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Monthly Archives: January 2009

As promised

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Los fill-ins del viernes!

1. I’d really like to have both the will and physical strength to complete the first level of the 30 Day Shred without wanting to die right now.

2. “Whyyyyyy???” is the word you’d most often hear me say if I stubbed my toe. I like to be as dramatic as possible, as often as possible.

3. Possession is a pretty great book, but only an okay movie. Hello, it’s about English scholars! Totally a dream come true. Also, Aaron Eckhart. Delicious.

4. I’d like to have a drink with Captain Jack Sparrow. After that, I am not responsible for what happens.

5. Marshmallows and fire go together like…peanut butter and jelly? Man, now I totally want a roasted marshmallow. And some sort of fire. Can one roast a marshmallow over a candle?

6. If you get me talking about cooking, I could go on and on. I feel like I know just enough to be knowledgeable, but am still insecure enough about my skills not to be a jerk about it. Don’t worry, though, I manage to be a jerk about other things.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to having a couple days off to hang out with the friends and loved ones. Tomorrow my plans include a cake tasting at our wedding place with GP, trying on dresses with my mom (is this a terrible idea, following cake tasting with dress-trying-on?), and Sunday, I want to be satisfied with a normal portion of chili and (light!) beer at our Super Bowl/Puppy Bowl party!


This may be the Shred talking, but…

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I should not be allowed to watch The Biggest Loser. I am totally in tears, watching these people work so hard to change their bodies. Also, I want Jillian Michaels to chase me around and make me do cardio.

Friday Fill-Ins are forthcoming! Hopefully, more alliteration is not.

Interviewed by RA

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Since the Disney fun is over, the plan now is to just go back to talking about myself all the time– so get excited! Something that’s been hanging around my inbox for awhile now is an interview that I asked RA to do for/with me. Here goes nothin’…

Why did you start blogging?
This is something that I definitely have to think about, because I began blogging during my freshman year of college– a whole seven years ago, which seems like forever. I suppose I began blogging mostly as a journaling outlet for myself. I had no readers that I knew of, and just really enjoyed the idea that I was preserving those early college memories, however humiliating. I transitioned into Xanga, where there was more of a sense of community, and found that I (mostly) liked having an audience. However, I began to find Xanga kind of ridiculous (is it weird to say that it seems like the MySpace of the blogging world?), and switched back to my dear old Blogger. My reasons for blogging have definitely changed, as has my content, and I have to say that I really do enjoy blogging as a means of connecting with people that I wouldn’t otherwise know.

If I were to come to visit for a day, what would we do?
Because I want to pack as much into this Day of Fun as possible, we’d start out early with breakfast at my favorite local place (because I love to gorge myself on coffee cake, especially before 10 a.m.). Then we would struggle to find a parking place at a nearby shopping area, but it would be worth it because there is a colossal Borders, a Container Store, and even an ATL there– where we would exclaim over the deals that we would find, and convince each other to make too-large purchases. Exhausted from all the shopping, we would make our way to my favorite sushi place and eat rolls that are larger than any sushi has a right to be. All this, of course, is a precursor to the inevitable food- and shopping coma, to be recovered from while watching a zillion dvr-ed episodes of Jon and Kate Plus 8. Dinner (and wine, of course) would be prepared at The Apartment, with recipes coming out of my shamefully-not-very-organized recipe binder.

What item of clothing makes you feel great when you wear it? Why?
My favorite item of clothing is one that I don’t get to wear very often, but still love to bits. It’s this $50 (um, now $12.50!!! Go buy this dress, please!) black dress from Target that I got a couple Decembers ago for a company Monte Carlo Night, and embodies a lot of things that I love about a good dress: it’s revealing in a surprising way (via a very cool “envelope” back), it’s lined in an interesting color (red), and it has pockets! It’s fancy without looking like I’m going to a cotillion, and super-versatile.

