Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hidden Mickeys at Animal Kingdom

There are so many Hidden Mickey's at Animal Kingdom, especially in a huge mural inside Conservation Station. Here's a collage of 16 that we found. There were more but we stopped at 16. Click on the image to see it at Flickr. I'm new at this, so hopefully this is going to work. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book Pictures, Images and Photos

I am beginning to be a Neil Gaiman fan. I love Stardust, and did not know he wrote it until we saw the special features on the movie disc. We had "Coraline" in the house and stupid me, not knowing anything about it, Paperback swapped it. Derrr!

This book came to me as part of a round-robin postal letterboxing book club. It was a fun read and I'm glad the person who chose this, chose this.

Nobody Owens, Bod for short, is not your ordinary kid. He's being raised by foster parents and a guardian after his parents' deaths. That's not odd really, except that his foster parents are ghosts and his guardian straddles the line between life and death. Although it is never mentioned in the book, one can assume that Silas, his guardian, is a vampire.

Bod's been taken in and raised by the entire graveyard, protected from the outside world, as an evil organization is hunting him down. He never leaves. His schooling is done by various dead professors and school marms of yore. Food and supplies are provided for by Silas. The story deals with Bod from birth through about 14 or 15, his dealings with ghosts, ghouls, witches, real live friends, walking in dreams, fading, sliding, and finally figuring out why someone is trying to kill him.

It's a good YA read.


I signed up for Netflix on Sunday. Two days later, I have 3 movies in my mailbox. Whoa.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Goodbye to You

Thanks to everyone who commented on the Netflix/Blockbuster thing. Today we took the plunge, cancelled our on-line Blockbuster account and opened a Netflix.

On cancelling our BB account, they wanted to know why. I said they were more expensive. The end. No value-added services to make me pay that extra $3 or $4 a month.

Goodbye Blockbuster on-line.

Hello Netflix.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dollhouse - Man on the Street 03/20/2009

Last night's 'Dollhouse' episode was good! I am so glad it was good. I kept hearing "Wait for episode 6. Hang on for episode 6."

Episode 6, "Man on the Street" starts with a tv entertainment show doing "man on the street" interviews of local Angelinos, asking them if the believe the Dollhouse exists. We get funny bits of interviews interspersed in the episode.

I enjoyed that the show was less "Doll of the Week" (or as I like to call it "Monster of the Week," hearkening back to the "Buffy"/"Angel" days) and more about the main characters and the house itself. There was the sad bit about the rich Internet mogul who hires a doll once a year on the anniversary of his wife's death. This bit led Agent Ballard to finally see Catherine in person.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Sierra's freaking out and Victor's getting blamed. Langton figures out that it is really Sierra's handler, Hern, taking sexual advantage of her. Scumbag creepy Hern.

We see Ballard getting closer to his neighbor Millie. Like, really close. Yay! When he leaves for Chinese take-out, Hern, as a last chance from the House to not get killed for raping Sierra, is sent to dispose of Millie, whose apartment has been tapped and knows too much from Agent Ballard about the Dollhouse.

So I'm thinking, "No Joss! Don't do it! Do NOT kill off a happy couple! It's your modis operandi and it's getting OLD, Joss!"

Well, yea. He got me good.

Echo's at the Chinese take out place and gets into an all-out knock-down drag out with Agent Ballard. Fantastic fight choreography. Echo gets the gun, points it at Ballard....and then a second imprint kicks in! An imprint that tells Ballard he has a friend on the "inside" of the House who stuck in this imprint to tell him, yes there is a house, and to continue looking into it. Ballard is then framed by Echo for shooting a cop. Echo tells Ballard that he has to look like he's out of the game to the Dollhouse (he gets suspended pending the investigation on the shooting of the cop) but to not give up. The inside person wants Ballard to figure out the deeper reason for the house. Inside person does not know themselves.

