Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Disneyland 2016 - Less than two months to go!

We have less than 2 months till we're in Disneyland, and you know what that means: ADVANCE DINING RESERVATIONS! Still working on making another reservation or two, but then it's just waiting until they release the park hours for our trip. Still wish they'd release them 60 days out. It'd make it all so much easier. But I'll just keep whining, haha.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Working on a #Youtube channel

Trying to do more with my youtube channel than the random family vids, dog vids, and if I practice enough I can do some better Iditarod videos. I'm also really enjoying periscope as of late, so I am thinking of doing some live vlogging come next March. We'll see. I'm not a fan of being in front of the camera, ya know?

You can find my channel by clicking here. Like, comment, and share PLEASE!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Chances for Past Iditarod Champions in 2017?

I was asked this question the other day on Facebook - what are the chances for each of the five past champions currently signed up for Iditarod 45. 4-time Champions Martin Buser, Jeff King, Lance Mackey, Dallas Seavey, and 2-time Champion Mitch Seavey all signed up on the first day. All have champion line kennels, experience, and teams... but what are the real odds any of them will come under the burled arch first in Nome? Here are a few of my thoughts.

Martin Buser - Iditarod 44 was not a good race for Buser. He spent most of the training season in Seattle while his son Nikolai recovered from his car wreck. When recovery looked to be going well, Martin made the decision to return and run the race. He made it clear he wasn't in competitive form and would not be making any crazy run for first. Top if off he ended up with pneumonia while running the race. Not a good way to go. This coming season Martin's already made comments suggesting he won't be running for lead this year either.

Talk at the BBQ suggested Martin is downsizing - son Rohn is not planning to run this year, and Martin has said he wants to enjoy other things. Cindy Abbott told BBQ attendees she'd gotten a few of Martin's dogs. Honestly, the only way Martin wins - if this is really his outlook for the future - is if a bunch of other teams fall into the Norton Sound and are swept away and he makes it across.

Lance Mackey - the 44th Iditarod did not go as planned for Mackey. While still better than his outing in 2015, he still had issues with his team being ill/not wanting to go. He backtracked to Ophir for longer rest. The heat and the fast pace were a little too much for his young team. However, the rest of 2016 has been very kind. Mackey is winning races on the race car circuit (yes, you read that right) and is the proud papa to a bouncing baby Boy! The 4 time champ seemed in great spirits at the BBQ last month, and is confident in his team. That doesn't mean he'll be coming in first. All mushers are confident their team is awesome. With Mackey's health (thought he looks great these days) always a question, and the fact that he's still in the rebuilding process, he most likely won't be first... but I've been wrong before.

Jeff King - Really, Jeff should've been closer to first this past Iditarod. Sadly, due to someone's poor choices (attempted murder, in my opinion) Jeff's race was done just as it was getting started. Jeff's been so close to winning his fifth title, when his team has given up on him. Freak storms, young dogs, snow machines. It will be interesting to see how King comes back this year. I'm expecting another top 5 finish for Mr. The King this year... and with the right set of circumstances, he could win.

Mitch Seavey - this year's runner up, Mitch Seavey was just hours behind his son Dallas under the burled arch. Mitch is a competitor, and has said he's felt the best he's ever felt. Mitch's team did far better than expected considering several of his key leaders were left at home due to late season injury (sore muscles, and a jammed toe). They pushed with Dallas all the way up the coast, but it was the hills at the end that did them (or him?) in. Barring another season with injuries plaguing the team, Mitch could very well make a third title his.... of course I'd argue that Jeff has about an equal chance of winning.

Dallas Seavey - Iditarod Insider has basically declared him King with their recap video of the 2016 race. That could mean nothing, but I have to wonder if it isn't going to jinx him. They did pretty much the same thing with Mackey after his fourth win, and now he's lucky if he makes top 20. Of course, other factors are at play - namely musher health, which Dallas is younger and in a lot of ways healthier. (Which makes Mackey's 4 wins that much more impressive.) Dallas is very goal driven and athletic, but the other mushers are catching on - especially the ones around his age. Dallas is the odds on favorite, but winning that fifth title has eluded all other 4-time champions (except Rick Swenson). It's going to be difficult - but then, so were the other 4 wins, right?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Highlights from June

Well, this blog has been a big ol bit of boring lately, that’s mainly due to the fact that I just don’t have the motivation to come up with things to blog about. I’ve been quite busy this last month and a half, which also makes it hard for me to want to do anything but veg and goof around online.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Movie Review: Disney-Pixar's Finding Dory

Opening weekend for any highly anticipated summer film is always busy. When it’s a Disney-Pixar film, you can guarantee families will come out in droves to catch a peek at the latest greatest animated film. Funnily enough, however, audiences have had just as many adults as kids attend the showings. Why? Well, aside from it being a Pixar film (they almost always appeal to audiences of all ages) it’s Dory that loveable forgetful blue fish voiced by Ellen Degeneres. When she first swam into our hearts back in 2003 no one imagined her backstory… but oh a story it is.

