Friday, December 11, 2015

One More Week!

I've been catching a lot of grief for not having pre-purchasing my tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Click on the picture below to read the humorous comment the theatre posted after you purchase tickets.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Star Wars: The Dark Side of the Mind

Like many Star Wars fans, I can't get enough to read about the Star Wars "Universe". "Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind" struck two interests of mine, so buying this was a given. Let me say from the start, this book will not appeal to every Star Wars fan.

I usually tear through books, but this one was not an easy read as I had thought. Even though I had interests in both topics, this book reminded me of many of the books I had to read when I was a Psych major. (I did change my major a couple of times.)

Perhaps my two favorite chapters were 'A Symphony of Psychology', by Jim Davies and Joe Kraemer, and 'Shooting, Striking, Returning: The Universe in Our Heads' by Donald F. Glut and Travis Langley were probably my two favorite chapters. The former inspired me to reread that chapter while listening to the music cited. The latter dealt not only with the novelization of 'The Empire Strikes Back', but something deeper that every Star Wars fan (and fans of other franchises) dealt with the unique perspective every fan experiences.

I couldn't give this book a five-star rating. As I said it wasn't an easy read, but it didn't help that this book was rife with typos and facts that would make Star Wars fans cringe.

At first I noticed some facts that were inaccurate, like Obi-Wan's duel with Anakin took place on Coruscant instead of Mustafar, or calling Obi-Wan 'Ben' in the prequels (That fact can be debated). But as I kept reading, I noticed more and more typos and font irregularities. These should have been caught in the proofreading stage, because some are very evident.

I want a Yoda Swatch!
This reminds of compound words like 'insofar' or 'notwithstanding. It's like what the Germans do with their words: they Lego words. For example, lebensabschnittgefährter (partner), Löschwassereinspeisung (fire hydrant) or Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung (speed limit).
What this tells me is they rushed to get this book out quickly before 'The Force Awakens' hits the theatres so they can capitalize on the desire for more products.

Everything considered, I would recommend this book more to readers who are interested in psychology who happen to be Star Wars fans instead of the other way around.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

No Tricks. Just Treats!

It's not even Christmas (yet) and I'm receiving goodies!

My business partners and friends at our ad agency sent me this sweet Roots hoodie. I for sure will be using it.

I also received some treats from my friend from a couple of her trips. Now I'm hungry and want to go to WDW!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Taking Its Toll

I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday, November 8, 2015 and just got charged for the toll. They sure know how to make money off tourists! (But it's worth it, right?)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Happy 87th Birthday to two of my favorite Mice!

That is all.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Is Ornament Day A New National Holiday?

My friend, Don, and I have been a bit obsession with this Disney Sketchbook Ornament series that's been going on for a couple of years now. One of us has less self-control than the other (Guess who?)

Just as in past years, this year has some cool and memorable characters. Disney doesn't release the ornaments on the same day each month, so you constantly have to look. Trust us. We've missed out on a few ornaments we really wanted. (Yes, we know about eBay.)

I've been checking most of November, and finally today, I struck gold with Cheshire Cat! Don was thinking about getting this ornament for his daughter. For me, Cheshire Cat has always been a favorite character. Many of my friends say that I remind them of this playful cat, usually because of the smile. I'm sure the round belly and snarkiness he exhibits add to the resemblance. I'll own it. I can't stand on my own head, however.

Click here to view this year's Sketchbook Ornament Collection.

While I was shopping for Cheshire Cat, I found this really cool Mickey and Minnie Park series of ornaments! I would love to get them all, but I 'started' with my favorite. Who knows? I may add a few more. They really are cute!
Click here to visit to browse through more ornaments...or get these Mickey and Minnie Park Series ornaments!

So as if these two ornaments weren't enough for me, I was so lucky to have a coworker give me this ornament! It's from EPCOT's 2015 Food & Wine Festival. If you don't know, I'm a huge fan of Figment (Who isn't?!?). So this ornament will hold a special spot on the tree this year. Heck, all of these ornaments will!