If you could hire a personal servant, who would you choose?
I would like to hire someone who is a mix of my mom, Oprah, and Martha Stewart (not that all three ladies don’t already have a lot in common). I want someone who cares about me, who could give me a good pep talk, and could also give me a good kick in the ass. A gym buddy, someone to organize things, and someone to do all that grownup-type stuff that I just can’t be bothered to do (recycling stacks and stacks of old magazines? Yeah, she could do that).

Which occupation would you try for a week?
If it were only for a week…I would love to be a kindergarten teacher. I so enjoy being around kids, but I don’t think that I have the patience to be any kind of teacher for more than seven days. But, for that one week, I would be all about getting everyone to sit “criss-cross applesauce” and to share and be nice to others– then a real teacher would have to come and take over before I somehow irreparably damaged all the children.

This was so fun! Thanks, RA. If any of my eight (my high estimate) readers hasn’t been interviewed yet and would like to be, just leave me a comment asking me to do so.

The Grand Finale: Epcot!

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Now it’s time to say goodbye…to all our Disney World memories. D-i-s…n-e-y…W-o-r-l-d! Sorry, I had to do it, what with the letter amounts being the same and all. Also, if you don’t know the Mickey Mouse Club theme song, you need to take some “Keepin’ It Real” classes. (I am on glass number three of merlot for the evening, so shut it)

Epcot was my absolute favorite park of the vacation. It’s divided into basically two different sections– Future World and World Showcase, and each is just about what it sounds like. The important things to remember are these two: Future World is home of The Ball (the iconic ball, which houses the Spaceship Earth ride) and cool rides like Mission: Space and Soarin’ (which is called Soarin’ Over California at California Adventure, and is the exact same ride in Florida), and World Showcase is home to various and sundry international pavilions, which exhibits and rides from countries like Mexico, Norway, Canada, and Morocco. I apologize in advance for this completely photo-heavy entry, but I am in love with these oh-so-ridiculous pictures.

Let’s begin with Future World, shall we? We took dozens of pictures of Spaceship Earth, and this one is probably my favorite:

Front and center, from the entry plaza. It’s pretty imposing, right? Next, a look at the Nemo and Friends ride. It’s different from the one at Disneyland in that you’re seated in a clam-mobile rather than in a submarine, and the characters are projected into the Living Seas exhibit– personally, I prefer the Disneyland version of the ride, but I absolutely love the Living Seas… Luckily, I don’t have to choose. Yay for getting to visit both! Here I am with my undersea friends:

Unlike the dozens of children (and their parents, ahem) that viewed the landscaping as their personal playground, I managed not to climb up into the bushes. The best part of the ride– and I know this sounds weird– is the end, because it spits you out into a fun marine-life exhibit, with dolphins, manatees, and tons of fish and such. For instance, the clownfish:

Another feature of Future World is Innoventions, which is much cooler in Epcot than it is at Disneyland (where it is a weird wasteland full of Playstations). If you understand the Friends joke that we are trying to capture here, I will be your friend forever:

All right, now to the fun part: World Showcase! For the sake of my own memory, I’m going to take these in order. The first country that we happen upon is Mexico, our festive neighbor to the south. In advance, I apologize for any unintended racism– I promise that I love all people, and their alcohol and crazy hats that go along with their much-cooler-than-my-own culture. And now…margaritas!

Viva! Now, let me tell you my awesome plan for World Showcase, devised over the first of many margaritas: take as many pictures as possible in the hats of each country’s pavilion. The “drinking around the world” part of Epcot was a given (and we did, albeit over the course of several days), but I wanted to make it extra awesome. Hence, headwear. The one that started it all:

When I showed that to my mom, she asked just how many margaritas I had had. The answer? Only one. GP was being infuriating, and I was impatient about having my picture taken. Two more features of the Mexico pavilion were brightly painted ceramic skulls (with which I felt the need to enact a Hamlet scene) and ball-in-a-cup, GP’s favorite olde tyme game.

