Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hurricane Life: The End of An Era

         So today was my last day at the job I have had for three and a half years. I got the job when I first moved in with my wife. I will miss some of the people that I worked with but what I will not miss is the bologna that I had to put up with from my managers and corporate overlords.
         As excited as I should be today, I am more in a state of panic. This is due to the fact that I am moving on Saturday and starting a new job in sales on Monday. I have no prior experience in sales. On top of this, our baby boy is due on the 27th of this month (One week after we move). My wife and newborn baby will be depending on me to perform at a job that I have no experience at. I am so stressed out!
        I probably won't be blogging much this summer as I will be working 14+ hours a day, 6 days a week. Wish me luck trying to cope with the INSANE changes in my life. I need it.
PS- I'm sorry for not finishing part III of my Club 33 blog yet. I have been crazy busy.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Disney Nerd: Part 1 Rage Part 2 Love

               Today I was reading a blog on a Disney forum that I frequent. (Yes, I am a member of a Disney online forum! I am a MASSIVE nerd, what do you expect?) The blog can be found at if you would like to read it.
               Two things I want to discuss from the article: 1.) Mini Monstropolis
2.) Tron in Tomorrowland

               1.) Mini Monstropolis- The Disney Imaginears are drawing up plans to tear down the Muppet-Vision 3-D theatre and use that space and the stage 17 building next door to create a Monsters, Inc. mini area. As much as I love the film Monsters, Inc. and the Mike and Sulley To the Rescue attraction at Disney California Adventure I have only one thing to say to this.... NOooooooooo!!! Despite how awesome the ride sounds that will be going in that spot I cannot allow it to kick out my precious Muppet's. I love the Muppet- Vision attraction! It is maybe my favorite attraction in all of California Adventure. Please Disney, please do not remove this attraction. Despite the recent film, which is awesome, this attraction is often the first exposure that kids today have to the Muppets.  If it is gone, I am afraid that the Muppets will be forgotten. (Thinking about this makes me tear up. Don't mock me!) As much as I would love to see a Monstropolis themed area in the park, a cool new rollercoaster, and some real themeing in that unloved section of the park, I do not want to lose my Muppets!

             2.) Tron-morrowland- Tomorrowland has two of the best attractions in Disneyland but is by far the worst themed. In the article mentioned above, the Imaginears are working on a lightcycle attraction which would utilize the poor, rotting, abandoned PeopleMover tracks. I am soooo hoping that this actually happens. I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Tron movie and am looking forward to the next film. Combine that with my love of the PeopleMover and my anger at Disney for them leaving the tracks there but serving no purpose (Over 13 years now!). Plus, this will give the Imaginears time to work on fixing Tomorrowland and get the area up to par with the rest of the park.

               Do you have any opinions about these Disney rumors? If so, let me know in the comments. Or, send me a message on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Journey to Club 33: Part 2

               Part Two: My wife and I were so stoked to go to Club 33. We wanted to dress up for this special occasion. I bought a new tie specifically to wear to the club and my wife bought a  new dress. We were looking pretty suave I must say.
I clean up pretty well. Check out my mickey tie!
My wife in her new dress. This was taken outside our old house in Huntington Beach. What a hotty!
                 Once we were dressed it was off to the park! We arrived at the park and walked to New Orleans Square. We turned down Royal Street and got to the Club 33 entrance... we were pants peeing excited at this point. We stopped to pose for a photo in front of the entrance. The 33 logo plaque is behind my arm.

                   To get into the club you have to press a secret button next to the door and announce your arrival to the hostess. If you have a reservation they will push a button inside that allows the door to open. My wife pushed the intercom button and waited. After what seemed like an eternity we heard a voice asking if we had a reservation. My wife said yes and announced her name and that our reservation was for two. After a momentary pause we heard the magical buzz and opened the door. Once the door closed behind us the noise of Disneyland was silenced and we entered the magical realm of Club 33.

                    Upon first entering the club you find yourself in the lobby. Everything about the club is ornate and beautiful. The carpet, wallpaper, and artwork on the walls was personally picked out by Lillian Disney when she and Walt went antiquing in New Orleans. But the centerpiece of the lobby is a gorgeous antique french lift which takes you up to the main floor of the club. Before we took the lift upstairs we stopped for a photo op.

                     Once we got upstairs we were escorted to our table in the main dining room. Continuing with us taking photos of EVERYTHING we posed for photos with the menus.

My wife is adorable
                 On to the food! For lunch, you choose a main entree and there are buffet style appetizers and desserts. When I say "appetizers" I am not talking about potato skins, mozzarella sticks, or nachos. The appetizer buffet included crab legs, shrimp, lobster tails, California artisan cheeses, and fruit. Sadly, we did not get photos of any appetizers... sorry folks. The menu had a couple different choices but my wife and I ordered the same entree, a Chateaubriand fillet Mignon with Yukon gold mashed potatoes, baby heirloom tomatoes, and blanched green and yellow beans with a Cabernet Sauvignon reduction sauce. It was so delicious!

