wwcitizen: (TV Watching)
Over heard today - so sweet:

Guy #1: "Have you ever heard of Prairie Home Companion?"
Guy #2: "No, what's that?"
Guy #1: "It's this radio show on NPR (National Public Radio) that airs on Saturday evening; reminds me of when I was a kid."
Guy #2: "Oh yeah?"
Guy #1: "Yeah, they have music and last weekend they had this really great band!"
Guy #2: "Oh yeah?"
Guy #1: "Yeah, and the band's going on tour."
Guy #2: "You don't say."
Guy #1: "I looked 'em up and they'll be heading to Britain first, though. But they were so good. This one girl played the crap out of her clarinet - like I've never heard it played before. So good!"

Background to this and why it's so sweet:

The Prairie Home Companion is a terribly nostalgic show. It makes me think of A Christmas Story: Kids in the pre-TV years used to hover around the radio with their parents to listen to the radio shows, Roosevelt's fireside chats, mini-dramas like War of the Worlds.  I did a self-study course in college on German radio plays from the 1960s and 1970s, which was really fun and interesting.

I just cannot for the life of me imagine someone playing the "crap out of her clarinet" before. What must that sound like?
wwcitizen: (Pumpkins)
Friends of ours and we went to the NY Renaissance Faire on Sunday in Tuxedo, NY. We'd all been there before, but it was a few years ago and never all together in a big group. This was really fun because there were six of us all with different interests - except for the food. We all enjoyed the meats and the mead as well as some beer.

One of my goals was to get some new Renaissance garb for my mediocre "collection". Clarification: I do not intend or want to become a Ren Faire aficionado... ever. I enjoy using the pieces for dress up at Halloween. In fact, the last bits I bought were for my costume in 2008 when Matthew and I went to Disney for Halloween.  So, that was my goal.

Problem with this year was that yesterday (Sunday) was the very last day of the festival. All the shopkeepers were tired and ready to be done with it all. They were clearly and verbally exhausted (a few of them actually told me directly how exhausted they were and to "help myself" in looking around and trying things on).  One of the shops I just left outright because, even though I'd spent a good 20 minutes looking through stuff and trying things on - clearly trying to buy something - the shopkeepers just couldn't be bothered. There were three of them and when I asked them a question, not only did they kind of look through me after I asked them something, but then one of them - finally - answered with this very quiet, timid voice that I had to lean in to hear because of some noise from outside.  VERY irritating.

In the end, I got some horns, a new doublet (being altered), some loungey pants, a mask, and LOTS and LOTS of great food - even a turkey leg!  I proceeded to wear my new horns to dinner at a diner on the way home. That afforded me lots of fun attention from the wait staff, adults, and kids alike. Some of the adults had kid-like expressions on their faces, even, after their double and triple takes.  Fun!

Escapes

Sep. 18th, 2013 02:51 pm
wwcitizen: (Rollercoaster Red)
There are many different times in my day or week when all that comes to mind is the strong desire to escape. Somewhere else or some other time draws me into daydreams and longings for being and experiencing something other than the present.

It’s critical to be present and live in the moment as much as possible. It’s those present moments that create the future daydreams and nostalgia, longings and memories of other times, happier or more interesting places, and people.

This escape is nothing specific to me right now or necessarily a reaction to anything going on right now, except that I’d MUCH rather be anything else than sitting at a desk.  I’d rather be out hiking, watching nature do its thing, walking around a lake in upstate NY or down a street in Boston, or sitting in a train in Europe heading someplace I’ve not visited before.  Perhaps it's the ensuing change of seasons that makes me dream.

But, my sitting at my desk right now is a moment that needs to take place in order for those other, better moments to happen and more interesting places or times to be. My present work day will allow me, for instance, to visit another place that Monet painted or where a Vivaldi violin concerto was first enjoyed. Putting in my time now will result in time off and freedom from corporate bounds for a little while.

Would that I were a business traveler again. I used to LOVE to travel for work. It was exciting to visit and discover new places or get to know a particular place far away from home. I loved having special places in other towns that I discovered and would visit when I was “in town” for a business trip.
Most if not all the places I used to frequent for dinner, lunch, drinks, or over-nighting in Brno, Prague, Budapest, Bratislava, and Ljubljana, and even Vienna, Linz, or Salzburg – work trips – are most likely gone and part of history. The same is probably true in Leipzig, Berlin, Chicago, Houston, and Winston-Salem.
Having visited Ephesus and many ruins in Greece, Germany, and Italy, I often wonder how many cities I've visited in my lifetime will be relics and ruins of my time five or ten centuries from now. How will the earth’s surface or climate change that defines the future earth?

