Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bob Barker is RETIRING!!

In response to the news that Bob Barker is retiring, I present my handy-dandy guide to The Price is Right Experience. Otherwise known as my 36 hour adventure into the heart of America's favorite game show, or the definitive guide to The Price is Right Process, or a multi-eyed monster of a blog entry that will destroy cities and eat children. Originally posted on my old blog at fidgit.org, May 28th 2004.


As some of you know, I just finished my ten day vacation to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego. Before I left, I decided that my life just would not be complete without being a potential contestant on The Price is Right, quite possibly my favorite game show, in the history of game shows, ever. So we sent away for tickets (Send a self-addressed envelope to Tickets, 7800 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles...) and awaited the day.

The first thing I learned during my month-long wait for the show (besides how slim the Internet Information is on this process), is that merely having a ticket does not guarantee you a seat in the audience. From the (very few, surprisingly) websites dealing with The Price is Right Experience, I learned that you must show up early, wait in a long line, and endure a slight rigamarole to earn the opportunity to be a potential contestant. Little did I know how much rigamarole it would entail.

Our tickets were for Monday, May 10th at 1:30 PM. On Sunday, May 9th, after spending the previous day travelling, we decided to go to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure theme parks -- and had a really fantastic day that lasted from awakening at seven AM until we left the parks at nearly 11:30. We then travelled back to our hotel so I could try to get a few hours of sleep before getting up at the asscrack to go across the street (our hotel was directly across the street from CBS Studios, which was pretty convenient for this process..) and wait in the line. So I hauled my tired ass up to the room, and called down for a wake-up call at 4:00 AM.

"FOUR AM!?!? Why are you getting up so early??"

"Well, I'm going to do the whole Price is Right thing..."

"Oh! Well you missed out on the seminar!"

(The Farmer's Daughter Hotel holds TPIR seminars every night before a taping of the show at 10:30 PM)

"Yeah, I know.. we just got back from a day at Disneyland..."

"Well come on down, I'll give you a special one!"

So we went downstairs to listen to an enlightening seminar on the ins and outs of The Price is Right Process from Ted, the night manager of the hotel. He told us many fascinating things, many of which I will be telling you about from first-hand experience. The most important thing he told us was this -- that the entire point of the very short interview you go through to be a contestant on TPIR surmises two things: One, that you're an interesting, dynamic, exciting person that will make for interesting TV -- and Two, that you're smart enough to play the games. That's it, really. No drawing numbers out of a hat, no randomness at all. They know exactly who they're calling up before every show, and they are VERY good at picking people who'll make a good show. He also told us something that usually happens during the process, but didn't happen to me (I suspect it was because we were running late) -- that they ask you this question:

"Other than PLINKO, what is your favorite game on The Price is Right?"

How you answer this question can mean the difference between getting selected or not. They're looking for intelligence, personality, and, weirdly enough, physical restraint (i.e. if you flail your arms around or get too excited physically). The reason for this is that Bob Barker is a very frail guy. He's 83 years old, and a good stiff breeze will break every bone in his body. A few years ago, a woman got on stage and actually picked him up -- a friendly gesture on her part that broke four of Bob's ribs and put him out of comission for three weeks.

The seminar ended at about one-fifteen AM. Bear in mind that I had been awake for eighteen exhausting Disneylanding hours at this point, and was already starting to get really loopy. So I thanked him for his time, and he told me to give him our room number so he could call me when the line gets to be a certain length. If you wait too long, the line gets too big, and you might not get into the theatre. The thing that they never tell you about TPIR (and probably other large studio audience game shows) is that huge chunks of the show is 'sold out' in advance to large groups of people. Which is why you always see huge crowds of SIGMA-KAI-WHATEVER on The Price is Right! Those people don't have to wait in line, they just show up with their tickets at a pre-ordained time and that's that. The rest of us mere-mortals have to wait in a very long line. The hotel has this system figured out, as many contestants stay there before their show (as evidenced by this photo of the wall-o-winners that they have in their lobby.) So they know that you're pretty much guaranteed to get in if you're out there by the time the line is between the second and third trees from the gate (their meter, not mine!)

So I gave him my room number, and he said he'd call me! So I ran upstairs to get as much sleep as I could before having to go back down. My companions, not sharing the same single-minded obsession that I have with The Price is Right , decided to (perhaps wisely) forego the experience and went to bed.

Precisely five minutes after I fell asleep, the phone rang! "COME ON DOWN!" the voice at the other end said. So, I grabbed my ipod and indeed "went on down." It was 2:00 AM. Most of my random thoughts on the line experience can be read in the previous blog entry, which I wrote while sitting in line. Suffice it to say, I sat like a lizard from 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM at the front-end of a very long line.

At 6:00 am SHARP, the gates opened up, the crowd gave a WHOOP! and we filed in. I was met at the gate by two very chipper CBS pages in their fire engine red blazers. One of them handed me a yellow ticket slip with a number on it, and the other one (who looked EXACTLY like that old Encyclopedia Britannica kid) very cheerily told me to "Come back at seven!"

Come back at Seven! Precisely 24 hours after I'd woken up! It was like I was at the tail-end of a season of 24 where Jack Bauer did nothing but go to disneyland and mess around with his friends.

So I went back to the Hotel and sat in the lobby, talking to Ted, who was still on duty and very sympathetic to my plight. (though he wouldn't tell me exactly how many times he'd done it, I think he was a little embarrassed of the final tally).

Six-fifty came, and I was back out there. I walked through the gate, another page grabbed my little yellow numbered ticket and scribbled another number on it with a sharpie and informed me to "come back at nine!"

Nine! Oh my, what to do until then. I went back up to the room and tried not to fall asleep, as I would turn into a flesh eating zombie infected with RAGE if that happened to me at this point in the process. I don't deal well with 'naps.'

By the time it was time to go back, Cabel was awake and wanted to see what the hub-bub was about... so we walked back over and milled around for a little while. One interesting thing about being a fan of TPIR basically my whole life is how much the 'shirt people' have grown from from a minority to the majority by a factor of what seems like a billion. I was absolutely in a very small group of people that weren't wearing some sort of home-made TPIR-Centric shirt. Some were really good, and some were really awful (An entire group of women had blue t-shirts with 'BARKERVILLE II' on the front, and 'I LOVE JESUS AND DULCE' written in bright yellow PUFF-PAINT on the back. I listened in to them and found out that Dulce is Bob Barker's cat. Creepy!) Most fell somewhere in between.

Then we all lined up on metal benches outside of CBS Studios (The Bob Barker Prominade) in the order of the number written on our yellow cards, and basically sat there from nine AM until about 11:30. In this decently long time (which seemed fairly short, considering I'd just spend many more hours sitting on the sidewalk), they take your social security number, verify your proof of ID, and give you the good ol' adhesive yellow pricing tag with your name written in huge block letters.

