Tuesday, September 27, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Eleven

Day 11: Song by your favorite band

I've been on a Mercy Me kick lately, so here's one that gets me in the right mood!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Ten

Day 10: Song that makes you fall asleep

I sleep with music playing all night. I always have. So music just soothes me no matter what it is. Instead of counting sleep I imagine skaters skating to the songs I'm listening to and then I'm out like a light (no one said I wasn't a nerd). So this one is a little challenging because I can't think of a single song that I haven't slept to at least once... but... I'll go with Sing Sweet Nightingale from Disney's Cinderella... it's a sweet, short, song that I think works as a lullaby...

Now it's back to working on retooling my Photography Blog.

Friday, September 23, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Nine

Day 9: Song you can dance to

I have to choose this song just because of the memories I have with Erin. The song came out a few weeks before we travelled from Kenai, Alaska to Portland, Oregon so Erin could attend cooking school to become the wonderful and amazing chef that she is. We were in I don't know where Canada late at night (or really early early morning) getting gas. Erin and I headed into the gas station to get snacks and sodas and all sorts of bad for you foods and this really hot Canadian Cowboy came roaring into the parking lot blasting "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy" by Big & Rich. Being as slap happy as I was by this point on the road I began busting out the music video moves (though not anywhere near as amazing) and, well, yeah... we still talk about it seven plus years later.

And since I couldn't find their music video I put up On The Rocks' version of it. Because they're awesome.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Eight

Day 8: Song you know all the words to

I know a lot of songs by heart. As well as movies. It drives my family nuts. They're all jealous, I know it. Anyway, I've shared this video many times. It's a song that my BFF found for our trip to Disney in 2009... and I've been obsessed ever since. The best part? The part about Southern Baptists. Thankfully the ban has been lifted, or I'd be a bad Baptist...

10 months till Disneyland... 2 years till WDW!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Seven

Day 7: Song that reminds you of an event

Everytime we got on a road trip, Erin and I sing this song ad naseum to get ready for the adventure... On the Open Road is from A Goofy Movie, and I think the songs are the best part about the film. On The Open Road is perfect for ANY road trip.

Monday, September 19, 2011

More Piratey Things

30 Days of Song: Day Six

Day 6: Song that reminds you of somewhere

In honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day (one of me favorite days of the year, savvy?) I've chosen the classic "Yo Ho, Yo Ho a Pirates Life For Me" which, of course, is from Walt Disney's Disneyland Pirate Adventure ride "Pirates of the Caribbean". So, can you guess where it takes me back?

And, because it's Talk Like A Pirate Day... and what really started the International craze was the movie based on teh ride... (and Johnny Depp's eyeliner)...

I'm watching the movie as I post this and we're just about to this scene... hee hee hee

Sunday, September 18, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Five

Day 5 - Song that Makes You think of someone

Can you maybe guess who this reminds me of? I totally couldn't make it without my "beastie"

Friday, September 16, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Four

Day 4: Song that makes you sad
I first remember hearing this song on a compilation disk I got for the fourth of July. It was Patriotic Country and you can tell that, for the most part, it was put together soon after the 9-11 terror attacks due to the overall theme of the songs chosen. One Last Time by Dusty Drake was the bonus track. It makes me think of Flight 93 and the heros of that tragic day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Three

Day 3: Song That Makes You Happy

There are so many, but the first one that popped in my head today is Disney's "I'll Make A Man Out of You." It's from Disney's Mulan and is sung by Donny Osmond. It's my best friend and my inside joke. Not even sure what that song is other than we sing it at the top of our lungs and then gush about how awesome Donny Osmond is (which then normally puts us in a Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat mood).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

30 Days of Song - Day Two

Day 2: Least Favorite Song

This is always difficult because I try not to think about songs I don't like. I guess the one that I am not a fan of that pops into my head, though, is Butterfly Kisses. It's a sweet and touching song, but it is soooooooooo overused and my dad is obsessed with it and it ends up being sappy and he cries and yeah. It's annoying. It's the song he uses to torture me, and if that day comes when I get to tie the knot it will NOT make it ANYWHERE in my day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Character Interaction

Donald Duck is #1, now and always.

