alone because he'd lost his soul mate. And I didn't expect that whole story to be told within a matter of minutes. That was the story I wanted to see, that I wanted to spend more time with, and I felt cheated that it was just a summation of their lives. I wanted to know more about what their life was like, even though not much spectacular happened, even though they were never able to go on that trip they had dreamed about.

On a similar note, while I liked the character of Russell, I was again surprised that Pixar had delved into such a heavy topic as his having been basically abandoned by his father, and how much residual hurt that was causing him, how much he wanted that merit badge because it was the means by which he could get closer to his father.

OK, heavy stuff aside, let's get to the other stuff.

The voice talents were good, as you'd expect, and Edward Asner was particularly good as Carl.

Of course, John Ratzenberger was in the film, playing the guy at the construction site this time. Always good to see him in Pixar's films.

I loved the bit with Carl having Russell go snipe hunting and Russell's earnest attempts. "Here snipey snipey snipey."

It was funny that "Kevin" liked chocolate so much. And as for Kevin specifically, I thought the character was actually very well drawn, and I loved the interaction between Kevin and Russell and how Kevin became the impetus for much of what Carl and Russell ended up doing. I was annoyed that I had it spoiled for me that Kevin was actually a girl and was just mis-named by Russell, but those little babies were just incredibly adorable.

And the whole thing with the dogs was just too funny, especially Alpha's little squeaky Alvin-the-Chipmunk voice. And I liked the mix of realistic dog moments and preposterous ones. OK, so the dogs really wouldn't be able to cook scallops and make dinner and open the bottle of champagne, but they're certainly still going to try to steal the hot dog. They're not going to be able to really run a flying blimp, but they're certainly still going to want to chase a tennis ball down the hall. And they might not really be able to fly planes, but they are certainly still going to get their attention diverted by a SQUIRREL! They didn't overplay that bit at all, and I loved that what started as a joke (and we were laughing at that from the time we saw the bit in the first trailer) turned out to be a pivotal changing point of the film.

Even though this film didn't hit me emotionally like it did most other people, seemingly, I would definitely watch it again. I do like the heart of the film and especially the humour.

Showing in front of "Up" was the short film entitled "Partly Cloudy", which was actually quite a nice pairing. I did find the cloud people to be a bit creepy in the way they were drawn, but I loved that the focus of the story was not on the cute and cuddly babies that everyone would normally want to see, but there are lots of animal babies who might not be so soft and cuddly and cute who are also welcomed by their parents and needed in this world. So what if some of them are spiny or bitey or electrified?

We saw "Partly Cloudy" and "Up" on opening night at the El Capitan Theatre.

This is the animated marquee outside the theatre that also includes information about the stage show preceding the film.

And this is the cool "curtain show" that the El Cap implemented some time ago.

As for the stage show itself, there are often times that a new Disney film at the El Cap is accompanied by something special. Sometimes, it might be an exhibit with props and such, and sometimes, it's a new song-and-dance stage show. I've liked some shows better than others, but they're usually a lot of fun overall. This particular show, I found to be a bit odd, partly in costuming, but mostly in the moves that they have the characters doing. Usually, the regular dancers are the ones who do the more modern dance moves while the characters stick to their normal movements, so it was really odd for me to see Mickey and Minnie doing motions that I completely didn't expect from them.

I recorded the entire stage show, but that means it's a fairly hefty file, so the husband broke it up into multiple segments. Here's the first part. Here's the second part. Here's the third part. And here's the last part.

And just for good measure, in case you missed this earlier post, here's a related "Up" story that *did* make me cry.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

magical memories - AIDS Walk at Paramount Pictures

An AIDS Walk fundraiser is held every year in many cities, and Los Angeles is no exception. The course changed after 2001, but previously, the start and end of the course was the Paramount Pictures studio lot in the heart of Hollywood since Paramount was the major sponsor of the Walk. My sister convinced me to do the walk with her one year, which was a huge mistake on my part, because she's actually a runner, and even though she said she'd let me go at my pace, and I was fully planning to just walk the route, she pretty much wanted to run the thing and got impatient at my slow pace, and there was no way in hell I was going to be able to keep up with her. It was not a good day for me. After walking that one year, I started volunteering for an organization that would help at various AIDS fundraising events, including AIDS Walk, so for several years, I helped to set up things or do things along the course during the event - the actual task would vary from year to year.

