Thursday, November 21, 2013

Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives

I'm back in Chicago on business, but after setting up the booth, I had some free time. So of course I decided to head out to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit.



Now, I've seen this twice before: a smaller version a few years ago at D23, and then at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library. However, there were a few pieces in this collection that I hadn't seen before.

I'm posting a few pictures now, but will find a way, and time, to post all of them.



For more details about the exhibit, as well as purchasing tickets, click here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

It's Official Over

After 20 years, it's officially over. We knew the day was coming. Part of me is sad, and at the same time, part of me is glad.

The Walt Disney Classics Collection had a fantastic run, but yesterday, Precious Moments made the announcement that the line is officially being retired. It's hard to imagine that I, along with many other friends, will no longer be able to add to our collections.

Sure, I should be happy with the hundreds (Yes, hundreds) of boxes and pieces I have, but it's been more than just collecting. It's been about the life-long friendships I made along the way. It's about the fond memories of all the conventions I attended. It's about searching for and finding that Holy Grail. For over 20 years, it's been my life.

While that's the sad part, the glad part is that they made the right decision to retire the Collection on a high note and with dignity. Some of the crap (Sorry about the non-Disney word) that they were trying to showcase under the WDCC Brand was beyond sad, and quite frankly, crappy.

So this post is dedicated to all the great Disney friends I've continued to make over the years, and especially to Don, who is so diligent by keeping a website and a blog dedicated to keeping collectors informed about the line as well as being a liaison and spokesperson back to Disney about what collectors wanted to see. 

Life will go on, but each time I look at my WDCC pieces, I will continue fun times and great friends.


To read more about the announcement and to post your favorite memories, visit the Duckman's Blog. See more about my collection at My Circle of Life.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Time for a New iPhone Case






 

I just noticed that my current iPhone case was cracked. Speaking of cracked, here's my new case. It's new but obviously it has a crack(pot) on it already.


Click here to see Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.








Monday, November 4, 2013

49er

Well, today starts the last year of my forties. Since I'm bad at math, I already had been telling people I was 49. Not the brightest bulb on the tree to make yourself older instead of younger, but oh well. Age is relative.

Because I haven't had a birthday since last year, I was unaware that Google updates their Doodle on your birthday. So I had a nice little surprise this morning. See for yourself. Click on the picture below.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I'm sure my family and friends will tell you they agree.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Coming Soon (Hopefully!): More Disney Infinity Power Disc


The past two days I finally played the Toy Box edition in Disney Infinity. All I can say (again) is WOW! There are some fun games in the Toy Box.

Without getting totally into, there's one feature I wanted to share because apparently no one has is the Hall of Heroes. Whenever your Disney Infinity figure earns medals in games, or you use any of the power discs, they become part of the Hall of Heroes.

The more you do in the Play Sets, as well as games in the Toy Box, the more your Hall of Heroes builds up.

When you put your discs in, they become part of the floor decoration in the Hall. Not only have I seen all the power discs that are currently out, but you can see others that must be coming in the future!

There were a few we've already seen in promotions, but I can't believe the Disney Infinity community has talked about these! Here are two that have me totally excited and hoping we may see a Fantasia Play Set!





There's one that my friend, Don, might be interested in seeing. Could this be the piece that gets him hooked? (Probably not!)


I also played the limited edition Crystal Lightning McQueen for the first time. I haven't really seen any pictures of the character on screen, so I'm posting a couple pictures of him. They are fuzzy because the character wouldn't stay in a front view and kept spinning around. But this gives you an idea of what the Crystal versions will look like. They have the same adventures as their 'regular' counterparts.


What you see in the background is the Castle background, but with both the Rapunzel/Tangled power discs. I really like the Alice in Wonderland discs!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Second Chance at Second Harvest Heartland Food Shelf


On Thursday, August 8, 2013, several coworkers and I volunteered for a 3-hour shift at the Second Harvest Heartland Food Shelf for our annual employee event. The afternoon consisted of sorting and re-packing food collected from food drives and donations; re-packaging bulk food such as pasta and cereal; and sorting bags of potatoes into consumer size packages for those in need.

I can't remember all the stats, but I do remember them saying one person in ten goes hungry in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. And to think how much I eat, how much we as a country/state/community waste food. They can make a dollar stretch, and with so many causes looking for money, this is one that really can help out a lot of people.

