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.

Monday, January 21, 2013

BAJL Day 21: Spoiler Alert! My Thoughts on The Walking Dead

              I just finished season 2 on Netflix and I figured I should give the show a review. For those of you who may be living under a rock The Walking Dead is an extremely popular show on AMC that is based on the comic book of the same name. The show centers around a group of people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse but with the main focus being on a character named Rick. Rick is a police officer who gets shot and goes into a coma. Whilst in said coma the zombies overrun the city. Rick wakes up to a completely different world and has to learn to survive. He joins up with his wife and son and the rest of this group of survivors.
              My biggest complaint with this show is that it constantly kicks its viewers in the balls. Here's an example. In the first episode, Rick gets taken in by a father and son who are trying to survive. The boys mother is a "walker", oh that is what they call the zombies. Every night the dad fires a shot to get the walkers to surround his house in hopes that maybe he will be able to summon the courage to shoot his wife and end her suffering. How awful is that? Not a big enough shot to the balls yet? Well how about this: Rick's wife is currently banging his best friend and former parnter on the force, Shane. Which did I mention Shane left Rick for dead in the hospital to escape the zombie onslaught? Still not enough you say? Here comes another one: Rick is riding a horse through the empty streets of downtown Atlanta when he runs into a herd of walkers who chase him and knock him off his horse. Then the walkers proceed to eat the horse and you, the viewer, have to watch it. What kind of sick people would do that? Where exactly in any zombie lore does it say that zombies eat other things besides just humans? Did i miss something? And these things are just in the first season. ( P.S. 6 episodes is not a season AMC!)
              The nut shots only get larger and unbelievably more severe from there. The Walking Dead is the kind of show that has me starting to wonder why I am watching it. I dislike almost all the characters on the show at this point and hate a couple of them.
              Another thing I don't like about the show is that it seems that every episode attempts to lure you into a false sense of security. Almost like they want you to forget that there are zombies on this show so that they can shock you with them. It doesn't work and in fact, is rather annoying to say the least.
              The second season brings more "ball" breaking. A young girl in the group becomes a walker and Rick has to shoot her in the head. Shane shoots a man in the leg so he will get eaten by walkers, giving him time to escape a group of them. Rick's son gets shot in the chest by a deer hunter. (Said deer hunter, Ottis, is who Shane shoots and leaves behind to become walker food) Rick's wife is pregnant, imagine bringing a child into that bleak world. Shane is still obsessed with Rick's wife and is convinced the baby is his. Many people in the group get killed by walkers including Dale, my favorite character on the show up to this point, Rick goes bad and stabs Shane to death, and the big reveal in the season finale is that the walker virus is carried by the living. You don't have to be bit or scratched by a walker to become one.
              The last two episodes in the second season were particularly tough to watch as many people whom I felt were good in the group get eaten by walkers. But if you want to see some serious zombie killing then watch the first twenty minutes of the last episode of season two. There are more zombie kills in that twenty minutes then there have been so far in the entire series. You get to see zombies get shot, stabbed, stomped, run over, burned, bashed, pitchforked, beaten with shovels, and decapitated. All of that is pretty awesome but it comes with some serious loss as some in the group get torn to shreds and eaten alive by the walkers.
              I will continue to watch simply for the few characters on this show that I want to make it out alive. If there is more action like in the season two finale that wouldn't hurt either. It is hard to get invested in these characters since the show is so willing to kill off characters that I thought were vital to the continuation of the plot. At the end of the second season I disliked the main character in the show, is that good tv? I'm not sure. Do you watch The Walking Dead? What are your reactions/opinions of the show so far? Please no season three spoilers, I haven't watched any of those episodes yet.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

BAJL Day 20: Come On Down! My Trip To The Price Is Right

The sign outside the studio entrance. Can you believe the show has been on for 41 years?

              I would first like to preface this post by saying that I did not get called down to contestants row :(  With that said here is my trip report. The day started for my wife and I at 3:30 in the morning. We woke up to shower and get dressed so we would be ready to meet my best bros Michael and Austin at 4:30 AM. This was done in order to miss any morning commute traffic, which we failed to prevent. LA has to be the only place in the world where you can find traffic on the freeway at 4:30 on a Wednesday morning. A little over an hour later we were in Beverly Hills having breakfast at a Norm's Restaurant near the CBS Studios. After our large breakfast we took Beverly Boulevard to the CBS Studios and parked our car next door at The Grove shopping center.

While waiting outside the studio, I snapped this photo as the sun was starting to come up.

               We then took our place at the back of the line that was already forming outside the studio (There were already thirty people in line). At about 8:30 we were let onto the studio lot where we received our name tag and contestant number (mine was 32). We then had to fill out paperwork including our legal name, social security number, and whether or not we had been on any game show in the past ten years. Also, they asked if we knew anybody who worked for CBS as that would make us inelligible to be on the show.

                                                                     How awesome is this?

