Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy 51st Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Today marks my dear parents' 51st anniversary. When I think about their history of immigrating from Indonesia to the Netherlands and then to the United States, it amazes me. Then to raise my sister and me in a country foreign to their own and having to put us with their two 'darling' children...well, to say they are saints is an understatement.

After we went to church today, I took them to the newly opened Bonefish Grill. I've been to locations in Atlanta and Orlando, so I know how good the food tastes.

But today, the service was over-the-top excellent. Amy, our server, caught on that I said it was my parents' anniversary. She congratulated them and served us crab cakes, calamari, shrimp and scallops, and Chilean sea bass.

At the end of our meal, the restaurant manager came by with a lovely surprise for my parents, courtesy of the chef.

My parents were just plain thrilled with the chocolate covered strawberries! (As you can tell. That is a smile for Dad!)

So to my two wonderful parents. Thank you so much for all the sacrifices you made for me, and for being the best parents anyone could have hoped or asked for. I truly am blessed!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Anniversaries Abound: 'Fairytale Ending' is Just the Beginning

Why the big grin? Well, I just stopped in to one of the best collectible shops around, the family-run business called 'The Gift House' in Lakewood, Colorado.  If you want to read my glowing review on Yelp, click here.

Febra is one of my main suppliers of my Walt Disney Classics Collection obsession. Her parents, Clyde and Fay, told my parents and me on our last visit to them a few months ago about a local Chinese restaurant and market, and we were hooked. So when I asked my folks if they wanted to go to Denver with me, it was a no-brainer. I was going to take them to lunch at that Chinese restaurant, but my sister made me change our plans. (You can read about our lunch at Tucanos Brazilian Grill on Yelp too)

But I digress. The reason for this visit was not only to pick up one of my layaway WDCC pieces, but I wanted to get Mom a Bambi and Thumper piece for her collection. Dad, well, he wandered off to buy a loaf of bread from Lenny's Sub Shop (don't ask).

Febra knew how much I really wanted to see the new WDCC Fantasia Fairies, so she brought out the box and piece for me to see. Wow is it gorgeous! But I didn't want to carry that fragile piece on the plane with me, so I opted for my other "must have" (of the moment!) piece: Snow White and the Prince.


Again, this piece was much larger and more solid than I expected, but this piece really captures so much of the emotion I feel when I see that part of the animated feature. This piece was made in honor of the 75th anniversary of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. So in 2012, I was able to go to the Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney's California Adventure and pick up this beautiful piece. Like how I tied that together?

And while I didn't really care what number I got, Febra gave me #138 out of 750. And 138 is close to 1937, which is the year 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' debuted. Okay, that's a bit of a stretch.

But the piece comes with two special backstamps: one for the 75th anniversary and one for the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney Classics Collection. And tomorrow is my parents' 51st anniversary, so it's anniversary weekend! (Now I'm really out of control!)
To read more about this piece as well as seeing additional angles, check out my friend, The Duckman's Blog, at Snow White and Prince "Fairytale Ending".

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wicked Candy!

What a sweet surprise to my eyes tonight at Walgreens!  When I was checking out the Halloween section, look what I found! I brought home Cruella and Ursula.

The Witch has candy corn and Maleficent has cinnamon taffy.

The Evil Queen has apple taffy and Cruella has Red Velvet taffy.

 The Queen of Hearts has apple candy corn and Ursula has berry candy corn.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jule's Bistro: A Jewel That's Not For The Birds

I have to tell you about a favorite restaurant my friend Gina helped me discover earlier this year. The name is Jule's Bistro, and the food is fantastic! The service is outstanding too, which makes Jule's Bistro a win/win for me. Don't believe, read the review in the Star Tribune.  You can also read my reviews on Yelp.

But here's the real reason for this blog post. Gina and I had just walked into Jule's Bistro, when we saw this little boy under 10, looking at these 'Worry Birds'. His mother was sitting at a nearby table.

I saw the boy playing with the birds, and then overheard him say to his mother, "I have to take a 'Big Bird'!" The mother had a look of horror on her face, because even though it was obvious the family has a code word for "Dropping the kids off at the pool", I knew exactly what the kid meant. The mother quickly paid the bill and whisked her child out of the restaurant.

Gina hadn't heard what the kid had said, and only saw the mother's reaction, so after I dropped a load of details, we had a long belly laugh. Big Bird will now be added to my vocabulary, but I have to wonder what other Sesame Street character can be used as a colorful and descriptive metaphor. Count? Snuffleupagus? "Dropping the kids off on Sesame Street" just doesn't work.

[Follow up]

This is exactly what I was afraid of. One of my friends posted this on Facebook, and I just howled when I read it. She asked an innocent question, but in light of my lunch last week, my mind went south.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

iOS 6 Maps: A Tale of Two Cities?

Of course I love the iPhone. In fact, I have two: one for personal use and one for work.

Before you inform me that I could have one phone do it all, I know that. However, when I hired into my current job, one rule they had was that if you were to leave the company, they would keep your cell phone number. I've had my personal cell phone number for years, so I'm not about to give it up.

Fast forward a couple of years, and now the policy has been rewritten as we're paying for and ordering our own mobile phones. I could have dumped the second phone, but I tell you what. At nights, weekends and certainly on vacations, the work phone gets turned off or left at home. Because really, what marketing issue could be that important that it can't wait? (Apparently my coworkers can come up with a list of things that they think are, but in the grand scheme of things, those issues are not.)

But I digress. Back to the new iPhone 5. I can't wait for my contract to be up in a couple of weeks so I can order the new phone. I timed it just right to avoid the first onslaught of people waning the phone and then be disappointed because of a delay in shipping. This way, I should be able to get my new phone almost as soon as I order it.