I've been asked numerous times in the last year or so how I've been able to create some of the character interactions that are in the pictures from my various Disney trips. I don't feel I am an expert of the subject, but with several trips coming up with the Disney Inexperienced I wanted to create a blog that might help when it comes to making sure magic is created. By no means do I think anyone should just follow this as a play by play. Part of the fun of Disney is just letting the magic happen, and by making your own.

First and foremost, invest in the Disney Photopass service. For Walt Disney World there is a dicounted price if you purchase the disk before you travel. Don't purchase it too far in advance, though. I normally purchase it a couple of weeks before our trip so that it does not expire before I can see the photos. Even better, if you decide there aren't enough photos you want you can get a refund. Disneyland does not offer a preorder special - in fact, you can't preorder it at all - but it is considerably cheaper to purchase (presumably because there are two parks, not four + 2 water parks). This is helpful because you can have the photopass photographers take as many photos as you'd like and you can look at them online - ALL FOR FREE - before deciding to purchase and you aren't the one holding the camera! You can also have them take a few for you on your own camera, but note that some photopass photogs are just as amatuer as the people they are taking pics for and may not take the best photos with your camera. For more information and tips on photopass I recommend the Stitch Kingdom guide.

Once you've figured out the Photopass system - use it. It's so much easier to interact and capture the moments when you're in the moment and the photopass guys are there to make it happen, but don't be disappointed if you don't see a photorapher with the character you are meeting. Each character has a "friend" or "handler" who deals with the organization of the lines and will be more than willing to snap a photo or two. If you are like me and have a DSLR camera - make sure to have it in full point and shoot mode, and have the camera zoomed out as much as possible - trust me, most Cast Members really don't know much about cameras and feel overwhelmed when they look at my rig. Always make sure to ask for them to take multiple photos and to feel free to snap the interactions as well as the posed cheesey smile. Photopass photographers are supposed to already know to do this, but it never hurts to give them permission to do so.
It's ALWAYS Erin's fault!
Before heading to the parks - familiarize yourself with the characters that you're most likely to see. Knowing some of the characters cartoons/stories/personality traits really helps with the interraction. For example: Chip and Dale are friends & "roomies" and were first introduced as annoyances for both Donald Duck and Pluto. One of the most famous cartoons is "Pluto's Christmas Tree" where Chip and Dale live in the tree that Pluto and Mickey choose to chop down to decorate for Christmas. Subsequently the chipmunks create havoc in the tree and tease Pluto ultimately resulting in the tree and decor being destroyed and Mickey Mouse to freak out and call Pluto a bad dog (and dumb mutt). For the picture above, we started out talking to our "favorites". I prefer Chip - who is the brains, and Erin prefers Dale (the goofball). Christmas was already going on in Disney's parks, so I quickly turned the conversation to Christmas Trees and I asked Chip if he was getting along this year with Pluto. He mimed (the classic fur characters do not speak, though the technology may start changing soon with that - at least for Mickey Mouse) that he promised that he was. So I brought up the fact that it wasn't very nice that they played such a mean trick on Pluto (he laughed at that) and I said he should try to be nicer. Chip then pointed at Dale suggesting that DALE was to blame, and that Chip was innocent (he mimed a halo), Dale then pointed at ME suggesting *I* was the trouble maker and then I said "no, I'm the good one, Erin is naughty" so then we all pointed at Erin and the photo is made.

Familiarizing yourself with the Characters also helps the children recognize them in the parks which may help with the anxiety of meeting them. Some children have no problems going up to the characters right off the bat. Others are super shy or even terrified of them. It should be up to the child, and not the adult, to decide if the child will meet any of the characters. Some things that help are if the child sees some of the adults in the group getting silly and having fun with the characters. One of the best places for this comfortable spontaneous interaction is through a character meal. The characters each visit the tables at least once, and if you spend enough time and it's not too crowded (go at an off time during the day, or during the off season) you can get them to return to your table several times. The shy members of your group will have a better chance of seeing the characters up close and at their leisure. We used this method and got great results with my neice in Feb. This is a great way to start your trip as it gets the kiddos ready to meet the characters while touring the parks, and it's overall less overwhelming.