We had about 30 people from our office, but there were two other companies volunteering. Most of us went into the 'clean room', where we donned our lunch lady hairnets and surgical gloves. We started bagging pasta, moved on to bag granola cereal, and finished with bagging rice. Some of our group as well as the other companies bagged potatoes.

In our three hours of work, we roughly filled over 400 pounds of pasta, 500 pounds of cereal, and 800 pounds of rice. I think the potatoes were in the thousand-pound range. In all, we did enough work that would provide over 8,000 meals to families of four.

As a company, we bonded, and I got to learn a bit more about some of my coworkers. It was a great team building event and while we had fun, this activity serves a greater good.

I would do this again in a heartbeat and I highly recommend it to companies, groups of friends, or if you feel like you want to 'pay it forward'.

Pictures say thousands of words. Just look at all these happy volunteers. 
It says it all.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/2harvest/collections/72157631635829239/

Of course, in our group of bean counters, there are some who don't know how to smile. And look at how some awkwardly pose for pictures. That's never the case for yours truly!
(Click on the picture to view all those happy faces!)


But they say there's one in every crowd. Our office actually has two. Thank goodness for Greg!

Second Harvest and the families who receive assistance from the volunteers are very grateful for the help and the donations. Find a local food shelf today to support your community.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Disney Infinity Toys R Us Event

On Tuesday, September 3, 2013, I posted about the exclusive Disney Infinity Power Disc event at Toys R Us.

Well, I was ready to brave the crowds of kids and Disney Infinity geeks. Not wanting to be too early, I decided to show up a half hour early. [Insert chirping cricket noises here.]

To my surprise, there weren't any crowds. In fact, I was the first one there. The store team members were running around, so I asked a guy named Phil where I should line up or expect the event to be. He wasn't quite sure, so he checked with a manager, who told me they would be setting up a table as soon as another store event ended. So they would probably start a few minutes late.

I looked around the store to kill a little time, and came back to see someone ahead of me. Oh well, at least I was second in line. But of course you know how crowds get. As the clocked ticked away, a few more people showed up, and it was hard to see a 'line'. The panic meter was armed, but didn't go off yet.

So then another team member arrived with this tiny box. She opened it up and started counting. I could hear her say to Phil and the manager, "They only sent us 19 packets for the event. Why only 19?" She did the same thing I started doing: counting heads in the crowd. Turns out there were 10 of us and 19 packets, but now the panic meter did go up. Would they limit the amount of discs to be distributed?

Phil could probably sense the look of panic on our faces and in our eyes, so he did a great job calming us down. 2 minutes to go. The lady said something to us that made it sound like these were free. Some people cheered, but then Phil and the manager corrected her by saying we'd have to pay for it. That's okay.

1 minute to go. This guy in the crowd asked the Toys R Us crew how they wanted us to line up. They didn't answer, but he said to me,"I think you were ahead of me." I was and I appreciated the fact that he knew that and didn't try to jump in like some other collectors.

30 seconds. Would they limit the discs? Like sprinters at the Olympics, we all took our places. 10 of us and only three of them. We could take them on. Now they had the look of panic in their eyes. The manager finally said, "Okay, we're only going to give out one packet per family!", and we collectively relaxed our stance. 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2...

The exclusive limited packets started to be handed out to us. We were calm and they were too. They also gave us a Power Disc Checklist and a bunch of coupons good for Disney Infinity merchandise. Since I have all the figures, I went for the 40% off all other Disney Infinity merchandise. I could pick up a few extra things like another exclusive Power Disc album.


Then I spied the messenger bag to hold figures, discs and the base. I really wanted this, but why? I don't have a system that's portable. But hey, it's a bag, and at 40% off, I could find a use for it. Into the cart it went.

Distracted by shopping, I momentarily forgot about my disc. I overheard someone say something about getting a Mike's Car disc.  Oh oh. Maybe the 19 packets they received weren't all Tron disc. I quickly made my purchase with Phil, and made my way outside of the store.  Fumbling with the packet, which disc would I possess?

See for yourself.


Next time I will show up early and stay in line. People probably got wise that the two-hour event was over in seconds.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Broom for the Shaft and a Brush for the Flue

It's flu shot time again at work. I can't believe a year has gone by already.

I always feel a little sore after that shot. I think my coworker will have a harder time with his shot than I will.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hot Day: Annoucning Frozen and Toy Story Play Sets

Just when I thought I posted my Disney Infinity news for the day, The Disney Store has announced pre-orders for two new Disney Infinity Play Sets: Frozen and Toy Story. They are also releasing Series 2 of the Power Discs.