After that, a little door opened up at the far end of the building we were all huddled around, and a little man brought out two folding director's chairs and set them up a few yards from where we were sitting. About ten minutes later a wiry little fella and his assistant came out with their clipboards and sat down. They filed us before these two gents in groups of ten. They basically asked us two questions: Where are you from, and what do you do? They pick every contestant for my show based on these two pieces of information! I find this aspect of The Price is Right Process to be more amazing than anything else, really. Occasionally, they ask a few followup questions -- which makes me think I was on the short list for getting called up. The first guy they asked a followup to DID get up, he was in my group of ten. But here's my exchange with the producer:

"Hey there, (looks at my tag) Alex -- Where are you from and what do you do?"

"Hiya, I'm Alex Pasco, I'm a web developer from Portland Oregon -- and I'm in town for the big game trade show. But as far as I'm concerned, the only games I want to play are RIGHT IN THERE! *pointing at the building behind me*

"Wow, that's great! What kind of web developer are you?"

(here's where my fatigue really got the best of me, because I thought up the witty retort of "The kind that still has a job!" about five seconds after I came up with this brilliant response:)

"Umm, we make all kinds of sites!" (barf)

So he continued down the line, and we continued on to the METAL DETECTOR AND SEARCH PROCESS! The Price is Right (and all game shows, I suspect) are absolute goddamn nazis about cell phones and digital cameras. Not only to protect their intellectual property, but if a phone rings or a flash goes off while they're taping, THAT'S IT! NO SHOW! They declare it a non-show, and everyone immediately goes home. If you've won anything, *FOGHORN* Too bad, so sad, you win NOTHING, and you go out and beat the tar outta the cellphone/camera in the parking lot! Where game shows are concerned, you only WIN anything when your show airs -- before that, you haven't won a thing. So when you see people on TPIR milling around after they win their showcase, they aren't like, going to hitch up that boat to the SUV and drive to San Diego and skipper their three-hour-tour to Catalina Island, no sir/ma'am.

So they verified that I had no phones, cameras, knives, guns, bombs, handcuffs, and that my gameboy advance was none of the above -- and we all got led around the corner to... ANOTHER BUNCH OF BENCHES! BYE BYE SEATVILLE, HOORAY FOR BENCHTOWN! *fanfare* So we sat on those benches entertaining one-another (and in my case, trying not to fall asleep -- 31 hours awake at this point in the tale) by hollering, running around, and one guy spent the entire time standing by the men's restroom and showing every woman that walked by the way in -- which they ALL fell for. Pretty funny, the first few dozen times -- and then it became Gallagher's Sledge-O-Matic.

AND THEN, OH LAWDIE YES! The doors opened up, and we filed into the Bob Barker Studio and took our seats. Fourth Row! Right behind Contestant's Row! Oh for all things that are holy, I couldn't believe I was sitting in the fucking PRICE IS RIGHT auditorium.

The first thing of note, and you'll hear many people say this: It's Smaller Than You'd Think. And yes, it is -- but not as small as I'd been led to believe. The stage and set have been updated a few times since 1972, but you still see vestages of the old TPIR everywhere. Almost EVERYONE who works on the show is old -- the camera guys, the floor director -- the only guys that I could see that weren't old were the new announcer (RIP, Rod Roddy), and another floor director who looked and acted like a coked up 1980s "LA MAN" complete with his hawaiian shirt and windblown hair. They were playing a really with it mix of early 90s/late 80s party songs, including Wild Thing and Bust a Move.
The BACK of Contestant's Row also looks really plain. there's only an indicator saying where you should stand, a microphone, and a little light with an arrow indicating where you should walk if you get called up. The light comes on if you're the closest bidder without going over.

After about fifteen minutes, the new TPIR announcer came out to warm up the crowd and give us THE RULES. The rules were mostly what we all know about how the show works, but there were a few I didn't know, mostly centered around BOB. So check it out. Rule number 1: DON'T HURT BOB. I'm serious, this is a real rule, they make you repeat it several times. Refer to my earlier comment about the stiff breeze. Rule number 2: You can shake Bob's hand. Rule number 3: You can give Bob a hug! Rule number 4: Ladies, you may kiss Bob. Guys: Don't kiss Bob! Isn't that precious?

NOW IT WAS TIME FOR THE SHOW! Cokehead came out and made us stand up and scream our heads off, we were never enough for this guy, he always wanted more more more! I was fine with that, even though I hadn't slept for 33 hours at this point, I was AY OKAY, and GAME for whatever he wanted me to do. So even though the ceiling was growing, and the room spun a little bit every time I stood up, I was good to go. So while we were screaming and yelling, the first four names are called out to COME ON DOWN! It is so loud in that room that you can't even hear the announcer -- so the names are written down on big pieces of tagboard that they hold up in front of the audience.

Then, almost before we know it, BOB IS OUT, and in FRONT OF US - with his slight build (from fifty years of being a vegetarian, no doubt) and microphone that is a physical metaphor for his body. At this point, cokehead doesn't even have to do a goddamn thing -- people LOVE this guy! The crowd is just going nuts, and Bob eats it up.

So the show starts, and I won't really go into most of that -- most of you probably know what goes on during The Price is Right. What was interesting is that between every one of the pricing games, while they're resetting the stage for the next, Bob engages the audience in Q&A. Bear in mind this guy is 83 years old -- but sharp as a TACK! He can read the nametags far out in the audience, and can hear most things you say. He can probably see and hear better than I CAN! He's quick, and funny -- making quips and jokes all the time. You can really see why he is the perfect host of the show. They're inducting him into the Television Hall of Fame this month, and I think that's just faaantastic. I've been watching him on TV since I was three years old -- probably longer than ANYONE currently on television!

Another interesting thing is how DIY a lot of TPIR really is. I'm sure it hasn't changed since the day it premiered. For instance, occasionally you'll see a door with a vertical line on it that parts to reveal a fabulous set of golf clubs, or whatever -- what you don't see is that it is just a big piece of wood with a design painted on the front and wheels attached to the bottom. Two stage hands are holding onto each side, and they THROW IT OPEN and BACK to two other stage hands who catch it and move it backstage. Most of the games involving moving setpieces operate this way. No motors! I love it.

Another thing is that the BIG WHEEL is really impressive in person. I was expecting it to go the 'wow, that's really lame, actually' route but it was exactly the opposite. It's way bigger than it looks on TV, and the colors are bright and pop out at you. It looks like it weighs about a thousand lbs, and the BEEP BEEP BEEP of the wheel is REAL and LOUD. Totally cool.

The entire taping lasted about an hour and a half. Between games, it'd take anywhere from five to ten minutes to reset the stage. When the show was over, we all lost our minds once again, and started to file out of the theatre. I stuck around for a few minutes to watch what was going on -- and they were IMMEDIATELY doing reshoots of Barker's Beauties, the products, and the showcase. I guess that's what they mean when they say the 'Portions of this program not affecting the outcome were edited..' line.

In all, it was an awesome experience, well worth the sacrifice of time and sleep I put into it. Thus, I let you, the readers of TEH INTARWEB, share it with me. If you are a fan of The Price is Right, I URGE you to take part in the experience, it is one in a million.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

MC Trebek!

