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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coloring Contest

When I’m not absorbed into the Disney Park culture, my second favorite pastime is photography. After a couple years of practice and much experimenting, I can take a fun little picture now and then. Now I am sharing the best of what I shot at my website (http://www.jeremyes.com) that has just been relaunched with a complete overhaul.
In celebration of the relaunch, I am hosting a Disney coloring contest!

Visit http://www.jeremyes.com/contest.html and download as many of the coloring book pages as you wish. Color them any way you like (digitally, with crayon) and then email me your creation. I will post the entries and open the floor for voting.

The top three winners, as determined by all who vote (no more than once a day per email address) win some cool vintage prizes, like a 1964 World’s Fair guidebook! Check out the contest page for all the details and full list of prizes.

While you’re there, please take a look at my photos and let me know what you think. I wish there were any Park photos, but I have not had the opportunity to visit the Parks with my new skills in tow. For better or worse, I designed the website myself.

The blog section will be updated about once a week with stories about the photos, and how the photos were created.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Please Watch & Think

Last night, during Saturday Night Live, I first saw a blatantly racist commercial endorsed by John McCain. In it, an ominous narrator called out Obama for lack of experience, then showed a jeering black man and blamed him for the current financial crisis. Then it cut to scared white people and asked if Obama was ready to lead. I looked for the ad, but did not want to wallow in the pool of shit pumped out by the McCain campaign. You know, the same fetid pool that Karl Rove called out because the lies became too much.

Close to the end of the broadcast of SNL, Obama ran an ad where he spoke to the public, told us that things will get worse, but our society is strong. You know, positive words. Watch the video:



Now remember who John McCain supported, ever since Bush ran the [formally] dirtiest campaign on record to smear McCain, thus costing him the nomination in 2000.

If you are voting for John McCain, you hate this country and the ideals that make it the best country in the world. Unless you clear over 6 figures a year, there is no reason to vote for McCain.




Saturday, September 20, 2008

Other website relaunched

Remade www.jeremyes.com, so it looks a little better and navigates a little better. Check it out and click on the contest link for a chance to win some vintage Disney prizes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Best Presentation Video I've Ever Made

This was made to show my Women in the Workplace class because I really like the music, and it can make anything ten times more dramatic. Enjoy.


video

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Never purchase an Archos Product

Hey, back again. Let's blame the lack of updates on my continuing struggle to find a job. Today, a quick musing on why I will never again buy an Archos media player.

They suck in all the right ways, such as:

Battery Life: Yeah, the 800x480 touch screen looks great, but it, combined with the hard drive, sucks a full battery dry in less than 3 hours. Hell, if you turn on the WiFI, you're looking at well under 2 hours.

Reliability: I fixed my Archos 605 160gb model by shaking and slapping it when the error code 102 came up. I have never fixed a device like this before. Before doing this, I emailed Archos and was told that the unit needed to sent in for repair. Now, it was a gift, and without the proper proof of purchase, this meant that I'd have to pay for the repairs. On a device that is just barely a year old.

Ad-Ons: Want to use that built-in Wifi? Give them $20 for a slow (really slow) Opera broswer. Want to play games? Pay up. Same with playing Podcast-friendly music and video formats, and playing files with digital encoding.

While the machine can play a ton of formats, it has very little else going fot it. It is too bulky to be pocketable, way to fragile for use while moving, and will break before you know it. Buy an iPod Touch / iPhone or a Creative Zen if video playback is important on the go. The iBrowser is a billion times superior, and the Apps store...well, there's no comparison. If you want more music based, check out the Sony Walkmans, or anything else but the Archos brand.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thoughts on Transformers Classics Powerglide and Onslaught

Picked up these two at the local Target this morning, and spent the day transforming them, photographing them, to form these semi-informed opinions. Enjoy!

VEHICLE MODES

Onslaught is a nicely detailed S.W.A.T. heavy armored vehicle, something that is almost realistic, but has enough details to be cartoony. The paint work is well done, as are the sculpting details. This mode has a ton of play value, both the top hatch and rear doors open, the wheels roll, and the menacing claws flip down for added destructiveness.

The turret on top rotates 180 degrees (90 each way), and the S.W.A.T. shield mounts on top of the turret. There is a button on the turret to activate a very quick siren or a gun blast, along with flashing lights. The gun sound will play as long as the button is held down, though the siren stops after one noise.