So please meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen.


Of course everyone knows Jessie and Buzz from Toy Story.


You can reserve any of the above now on The Disney Store website. Items are expected to be available by November 26, 2013.

**UPDATE**
Since posting this, the Disney Store has announced the Frozen Play Set has sold out and removed it from its website. There are conflicting stories that the release will be delayed.

The Obsession Continues: Tron Disney Infinity Power Disc

If you've been reading my recent posts, you'll know about my latest obsession: Disney Infinity.

There are a couple of things I wanted to share with you. First, thanks to my Google Alerts, I stumbled across a new blog for me that I am now following: Jim Valeri Design (and I've added that to my blog roll on the right).

Take a look at his August 23, 2013 post. Someone elsewhere posted that Jim's designs really could be used for Disney Infinity. Can you imaging that Play Set? That would be awesome! Think of all the characters and locations that could be added!

Below is a mash-up of two of my favorite Muppets and designs Jim posted on his website. I hope we get to see these in a future release!


Looking at other posts on Jim's blog, I see other familiar works of his, including Disney Store catalog covers and even some merchandise (hoodie) I've purchased. Be sure to check out the July 26, 2013 entry as well if you want a laugh.

Moving on to some solid Disney Infinity news. Any true science fiction fan will tell you Tron is one of the best and underrated sci-fi movies around. It took almost 30 years to spin off a sequel, as well as an animated series. Based on the animated series, Disney Infinity is introducing two exclusive Power Discs based on Tron.

The first will be released this weekend on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at an exclusive Toys R Us event from 12:00 - 2:00 PM. 

The new Tron themed User Control Power Disc will only be available from Toys R Us and works in conjunction with other power discs to grant the character a 10% boost. This means you have to do less to gain the same reward and you will upgrade more quickly.


For the record, I will not be standing in line the night before. I'm not that obsessed! (Some will beg to differ).

Monday, August 26, 2013

Disney Infinity Power Discs

First, I told you I'd drive you nuts with my latest obsession. Let me just put it out there.

I was speaking with a couple of friends, Matthew and Sharon, about the Disney Infinity Power Discs, and I didn't know where to keep my list of extras and the ones I still need, so I thought I'd just create a living post about it so I know where to find it and others can see what I have and need.


First, I found a site on Google+ called I Heart Disney Infinity, and they have a site where you can trade your extra Power Discs listed by country. I put mine out there and still have to hear back from anyone. First come, first served!

As of September 3, 2013


These Are My Extras:

Fix it Felix\'s Repair Power (1)
Cinderella's Coach (1)
Mickey\'s Car (1)
Sugar Rush Sky (2) (1)
Alice's Wonderland (1)
Tulgey Wood (6) (5)
Marlin\'s Reef (1)
Nemo\'s Seascape (1)

I Still Need These:

C.H.R.O.M.E\'s Armor Shield
Pieces of Eight
King Candy\'s Dessert Toppings
Rapunzel\'s Kingdom
Rapunzel\'s Birthday Sky
Rare Discs 1 - Buzz Lightyear\'s Astro Blaster Vehicle
Rare Discs 2 - Dumbo Flying Elephant Ride
Rare Disc 3 - Abu as an Elephant

Now some of you know that there are ten exclusive Power Discs available only through Toys R Us.  The site below says EB Games carries them as well, but I don't think so in the US. I keep checking. I think that is only for international markets. 

I Still Need These:

Tron Animated Power Circle
Tron Animated Power Hexagon
Stitch Surfing Power Hexagon
Merlin's Magic Power Hexagon
Zurg Power Circle
Peter Pan + Jolly Roger Power Hexagon
Tron Animated Power Hexagon 2
Mike's Car Power Hexagon - Add Mikes Car to Toy Box 
Mc Millan Target Power Circle
Scrooge McDuck and Lucky Dime Power Circle 


To get a better look at them and read more about these exclusive discs, you can check out the unofficial Disney site at DisneyInfinityFans.com

Keep in mind that these are just Series 1 discs! More are on their way. In fact, if you go to the last link I posted, you'll see pictures of Frankenweenie, Jack Skellington and Disney Tram power discs.

I'll be updating this post frequently. If you are looking for any power discs to trade, please feel free to contact me.

 *Best Tip of the Year!

I just read this in an article by Sebastian Haley.