Haille scratches Pluto's nose. That's Disney Magic.
This is where you can teach the kids how to interact and have conversation with the non speaking characters. For example: The easiest is probably Pluto. How would you treat your family pet? Scratch his ears or his nose and watch for a reaction. Chances are you will have a very happy puppy and kiddo. This was the trick that broke the ice for my neice and she spent the rest of the night dancing with Goofy, playing tricks on the rest of us with Dale and chatting about shoes with Minnie Mouse. Who knew she'd come out of her shell just because she scratched Pluto's ears?! The meals are expensive, but you're getting an interactive experience and the memories really do become priceless. It's one of the vivid memories Haille has (the only other one is the Snake on the Indiana Jones ride, and that's not a positive memory for her). Try to get in at least one Character meal with your child(ren) and put it towards the front of your trip. I assure you it will help you judge how the rest of the trip will go. (Also, encourage your child to tell Pluto that s/he's going to scratch his ears so that the character is prepared to interact. They may not see your little one and therefore will not know it's happening.)

The final big tip I can give is - research and figure out who, when and where the characters will be out. If you're like I am, you'll plan your day around rides and characters. Be flexible, most characters come out several times a day. If you can't make one meet up, or the line is too long, try again a little later. Ask a cast member if any special "non scheduled" characters will be out and about. This is normally how princes, secondary characters, and villians are found. If a character is getting set to take a break - don't leave the line. Minnie only needs about five minutes to check on her apple pie that she has baking in the back. Some people in line will leave when she does, so your wait time will be less if you just stick it out. So be paitent and know when and where to be. And don't feel bad meeting the same characters more than once. Each interaction will most likely be different and so much fun!

The main ingredient to a positive and magical interaction is you. The Characters feed off of what you bring to the meeting. If you're all business you'll most likely only get the standard picture. If you don't seem willing to play games, they won't push the issue for fear of offending or wasting your time. If you're just into collecting character pictures, then please move right along, but if you're into the fun photos and memories that last far longer than your trip then take a risk, look a little silly and have fun! Happy snapping!

Want more tips/tricks/ideas? Let me know in a comment or email! I'd be happy to point you towards the magic.

ETA: Thank you to Jennifer F. for correcting some misinformation on the chipmunks. See, I still need to learn things too!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

Just as every other American, today I have my eyes and thoughts turned to the East Coast where ten years ago four commuter planes were overcome by Middle Eastern Terrorist monsters and flown into the World Trade Center towers, Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. The north and south towers in New York City were attacked first, followed closely by the third into the Pentagon. When the first plane hit confusion and misunderstanding began. It had to be an accident, but when Flight 175 flew into the second tower everyone was accutely aware that this was no accident. Flight 93, the fourth and final hijacked plane, had passengers aware of what was going on in NYC and D.C. and they decided to take action. Men and women who were on their way to San Francisco on a normal business day suddenly became the picture of Modern American Heroism.

All of this happened while most of us in Alaska and the rest of the West Coast was sleeping. Alaskans woke up to news of Terrorism - not accident - and towers falling.

I remember dreaming of people screaming that morning. I listen to the TV, Radio or (now) iPod while sleeping to drown out street noises that keep me from sleeping (it doesn't always work). In 2001 I was listening to Moody Radio and they were broadcasting the events as they happened just like all other media outlets. My subconcious fed off of what I was apparently hearing, but I had no idea what was going on. It was a radio program, surely this was not real. Then a loud booming came from my bedroom door. "Dad! I still have half an hour to sleep!" and then a gruff, almost frustrated voice answered with "America's under attack. Get up."