For those people who painted pictures in their kitchen in 300 BC, what did they daydream about? Did they ever want to escape and see or do something different than they were doing?  I wonder how many kids or artists with whimsy wrote their names on the inside of tiles before placing the tiles in a mosaic in their houses, like I used to do when I helped my dad build rooms or fix a wall. 

All over the place from Singapore to Kaua’I, Hawaii, I've planted my initials somewhere, all the while thinking, “Who will find this? What will they think? Will they look up my name and try to find out anything about me? What else will I leave behind that they will be able to find?”

It seems part of human nature to want to leave some kind of stamp on the world for future humanity. Is that all humans or a select few? It’s a select few whose existence echoes through the centuries – like Homer. Of course, not the “Homer” of Springfield, but will Matt Groening’s work survive the centuries?  Will school kids in AD2357 watch those shows in awe of “the way things were”?  Or will Space Balls inordinately be the societal ruler by which our generation’s Weltanschauung will be measured?

See?  All I wanna do is escape and be elsewhere doing something else, but simultaneously leave my mark somehow, somewhere, someway.
wwcitizen: (Dont Know)
Apparently, there are 12 surprising uses for Vicks VapoRub - there may be more! The 12 highlighted here are:
1. Decongest Your Chest
The most common use of Vicks is to decongest your chest and throat area. When applied to the upper chest, it provides excellent relief of cough and congestion symptoms.
2. On Your Tootsies
Applying Vicks to your feet provides nighttime cough relief. Generously rub VapoRub all over your feet and cover them with socks. Your cough will subside.
3. Achy Breaky Muscles
Vicks relieves sore, overworked muscles. It increases circulation and provides almost instant aid. Use a generous portion and apply it over the aching area.
4. Get Rid of Nasty Nail Fungus
Rub VapoRub on your toenails if you suspect you have a fungus. Within days, the nail will turn dark—this means the Vicks is killing the fungus. As your toenail grows out, the dark part will grow off and you will have fungus-free feet. Keep applying the ointment over a period of two weeks to fully cleanse nail beds of any remaining bacteria.
5. Stop Your Cat from Scratching
To prevent Miss Kitty from ruining your doors, walls, and windows, apply a small amount of VapoRub to these areas. Cats detest the smell and will steer clear. Vicks can also be applied to your arms and legs if your kitty is prone to scratching you.
6. Pet Pee-Pee Deterrent
If your dog or cat is not yet potty trained, put an open bottle of Vicks on the area he or she likes to mark as their territory. The smell will discourage them from lifting their legs and wetting your rug.
7. Headaches Be Gone
Rub a small amount of Vicks VapoRub on your temples and forehead to help relieve headaches. The mentholated scent will release pressure in your head and instantly relieve pain.
8. Humidify Your Sleep
Vicks VapoRub can be used in special types of humidifiers and vaporizers. Ensure your humidifier has an aromatherapy compartment before using. The humidifier will circulate Vicks throughout the air and keep you breathing easy all night long.
9. Paper Cuts and Splinters
To prevent infection and speed up healing time, dab a small amount of Vicks on any small cut or splinter.
10. Ticks and Bugs
If you get bitten by a tick, apply Vicks immediately. The strong odor might help get the critter to release itself and stop bugging you.
11. Reek-free Racehorses
Professional racers smother VapoRub under the nostrils of racehorses on race day. The strong stench deters the stallions from the alluring odor of the female pony and keeps them focused on the race.
12. Go Away Mosquitoes
Apply small dabs of Vicks VapoRub to your skin and clothes and mosquitoes will steer clear. If you do get bitten, apply Vicks to the area and cover it with a Band-Aid to relieve itching.
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Everywhere we go in almost every city, there is some graffiti. San Francisco, Berlin, NYC, and DC have some of the best I've seen. Philadelphia is known for their spectacular murals (which are commissioned by neighborhoods), but I wouldn't classify those as graffiti. NYC has phenomenal graffiti. A few weeks ago, we were in the Lower East Side, and I captured a couple of interesting pieces from around Prune on 1st St. & 1st Ave. I noticed - possibly for the first time - that graffiti is now being painted on sidewalks or (as the Eyeworks piece was probably commissioned) on cellar doors, but on the sidewalk nonetheless.

Some captures of LES graffiti... )

Yesterday, we spent the late afternoon and evening in Brooklyn: Matthew had an appointment there next to the Brooklyn Brewery, so I dropped him off and spent about 30-45 minutes driving around checking out the graffiti in the area. I kinda wanna go back there and find more specimens.

