Archive for October, 2008

I Can Play On My Bagpipes?!

This afternoon at the high school, the entire student body and members of the community (too few in my opinion) were treated to a concert by America’s Finest Singing Machine, The Bowling Green State University Men’s Chorus.  Although its size has dwindled and it is now under a new master from when I was a member, I am pleased to say that the tradition is alive and well.  Starting off with the ever traditional “Sing Dem Herrn,” I got goosebumbs as the men marched double file to the risers filling the air with music.  The repetoire has not changed a bit: some classical (even a Gregorian chant), contemporary, gospel, and novelty bits.  There were also appearances by the chamber choir (something new to me) as well as the two varsity quartets.  I am sure that the long standing lists of quartets who have traveled on to contests is still alive and well.  The chamber ensemble performed a Halloween themed medley (“The Addams Family, and “Ghostbusters”… I wonder how many of the men actually remember the movie).  I actually was seated beside a woman whose son is a member.

At the halfway point the director, Dr. Skoog Got on his soap box (a well needed one) to speak on Arts in the school (or lack thereof).  Today in over 60% of our local schools there is no arts program.  No music, no band, no choir, no drama.  That is a shame.  As Dr. Skoog pointed out, in the next 20 years if the trend continues there will be no need for ipods or mp3 players because our children will not be taught in the arts.  Grant it, literacy is important but there are students who have a natural inborn talent that if the decline in arts education continues that talent will not be cultivated.  Ok… on to the highlight.

The second half of a BGSU Men’s Chorus concert is devoted to the more light-hearted, crowd-pleasing, traditional fare.  This afternoon was no exception.  As Dr. Skoog invited any chorus alums to come to the stage, the lady beside me immediately stood up so I could make my way to the gymnasium floor.  After I shook the director’s hands and pulled out my white gloves, I THOUGHT I knew what was coming.  But no, the announcement was made that we would be performing the traditional initiation piece (true that the new members learn it the night before the first time they perform and it is one of the hardest songs you will ever learn).  EVEN BETTER!!!  I cannot go into detail in case anyone who reads this blog may one day wish to become a member of the chorus.  But if asked, performer that I am, I could be pressed into doing it.

So… a fantastic blast down memory lane…. and as a friend and teacher pointed out to me after the concert… “You never missed a beat.  You never forget do you.”  Nope… just like I never forgot “Oops pardon me, blondie” or “Baloons for sale; Baloons for sale; RED, YELLLOW and GRREEEEN BALOONS!”  I just wish Emily had been there.  She never got to see me perform with the chorus.

The Smurfiest Smurf That Ever Smurfed A Smurf

Can you believe that the Smurf’s are 50 years old and will soon be making a big comeback?  They were officially created in 1958 by a Belgian gentleman named Peyo.  There is going to be a new feature length motion picture as well as a new animated series.  However, gone will be the hand painted animation of the 80s and early 90s.  The little blue creatures will now be given the 3D treatment.  Also in the redux will be other Smurfs of the gentle sex.  Although I do recall a smurfling named Sassette who joined Smurfette and I was just informed that there was a Nanny Smurf.  As I recall, Smurfette was originally not a Smurf at all but was a creation of the evil wizard Gargamel in one of his nefarious plots to capture the blue critters and make gold.

Back To Life (?); Back To Reality

Not so sure about the life part but the reality definitely.  I got back from Toledo Airport around 2 Thursday afternoon.  I was back at work at noon on Friday.  While there for my NINE HOUR SHIFT in which I was dressed in pants and long-sleeve shirt, I had the (mis)pleasure of purchasing a bottled version of an A&W Root Beer Float.  I was not expecting much but when I came to the bottom of the bottle, I had a remarkably queasy feeling the rest of the evening.  I certainly hope that the experience has not turned me off the real McCoy (no, not Dr. Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy).

Saturday morning, the entire town was supposed to be without power from 6AM-2PM which means that the store would not be open until 3PM.  On Thursday, the town officials announced that a generator was being installed to limit the outage to a total of two hours (one in the early morning; the other around 11AM).  This meant that the store would in fact be open for all but the hour in the middle of the day.  The people who were originally scheduled to work in the morning had made plans to be out during the outage.  So, guess who said that he would work no later than 12.  I had plans of my own.

After my shift, my good friend Megan invited me to be her guest at her brother’s wedding.  Being a Catholic ceremony I knew exactly what to expect, but since only the bride was Catholic it was not a full mass.  Mother of the groom, Carol, sang a beautiful rendition of Tracy Byrd’s Keeper of the Stars.  There was a harpist and violinist who also played beautifully.  Megan read from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.  Overall, a beautiful ceremony.