No commentary necessary, it's just flat out awesome.

I still think he looks weird without the mustache, though.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Oh, I love live news bloopers more than just about anything:

The best part is how quickly the "NEWS PERSONA" comes down once the cockroach rears its head.

Invention of the century

Hats off to you, HP. You've put aside more important things to tackle this essential issue: the camera that make chubby people thinner! Or, as I like to call it, THE MYSPACE CAMERA!

Oh sorry for not updating for so long, I was busy learning how to drive and finally honestly it's about time getting my driver's license!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Picture of Corporate Responsibility

Now see here. I was treated to this glorious image of a Sherwin Williams paint truck while on the way to work today. I don't think any further commentary is necessary, but can I just say WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING? I mean seriously.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Harry Potter and the Wizard's Sleeve

Ok, everyone. Do this right now. Visit this internet web site, download the two .mp3s, and follow the instructions. It's an alternate soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (philosopher's stone to our friends in jolly olde england) that you listen to alongside the movie, a-la The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz. It's absolutely hilarious and extremely well written. Really, really, really good stuff!

MM to the VI

So I'm curious. What's the deal with roman numerals with regard to copyright law? Movies and TV shows are always copyright with dates that are expressed in roman numerals, and books aren't. Does anyone know why this is?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Lord of the Cul-De-Sac

Listen ye blog readers, for I shall tell ye a tale. A tale of a mysterious neighborhood living somewhere deep in the misty woods of Tualatin/Portland. Yes, true adventure awaits for those emboldened for the journey. Beware, though! This neighborhood tis not for the faint of heart! Without making thee bite thine nails or tap thein foot any further, BEHOLD: The Lord of The Rings Suburban Neighborhood.

Yes, it is Rivendell Drive. The gateway to a marvelous suburban subdivision that is for some unknown reason entirely named (and somewhat themed) after The Lord of the Rings. I wasn't sure what I'd find, but as it turns out I found a lot!

Exhibit A: A VERY EVIL MAIL BOX. I have no idea what's even going on here, but that mailbox just flat out looks dangerous. I would expect this sort of thing from a home on Mordor drive, not Rivendell.

Let's see what other charming streets we can find while strolling down Rivendell Drive, shall we?

Yes, those no-good TOOKS are here. Property values just went DOWN.

Yep, they're all here.

There's even a fire-pit nestled into the Thistlebrook Court Cul-De-Sac, so the hobbitses can roast their whatevers and sing their eye-rollingly long and boring songs while the sun goes down.

I'm still really curious exactly as to HOW this happened. One of the residents bird-dogged me while I was taking photos of the signs. When I asked him what the deal was, he pretty much shrugged and said something along the lines of 'they're all named after a children's book or something... I don't know...' I want to go back with a video camera and interview everyone to figure out What the Deal Is. The going theory is that some hippie had the land in their family and agreed to sell it UNDER CONDITIONS ONE..... At least I hope that's the story, that's the best story.

Though, right in the center of Rivendell Drive, there is one house that's far and away bigger and architecturally different than the rest:

I'd say there's a fair chance that whomever built this house is ELROND, THE LORD OF RIVENDELL.


So thus concludes your tour of this magical land. If you'd like to see this place for yourself, I'd be happy to draw you a map, it's right up the street from my office.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

On other Disney Pals

So while we were walking around with Pal Mickey, I couldn't stop thinking about what Disney could do with the OTHER characters as theme park guides. So check it out:

Pal Donald
Pal Donald demands you take him where he wants to go, and when you, he starts yelling incomprehensible duck-ese at you and punches you in the mouth.

Pal Goofy
Pal Goofy is always lost, and when you ask him what to do, he just goes, 'Heeeeyuck!' or 'Well I don't know, Pal! How bout we just go over there to whatever ride's closest. ' or he just constantly makes you take him to restaurants and candy stores.

Pal Launchpad McQuack
I just added this for fun, I don't really have a joke for this one.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Meet Pal Mickey

This little fellow riding on a towel-animal is Pal Mickey! He's the newest Imagineering toy to hit Walt Disney World (and I'm quite sure you'll be seeing this little fellow in the other parks in short order.) Pal Mickey is a brilliant piece of technology masquerading as a toy. He is useful, fun, and interesting. Peppered throughout all the WDW parks are little RFID transmitters that Pal Mickey uses to know his location. When you carry him around in the parks, he always knows where he is and he uses that information to tell you all sorts of great stuff. Mickey will giggle and shake when he has something to say, and when you squeeze his hand or tummy, he'll tell you things like parade times, background trivia about attractions and locations, which attractions have short wait times, where the characters are appearing in the parks, and much more. He also likes to lead you in sing-a-longs, tell extremely corny jokes, and play games. He's really a lot of fun, and kept surprising us all the time. When you take him home, he loses his ability to tell you about the parks, but he can still tell jokes, sing songs and play games until you bring him back. I am SURE that they have big, big plans for the future of Pal Mickey.

Pal Mickey proved immediately useful. On the first night we arrived in Orlando, we popped into the Magic Kingdom after dinner and the fireworks to walk around and maybe ride something while everyone was leaving after the fireworks. We were walking past Splash Mountain, and I told Shannon that we should christen our experience with a ride on quite possibly my favorite disney attraction ever. At the time, she was a little nervous about big drops, and wanted to keep the first night as chill an experience as possible. So I respected that, and didn't push it any farther.... BUT PAL MICKEY DID! The first thing Pal Mickey said to us was 'Hey Gang, why don't we check out Splash Mountain?' So I explained to Shannon that we can't possibly argue with Pal Mickey, that Pal Mickey would certainly never encourage her to go on a ride that is SCARY... so she did, and is no longer afraid of Splash Mountain. She's also no longer afraid of larger and more terrifying roller coasters, but that's a blog entry for another day.

You really are a pal, Mickey.

On DeVine

This is DeVine. She lives at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and comes out periodically to visit the guests. I use visit in the broadest of terms here, as she doesn't communicate in any sort of traditional sense. She comes out of the forest, walking on long stilts attached to her hands and feet. With only non-verbal communication, she languidly moves through the crowd, stopping to look at people, hide behind the folage, or just poses next to things -- and she is remarkable. We stopped to watch her for quite a while, and her performance was amazing. Equally interesting was the crowd reactions. Some people (like us) were VERY into watching her. Others ranged from interested to absolutely dismissive. It was kind of sad to see a grumpy parent hurry their child by in a stroller and to hear the child get interested in DeVine, only to have the parent snap back with something like, 'Oh, that's just a lady.' or 'She's a tree honey, we have to hurry to Expedition Everest.' She's not 'just a lady', and Expedition Everest sure ain't going anywhere. Animal Kingdom is one of the few theme parks in the world that actually rewards you for taking time to understand and appreciate it, and DeVine is a perfect example. So if you're ever at AK, do yourself a favor and loiter in the area between Africa and Asia. Spot animals in the Tree of Life while you wait. You'll be glad you did.

