Sunday, October 28, 2007

Possibly the Most Hollow Victory in Years

Just go read Big Orange Michael to read everything I would've said, but can never put it quite into the right words.

One thing - if you don't like the announcers...seriously, mute the TV and turn on the radio. As bad as Bob Kesling is, it's not terribly awful when you can see what's going on the field and get an idea of down and distance yourself. And you get the great benefit of Bobby Scott color commentary, up-to-the-second injury reports and other insider info, and just good old-fashioned "homer" game coverage. If I want an objective game call I'll go listen to a Pac-10 game.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

HUGE Coaching Blunder of the Game

Forget everything else.

Fulmer WASTED our 2nd timeout to "ice" the USC kicker.

There has never been any conclusive evidence that "icing" a kicker has ever really affected them in kicking a field goal.

We now have a little over 1 minute to score at least a field goal. And now we have only 1 time out. Traditionally that time out is used to set up the field goal at the last second.

If we run out of time getting downfield into FG range because Fulmer wasted that timeout.........................


I am so sick of following sports, and being constantly disappointed.

Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em...

...and unfortunately I don't know one from the other.

Every year at the TTA theatre conference several of us play a rolling game of, ahem, "friendly" poker. This year I came in on the second night, and only won one hand the whole night. As a result, I'm down almost 75% of my original stake.

Although it could have been a much better night, if I'd been paying closer attention.

We were playing a 7-card stud variation called "Baseball". 4's get an extra face-down card (a "walk"), and 3's ("outs)" and 9's ("innings") are wild. The thing about 9's are if you get one dealt face-up, you have to match the pot to continue. I was working on a straight flush, needing only one particular diamond or a wild card - when I was dealt a 9.

Which required me to match the pot, or get out. The pot at that point was over $4, and matching it would've put me very very low. So low in fact, not to mention the fact that my up cards weren't worth much on their own (the strength was in the 3 and diamond in the hole), I decided to fold. I couldn't afford to stay in and risk losing almost my entire set of chips.

Yes, you read it right. I forgot the 9 was wild. I was so intent on deciding whether I could match or not, I forgot. So I folded. With a straight flush.

Which would've won me a pot of about $20 or so.

I think I should stick to music....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Five Strengths

Tish has tagged me for this meme:

“So, here’s the challenge: make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It’s not really bragging, it’s an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list.

1) I am a very good theoretical musician. What that means is while I'm a slightly above average pianist and singer, I have a very good grasp of the makeup of music. How music fits together, how it wraps around itself and forms patterns, creates new combinations.... I can sense how music can complement emotion, and even create emotional states in listeners. I sometimes feel music can be like a living entity - the voice of God.

2) I'm a very good vocal sightreader. A sightreader is someone who can immediately read the notes on a page and sing what's written, while making few mistakes. Using my skills in #1, I can sense the patterns that a song is following, and anticipate where the notes are going next. This means sometimes I can actually skip ahead and prepare for an upcoming section, while my voice is still a few notes behind my eyes.

3) I'm a very good keyboardist. This is different than just a pianist in a couple of ways. A pianist will typically play what's written on the page, using the actual piano score. A keyboardist, which I love being, will supplement the piano in a musical by providing different instrumental backup when either an orchestra is called for in the score, but not available, or other more unique sounds are needed. In any given play, I might use my keyboard to emulate a saxophone, a trumpet, or a violin. Usually I'm not playing full ensembles, but mainly melody lines or counterpoints. When I performed keyboards for "The King and I" last fall, I probably used it to play strings, cello, flute, pan flute, low brass, bass, bells, french horn, and many other tones in one piece alone, the "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet. Doing this is one of, if not my favorite part of being a musician.

4) I feel like I'm a good singer. I have a wide range, and typically sing tenor - although with a microphone, I have sung bass before. I did a show a few years ago called, "All Night Strut" where I was one of two guys in the musical revue, and I had the lower register of the two. So I sang bass. I also have the ability to sing in a number of different styles: ballad, belting, full voice, whatever.