The film begins with a flashback to Dory’s childhood, she has suffered from Short Term Memory Loss her entire life it seems. In Finding Nemo, Dory says that it runs in her family – however that doesn’t seem to be true in Finding Dory. Her parents try very hard to teach their child little helps to hold on to her memories, but it proves futile when Little Dory is swept away from her family and is lost out in the open ocean.

She swims around looking for her family from childhood into maturity and that’s when she runs into Marlin. The rest of her past is documented in Finding Nemo. We find Dory happily settled into life in the Reef with Marlin and Nemo, when the topic turns to family and legacy and belonging. Dory doesn’t think she has memories of her family – her parents – but she begins having pieces of memories flash through and it’s both confusing and inspiring. Dory decides she must find out who she is and where she comes from.

I’ve seen a lot of reviews online warning that if you are a parent of a foster or adopted child that you should stay away from this film. I am not a parent, and I was not a child in need of a family, but I really didn’t see it as bad for that type of family. It may be with the way that the parents did not give Dory up, that she was just lost and they were waiting, and that can bring up some very difficult emotions, but I don’t think it’s a horrible adoption story. A lot of adoptions are open or otherwise positive to both the biological and adoptive families. I think, like any film, one should go into it knowing their child and what they can handle. If their adoption is a very emotionally confusing part of their life, maybe skip it and wait for the DVD. (But, then, I also did not agree that Tangled was a negative film for families of adoption, but I was told I was wrong then, too.)

I think more disturbing is the somewhat bullying of those that are “different” or “special needs” that was more blatant and kinda sat funny. There are two Seal Lions (both male however with the way they were animated, one should have been female, but I digress) hanging out on a rock. They’re just chillin’ pretty helpful to Nemo and Marlin, and then another Sea Lion swims up to get on the rock. They mention that Gerald has some special needs, and he definitely has a look about him that suggests he’s not “all there”, and the Sea Lions bark at him to get off the rock. They tease him, call him names… now I know this was supposed to be this movie’s version of the Sea Gulls in Finding Nemo (the Sea Lions shout “Get off! Get off! Get off!” and it sounds like the “barking” Sea Lions do), and it’s funny. But why did the one that they didn’t want on their rock have to be the one that was “different”? These two Sea Lions were part of the heroic conclusion. It shouldn’t have been praised.

And I’m not one of those that sees a bully around every corner or thinks that we need to make everything about bullying. I probably classify as a bully half the time. I’m just saying if it made ME come away with a weird feeling, I can’t be the only one to notice it and wonder if Pixar missed the mark a bit with that one.

The third issue that’s made its rounds around the internet that I’d like to address is the Lesbian Couple. Honestly, if there hadn’t been a big stink about it online and throughout certain circles, I’d have never thought that they were a couple. It was not a family – not that I noticed – it was a couple of girls/women at a Sea Life Center. If THAT is what makes them Gay, then I’ve had several “gay days” at the local Sea Life Center in Seward with my girls over the years. So if THAT is what is keeping you from this film – and not the fact that the main character Dory is voiced by a loud and proud Lesbian (who is extremely talented and one part of her life is not enough to suggest otherwise) – then get over it. It was blown WAY out of proportion by all sides.

What was more offensive or wrong about the film was how ridiculous a lot of it was. Some scenes were trying just a little too hard. I think a lot of it was they didn’t want to use the same jokes and plotline as last time, but that fell a little flat. Still, it was a solid Sequel and not the worst film Pixar has put out. I went in expecting to be extremely disappointed, but came away with those lovely Pixar emotions we’ve all come to expect (if you don’t cry for Baby Dory then I don’t know that we can be friends). I laughed so hard I cried in a couple of spots – just like when I first saw Finding Nemo.
Characters that just didn’t work, for me, were the whales. I honestly don’t know why either of them were really there. It was a little too far-fetched how they worked into the climax and conclusion. But that’s just me. I’m sure many more were in love with them. I was excited to see a Beluga, though, I have to admit.