When Topher was getting the imprint for Echo ready, he is interrupted by Langton and they take the conversation outside. During this time, someone adds the second imprint. Was Langton in on it? Who was it? Was it Dr. Saunders? Does she even have the technical knowledge to do that? Or was it Topher's cute lab assistant chick? Why would it be her then?

So many questions.

Echo tells Ballard that the house WILL stop any information that had been leaked. Meaning Millie. Ballard races home, calling the apartment on his cell. In his apartment, Hern is beating the heck out of Millie. The phone rings. The machine picks up and it is Ms. Williams, giving some kind of code that flips a switch in Millie.

She's a sleeper agent. WHAT? He got me. I totally thought Joss was killing off a happy couple. But she's a doll? Who isn't? Lord. But it was a good plot twist. It was a great show, FINALLY.

Favorite Quotes:

Points to bed and screeches: "Porn!"

"Moral Spankitude"

To Agent Ballard, "They'll throw the Kindle at you!" (I'd prefer a book, thank you, but the pop culture reference was not lost on me. )

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Waaaah! We love you Disney!

The day after her birthday party, we took Isabel and Jacob to eat lunch with the characters at Magic Kingdom. It was something we wanted to do before our passes expire in April. [She'd had a week-long birthday-palooza! Actual birthday at the Magic Kingdom getting free stuff from Disney (03/01), birthday party (03/07) and Disney Character Lunch (03/08). We don't normally spoil them, I swear!] I am a bad, bad liar.

We arrive at our table. They had strewn confetti and curly papers all over the table, in honor of Isabel's (late) birthday.

As we arrived, Piglet had already been by our section. Isabel was crushed. Our waitress assured us Piglet would be by again.

I love this man!

We ate at the Crystal Palace. They had a fantastic buffet, and for Disney, the prices were not bad at all. The buffet had a carving table (steak and pork), salads, sides galore, plus desserts like mad. We really enjoyed the food.

Isabel was so excited to meet Tigger!

Bouncing with the Tigg-meister.

One happy gal. She intentionally asked for her bow to be like that, so she could look like Minnie Mouse.

It's me! Move on.

Isabel, Jake & Eeyore, my favorite. At one point, Isabel and I joined a character conga line. Jacob has a video on his phone I need to get from him.

The waitress brought Isabel a cupcake and a card, signed by the characters.

From Once More With Feeling

We never did get to see Piglet.

So now, our passes expire. I am SO SAD! Torn, I am, TORN! We spent almost 2 years saving off and on for these passes. A little bit here, a little bit there. We could actually renew our passes this year, but it seems so frivolous! It seems so wasteful with the way things are. I want to be a squirrel and store it away...NO I want to SPUR the economy by buying passes...NO, I want a fence in the backyard....NO I want a vacation this summer..NO I want another year of awesomeness at Disney!


We love you Disney. It was been one fantastic year.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jane Eyre

Ahhh. A Bronte I like. If you are unaware of my feelings for Charlotte's sister, Emily, you can recap here: Wuthering Heights. (side bar: HOW Stephenie Meyer can make "WH" Bella's favorite book is beyond me. )

Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" was a much better read for me. Her writing is so descriptive and fluid.

"No sooner had twilight, the hour of romance, begun to lower her blue and starry banner over the lattice, then rose I, opened the piano and entreated him, for the love of heaven, to give me a song."

Her characters are much, much better people. People to care about. Yes, even Mr. Rochester. I love that Jane is this young girl, an orphan, being taken care of by her dead uncle's wife, being neglected by this aunt, treated like dirt by her cousins, and yet she knows who she is. She knows what she will stand for. She's a child and yet she knows that her cousins are beneath her for the way they behave. She is in pain, she wants so much to be loved, but she still knows right from wrong in how humans should behave with each other.