Graffiti holds my interest because it's fleeting and dynamic! You see it, you appreciate it, and you might capture it.  It'll be there once for maybe a week or two, sometimes a month. Then it changes. Someone comes along to add their touch to the item.  Or someone else decides to cover that one with their own thing. The graffiti that is the most exciting is the wall that grows and expands off of one particular tag or image. San Francisco and Berlin graffiti artists, I find, tend to build on others' work, while in NYC, it seems that most artists want to be the ones on top. Perhaps the individual's or collective's cultural expression is coming through the graffiti and its placement - on top of others' work or next to and feeding off of another's.

Here are some examples of Brooklyn graffiti from yesterday's foray; notice the differences between Manhattan and Brooklyn graffiti. It's slight, but interestingly different and both unique.  Also, does a scarf wrap qualify as graffiti? Perhaps. Why not? One of the telephone poles in Brooklyn (below) has a knitted thing around the base, which is covered in graffiti. How about an old, broken, miniature skateboard? It's interesting to see that artists are using stencils and stickers more and more - why not other artistic mediums and materials - like yarn or wood? Enjoy!

See the Brooklyn graffiti collection... )

In honor of this graffiti post, I even graffiti'd my finger!
IMG_3342
wwcitizen: (Smell The Flowers)
Happy May Day everyone!!  What does "May Day" mean to you?

When I hear, "Mayday Mayday Mayday!" I first picture airplane pilots in black and white war movies having mechanical troubles. They're going down in a blaze of glory. Then there's the "zzzzt!" of the radio going out as the camera pans back to military command center.  It actually has nothing to do with "May Day": It is an anglicized form of "m'aider" from French, which means, "Help me!" and is always said three times.

When I read, "The 1st of May...", I think of Maypoles (in Germany, they're called "Maibäume", which is a fun word to pronounce in German - "my-boimah"). I have visions of little girls in pastel dresses dancing around a tall pole with ribbons, wrapping it up as they skip and sing.  The Maypole history - in Germany - is how a "secret admirer" symbol arrived at a love interest's doorstep.

When I google images of, "Happy May Day", there are pictures of flowers, fists, Maypoles, propaganda, little children in pastel, worker marches, vintage cards, equality marches, flowery garlands...  What a strange mixture. I captured some here for personal posterity. As with most all "holidays", May Day has its origins in pagan celebration.

Interestingly, May 1, 1707, is the date when England and Scotland united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Over the last century and a half, the first day of May became in some countries "Labor Day". Hence, there are also lots and lots of demonstrations regarding labor, workers, unions, and the like.  Even though the US Labor Day bank holiday begins our autumn and is always the first Monday of September, worker and labor movements historically carry out many protests and demonstrations on May 1.

Lots of things converge, then, on May Day: flowers, pagan traditions, strife, fights for equal rights, riots, protests, Maypoles, love interests, political unions...  The pagans knew something was special about the seasons changing, the spring sort of ending on April 30 and the summer sort of beginning on May 1.  The welling up of the human experience in a way.  From the statement, "April showers bring May flowers...", the expectation is set that so much will change when May comes around; there are brighter days ahead. People hope for change on May 1.

I place my hopes in positive change!  HAPPY MAY DAY!!Pictures... )
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Where ya at? Where ya at? Where ya at? Where ya at?
wwcitizen: (Xbox)
For about the last 9 months, I've been rimming the sky... aka playing Skyrim.  I think I'm finally done with the game. I well should be - after 9 months!!

All the main quests and complete and there are no hidden or undiscovered locations in the game; I even conquered some locations 2-3 times. All the treasure maps were found and treasure retrieved.  I located all the Stones of Barenziah and the Crown of Barenziah for reassembly into the paragon of the Thieves Guild (I also became a Nightingale). I worked through all the Daedra things, found all the Word Walls (one of the walls has a glitch in Xbox 360 - UGH!) and killed/banished the main dragon (without killing Paarthurnax). All of the Labyrinthian masks were located and placed onto the Dragon Priest Shrine for the extra mask to be revealed in the Bromjunaar Sanctuary. My character, Thalwyne, became all the thanes in all the holds possible, became a werewolf, bought all possible houses, has the most of the gold, the ingredients, food, scrolls, potions, and weapons in Tamriel... Even though you apparently can reach level 85 (??!) and I'm at the top end of 64, I think I'm done.

When I'm ultra bored or sick, I might go back in and make some potions, build some new weapons, and conjure some stuff, but for the most part, I can happily say, "I friggin got my money's worth!!"

Some pictures from my time in Tamriel... )LOVED THE GAME!!  Totally worth it!!  Need to stay away for a while...
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Our cleaning lady is here today and she always does a fantastic job.  She's so sweet and always very careful. 