The only things I do not like about this mode are the gun barrels and one wheel that triggers a noise. The gun barrels pop off, and it seems like they were originally meant to be missiles, but that feature was dropped. They do not lock in place very well, and seem like an easy piece to be lost. The middle wheel on the left side does not spin freely, it is the other trigger for another sound, something akin to the vehicle driving. This ruins the ability move the vehicle along the ground, and I wish there was a way to raise the wheel to disable the sound.

Powerglide's vehicle mode is nicer, as the choice (the A-10 Warthog) is a cool plane, and consistent with the G1 toy. The mode has much nice detail, though there are many breaks in the lines because of the transformation that takes away from the general flow of the mode. A middle launcher/Gatling gun (with no painted details) can be detached from the undercarriage. A more obvious bright orange button triggers flying and shooting noises, along with flashing lights in the cockpit and engines. The engines have clear orange molded on their rears, which may supposed to represent flames, but it more takes away from the sculpt.

The robot parts blend in alright, and the placement of the hands and arms is another direct nod to the G1 design. The undercarriage is ugly, but how often do you spend looking at that? Landing gear under each wing and the cockpit flips down for display, and has rolling wheels. The paint is minimally, gray with red details, though the different call letters and insignia is a very nice touch. Every time I open a new Transformer, I am reminded how nice it is not to deal with a sticker sheet.

ROBOT MODES

Onslaught transforms quite easily, essentially unfolding with some nice touches like a spring-loaded gun on his left arm, and wheels that folds into his legs. The S.W.A.T. shield mounts on his right arm, though his turret does nothing but look cool. There is the common articulation, the joints feel solid, and aside from the same issue with the gun barrels, this is a good, if basic robot.

The head sculpt is excellent, remindong me of the helmet worn by Master Chief in Halo a lot. I do wish the head was on a ball-joint, because with the sculpt, Onslaught is looking down a little. Adding that ball-joint would have greatly improved the available poses.

Powerglide's robot mode is a failure, with this terrible top-heavy design that throws off any sense of proportion. This seems to be the result of the designers trying too hard to maintain the homage to the G1 'bot at any costs. What throws off this sculpt is the engines, two huge pieces (with the orange flames facing front) that make the chest twice as wide.

The head is too large, and oddly asymmetrical to the point that it seems a piece of the mold broke off and there should be two 'ears' instead of the one. The arms are stubby and skinny, but the legs aren't too bad in comparison. Another negative point is the lack of painted details that are shown on the back of the box. I know some of the small details get missed, but so much being left undone takes away much of the percieved value of the toy.

One final thing: The way the transformation is set-up, you may end up activating the sounds so much that you'll want to pull out the batteries. The button ends up below the head, and its not the best place for it.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Neither figure falls into the must-buy category, though I have no regrets about Onslaught and many about Powerglide. Onslaught is a nice, menacing toy, if not a little plain, and has excellent play value. Powerglide needs major changes to be a fun toy that's not awkward looking. I love the idea of a plane transformer that does not have wings sticking out, but this toy feels incomplete and too much a slave to the original design.

(Click the photos to view them unnecessarily larger.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review - Megatron (Leader Class)

Another review from the Animated line, this time it is the Leader-class Megatron toy, which transforms from a Osprey-like helicopter gunship (missing are the rotating blades to allow for VTOL). Here are my thoughts:

ROBOT MODE

This mode (my favorite of the two) feels more like a $40 toy than Bulkhead does, though they share many of the underlying mechanics. First off, they are nearly the same height, but by design, Megatron looks much more streamlined and elegant. This is more a pure toy, in the sense that he is possible, all the weapons are removable, and there are less play gimmicks to him than Bulkhead.

Articulation is good, the head rotates to both sides (not 360), the arms and legs again have the ratchet joints for better possibility, and his knees bend (not that Megatron would ever kneel before anyone). Both swords are removable, and can be stored on his back, and the gun is also removable. This is a great design choice, as it allows for a more varied posing. Action features include lights flashing and two phrases ("Crush the Autobots" & "Where is the All-Spark?") along with evil laughter when the Decepticon logo is pushed. The gun fires a clear red projectile, and this is neat, because the gun has to be cocked by pulling on the back before it can be fired.

