Sunday, December 6, 2009
I was early, it was cold and it was so worth it. I had the pleasure of handling for the GA 501st this past Saturday morning for the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade.
This was the second year I have been able to participate as a handler in this event. This year it was in the 20's and 30's with rain and snow predicted. Luckily, the only rain we saw was on the ride in to downtown. It was overcast when we lined up but the sun was out by the time we were walking the parade. It was still cold and the wind was fierce but at least it wasn't raining. You can see how windy it was in the video below. Thanks for the footage Izzie!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
One thing I like to do during the Holiday season is watch the TV specials. I love the ones I watched as a kid and I try to catch a few new ones each year - at least new for me. I recently did a little bit of research to see when some of my favorites would be airing. Below is the result of that research. It doesn't cover all the ones I would like to see but it lists my currently published options. I know I won't be able to watch them all of them but at least I will have choices.
Nov 26 Thu 9am NBC Macy’s Thanksgiving Day ParadeChristmas
Nov 26 Thu 8pm ABC Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Nov 28 Sat 8pm NBC Merry Madagascar
Nov 30 Mon 8pm ABC Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Nov 30 Mon 8:30pm ABC Shrek the Halls
Dec 1 Tue 8pm ABC A Charlie Brown Christmas
Dec 2 Wed 7pm NBC Christmas In Rockefeller Center
Dec 2 Wed 8pm CBS Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Dec 2 Wed 8pm TCM A Christmas Carol (1938)
Dec 3 Thu 8:30pm ABCFAM The Polar Express
Dec 4 Fri 7pm ABCFAM Frosty’s Winter Wonderland
Dec 7 Mon 8pm ABC Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town
Dec 8 Tue 7pm ABCFAM Mickey’s Christmas Carol
Dec 8 Tue 8pm ABCFAM The Year without a Santa Claus
Dec 8 Tue 9pm ABCFAM A Miser Brothers’ Christmas
Dec 9 Wed 7pm ABCFAM Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
Dec 9 Wed 8pm ABCFAM Santa Claus in Comin’ to Town
Dec 9 Wed 9pm ABCFAM Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys
Dec 10 Thu 10pm ABCFAM A Flintstone Christmas
Dec 11 Fri 8pm NBC A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa
Dec 12 Sat 8pm CBS Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Dec 14 Mon 8pm ABC Shrek the Halls
Dec 15 Tue 7pm ABCFAM Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys
Dec 16 Wed 7pm ABCFAM Mickey’s Christmas Carol
Dec 17 Thu 6pm ABCFAM The Story of the First Christmas Snow
Dec 17 Thu 6:30pm ABCFAM Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
Dec 18 Fri 8pm CBS Frosty the Snowman
Dec 18 Fri 8:30pm CBS Frosty Returns
Dec 19 Sat 8pm NBC A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa
Dec 23 Wed 7:30pm ABCFAM Miracle on 34th Street
Dec 24 Thu 11am ABCFAM Mickey’s Christmas Carol
Dec 24 Thu 1pm ABCFAM Twas the Night Before Christmas
Dec 24 Thu 1:30pm ABCFAM Rudolph & Frosty’s Christmas in July
Dec 24 Thu 3:30pm ABCFAM Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys
Dec 24 Thu 6pm ABCFAM Frosty’s Winter Wonderland
Dec 24 Thu 6:30pm ABCFAM Twas the Night Before Christmas
Dec 24 Thu 7pm ABCFAM Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
Dec 24 Thu 8pm ABCFAM Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town
Dec 24 Thu 8pm TBS A Christmas Story Marathon
Dec 24 Thu 9pm ABCFAM The Year Without a Stanta Claus
Dec 24 Thu 10pm ABCFAM A Miser Brothers’ Christmas
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I had the opportunity to help the GA 501st last night doing meet and greets with some of the costume characters before the Star Wars in Concert event at Gwinnett Arena.
We arrived before 5p and were directed to a large, secure area on the backside of the area with a large window running the entire length of the area. This was our changing area.