5) The last one is not really a talent, but I suppose it might be: I can do voices and read aloud with expression and many different voices, and styles of voices. I've always been convinced I would make a very good voice-over artist, in cartoons or even things like books on tape. I love reading stories to my kids, making up distinct voices and mannerisms for all the characters. My biggest hit lately is "Ramona" from the Beverly Cleary series of childrens books - who sounds remarkably like Lily Tomlin's "little girl in the big rocker" character...

I play a talking game with my little girl we call, "The Goofy Game" - I imitate Goofy's voice, and he has a "conversation" (in character) with Tink. Often Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, other Disney characters and even a stylized version of Walt Disney himself will join in the verbal adventures. These are memories that are priceless...:)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dragonlance Movie Trailer

Very Sad, But In a Way it Kinda Proves Their Point...

Police: Van carrying Amish had blowout
A tire blowout may have caused a van carrying passengers from an Amish community to flip over on a highway, killing three children and two adults, police said Monday. Eleven others were injured in the crash.

The victims hailed from Amish communities in Indiana, police said. Troopers believed that the van may have been taking people home after a church function.

Amish people generally shun modern conveniences but sometimes enlist non-Amish as drivers.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Well, thanks to the hijinks and shenanigans of a couple of boobs, at or about 11:20 pm, someone from Keller, TX using Verizon Internet Services became the 100,000th visitor to the Inn of the Last Home.

To commemorate the occasion, I'm giving away a custom-framed, signed and authenticated photo of me in the shower to all 100,000 visitors. Expect yours in the mail next Friday. Or sometime after that. Maybe.

Seriously, thank you to all the friends I've made while blogging, everyone whose stopped by looking for that blamed "Fairie's Aire and Death Waltz", and all the great conversations.

Oh, and in addition I had the biggest one-day visit total since, well, since I don't know when. That was nice, thank you guys :)

Here's to 200,000!

I Love TV/Internet Synchronicity

...or should I say, "Scrantonicity"? (sorry..."Scrantonicity II")

Trip Advisor Traveler review of "Shrute Farms"
Schrute Farms is the number one beet-related agrotourism destination in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We offer the finest accommodations for the casual traveler and/or beet enthusiast. Come join us and experience majestic Schrute Farms. ROOM AMENITIES: -Three Themed Rooms: America, Irrigation, and Night-time...-Handmade mattresses... -Beds do not conform to traditional sizes; closest is twin.PROPERTY AMENITIES:-We cater to the elderly...-Field and barn tours...-Side car Rides...-Table-making demonstrations...-Tractor Mosey...-Homemade Beet Jam demonstration...POLICIES:-Check in time: After 5:30pm on weekdays, 3pm on weekends...-Check out time: Before 9:00am, 11am on weekends. This description is based on information provided by the B&B / inn.

Try the wonderful complimentary breakfast beets!

I wonder how many people who don't know it's fake will really try to reserve a room?

Random Political Banner Ads is Funny Things...

There's a great site everybody should add to their RSS feed: Oddee - A Blog on the Oddities of Our World.

It reads like the old "Book of Lists" that the folks behind the Guinness Book of World Records put out several years ago, and I used to check out of the library over and over again. Oddee has posts like, "10 Most Bizarre People on Earth" and "15 Unfortunately Placed Ads" (which may need to add #16 after you read on..) and "50 Greatest One-Hit Wonders".

Anyway, today's topic was, "World's Most Bizarre Political Candidates", which included the likes of
  • Mitsuo Matayoshi (Japan), The self-proclaimed Jesus Christ
  • Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey (USA), The Satanic Vampire that ran for Governor in 2006, now runs for US President 2008
  • Jackson Kirk Grimes (USA), Running for US 2008 election with "the ideologies of Mussolini and Saddam Hussein"

...and so on. Interestingly, today there was an unintended addition to the top of the list of "World's Most Bizarre Political Candidates", due in part to an unfortunately-timed paid rotating political banner ad at the top of the page:

You make your own jokes. I have no opinion one way or the other on Barak Obama, I just thought it was funny... :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Random Citationless Quote of the Day

Yeah, the odds of Ann Coulter telling the truth is substantially decreased by her either speaking, typing or writing. I don't know her record in sign language, but I wouldn't rely on it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Disciplining Other Children

A few months ago, I noted some good lessons attempting to be taught by an adult to some kids at the movies: Politeness
Overheard in the movie theatre the other night

Two 13-yr-old kids running down steps of theatre, one stumbling: "Sh*t!"