Find out what discs are inside the random packages

It’s not bad enough that the in-game unlocks are random, but the $5-a-pop Power Disc Packs sold in stores are also randomized. You won’t know what you get until you open them, and even then many players are reporting a substantial number of doubles (ie., getting what you already had instead of what you actually wanted).

There’s a way around this, but only if you can access the game before leaving the store (such as a demo kiosk). The Disney Infinity base can read discs even while they’re in the package! So lay the pack down on the base on one side to reveal the identity of the first disc, and then flip it over to reveal the second. (Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that?!?)

[Note: I tried this today at Target and it didn't work. I'm going to try a few other places. They may have figured this out and make the packaging different so you can't cheat. You can still scratch the discs to see if you can feel grooves, and know you have a holographic disc.]

Oh, another helpful thing I picked up was the Disney Infinity Prima Guide. I found mine at Toys R Us, but you can order it online, too.




Sunday, August 25, 2013

Disney Infinity: I'm Hooked


Today, after a week of waiting for my game, buying figures, moving TVs, setting up and gearing up to actually play Disney Infinity, it finally happened. I got to play. What one word can I use to sum up my experience? To use a typical Disney word: 'Magical'.


After scouring the Twin Cities for the best deals, including a $50 Target gift card I won at a networking event this week, I have the entire Series 1 set, including the exclusive crystal Lightning McQueen from Toys R Us.


If you read my earlier post, and I wasn't kidding, I haven't gamed since the 1980's. Lots of things have changed.

For example, a joystick is now a controller, and it actually vibrates with effects in the game! (Some of you are rolling your eyes, but some of us didn't have that feature with our gaming system.)


It took me some time to just get through the intro, but that really was a fun part that had me laughing out loud. It reminded me of Animator's Palette on the Disney Cruise Line, where the story unfolds.

Disney really put some thought into the storyline, for which they are known of course. But they used it to show you what worlds you can play and what to expect, as well as to teach you how to play the game.

After playing for hours (It felt so good to do something like that. I haven't done that in years!), I've only played Mr. Incredible and am learning that each character you play has their own set of games. In fact, there's a vault in the Incredible world to which you must bring each character in order for it to unlock.

As Mr. Incredible was solving his missions, you passed 'videos' of other characters and things only other characters can unlock. I've learned how to use the controller, but I've also learned I can't drive Mr. Incredible's car.

I knew I'd get hooked, and I'm sure many of my friends thought I would as well. This is going to entertain me for years to come.

Now I need to trade some of my extra Power Discs to get the ones I'm missing. Have some extras you want to trade?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Band of Sisters

You know what they say about any group of people that work or serve together in the 'trenches', both figurative and literal. You create a special bond. You look out for each other. You have lifelong friends.

On August 1, 2013, I posted about meeting up with one of my former training groups from American Express Financial Advisors. Tonight at Smack Shack, I met up with some friends from the other point of view: the trainers and performance managers.

Emily, Courtney and I try to meet up every so often, but it's never often enough. When we weren't in our classrooms, we were out at lunch, happy hour or parties. Nothing too wild, mind you. But you lose something when you don't see your friends on a daily basis. Time passes, and it's great to reconnect, but you also realize you shouldn't take your friendships for granted because we aren't guaranteed anything in life.

That's why I treasure these two friends. We can pick up where we left off from the last time we saw each other as if no time had passed. And yet while our memory is started to play tricks on us with some names and facts, we had plenty of laughs remembering some of our coworkers as well as the colorful cast of characters for whom we were responsible. Well, at least shaping their professional careers.

We've been there for each other during good times and bad times, which is why that bond of friendship is so strong and will continue to be there. I learned so much from these two wonderful, intelligent, and strong women. And I'm most certainly proud to call them my sisters.


Jakub, our server who took our pictures for us, told us to strike a pose, and of course we were willing to oblige. 



To read my review of Smack Shack, click here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What's This? The Pumpkin King Arrives!

It shouldn't be a surprise about this piece, but now we have a date. You can pre-order Disney Infinity's Jack Skellington exclusively at Gamestop for most of October.

Disney announced the next wave of playable characters for the Disney Infinity Toy Box mode, including Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey, and characters from Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen and Phineas and Ferb. These new character figures will be rolled out beginning this October, through 2014. Each character will also come with their own "Adventure." Each Adventure is unique to that character and allows them to play a short game. Players can invite friends to play through Adventures with them, with two players on split-screen or four players online.