The Headmaster head packed with Bulkhead fits onto Megatron, though lights and the voice do not change. I wonder if this feature was removed late in the production, as the notches exists, but nothing is mentioned in the instruction pamphlet.

VEHICLE MODE

The transformation is boring, lacking much of the excellent engineering found in Bulkhead. This leads to a functional vehicle mode that feels like the movie version, where the body folds into itself and little more. Much of the robot mode is hidden, thankfully the canon attaches to the underside of the cockpit to hide his head. A transforming sound plays when the cockpit is lowered over the head, and pressing the Decepticon logo plays a helicopter sound.

The swords transform into the helicopter blades, and they spin in tandem (this must be done by hand, there is no trigger. A trigger would have likely screwed up the rest of the figure, so it was likely best that this was left off. There are non-tractable landing gear in the front and rear, and that does it for vehicle more.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Megatron's robot mode carries this figure into a 'glad I bought' category. There is a lot to like, from the restrained coloring palate, to the general playability of the figure. Like Voyager Prime, this is leaps and bounds better than the Cybertron Megatron found in the 2-pack. With his restrained action features, easy transformation, and durability, I think this will become one of the favorites of kids, and kids at heart.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Review of Leader Class Bulkhead

Found the first release of the Leader class in the new Animated line at Toys R Us this week. For not wanting this toy when the early pictures were released, Bulkhead turned out to be one of the nicer figures so far. And this is why...

ROBOT MODE

A little short is the first impressions once Bulkhead was free from tape and ties, but there is a pleasing weight to the toy. There is a nice amount of sculpted detail around the robot body, and the paint is applied well (for a change). The Autobot symbols on his chest doubles as a button that triggers one of three phrases, along with flashing lights, and his head turns and mouth moves. The sound bites are good quality, though I have no idea if they are show accurate.

Articulation is good, with excellent ratchet joints at the arms and legs (the kind that click), which is a proper choice given the weight of the figure. The arms have good possibility, and the knees bend (just in case). Downsides of articulation is the head has no movement because of the action feature, and the hands are stuck due to their action features (a switch opens the claws, and a switch spins the blade). If the blade was made removable, or could retract, it would have made a better figure. There are four removable air torpedoes that do nothing but easily fall out, but at least they are removable.

Not pictured (because I forgot) is the Headmaster head that is included. Once attached, it triggers a new voice and different colored lights. This is a cool added value, and will work with the Leader Class Megatron.

VEHICLE MODE

I like the transformation, because it shows how well the engineers hid much of the body to avoid Bulkhead becoming a shell-former. Much of the vehicle folds into itself, the wheels are hidden, and the turret hides under the shoulder pads. Once in vehicle mode, the turret locks over the head, and a variation of the transforming noise plays.

The vehicle is a cartoony armored military vehicle, and this mold looks good. The six wheels roll smoothly, the air torpedoes rotate, and the guns on the turret moves. The Autobot symbol still acts a button, now it triggers a siren and flashing lights. This is a fine vehicle mode, but nothing spectacular.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a very fine toy, fun to play with, well built, with a couple small downsides. $40 is a little over-priced, and paying any more on the secondary market would likely lower your satisfaction level. I cannot compare this to the voyager class toy, because I don't own one (and not planning on getting another) but by itself, this is a nice addition to a collection.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Review: Generation 1 Mirage

Now for a throw-back review of Mirage from Generation 1. This is a wedding present found at a thrift store that included the box, directions, and catalog. No weapons, but you can't be choosy when it comes from thrift stores.

ROBOT MODE

Well, its a G1 figure, so that mean the arms move at a ninety-degree angle, the fists rotate, and that's about it. The remaining sticks give some nice details, his head is painted well enough, and this toy works well as a little statue.

VEHICLE MODE

After a simple transformation, Mirage becomes a Formula 1 race car, well detailed with the stickers, some painted-on details, and nice coloring. Behind the open cockpit is an chrome engine, and the rubber remains well on the wheels.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a good Gen 1 toy to track down at a reasonable cost. One of the pluses with this toy is that the hands are attached, so makes it a little easier to find a decent looking one. Sure, the weapons are missing, stickers are peeling, but this is one of the nicer G1 toys to stumble across.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Toy Review - Darth Goofy

Today's review will be short and sweet, because there is not too much to tell.