If you haven’t gone to see it, when you go watch through the end of the credits. It’s probably one of the best scenes of the whole movie. I won’t give it away other than to say I was so excited to see the characters they used for that scene. Epic.

This movie deserves a view in the theaters – we saw it in the regular format, not 3D and it was enough. I will admit in 2003 I saw Finding Nemo four times in theaters, but that movie was THAT GOOD. It was a feast for the eyes and the heart. This film takes place mainly in a Sea Life Center and it just isn’t as colorful, bright, nor is it as much fun.

Have you seen the movie? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Busy May... Busy June

It's summer and so that means I have little time or energy to worry about my blog. It's no wonder I even sleep this time of year (very difficult with the sun shining through my window at all hours of the day and night. Land of the midnight sun after all.

I'm basically just posting this because I have a brand new laptop that I'm still getting used to. I am not a fan of the keyboard, but I'm sure I will deal with it and it won't be so bothersome after a little bit of usage.

So much to blog about, and hopefully once family is gone and VBS is over I can really update this thing (shoot I never changed the theme from the Iditarod stuff. Gotta figure something out about that soon).


Monday, May 9, 2016

We had a bit of Disney for Mothers Day

For mother's day dad and I offered to make dinner. Asking mom what she wanted she came to the decision that she wanted something like the meal we had at Ohana's back in 2013 on our WDW trip. So off to the internet I went in search of copycat recipes (or official ones) as I couldn't find any in the cookbooks I recently acquired from my grandparents (basically all cookbooks I ever got G'ma are now mine).

So we made enough chicken, beef, and shrimp for 5 people and a little person (aka Delaney the almost 7 year old)... along with bacon wrapped asparagus and grilled veggies. It was SO GOOD and we all had more than we should have so there were very few left overs. But yummmmmmmmm!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Game Of Silence: Premiere left little time to breathe

I'll preface this blog post by saying this review is part review and part fangirling. I cannot be unbiased as I'm a huge fan of one of the stars of the show and I know I am more forgiving of things because of it. However, this show met and in some ways exceeded my expectations. Note: There are spoilers ahead.

Tuesday night's special premiere of NBC's new critically acclaimed drama Game of Silence wasted no time getting into the backstory that will push the show's theme in its first season. The story follows five childhood friends who share a dark secret (or, as we're told by those in the know - more than one). While saving their friend Jessie West (Bre Blair) , the lone female in their group, they take her mother's car for a little joy-ride and end up causing a head on collision injuring the other driver. Jessie runs off, but the four boys face 9 months jail time at a youth detention center.

That's when things really turn ugly. For Jackson Brooks (David Lyons), Gil Harris (Michael Raymond-James), Shawn Cook (Larenz Tate) and Gary "Boots" Nolan (Derek Phillips) the 9 months in Quitman was worse than Hell. Abuse - in all its forms - run rampant from other inmates as well as the corrections officers, and quite possibly the Warden. We see some of these horrors through flashbacks, though they always end just before the acts happen leaving the audience to let their imagination run wild. We meet the cast 25 years later after they've all gone their separate ways... or, well, at least one of them has gone his separate way. Jackson Brooks leaves his friends and past behind and moves to Houston to become a high powered attorney. Everything is going great, he is on the verge of making partner in his firm when his past shows back up.

Boots, on the job as a mover, runs into one of the inmates from his time at Quitman - one of the ones that tortured the boys mercilessly. He attacks and beats the guy's skull in. That's when Shawn and Gil end up in Jackson's office demanding their former friend to help Boots out. Jackson is unwilling until they mention Boots' motive for the assault. Jackson has too much to lose and agrees to help them out.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Seavey Squared battling for Nome.

In what is becoming somewhat of an Iditarod tradition, Dallas Seavey led the charge out of Elim on his way to White Mountain. He didn't stay long in Elim, just grabbed his stuff and went. Brent Sass and Mitch Seavey also spent just a few minutes in Elim grabbing/dumping gear before chasing after Dallas. Just a few miles separated each team, though Dallas widened his lead going through the hills. Dallas is a very athletic musher treating himself as the 17th team member rather than his dad's philosophy of being the coach. Mitch was predictably slower in that same area - he's "older" so he just can't keep up with the 29 year old. Brent's team slowed considerably in the run to White Mountain and gave Dallas nearly 2 hours.