I dreaded her being sent away to the school, Lowood. I feared for her and read hesitantly. Conditions were hard, but there were kind teachers and staff, and eventually she found a home there, if only for a while. There's still a world out there, though, that she yearns to see. She becomes a governess at a home called Thornfield, for a young girl being taken care of by a Mr. Rochester, a man 20 years her senior. Ms. Eyre is unlike any woman Mr. R has ever met. She says what she means, she speaks honestly, she doesn't drip honey from her lips trying to get something out of him. They fall in love and eventually confess their love under a chestnut tree, that later that evening gets rent in two by lightning (it's as if God himself is objecting).

Why would God object? Because on her wedding day, she is told of the lady in the attic apartments. The insane, wild woman. His wife.

"Jane Eyre, who had been an ardent, expectant woman - almost a bride - was a cold, solitary girl again: her life was pale, her prospects were desolate. "
That she declines to be his mistress, to run away and let him have her, is a great victory for her. While he tries to cajole, to wheedle, to threaten her to stay, she thinks:

" very conscience and reason turned traitors against me, and charged me with crime in resisting him. They spoke as loud as Feeling: and clamoured wildly. 'Oh, comply!' it said. 'Think of his misery; think of the danger - look at his state when he left alone'" ...."Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?"

"Still indomitable was the reply - 'I care for myself.'"

That cry, "I care," held her place as a favorite heroine in my heart. That she refused another marriage proposal of convenience at a time where she would have been thought insane (she had no other prospects and was not considered attractive, although she did have money by then)cemented that place.

There's disaster mingled with hope. She finds family she never knew, she gets the one she always loved and stays true to the strengths she had from childhood.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How's that Netflix?

Hey Netflix people,

How are you liking it? I need comments, concerns, positives and negatives. We're thinking of switching from Blockbuster dot com to Netflix. And here's why.

Blockbuster is around $22 or so a month for 3 movies in the mail. More than Netflix, BUT there was an added bonus. If you took the sleeves to Blockbuster rather than mailing them, they would scan them in and you would get a free rental AND they mailed you the next movie. You could do this up to 5 times a month. So while your mailed movie is on its way, you get a free one at the store. Sweet.

Yesterday, we went to return two in-sleeve-from-the-net movies at the local store. When we swapped them with in-store movies, the manager asked if I had heard their new policy. No, what is it? You can swap the mail movies at the store, BUT Blockbuster dot com will NOT mail you new movies until the in-store rentals are back. There is no incentive now to pay the $20-something dollars a month.

Why would I waste my gas to go to the store if I am not getting the free movies? For that, I'm just going to mail them back. And if I am mailing, why would I pay more than Netflix for the same thing?

I went on-line to BB dot com and told them just that, using their "contact us" link.
Good Morning,

We are very disappointed to learn about the new store-exchange policy, wherein movies from will not be mailed to us until we return in-store rented movies that we received when swapping out sleeves at the store.

The old policy of receiving some free in-store rentals, while getting new movies mailed from when turning in the sleeves at the store was a great incentive to not switch to Netflix, which is cheaper than your service. With that
incentive gone, we, and I am sure many other of your customers, will be looking
to other, less expensive options.


Kaaren & David M.

When I hit send, it gave me a "wait!" message. One of these "Before we submit your message, if you're writing about this (lists a few things, including their new policy) send an e-mail instead to"

I did both. I hit send on-line AND sent a regular e-mail from our regular e-mail address to that e-mail address, per their request.

Today, we receive a reply to on e-mail:

We appreciate you taking the time to write us with your feedback and suggestions. Your comments are taken very seriously and we welcome them as a valuable tool needed to improve the quality of our service. We will make sure to compile your feedback with others, and provide it to our Executive Management team.

Please know that this mailbox is for inbound email only, and we are not able to respond to feedback directed here.

Kind Regards,
Executive Office

Um. What?

It's this level of stupidity that kills me.

So, Netflix. Tell me all about it. Please. Comment now.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More Hidden Mickeys

At Animal Kingdom's Expedition Everest, a stone statue of a Yeti has Mickey ears popping out from its base.

