Thursday, January 31, 2008
Books: Bought four this month using real money. The justification still comes too easily when I see a title I want on the shelf. Sales have been good on the Amazon store, which allowed me to purchase a second digital camera, with more pro features, without spending a red cent.
DVDS: Spent $15 of my own money on one disc. Much better than my habitual buying of new releases every Tuesday.
Toys: No toys, avoided the toy aisles, and the urge to obsessively haunt toy aisles daily looking for new Transformers has not returned.
Comics: $37 in the last 5 weeks, including some for the wife. This number will shrink as I am getting my collection ready to be out on sale, hopefully to cut down the size by 90%. The plan with this is to replace the comics with the sale proceeds with trades, and shed the rest (which is dead weight).
Food: Need to curb these spendings, as most mornings I buy breakfast, probably eat lunch out twice a week, and then some meals on the weekends. This will be the toughest habit to break, and the one that most needs it.
Coming Up: More Disney posts daily, simply to keep me working on at least something each day. Reviews of things I like or dislike, mostly tech reviews, probably not media reviews, because there are plenty of those around.
Thanks for reading for the last month!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
An old paper product advertising a Disneyland map. Offer expired years ago, but its still neat. This came from Old Stuff Only, a webstore selling old stuff found in warehouses and such. Its worth a look around, and I'll be sharing more Disney paper products over the coming posts.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
"Animated figures representing children in national costumes entertain visitors on a Walt Disney-created cruise taken in specially designed boats. A UNICEF exhibit is also included."
-From the back of the postcard.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
"It was only a matter of time before a mountain supplanted a castle as the central icon for a Disney Park. In February 2001, Grizzly Peak became the defining landmark of Disney's California Adventure. The property's second gate was designed to be a celebration of the Golden State and all its natural and man-made wonders, from amusement piers and Hollywood backlots in the southern region, to the quiet charm and scenic beauty of Northern California."
-The Disney Mountains
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
" [George] Lucas and WDI show producer Tom Fitzgerald worked out a story line for "Star Tours," an intergalactic sightseeing company that would whisk guests around the universe in all the comfort of a luxury jetliner. "George wanted to make the audience think the spaceship was a typical Disneyland ride vehicle on a track," says Fitzgerald. (The designers programmed vibrations and bumps into the motion base to make the passengers believe they were actually moving along a track.) "Then, look out! Something really does go wrong. Although we saw the ship ahead of us successfully blast off on its mission, we take a wrong turn, blunder through the maintenance doors, and start Disneyland's first 'misadventure.' " Causing the misadventure in the first place is a friendly but totally incompetent droid pilot named Rex, whose presence in the flight cabin brings a humorous Lucas touch to the journey."
-Disneyland: Inside Story
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
"Xavier Atencio figured out what they would say. Or, for the most part, sing. "When we did 'Yo Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me,'" said Atencio, "we couldn't have a beginning or an end, because you didn't know where you were going to come into the song in the ride. Each verse had to make some kind of sense, no matter when you heard it." "
-Disneyland: The Inside Story
Monday, January 21, 2008
A little different post - This is a two-page scan from "Pixar at the Museum of Modern Art", which is an exhibit catalog from the amazing exhibit of the same name a couple years ago. Part of the exhibit was this mind-blowing video display, which has a higher resolution than high definition. The video took you through storyboards of the (then) current Pixar films in sort of a quasi-3D experience. The easiest comparison is how the teaser for Wall-E transformed two dimensional photos into 3D.
Click on the picture for higher resolution.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
"The Norway pavilion joined World Showcase on May 6, 1988. Sponsored by a consortium of Norwegian corporations, the cobbled village square of the pavilion showcases architectural styles of towns like Bergen, Setesdal, and Oslo, including the Stave Church (which houses a gallery) and a castle (which houses a restaurant) modeled after Akershus, a 14th century fortress in Oslo Harbor. The Norway pavilion also contains beautifully crafted rock and stone work, some of the finest ever fabricated by Disney Imagineers."
-Since the World Began
Saturday, January 19, 2008
"In 1966, with the [world's] fair over, Small World moved to Disneyland, minus the Tower of the Four Winds, which proved too costly to disassemble. The ride was refurbished and lengthened. The housing was also slated to be replaced by something more monumental and whimsical than its original corrugated box."