By now, we've all heard or read the pros and cons of the iPhone 5. Hopefully this major con will be fixed in the weeks ahead, because it's major. In fact, I've held off from upgrading my iPhones, iTouch and iPad to iOS6 because of the maps feature. How can one little thing like that be the source of so much controversy? Well, for those of us who travel a lot or must trust reliable maps to navigate unfamiliar cities, this is a huge problem.

Below is a screenshot of part of the review by Mashable, a totally trustworthy source when it comes to technology. I bring to your attention part of the article that, of course, has significance to me. There's a link below the image to the full article.

Sadly, the images I was going to grab of the Twitter screenshots have been removed from the article, perhaps at the request of Twitter. They were funny! But after doing a quick search, I did fine one image, which is also below, along with another one that I found humorous.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nemo Found...In Stunning 3D

Some time ago, Disney/Pixar announced they would be releasing several classic and popular animated features in 3D, and 'Finding Nemo' was one of them.  I was hoping to catch it on opening day, but work prevented that, so I went to the first showing this morning. I know, why go spend a boatload of money (even at matinee prices) for a movie you have on DVD, Blu-ray and can be seen for free on TV? Let me tell you why.

The 3D treatment they gave 'Finding Nemo' doesn't have the usual barrage of stuff popping off the screen towards you. Now, you can feel the depth and breath of the ocean as the Pixar animators had intended. You actually feel like you are transported into the coral reefs, the EAC (East Australian Current, Dude!), and 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. It's almost the same feeling I had earlier this summer when I walked into Cars Land for the first time at Disney's California Adventure. It's like walking right into the movie.

Of course before the movie, we were treated with seeing 'Partysaurus Rex', a Pixar animated short. One word: Hilarious! It was worth the price of admission just to see that!

At the dentist, I'm always shy about asking for the Disney stickers I see for the kids. Today, I saw the special 3D glasses for kids. So I asked the guy taking tickets if I could trade my adult pair for those. He told me I could, but they wouldn't fit over my glasses. Noticing my shirt, he offered, "Why don't you take both pair" with a wink, which said to me, "Use and return the adult pair, but pocket the kiddie pair." I asked if he didn't mind, and he just shrugged his shoulders.

Now I see I have to make sure I remember which pair are the ones for using out in public and which will go on my Walt Disney Classics Collection Pixar shelf!

By the way, get ready this December for another Disney/Pixar 3D makeover: Monsters, Inc. Let me tell you this, I will camp out if I have to to see this one. In the previews, the scene when Mike, Sulley and Boo find the room with all the doors is amazing! (That's as close as I can get to Mike's coloring) I will be willing to pay full price just to see that scene in 3D!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Treat for The Senses

When you travel a lot, there are many things that drive you nuts.

No, not those kind of nuts.  Stuff like this. First flight out of MSP to MKE in the morning at 7:00 AM and the plane not being clean. Really? What did the Delta cleaning crew do the night before? Not clean the plane, I can assure you.

For example, here's a pretzel that could have covered up the lighting strip on the floor, and prevented me from finding the nearest exit.

 Then in my seat pocket, I was greeted with an old newspaper and other bits of trash. I suppose it could be worse.
On the return flight from MKE to MSP, it got worse. Again Delta didn't have time to clean the plane in between flights because they want to adhere to the "on time" departure schedule and avoid the fine. This flight exposed me to 'Hints from Heloise'.  What does that mean?

When your lav smells like 236 passengers let their bowels explode, throw in a pack of coffee to mask the stench. My flight attendant friend, Fran, confirmed that it's true. It's like how you're supposed to sniff coffee beans to clear your sense of smell when sampling fragrances. Sometimes, it doesn't work, as in this case. Using coffee to try and cover up the stench of unprocessed Taco Bell isn't as effective as using Lysol.

I'm a Freak...About Germs

At a company meeting in Illinois earlier today, the fact that my coworker, Greg, and I are proud card-carrying germ freaks was discussed when the comment was made that I had a bottle of hand sanitizer sitting in front of me. If you can't imagine it, then here's something that will help you visualize it.

The timing was right, so to speak, when I arrived at the Milwaukee Airport (MKE) for my flight back to Minneapolis (MSP). The 'gentleman' took his laptop carrier from curbside, rolled it into the Men's Room, and went to buy dinner. He was gracious enough to plop his laptop carrier on the table where everyone eats and didn't bother wiping it down. Not only that, he had the nerve to sit at another table!

So you wonder why I'm a germ freak?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I Never Look Back, Darling!

Sure, I have 'The Incredibles' on DVD and Blu-ray, but for some reason, whenever a Disney/Pixar movie is on TV, I'm compelled to watch it. The same goes for Star Wars and Star Trek movies.

Besides Dash, my favorite character from the movie is Edna "E" Mode, perfectly voiced by Disney Animator, Brad Bird.

I'm bummed that the Walt Disney Classics Collection didn't sculpt Dash, but I'm lucky to have Edna in my collection. I think Ruben Procopio did a great job, don't you think?

When I was working with a client in in Danville, CA in 2005, she was able to get me into Pixar for my own personal tour! I wish I could have taken pictures, but for obvious reasons, they didn't allow it. I saw so many things that I wish could be shared with the general public. They had a section on a wall that looked like wallpaper bordered that were all sketches of Edna. They also had a wall outside of their screening theatre where all the "voices" of past Pixar movies signed their names.

I was able to go to the gift shop, but they didn't have a lot. If you look closely in the picture below, you'll see I was able to pick up a business card and pencil as proof that I really was there. And this is on my tribute to Disney/Pixar WDCC shelf in one of my curio cabinets.

To see other Walt Disney Classics Collections 'Incredibles' piece, click here and visit the Duckman's Inside Report.