Today, sitting at my desk, I hear, "I'm the Hamster of Happiness, baby! And I know stuff!" then CRASH!  She had hit our big Hamster of Happiness button we got at a party a few years back and gotten startled. Apparently, she'd never hit it before.

I pictured a margarita glass splintered all over the floor and our cleaning lady standing in the middle of glass shards not knowing where to go or what to do.  Thankfully, it was only votive candle holders that had fallen on top of our bar cabinets and hit each other. Nothing broken (everything's replaceable; I was truly more concerned about our cleaning lady than anything broken). But, she and I had a good laugh.  Crisis averted.

wwcitizen: (Disney - S&M - Castle)
Matt reminded me of his most favoritest and most magicalest day ever at Disney this past May.

Matt, his sister's family, his aunt, and I had a character breakfast one morning at the Crystal Palace. Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger come out to visit everyone during breakfast, take pictures, and sign autographs for the kids. It's a lot of fun for everyone, though.

At the end of breakfast, Matt's sister started getting the kids ready to go run around the park. Matt and I got ready to leave and he had to go to the bathroom.  I waited for him outside in the vestibule of the dining hall.

Matt's prim-and-proper, 82-yr-old aunt, who looks like she could be Betty White's mother, made her way to the bathroom about 3 minutes later.  About 5 minutes later, Matt comes out of the bathroom motioning for me to get up and go.  I said, "Don't we need to wait for your aunt?"

He said, "Nope! She's fine! And I'll tell you why she's fine. Just go outside."

He told me that he was sitting in one of the stalls when he heard his aunt's voice saying, "Oh. There's a man in here. Oh, there's urinals. Oh, where's the nice couch?  Where am I?"

Matt sat there on the toilet silently with his hands covering his face.  The other man at the urinal finished his business and told his aunt patiently that she was in the men's room.  "The ladies' room is the next door over," he explained as he began washing his hands.

"Let me see what it says on this door here," she said, as Matt heard her open the door thinking to himself, "Does it really matter what it says on the door? There's a row of standing urinals against the wall."

He heard his aunt then shuffle out the door muttering to herself and the hallway, "They need better signs around here," in her best NJ Italian accent.

Bless her heart.

When he heard her muttering voice fade into the distance, he quickly lifted his face from his hands, pulled up his pants, and rushed out to tell me about the scene.  Of course, I quickly texted his sister about the scene, who said, "Nice!"
wwcitizen: (Broadway)
While it wasn't Broadway, a movie, a TV show or a commercial, it will apparently be a short film, festival piece, or festival submission.  This was my first "cold read" ever. I had no copy of the script. When I arrived, there were no copies of the script. When the guy walked out of the room - The Red Room (and, well, it was behind a red door) - and did a double-take at me, THAT's when I got a copy of three pages of the script. And I got to size up my competition right then - about the same build but looked a little doughier, different features, and didn't look quite as professional (IMHO). Not sure if that matters anyway. What does matter is that THAT guy had received the whole script like two days earlier via email. I got an email response for the audition, but no attachment. They had that guy run through the full script - 10 minutes or so - twice.

It was an interesting experience and I look forward to more of these. Matt gets the information from Craigslist and other places and goes. He's got some parts in upcoming festival pieces already!  There was a part that he really wanted to audition for last week, but he was just too sick to go, which was unfortunate. But, there will be more.

I had to read through the ethereal, surreal script twice. It's basically a 3-person script; my part was the support actor to the lead.  One read-through was with the first reader, who looked a lot like Zach Braff.  The second read-through was with the other selected opposite to my role. That guy - long, brown, curly hair, smelled faintly that he'd gone through a day - a little street-worn, yet actually wasn't all that hard on the eyes.  Both of these guys were very thin. The second guy seemed to understand his role better.

The great thing is, during the entire experience, I didn't have time to get nervous at all. My life doesn't depend on any level of acting or gigs. All that sort of weight is lifted off my shoulders already. It felt good to be there going through the process of learning lines off the page enough to emote something. THAT was cool.

Oh, and here's my head shot I'm using (Matt made it slightly more "head shot worthy"):
Steve Head Shot

Edits: Changed "art films" to festival piece and/or festival film, since the directors will be submitting these pieces to festivals. Also, "art films" tend to be code for porn, which these are not.
wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
This is from a friend of mine - who has REALLY great taste in funny jokes - most of which I can pass along very easily. Thanks,  Glen!
______________________________________________________
A successful rancher died and left everything to his devoted wife. She was a very good-looking woman and determined to keep the ranch, but knew very little about ranching, so she decided to place an ad in the newspaper for a ranch hand..