The most memorable year, though, was actually also the easiest time and most fun I had. Paramount has several entrances onto the lot, and the main entrance was obviously closed to street traffic since that's where all the runners started and ended the course. There was a side entrance on the west side that they decided to use as the one for VIPs and other invited guests to use to get onto the lot. There were some celebrities who had agreed to come to the event to speak to the crowds and cheer on the runners, and it was people like them that needed to drive onto the lot, as well as vendors and other staff working the event itself. Paramount had their own security guard at the entrance, but they needed someone from the staff there as well. There was a list of names of people associated with the event who were cleared to drive onto the lot, but in case a problem arose, they wanted someone who had the ability to contact event staff management. I was someone who had a radio and headset anyway, so they decided to assign the job to me. That really just meant that all day long, I sat in the nice cool guard shack, and I didn't really have much to do. The guard on duty was the one to talk to all the people arriving at the gate, and he was pretty nice, and in between visitors, we chatted about this and that for the couple hours I was there. The Walk is usually held in September, and sometimes, it can be rather warm out, and during prior years, I was out in the heat and sometimes doing manual labor and otherwise working hard during the event. That particular year, I totally got a cush job. I just monitored the conversations coming over my radio so that I knew what was going on and in case anyone was trying to get a hold of me. I think they asked me about specific people a few times, to see if they'd come through the gate yet, and I think there were a couple other people who I had to radio to let them know had arrived. I don't recall any particular problem coming up of someone trying to get through the gate who wasn't on the list.

My favorite part of the whole day was when Robert Downey, Jr. came up to the gate. He was one of the celebrities who was there for the event, and I had been particularly enamoured of him at that point in time. It was after his really bad bouts with drugs, and he was clean and sober then and seemed to be enjoying life again. He drove up in a Jeep-like vehicle, and both the guard and I recognized him so it wasn't like he was asked to present ID. The guard knew that he was on the list of people coming to the event, so he just asked Robert if he knew where he needed to go, and Robert said yes, so the guard opened the gate and Robert drove through. I never said anything, but I smiled at Robert as he drove by, and he smiled back. He had three friends in the car with him, and they all seemed to be happy and enjoying the nice day - it looked like they were just going to enjoy a day at the beach.

It was the easiest job I'd ever been assigned in all my years volunteering for that organization, and then on top of that, I had the added benefit of seeing the various celebrities as they came through the gate. I hadn't really thought about that day in a really long time, but since I've seen Robert Downey, Jr. in so many films over the past year or two, the memory of seeing him that day was triggered, including remembering how cool it was to see him.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pella poseur

So for quite some time, a friend who loves Rockapella had tried to get me to go to one of Rockapella's concerts. She gave me a couple of their CDs, which I listened to and liked, so I was interested in seeing them, but the timing never seemed to work out. Finally, I managed to make it to a Rockapella concert on October 15, 2004 at Saint Joseph High School. It was actually a great place to see them for the first time, because they performed in the auditorium of the high school, so it wasn't a very big venue, and I managed to get a seat in the second row when the doors opened for general admission entrance, so we were *really* close. I discovered that night that while I like their studio albums, I really LOVE their live performances. I don't think the studio albums capture the entire flavor of their style and personalities, and I love seeing them on stage and listening to them and watching them interact with each other and the audience. Here's my friend's trip report of the concert that night.

I have seen Rockapella in concert multiple times since that first time, both their regular show and their holiday show.

Doing a cursory count based on emails and unless I'm missing something, I believe I've been to 10 shows at this point:

1. Saint Joseph's - October 15, 2004
2. Saint Joseph's - September 7, 2006
3. Rancho Cucamonga - November 11, 2006
4. Reno - May 4, 2007
5. Caltech - October 19, 2007
6. Rancho Cucamonga - December 1, 2007
7. Las Vegas - September 13, 2008
8. House of Blues (L.A.) - December 22, 2008
9. and 10. Rancho Cucamonga - June 14, 2009

I was supposed to have seen them twice on December 21, 2008 in Rancho Cucamonga, but weather conditions rendered that EPIC FAIL Day, and those concerts were rescheduled for June 14.

So, I have done the milestone of traveling out of state to see them, though the trips to Reno and Las Vegas didn't involve going very far, and in both instances, while the husband didn't go to the concerts themselves, he did come with me to the cities, and we stayed an extra night or two and did other things while we were there, so it wasn't just about going to the concerts. I've also done the milestone of seeing more than one show a day, postponed from last December to this June, and that actually turned out to be a lot of fun.