Somewhat incongruously (World Showcase does not present these countries in any sort of order, and the drinking just makes it more silly), Norway is next to Mexico. I enjoyed a Carlsberg and some well-placed antlers…

After a spin on the troll-filled (seriously) Maelstrom, a Viking boat ride followed by a Norway video, we happened upon a plethora of horned hats. Mischief ensued.

It’s true, I will cut you. next comes China, where there is plum wine and another hat, as well as a very cool “Circlevision 360” movie about china (pictures, clearly, of the beverage and hat).

Next up was Germany, where there was not a hat (well, there might have been, but it was dinner time), but there were bratwursts, pretzels, and Becks! The picture is crazy-dark, sorry friends.

In Italy, I enjoyed a glass of prosecco and a blown-glass apple, Desperate Housewives-style. Apparently, the Italians are not hat people.

In the center of World Showcase is the “host country,” America! Along with a very cool animatronic show called The American Adventure (which we got to see the backstage area of, while on our tour!), I enjoyed a Budweiser seasonal brew (shockingly good), and a couple patriotic hats.

This headwear obviously makes me proud to be an American. I mean, come on, y’all. Clearly we have the best hats. Right next to America is Japan, where GP and I shared a Kirin and I attempted some Japanese glee. Thoughts?

One of our lunches was had in the next pavilion– Morocco! Some tasty shwarma, Moroccan wine, and a fez for dessert.

Our fanciest dinner was had in the France pavilion, where we dined at the Bistro de Paris. Need I remind you that we are the kind of people that get engaged in Paris? I know, I feel like I jerk whenever I bring it up. Speaking of jerks, how did I do with my arrogant-face in the beret picture?

Now, I may be a francophile, but in the name of keeping it real, I have to confess that I was an anglophile first. Which may be why I felt right at home drinking a Strongbow cider in the pub– alas, no hats! Way to miss an opportunity, United Kingdom. (Bobbies and beefeaters both have great headwear, don’t they?)

Rounding out the World Showcase, along with another Circlevision 360 film (narrated by Martin Short), is Canada! Witness the Labatt’s imbibing and final humiliating-hat-wearing…

Well…that’s it! I promise that the blog will now be going through a detox from all these pictures of me drinking and wearing crazy hats. I will not likely stop talking about myself (what is this, a blog or something?), and do have an “interview” by RA that’s been sitting in my inbox for awhile now…

Again with the Disney World– Animal Kingdom!

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You guys. The internet connection in Tahoe was really lousy, and I was too excited about drinking wine and hanging out with the dog (who, we learned, really enjoys the snow) to really think about fighting the interwebs. But…we’re back! And I have half a vacation still to recap, so…

Animal Kingdom was the park that I was least excited about seeing; not that I was not excited to see it, but in the hierarchy of all the parks, it was not near the top. However! I was very pleasantly surprised by everything that we saw, ate, and did throughout our time there. As the name suggests, there are actual animals at the park. This means that it closes a little earlier than the other parks (Mickey and Minnie have a later bedtime than the rhinos and tigers do), and that there is a bit more variety in the types of attractions that are present– there are rides, of course, but there are also a couple animal exhibit areas and several shows (Finding Nemo and Lion King, both really cool if you are a complete Disney nerd, which…yeah).

First, the animals…here is one of several jaywalking giraffes that we saw on our “jeep tour” that goes through several animal habitats, including swamp and savanna. Each tour is different, because the animals are just walking around out there. For instance, this guy:

Also–and completely awesomely– there is a Rafiki Conservation Area, complete with petting zoo! Not the most educational, it turned out, but for some reason I find sheep and goats completely adorable. Here I am with a new friend that GP wouldn’t let me bring home:

Isn’t he adorable? Fine, maybe I am inordinately excited about animals. Not to worry, we also went on some rides. They ranged from the pretty terrible Dinosaur– which is way too scary for children, like this guy right next to me with his head buried in his dad’s lap for the entire ride

…and I don’t blame him. That is real fear on my face, folks. Dinosaurs, were they alive today and not killed off by cave men (I know, shut up), would want to eat our faces right off. They are not cuddly, and I want nothing to do with them. By far, though, the best ride that we went on while on this trip was Expedition: Everest. The newest of the Disney mountains, it is the result of Imagineer research (there is a Yeti museum that surrounds the queue– it is pretty intense) and is basically a runaway train ride through a mock Himalayan mountain. You go up the first lift, around a bend, and then! The track has “been destroyed by an angered Yeti, guardian of the mountain!” So you go backwards, in the dark, and lifted into a cave, where you are shown a sequence of projected images, the main message of which is something like “Yeti smash!”