Even the plates have the 33 logo!

               That is part two of our trip to Club 33. In the next installment I will show you all the desserts we tried and take you on a photo tour of the club. Have any questions about Club 33? Leave them in the comments of this blog or send them to me on Twitter @ReelBigDork. Have a great day!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Goodbye Disney!

                  Mine and my wife's Disneyland passes expired yesterday and we will not be renewing in the foreseeable future. So we took one last trip to Disneyland together. We went on Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion and made a few last purchases of in-park merchandise. But everything we did had a sense of melancholy as this was our "last" time doing these things. As we left the park my wife started to tear up and as a result so did I.
                We have had passes for the last 4 years and have been going to the parks about once a week on average. We will miss going on Disney dates together for fireworks or Fantasmic. But with the price of passes increased by $200 and a baby on the way it just wasn't feasable for us to keep them anymore. Hopefully one day we can afford to get our passes back so we can take our son and instill the love of Disney in him.  I will miss you Disney!

See ya Later Walt and Mickey

Friday, February 22, 2013

Journey to Club 33: Part 1

A few years ago my now wife, then girlfriend, and myself were able to experience something very magical. We were able to dine at Club 33. For those of you not in the know Club 33 is a secret and ultra exclusive restaurant inside of Disneyland Park. The idea for the club came about during the 1964-65 World's Fair in New York City. Walt was hired to put together some attractions for a few of the pavilions and noticed that many of the companies had exclusive VIP lounges set up in their pavilions. Walt decided he wanted to build a VIP lounge in Disneyland to entertain executives and visiting dignitaries. Thus Club 33 was born. Walt and his wife Lillian Disney went to New Orleans to go shopping for antiques for the club. But sadly, Walt died before the club was able to open. Instead of the club becoming a lounge for VIPs, it became an ultra exclusive club with membership open to the general public ( If you have $12,000-$15,000 a year and can wait for 10-20 years to become a member). The club is located in New Orleans Square at 33 Royal Street.
This small plaque adorns the door to get into the club.
My wife and I had been yearning to visit and dine here for years before we were finally able to. Only members of the club can let you in or make reservations to eat there. There are only 457 members of the club so finding a member is like finding a needle in a stack of other needles. For us, getting into the club was nothing more than a pipe dream. Every time we would pass by the door we would dream about what was inside. Then one fateful day, something incredibly magical happened that would allow us to realize our dream beyond our wildest imagination.
At this point in time my wife was working at a restaurant. She didn't normally work on Friday's at that point in time, but for some reason was working that day. She also was not cashiering that day but was hostessing instead. A customer came in wearing a shirt with a small Club 33 insignia embroidered on it. My wife sat him at a table and unlike what she would normally do, small talk with the customers, she engaged the gentleman in a conversation about his shirt. She told him she liked his shirt and his response was one of surprise, he was shocked that she knew what that was. She informed him that she did know what Club 33 was, due to the fact that she and her boyfriend were HUGE DISNEY NERDS!!! She told him that we had always dreamed of being able to go. He then told my wife that she was in luck as he enjoys making dreams come true.  He asked her to sit down at his table and slid a piece of paper across the table to her and asked her to write down her name. He then took out his cellphone and made the call. He gave the receptionist his member number and asked my wife to write down her phone number. He then asked what day would work best? My wife couldn't believe what was happening and just said "whenever is fine." He hung up the phone and told her he had just called and made a reservation for us at Club 33 for lunch. But there were two conditions; the first being that we pay our bill and please not charge it to his tab (He had done this before and the people had charged it to his account, what kind of a-hole does that!?) The second was that she not tell me and make it a surprise. My wifes excitement level skyrocketed. This was unbelievable, so many things had to happen to make this possible. She worked on a day that she normally didn't, at a station that she normally didn't, and engaged a customer more than she usally did. In the end she couldn't keep it a secret from me, the whole situation was so crazy that she had to tell me.

Part II Coming Soon! Here is a picture to tantalize you:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Nom Nom Nom: Jasons' gameday salsa

It has been a week since my last blog. I blogged a few times about food last month (places to eat and foods I like to buy), but ocassionally I do make food for myself so without further ado here is my recipe for delicious semi-homemade salsa:

1-14.5oz. can of fire roasted diced tomatos
1- 4oz. can of fire roasted green diced green chiles
2- cloves of garlic
1/8 of a sweet yellow onion
1- bunch of cilantro
1- lime
1- jalapeno

1.) Combine tomatos and green chilis in a bowl
2.) Add the juice of 1/2 of a lime
3.) Mince the onion and garlic and add to mixture
4.) Remove the seeds and membrane from the jalapeno (if you want the salsa to be hot, leave some of the seeds)
5.) Dice the jalapeno and add to the salsa
6.) Add 1 tablespoon of minced cilantro (You're almost done!)
7) Finally, add 1/4 teaspoon sugar and salt and pepper to taste.