Two cowboys applied for the job. One was gay and the other a drunk.

She thought long and hard about it, and when no one else applied she decided to hire the gay guy, figuring it would be safer to have him around the house than the drunk.

He proved to be a hard worker who put in long hours every day and knew a lot about ranching. For weeks, the two of them worked, and the ranch was doing very well.

Then one day, the rancher's widow said to the hired hand, "You have done a really good job, and the ranch looks great. You should go into town and kick up your heels." The hired hand readily agreed and went into town one Saturday night.

One o'clock came, however, and he didn't return.

Two o'clock and no hired hand.

Finally he returned around two-thirty, and upon entering the room, he found the rancher's widow sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine, waiting for him.

She quietly called him over to her. "Unbutton my blouse and take it off," she said.

Trembling, he did as she directed. "Now take off my boots."

He did as she asked, ever so slowly. "Now take off my socks."

He removed each gently and placed them neatly by her boots. "Now take off my skirt."

He slowly unbuttoned it, constantly watching her eyes in the fire light.

"Now take off my bra.." Again, with trembling hands, he did as he was told and dropped it to the floor.

Then she looked at him sternly and said, "If you ever wear my clothes into town again, you're fired."
wwcitizen: (Disney Steve - Pooh)
This 5-day trip to Disney was a lot of fun! We did Epcot for 3 days till we were so full of the park that we didn't have anything left to do. We did all the movies we'd never done (Canada, France, etc.) and discovered parts of the pavilions we didn't know existed like in Morocco, Norway, and Japan.  We didn't do everything in Japan or China, so we did leave some things for later visits. Plus, Epcot is always changing up stuff in Futureworld (at the front of the park).  They had a really cool educational Piggy Bank game to play.

Next time, I think we want to spend more time in Hollywood Studios. We did one 3/4 day there, as usual, and that's never enough; we've never done the outdoor shows or The American Idol Experience. Hollywood Studios is more geared for older kids and adults than the Magic Kingdom.  We spent one full, full, full day in the Magic Kingdom - till like 1AM.  When you stay on Disney property, the parks provide extended hours so you can be in the parks - either before/after the parks are officially open; they're called "Magic Hours".  During the Magic Hours, the ride lines go down and you can get on EVERYTHING till your heart's content (you have to flash your hotel/resort key). We went on It's a Small World 3 times, I think, and Space Mountain 2 times (well, Matt did - my back was out). In Tomorrowland, we were all able to go through Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (a definite precursor to Toy Story's Midway Mania) about 5 times.
It's always fun to do the parks with the kids, too. They know the parks really well, too. Michael (11) and Samantha (13) have been probably 25 times and Gianna (5) has been probably 7 already; Gianna got her first haircut there - at about 8 months old!! We always do at least 3 character meals (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) where characters come to your table for pictures and autographs. Yes, the characters sign these little autograph books - great marketing for Disney!! 
Disney is always starting up new collecting schemes. The one that Michael and Samantha slowly got me into was the pins and lanyards. All over the parks and in all the Disney stores, there are these great quality pins of all the characters (hard to find Winnie the Pooh, though), signs, vintage signs and park names, elements of the parks - like Cinderella's castle, the monorail, a turkey leg (it's a thing at the parks), the rides, the areas of the parks (Adventureland or Tomorrowland, etc.).  Some of them are so cool, but stepping outside the Disney frenzy and fervor, you realize they're absolutely wasteful.  Still, I've bought like 12 of them over time. The kids have EASILY 100s of them. 100s.  OH!  And AT the parks, the characters (any employee working around the park) will have their own lanyard with pins that only characters can purchase. The characters have them to trade with the kids running around the parks. Then the kids get the coveted "character pins".  It's a great marketing scheme.  The pins that the characters get from the kids, then go back on the shelf for sale!  They're making money hand-over-fist at the parks.
One thing that's always fun to do - for us - is to wear our Pride Mickey. When we wear those, everyone comes out of the woodwork. We strike up conversations we'd never have otherwise. Sometimes, we also get a little special-er treatment, such as getting a roll of  stickers to win the kids' sticker contest or get seated in a restaurant without reservations (happens more often than we realize, actually). We also found "family" throughout the parks on rides with their families or at the tequila bar in Mexico - that was a fun evening for sure!  We were told every time we came across a "family" member that we were there a week early.  LOL  Gay Days are June 2-4 this year.I catch myself feeling the pull of the Disney fervor more and more. And by the end of each trip, I'm sick of Disney stuff but still wanna look at it and shop around.  It's a love-hate relationship.  The Disney stores spread around the country's malls and outlet centers provide very different stuff than you find at the parks. That stuff is not nearly as good as what you get in the parks, either - from quality, quantity, and selection. They want you to be at the parks because they make SOOOO much money off every person or kid that goes there.