So here we are - all three rested their 8 and were granted their leave. Dallas had just under a 40 minute lead on his dad. Now the two are 5 to 6 miles apart. That's a lot of distance to make up, but Mitch has traveled faster than Dallas at every portion of the race. Not by a whole lot, but by a good amount. It looks like Mitch has gained at least 2 miles on the kid, and that's through the hilly parts. Dallas knows he has a competitor in his dad. He will be looking over his shoulder and pushing his team all the way to Nome. That's a 77 mile run, and we just saw Brent Sass' team quit on him.

That's right, Brent Sass is still in White Mountain, he got them up after their 8 hour rest and couldn't motivate them to really go anywhere. Even after dropping 3 dogs to hopefully just use the ones that were a little more awake, he just didn't get the momentum needed. Sebastian Schnuelle reports that after a talk with Race Judge (and former Iditarod racer) Karen Ramstead, Sass has decided to give his dogs another hour or two and see how they feel.

This is not the first time a lead team has quit on their musher. Jeff King has had it happen several times since coming back to the race. Young dogs running long runs, and strong winds coming directly at them for the last two days, have a tendency to get discouraged and tired. Brent is a GREAT dog driver. He just felt he could and needed to push the lead he had on the Yukon and up the coast. He "pushed the throttle" too soon. He knew it coming into Koyuk, but he left out of that checkpoint sooner than he wanted because Dallas and Mitch left.

Still, this is what Brent wanted 2 years ago, to be up against the Seavey's and he very nearly beat them. He's tasted it, he's probably already working on what to improve on and do differently. He's seen how Dallas unleashed his monster over the last two days. He's seen what a dog team can do even with an older musher on the back. If he can create a hybrid of the two, he could very well take it all.

Sure, this isn't the perfect race - Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle should have been in the mix. Jeff was on the right trajectory especially to go for his 5th win. But that does not diminish what Seavey Squared or Brent Sass were able to do in the last 48 hours.

Idita-mathematicians smarter than I am have suggested anywhere from 3-4am (Alaska Time) for the winner to cross under the burled arch. I will be waking at 2:30am to check on the trackers. I drank a Dr. Pepper this morning. I am not drinking any tonight. I need to be able to sleep some as I work tomorrow. This work thing is cramping my Iditarod viewing, as you can tell by the lack of posts I've made on my blog this year. Ugh.

So I'll see you possibly at 2:30... or 3... or 3:30... or 4...

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Aliy Zirkle & Jeff King attacked by POS on snow machine.

I'm about to get really angry, so if you're looking for an actual NEWS report on the subject this isn't it (but this one is). A pathetic excuse for a human being viciously attacked two teams on their way to Nulato this morning. Reports indicate that the jerk was drunk. Big deal. He intentionally circled Aliy Zirkle's team at least three times coming at them each time.

Aliy had to defend her team and herself with a trail marker (which is just a glorified stick), Danny Seavey just reported on Iditarod Live that she's had to drop one dog in Nulato due to "minor injury" but her team came out of the attacks pretty much okay. She's just pissed and shaken up. I've NEVER seen a video of Aliy THAT angry before.

Like Danny said, I wouldn't want to meet Aliy when she's pissed and waving a trail marker.

Jeff King's team was not as fortunate when he came across the POS. The snow machine managed to make contact with his team, and in doing so it killed King's 3 year old dog Nash. Two other dogs were also injured enough that King had to carry them in his dog trailer at the back of his sled. Jeff is taking his 8 hour mandatory rest now in Nulato. He's down at least three dogs (new report says one of the injured dogs has a broken leg). King runs his team well lit up with reflectors and lights. There's no doubt by the actions of the attempted murderer were intentional.

Alaska State Troopers are actively investigating the crime. There is a suspect. King has part of the POS's machine. I think Iditarod Fans need to come together and make sure this guy gets the maximum punishment for the crime. When he is arrested we need to be proactive in making sure this isn't swept under the rug. We need to have a very real presence - maybe not physically, but definitely through correspondence - to make sure this isn't another one of Alaska's classic "they were drunk so let's just slap their wrist" type cases.

Quite frankly, though, I kinda wish Aliy or Jeff had used their firearm and just taken care of the problem. Put him down like the rabid animal he is.