Once everyone was dressed, we headed out to meet the crowd, little did we know. The characters were split into several smaller groups and each group was assigned a handler. I was handling Emperor Palpatine and his two Royal Guards. I knew they were popular characters but it was a constant mob scene. Here is a picture I tried to take of the crowd...
Everyone loves the Emperor....
Many showed the proper respect...
But, as always, the children were the cutest in their Star Wars costumes...
All the characters left the meet and greets around 7:10pm to much disappoint to the crowds but they had to get changed for the concert. It was twenty minutes of mass chaos but we managed to make it to our FREE seats before it all got started.
All I can say was it was an amazing experience. The music was perfect. While you were watching the crystal clear movie clips overhead, you would forget that the music was being played live.
Here is a video clip I was able to get (in black & white)...
Once the concert was over, several of the characters suited up and went out to mingle with the crowds one last time. At the end of the night, everyone was exhausted but all agreed it was something none of them would have wanted to miss.
I hoping to post a slideshow of the displays that I hurriedly photographed tommorrow. Wish me luck.
In the mean time, here is a link to the photo's Jimmy Burns (XO and photographer extrordinaire) took last night.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
It has been a wonderful and low-key Halloween night. We have been watching the Addams Family Marathon since 3pm, it's now 10:45pm. I do love me some Addams Family.
Darrell carved the pumpkins earlier today and the trick-or-treaters started arriving just as he was lighting the candles and turning on the green porch light, around 6:30pm.
We had around 30 children come by the house tonight. The ones I can remember are a Clone Trooper, clown, cat, flapper, butterfly, GI Joe, Spiderman, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, cowgirls and the good ole' traditional witches, skeletons and devils. Joel and Holly brought Nathan by as the cutest little Buzz Lightyear I have ever seen.
Of course I had help from my Early Warning "Here comes a trick-or-treater" Alert System. Once I saw the intense stare, the ears go up and the streak they left running from the door, I knew a trick-or-treater was heading up the steps...
I have to add one additional picture. As most of you know, my mother has been in the hospital for the last few days. Well yesterday, I was visiting and as we were talking in walked....
...it took me a minute to realize it was mom's doctor, Dr. Blanchford. Evidently, her entire office had dressed up Friday. It was fantastic!
Well folks, it has been a delightful evening so it is time to say Good night and Happy Halloween everyone!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I absolutely LOVED this when a co-worker of mine showed it to me this morning!!!
Seems Nathan Fillion is on a new show called 'Castle'. I have not watched it but you bet I will be now!
In this episode, he donned his Halloween costume...
I could not believe they did it and the dialogue was perfect! I love it when TV shows incorporate scenes that the fans can truly appreciate.
And just for good measure...
Monday, October 26, 2009
Yesterday, some friends and me made our annual pilgrimage to see the 'The Ghastly Dreadfuls II: Handbook of Practical Hauntings and Other Phantasmagoria' at the Atlanta Center of Puppetry Arts. It is an adult Halloween themed half puppet show and half live acts. Even though I have seen some of the skits each year, they never get boring. It is a masterful mix of creepy, spooky, costume, humor and props. It is one of my favorite Halloween traditions.
Here is an older trailer but it will give you a good taste of what it is about...
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Check-out day. We were all up, packed and heading off to breakfast at the Food Court by 9:30am. On the way back to the room, Steve grabbed a luggage cart. The guys loaded the cart, got it out to the Denali and loaded up.
We made our traditional stop in Downtown Disney for souvenir shopping. We were lucky enough to meet up and visit with Stuart, Ashley and Nate while at Downtown Disney. After two hours, we were ready to go. We had one last stop at the Hess Station to gas up and we were headed home. We made one stop for lunch at Chick-fil-a and rolled into Jesse's around 9:15pm.
All the luggage was unloaded, sorted and reloaded into the other cars and we all headed home.
Another WONDERFUL Disney trip done. I can't wait for 2010's!
Today was an Epcot day and deTag's birthday. The gifts started early. Zach brought him two beautiful Cast Exclusive posters depicting the Animation History of Disney. Steve and Liz had gotten him a set of Disney PVC figures that had some of deTag's Disney favorites: Figment, Big Al and Ezra.