Darth Goofy is an exclusive to Disney theme parks, part of a series of mash-ups between Disney and Star Wars Characters. Other figures available include Mickey Mouse as Luke, and Donald as Goofy. This year, the theme switched to the Muppets and there is a PVC set available at the Parks (and on eBay.)

Darth Goofy is a fun little statue, good for sitting on your desk. There is limited articulation: the arms are swivel at the shoulders; head rotates (though tends to pop off); and the waist rotates. The legs are locked in due to his skirt, so any articulation means nothing.

Darth Goofy comes with a slightly cartoony lightsaber, and that's it for accessories.

You'll pay around $12 in the parks for one of these, which isn't too horrible considering the inflated prices of everything in a Disney Park. Of course, to get one at the Parks, you'll need a ticket (well, at Disneyland you can get a 1 hour shopping pass), and it's not worth the trip for this alone. The other reliable source is eBay, where one is available for $16.

I'm glad I own one, but I do love most things Disney or Star Wars related. Dollar-wise, the value is very low compared to the run-of-the-mill figures found on the pegs. But Darth Goofy is not run-of-the-mill.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Transformers Universe Classics Toy Review of Sunstreaker and Prowl

Long time, no update. A lot has happened since I last updated (bought a house, job ended) and now its time to start this up again, with a little different spin. I'm going to review things in my house, starting with two of the newest Transformers.

I bought these at Toys R Us, they did not have any Octane in stock, and he is due at the house on Tuesday. Finding these was a welcome surprise among the new Animated figures, but does that surprise equal fun toys...



SUNSTREAKER

Sealed in the package, I did not like this toy as much as Prowl. The pictures made it look boring, and the vehicle mode was a little too plain. However, the figure has really grown on me and it is a much better toy than Prowl.

ROBOT MODE

The neatest feature on the robot mode is how the head it deployed. To do so, the front chest piece is rotated down, and a mechanism raises the head. His ears (for lack of better terms) are spring loaded and pop out to the sides when the head raises. I like this robot mode, the lines are clean, articulation is good, and nothing is ready to pop off. His head has a ball joint for full range of movement, even with the mechanism, and he is able to stand quite well. One oddity are the tale pipes located at crotch level, kind of odd placement.


CAR MODE

Following a smooth transformation, Sunstreaker becomes a bright yellow sports car, reminding me of a fictional Lamborghini. Not much here, wheels all roll fine, his weapon stores under the car, and the robot parts are well hidden.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really like this toy. There is a fun transformation, the weapons stay on the toy, and the license plate reads WE R 84.


PROWL

On the opposite end, this is a toy I should return for a refund, if not for my completest nature. The best I can say about Prowl is that the paint job is decent, and the shoulder missiles are attached, which makes one less thing to lose.

ROBOT MODE

First off, I hate the head/neck area. For some reason, the designers wanted to include a little automorph action, in the form of a spring that pops the head up when the hood is opened. Problem is, with the head resting on this little black piece, articulation is reduced to a swivel joint. Next issue, the arms have terrible shoulder joints, which leads to akward poses thanks to the wheels hitting the car doors. The attached missiles lack any kind of paint, giving them a bland look.

CAR MODE

The transformation is not fun, mainly because the doors have a tendency to pop off their ball joints. Once in car mode, it is an improvement over the robot mode, but not too much. The detailing is nice for a sporty police car, but the seams needed for transformation stick out way too much.

FINAL THOUGHTS

See above. Quite possibly my second least favorite of the classics line (Starscream remains first.) Please visit my Flickr page for high resolution images featured in this review.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Updates

It has been very slow around these parts, but that should change in the near future. For now, my new website showcasing some of the better photos I have taken, is live and ready to be viewed. Check out: jeremyes.com if you have a minute.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A New Feature - Roadside Brochures!

So, I have a ton of brochures collected from rest stops across the country, waiting to be shared. Some places I've visited, some I have not, and some I will. When I have time to scan these, I will share them, and offer any thoughts.

First off: Jungle Jim's International Market

Picked this up last August, and will visit it next week. Check back for photos and a review.

Jungles Jim's International Market

Jungles Jim's International Market

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Disneyland Musical Map


Disneyland Mattel Map, originally uploaded by Jeremy ES.

The posts are back, at a slower pace.

This map is from early after the park opened, and really shows a view that I've never seen in maps released afterwards.