Took this photo from The Grove


               At around 9:30 we were taken to be photographed individually for the producer's of the show to see us and then have a group photo in front of a green screen. The green screen photo was of us pretending that we won something.
Our green screen photo that we stole off their website. Notice the annoying watermark?

            After the photo we waited in another line to be interviewed by one of the show's producers. This is where you really need to turn on your charm and craziness. The producers are looking for people that will do something crazy if they win because that is what the home viewing audience wants. I guess we weren't wild enough since none of us got called down. After the interview process we went to another waiting area. We had to go throught a metal detector and turn in our cell phones so that is why I have no photos of the inside of the actual studio. For those of you that have never been, the studio is SO TINY! It looks so much bigger on television. There are only about 10-12 rows of seats and about 300 people in the audience per taping. Also, I don't think that the studio set has been changed in the last 41 years, there are these super bright colored drapes hanging from the walls accented by light up hippy flowers.
See what I mean? Without the stage lighting the colors look so much worse.
            In between all the games the cameras would shut off and Drew would just interact with the crowd. This was a lot of fun since he is a real pro when it comes to improv comedy and he had some good zingers when he was talking with the audience. Also, he was mocking prrizes that they were giving away on the show and cracking jokes about sponsors of the show which I thought was very odd. Also, there are a lot of people behind the cameras that you don't see. There were about 4 cameramen on stage as well as a stage manager and my favorite, this young kid who would always tell the audience when to applaud and when to yell out bids for contestants on stage to guess.
            I won't give away any of the show other than that but it was exciting to watch. Even though I didn't get called up it was still a ton of fun to be a part of. If you get a chance I would definitely recommend going. The episode will air March 14th and I'm sure I will be plenty visible in crowd shots since I am a giant wearing a purple striped shirt.
            If you are wanting some tips about going to Price Is Right here they are:
  1. Stay at a hotel within walking distance of the studio- aside from your ability to get more sleep you can also save on parking (We had to pay 24 bucks).
  2. Wear a brightly colored shirt- almost all the people who got called up were wearing brightly colored/ hand made shirts. If you have something written on your shirt it also gives the producer something to ask you about during the interview which means more time for you to show how wild you are.
  3. Be enthusiastic the whole time- during the whole process we were all smiles as they have producers placed into the crowd to see who really is worthy of television time.
  4. Go early- half of the adventure is the journey so enjoy as much of it as you can
  5. If you don't have a hotel nearby DON'T LEAVE- hang out in Hollywood until later in the night. We left before 3:00 PM and it still took over 2 and a half hours to get back to Anaheim. Once again proving my theory that there is never an off-traffic time in LA.
          Well that is it, my experience about going to The Price Is Right. It was a ton of fun and I would deifinitely go again if I had the chance to. Have you ever been to a taping of a televisions show? If so, what was your experience? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

BAJL Day 19: You're Welcome Disney

         With the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney  came the announcement of Star Wars Episode 7. I have drawn upon some extended universe literature to create the plot for the new movie.
          The idea was inspired by a comic book, released by Dark Horse Comics, that is part of the extended universe wherein Emperor Palpatine is reborn in a clone trooper. My idea would be that Emperor Palpatine makes a clone of himself to use as protection and then goes into hiding after Darth Vader kills the clone emperor to ensure the further existence of the Sith. This would explain why it was so easy for Vader to kill the emperor at the end of Return of the Jedi. Oh wait, should I have prefaced that with a spoiler alert? Too late!
        So the movie would focus around Leia and Han's kid and maybe Luke's kid as they learn that the Sith still exists and that they must be the ones to end it. This could allow Fisher, Ford, and Hammil to reprise their roles which would make fans happy. I'm thinking that one of the kids could become the new Sith at the end of the movie.
         Not all that thought out, but there it is. I think it would be an interesting storyline that could be pursued through multiple films since Disney has said they want to continue to release Star Wars films. What do you think? Do you have an original idea for the next film? Leave a comment with your answer.

Friday, January 18, 2013

BAJL Day 18: Challenge Accepted! Donuts, Donuts, Donuts

         **The lawers representing The Dork Life blog must insist that noone attempt to recreate the following challenge.** Recently I attempted a rather daunting food challenge. It was to eat a dozen donuts in one sitting, basically my dinner was going to be this box of donuts. Below is a photo of the dozen donuts.
           I thought this would be simple due to the fact that I LOVE DONUTS! I love all types such as old fashioned donuts, cake donuts, jelly filled donuts, creme filled donuts, donut holes, and even buttermilk donuts. My all time favorite are cake doughnuts with white or neon colored icing and sprinkles. This is probably because those are my mom's favorite as well.
            Side tangent but my love of baked goods in general comes from my mother. We would rather have a cinnamon roll then have candy or even ice cream. I love breads, bagels, cakes, cupcakes, rolls, and biscuits because of her. Mmmmmmmmm bagels and shmear!
             Back to the challenge, it began pretty much as I expected, easily. I cruised through donuts 1-6 but around donut 8 I started feeling ill. I wasn't full, it was more like my body couldn't handle any more sugar or fried doughy goodness. I didn't puke but I did feel sick for the rest of the night. However, it did not make me sick enough to stop me from finishing the rest for breakfast the next day, with some help from my wife.
             I would not advise anyone to try this EVER! I will PROBABLY not attempt this again. I make poor choices so you folks don't have to. Have you ever attempted a food challenge? If so, let me know about it by leaving a comment.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