Click here to view more of the 2015 Food & Wine Festival merchandise.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Pixar Animation Studios

Well, it's probably only been about six years since I was last here, and last time I was able to tour the facility. Back then I was a somebody. Now, I'm a nobody. This is as close as I could get. But one day, I'll be able to cross that gate again to the Mother Ship!

Neighborhood Gem: Doyle Street Cafe

I needed a break after planning my work's annual company-wide event and before hosting our Chicago office's open house. So why not go to San Francisco? It's been 11 years since the last time I was there, and that was far too long.

Because of pricing, and one other reason you'll see why soon, the hotel I chose to stay was in Emeryville, across the Bay. You see, when the lights go down in the City, and the sun shines on the Bay. Do I want to be there in my city? Okay. I'll stop, but I'm sure you have that earworm going in your head now. usual, I was starving in the morning. Nothing new there. Likewise, without knowing where to head, I pulled up Yelp to find a place to eat. Doyle Street Cafe was nearby and so I thought, why not? Wow! I'm glad I did stop by, because this is totally a neighborhood gem!

Bordering a neighborhood and a quasi-industrial area, this cafe isn't large, but it's big on service and flavors. One of many reasons I miss my home state. John was the server and he was awesome. I was torn between Joe's Eggs and the Wet Breakfast Burrito. John asked me, "How hungry are you?" I replied, "I'm totally hungry!", so he recommended the Breakfast Burrito.

It was filled with chicken chenzo sausage, cilantro, tomatillo sauce....Wait. Let me just show you.

The fresh avocado was worth the price of admission alone. I was having a fiesta in my mouth! I didn't even attempt to eat the most of the potatoes, because after seeing that monster burrito, I knew I couldn't finish it, no matter how hungry I was.

So if you're ever in the neighborhood, check out Doyle Street Cafe. It's so worth it. Do I have to tell you it's located on Doyle Street?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween, Y'All!

From Donald to you, have a fun and safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat!" (Or Is It Little Goat?)

I read this article in the Wall Street Journal today about how 'Alice in Wonderland' translates into different languages. If you thought Lewis Carroll's work was trippy in English, you should see what happens to one of my favorite quotes by the Dormouse.

Like me, you might laugh at the Italian version, but wow. The Slovenians are really in a Wonderland of their own.

Click on the picture to see a larger version of it, but click here to read the full WSJ article.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Art of Disney Animation - Sketchbook Ornament Collection 2015

This is the second year the Disney Store has offered a limited release ornament series that is revealed and available each month. It's brilliant. You have to check back often to collect them all, and they never announce when the ornament is released.

I'm bummed I missed Ichabod Crane, but I was able to get Philoctetes last month. Today, I just randomly checked out the site and found that one of my favorite Fantasia 2000 segments, Rhapsody in Blue, was available. I'm lucky to have picked up Duke, Rachel and Alex!

Next month is Cheshire Cat, so you know that one will sell out immediately.

To see the entire series, click here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

These Shirts Are So Ghoul!

I tell you, TeeFury is an addiction. It's like eating potato chips; you can't stop with just one. If you're not familiar with TeeFury, they feature a different shirt, or two shirts, per day. You get them at a discounted rate. After that, you pay a little more. They have some really talented artists that submit work.

Right now, they are featuring a BeastPop Takeover Collection in one of their many galleries. Below are three of my favorites.

By far, my favorite are the Hitchhiking Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion.

My next favorite is Sally as a Haunted Mansion maid.

My least favorite is Jack as a Haunted Mansion butler.  It's probably because his face reminds me of Jim Carrey in 'The Mask.' But I love the concept.

These shirts won't be around forever, so pick them up before they retire!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Disney Infinity Awakes!

Just announced! Disney Infinity will be releasing a Star Wars - The Force Awakens play set! Details are sparse at the moment, but the release should coincide with the movie release.

Read more here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Last Day of Summer (I Hope Not!)

It's always nice to come back to the Hotel Del Coronado. It was a hot day in San Diego, so a trip to the beach was in order.