In the outdoor portion of the line for Expedition Everest, clouds on a carved mural have Mickey Ears.

Inside the line for Expedition Everest, an ink splotch is shaped like Mickey.

Also inside the line, a small stuffed Yeto has Mickey ears.

Outside Expedition Everest, on a slab, is Mickey's head, upside down.

Over at Hollywood Studios, Harry Anderson placed Mickey Ears in a tie he drew in the concrete.

Carol Burnett gave her character in concrete Mickey Ears.

In the line for Star Wars, this employee notice is considered a Hidden Mickey.

This one is also in our Hidden Mickey book, but really...not so hidden. This one is also inside the Star Wars ride.

Over at Magic Kingdom, while traveling on the TTA (Tomorrowland Transportation Authority), you can find a hidden Mickey on this woman's belt if you look quickly enough.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Clown named Itsa

Quick note:

Isabel's studying the circus this week at school. She's been making red noses and blue cheeks and sticking them to her face with tape.

Tonight I received the honor of having these items stuck to my face. She kept saying "Come here itsa clown," and I could not understand her.

I asked her three times what she was saying. Finally she explained it was from an episode of "Wonder Pets," where they see a clown and say "It's a Clown!" only she thinks that's the clown's name, Itsa.

That's me tonight as I wear my paper nose and cheeks. Itsa. Itsa Clown.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wide Sargasso Sea

I've never heard of this book before. It showed up on the Classics list I am working my way through & I said "Huh?" Never heard of it.

"Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys is a 1966 prequel to Charlotte Bronte's 1847 work, "Jane Eyre." I find it odd, an author writing a prequel off another person's work. Granted, Ms. Bronte was not around to approve/disapprove, but I find it odd.

We're meeting Mr. Rochester's Bertha, before she became the insane Amazonian-like woman as she is portrayed in 'Jane Erye.' Here, her name is Antoinette (Bertha is her mother's name. ) She is alive, vital, strong yet also weak. She's more than the phantom in Bronte's attic.

She is a young girl raised in a Jamaica that has just abolished slavery. Her and her family are looked down upon. They are neither rich, nor black. They are "cockroaches, " worse than the natives, because once-upon-a-time, their family for generations, owned slaves

Antoinette's mother is shunned by the people around her. They are almost completely destitute until a Mr. Mason sweeps her mom off her feet and marries her, securing their wealth. Slowly though, her mother descends into madness, a family trait. Antoinette is married to a young English chap, Mr. Rochester, who's not told of the family history, just that Antoinette has a dowry provided by Mr. Mason.

While Ms. Bronte's work feels very English, Ms. Rhys' work immerses you in a West Indies feel. The heat, the steam, the noises, the smells, the sights, the attitudes, all Caribbean. There is lust, heat, secrets, shame and slowly, the descent into madness.

Told in both Antoinette and Mr. Rochester's voices, "Wide Sargasso Sea" is a haunting yet beautiful companion to "Jane Eyre."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Birthday Fun, Part 2

Today, we had Isabel's birthday party. Wall-E was ready for the day.

Click here to see more Wall-E pictures, on my cake blog.

We are beyond pooped. I am so grateful my m-i-l and grandma-i-l were here to help out or I would have wigged out. :) We were busy with people, kids, games and having fun.
I am also grateful for terrific friends who travel far for us; for all of you who took time out of your busy lives to spend a couple of hours making our daughter's day better.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lessons: The R.S.V.P.

Miss Manners here. Let's discuss the R.S.V.P., shall we?

Maybe you do not know what these initials mean?

Répondez S'il Vous Plaît which is French for "Please Reply."

Apparently, many do not know this. What else but ignorance of the term would be the excuse for not picking up the phone and calling someone (or e-mailing/messaging. Those are acceptable in this modern age as well) to tell them yes, you can come, or no, my regrets, I cannot attend?