-Designing Disney's Theme Parks
Friday, January 18, 2008
"The variation from the standard Ferris Wheel is that the 16 orange and purple gondolas are able to ride on interior rails so that they slide inward and outward with the gravitational force during the wheel's rotational movement. This provides for a quite a disorienting and intense experience. Motion sickness bags are even provided in each of the gondolas due to the disorienting nature of the ride. The 8 red gondolas which are on the outside of the wheel remain stationary. Guests may choose to ride either the swinging gondolas or the stationary ones upon entering the queue."
Thursday, January 17, 2008
" [Joe] Fowler had faced some construction challenges before, but building a mountain with five hundred tons of steel, with no two pieces the same length, proved particularly exasperating. Equally challenging, though, was the task put before Bill Evans's landscape group. For probably the first time in history, landscapers found themselves called upon to determine just what would constitute a "timberline" on a fourteen-story building. Evans finally concluded that it would be about halfway up the summit, between sixty-five and seventy-five feet up the Matterhorn's slopes. He then applied the same sense of forced perspective that Disney's architects had used in many parts of the Park. At the higher elevations, Evans's staff dangled precariously from cranes as they planted stunted spruce trees, while, at the base, full-grown trees rose above thousands of flowers."-Disneyland: Inside Story
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
"[Walt} Disney himself spent a great deal of time on the attractions, not only checking them but also monitoring the performance levels of his own staff, a task he performed rigorously. Dick Nunis, who by now had become responsible for managing Adventureland, got a "battle scar" from Disney. "Walt came running down to the Jungle Cruise, got on a boat and took a trip, returning with both eyebrows raised." (His eyebrows were a Disney barometer-one raised was bad, two raised meant deep trouble.)
"What's the trip time supposed to be?" asked Disney.
"Well, sir, it's seven minutes," replied Nunis.
"I just had a four-and-a-half-minute trip and went through the hippo pool so fast, I couldn't tell if they were hippos or rhinos! How would you feel if you paid to go to the movies and they cut the center reel out of the picture?"
For the next three weeks, Nunis spent so much time on the jungle boats training the crew that he almost became seasick. Then Disney arrived again, riding the first boat, then the second, and so on, through the last available boat. He was determined that Nunis would not "stack the deck" with his best speaker on the first boat (a ploy that Nunis admits he had tried). On each ride, the timing of the trip was perfect. After this experience, everyone realized that Disney was very serious about giving the guests the best show possible."
-Disneyland: Inside Story
The New Frontier (available in 2 soft cover volumes and a deluxe Absolute edition) is a six-issue mini-series, written and drawn by Darwyn Coooke, which overlays the genesis of the classic DC Universe heroes (focusing on Hal Jordan / Green Lantern) on top of the McCarthy era of distrust in the 1950s. The best description (which has been used plenty of times) is the creation of the Justice League meets the Right Stuff.
The movie (slightly retitled to include Justice League) is the second in the series of animated adaptations of DC Comic stories, and is worlds more accurate than the first movie, Superman / Doomsday. Basically, like Sin City, comic panels served as the direct inspiration for many of the scenes, and it is easy to freeze frame the movie to match the comic.
Superman versus the End of the World
The voice work was good, the cast matched the characters well enough that no voice was distracting. The animation fit the comic art, while I prefer a more fluid style, I cannot fault them for the choice. The nicest part of the art style were the background scene paintings, which reminded me of concept art paintings done for Disney theme parks. I have high hopes for the high definition version to look flawless.
Villains to come...
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
"Whenever Imagineering considers a new attraction for development, a good story is always the first piece of the puzzle. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, opened in 1998 in the space formerly occupied by If You Had Wings, takes us into the story-within-a-story from the two Toy Story films - the Gamma Quadrant as patrolled by the 'real' Buzz Lighyear. We join forces with Buzz as he battles Evil Emperor Zurg in his efforts to steal the batteries used to power the toys."