Allow the flavors to marry for at least 4-6 hours before using. You can also add a few extra sprigs of cilantro before serving if you would like. Enjoy! Below is a photo of the end result. It is super delicious!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sorry Folks, I Couldn't Help It

         Today was the first day in a month that I didn't have to blog and I woke up with my head full of blog ideas. I have been trying to occupy my brain with distractions (hulu, netflix, facebook, and Twitter) but I can't shake the compulsion to blog. It doesn't help that I have the day off and hours of time to kill while my wife is away at work. So here comes a random blog!
        Last night, in my sleep, I kicked my pregnant wife in the belly. Probably the worst thing I could have done but because I startled our little fetus he was thrashing around like he was in a mosh pit at a metal show. I was finally able to feel a strong kick. It is the craziest feeling to experience and here's why; I was able to help in creating this person. That is absolutely insane! In the words of Dave Chappelle, "You used to live in my balls man!"
        *Sorry for saying the b- word mom, I know you don't like me using poop mouth words like that.*
         So, after a month straight of blogging, here I am blogging again, which is completely ridiculous, right? I do intend on continuing to blog on a semi-frequent basis. Maybe I will continue to blog weakly weekly.
          Thanks for wasting your time to read this. I appreciate it. I don't have any pictures to go along with this blog post so enjoy a photo of my cat, Louie! (I'm totally an old cat lady)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

BAJL Day 31: This Is The End: My Top 5 Disneyland Attractions

             Today is the final day of my Blog All January Long challenge. I have succeeded and am proud of that. I want to thank all of you who read my blog, whether it was everyday, once, or sporadically throughout the month. I would like to give an even bigger thank you to those of you who re-posted my blog and/or left me comments. I tried the best that I could to respond to your comments as quickly as possible. I was hoping that this challenge would make me a better writer but sadly it has not. My writing is still ripe with incorrectly spelled words, poorly composed sentences, and paragraphs that lead nowhere. So thank you all for putting up with my terrible writing to enjoy the content that was at its heart. I am going to end my month of blogging with a list, in no particular order, of my favorite attractions at Disneyland. Here we go!
  • The Mark Twain Riverboat- This attraction was running on opening day of Disneyland back in 1955. I love this attraction so much. It was the first steam powered paddle wheeled boat built in America since 1900. My favorite part about the Mark Twain is sitting on the bow of the ship and just relaxing, watching the crowds walk by, and enjoying the scenery around the Rivers Of America. You truly feel like you are being taken back in time. Plus, there is never a line for this one so just walk on and enjoy a leisurely ride aboard the "Grand Steamer, Mark Twain".

  • The Haunted Mansion- As my fandom for Disneyland has grown so has my affinity for The Haunted Mansion. This attraction has, by far, the most devoted fans of any theme park attraction. I think the reason that this attraction is so unusual is that it was the first one built after Walt Disney died. As a result, the attraction went through many stages of development with storyline changes, character changes, and the argument of scary V. silly. This attraction is one of the most rumor filled as well, with stories ranging from real ghosts being inside to characters in the attraction being removed after only being there for a few days as they were far too frightening to witness. In the 44 years that this attraction has been open effects have come and gone including, but not limited to, cast members wearing costumes and jumping out of hiding places to scare guests, as well as a completely alternate storyline (focusing on an old sea captain) that is still visible throughout the mansion. For all these reasons and more I have fallen in love with The Haunted Mansion.

  • Splash Mountain- I don't get to ride this attraction as much as I would like to but it still has a very special place in my heart. There is a certain nostalgia to this attraction as I was tricked into riding this as a child and for many years after I was terrified to go on it again. I think one of the reasons I enjoy this attraction so much is in part due to the music which is infectious to say the least. Every time I ride it with my wife we just bop our heads side to side and sing all the words. The other thing I like about this attraction besides the drops which are SO MUCH FUN is the fact that almost all of the animatronics used are from America Sings (an old attraction that has been extinct since before I was born). I never got to see America Sings but at least I can enjoy looking at the animatronics used in a classic attraction from the past.
  • Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room-opened in 1963 this was the first attraction to feature audio animatronics (AA's as they are known in the fan community). The show, lasting approximately 15 minutes features birds, flowers, and tiki gods singing songs. My wife and I know the words to all of these songs as well and sing along with the entire show. Once again, this is an attraction that never has a wait and is a perfect escape from the summer heat. To maximize your enjoyment, grab a Dole Whip (pineapple soft-serve) before you enter and let the tropical sights, sounds, and tastes sweep you away.