Along with the wedding came the reception.  I was momentarily apprehensive about all the people whom I would not know.  However, I was pleased to discover the friendliness and easy-going atmosphere generated by all.  And the Italian feast was delicious and filling.  Megan and I danced a lot and I met her father and step-mother and lots of her relatives and other friends so it was very fun.  I had to make my way out a little after 10 since I had to be at work at 8 the next morning.  I also reminded Carol of the package I asked her to deliver as she checked the pooches of the soon to return vacationers.  My only regret is that I failed to bring the camera I had recently acquired.

Coming Home

Thursday morning, I learned a very valuable lesson… ALWAYS BOOK A RETURN FLIGHT LATER THAN 8:30AM.  Not only could this provide a few more hours to enjoy the area, but you don’t have to be up at 5:30 to be at the airport at a decent hour.  So… here I got up before dawn even cracked.  After my final preparations, I left the two oldest a note in their autograph books thanking them for a fun time.  Taylor was awake Wednesday night; however, Sammie was sleeping hours before I went to bed.  I also left a note of thanks to Chris and Lisa.

At the airport, I had a few kids to buy a souvenir for.  I had already purchased for most at a discount store the other night and on my flight over in Detroit at the NBC kiosk.  I just had to get The Office game on my way because I had a longer wait going then coming back.  I also bought myself my traditional t-shirt (although when I arrived back in Detroit, I almost wish it were a sweatshirt).

As for the flight, each of them was great.  There was barely any turbulence, and the view from the window was cool.  I love to fly. Thursday morning, the ear-popping was the worst about 30 minutes away from touchdown in Detroit.  And as a certain character in Blue, Red, and Yellow has noted on more than one occasion: “Statistically speaking, it is still the safest form of travel.”

But, the reality of late-October in Ohio soon reared its ugly head.  Gone was the brilliant sunshine and 80 degree temperatures of the Sunshine State and replaced by barely 50 degree temps with wind and rain.  I got absolutely NO sympathy from those I mentioned this to.

Once again Chris, Lisa, Taylor, Sammie, Disney, and Baby Christopher thank you all for asking me along and for a great time.  Hopefully next time is even better.

“You Are Now Approaching Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress”

All good things must come to an end.  Wednesday was my final full day in Orlando and it was just as fun as the first.  As we prepared to make our way to the Magic Kingdom, Taylor and Sammie asked me to help gather more of our slimy, shell enclosed friends.  However, I decided to stay inside and help with baby Christopher.  While waiting, I happened upon the old 1960s Batman movie.  Yes, between seasons of the camp television classic, Adam West and company made the transition to the big screen; complete with one of the most hilariously bad moments in all of cinema: the shark repellent bat spray.  Ok… enough on the caped crusader and his cinematic adventures.

After visiting Tomorrowland (and the droning voice announcing our approach to Mr. Disney’s vision of the 21st century and its catch tune “There’s a Great. Big, Beautiful Tomorrow”), it was decided that Big Chris was not going to survive the rest of the day on his feet.  So, while he and Lisa took the two youngest with them to get a wheelchair, Taylor, Sammie, and I went to Fantasyland to ride Peter Pan’s Flight.  This is a ride I actually remember from Disney Land which I visited when I was 4 years-old.  I don’t think the ride stopped in California.  However, once again I was right in the middle of a malfunction (not the wardrobe type, either).

Following the ride, I got behind the wheelchair and started pushing.  Not a problem at all… not only did it keep Chris off that toe, it probably did me some good, too.  It also aided in the lines at the rides.  With the added bonus of baby swap for those attractions that did not allow lap holding, wheelchair access allowed us to move quicker to the ride.  Not that I had wished for this to happen.

From there, we visited each and every attraction I make it a point to visit every time I visit the park.  I LOVE The Haunted Mansion and its doom buggies in Liberty Square.  Also never to be missed are Splash Mountain featuring the characters of Uncle Remus (I find it really strange that they have an attraction devoted to the stories but will never again release Song of the South on video) and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad both of which are in Frontierland.  While riding BTMR, poor Sammie lost her bracelet and when we made a quick peek to see if it fell off in our car, it was nowhere to be seen.

One of my other favorites is in Adventureland (NOOOO, not Jungle Cruise).  Pirates of the Caribbean has been updated since my last visit.  It now features the voices and likenesses of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa.  We rode Pirates more than once and surprise, surprise… it happened again. Yo, ho; yo, ho/A Pirate’s life for me

At the end of the day, I was rewarded for pushing the wheelchair (not that the reward was necessary) with an all-you-can-eat lobster buffet.  Of course forgetting that Chris is allegic to shellfish.  On the way back to our home, his voice was getting scratchy.  After we got in and made arrangements for me to get to the airport by 7, C&L went out for a few hours to get away by themselves.  I was seriously going to make them if they had not.  Taylor and I played some Uno since the other three were sound asleep.  After Uno, T wrote out the lyrics to a song she learned with motions in music class.  I always loved learning new little songs in music class.  So, I will reproduce them as best I can:

The Long-Legged Sailor

Have you ever, ever, ever in your long-legged life

Met a long-legged sailor with a long-legged wife?