Man with wife, passing them on stairs going up to seats, back at the kid: " 'Shoot!' "
Doug relates a recent example of how he took it upon himself to reprimand some kids who were littering and otherwise making nuisances of themselves:
I watched 3 younger boys, 11 or 12ish, tossing an empty 20 ounce beverage container back and forth like a football. They pause and one of the boys rips the label off, tearing it into 3 pieces in the process, and threw them to the ground. I spoke instantly and instinctively. "Gentleman! I need you to pick up this trash and throw it away."
Doug wonders if he should've ignored it, in today's age of hyper- and micro- parenting, but concludes he was correct - and hopes others do the same to his kids if they see them misbehaving.

I totally agree. Last night at the baseball field I observed Tink, with other younger kids, playing at the playground next to where BrainyBoy was tearing up the diamond. I happened to glance over and saw this young boy, maybe 7 or so, throwing gravel in the general direction of my daughter and other youngsters nearby. I hopped off the bleachers, marched straight over to them, and in a no-nonsense, I'm-the-grown-up-and-don't-you-forget-it voice instructed him to "...kindly stop throwing rocks, and don't throw them any more. DO YOU UNDERSTAND???"

(meekly) yes sir..

"Ok, thank you."

My wife informed me when I returned to my seat the boy was also calling names such as "Cheesebutt" but I didn't hear that part at the time. Plus it was actually kind of amusing. So I let it slide. But that's beside the point.

The point is, every parent - every adult, actually - has a responsibility to look out for the kids in our field of vision, to keep the area reasonably clean when possible, and generally do what we can by working together to help keep a general sense of order wherever we are. This shouldn't be something we even think about - if there's a coke bottle on the ground, pick it up and throw it away if you can. If some kid is throwing rocks in a general area where someone might get hurt or a window could be broken - stop them. If some young hooligans are causin' a ruckus (forgive me, I watched the Jubal Myers/Moonshine/Opie's Secret Club episode of "Andy Griffith" last night and it's on my mind) then you should have no qualms in breaking it up and restoring order. You are the adult, they are the child(ren). It is our job to teach, and their job to learn. Of course, all children have rights but they have to respect the way society works and it's up to us to teach them.

Some people might be apprehensive about correcting and instructing other people's children. Now, I don't advocate attempting to convince the 5-yr-old daughter of a college professor to join the Republican party, or admonish a middle-schooler on paying attention to hot stock tips or whether to invest their paper route money in Mutual Funds or IRA's, but it's up to all of us to build and maintain a productive society. And how kids behave in that society is a huge part of the future.

So I say, if a kid is doing something wrong, never hesitate to correct them. Do it wisely, do it fairly and compassionately - don't lash out. Unless the situation calls for quick and decisive action, take care of your tone of voice.

One last thing - if the parent of the child is nearby and either oblivious of the situation, or just unaware anything's going on, it might be a good idea to bring the disruption to their attention first. Let them discipline their own kids in the way they see fit. It's only fair. But if there are subsequent incidents even after the parent has spoken to the child, you may have to remove your children or yourself from the situation. It's a touchy subject but deal with it fairly.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Missing Kentucky Home

Should I read anything into the fact that the UT football schedule printed in today's Knoxville News Sentinel lists all the games Tennessee's played so far, plus the games yet to play - but it leaves off Kentucky as the last game of the year?

Seriously, it stops with the home game vs. Vanderbilt on Nov. 17. We are supposed to play the 'Cats the following week in Lexington to close out the regular season. If both UT and UK win out their remaining games, that game will decide the SEC East title.

Judging by the way Kentucky's playing this year, plus the fact we haven't lost to them since the 1984 season and they're due... I wouldn't mind just skipping that game, myself, thank you.