  • People Watching- this may not be an attraction but is by far my favorite thing to do in the park. Just sitting on a park bench and making catty comments about other people as they walk by will do so much for your self-esteem. You may not be as handsome as Brad Pitt but at least you didn't show up to Disneyland in a Snuggie (I have actually seen this). Besides the fashion faux pas and just good old fashioned uggos (ugly people) for you to judge you will also see cute couples, adorable families, and some of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen. This is the way Disneyland was meant to be enjoyed, do not rush, sit back, relax, and take it all in.

Check out this adorable old couple! I want Alex and I to be just like this.

          Well that is it folks! Hope you enjoyed reading my blog. I will continue to blog sporadically from here on out so PLEASE continue to check my blog for updates. Feel free to add me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @ReelBigDork. Thanks again and have a very magical day!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BAJL Day 30: Nom!Nom!Nom! Top 5 Favorite Foods

         As I have mentioned earlier, I am a fan of food. I like to eat delicious foods and try out new things. I even enjoy watching cooking shows on the Food Network. So today I am going to list out my top 5 favorite foods, in no particular order.
         1.) Bagels- I love them toasted, untoasted, with schmear, without schmear, and even used as buns to make bagel sandwiches. My favorite bagel sandwich is from Einstein's Bagels and had eggs, cheese, mushrooms, and asparagus. It was absolutely delicious.

         2.) Pizza- I have not had a pizza that I didn't like. The best pizza I have ever had was at Alcatraz Brewing Company, located at The Block in Orange. Besides the crust, white sauce, and cheese, the pizza was topped with Portobello mushrooms, carmelized onions and garlic, and sprinkled with truffle salt. Sadly, this pie is no longer on their menu. :(

         3.) Sliders- Little bite size burgers that are packed with flavor and strange ingredients. The best slider I have ever had is the Vietnamese Pork Slider from The Burnt Truck. This little food grenade contains Vietnamese spiced pulled pork, a carrot and radish slaw, a slice of a jalapeno, a slice of cucumber, and some kind of creamy garlic-mayo sauce. Besides that, the truck also has a traditional burger slider topped with a quail egg. The creaminess from the egg yolk really brings something to this burger bite and is far better tasting than the traditional slider without it.

                                                  The Vietnames Pork slider is on the left
          4.) Salads- Despite what you may think I do enjoy my veggies. My favorite way to eat my veggies is in salad form as I do enjoy them raw. My favorite salad is the Greek Salad from Paradise Garden Grill at Disney California Adventure Park. The salad contains romaine lettuce, kalamata olives, garbanzo beans, red onion, pepperoncinis, cucumbers, feta cheese, and comes with a warm piece of pita bread. Just thinking about this salad is making me crave one.

          5.) Chinese Take-Out - This a new one as I never wanted to eat Chinese food as a kid. I guess it really isn't Chinese food as all, since the only kind I love is Panda Express. Specifically, the sweetfire and orange chicken with chow mein from Panda Express. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner almost everyday.

          Honorable mentions on this list include doughnuts, bacon, cinnamon rolls, and hot pretzels with cheese. What are your favorite foods? Let me know by leaving a comment on this blog or the link which brought you to this blog. Happy Munching!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BAJL Day 29: Sorry George Lucas

Just a funny photo
             Today I am going to blog about a scene from the Star Wars saga that has always bothered me. Below is the scene, it is from the battle on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.

             If you didn't catch it Luke says that the AT-AT's armor is too strong for blaster fire. But when they use the tow cable and trip up the AT-AT that is somehow supposed to make the armor invalid? How does that make any sense at all?
             Don't get me wrong I love the Star Wars movies (original trilogy only!), but this is by far the most ridiculous oversight in the films. That is until Lucas changed the force from an energy force that binds all living creatures, to nothing more than a blood disease.
             My apologies for this being such a short blog. Hopefully tomorrow I will have the time to write a longer blog.

Monday, January 28, 2013

BAJL Day 28: Ska Is Not Dead!