-The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
" "In a ride system," sculptor Blaine Gibson says, "you only have a few seconds to say something about a figure through your art. So we exaggerate their features, especially the facial features, so they can be quickly and easily understood from a distance. If you examined them closely, you'd find the nose, the cheekbones, the ears, the eyes all somewhat exaggerated. The frowns and the grins are all exaggerated, too, because we have to instantly communicate 'good guy' or 'bad guy.' We try to provide the illusion of life." "
-Disneyland: Inside Story
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
"The experience of viewing the tree of life can be likened to that of looking for animals in the clouds. The longer one looks, the more one sees - maybe even all 325 of them. This effect is the result of very careful planning during the design phase.."
-The Imagineering Field Guide to the Animal Kingdom
Thursday, January 10, 2008
"The idea of a pavilion devoted to health and fitness dates back to the original concept of the EPCOT Center theme park, but no corporate sponsor could be found to cover the costs. It was not until MetLife signed on that the attraction was finally constructed. On January 4, 2004, Disney made the decision to make the pavilion seasonal operation only. It reopened when the park was projected to hit near capacity during the high spring months and big holiday season. The pavilion's most recent operational phase was 11/26/06 through 1/1/07. While the pavilion is not operational to the public it is commonly used for private and corporate events. On August 5, 2007 the Wonders of Life sign and the 72 foot tall The Tower of Life Double helix DNA structure were removed."
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
"Splash Mountain is the first log flume ever built for a Disney park. Log flumes, first cousin to the roller coaster, take guests on a thrilling journey through a twisting, turning trough filled with fast flowing water. As the finale nears, the boats climb to the top of the highest hill and plunge down into the water below. In the case of Splash Mountain, that plunge would be more that 54 feet down, as big as any that had ever been built."
-Disneyland: The Nickel Tour
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Where I worked received returns for the said fourteen book clubs, and those returns (along with any books damaged in the warehouse) were sold to the employees for fifty cents each. For two years, I chose four books each day, from a wide variety of titles. This was great for feeding my buying addiction, and a great way to expand my library. Some days, I bought books I had no need for, just because I could. Now, many of those books have been donated to the local library.
(No joke: Dreams come some night where I still work at Bookspan, and keep finding better books)
I left the job because a much better one fell into my lap, and I had to switch my book buying to Amazon. There was no financial way I could keep buying so many books, and I had no need for them. This knowledge did little to help curb my impulsive buying.
Sales helped justify this (buy 2 get 1; free shipping) until I started a couple stop-gap methods to at least delay purchasing:
- When at [Insert Book Store], instead of quickly buying an interesting looking title, I'll note the book in my phone. That way I can look it up at the library or Amazon.
- On Amazon, I add books to either my shopping list or wish list, allowing a waiting period before ordering.
- I turned off one-click ordering, so at least I have to go through the steps of checking out before making the purchase.
- On the shopping list, it is easy to click on 'Select All' to give myself the quick shock about how much stuff I want to buy. Today's total comes in close to $1800, though that includes a DSLR camera, and other fun electronics I can easily convince myself I need.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
"The story behind Sonny is that he was discovered by restaurateurs Cosmic Ray while performing his 'Bossa Supernova' musical stylings at cosmic weddings and space mall openings all over the galaxy." -Walt Disney Imagineers.
(Photo credit to Captain Oblivious)
Saturday, January 5, 2008
"Of course, everyone knows that Mickey's Toontown existed long before Disneyland was built right next door. One happy day in 1952, while Walt Disney was in Toontown visiting his pal Mickey Mouse, his dream for a new park came up in conversation. Mickey knew whenever Walt got that sparkle in his eye, whatever he was dreaming up was bound to come true. So he was dismayed when Walt confided in him that he was having a difficult time finding a site large enough to accommodate all the wondeful things he had in mind.
"Oh boy, I've got a swell idea!" Mickey exclaimed as he grabbed Walt by the hand and led him over to the fence that seperated Toontown from the human world. "Take a look over this fence," continued Mickey. "There's a fine and dandy parcel of land just on the other side that would be wonderful place to build Disneyland." And it was.
Many years went by before it finally dawned on the toons that since it was so easy for them to go next door to visit all their non-toon friends at Disneyland, their non-toon friends could just as easily come visit them in Toontown! And that is exactly what happened when Mickey's Toontown was 'finally' opened to Disneyland visitors in February, 1993." -Page 43: Walt Disney Imagineers
Friday, January 4, 2008
This brings me to one of the first habits I need to change: How easy it is to justify all the unneeded stuff I purchase.