I blame "Small Mike", the serial sports radio caller that hates Philip Fulmer and really just hates UT and himself, too. There's no real reason to blame him, he's just convenient.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Music? What's Music?

Tish has tagged me on this one...

What music are you currently grooving to?

For a while the last few weeks I was getting myself psyched for the trip to Orlando by listening to my Disney stuff. I know, go ahead laugh, you magically-deficient fools. I have the album, "Millenium Celebration" which is the music they play at EPCOT for Illuminations fireworks, plus the big 25-minute "Tapesty of Dreams" parade Music - which is awe-inspiring. I have a CD compilation of all "Haunted Mansion" music and sound effects - some of which are from other country's like France's version of the Mansion. Also some outtakes and original recording sessions, plus the great Barenaked Ladies cover of "Grim Grinning Ghosts" (that's for Tish). I have another CD of various music played throughout the other parks, and finally a CD of the incidental music played all around Islands of Adventure park. It's a great way to get in the mood.

What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favorite album?

Probably "Abbey Road" by the Beatles.

What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it?

I can't remember - it may have been MECO's disco-rock version of "Star Wars" that came out in the summer of 1977 and was all over the radio at that time.

Good grief, stop laughing already - you're going to hurt yourself.

Which musician have you ever wanted to be?

I always wanted to be Billy Joel - one man, one piano, all talent.

What do you sing in the shower?

I'm usually not awake enough to put coherent lyrics together while I'm in the shower - besides, that's the best time to listen very closely to the voices in my head telling me what I'm supposed to be doing that day... When I do sing it's usually was playing on the radio when I woke up.

What is your favorite Saturday night record?

What's a Saturday night record? Something you listen to while club-hopping on a Saturday night? Ok, now it's my time to laugh hysterically...

And your Sunday morning record?

Christian Contemporary, pretty much.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Sixty Four

Appetizer - When was the last time you were surprised?

GAAAHHH!!! Oh, sorry, you scared me. I guess it was just then.

Soup - Fill in the blanks: My eyes are ________, but I wish they were __________.

My eyes are very nearsighted, with some astigmatism, but I wish they were 20/20.

What, you expected me to actually give an typicals answer?

Salad - If you were a Beanie Baby, what would you look like and what would your name be?

*blink blink*


I would be a dolphin and my name would be, um..."Dolphin". Maybe "Killer Dolpin" with Kung-Fu Grip® and optional Attack Sled® (sold separately)

Main Course - Name two things you consistently do that you consider to be healthy habits.

1) I very rarely eat sweets. The rest of my family covers that very well.

2) I avoid driving off cliffs, dropping anvils on my toe, drinking sulphuric acid, swimming with Brazilian piranhas, screaming "I'M NOT A TERRORIST!!!!" in the middle of a crowded airport, letting hard grounders one-hop me in the chin, hiding from T-Rex's in an outdoor toilet, getting stuck in the 50's in my Delorean without sufficient plutonium or a working flux capacitor, or watching UT play Florida in the Swamp. Other than that I'm pretty reckless.

What? Why are you looking at me that way?

Dessert - What brand of toothpaste are you using these days? Do you like it? Why or why not?

Aquafresh. I've used it for years, and I like it. Especially when you get near the end of a tube and the green, red and white stripes have all mushed together in a kind of grey mess...

TV Questions

A good set of questions from Will of Hit Coffee:

Here are some questions that y’all can answer here, on your own blog, or not at all:

1. What are the TV shows that you miss the most? Not that you necessarily wish they were still on the air because perhaps they had run their course and had a good conclusion.

2. What TV show do you think was the biggest victim of circumstance or not given a chance to find its market? For instance, last year CBS’s The Class was cancelled despite decent ratings. A lot of people really believed that it could have been The Next Great Show. More popular examples are Arrested Development and Firefly, which had dedicated followings but not sufficiently large ones.

3. What fiction TV show (no reality TV) are you dumbfounded as to its popularity and longevity?

4. Have you ever discovered a band from a TV show? Ever heard a song that you really liked, looked it up, and bought the CD it was on?