But, even given those details, I'm not a die-hard fan by any means, and I certainly don't claim anything close to that. I might take the occasional day off work to see them, but otherwise, I will generally try to see their shows locally if it's convenient.

And then, last week, I saw a notice come through from them on Facebook - Kevin is leaving Rockapella at the end of the year. No, that's not possible. Kevin is one of my two favorites (the other being John) from the group, and Kevin is also the one who came up and sang to me during my very first concert, and I also know a lot of funny stories about Kevin thanks to my friend. I only know his voice singing "Under the Boardwalk" and "California Sad-Eyed Girl", and now, I'm never going to have a recording of him singing the latter song.

I'm already going to see Rockapella at Pepperdine on December 6, but that's going to be a holiday show, and while I like that version as well, I really love their regular show. And I wanted to see Kevin one more time in a regular show, but when I looked at the tour dates on their site, there was nothing out this way.

And then my friend mentioned wanting to see them in a regular show as well and where she was considering going. And one of the places was where I had vaguely thought about as well.

And now, it's turning out that in four weeks' time, I will be in Boston with my friend watching Rockapella perform at the Berklee College of Music, which my friend informed me is Jeff's alma mater. He's the wonderful vocal percussionist of the group. The really great seats we had been wanting were unfortunately already sold out, but we found some seats that I think are going to work out pretty well.

And since these plans have been arranged, I've been feeling a bit odd about this whole thing. I mean yes, I like Rockapella, but I'm not nearly as dedicated as my friend is or other friends of hers who routinely travel to see the boys and who the boys know by sight and name. And while I've traveled to see them before, this is going to be the first time where the sole purpose of my trip is going to the concert - I'm only going to be in Boston for a little over 24 hours in total. So I'm feeling a bit like an impostor. I mean, yeah, two years ago, I traveled around a bit chasing a band in concert, but that was Genesis, and anyone who knows me would at least understand that. But Rockapella? No, it doesn't really make sense, but sense or not, I'm looking forward to the trip, I'm looking forward to seeing them, and I expect there will be tears shed then and in December.

And that also means I have four weeks in which to buy Ron Jeremy's autobiography and figure out exactly what I'm going to do with it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

chimps and pumas and ... oh my!

A friend posted a link to this article about a chimp who has basically adopted a little puma cub.

Oh my goodness, how cute is this story. And the pictures - cuteness overload!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I love signs in Chinese restaurants

There's a Chinese restaurant where I sometimes go for takeout, and I noticed this sign by the cash register a little while ago.

I love signs in Chinese restaurants because the people who write them usually aren't very good at English, so they mostly get the point across, but the bastardization of English is usually quite funny, especially to this (not literally) card-carrying member of the grammar police.

And for my friend who didn't understand the sign, I'm assuming she meant point #3. They have a bunch of pre-prepared hot food dishes available, and you can get combos with your choice of 1, 2, 3 or 4 items from the available dishes. I guess you have to buy 2 or more combos with at least 3 items each before you qualify for the free drink.

They used to not have the requirement that you purchase more than one combo, and it wasn't good only at lunchtime. The only real requirement was that it had to be a to-go order, and if they gave you the free drink and then you sat down at a table, they'd then make you pay for the drink - at least that's what the sign used to say. Oh, and the free drink isn't Coke or Pepsi or anything most people would know. When I'd gotten the free drink previously, it was some odd flavored fruit or vegetable drink or something, so not getting the drink anymore never mattered to me.

Now, back to the sign - this is not to say that only Chinese restaurants have poorly-written signs. You can find those just about anywhere - and I usually do. But the signs in Chinese and Japanese restaurants are usually the most amusing.

Speaking of amusing, and on a not-particularly-related note, I'm reminded of a time when I was at a friend's party. There were already quite a number of people there, and we were chatting and snacking and having a good time, and somehow or other, we got around to talking about the English that's printed on Chinese packaged food and how weird that usually ends up being. The friend for some reason I can no longer remember happened to have a package of Chinese noodles in her refrigerator, so she took it out, and a bunch of us were reading it and laughing. Another friend arrived right at that point, and I took the package of noodles and gave it to him and demanded a cold reading. Get it? Yes, that is exactly what I said to him. And yes, everyone laughed. So, he'd just arrived at this party, and he gets handed a package of cold Chinese noodles and is told to read the packaging. And what did he do? Why, he did as requested, of course! It was actually quite funny all around.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Disney insanity - thar be dragon!