On Mission: Space

Mission:Space presented me with a few complicated hurdles to get over before we left on our trip. You see, not three or four days before leaving, a lady died from a stroke shortly after riding M:S. The autopsy and a short investigation proved that Disney wasn't at fault, but that didn't help my overactive imagination one bit. My brain kept yelling 'OHHHHHHH ALLLLLLLLEX, WHAT IF YOU HAVE A BLOOD CLOT SOMEWHERE, LURKING IN YOUR BODY, JUST WAITING FOR MISSION: SPACE TO UNLOCK IT AND ENABLE ITS DEADLY, DARING ESCAPE DIRECTLY TO YOUR BRAIN?' Yeah, my brain is kind of a jerk sometimes. But after rationalizing it about a hundred thousand times, I realized that I was being incredibly silly, that statistics were unbelievably on my side, and I'm a healthy young fellow that probably has nothing to worry about. I was right. Mission: Space is unbelievable. Mission: Space is ALSO probably the most unique ride that Disney has ever built. It's part motion simulator, part centrifuge, all awesome.

First off, I can TOTALLY understand why a lot of people have their knickers in a twist over Mission: Space. If you are at ALL prone to motion sickness, M:S will give you a whuppin' worthy of Mr. T, and then some. Most of the people howling over how M:S should be closed because it killed two riders with pre-existing hazardous medical conditions probably fall into this category. It is, hands down, the strangest spinning sensation I've ever felt. It's SIMILAR to rides like The Gravitron and The Roundup. Things that you find at carnivals that spin round and round and ultimately make most you throw up. The Mission:Space difference is that it tricks your brain into thinking you're moving in different directions by having you stare at a screen that is not giving you any indication that you are spinning at all. The only time I ever perceived a 'spinning' sensation was at the very beginning, when the centrifuge started to spin, and then WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, look out. It is honestly the strangest sensation I've ever felt, and I've been on all the carnival type spinners. The real difference is that the pods on Mission: Space can twist and turn on different axes to move the g-forces to different places -- which is a very unique sensation, indeed. It also has the added brain-tricker of giving each person in the pod a role (commander, pilot, etc), and each person has a task to do. You press buttons at certain times to fire second stage rockets, put the crew into hypersleep, etc. Having something to focus on really helps, I'm sure. Plus, there are tons of little switches and buttons all over the cabin, and some of them make noises when you press them. We were actually stuck in the pod for a little while while the ride was down, and I amused myself the entire time by doing 'pre-flight checks' and the like. Just hittin' buttons like there was no tomorrow.

We went on it twice, it never made us feel queasy -- just... weird. But fun! The second time, we rode with this elderly English couple who seemed to really get a kick out of it, which was really awesome.


Disney Decompression: EPCOT

Well, we're back. Seven days in Central Florida! I'm going to be writing some focused blog entries on certain specific things later on, but these entries are going to serve as a 'brain dump' of collections remarkable things that weren't worth an entire entry on. These isn't going to be a blow-by-blow trip reports, per se -- I don't really find those all that interesting. Just tidbits of things that are new, interesting or of note, organized by park


Let's just lead right off with my personal favorite theme park in the entire world, EPCOT. It'd been about four years since I'd been there (and probably eleven or twelve since Shannon had), and neither one of us had ever seen everything, so there was a lot to take in.

Future World:

Soarin' and The Land
Soarin' is a direct copy of Soarin' Over California, at California Adventure in Anaheim, shoe-horned into The Land pavillion in the space that was occupied by the much made-fun-of show, "Kitchen Kabaret" (and its very, very short lived replacement, "FOOD ROCKS!"). It's just as good, as to say it is exactly the same, though the queue is lacking in comparison (and since the Soarin' queue at DCA isn't exactly the Ritz, that is to say that the queue is pretty plain.) What IS remarkable about Soarin' at WDW, is it has turned The Land from a tumbleweed-filled cricket-chirping ghost town into The Place To Be in Future World. The Land was positively packed every time we were in there, and that's pretty amazing. One of my favorite attractions in all of Future World is in there, the slow, boring but immensely interesting boat ride through the greenhouses where you learn all about aeroponic and hydrophonic growing techniques. This puts most people into a complete coma, but I think it's pretty interesting. We also took the "Behind the Seeds" tour of the greenhouse, which was interesting and fun. The Land's greenhouse is a place I could literally spend hours and hours inside, it's unbelievably cool and it's great that Soarin' is finally helping to expose it to an audience. Even if that audience takes a nice little snooze -- but let's face it, WDW is tiring. Embrace that nap during the seed ride, America.

Journey Into Imagination
Ohhhh poor, Imagination Pavillion. Once, you were the best thing about Future World. Once, you had so many cool things to do. Now, you have an uneven dark ride that is amusing but not incredibly good, and an ImageWorks playground that is just a barren shadow of what it used to be. Granted, the ImageWorks playground was dated as all get out, but the new one basically consists of three things: Conduct music with your hands, step on things on the ground that make noises, and email funny photos to people. Those three things are exactly replicated through tons of individual stations, and just don't have the amaze factor that the old stuff did. I remember stepping on colored hexagons on the floor to create a symphony! Walking down a neon rainbow hallway where the colors would follow you as you walk! HUGE pin-boards that had light shining on them so when you made the impressions underneath, they would light up in interesting patterns... so much great stuff. So sad that it's all boarded and boxed up somewhere and replaced with boring things that no one seems to like that much.

In true Innoventions style, we ignored it entirely. HA! I still miss Communicore.

The Living Seas
Sigh. The Living Seas actually gives me a bit of a frownface these days. It used to be easily one of my favorite attractions at EPCOT. But the SYNERGY!!! dept at Disney Parks and Resorts went overboard and turned it into basically FINDING NEMO: THE PAVILLION. What used to be a neat trip to the bottom of the ocean is now a lark with Nemo, Crush and Bruce the Shark. The entry to the pavillion used to be a 'hydrolator' that would 'take you down to the bottom of the sea', a very believable illusion that really heightened the experience. Now, the 'Hydrolator' is replaced by a 'Finding Nemo Gift Shop', and the entrance just dumps you right into the aquarium. Which honestly, well, sucks. The Aquarium is still there, and it's still beautiful, but the experience is so dampened down that it doesn't seem anywhere NEAR an adventure. The Living Seas used to be a trip to the sea floor where you could try out diving suits, see all sorts of exotic sea creatures, and feel the future's promise of cities under the sea. So that's a little sad. There is one thing that completely and absolutely redeems it though. Turtle Talk with Crush. It's the first show that Imagineering has produced featuring an interactive digital character. Crush, from Finding Nemo, swims around in a 'tank' (re: screen) and absolutely, 100% interacts with the audience. With emotion. With reactions. It's basically a 3-D animated puppet, and I was BLOWN AWAY with how realistic it was. Whomever is controlling Crush can see the audience, and picks people out of the crowd to talk to, in complete, natural conversation. It's astounding, and I can't wait to see what else they do with this technology.