No, I never, never, never in my long-legged life

Met a long-legged sailor with a long-legged wife.

For simplicity’s sake I will supply the following: in each successive verse, you replace long-legged with short-legged, knock-kneed, bow-legged, and cross-legged, respectively.  Did I remember all the verses, Dopey?

When C&L got back, the four of us played a final game of Uno then it was time to say goodbye to the last one’s standing before going to bed.

Morat And The A Man Of Magic AND MORE PIZZA

Hello every people.  My next night in Flor-ida was a spent in a downside up building.  I a look up and I see the stairs on the ceiling.  Wooly Sheep.  It was a very strange building, I never seen anything a like that.  We a go to the downside up building to see the magic man on stage.  He was a very strange man.  Little girl person, Taylor was a called on to the stage to do a magic trick.  A few minutes later, Morat was a called up.  Magic man thought Morat say Borat.  I tell him my name is a MORAT Notboratnichkov from Liswathistan.  Magic man say he a call me Timmy.  T and I tie the hands of magic man together and pull hard on the a rope.  I a think I pull little too hard because I pull the other end right out of T’s hands.  Some people in audience say Morat was a very funny.  But they were a three sheep to a the wind.  A little bit later, Chris was a called to the a stage to do a magic trick.  I a also see a weird man person who was a on stage and a showed a huge a stomach and a large a crack.  Not a only did we a see the magic, we also a eat the pizza pie.  WOOLY SHEEEP, more a pizza.  I think we all were a sick of pizza.  NO MORE A PIZZA PIE!!!!  I a like a pizza pie but I a not like to so much so a many times.  three nights in a row is a TOO MUCH!!!  But, Morat enjoy the a magic man, he was a very funny.

The Amazing, Hulk-Outing, Drenching Adventure

I must say that the worst part of the Universal was the transition from the two parks.  There was a huge mob of people resembling a herd of cattle waiting to be lead through the gate.  The problem being… there were only 2 people taking tickets and we picked the SLOOOOOOOOW line.  But we finally made it with plenty of time to enjoy what Islands of Adventure had to offer… LOTS.

Not only were there rides drawing from Dr. Seuss, cartoons from days gone by (Popeye and Dudley-Do-Right on which I will elaborate further), but also Marvel Superheros.  While C & L went The TRUELY AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ride, I waited with the kids to take my turn (thank heaven for baby swap).  While waiting a parade of heroes riding motorized bikes came zooming in.  I saw Captain America, Wolverine (in the traditional yellow and blue comic outfit), and Spidey himself.  This was cool not only to see them, but it also made little Dis stop and look… this was before Lis introduced me to the secret weapon.

I had a very hard time figuring out which my favorite ride was: definitely a toss up.  The Amazing Spider-Man is a 3-D marvel that puts you right in the middle of a comic-book starring everyone’s favorite web-slinging neighborhood do-gooder as he battles some of his most sinister villains: Hobgoblin, Hydro Man (not REAALY familiar with him), Electro, and Spidey’s arch-nemesis, Dr. Otto Octavius.

What theme park visit is complete with out some wet fun.  The first was definitely the worst.  You have read the disclaimer: YOU WILL GET WET ON THIS RIDE.  On Popeye and Blutto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, you not only get wet, if you sit in the wrong spot… guess who… you may not neet to shower for a day.

The second water soaker featured the melodramatic adventures of Dudley-Do-Right on Ripsaw Falls. Along the way the villainous Snidely Whiplash once again had the virtuous Nell tied to the tracks. Nowhere near as drenching as P&B’s, but good.  Not so good for Chris who was suffering from an in-grown toenail.  As I was entering the log I heard a loud howl from behind me.  I had stepped on his toe.  OMG… THE PAIN!!!!  More on that later, but I KNOW  how he felt. I felt awful.

The last thrill was one we had by-passed and said we would do if we had time remaining.  Not only am I glad that we made it just to ride, it helped in the drying process.  The Hulk is a good old-fashined green steel monster with corkscrews, loops, tunnels, and blinding smoke.  While Chris took the girls to Seuss land, Lisa and I conquered the monster twice… fast pass is great.  What a rush and it never stopped.  totally awesome.

Being led by people who know the park is a great way to see the best and by-pass the rest.