             Those of you who know me personally are aware of my obsession with ska music. I first became interested in ska in the mid 90s with the popularity of bands like No Doubt, Save Ferris, Sublime, and Reel Big Fish, and the Aquabats. But as I grew up and that music trend faded, I forgot about it and moved on to liking punk rock bands like AFI, Pennywise, Rancid, and the Dropkick Murphy's ( I still like all of those bands). My affinity for punk rock reached its zenith in high school and I ended up getting a beaten up drum kit which I put in my room and tried to play (I was terrible). In my junior year of high school I joined the marching band (I played the Baritone). Later that year I became friends with a dude named Jesse. Jesse was a huge punk fan like I was but was also really into Reel Big Fish and ska music in general. The fact that I even knew who Reel Big Fish was may have been the reason we started talking and hanging out. He burned me some copies of Reel Big Fish albums and I was re-hooked! Ska was perfect for me because it had the edge of punk that I loved but had horns in it which I could appreciate, as a band geek, and I soon taught myself how to play the trombone and started writing tabs for horn lines that I heard in ska songs. I unsucessfully attempted to form two different bands with my friends, Better Than Usual (Drums) and The Gerbil Squad (Trombone). Soon my love for ska grew out of control and my cd collection became dominated with ska albums.
             For those of you that have read this far and are thinking to yourself "What is ska?" Here is your answer. Ska is a musical genre that was established in Jamaica in the 1950s. Jamaicans were able to listen to American radio being broadcasted from military bases on the island which exposed them to Rythm and Blues music as well as Jazz. Jamaicans combined this with calypso music which they were already listening to on radio stations from Cuba and Miami. Ska was the precursor to reggae and rocksteady music. The genre is characterized by accented by walking bass lines and rythms on the upbeat. Like for instance if you have a 4/4 time signature in a ska song, you would count out the beats as 1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4 and. The "ands" in that example represent the upbeat. So the guitar/organ/piano/horns would play on the "and". Hopefully that made sense. So the music enjoyed much popularity through the late 50s and 60s until the late 60s when reggae became immensely popular. This is known as the first wave of ska. Some of the more popular artists of the first wave include Prince Buster, The Skatalites, and The Wailers.
           The second wave took place in the UK in the 70s with punk rock explosion. This new brand of ska became known as 2-tone as all the bands were mixed race (whites and blacks). The music took its lyrical influence from punk rock with many of the lyrics being of a political nature. Also, the guitar chords had a more aggressive sound (also stemming from punk rock). Ska stood together with punk rock as being completely against racism which was still a fight going on in Britain with apartheid still in full effect in South Africa. The most well known bands of that era were The English Beat, Madness, and The Specials.
          The third wave began in the 80s and has still not disappeared.  The third wave is defined by a stronger combination of ska and punk which is known as ska-punk. Some of the bands which really laid this foundation were The Toasters, Operation Ivy, Fishbone, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Ska punk rejects more of the rythm and blues influences and instead favors fast tempos and guitar distortion. The third wave really rose into prominance during the mid 90s in Orange County. I love listening to first and second wave ska but third wave will always be my favorite. This is a match made in musical heaven as far as I am concerned!
         So now that you have been educated here are my top 5 favorite ska bands ( in no particular order, each with an example for your listening pleasure).
  • The Aquabats (old Aquabats)- This band has an AMAZING live show!

  • Less Than Jake- One of the best live bands I have ever seen.

  • Suburban Legends- A great band to see live. Plus, they cover Disney songs, what more can you want?

  • Reel Big Fish- my favorite band of ALL time! If you ever have the chance to see them live you MUST!
                                                       A live recording
                                                This is to illustrate how insane their shows are.
  • Streetlight Manifesto- the richest sounding horn section in ska. This band writes epic songs with some of the most intense horn lines you will ever hear.

         There it is folks! Some honorable mentions on my list would include Save Ferris, Operation Ivy, Oingo Boingo, The English Beat, Goldfinger, Big D and the Kids Table, The Forces of Evil, Jeffries Fan Club, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and No Doubt. Do you remember ska? Any mentions to add on to this list?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

BAJL Day 27: So, This Is Love.