But, The Living Seas is still a little sad. They were clearly doing something to the facade of the building, which concerns me. The existing facade is gorgeous, and I hope they're not just layering on Nemo characters. I'm fully in the 'Hey, there's already a great place for the Disney characters, it's called the Magic Kingdom' camp, and I think it cheapens the impact and mission of EPCOT to shoehorn characters into places they never should have been.

Spaceship Earth
I can predict the future, check it out. I predict that Spaceship Earth will be completely gutted in the next few years and a completely new attraction will take place inside the sphere. Spaceship Earth is the last of the 'old guard' attractions in Future World. It illustrates the history of human communication, just as World of Motion (now Test Track) traced the history of transportation and Horizons looked into the future of both communications and transportation (Horizons has been demolished and Mission: Space is in its place). I think SE's days are numbered, so see this odd collection of audio-animatronics while you can. It's still pretty charming in its own way.

Mission: Space
I have so much to say about Mission: Space that it's getting its own entry later on.

Test Track
Test Track is still something of a head-scratcher. On one hand, it's a pretty neat ride that shows how a test car is put through its paces, ending with one kickass speed test on a track. On the other, they replaced "The World of Motion" with "The World of GM, and only GM, and you'd better like GM." It's still good, though.

Club Cool



Formerly Ice Station Cool, the fabulous Cokes-from-around-the-world tasting station, Club Cool now has a new home on the other side of Future World. The sad thing is now it seems to be 'Two or three coke products plus Beverly,' which really means it's now 'Trick your friends into drinking Beverly: The Pavillion.' I am very sad that the amount of unique foreign sodas has shrunk and now it's only fun to watch people's faces turn into the California Raisins when they taste Beverly. Which still tastes like ass, if you're curious -- and no I can't elaborate any further than that.

World Showcase

World Showcase is still a lot of fun. A collection of pavillions & restaurants that are themed upon real countries, staffed by people from those countries. It's mostly fun to just shop for candy and pastries you can't buy in the United States, but has its charms nestled deep within. You have to take your time, stop and smell the roses, and poke around to find the special and hidden qualities of Future World. The bamboo kinetic water garden in Japan, the tile mosaic bathhouse in Morocco, the waterfall in Canada, the night sky and volcano in Mexico. It's a great place to just sit, relax, and let the day pass by. Plus, it's also the site of My Favorite Fireworks Show in All the World, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Which is still impressive, inspirational, and beautiful.

EPCOT is alsowhere we first encountered the PhotoPass photographers. PhotoPass is an absolutely brilliant business decision by Disney. Remember in 1890, when you'd go into a theme park and there'd be a few photographers at the entrance? They'd take your photo and hand you a little card that you could go use to buy your photo later? Well PhotoPass punches that concept right in the teethbox. You carry around a little bar-coded card with you, and whenever any of the PhotoPass photographers takes your photo, they scan it and hand it back to you. You can either go to any of the PhotoPass stations and view all your photos, or you can wait until you get home and view them ALL in a web browser. You can even add decals, borders and effects to them, or order a full dump of all your photos on CD. It's amazing, and I bet it's going to be massively successful for them.

So that's pretty much my EPCOT brain dump. Coming soon: Tidbits on Pal Mickey, Mission: Space, DeVine, Dinners and the rest of the parks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I have two things to say today.

#1, I found an AWESOME job at Aperion Audio, I officially start May 1st.

#2, I'm going to Walt Disney World in two days.

I am very very excited about both of these two events.


There will be much more, just not now, I am exhausted at the moment.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Digging in the yard

I love gardening. There is something so utterly calming and theraputic about yardwork. When I was young and yardwork was more of a chore than a pleasant diversion, I hated it with white hot intensity. But now that the gardens are mine, it becomes a delightful little Sunday-afternoon activity. I've heard it said that the chemical released in your brain when you're gardening is the same chemical that coarses through when you're gambling. I guess at a very basic level, the same system of small achievement based motivation is in play. I can believe it, the euphoria produced when I stand around and watch things I've planted grow is really quite nice. It's especially nice when you're eating the food produced from your very own plot of land.

These days, my yardwork enjoyment has become so great that I not only enjoy but look forward to things like raking and mowing the lawn. Have I gone crazy?

PS: this does not mean I would look forward to mowing your lawn. This only applies to my lawn!

I have quite a bit more to talk about, but I can't talk about it yet.

Oh, and everyone should see V for Vendetta and Everything is Illuminated. Both were absolutely teriffic.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tetris DS Friend Code!

522835 980804

If you'd like to get past Nintendo's crybaby security routine and actually, you know, play tetris ds with me, you'll have to add me to your list and then add your friend code in the comments.


Friday, March 17, 2006


Today I saw a German Shepherd on an escalator. Granted, it was a seeing-eye dog, but I honestly can't recall ever seeing an animal on an escalator before.

I can't stop being amazed at seeing a dog on an escalator. Too bad I didn't have my camera.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Liveblogging Mary Poppins

Ahhhh, painted London! What a quaint place. There's some sort of woman sitting on a cloud, I wonder what she's on about.

Oh! It's Dick Van Dyke! Welcoming us to Cherry Tree Lane! He's also a One-Man-Band! Pip-pip!

How can these people live next to an insane sea captain who seems to constantly believe the neighborhood is at war? You'd think some sort of neighborhood committee would have a little talk with ol' Admiral Boom.

Jane and Michael have just lost their Nanny! Oh no, they need a new one.

Despite his rather delightful song, Mr. Banks is actually kind of a dick.

Ahhh the wind has apparently changed, I wonder what this could mean! Oh, it means that Admiral Boom is going to shoot off his cannon again.

Bunch of wet blanket black dressed nannies are lined up at the door, they sure do look stern! I sure hope someone arrives on the scene to save poor Jane and Michael from this mess!

Oh look, the wind is blowing the grouchy nannies away, this is miraculous!

Jane and Michael think Mary Poppins is a witch, good thing this doesn't take place in NEW England in the 1700s.

Why haven't I ever noticed that Julie Andrews is actually kind of hot? This is honestly blowing my mind a little bit.

She's sasstalking Mr. Banks, this can't turn out well! Wait just one moment, Mr. Banks is confused and not angry! Why this Mary Poppins may be a psychological genius. I do believe she's actually hoodwinking Mr. Banks!

oh jesus christ she is going up the stair bannister, how can this be.

George Banks is still confused, but now happy with his new nanny. She really did a number on HIM!

Mary Poppins is getting settled in her new room and HOLY SHIT SHE IS REMOVING LIKE A TEN FOOT TALL POLE FROM HER CARRYBAG, and also an ornate mirror. Jane and Michael probably think she's Jesus at this point. Now a huge plant, this is some bag that Mary Poppins has. What else could be in the b... A BEAUTIFUL LAMP?!?!?! This bag can't be real.

She's measuring Jane and Michael with a very rude tape measure that says bad things about them, but lets Mary know that she is practically perfect in every possible way. Something tells me that Mary Poppins designed this tape measure.