They even make money off the seniors that go. Matt's Aunt Jenny (who loves Donald Duck - below at Chef Mickey's) went with us this time without her daughter - she's probably 83 now. Matt's sister rented her a little scooter that she could use every day and get recharged overnight for the next day. She drove that thing around the parks all day. Granted, you have to have a little finesse to drive them and park them, but at least she wasn't thoroughly exhausted every day and could keep up with the clan more easily. At the parks those scooters rent for $75 a day - on top of all the other fees - hotel, food, park entry.  This scooter Tricia rented was about $25 a day and was really sturdy. Thing is, if your scooter's not Disney property and your battery dies in a park, you're really screwed. But, thankfully, that never happened!Notice the sidewalk pic (above)? That picture was taking moments before Jenny almost whacked off her head on a chain!  Yeah, that's the picture of Jenny entering what we now call, the "Death Trap For Scooters". She rounded one of the inner corners and got spooked when the scooter jolted a bit. Instead of releasing the accelerator, she clamped down, speeding the scooter INTO a section of chain! It took FOUR BIG BURLY MEN - including Matt and me - to move her on her scooter and the scooter away from the chain to a safe place. Jenny had grabbed her neck, releasing the accelerator (thankfully) and one of the men quickly threw off the scooter key (so it wouldn't move anymore). From where I was standing with the kids, it looked like Jenny was having a seizure and we all jumped into action. She's OK, but beyond her purchases for the weekend, she's got some pretty bruises on her arm, shoulder, and neck to prove she had a fight with a chain and won!  That was surely a scary Disney moment!

Getting there and being in the hotel alone is pretty pricey. You can get a meal plan which is - in the grand scheme - economical (I think you can get this even if you're not staying on Disney property - somehow tied to your park passes). If you're paying to be on Disney property, you can take advantage of lots of "free" things - like Disney's Magical Express (AWESOME!), which takes your bags when you arrive in Orlando and transports them to your hotel room within 3 hours of your arrival, and when you arrive at the airport, they transport you to your resort. Same when you leave, but you can check in for your flight at your resort and you don't see your bag till you're at your home airport. Matt and I did that and took off to Epcot for almost the full day before we boarded the plane to come home!  We squeezed in a couple more things - like lunch in Morocco (EXCELLENT!) and a couple of beers in England.  We found out this time around that the restaurant in the Japan pavilion is AWFUL! AWFUL! AWFUL!
Very memorable trip indeed. I took many fewer pictures this time around, too, than in times past, because I've now got them all - except the new goofy pictures of us in the parks, with each other, with the kids, around the characters, etc.  Oh, but at Epcot, this weekend we were there was the last weekend of the Epcot Flower Festival! Many, many Disney characters were highlighted around the park and World Showcase as topiaries.  They were (most times) really well done. The peacock under the Epcot ball was hard to photograph, but was really breathtaking.  I was pretty disappointed with the Bambi topiaries in a butterfly net house, though, because they weren't made of any flowers or plants at all!  But all the major ones were pretty good. There's also a Mickey topiary at Hollywood Studios that I captured and show at the end below.

When I'm at Disney, my inner kid comes out - fully.  Even the kids told me that I'm a bigger kid in Disney than they are!! LOL  I think that's fun.  When I get on the plane to go to Disney, I completely shut off from work and any stress around town that I've been feeling leading up to the trip - it's all gone.  It's truly always a de-stressing trip!!

We probably won't return to Disney World until 2014, when they finish the NEW FANTASYLAND!  They removed Toontown, which is probably good - it was very much a little kid's place. The new Fantasyland looks like it's going to be really cool!  They're also expanding a section of the Grand Floridian Resort, where we've not stayed yet. The picture below shows the expansion. There's also a video of our time in Spaceship Earth at Epcot and here's a link to our game you can play that we posed for (if our game doesn't show up, enter the code KQCQ2FMXMMRH8Q for our game). Enjoy!
wwcitizen: (Gimme a hug)
Tonight, Matthew and I ventured into the city to meet up with Phil ([livejournal.com profile] dendren) and Bob - IN PERSON!!!  WOW! What great men. Had a very fun time with them and some friends I introduced them to. They had coordinated with a couple of other LJ friends to meet them at Ty's and we all got along splendidly.  We didn't have too much to drink, either, cuz I had to drive home - in fact, I ended the evening with a diet Coke followed by a seltzer.  :-)

It's always great to put a personal, physical hug to a person's persona online. Phil and Bob give good hugs!  They are in town for their 20th anniversary. Matt and I are totally jealous that they have tickets to Book of Mormon - a show we've (lack-lusterly) have been trying to get tickets for. We will one day. I really hope that Phil and Bob enjoy the show, which I'm SURE they will.