             Today I am going to blog about my wonderful wife and tell the story of how we met. Our first meeting was in  the summer of 2003. We were both at a church summer camp at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. I had a very creepy roommate during the time I was up there, he was a juggalo and practiced witchcraft. He may be the creepiest, stinkiest, weirdest human being I have ever met. You know what? He is! So my wife, Alex, was also in our group and at night we would escort the ladies in our group to dinner. My creepy roommate was about to escort her when I stepped in and saved her. Granted, I wasn't much better than creepy guy at this point in my life. I had long, greasy hair, wore spikey belts and wrist bands, had serious acne issues, and probably smelled like the inside of an open sewer. Alex was so happy not to have to go with the creeper that night. We started talking and discovered that we both really enjoyed the same classic SNL sketches. I spent the remainder of the night doing impressions for her (I thought that would somehow get me ladies. What a loser!). After that night we continued to talk when we were in group situations and I got her phone number before we left.
              We began talking on a fairly frequent basis until I found out something that at the time was very scandalous. At this time I was 17 and she was 14. I assumed she was at least 16 as she was in our group. What had actually happened was that there were no more spots in the 14-15 year old girl group so her dad filled out her application as a 16 year old boy. He thought that once she got there they would have to fix the mistake and just stick her in the 14-15 girl group. Instead, they stuck her in the 16-17 girl group. Don't worry folks, to catch a predator is not involved in this story! I was pretty upset that she had omitted to tell me this. So we stopped talking for a while. Over the next several years we kept in touch sporadically and became good friends. That all ended in 2006.
              At this point I was living in Mesa and she was living in Idaho. We started talking everyday, I had just gotten out of a long term relationship and she was dealing with being far away from all her friends and family. We would just talk about what was going on in our lives and give each other advice on what to do. Over a period of months I began to develop feelings for her. She was unlike any girl I had ever met. She made me feel more comfortable than I even felt when alone. There was something indescribable about her. I didn't know what to do or how to tell her. In 2007 she came out to Arizona to visit family and we went on our first date. We went to the movies, I don't remember much of the movie because there was a woman sitting next to us who brought her infant to the theatre and was breastfeeding him throughout most of the film. (Side tangent: I know it is natural and blah blah blah but NO ONE, especially me wants to see anybody breastfeeding their child! Yuck!)
             Besides the breastfeeding the date went well and we decided that we wanted to try a relationship, even though it would be very long distance with her living in Orange County (Buena Park to be specific) and me living in Arizona. This is probably the best decision I have ever made. The next two years were very rough for us as we struggled with our inability to see each other on a regular basis like a normal couple. We beat the odds however, by staying together, and moved in together in 2009.
            Our first place was in Huntington Beach renting a room in a house with two brothers. Just so you know how uncomfortable this place was, we found the listing on craigslist, you know the kind of weirdos that post on their. I'm  surprised we weren't chopped up or raped while living their. I do, however, miss living in a beach community. The nights were always cool, it was close to my job (within walking distance), and we could get to the beach in about ten minutes. But, as bad luck would have it we have moved farther and farther away from the coast over the past three years. We currently live in Anaheim ( or Ana-crime, as I like to call it), were just recently married, and are expecting a baby boy in April.
            It is crazy to look back on that day almost a decade ago when we first met. It is even crazier to think about how we made it for two whole years in a long distance relationship. Alex is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She makes me want to be a better person and accepts me for the huge dork that I am. She is my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, and the only person who has ever made me feel like I can do anything. For me, that is what love is. Plus, she likes Star Wars, Disney, Lord of the Rings, and can have a conversation with me using movie quotes. How awesome is that?
                                                               Our first trip to Disneyland

                                                         Disneyland after we got married

Saturday, January 26, 2013

BAJL Day 26: More Disneyland Secrets/Strange Facts

              My previous blog containing Disneyland secrets/strange facts got me quite a few page views. So I figured I will just give the people what they want and write some more of my Disney knowledge.
  • The center of Disneyland- there is a golden spike just after you walk through Sleeping Beauty's Castle which represents the original geographical center of the park. (Before Toontown was added)

  • The read deal!- The drawbridge on the castle is not just for looks. It is a fully functioning drawbridge and has been used twice in the history of the park. The first time on opening day, July 17,1955 with the dedication of Fantasyland and again in 1983 for the re-dedication of Fantasyland after a major refurbishment.
  •    One of a kind- The Mark Twain Riverboat is a 5/8 scale actual functioning steam powered boat. It was the first one built in America for almost 50 years! On opening day, the boat was so overloaded with passengers that it began to sink and the bottom tier of the boat was flooded in ankle deep water. Sidenote: Alex and I wish we could have our wedding ceremony on the Mark Twain.
  • Enchanted Tiki Restaurant?- The original idea for the Enchanted Tiki Room was for it to be a restaurant. But, the show became too much of a distraction from the food and the restaurant idea was scrapped. This is why The Enchanted Tiki Room is the only attraction to have its own bathrooms (They are located to the left of the entrance doors).
  • Mystery of the Haunted Mansion- The exterior building (what you see from the outside) was completed in 1963 but the ride did not open until 1969. So for six long years the mansion sat there leading to rumors that the ride was open for a day but had to be shut down because it was too terrifying. Some rumors claimed that guests had to be removed from the attraction after they had heart attacks or gone into shock from being scared so badly. The truth was that with Disney's commitment to the 1964-65 Worlds Fair, all of the imagineers were busy. Then, after Disney's death in 1966, the remaining imaginears went through a power struggle over who would decide what stayed in the attraction. In the end, two different thought processes emerged, the first thought the ride should be scary, the second thought it should be fun and silly. So, the imaginears just split the attraction in half and one group got to the first half and latter group got the second half. There is a visible line in the storytelling and tone of the attraction from the foyer to the observatory than from the corridor of doors into the graveyard.

               This sign was on the gate outside the mansion for 6 years!

                                                        It looks so creepy at night!