5. Are there any shows that you prefer watch on DVD rather than watch in week in and week out?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Soon, My Pretties......Soon....

I am slowly creeping up 100,000 unique visits to my site. Sitemeter reports me at this moment at 99,522.

However, with my paltry visit count these last few months, it'll be a year before I pick up the next 478 visits.

C'mon folks, pick up the pace. Tell your friends and neighbors! If I can recognize the person who's the actual 100,000th visitor to the Inn of the Last Home I'll make a special post just for you. And even send you a framed photo of myself in the shower, how's that? (Guys, you'll have to just settle for the mention).

Good News!! Good News---- Wait....What???

Land of the Lost film a go
Universal Pictures has just signed Brad Silberling to direct the big screen version of the '70s cult hit Land of the Lost. Silberling joins Will Ferrell on the project which is set to start shooting in March.

The original Saturday morning series told the story of explorer Rick Marshall who, while on a "routine expedition" with his children (for some reason) Will and Holly, fell through a fault in the Earth and ended up in a prehistoric world filled with dinosaurs, cavemen and evil lizard creatures known as sleestaks.
This is great news - even though Will Ferrell is involved and that can only lead to trouble, at least there will be a film. Unlike a certain animated fantasy movie that's supposed to be out right now but is having trouble seeing the light of day.

But I digress. I was troubled after reading on in the article:
The big screen version of the film will cast Ferrell as a disgraced paleontologist who ends up in the prehistoric land with his assistant and a tour guide.
Wait-wait-wait-a-minute!!! assistant?? Tour guide???. No, uh-uh, no way. Will Marshall finds himself in the Land of the Lost with his son and daughter. The charm of the show is not the dinosaurs, or Sleestak, or even the cute little neandrathal Paku - it's the fact that a dad and his young children are forced to work together to survive in a hostile environment. The kids must grow up and learn about their own strengths and weaknesses. That's what made that show fun. If you take the "family" away and have it be about three unrelated adventurers - that's it, the movie's "Lost" before it even films a frame. I hope this is either early information, or that the assistant and tour guide are actually Will and Holly. And even that won't work, because Holly's a young girl. You can just throw in a 20-something tour guide daughter and call it "Land of the Lost". Grrrrrr

Then there's this:
The original creators of the series, '70s TV legends Sid and Marty Krofft are on board with the film and have expressed excitement over the script. "What they did is keep the integrity of the show," said Marty Krofft "but they made it very funny for Will. The adventure is all there. There are going to be 50 Sleestaks!"
I think the next quote they cut for space would have been, "And there will be ponies! And lots of candy for everyone! And maybe some puddin----zzzzzzzzzzz" as an obviously senile Marty Krofft drifts off to sleep. Or rather this demented puppet substitute for the real Marty Krofft (who last I heard he and his brother Sid were in good health). If he really said this, and is enthusiastic about the fundamental altering of the premise... I fear for his mental faculties.

Wait and see...wait and see...

What??? We Can't Have This...

A celebrity actually taking responsibility for the wrong things they do? And thinking of their coworkers and the people who depend on them? Scandalous!!

Sutherland to jail, but '24' OK
"24" star Kiefer Sutherland will serve 48 days in jail, but that is not going to affect production on his hit Fox series.

After reaching a deal with prosecutors, Sutherland pleaded no contest Tuesday to a charge of driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit a week ahead of his Oct. 16 arraignment.

The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office on Tuesday recommended a 48-day sentence for the actor to be served in two installments -- 18 days for the probation violation beginning Dec. 21 and 30 days for the DUI charge to be completed by July 1.

The schedule allows Sutherland to serve his time when "24" is not in production -- during the Christmas break and after the show wraps its seventh season.