Darrell and I went into the park around 11a. We had been out late the night before and I had to put some last minute touches on deTag's birthday card.
We arrived at Epcot and stopped by the Animation Gallery to look around. One of the Disney Artist Larry Dotson (http://larrydotson.com/Walt%20Disney%20World.htm) was appearing and signing his prints.
What was the first print we see walking in the shop?
...and the second?
After a nice conversation with Larry and his wife, Darrell and I had both of our prints personalized and sent to the front for package pick-up.
The next order of business was to finish the last piece of deTag's birthday card. I stilled needed to get 'Happy Birthday" messages from Morocco, Japan, France and Italy. I started in France, then to Morocco. It was amazing to watch the Cast member write 'Happy Birthday Brain' in Arabic - from right to left. Next was Japan and finally Italy. Darrell finished it up with a drawing of the Spaceship Earth. We called it "Happy Birthday from around the World!" In Italy, we found a corner table in the shade, sat down and wax sealed the envelope.
We called everyone else to let them know we where in the park. We walked around to Norway for a ride on the Maelstrom and then over to Mexico. After a ride on 'Grand Fiesta', we met up with Jesse and deTag. After some window shopping, we walked outside and hooked-up with Steve, Liz and Stuart. Steve and Liz decided to walk over to the UK while the rest of us walked back to over Norway for another Maelstrom ride. We explored China and Stuart showed where to stand so that when you spoke, you could hear yourself. That was kind of neat. Next, we made a stop in Japan to rest and have some pre-dinner sushi.
We took our time and walked around to Canada. Our dinner was going to be at Le Cellier. Unfortunately, it was another long wait - nearly an hour. Luckily, most of us were too tired to care. We found different ways to occupy the time.
Dinner was superb. After the meal we gave deTag his birthday card and Jesse gave him a personalized Haunted mansion print from Larry Dotson. Desert was as good as the meal. DeTag's desert had "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate on the plate and Darrell and I ordered the Chocolate Moose...
With dinner being so late, we were in a practically deserted park when we left Le Cellier. The park had been closed for 45 minutes. We took our time walking to the front and took in all the beauty of Future World without any crowds.
We slowly made our way back to the front of the park and headed back to the resort. deTag had his last birthday surprise waiting in his room. Housekeeping had left a washcloth cake with pipe cleaner candles, some Celebrate buttons and balloons.
Zach came over to the resort to pick up a few things and say good-bye. It was late and we were tired but everyone packed up as much as they could before going to sleep.
Today was Animal Kingdom day. While I didn't get up early to head to the park, Jesse and I were up at the crack of dawn to make our 2010 Dragon*Con Hotel Reservations. I tried at 7a and they told they were not taking reservations until 8a. Jesse and I were dialing back at 7:59a. We were both on hold for over 30 minutes. Jesse end his call and tried calling back. I was the first to get a customer service representative. Unfortunately, she was a moron. After several attempts, she simply told me to call back later. Jesse, on the other hand, got someone who knew what they were doing. Thanks to him, we (being him, Donna, Harris, Darrell and me) all have rooms at the Marriott Marquis for Sept 2-6, 2010. We love our Jesse!
After all of that, Darrell and I headed off to Animal Kingdom. Steve and Liz had already left and deTag and Jesse would be in later.
Our first objective was to see "It's Tough to be a Bug". This is one of my favorite 4-D movies across all the parks. Darrell being my little bug...
Next, it was off to Expedition Everest. He hopped in the Stand-by line since it was only a 10 minute wait. We flew through the queue. I was able to take a good shot of the yeti painting you pass underneath as you climb that first tall hill.
We jumped off Everest and went around to the line again. The wait had increased to 20 minutes but we hopped back in line. Since the line was a little longer, we were able to look at some of the many artifacts and props in the queue.