Here comes the witchcraft again, she's singing a magic song that makes their room clean itself up. How is this teaching Jane and Michael important life lessons? Once she's gone, they won't have any supernatural powers to replace their utter laziness. There is a very handsome audio-animatronic bird in this scene though, and it definitely doesn't sing in any offensive accents. Uh-oh, the witchcraft toys are going bonkers!!

Park time! Spit Spot! These kids are awful singers.

Oh look, it's Dick Van Dyke again... now his job is a chalk painter? He sure is a jaunty fellow though, probably the only nice person in this entire movie! I'd really like to know the backstory between he and Mary though. Did they have some sort of tawdry relationship once? He suuuuuuuuuuuure knows a lot about Mary Poppins. Hmmm. Hahahaha jump into the chalk drawings? Dick Van Dyke is also insane, obviously. Yeah right, maybe in some kind of MAGIC LAND... oh golly well Mary got them to jump into the chalk drawings, what do you know. EFF U DICK VAN DYKE, U R PWN3D BY MARY POPPINS

Animated shit, victorian costumes, jolly holiday with Mary. Dick is flirting with Mary again. I'm pretty sure they DO have some kind of history. Yep, cows, chickens, singing sheep -- this is a terrifying living chalk drawing. I'm going to close my eyes until it's over.

*peeking* still not over, they're riding on turtles.

Ahh jeez, here come the kazoo waitstaff penguins. This nightmare will never end. Oh, I get it, they look like they're wearing tiny tuxedos!

OK I'm afraid I can't close my eyes until this is over, this chalk drawing wonderland is taking forever. Now they're destroying a perfectly good carousel to ride the horses across the chalkland countryside. Is nothing sacred to Mary Poppins? That's a classic carousel and now it'll take days to repair. Oh now it's time for several stuffy british stereotypes that are on a FOX HUNT! I'd really like to go back to the somewhat stereotypical London now, please. Guess not, now there's a big horse race going on. UH OH IT IS TIME FOR SUPERCALLASHEKPALILADIOSFRAGILAGGAEXPEALLIDIOSHUS! POPCORN! FILOBUSTER! SAY EM AGAIN!

Oh delightful, the rain washed them out of the chalkdrawing nightmareland. We're back in LondonSet now.

UH OH, MEDICINE TIME. This can't turn out well, everyone knows that medicine is disgus... strawberry, rum punch, and lime cordial? Mary is spiking their medicine with liquor. Worst Nanny Ever.

WTF? Mary is acting like the crazy stuff that happened earlier never happened! She's threatening them with the police if they keep talking about it? Mary is a jerk. Now she's shutting them up with a magical lullaby.

Ahhhh, Admiral Boom again! Now he's INTENTIONALLY going to wake the neighborhood up with his cannon, this movie is full of jackasses.

Breakfast time for the Banks! George Banks is grouchy as usual, he's angry that everyone is so cheerful. What a wet end! Yep, Admiral Boom is destroying their house, as predicted.

Another outing! Wait, what? Mary Poppins knows Admiral Boom too? That girl gets around.

Oh no way, Mary Poppins speaks "Dog." This is just the living end.

They're going to a very suspicious looking alley matte painting avenue. This isn't going to turn out well, she's probably taking them to buy more bootleg "medicine."

Oh my lord here's Dick Van Dyke again (No new job) and there is a dude laughing in a very familiar cartoon voice and LEVITATING. He apparently has some disease that makes him laugh and fly. :( Even Mary Poppins thinks it's quite serious. Oh. Oh no. His disease is contageous... now Dick Van Dyke and the children are laughing. I guess Mary Poppins is immune since she's a witch and all. Oh no, now Dick Van Dyke is on the ceiling too. Whew, Mary tried to keep the kids from flying too... but it's too late! Nothing can stop this disease. :\ Now Mary is using her witch-powers to levitate the teatable. Well at least she can be helpful SOMETIMES. Oh, the cure for his disease is misery!

Mr. Banks is coming home and Admiral Boom is razzing him for being late. That guy! Someone should hire a few pirates to come destroy Admiral Boom's house.

Uh ohhhhh, Mr. Banks is calling Mary Poppins on the carpet. This won't go over well, Mr. Banks is angry and a jerk and we know what that means. He wants Mary to teach the children that life is a looming battle that must be faced and fought. He's also taking a little nip off the ol' brandy crystal, so this could go downhill fast. HAHAHA HE CAN'T SAY SUPERCALLAGNALDLF oh shit I can't say it either.

Mary is a smart cookie, she's turning the tide to her favor once again! What a pistol that Mary Poppins is! She tricked Mr. Banks into taking his children to the bank. But if I know Mary Poppins (and trust me, I do), this isn't going to turn out very well for Mr. Banks!

Ahhh, the bird-lady song. I think this is what we 'In the Industry' call a 'filler song.' Come on, get to the unfortunate bank incident! That lady would honestly be covered head-to-toe in bird shit, btw. Yep, the song put the kids and quite nearly me to sleep.

Yay! It's Banks' Bank time! They see the bird woman, but Mr. Banks doesn't like to look at homeless people. Typical. On to the stuffy bank, where it's Take Your Kids To Work Day, but apparently only Mr. Banks knows about this. The other bank managers are looking down their sharp features at the old men.

Oh! Here's Old Dick Van Dyke, at last! This is a pretty good case-study on how to make yourself act old. #1: hunch over, #2: raspy voice, #3: chewing on nothing, #4 beard. He's singing a delightful song about interest and greed, but Michael only wants to give his Two Pence to the bird lady, much to the chagrin of the stuffy bank managers. Mr. Banks is still a dick, for those of you who are keeping score at home. Now he is flanked with a phalanx of like-minded british dicks who are bullying this poor child into investing his money! Oh no, Old Dick Van Dyke incited a tantrum when he stole Michael's money which in turn created A RUN ON THE BANK when the rest of the customers witnessed this! Chaos! Jane and Michael escaped with their money! Oh no, I predict bad things are going to happen to Mr. Banks after this.

Jane and Michael ran to the wharf, it is full of vicious dogs, bag ladies and... oh, it's Dick Van Dyke again! Now he's a chimney sweep! This guy has more jobs than Kirk on Gilmore Girls. Now I guess it's time for Wit and Wisdom with Dick Van Dyke. He's still the nicest person in this movie.