"I'm very disappointed in myself for the poor judgment I exhibited recently, and I'm deeply sorry for the disappointment and distress this has caused my family, friends and co-workers on '24' and at 20th Century Fox," Sutherland said.
Now, it's no excuse for getting drunk and getting behind the wheel of a car. Sutherland's gone down in my estimation of his character just for that. But standing up for his actions and taking responsibility show he's got a little bit of maturity. I've always liked him, even though if you've ever seen or read interviews with him, he seems pretty quirky.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sci-Fi Cliches To Try At Home

I think it'd be cool to rush up to a somewhat random person on the street, ask them wildly, "What's today's date???" To which they'd suspiciously reply, "Um, October 10th...why?" Then you'd say, " year is it? What year??" (optional vigorous shaking with both hands on their upper arms). They'd take a small step back and slowly say, ", 2007." You would drop you arms, say something to yourself along the lines of, "...I've overshot again" or, "...then I still have time - I still have time!!" and then run off, laughing or crying.

Hey, it happens all the time in time travel movies. Why not now?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hangin' Out With My Hero

The Horror of It All...

The Beast has a synopsis of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios and a review of our film-making extravaganza
In addition to the HHN event itself, Rex and I were going to be filming the sequel to our smashing 2006 success "Mission: IOA." This time around we decided to bring in some help, so Barry from over at Inn Of The Last Home stepped up to the plate. He gave a wonderful boost to the entire project and was responsible for some of the funnier scenes in the movie. We filmed most of the day on Thursday and Friday morning till about 11:30.
Aw shucks, tweren't nothin'...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Stay on Target! Stay on Target!

Artoo, that stabilizer's broken loose again...
This coulda been the coolest thing ever:

X Wing Rocket - Watch more free videos

I take it back, it was the coolest thing ever. Too bad the structural integrity failed and the S-Foils couldn't stay on. The original plan was for the wings to stay together, then unlock and open into attack formation.

How cool was that? Hopefully they'll try again soon....

Gremlins in the Water

Is it just me, or does there seem to be an inordinately high number of school closings lately, especially those based on breaks in the local water systems?

Broken water main washes out Pigeon Forge classes

Water problem gives Jefferson County students school break

Water main break closes Pellissippi’s main campus

Central High back in session tomorrow after dishwasher problem

Either there's some mad plot by a Batman-type villain, determined to keep students out of school (Could it be the dreaded Drainer? Or how about the Mad Sprinkler? Or dare I even mention the maniacal Captain ColdorHot?) That or there are some fiendish Gremlins wreaking havoc across East Tennessee, determined to get wet after midnight and spawn more of themselves.

Actually, I assume it's just because someone's mad about this.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Saturday Night

Had a great gig with the Atomic Horns, even after not rehearsing with them for a month or so. One of our better shows.

Wish some of you folks had been able to make it out :(

Blogging From Orlando - Day 9 (Final Day)

Back home, and not a moment too soon - but a few things to finish up first...


Filming at Islands of Adventure

  • This time Laura helped get in on the movie act, as she filmed us in a few scenes where the three of us all had to be in the same shot. Such as the three of us riding the "Suess in the Sky" train about Suess Landing. Or the big confrontation scene in the "Dueling Dragons" castle.

  • Thrilling stuff, I know. Edge-of-your-seat excitement.

  • We finally finished all we could do, had lunch together at Mythos, the #1 theme park restaurant in the world there at IOA, and headed to the airport.

  • Uneventful ride home, although somehow during an early afternoon shower I must have stepped in a puddle and my right sock was wet the rest of the evening.
Overall, it was a fantastic trip but we were very happy to get home. The kids met us with the grandparents at the airport and had a great homemade "WELCOME HOME" sign for us.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Blogging From Orlando - Day 8

Time, the ever-flowing river....

I need a vacation from my vacation.

I think...I think...I think this time it's going to work!

We're not insured for this.

Have you seen my horse?

Ok, enough with the Universal parks ride quotes. On to the post.


Filming at Universal Studios Florida

  • Today Gary, Phillip and I roamed USF filming scenes for their sequel to last year's blockbuster: Mission: IOA. In this version, Rex and The Beast...well, I won't give too much away. When it's all done, I'll post a link and you can see all three of us chewing scenery, getting all dramatic and generally making life miserable for the employees and other guests, especially the ones in the E.T. line.