 Have any Disneyland rumors you need dispelled or upheld? Let me know in the comments and I will confirm or deny the rumor. Hopefully, you have enjoyed this post. If you want me to write more of these types of post just let me know.


Friday, January 25, 2013

BAJL Day 25: Hooray for Hockey!

            I am so happy that the hockey season has begun. I am especially stoked to watch the Phoenix Coyotes defend their division title and make a run for the Stanley Cup.
            I really began to enjoy hockey after I went to my first Coyote's games at arena. Hockey is a sport that you MUST see live to appreciate. The excitement at the game is unlike any other sporting event you will ever attend, I assure you.
           In a professional sports world where athletes are babied and protected, hockey is the last man's sport. Crushing hits, brutal fights, and fierce competition are the trademarks of hockey games. The game is quick and the puck changes hands so quickly at times that it is hard to follow, especially on tv. But, as you watch the game it becomes easier for you to spot the puck and follow the pace of the game.
           Hockey games allow you to get close to the players as their is nothing but a layer of plexi-glass between you and the action. Most sporting events keep their fans far away from the action and especially from the players. There is a level of interaction that the fans have with the players that you will not get from any other sport.
          The biggest reason I am looking forward to this season is to help me forget about how terribly the Cardinals played. Watching the Coyotes play will give me a distraction. The pack is back folks, it's time to HOWL!!!
          Do you like hockey? Who is your favorite team? Any predictions for the 2013 season?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

BAJL Day 24: BROmance

              Today I am going to blog about how I met my best friend, Mike. Mike and I have been friends for many years, 7 years now. We met when we were hired at the same place in Gilbert, AZ. We both started on the same day. I was a checker and Mike was a bagger. We soon bonded over talking about the Cardinals and how much they suck. I creeped out Mike with my constant quoting of Family Guy and impersonations of Family Guy and SNL characters.
              We took our friendship to the next level by going to see the Cards play at Sun Devil Stadium. Of course they lost, but Mike and I became best friends that day. After that, we started bowling together, going to Applebee's together, raging at ska shows together, and going to see midnight releases of movies. Soon, tons of people that we worked with wanted to hang out with us. Members of the group came and went but Mike and I stayed constant.
              We took our first road trip to Disneyland and Mike and I got to sleep in the same bed together. I kicked Mike in the back while I was sleeping, which I am still sorry for. Mike and I have many stories from those trips, not all of them appropriate to speak of in public. One of them is that while Mike and I were trying to sleep one night, our other friend James, flipped over the hotel desk and threw it on top of us. So many good times!
              It is because of this that I am not ashamed to call Mike my hetero life partner. I love you bro!

A Storybook BRO-mance!

The oldest picture of us from our first trip to Disneyland
              How did you meet your best friend? Tell me the story in the comments. Sorry this blog is so short, If I didn't write it in about 30 minutes this morning I wouldn't be able to work on it until 8 O' Clock tonight.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

BAJL Day 23: The Idiot Box: 5 Unknown Shows I Enjoy

             I would like to thank all of you who gave me suggestions for blog topics. It means a lot to me to know that people are actually reading this. Today I am going to suggest a few television shows to you, the readers, that I really enjoy. So here is my list, in no particular order, of shows you may not know of but should watch.

  • Supernatural- this is a show that my wife and I did not start watching until about two years ago. The show centers around two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who hunt supernatural creatures (ie. vampires, werewolfs, demons, ghosts). Apart from the monster hunts in the individual episodes, there are overarching storylines that run throughout the show. Also, the show features a lot of classic rock music which I enjoy. The last thing I like about this show is the dialogue between the two brothers. There is a certain dry humor to the conversations that they have. This show really delves into the origins of the monsters and further explains the lore behind them.
  • Being Human- this a SyFy Channel series based on the BBC original series. The show is about a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost that all live together in a house in Boston. Together, the three of them are trying as hard as they can, to be less monstrous and become more human. The werewolf locks himself away during the full moon as to not hurt anyone, the vampire drinks blood from the hospital's donation bank where he works as a nurse, and the ghost is trying to find a way to move on. They each have their own individual struggles because of what they are, but they don't let that stop them from trying to be better. The second season of the show gets a lot more bloody as the vampire, Aiden, begins to drink live blood again and the werewolf, Josh, changes in the woods and eats a vampire. If you are squeamish about blood this may not be the show for you as there is a TON of it. It shows vampires feeding many, many times in this series. Other than that, my wife and I both really enjoy this show.