The Whole Universe at Your Feet

Following Tuesday’s adventures, our band went to a park I have never been to (unless you count California’s version of 30 years ago… ITHASN’T BEEN THAT LONG).  All I can say is OH, MY GOODNESS.  Universal Studios Florida features 2 worlds and something for everyone that is even cheaper than going to Disney (but I love Disney, too).  The first ride we caught was Jimmy Newtron’s Nicktoon Blast.  If you have young kids who enjoy watching the cartoon characters on Nickelodeon this is a must stop area.  Not only was the ride fun but in the shop following the ride, I saw Spongebob Squarepants.  Outside (not Nicktoon characters but still…) we saw Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, and the Mystery Machine.  Unfortunately, they were on their way out before we could get a photo.

Next ride was one that has been hyped since I was invited to go in late August-early September.  Let me tell you, if you enjoy the thrill of a roller coaster and the chills of a haunted house… you must ride Revenge of the Mummy.  The only problem being… and this is not the last time it happened… I was the jinx who caused the coaster to malfunction.  I’m not sure which ride started it off… maybe taylhis will be able to remind me… but it seemed that if there was a chance that a ride would stop, there I was in the middle.  This was even more memorable because Chris and I were trapped in the hot room.  But we eventually came to the ride’s climax.  It is a doozy.

The third highlight (not that I did not love ALL OF THE ATTRACTIONS… I could spend hours elaborating), was based on one of my favorite animated series.  The entire area surrounding the Simpson’s Ride is devoted to Springfield.  Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa… don’t think we saw Maggie were all there.  There is also a Quik-E-Mart featuring Squishees that we had to have.  We have been trying to figure out in which episode of the series Mr. Burns proclaims that his lunch consists of “One boullion cube.”  Anyone? But the simulated roller coaster is just a blast too.  It actually creates the sensation (however slight) of being on a coaster while being immersed in an animated adventure with the cast.  Animated thrill rides have come along way since even Star Tours was introduced at the now named Hollywood Studios at Disney World.

WHAT NO LISWATHISTAN!!!!???

HELLO EVERY PEOPLE!!! Morat he a go to Flor-ida country also.  One day, the two little girl people and Morat go outside and a find many, many snails.  We a put them inside a big bowl but we a run out of a room, so we a get bigger bowl.  Then, it was a time to go to the big, round golf ball.  But a before that, Morat he a go to a share time place.

This man person giving tour laugh at Morat very much. He say Morat should a go to Vegas.  He take Morat around the share time place and he see many womans working there. It a good thing woman not give me tour.  I say, Morat will a not take tour from womans.   He ask if they are married womans.  Some say yes.  I ask if they will go on Wife Swap trading on tv box.  They all say no.  I say Wooly Sheep.  They a just laugh and turn a red face.  Finally, strange man finish talking about share of time.  Morat say no thank you very much.

Morat then wait looooooong time for OHHO people to finish at their share time.  Man who gave talk come back a to Morat and say, “You’re still here?”I no understand a dis share time.  It a sound like a bunch of how you say, tech no speak.

When OHHO people come to a pick up Morat, they a go to the COT of EP at the Mouse house.  Many, many strange things.  We a go visit other countries like a you say No Way, and Mexico country.  I a tell little people to bring the snails to France for de escargot.  but a one thing I no understand.  WHERE IS LISWATHISTAN!!!  NO LISWATHISTAN AT MOUSE HOUSE!!! I WILL SUE DE MOUSE FOR 1 BOULLION CUBE!!! Or I just let Mouse drink all the soda of Italy.  Not a so good 🙁

But Morat a like many other things at eP of COT.  I like a the Big Golf ball ride.  OHHHHH… the woman inside sound a like the woman who is the boss of Oh-oh-Seven… her name is a M.

I a also like a very much the ride of Ellen.  Is Ellen married woman?  She a seem a little strange to me.  Ellen goes on Jeopardy on tv box.

But my a favorite part of the Golf Ball Place is the Soarin’.  Wooly Sheep.  EVERYONE WINS!!!  OH, Morat almost a forget about the little Fig ride.  The smelly animal made a big stink.  And little person say Morat made a stink.

I’ll Be Right Back

My first night in Orlando was spent at a dinner theatre entitled Arabian Nights.  The theatrical portion was a charming story featuring a female genie in training.   However, the story took second place to the real stars of the show: a group of beautiful horses and their acrobatic riders.  There was daring stunts, magical scenes, a chariot race, and (my favorite part) the antics of the clownish rider.  Amazingly enough, the riders were varied in terms of experience although they all seemed to have been riding since birth.

The activity was not limited to the stage. The two year old member of our group decided that she was going to venture out on her own.  “I’ll be right back,” she said.  Fortunately, her escape was thwarted and all was well with our band.

Following the show, I got my first glimpse of the accomodations I would be using AFTER we made a slight detour back to Old Town.  At the condo, we decided to place an order that would become a staple the next two nights: pizza (specifically, Domino’s… if you want to call it pizza).  So, if you are planning a trip to Orlando and want to break away from the parks for a few hours, plan a trip to Arabian Nights, especially if your family includes small children.

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