BAJL Day 17: 5 Movies I Will Be Showing My Son

              I cannot wait for my kid to be old enough to watch movies with me so I can share my favorite childhood films with him. Hopefully he will love them as much as I do.

     1.) Flight of the Navigator- this was probably my favorite movie when I was a child. This movie features terrible 80's acting, a fantastically catchy soundtrack, and Pee-Wee Herman as the voice of an alien. What more can a kid want from a movie?
     2.) The Goonies- I discovered this film later in childhood and it has become probably my favorite movie of all time. I have seen it hundreds of times and have memorized the majority of the dialogue. I have seen it so many times that I now notice bloopers in the film from its poor editing.

     3.) Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure- my dad used to rent this one on a regular basis when my mom would be out at church functions for my sister and I to watch. I love this movie so much. This is Keanu Reeves finest work as an actor. You get to learn history and laugh your butt off at the same time. How awesome is that?

     4.) Pee-Wee's Big Adventure- I don't have this on dvd yet but it is a must see for any kid. This is another one that my dad would watch with my sister and I repeatedly. This is childish humor for dads and sons to share together. "I know you are but what am I?" "And knitting, and knitting, and knitting, and knitting, AND KNITTING!!!"

     5.) Peter Pan- this was my favorite Disney animated movie when I was a kid. I used to dress up like an Indian and dance around the living room. I wanted to be one of the lost boys so badly. I will also be showing the kid Hook because it is also awesome.

     What were your favorite childhood movies? Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

BAJL Day 15: Practicing For Fatherhood: Learning Patience

         In July of 2012 my then girlfriend, now wife, Alex brought something home that would change my life forever. She had gone out with her girlfriends to see Magic Mike and it was almost one o'clock in the morning when I heard a knock at the door. I opened it and there was Alex, holding a kitten. He had been abandoned near the movie theatre and Alex decided to bring him home.
         He was tiny, incredibly underweight, and covered in fleas. We bathed him in the kitchen sink and then wrapped him up in a towel. The next day I had to bathe him again as he still had fleas on his belly. He needed to be bottle fed as he was only a few weeks old at this point. We thought he was a she and named him Minnie. After taking him to the vet and finding he was a boy I got to name him and I chose to call him Louie.
          I have never been a cat person. In fact, I would often chase away stray cats, make fun of people for having cats, and claim that cats don't love their owners. Slowly that little guy got under my skin and into my heart. He is now part of our family. He may not be overly cuddly like a dog is, but he has his moments.
          People say that pets don't really prepare you for a child, but I say nay. Having Louie has taught me that I have a level of patience that I didn't know existed in my psyche. I am not a long-suffering kind of guy. Thanks to my dad's genes, I have an incredibly short temper at this stage in my life and I was afraid of what I was going to do to this cat if he ever crossed me. That was quickly put to the test as he loves to wake me up while sleeping. Those who know me at all know that I wake up ready to punch someone in the face(yes, I am that cranky when I wake up). However, instead of hitting Louie or throwing him off the bed I began to rub his head and ears. Is this my paternal instinct?
          Last night was when I really felt that I will be able to handle being a dad. Louie had just used his litter box but had some doo doo stuck to his foot. He walked out of the litter box and flung it all over the bathroom floor. Instead of getting mad and yelling about it, I simply picked him up off the floor and turned the faucet on to wash his poopy foot. Things were going fine at first but then he flipped out. He thought I was trying to bathe him and fought back. He began trying to climb over my shoulder to get away from the sink. In the process of doing so he scratched up my chest and back, punctured the skin on my back, and one of his claws pierced my nipple. Yet, I still did not get mad despite the facts that I was in pain and my shirt had been ruined with huge punture holes. I dried his foot off with a towel and then cleaned the poop off the floor.
           What had happened to me? My love for this childlike little creature had changed me in a way I had not foreseen. He continues to challenge me and teach me patience. Even as I write this blog on my phone he is all up in my face trying to knock the phone out of my hands.
         For those of you about to say "children are much different than animals" I know that. But, they are kind of similar in that both are unable to feed themselves, you have to clean up their pee and poop, and both want your attention when it is REALLY inconvenient for you. I didn't think that I would be able to deal with my child. Now, I have a little more confidence.
       How has your pet enriched your life? Let me know by leaving a comment.