  • Chopped- I miss not having cable specifically because of the Food Network, but mostly for this show. I love cooking competition shows, and this show is by far my favorite one. The show begins with 4 chefs who are eliminated one by one through three rounds until only one remains. The first round is appetizers, the second round is entree, and the third round is dessert. However, in each round the chefs are given a basket filled with mystery ingredients that they are required to use in their dishes. At the end of each round their dishes are critiqued by renowned chefs/restauranteurs. This show combines all the right elements: cooking, improvisation, and competition. It is everything that I loved about the old Japanese program Iron Chef tripled in intensity. A word of warning though, watching this show WILL make you hungry.
  • The Aquabats Super Show!- I just finished season one of this show and it is absolutely hilarious! I have been a fan of The Aquabats for well over a decade and have been to a couple of their live shows. Any of you who have seen them live know why they are perfect for a television show. For those of you that don't, here is a breif synopsis: The Aquabats are a band, formed in Huntington Beach, that take on the personas of fake superheroes that they have created. The band wears costumes on stage and in between songs at live shows, they fight villains on stage, throw foods and beverages into the audience, play funny commercials on a giant screen behind the band, and encourage their fans to dress up with them. Their shows are by far some of the most intense I have ever attended. Their fans are insane and go completely nuts during their live performances. During their shows you will see mosh pits, circle pits, skank pits, and crowd surfing pool raft racing. The band has been shopping a pilot episode to networks for years but with the success of Yo Gabba Gabba ( created by the singer of The Aquabats), the band was finally able to get their show picked up. The only way I can describe the show is that it is like a crappier, cheaper, slapsticky version of the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. The villains they fight on stage are feature in the show and the action is cheap and chessey. The dialogue is intentionally poorly written and delivered almost sarcastically most of the time. This show cracks me up and I am excited to say that it was picked up for a second season which is currently being filmed.
  • Portlandia- I hate hipsters! So naturally a show that focuses on satiring the hipster culture would bring a smile to my face. Portlandia is a sketch comedy show on IFC (the independent film channel), but seasons one and two are on Netflix. The show features Fred Armisen (former SNL cast member) and Carrie Brownstein (musician and actress) as they embody different characters in the Portland area. This show is great! My favorite sketch so far is about this couple who dumpster dive for food, not because they are poor, but as a social/political statement about how wasteful people are. Not enough good things I can say about this show. Give it a try.

        What shows do you enjoy? Leave any suggestions you may have in the comments.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BAJL Day 22: Strange Disneyland Facts

              I am hitting a blogger's block today so I am just going to blog about what I know a lot about, and that is Disney. So here are some interesting facts about Disneyland that hopefully you didn't know before. Hopefully I will have something more substantial to blog about tomorrow. Here we go!

             1.) Cats! Cats! Cats!- there is a sizeable population of feral cats that live inside Disneyland. They were brought in to assist in controlling the rodent population in the park. It must be working as I have seen a few cats roaming the park but never a rat or mouse other than Mickey or Minnie. The cats have been spayed or neutered and immunized and roam freely in the parks. Though they often hide or sleep during the daytime you can often spot them around the backside of the Rivers of America or near Big Thunder Trail. Don't believe me? Below are some photos 
This little one is sleeping next to the train tracks

These two are on the hunt near the Hungry Bear Restaurant
                2.) How you can leave the state of California in under a minute?- simply take the rafts over to Tom Sawyer Island. The Missouri State legislature annexed Tom Sawyer Island in 1956. It was part of a publicity campaign put together by Walt as the Tom Sawyer books take place in the state of Missouri.

                3.) Disney Deaths?- 9 guests and 1 Cast Member have been killed at the park since its opening in 1955. Of those 9 deaths, 7 were caused by the individuals stupidity. The most grisly of the three deaths that were found to be Disney's fault, was the death of a cast member working at the America Sings attraction (which is no longer with us, RIP). The cast member got trapped between a stationary wall and the moving theatre and was crushed to death. Don't believe me? All the incidents have been verified by Snopes at

                 4.) Nothing EVER goes to waste- Disneyland is well known for paying homage to former attractions and recycling ideas. Animatronics aren't cheap so when the imagineers went over budget on Splash Mountain they used the leftover animatronics from America Sings to fill up the remainder of the attraction. The most obvious ones are located on the steamboat at the end of the attraction.

                                    Here they are in America Sings
                              Here they are in Splash Mountain

               5.) How to stay in Disneyland forever- many people have tried and failed but there are reports of guests scattering ashes of loved ones inside attractions such as The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Carribean. I don't know if any have succeeded in not getting caught but here is a link to prove to you that it has happened and been stopped. Also a video is located below.

 There it is folks! Just a small sampling of the strange and crazy things I know about Disneyland. Hopfully you didn't and I was able to entertain you for a few minutes. Have any Disneyland rumors that you need affirmed or dispelled? Leave them in the comments and I will respond to the best of my knowledge. Have a great day!

 PS- in an earlier post I promised a photo of me in my new glasses once I picked them up. Today I went to pick up my glasses so here is a photo.