Usually on vacation, the souvenir of choice is some piece of art that's either signed or numbered. Not finding anything in Laguna Beach the day before, I stumbled upon a photographer across the street from the Del. His name is Dan McGeorge, and has some fantastic local pieces. Check out his work here!

I wish he had a picture of the image I love on his website, but because this one is similar to one I have purchased in years past, I opted for this. It's called 'Last Day of Summer'.

What's cool is he told the background of the picture. And on the back of it along with the certificate of authenticity, there was the store! Click on the picture to see a larger version of it.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A New Toy at Work

Guess who got a new laptop at work today?

I can't get the font/screen size right, so I'm getting a killer headache. However, this new laptop is a few pounds lighter than my old one. Trade offs?

And of course I've already started customizing it!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Someone Who Loves You

That's the answer Princess Leia gives Han Solo after he is released from his Carbonite prison. If you don't know what any of that means, you aren't a Star Wars fan. If you kept on reciting 'Return of the Jedi', we know you are a true science fiction fan who will appreciate this.

When Princess Leia first debuted in 'Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope', she was immediately embraced by fans for her strong spirit and being a role model to lead the Rebel Alliance. Now, Hot Toys has added to their collection of figures by introducing our favorite blaster-toting princess. I can't get over the detail in these figures!
If you aren't familiar with these figures, they are articulated and some with different pieces. Some people find it disturbing, because sometimes the figures include different 'heads' for facial expressions.
 Just look at the determination on her face!

To read more about the figure, click here to go to BigBadToyStore.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday: More Disneyland Memories

My Throwback Thursday is carrying over from last week's theme that dominated social media. Well, it did in my world. Disclaimer: I did not take any of these pictures, and found them on Kevin Kidney's blog. (PS: I not only love Kevin's blog, but his and Jody Daily's contribution to Disney.)

So, my #tbt is about a fond Disneyland memory. Whenever we went to Disneyland, I had to go to Welch's Juice Bar. No, I didn't have a deep love for grape juice that later would turn into a love for wine (total lie), but it was more about my love of Fantasia.

I can still picture in my mind the location of the Juice Bar and remembering being fascinated by the globes of juice that sprayed the purple liquid on the inside of the spheres. But what caught my attention even more was looking at the back wall behind the Cast Members

I was so sad when the new Fantasyland didn't include a nod to one of favorite animated features. I often wonder what happened to that artwork, and who the lucky person is who owns that artwork, if they were able to save it. Click on the image below to see a larger version of it.

The picture below was taken by Loren Javier, and it's of the Fantasyland Grape Juice Bar mural by Mark Seppala at the Disney Gallery, taken in 2011. Looks like it sold for $3,000. 

 Obviously the juice bar is gone, but it will stay alive in my Disneyland memories!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Force Was With Me

You know how it is once you are home, you don't feel like going out again? Typically that happens to me during the work week and for sure during the long Midwest winters. Last week, I saw this flyer when I was at my local Barnes & Noble. It sounded good at the time, but by Friday, I was psyching myself up not to go. I mean, 7:00 PM? I used to stay out that late in my younger days. Beside, I don't like coming home after the sun sets.

After a late start Saturday and running around, I was out until 6:30 PM. Then it hit me: it's summer, and the sun won't set for some time! Since I was out, I figured, eh, why not go? I am so glad I went. Dan Wallace is one of the authors of a new book entitled, 'Ultimate Star Wars'. If you have the three-volume Star Wars Encyclopedia set (I do!),  it's very similar. However, and I asked this question of Dan, the book which he co-authored now follows the new Star Wars canon. Without getting too geeky and confusing non-fans, there were many versions of the Star Wars...well, universe. When Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney, they decided to start with a clean slate as they moved forward. So this book includes the six current motion pictures, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.

Before Dan was introduced, a Barnes & Noble employee told us there was a table with lots of freebies on it. I took a look, and there were some pretty good treasures to be had! I made sure to only take a couple of items, including this very stylish bag.

Oh, and this cool poster, too...
(I love the line at the bottom. I'm so using that!)