This map came with 5 records attached to the top, one for each land. Those scans (and hopefully audio) will be coming soon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Couple Days Off...

I have an very old Disneyland Map to share, and then some View Master reels to scan. School is ending this week, so there may be no updates until the weekend. Until then, check out my neat photos at Flickr.

http://www.flickr.com/jeremyes

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 30 - Disneyland Hotel

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 29 - Coming Attractions

Monday, April 28, 2008

April 28 - Special Shows and Exhibits

Sunday, April 27, 2008

April 27 - Adventureland

Saturday, April 26, 2008

April 26 - Adventureland

Friday, April 25, 2008

April 25 - Adventureland

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 24 - Tomorrowland

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April 23 - Tomorrowland

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 22 - Tomorrowland

Monday, April 21, 2008

April 21 - Tomorrowland

Saturday, April 19, 2008

April 20 - Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - 1964 - 17

Another page for the weekend...YAY!

April 19 - Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - 1964 - 15

Just beat the midnight deadline!

Friday, April 18, 2008

April 18 - Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - 1964 - 15

Another late post. Another page.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 17 - Frontierland

Same title page.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 16 - Map of the Magic Kingdom

Halfway through book.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Who I am Voting For

***Not a Disney Post***

I have been planning on voting for Barack Obama for years, way before he announced his candicay for the office of President. He locked my vote with the speech below, from the Democratic National Convention. Before this speech I, like many people, had not heard of him. After this speech, I never forgot his name.





What struck me and still resonates when I hear him speak, is that he does not sound like he is lying. His voice, tone, and entire demeanor, tells me he believes what he says, and he wants us to. I never got that from a candidate before, and I don't think there has been one since McGovern in 1972. I don't want to have a beer with Obama, because that may be the worst way to choose a President.

Like many people voting, I came to age in the 2000s, turned 21 eleven days after 9/11. In the summer of 2000, after the eight years of peace and prosperity, I was complaining to my father that my generation lacked a defining moment. Eight years on, we have had too many, stolen elections, terrorists attacks, wars without end, and we need one more defining moment.

This is our last chance to make a valid change, to break away from this cycle of curroption in politics. I don't know if the country will make the right choices, or if the media will dominate and tell the country who to vote for, again.

Obama called Pennsylvanians bitter, clinging to their Bibles and guns when times are tough. He didn't lie, he spoke his mind, and aside from some paid actors (or maybe not) in a Clinton commercial, we agree. This country has been through a dark time, and when things are tough, people will cling to whatever gives them hope.

Obama gives me hope for the future, and that's why I am voting for him this coming Tuesday. Rewatch his speech and think about who you want in control of his country.

April 15 - Fantasyland

Hey, something changed on the pages. The picture of the Motor Boat Cruise (which ran from 1957 to 1993, according to Wikipedia) has been replaced by a snapshot of Snow White's Grotto. This does make a more appleaing shot, and allows Disney to mention that all money tossed down the well is donated to charity.

1961

Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland (1961)-11

1964

Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - 1964 - 11

Park as a Planet


Park as a Planet, originally uploaded by Jeremy ES.

***This is not Disney related.***

I am really happy with the way this collage turned out. I shot a 360 degree panorama in this park that over looks Harrisburg (the city on the top of the photo), stitched them together, and then used the polar coordinates in Photoshop make the panorama into a ball. Rotated and adjusted the colors to finish it.

I will try this same method at Disney World.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April 14 - Fantasyland

Same page, same goofy looking dad riding Mr. Toad. Some things never change.

Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - 1964 - 09

Sunday, April 13, 2008

April 13 - Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - 1964 - 09

Made it just under the wire to post today.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 12 - Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - Fantasyland

Nothing changed.

Friday, April 11, 2008

April 11 - Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - 1964 - 07

No changes on the page.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

April 9 - Main Street USA

Finally a change!

In 1961, we are shown a photo of the hose and chemical wagon of the fire department.

Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland (1961)-05

In 1964, the image has been changed to show a "Pretty Disneyland Tour Guide" who is pointing out the highlights of Main Street as part of a journey through the Magic Kingdom.

Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - 1964 - 05

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April 8 - Main Street USA

Another page that remained the same. This series is not off to a promising start, though stuff does change later on in the book.

Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland - 1964 - 04

Monday, April 7, 2008