  • Gary and Phillip are incredible Universal fans - they have season passes and don't even live in the state. They fly down 2-3 times a year to visit the parks and know them all backwards and forward. It's no secret that Disney parks in general and EPCOT particularly are my favorites, but Universal parks are fun for a diversion from time to time. I want to bring my kids maybe in a couple of years when they'll both be old enough to enjoy all the rides. Plus they'll soon be adding a "Harry Potter" land to Islands of Adventure, so that will be a big selling point.

  • The day was again very hot, even worse than yesterday. Sweating was profuse and outside scenes were shot as quickly as possible. If you happened to be visiting USF on October 4, 2007 and happened to see three late-thirties/early-forties guys wandering around with a bunch of video cameras, acting like total loons, that would be us.

  • At one point I pretend to shoot Philip with a little "cricket" gun from Men in Black. He also dives to the ground to get away. There are clandestine meetings in San Francisco, frantic chases through Central Park and bugged meetings in Mel's Diner.

  • Danger! Suspense! Intrigue! Am I Selling This! Too Much! Ok, that's enough.
Tomorrow we finish up filming at Islands of Adventure, then Laura and I drive to the airport and head home. Therefore the final Blogging From Orlando - Day 9 post will probably not be up till sometime on Saturday. Try to contain your suspense.

Blogging From Orlando - Day 7

Five parks in five days. Is that some kind of record?


Universal's Islands of Adventure

  • Today is my and Laura's 15th Wedding Anniversary. Yay us :) More on the festivities later

  • Today was hot hot hot. Except when we were freezing cold. More on that later, too.

  • IOA is a unique park, in my experience, in that theming here is everywhere. Even overshadowing the rides themselves, there's atmosphere all over. The five "islands" in IOA are Marvel Superhero Island, Toon Lagoon (lots of classic comic strip and animated cartoon characters), Jurassic Park, Lost Continent (a combination of Arthurian Ye Olde English, Arabian, Greek and Roman mythology), and (Dr.) Suess Landing. You are completely immersed in the back stories of each area - Marvel Superhero Island is a complete comic book NYC with Daily Bugle, Lost Continent is full of myth and mystery, etc. Visually it's about the most interesting park I've visited.

  • One of the rides in Toon Lagoon was Popeye's Bilge-Rat Barge, a spinning raft ride through a raging river. I believe that was the wettest I've ever gotten on a ride - we were soaked to the bone, and never completely dried off till the day was over. Some of the rides we rode had extensive queue areas, and they were air conditioned. Which normally is a welcome relief on a scorching hot day. Well, when you're soaking wet, it causes you to freeze solid. Brrr...

  • We met my college roommate Gary at Margaritaville after the day was over and had a great anniversary dinner with a great friend.
The week is drawing to a close. Tomorrow I return to Universal Studios Florida for a day of secret filming with Gary and his brother Phillip as they produce their next big motion picture extravaganza.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Planning Your Weekend

Here's a quick notice for all you rabid Atomic Horn fans out there - we'll be back at the Eagles Lodge in Oak Ridge this Saturday night at 8pm for a whole new set.

If you go to the intersection where the Oak Ridge Turnpike meets Illinois Ave., continue going west on the turnpike away from the main business area. Just about a block down on your right is the Eagles Lodge.

The last time we were there Tish, Rich, LissaKay and Mark were kind enough to show up - I hope some of them, and maybe some others (especially in the Oak Ridge area) can make it out.

Anyway, Saturday night, October 6th, 8pm. Atomic Horns, Eagles Lodge. Be there!

Blogging from Orlando - Day 6

Ahh....some rest. This was our "nothing" day.


Not a whole heck of a lot of anything
  • Even though we had nothing planned for the day, we had to get up early and hear the obligatory time-share spiel. Blah, blah, blah, yada, yada,, we're not buying, no we're not upgrading, whatever. Give me my $75 in Disney Dollars, please. Thank you.