Here are a couple of pictures from the evening:




At one point in the evening, I returned to the front of the bar to get a drink and a guy with a plaid shirt (Calvin) behind me tapped me on the shoulder. He said, "Excuse me, my friend really needs a hug. Would you mind giving him a hug?"

I said, "Oh, of course! I love to give hugs."

This sweet, gentle-hearted guy, pretty thin and pretty much no fur peered out from behind his glasses sheepishly. I said in my big burly voice, "Oh, you want a big, burly, furry hug, huh? You haven't had a hug today?! Everybody needs a hug!"

The guy just looked at me surprised and in disbelief that I just asked him the question.  He said, "Yes, I'd like a hug!"

I gave him a big bear hug. He was the sweetest guy and gasped satisfied.  I introduced myself around. A little later, the same guy, Calvin, came up and tapped me on the shoulder again to explain that his friend, Muhammed, was from Abu-Dabi. "You can't be out in Abu-Dabi and he's never had a bear hug. You gave him his first bear hug." 

Wasn't that sweet?!  I was very happy.  
wwcitizen: (New Yorker)
Wow, what a fun, packed weekend!  Matt always tells me not to over-book us for stuff, "Less is more, sweetheart," he says.  For the most part, he's right and if I overbook, sometimes even I have to nix some commitment - it depends on how it plays out.

This last weekend, though, was great. We hit all the marks, even stealing some time to relax and re-group before diving back into the throes of meeting up with friends and being here & there for this & that. This was our schedule:

Friday evening/night:
  • Dinner for Matt's niece's 13th birthday (yes, about 10 tweenies and two other kids screaming at the top of their lungs for about 2 hours).
  • Comedy show - FUNNY.FURRY.FIERCE sponsored through Urban Bear at the Duplex in Manhattan.
  • Bar night - later at Ty's (of course)
Saturday:
  • Heat Wave: The Jack Cole Project at the Queens Theater for comped tickets (a WAY off Broadway show). The show highlights choreography and music from the 30s and 40s. It was an OK show, but we didn't like it enough to stay past intermission.
  • 30-minute Park Stroll: Walked around the Flushing Meadows - Corona Park and took some pictures (below). I'd always wanted to go and it was really interesting - we have to return sometime.
  • Cinco de Mayo Party - drove home to relax for about an hour before heading to Jersey City for a very nice party with a bunch of friends - some of whom we hadn't seen in a very long time. The food was awesome.
  • Bar night - later at Ty's (of course), and at Rockbar - these were locations for the after parties from an Urban Bear harbor cruise.
Sunday:
  • Urban Bear's Street Fair: Had to meet up with our buddy, Travis Smith, for his book signing. He and a friend wrote Guide to the Modern Bear, and we got a signed copy (of course). I was featured as one of their group's "beefcakes" last year.  We also ran into a few other folks we hadn't expected to meet, such as Shane Ruff (t-shirt designer), Tribal Son Peter (where I FINALLY bought one of his awesome pieces of jewelry), and Brutus de Groot, who has a new t-shirt line (??) and moved to Phoenix from L.A. (??).
  • Cool-off dinner together: We went to one of our local new favorite restaurants across the street, Beyoglu - a Turkish restaurant. We literally had not eaten all day. My mood was waning REALLY fast and we both dragged our feet all the way to the place. We had food in front of us within minutes (we knew exactly what we wanted - pictures below).  We ate voraciously, took our time walking home, and basically crashed for about 3 hours before watching:
  • Real Housewives of NJ and hitting the sack.
I could sleep for an entire day!
Samantha turned 13 M&S at the  Unisphere
Peter customizes my necklace

 Jim is priceless
wwcitizen: (SteamPunk Stephen)
This is simply a link to another blog. BUT, the topic is Steampunk, which is "a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy featuring advanced machines and other technology based on steam power of the 19th century and taking place in a recognizable historical period or a fantasy world." Steampunk is based on cyberpunk from the mid to late 80s and has progressed into many things - artwork (Thomas Willeford, Joshua Hipplethwaite <-- great names, btw), novels, movies (Time Machine, Golden Compass, Sherlock Holmes, Wily Wonka, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), blogs upon blogs, video games (Myst), animations (Monty Python), TV shows (Doctor Who, Warehouse 13), fashion (Etsy is full of it!), and even a Facebarf page, which leads its visitors to a company's website.  Steampunk's deepest roots go back to the 19th century with H.G. Wells and Emily Dickinson.