I'm a sucker for discounts, sales, and clearance merchandise. Last week, while in Wal-Mart for a reason I cannot recall, I noticed a clearance tag on this: Ultimate Bumblebee from the Transformers movie line. The original price tag was $79.99, and not once did I consider buying this large hunk of plastic, because it didn't look very good, and did not look fun. Now, with a clearance tag of $39.98, I wanted one. No, I needed one. Luckily none were in stock, and I have not been back once to check.
Each time I see something on clearance / sale, I need to stop and think, would I have bought this at full price? If not, then there should be no reason to buy it for less money.
Same goes with coupons. Borders sends weekly coupons to my GMail account, because I am a member of their Borders Rewards club, in which I get a slight refund, which can be spent in Borders stores. Coupons come in, offering me 30% off any book or CD in stores, tempting me back in the stores.
Problem: There are no books I 'need'. I'm sure I could browse around, find an impulse book, buy it, and then put it in the 'to read' stack. Not going to do this time, even if it means loosing out on the five bucks.
Next time: How Amazon helps me buy less books!
" "I caught sight of a man far down the street. Alone. Quietly regarding the place he so long envisaged, now complete, ready to bring pleasure and happy satisfaction to the millions who will visit it. And I was reminded that he, too, was a Main Streeter, never weened sway from the common bond with the great majority of American small town and country folk, their tastes and ideals, despite long identification with big cities as an eminent world figure." -Jack Jungmeyer: The Disneyland News, July 1955 " -Page 18, Walt Disney Imagineers.
(This is from me, not a book)
I never met Walt, but walking in Disneyland, I feel like I know him. I've been to 'amusement' parks all across this great land, and nothing has come close to the feelings a Disney Park brings. Hershey Park is nothing but rides dropped on a concrete slab, haphazardly laid out, with food and cheap carnival games between them.
Knowing that the Imagineers set up Liberty Square so that in the 1700's section, you cannot easily see the Mark Twain, because steam engines did not exist in that time, is one of the million points of detail that makes the Parks better, more magical. And it is a detail I wouldn't have noticed, and many will never notice.
That is what Walt inspired, this drive to go well beyond something that you spend a day at and never return. Walt inspired his people to make this destinations that, in turn, inspire people to write, record radio shows, edit together massive amounts of home movies, all so others can experience a little part of the Disney magic. And those who spend hours, days, entire chapters of their lives, who do so for little or no compensation, are true off-shoots from Walt's dreams. A thank you to all.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
(Sorry for the lack of quality, but this was filmed using my Canon digital camera, off my TV, from the World's End BluRay disc, as a source was not found online. Hopefully someone will know of a better quality.)
Video was shot by myself to share with others. All rights are Disney's. Hopefully they'll be happy I'm sharing an ad I could not find online!
"When the tram leaves the building it brings guest through an outside area named the boneyard (named after an aircraft boneyard). In the boneyard are vehicles which were featured in many films. Included are ships from the Star Wars films, the escape pod from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, cars used in the Herbie the Love Bug films, bone cages from Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest, the holding cage from the 1997 Disney adaptation of George of the Jungle, and boats and other vehicles used in other Disney produced films."
"The outside of the mansion has been covered in both jack-o-lanterns and Christmas decorations. On the roof is Jack Skellington's coffin sleigh and stretched from the roof to the floor is his comical Christmas equation. There is also a clock with bat wings for hands that tells how many days are left until Christmas. As guests wind through the outside line, creepy yet peaceful carols constantly play."
The main idea behind this is to emulate the feeling of a day-by-day calender. Some of the facts will be well known, and hopefully some will surprise you.
Let's see if I can do this....!
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
A picture story:
I took this on the drive home from Savannah during a short summer trip in 2007. The menu fancinated me, because such a breakfast has never been seen in PA. I submitted the picture on Digg, and a couple people viewed it, and I thought the game was done. But somehow, it was linked to a Consumerist story on Wendy's breakfast, and now over 5000 people have view it.