  • After spending the day relaxing in the room, we visited a new place on the Disney property, Disney's Boardwalk. This is a nice area near the BoardWalk Resort featuring shops, restaurants and nightlife entertainment with a New England/Coney Island theme. It's a little similar to Downtown Disney, the larger shopping/eating area a few blocks away, but not so flashy and, um, frantic. Low-key, with old time charm and entertaining jugglers, magicians and rolling pianists creating atmosphere. Had a great dinner at Big River Grille & Brewing Works, strolled along the boardwalk and, due to its proximity to Epcot, watched Illuminations again from behind the buildings in between the properties.

  • A very nice, low-key, restive day.

  • Made contact with my buddy Gary who will be getting in town tomorrow evening. And we'll be getting together then. His brother Phillip, aka "The Beast" will arrive on Thursday and filming on our new movie will begin.

Tomorrow: Back to the parks! And not a moment too soon!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Blogging from Orlando - Day 5 (Epcot)

Sorry about the delay, I just needed some time to rest and recouperate.


  • This is pretty much the day we built the trip around - the 25th Anniversary of the opening of Epcot. On Oct 1, 1982 EPCOT Center became the 2nd gate at Walt Disney World and a new era of Disney parks expansion had begun. You probably know EPCOT was Walt Disney's final dream and the subject of his last filmed appearance before his death - a true, unified community of tomorrow. Over time the Disney executives modified his dream to present a vision of the future married to a permanent World's Fair with pavilions from several countries around the world. This is my favorite park of all and I felt privileged to be around for the anniversary celebration.

  • We arrived just after 8:20 and made it easily through the turnstiles to the front of the crowd gathered below Spaceship Earth. It was easy to see that plenty of Epcot fans from all over were here to celebrate. Faces painted, lanyards festooned with pins, some dressed as characters from the park - they all came.

  • When ropes dropped, we hit Mission: Space and rode with no waiting. There are two intensity levels to the ride: the original "Orange" level that produced many upset stomach and dizzy spells since it opened, and a newer, less intense "Green" level that didn't spin. We rode Green, and honestly I didn't notice a lot of difference from the last time I rode it a few years ago at full intensity. But I'm not one to get motion sick or really sense that sort of queasiness while spinning, so maybe that's just me. Anyway, try the Green if you're nervous about it, it's fine.

  • At 10:01 AM was the rededication ceremony in front of the big fountain. I don't recall the names of all the dignitaries who spoke but one was Erin Wallace, VP for Walt Disney World (a name that should be strangely familiar to those who know me personally) and Marty Sklar, one of the original Imagineers, a friend of Walt Disney's and architect of much of what we saw that day at Epcot. Some photos are below.

  • We rode Test Track, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and a spectacular new ride at Epcot, Soarin'. We then made our customary circuit of all the nation pavilions, especially the inspiring patriotic American Adventure show with new footage.

  • It had rained off and on all day and by dusk clouds were threatening again. We staked out a great spot near the edge of the lake to watch the special fireworks show, "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth". About 15 minutes before showtime the skies opened up and the rain began to pour. While we were concerned the show might be cancelled, we were more concerned about delay - once again, the resort bus had a small window to pick us up and return us to the hotel. Any delay in the start of the fireworks could mean getting left again. The rain let up after about 5 minutes, and about 9:10 Illuminations began. At the end was a special anniversary finale that was truly memorable.

  • We rushed through the park, out the entrance to the location where our bus was to be with about 5 minutes to spare.

This is a park with a lot of detail, a lot of charm, and a lot of promise and hope for the future. It's the perfect place to soak in ambiance, meet people from around the world, experience new technologies and new innovations, and enjoy the best Disney has to offer. A fantastic day.

EPCOT 25th Anniversary Ceremony - Finale

These are the last few minutes of the ceremony that marked the 25th Anniversary Ceremony at EPCOT on 10/1/2007.

Goofy Busts a Move at EPCOT 25th Anniversary

Maybe this will tide you over...

Blogging From Orlando Delayed Due to Inclement Weather

Just like the EPCOT fireworks show, "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth", the Orlando Trip report will be delayed until tomorrow (Tuesday).

That should give you an idea how part of our big day at EPCOT went yesterday...