The attractions it holds for me are in the details, the metalwork, the sub-textual darkness (Emily Dickinson), the story, the old mixing with the futuristic.  This Candy Factory is a prime example of the intrigue, the beauty, and especially the underlying darkness or sadness of some of Steampunk's "message", if you will. Here are pictures lifted from the linked website before:
 

The sad part is that Steampunk, as we know and love it, might be over and done. It appears in a Justin Bieber video (Santa Claus is Coming to Town) and it's TERRIBLE. I'm not even going to entertain it with a link here. I don't want to promote that. It's plastic and out of context (IMHO). Critics are saying the video is the demise of Steampunk and the "movement" will wain as a result. I would  hope that the likes of Justin Bieber wouldn't have THAT great an influence on a worldwide trend.
wwcitizen: (Easter Bunny with Hat)
We've been having a wonderful weekend!!  The weekend started out on Friday with us getting our hair cuts.  We were about 2 weeks overdue for those.  Friday night, we visited our friends Tommy & Brian for Easter Egg coloring.  It was so much fun, and best to do with friends.
This is Brian with his most fabulous egg ever!  It's fun how some dying elements just happen and then if you take advantage of them - juuuuust right - you can make something amazing out of it! Brian cooks a mean Cornish hen and Tommy makes delicious guacamole! YUMMY!
That was the culmination!  Beautiful eggs, tons of colors, lots of creativity, and fun with friends. (Plus, I love Matt's face here: "That's enough pictures, Stephen!")

Yesterday, Matthew and I slept a long, long time. We didn't eat ANYTHING all day till dinner at Tony's di Napoli. There we met up with [info]squirreltot*, [info]texwriterbear, [info]super_sean for the first time ever along with another Texan friend, Shane. Unfortunately,[info]allsmilesbear didn't make it out, but [livejournal.com profile] mat_t did! [info]jimwnyc and [info]tinman11201* came out, too, and we met THEM for the first time in person, too!  It was a lot of fun, great food, and great company.

Dinner was arugula/pear salad, grilled shrimp, (libations - goes without saying), broccoli rabe, escarole and beans, veal salimbucca (thinly pounded veal cutlet with provolone and prosciutto) over spinach, chicken scarpiello with potatoes, peppers, and Italian sausage, and lobster raviolis with vodka penne. Don't forget the amazing Italian bread, and dessert: NY cheesecake, tiramisu, an ice cream cake (on the house), and cannolis.  Oh, and libations. Most everyone got appletinis.

Here are a few pictures from the evening (including some of the damage). More pictures from the dinner, you can find here.
 

Afterwards, as everyone else retired for the evening, Matthew and I dashed off to Ty's for a nightcap. We hadn't been out in the city since about February, so were pretty overdue.  There we were glad to run into our buddy, Chris. Such a sweetheart.

Today, we're heading up to the Ramsay, NJ, for Easter Dinner at about 3:00 with Matt's family; we're not hosting this year (don't get me started!).  I'm kind sleepy from all this weekend activity so far; might have to go take a nap before breakfast and lunch!

Someone brought Easter Bunny Ears to the bar. Of course, I had to take advantage of them!!

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!
wwcitizen: (Default)
1. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? (I'm constructing a video...)

6. Was learning cursive really necessary? (Not nowadays - I don't write a sentence in a given week - by hand.)

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died. (Right, Deborah?)

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind-of tired. (Yeah. Yeah, I can. It was today, actually.)

10. Bad decisions make good stories. (Sometimes)

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Light than Kay. (TOOOO...OOOTALLY!!)

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. (For the record, it's the line called "maximum caloric intake").

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

23. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took (at least) 100(0) years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

... NOW. Go to your liquor cabinet, take out a bottle of your favorite liquor (even if it's 5-12 beers out of your fridge).  Drink a substantial amount and wait about 20 minutes. Return to this list and read aloud. It'll all make much more sense!  Enjoy!

What? That's what I did. Now, it's all clear!
wwcitizen: (For realz?)
I took this picture the other day and thought, "What's on this pea's mind?"   What do you think THIS littlest pea is thinking about?
Try out your best humorous line.  Nothing too risque; this is a public post and kids under 13 might be watching.  :-)

I will post a poll at the end of the week with the top 3 lines, from which I will get the best line to appear in the bubble!

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wwcitizen: (Default)
Stephen Lambeth

May 2017

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