This cave is where the ride photos are taken, and where GP and I got to enact a series of completely awesome ride poses. Here’s one that says, “Who has two thumbs and likes this ride? This girl!”

Scary, yes, but it is a much more satisfying ride than Dinosaur (to say the least). The climax of the ride is when the train hurtles past a gigantic, Animatronic Yeti, who takes a swipe at you as you whiz by.

Because there were Extra Magic Hours on the evening that we spent at Animal Kingdom, we got to ride Everest over and over and over and over…I was sad to leave! The bonus, however, of getting to spend some extra magic time at AK in Walt Disney World’s low season, is getting to take awesome pictures of (gasp!) empty park areas at night. How in love am I with these lights?

Quite. Tomorrow is the last segment of the WDW reminiscing– Epcot, my favorite! Get ready for an international booze-and-hat tour, as well as some crap from the future…

Coming soon…!

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I believe I have two more WDW parks to go…and I promise they’re coming! GP and I are headed up to Tahoe now, but I will be up and online later today…

Walt Disney World Recap Part 3, Hollywood Studios

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The next stop on our many-destination recounting of the recent trip to Disney World (are you sick of it yet?) is Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Originally called Disney’s MGM Studios or somesuch, it was not a park that I had visited before, and is definitely not one of the “A” parks at Disney World, so going into it, my expectations were…well, not low, but not as high as they were for Magic Kingdom or Epcot. I was pleasantly surprised, however, at how much I really did enjoy what HS had to offer: a really good rendering and expanded version of what some of California Adventure is like, with fun Hollywood stuff all over the place. Various sections were more “California beach” than others, but this park sort of made me feel like I was at home…you know, because San Jose is pretty magical and all. While we enjoyed an original version of one of my favorite CA rides, Tower of Terror…

…as well as Toy Story Mania, which was enhanced by its location in the completely-fun-for-a-Pixar-addict-like-me “Pixar Alley” (I might just be making up that name, but it was a fairly alley-like setup)…
…we also got to see some cool, new (to me) stuff, like a couple stunt shows (Indiana Jones and another one with some insane car-driving and explosions that brought welcome warmth on a couple freezing Florida days) and a movie/museum combo about the Walt Disney “story” that was so perfect for someone who loves both learning and Disney, just like I do! There was a chronologically-arranged collection of artifacts from the days when the Disney brothers were not so successful, right up to the original idea and concepts for Disneyland, television, and merchandising. There were also several models of rides and attractions from the different parks around the world, my favorite, of course, was this one:

That’s right, Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland! Did you know that the “front” of the castle is the side that faces into Fantasyland, on the opposite side from that which faces the hub and Main Street? Yeah, stick around…I know all the secrets.

Finally, I have to complain like a Californian about the weather. I am weak for having grown up here, where the average winter lows might dip into the 40s every now and again, but there is rarely talk of wind chill and hard frosts– at least in the Bay Area. Going to Florida, I assumed that I could count on much of the same…and I was wrong. The first day was lovely, with shorts and t-shirts, but by the last night, I was pulling up and tying (yes, even tying) the hood of my poor, inadequate UCLA sweatshirt in an attempt to maintain sufficient core temperature. Not fun, Florida. But! It did give me the opportunity to pose next to this snowman in the “Streets of America” section of the park…
The Disney saga continues tomorrow, when I will recount another pleasant Disney Park surprise– Animal Kingdom! I promise that someday I’ll write about something other than this vacation (I have some “interview” questions to answer, I believe), but I like to keep reliving it!