But for now, we know we get to start with the Pumpkin King!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Disney Infinity (And Beyond!)

The Disney Marketing machine knows how to job and do it well. They know how to strike the Obsessive-Compulsive chord in me, as well as thousands of others. They always know I need something before I do.

Today was the release of the video game, Disney Infinity. I've been waiting a long time for this game, and I'm not even a gamer. The last time I played games, I had an Atari. Some of you may remember this, while others want to know what kind of antique is this. Oh the fond memories.


But in keeping with the times, I did my research and knew I was going to buy a PlayStation 3. (Thanks to everyone who helped me decide, especially my friend, Jon, who is a game developer and steered me away from the WiiU I was considering.) Funny thing is, I pre-ordered the game before having the system. Typical me. Buy socks and build the wardrobe around it.

Heading over to Best Buy to keep a Minnesota-based company in business and keeping my friends employed, I had outstanding service from a sales person named Ramsey. That's a review in and of itself, so if you're interested, head over to Yelp to read my review.

But I digress. I went in to buy the PS3. Seeing a few different models on the shelf, Ramsey helped me decide on which PS3 was best for me and if there were any other accessories I needed in order to play Disney Infinity. For a few bucks more, I opted for the one with more GB.


My Disney Infinity game hasn't arrived in the mail yet, because if you pre-ordered, you received the starter game set, another free game figure, and Power Disc Pack. With all those freebies, I can wait. Besides, thanks to Ramsey, I bought a new TV for the living room and moved the current TV into the Disney Playroom so I'd have a bigger screen on which to play Disney Infinity.


Setting up two TVs and a new game console went a lot more smoothly and quickly than I imagined. I even had time to throw in a load of sheets and towels to wash, dry and fold. I was proud of myself for being so productive without a nap and staying off Facebook most of the day!

Anyone who knows of me and my Mr. Toad type of mania finding holy grails and limited edition pieces won't be surprised that I went all over the Twin Cities to pick up game figures. So let me share some of those as well as some deals.

First, I had to go to Toys R Us because they are carrying an exclusive Crystal Disney Infinity range of figures. The first to debut is Lightning McQueen. Not only that, you can also pick up exclusive Series 1 Disney Infinity Power Discs.


I also picked up the Disney Infinity Prima Guide to help you play Disney Infinity, because I've lost my edge playing video games (Whatever happened to plain ol' Frogger?), as well as an exclusive Disney Infinity Power Disc Album to store all this exclusive stuff I'm buying. Both are pictured below. Currently if you go to Toys R Us (store or online), you can buy one and get one half off. Stock up now!


After hitting Toys R Us is when I actually went to Best Buy. You already heard that story. From Best Buy, I had to pick up a few things at Target. Just on a whim, I decided to see if they had anything. Sure enough, they carried it all. Currently the Lone Ranger and Cars Play Set packs are half off, so I couldn't turn down that deal! That's two for the price of one!


I sure hope that the game arrives tomorrow so I can start putting all this stuff to use. More reviews of Disney Infinity to come, I'm sure. If you learn of tips while you play, please share!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Foodles

Are you surprised?


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Obento-Ya

Today I received an the Weekly Yelp email blast, entitled Yelp's Sushi Smackdown, and I noticed that Obento-Ya is only six miles from where I work. I mentioned to my friend and coworker, Jack, who is always up for Sushi. So we decided to give it a try.

At first we didn't see many people in the restaurant, but our worries were quelled when we found out they have a patio out back. Since Jack had already had a fair amount of sun from his golfing excursion yesterday, we opted to sit inside. (That last bit has nothing to do with the review of the restaurant, and you'll never get those 15 seconds back in your life.)

Our server was Jesse, and we told him we were here because of the Yelp email. Apparently they didn't know about getting highlighted (yet), but Jesse was very helpful explaining the menu to us.

Let me tell you, there are so many options on this menu, there's even something for people who don't typically like Sushi.  We both ordered the Fish Bento, which was Salmon, and ordered a side of Spicy Hamchi/Yellowtail.


There was enough food, because it also included Miso Soup, but it was just the right amount. We didn't leave hungry (for once), nor were we completely stuffed and useless going back to work.


We found out this building had trouble keeping business going, having frequent turn-over, but Obento-Ya has been at this establishment/location for about six years. I hope it continues to do well, because it's a great neighborhood gem.

Jack and I were glad it made Yelp's email today!We'll be back!