He's skipping them home and singing about how lucky he is. Well if he's nailed Mary Poppins, I'd wager he's lucky, indeed. The children are home....................... but where is Mr. Banks? He's not home? Is he still at the bank? I sure hope nothing bad is happening to Mr. Banks. Oh, I guess Dick Van Dyke had ulterior motives, he's cleaning the Banks' chimney. Here I thought he was doing something selfless, but noooooooooooooooooo. Oh Mary is back and she shot the kids up the chimney, now they are all sooty. Now it's time for magical sootface rooftop adventure! Oh! Mary just made stairs out of soot. I'm sure someone on usenet would be happy to point out the physical impossibility of this. Oh my, a gang of sootsweeps. I certainly hope they don't roll Michael for his Two Pence, I don't think London can bear another riot. OK there is officially far too much "Stepping in time." ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Admiral Boom obviously agrees with me, he's shooting at the chimney sweeps. Oh heavens, they are now ransacking the Banks' house with their sooty pigpen dirtbodies. Please stop stepping in time, I want to see what's going on at the bank! Oh, Mr. Banks is at home now? After his day at work, he can't be enjoying all this stepping in time. Oh good, the sweeps are finally pissing off. Whew! I AM BESIDE MYSELF WITH CURIOSITY ABOUT WHAT TRANSPIRED AT MR. BANKS PLACE OF BUSINESS. Uh oh, I think Banks is going to sack Mary Poppins. Maybe not, she just CRACKED WISE, 227 style, at Mr. Banks. Ha!

Uh oh, he's being summoned back to the bank. Finally.

Does Mr. Banks have a brain tumor? Whenever he comes home he sings whatever he's thinking about in the same tune.

Awwww Michael just gave his father the two pence. But, instead of giving his kids some wisdom, he simply said 'Thank You.' and made his way to the SCARY OLD BANK (which does indeed look quite scary at night). Wait, banks have doorbells?

LONG, DARK, BOARD ROOM. This bank has by far the strangest firing routine I've ever seen. First, they are giving him a history lesson to illustrate how long it's been since anything awful had happened to the bank. UNTIL TODAY!! Now they are tearing off his flower, punching his hat, and hell of breaking his umbrella. These bank managers are just unbelievable dickheads. But Mr. Banks is having a change of heart! He is saying SUPERCALAJAGGAMISTICEXPEALICIOOUSUS and laughing and confusing Old Dick Van Dyke and his business men. Mr. Banks has lost his mind!

Oh. Oh no. Old Dick Van Dyke has now caught the laughter disease. I wish him well in his recovery.

Now the wind is changing and it's time for Mary Poppins to break Jane and Michael's heart and take her magical crazybag and go home to her cloud-seat. Mr. Banks is no longer a jerk and is returning home singing a DIFFERENT SONG! Now he is flying kites with his kids. Admiral Boom is still an asshole. I just realized I didn't mention Mrs. Banks at all during this entire liveblog, well she is a delightful lady and a stalwart supporter of womens' right to vote. THE END!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The most disgusting soda known to man

Ok, so this post needs a bit of background. A long time ago, Coca-Cola used to have this neat museum on the Las Vegas Strip. It was full of Coke memorabilia, and featured an area where you could taste Coke products from around the world. Then one day the museum mysteriously disappeared (replaced with an M&M's museum, I believe) and the Coke-around-the-world-taste-sensation-station disappeared for a while, only to re-appear at Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center, of all places. In a small building next to Innoventions sits Ice Station Cool, where you can again sample the glorious Coke products the world over. One such product is known only as "Beverly," and it hails from beautiful Italy. Beverly is, without a doubt, the most disgusting soda I've ever tasted. It's so disgusting that people bring their friends to Ice Station Cool to torture them with a sample of Beverly. I was poking around the internet today, and found this awesome video showcasing a few band geeks and their brilliant idea -- THE BEVERLY CHALLENGE: CAN A MAN DRINK TEN DIXIE CUPS OF BEVERLY IN SEVEN MINUTES? Let's find out.

Warning: slightly graphic video. Never thought I'd need to say that for a video of a dude drinking soda pop.

Irresponsible Sandwiches

I love the internet. A treasure trove of information, social opportunities, porn and shopping. Only on the internet can you book airline tickets, meet your internet girlfriend, buy a book and a DVD, and check out the most irresponsible sandwiches the world has ever seen. So without further delay, I present the Top Four Most Irresponsible Meals found on the internet.

#4: Primanti's Sandwich

Some goof decided that a big slab of grilled meat and cole slaw, a hot fried egg, tomato and french fries between two slabs of thick Italian bread would be a good idea. I mean look at that thing, it looks like a muppet. All it needs is a few googley eyes and a harmonica and it's the newest member of the electric mayhem band.

#3: The Hamdog

hahaha oh the hamdog, I'm laughing already. Straight out of Decatur Georgia comes this monstrocity of a meal. The hamdog is obviously the sick joke the devil played on man. So let's examine the guests of the hamdog party, shall we? First to arrive is a fried egg, the cornerstone of any down-home breakfast. Then fried onions and their good pal chili kick down the door and rush to the stereo. They take the nice party mix you've prepared out and replace it with Sweet Home Alabama on repeat, turned up to 10. Unfortunately, they left the front door open and a hot dog covered in cheese and then wrapped in a fried hamburger sneaks in and immediately flips over your couch, breaks your table and barfs on that rug that you found at Pier 1. During all this chaos, a bun also snuck in and is hiding out somewhere in the basement. As anyone who's had a party of this magnitude knows, the clean up ain't gonna be easy.

#2: The Lutherburger

Legend has it, the pre-weight loss (and I guess pre-death) Luther Vandross invented this sandwich. If this is true, it's the most amazing celebrity food invention since Elvis invented the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Of all the irresponsible foods in this article, the Lutherburger is actually the least complex. It's your standard bacon cheddar cheeseburger with one destructive twist - instead of a standard bush league sesame seed bun, you press the cheeseburger between a sliced Krispy Kreme glazed donut. Turning a run of the mill meal into a nuclear explosion of fat and flavor.

#1: Untitled Insanity (We refer to it as The Food Coffin)

Yeah, okay. So this one actually transcends food. I would go so far as to say this sandwich is actually the food equivalent of astrophysics or theoretical calculus. I don't know who invented this thing, but "Tip of the Cap," as they say. So let's do a little examination of what this bad boy is made of, shall we?

We have:
One loaf of artesan bread
Four (4) hamburger patties
Countless (countless) sausage and hot dog links
Shredded Cheese
Shredded Turkey
Almost certainly a fire truck

It's unfortunate that the photo indicates that there are treasures and delights hiddin deep within the food coffin that we aren't allowed to discover. Perhaps some day an intrepid explorer may probe the depths of this fantastic sandwich and we will know the whole truth. Until then, we must be content with what we can see -- and that is one HELL of a sandwich.

So there you go, internet. They're all in one place.


Oh my gosh, there's an entire blog devoted to this type of insanity.
Pretty much each and every entry on that site absolutely obliterates everything I've listed here, I am deeply humbled.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Maya and Me

This is Maya. Maya is helping me lose some weight! I recently hit a point where I am just fed up with the state of the union of my body and the yo-yo weight gain and loss that I experience year over year (I bike to work during the summer months, but then sit and do a whole lot of nothing during the winter) -- so I thought I'd check out what Maya has to offer.

Maya is the personal trainer that comes with "Yourself!Fitness" (I have no idea why there's an exclamation mark in there) -- the videogame fitness solution. It's out for the PC, the PS2 and the Xbox, and it's actually pretty interesting. I'm about three days into it now, and it's working out pretty well.