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog for any length of time knows that I'm a huge Disney fan. And a lot of people don't really understand the whole "Disney thing". That's ok - I don't feel the need to convert anyone, and as long as they don't feel the need to badger me about it or try to make me feel stupid for liking it (which some APPARENTLY feel the compulsion to do), I don't really care.

And sometimes, the insanity that is my Disney interest takes control.

For about 15 years now, Disneyland has had a show along the Rivers of America called Fantasmic. It's a bit hard to describe, but suffice it to say, it's an amazing show. This summer, they had touted the arrival of a new dragon in the show, which was supposed to debut back in June, but the dragon was plagued with problems and malfunctions, so no dragon all summer. And then there were repeated rumours from people supposedly in the know that each night was going to be the debut, all to no avail. I'll admit that on one occasion, we did go down to see the show, just in case. Disney had even scheduled a very-early-morning preview to the press last week - which was canceled less than an hour before it was supposed to happen.

And then yesterday afternoon, the news came down officially from Disney - the dragon was debuting that night. I texted the husband to let him know, and we'd already prepared for this to happen. He works not too far away from Disneyland, and he already had a towel in the car to take with him to save real estate for us. I arranged to leave work early, at 5pm, so that I could be sure to be there in plenty of time for the 8:15pm show.

I expected it to be extremely crowded at the resort with hordes of annual passholders doing the same thing as me, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. I got into the park, stopped to pick up dinner for myself and the husband, and then made my way over to the River. By this time, it was already crowded down there, but the husband had a section saved for me and 4 other friends who were going to join us, and he'd gotten a great spot to watch the show.

Our friends arrived at various times, but all before the show started, and you could feel the excitement in the air as everyone was there to see the new dragon.

When the show finally started, a giant cheer went up in the crowd, and as usual, it was a good show, but everyone was waiting for the dragon segment.

And when Maleficent the dragon finally made her appearance, cheers and yelling erupted out of the audience. She was incredible, everything we'd expected. The only glitch was that she didn't actually breathe fire to set the river on fire, but she was still REALLY awesome. This was the only time when I didn't want Mickey to win - I didn't want the dragon to disappear!

It was so exciting to be there, with a ton of other people equally excited to be there to see her. At least one cynic had expressed the belief that people just wanted bragging rights to say they saw her first. Well, to him, I say, "get lost, asshole". I wanted to see it because I was excited to see her. So was the husband, and our friends, and all the people who were around us.

I'm looking forward to seeing the show many more times, from different angles. It's going to be amazing to see her actually breathing fire (though she APPARENTLY has quite a reach with her fire, so I hope they calibrate it correctly so as not to torch the first couple rows of people sitting along the Rivers of America!), and I also want to see the show from the side, so that I can watch the dragon rise and fall.

After the press event was canceled, Disney released some photos and video of the dragon, which you can see here. I'd gone to see the pictures, but I decided I didn't want to see the video until after I'd seen the dragon for myself in person.

And here's a link with photos and video (of the dragon sequence) from the show last night. Congrats and thanks to Mox for getting such great video of the dragon. You can hear the excitement in the crowd with all the screaming in the audio - oh, and some of that screaming is our friends, the husband and myself. ;)

Thar be dragons indeed!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Dollhouse" - season two

I was really excited when it was announced that "Dollhouse" would be coming back for another season. It was iffy as to whether or not that would happen, so the news of the renewal was good news indeed. I'm looking forward to seeing what Joss Whedon has in store this year. There's been some exciting news about what might be happening this year as well as guest stars, not to mention that Summer Glau is coming on board in a recurring role. Hot Chick Friday Nights will just be combined into one show now rather than spread out over two. I'm especially looking forward to seeing how they bring November/Mellie back since Paul Ballard secured her release last year.

I'm following Eliza Dushku on Twitter, and she periodically tweets about the show, so I've enjoyed hearing bits and pieces. She obviously can't tweet about story or anything like that, so I don't have to worry about spoilers.

The new season starts on Friday, September 25, so only a few more weeks to go. Recently, I saw a billboard advertising the show. I particularly like the tagline.

One question I would like answered this year - let's see Foxtrot. We know Whiskey is a female, and we've gotten a glimpse of Tango, who was female. I think I expect Foxtrot to be female - it would sound weird as a man's name.