On this go around, I tried to video the Yeti animation that you get when the ride is switching the tracks from backward to go forward down the tallest drop in the ride. I also tried to video the animatronic Yeti near the end of the ride. Below it the animation I recorded but trying to catch the aminatronic Yeti was impossible!
After doing video on the rollercoaster, I was feeling a little green and decided that I was done with Expedition Everest for the day. After a brief rest, Darrell and I walked over to Nemo: The Musical, another fantastic live show. We were there early and had great seats in the 3rd row on the aisle. It's a great show. Here is a short video clip...
We backtracked from Nemo back to Expedition Everest to meet up with everyone else. Jesse, deTag and Liz rode while the rest of us waited and watched. Liz was a little nervous at first but she loved it.
Everyone walked over to Dinoland next. I wasn't going to ride Dinosaur after my video experience on Everest but Jesse did talk me into riding Primeval Whirl. It is a kids ride. Think of it as a mixture of rollercoaster and tilt-a-whirl. There are no big drops but it is brutally jerky.
At Dinoland, we split ways again. Steve, Liz, deTag and Jesse were heading to Nemo: The Musical while Darrell and I headed to the Flametree BBQ for lunch. The Flametree has good food and some beautiful seating areas. We walked down by the water to eat. We were surrounded by birds and water with a beautiful view of Everest.
After lunch, Darrell and I headed back to the resort. We knew we would be out late for our second, and non-costumed, MNSSHP and we wanted to rest before heading back out. Besides, I was going to get my picture with Capt'n Hook and Smee tonight and I wanted to put on my Black Bunny Crew t-shirt and custom Mickey Pirate hat.
About 4:45p, Steve and Liz knocked on our door. They were their Ghostbusters costumes for the night. We picked up deTag from his room and all headed to the bus stop. We were on our way to Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The only way to get from one resort to another by bus is to take a bus to a park and then hop the bus to the other resort. We jumped on the Hollywood Studios bus at the All-Star Resort, disembarked at Hollywood Studios and walked over to the bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Jesse at stayed at the Animal Kingdom (to ride Expedition Everest 7 more times) and was going to meet us at Boma.
Liz had brought her puppet Vapor to go with the Ghostbusters theme. He kept children and adults alike entertained all night.
After an amazing meal at Boma, we were back on the bus on our way to the Magic Kingdom. We arrived on the Square just before the first parade. Darrell and I ran down to Uptown Jewelry to grab the two Limited Edition Halloween pins I wanted.
Once the pins were in hand, we joined everyone else at a great viewing spot on the Square for the "Boo to You" parade.
Earlier in the day, Shane had sent a text telling us look for a manger in a yellow shirt near the car barn where the parade ended. There were 20-30 people in the area and the manager was calling people back 8-10 at a time. After a few minutes, it was our turn. We walked through the door to the Disney 'backstage'. There was Barbosa, Sparrow, Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald and the Caretaker with his bloodhound Jo-Jo. It was fantastic to get a photo opportunity with a character that you only get to see in the parade. Plus we all had the chance to pet the sweetest bloodhound!
We all headed down Main Street for a couple of great pictures.
Darrell, Jesse and I camped out near the Crystal Palace to watch the Hallowishes fireworks show. Darrell and Jesse were both experimenting with fireworks photography. They took some incredible shots...
Next, we met up with everyone for a ride through the Mansion. The second parade was about to start and Darrell, Jesse and I wanted to get some more pictures, so we staked out a spot to take parade pictures and enjoyed it all again.
After the parade, it was off to Pirates. Not only did I want to ride but I wanted to get my picture with Capt'n Hook and Smee.
From Pirates, we walked over to Big thunder Railroad and then on to the mansion for our last ride of the night, and trip.
While were not the last to ride through - there were 2 people behind us, we did wait around afterwards. We were invited back into the Mansion Foyer, with both Stretching Rooms open with the portraits stretched out and all the lights ON! We took more pictures with the awesome Mansion Cast members and just relished in the warm glow of Haunted Mansion goodness.
Main Street wasn't completely empty when we left but it was close and we only shred the bus with four other people. It was another wonderful MNSSHP night!