At first glance, it seems like nothing more than a glorified at-home workout video. The kind that people used to buy in the 1890s while wearing their leotards and fashionable headbands. But once you get into it, it reveals some striking depth and is a pretty fleshed out fitness program. When you first start, Maya asks you to enter in your physical stats and runs you through a few rather grueling tests to determine your general level of fitness. You have to do a variety of physical tests, taking your pulse occasionally. When you're done, Maya tells you that you're a fat guy named Alex and you need to lose some weight. Then the game gives you a daily schedule and figures out what you need to do every day. Each day has a focus, be it cardio, core, arm or leg strength... and it mixes them all together pretty effectively. As you exercise, Maya asks you how you're doing and adjusts the workout accordingly. It's almost like teaching a Tivo, after a little while, the game really does seem to get a good sense of where you're at. She also asks you what kind of equipment you have, and if you have things like hand weights, a fitness ball, heart monitor, etc -- those will be added in to your workout.

It also has a pretty indepth progress area that isn't filled out for me yet. I presume that eventually Maya will make me do the grueling fat guy tests again and then plot my progress on the graphs.

There's also a 'meditation garden' where Maya takes you through a decent yoga routine that counts toward your daily exercise time.

So far so good though. Since starting I've lost about 2 lbs (which is on top of the ten lbs I lost over the last month), and I can really feel these workouts. This morning I got up and cursed Maya because my calves and shoulders were screaming at me, but NO PAIN NO... uhh, I forget the rest.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dudes helping other dudes out of a jam

Stephen J. Cannell and Glen A. Larson. The sure-fire creators of 1970s and 80s episodic action shows. Between the two of them, they managed to accomplish:
The A-Team
Knight Rider
Magnum P.I.
The Rockford Files
Hardcastle & McCormick
Battlestar Galactica
The Fall Guy
Buck Rogers
BJ and the Bear
The Greatest American Hero
and the Six Million Dollar Man.
What do all of these shows have in common? They're all shows that were basically about a dude or a team of dudes helping someone/some group of people out of a jam -- no matter which episode you watched! The last entry I wrote got me thinking about the death of this type of show. We've got some good shows now -- Lost, Alias, 24, etc -- but almost all the GOOD television now is based on long story arcs that continue from episode to episode. If you miss one episode, you're often lost. You certainly can't just sit down to watch one of them in the middle of the season and figure out what the heck is going on. I miss the days when I could just watch any episode of Knight Rider and see Michael and KITT beat the tar out of a few goons and help someone out of a jam. It's fulfilling and satisfying and completely resolved in 44 minutes. I feel like there's more than enough room on our 800 channels of television for some shows of this nature to come back. Preferably before some studio executive decides to green light "Curling with the Stars."

Actually, I would totally watch "Curling with the Stars"


I decided to find out what the heck the two of them are up to these days. Besides being nominally involved in the new incarnation of Battlestar Galactica on the Sci-Fi channel, Glen A. Larson isn't doing too much. Stephen J. Cannell, however, is enjoying his new career writing novels only read on airplanes.

Case Study: The Team of Experts

I love anything that features a team of experts. As soon as I'm seeing someone large and in charge in some kind of war-room with several dossiers spread out on a table, I'm hooked. If there's a lone-wolf who has a problem and needs to build a team specialists to solve his problem, I'm hooked. Why is this formula so successful? Where did it come from? Can anyone think of the FIRST team of experts movie/show? The earliest I can remember is The Dirty Dozen, but there may be a few others that I'm forgetting. Who invented the team of experts genre?

Some notable examples of the genre:
The A-Team, of course
Disney's Atlantis
The Dirty Dozen
Force Ten from Navarone
The Goonies
Mission: Impossible
Armageddon (An unpopular choice, but I stand my ground)
Ocean's Eleven

In other news, I was planning on kicking it for a little while and taking some time off before looking for a new job. I just discovered the the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is hiring an Internet Marketing Manager -- which makes me re-evaluate that plan, big time. I think we're also having a hurricane today, my house just blew away.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

VH1 Loves Everything

Hello, everyone. So the first news I should probably throw out there is that I am actually, officially, for the first time in nine years, unemployed. So, like any normal red blooded American, I was spending my first day of unemployment watching television (and working out with Yourself!Fitness, with my new close, personal, digital friend Maya) and I saw that VH1's new show 'I Love Toys' was on. Now, I received an email late last night from Casey, telling me that some of the eMerchandise t-shirts were being shown. So I watched, pause button in hand, quick on the trigger to capture this precious moment forever. So here it is, VH1's homage to http://www.eMerchandise.com (except with no gracious plug.)

I gotta admit I am pretty amused seeing my t-shirt template on snarky VH1 talking heads. Not sure if they ACTUALLY HAVE PERMISSION to use that image, but hey -- I'm no lawyer. I'm just a snarky guy watching snarky guys on VH1. Anyway, it's kind of interesting that this comes to pass the day most of us are laid off. It's like the universe is either smiling or laughing at us. Either way, I guess the universe is happy.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I don't actually love everything

"Alex, you love everything!"

I've probably heard that phrase said nearly one billion times in my life. Usually after I've gushed about the amazing-thing-du-jour, which I have a strong habit of doing.

I don't love everything, there's lots of things I don't like. Tons! Thing is, I don't feel the need to talk about them -- because something I don't like leaves my brain and goes a-walkin' down the train tracks, like a hobo in a 1940s movie. Bindle in hand. Things I love though... I shout and yell and tell everyone within earshot about how I just discovered this awesome thing, perhaps the greatest thing in the history of things, and they should enjoy it as much as I do. If they do, we both win!

This new project of mine is going to be devoted to the things I like to holler about. You won't find much panty-waisted moaning and groaning here, just me gushing about the things that move me, make me laugh, curious, interested and happy -- whether it's a video game, a piece of music, something I scanned out of SkyMall (be on the lookout for the SkyMall Product of the Week feature!), or just an insignificant tidbit that I find interesting and I hope someone else will too.

So on to the first thing! Today's gush of the day is actually BLOGGER! I've been wrasslin' around with mt for years now, and was never truly happy with it. It's a good tool, but it always had that 'designed by the IT dept' feel about it that never really gelled in my head. I like software that's simple and fun to use -- apps and tools that feel like a logical extension of my brain, rather than a hurdle I have to lurch over so I can do this or that. The current trend of FUN software is just so great, and I can't wait to see what comes next. Blogger took me all of five minutes to get set up on my own server, and it works like a charm. Solid and great. My hat is off to you, GOOGLE SLASH BLOGGER, keep up the good work.


It has come to my attention that people don't believe that I don't actually love everything! They are besmirching my good name and reputation in my comments section! I'll not stand for this, not on MY blog!
Jimmy Fallon
'The Jackal' Starring Bruce Willis
The goddamn Strokes
Perfect Dark Zero
Overacting in sketch comedy
Sex and the City
American Dad
Chris Kattan

So there you go, Steve.