How the heck was I supposed to understand or even imagine what would greet my eyes from the television when I walked into the living room? The towers were on fire - back in 2001 I didn't even know there WAS a World Trade Center. I couldn't have pointed them out of any picture and identify them in teh skyline. The only buildings in NYC that I knew were the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. I know the Twin Towers now. We watched as reports came in and new amatuer footage was shared. And all the while I remember thinking that life would forever be different.

School was still going to be in session. So off we headed to KCHS. I had two classes: Band and Math. While every other student was in the gym and library, the band class stayed in session. Every door was open and as we walked into the classroom every music stand was already in place and music was out. We were going to play the songs of America. Without practice, without warning... without much warm up. It was Deb Sounart's way of showing support, strength and resolve. Some of us were unable to continue to play, and made their way into an office or instrument room to grieve. Fear, saddness all overwhelmed each of us differently.

Second period had us all filing into the next class. And then it was decided that the rest of the day would be spent in one of the big rooms watching CNN. We watched the towers fall. We watched as people jumped from the buildings, ran out with blood and burns all over...

Ten years later those images and memories are still vivid. Yes, we were far away from the destruction and chaos, but the patriotic feelings that followed, and the determination was real and strong.

I just finished watching the tribute on NBC. A part of me wishes it were the full day that would be a final tribute, and yet, that we move on with football and other American traditions I can't help but think this is just another victory over the Terrorism. They wanted to stop us, make us fearful, break our knees. They may have gravely injured our hearts, but that just strengthens us as a nation and people. For my generation 9-11 is like Pearl Harbor for my grandfather's generation. It's not just a day that lives in infamy. It's not just a day that will be forever remembered by those who lived it. It's also a day that marks America's wake up call. That we're not immune to the World. That we're not above the other countries somehow protected by this invisible shield. It's when we let our guard down that our enemies show themselves. We're not smarter, or any such nonsense. We are our own worst enemy. We lull ourselves into this false sense of security. We're already seeing it again... and it's been only ten years. How soon we truly do forget the lessons supposedly learned.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day One

Day 1: Favorite Song

This is always difficult because I love so many. One of my favorite artists of the day, though is Brad Paisley. And I'm in a pep band kind of mood (hello! football season!) and so what better song to choose as a favorite for this time of year than Brad Paisley's "Online". It's pretty much the story of my life, except I don't even have chats with guys online! LOL

30 Days of Song: Take 2

Last time I only got to day three before life took over and I forgot all about this Blog prompt. So I'm going to try again.

day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds of you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

Where did August go?

Sadly I have been very bad at blogging. It's a number of things that keeps me from it. First and foremost? I just don't know that it's worth it to blog anymore. Everyone is so busy with social network sites and real life that a non-established blogger just can't seem to get a word in. That and I'm so boring that who would really want to read anything I write?

Secondly, work has kept me busy. However, that's about to change. I put in my two weeks notice in and my final day is Saturday the 10th of September. I'm not sad about it. Sure the money coming in would be nice, but the fit was soooooo not right and there were coworkers that let me know it daily. I wasn't meeting the sales goals, and considering a major road block is that I don't like the idea of debt it just seemed pointless to continue to bust my butt for something I didn't enjoy or agree with. There are no jobs on the horizon so I'm hoping that something comes along or that my photography somehow just takes off. If not I'll live with my parents for the rest of my life (or, rather, their lives).

Thirdly, and most fun, I've been busy scrapbooking. I am nearly finished with my 2009 (yes you read that right) Disney World scrapbook. I don't even want to think how many pages it will be when it's all done, but considering the largest book at Passporter.com that I've seen in 90 pages, I have that beat by at least three times over. Insanity! The end of one is in sight, and then I have two more Disney travel scrapbooks to do before I go on vacay again next year.

Speaking of which, the dorktwin adventure has tripled in size! It's still going to be around 8 days long, but  now Jessi from high school and her kiddos (and hopefully one more of her peeps!) are coming with us to Disneyland next August! So excited. She is so much fun, and it'll be a first (I think?) for all of them! She is so excited about the trip, I just wish August would get here quickly!

So that's what I'm doing. I'm also anxiously counting down the days until the next What's In The Bible DVD comes out! Should be later this month!