There can be no other reason, right? I mean, the person hosting the party has to plan the menu. The person planning the party has to make sure there are enough parting gifts for the children attending. How can the host make the correct arrangements without that yay/nay phone call/e-mail? The host may be sad that you cannot make it, but at least said host will know not to make a goody bag for your child.

When 30 invitations are sent, 17 to classmates, and of those 17 classmates, you receive 2 phone calls..that's bad form. If you show up unconfirmed, might your child not be given a goody bag because there are not enough? Might someone go without that slice of pizza because your numbers were not added in the planning?

Please, kind reader. The next time you receive an invitation, Répondez S'il Vous Plaît.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Birthday Fun Part 1

Sunday was Isabel's birthday. Her party not being until the following Saturday, we had a small, private party at home.

We got her the Wall-E Wii game.

She also received a Sackboy in the likeness of her own Little Big Planet character. It's an Etsy creation.

We went to church to watch her and her class sing and then came back in the freezing rain to change and head to Disney.

Disney is letting people in on their birthdays for free. Since we have annual passes, they gave us a gift card with the amount equivalent to a one day pass for her on it.

She wore seriously high platform sneakers and was able to finally get on Mission Space. Here, she shows how excited she is.

At Epcot. The "big ball" is behind her right shoulder.

Here's what she got with her gift card; a Minnie ears princess hat, some lollipops and (not shown) a Donald Duck pin for her lanyard. Jacob got some candy and a cool black Mickey silhouettes t-shirt.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dollhouse Episode 3 - Stage Fright

I love you Joss, you know I do! Click on the Joss Mania link. Like orange soda, I do, I do, I do-oooooo (old 'Kenan & Kel' reference).

I watched episode 3 of 'Dollhouse' this Friday, titled "Stage Fright."

How long can the show's premise be viable? Echo's this Doll who each and every week is going to get into jams, and they're not going to decommission her for it? (I know they threatened to put her in the "attic," whatever that means). If you are an expensive yet hush-hush company, why would you risk yourself by putting out a Doll that is a danger-magnet? After a while, you catch a clue.

Two weeks ago, she's this hard core nature woman, until crazy guy threatens to hunt her, then she can't run without falling all over the place. This week's episode, with the singer lady, was bad. I cared not one iota for the singer. She was just horrible. Echo is programmed to be a background singer for a pop diva with a capital "B," and she's also programmed with "kick butt" mode that kicks in if anything wrong or bad happens to diva. We get to hear Eliza sing. Glad that's out of the way.

They send Sierra, another Doll we've already seen, in to back Echo up. Sierra gets kidnapped by the psycho stalker...and Sierra's kick butt training does not kick in? In the beginning, they said Sierra was there to back Echo up, but she sits there snivelling, still in "character?"

Also, how long is the FBI going to let Agent Ballard look for the Dollhouse? (side note: I did not see Russian dude coming; they got me good there.) Doesn't Ballard have other FBI work to do?

I like Eliza, EXCEPT when she's acting as "brain-wiped" Echo. I know she's supposed to be "innocent" but the acting when she's brain-wiped annoys me.

Someone in the blogosphere mentioned the "big picture;" looking at it as a whole. I totally agree with this guy here. Maybe it's like one of those hidden-image pictures. You know the kind, where you have no idea what the heck it is, until you stare at it for a long time and the image magically appears? Maybe one day, I'll see the big picture on this one. I am REALLY REALLY hoping.

Sad thing is, I have never ever seen the images in those hidden magic pictures. :(

I want less "Monster of the Week" and more reveal, more "Alpha," more "why did she volunteer for this?" That's the goods right there. I know the good are coming, right? I'm hanging in, Joss.

Sunday, March 1, 2009



Happy 5th Birthday today Isabel! We love you.

(Isabel and I stand outside the hospital she was born. Because we're dorks. Also because we were having dinner at the Mellow Mushroom last night, which is about 3 blocks away from the hospital)