Oh, and I needed this for my cool, stylish bag. But I digress. They also started the night out with Star Wars trivia. It was difficult! I missed a bunch and didn't win the prize. That's okay. Then it was time for the guest speaker to be introduced.

As you can see (kind of), the audience was mostly younger kids under the age of 10. I really admire Dan, because he included them to participate, and gave a brilliant message to them, as well as to the adults: find a job that you like and can have fun. He explained how he liked writing and loves Star Wars and action heroes. Now he has a job that incorporates that. He made sure not to talk over their heads, but also made the talk interesting and fun for the rest of us. 

He answered my geeky question about writing this book and having difficulty with the new canon. Dan said starting with a clean slate is exciting and of all the partnerships that could have occurred with Lucasfilm, partnering with Disney was probably the best. I agreed with him and said both a great storytellers, and we agreed that too much is at stake to do something completely stupid that would alienate fans.

So if all that wasn't awesome enough, Dan even autographed my copy for me!

So am I glad I decided to stay out past my bedtime? Um, YEAH!!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy 60th Birthday, Disneyland!

Today is a very special day for many of us. Or I should say, many of us Disney fanatics. Today is the 60th Birthday of the Happiest Place on Earth - Disneyland.

I wish you could see my Facebook feed. It's burning up with so many wonderful memories! I've been seeing so many posts on social media, and I'm adding mine to the mix. Many people have asked me why or how I became such a big Disney fan.  Well, one of my first childhood memories was being in a stroller and see the characters as we were riding the monorail. I really do remember that.

Growing up, we would go as a family. It was much easier back then. You could walk around the Park without having to pay admission. Later when I was older, we had a family friend who worked there, and I would get to go with my friend. I learned so much about the Park.

Then in college, I saw a sign that said, 'Work at Disneyland as you put yourself through school!' And I thought to myself, "Why not?" So in 1984, I became an official Disneyland Cast Member. I was an Attractions Host in Tomorrowland. It was the perfect place to not only work, but also launched a 26+ year career for me. If I can make the first Disney/Pixar reference, if you've seen Inside Out, Joy would have had to handle a Core Memory for me.

Of course there's no perfect dream job. Even some days at the Happiest Place on Earth weren't all that happy. It happens. However, looking back, oh so fondly, the friendships I would make have lasted a lifetime. So many of my friends back then still are in my life, and I'm so blessed for that. They are family to me.

It's funny how a common thing like a job, or the love of something fun, can bring people together. But it's those special bonds that keep us together through time and as we've scattered all over the world. I would be remiss if I don't mention our friends who no longer are with us. We still love them and think about them. We know they are smiling today as we all celebrate a very special place in our hearts.

And it doesn't stop there. There's another ring of Disney friends who, while I never worked with them at the Parks, are lifelong friends due to the common love of Disney. These would be my circle of friends who collect Walt Disney Classics Collection, Grand Jester Studios, pins and more. They are just as much part of my Disney family as any one of those Cast Members.

I'll borrow the title of a song Kala sings in Tarzan to tell all my Disney friends, "You'll Be In My Heart", and so will Disneyland.

And since our favorite mice, Mickey and Minnie, love cheese, here's one more big piece of cheese I'll leave with you today.

Happy 60th, my dear friend!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pinned Ya Again

Why is this always such a painful process for me? Each year, Disney Movie Rewards puts out a limited pin, and each year, it frustrates me for a few hours if, and when, I get the pin. It shouldn't be so painful. My friends on the East Coast get their pin in 20 minutes. Me, it takes over 2 1/2 hours. I tried different browser, computers and finally got through on my mobile phone.

I had to have this pin because it's Disneyland!


Monday, July 13, 2015

That's No Moon. It's a...Light?

This looks so cool! Unfortunately, I don't think it goes with the rest of the decor. Still, I want it! $54.99 at Merchoid, shipping November, 2015.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Five More Months

Yes, I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Express Yourself

Some people are just way too creative. I found some shirts I liked on Snorg Tees, but the ones below are some of my favorites. To purchase your own, go to the Snorg Tees website by clicking here.