Thursday, January 25, 2007

Two Trips to Chicago

So it's been an eventful year. OK not really, but I've been trying to keep myself busy. I got the New Year done with in Kzoo, a night of drinks, SceneIt, NYC Ball dropping and spraying-champagne-on-vehicle fun! I miss those guys and because of that went to visit them and played the Wii - I bought one of those myself actually - and then ended up visiting Chicago in early January to see my friend Alissa! I like to hang out with her though we often end up talking about London and how much we miss it...

The first visit to Chicago Alissa and I hung out in Chicago, I dropped off a Resume at the Museum of Science and Industry and the two of us even got to see Wicked!

During this trip I spent most of my time job-searching and trying to get to see my Chicagoan Friends! I visited the Museum of Science and Industry and hung out with Alissa's family at her Dad's place in Arlington Heights... I stayed for a few days and it was great to see Alissa and Jenn for a while... though my visit with Jenn was short.

Unbeknownst to me however, I was back there 10 days later to visit again!! So I went back and hung out again, good times: we went to this really cool pub called the Map Room, went to Second City (hilarious - i think i could be o second city), went to another pub called Old Tap Room or something like that...

The best time I'd had in Chicago was wandering the downtown area with Alissa. We walked around in the freezing wind just chatting. We saw the bean, wandered by the ice skating, and I took her to the Sushi place (Oysy) that I went to when I was in Chicago for the UFVA conference August before last!

It was a great night and lots of fun...

Eventually I came back and Williams-Sonoma decided they don't want me anymore, I didn't get the Lead Interpreter job, and the only really positive job-related info I've received was from a job in Hawaii that told me i was qualified but not the best applicant.

Oh well. So to end on a high note I was going through a bunch of boxes of pictures and found some from 1998 when I was at Philmont in New Mexico! I will add some of these and you can laugh at how young I look... and was...

The New River Gorge

Rod, Me and Tony in an inclined train going down into the New River Gorge

Me with a tomahawk that a did in fact throw.

A nice view.
A view from the top of a rock formation looking out at Philmont

Here I am reloading shotgun shells so I can do some skeet shooting... i shoot, but i am still for gun control
(see how i add my subtle political view)

A picture of the Rock formations at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

View from the top of Mt. Baldy, a mountain we climbed in the Philmont ranch...

Tony (left) and I (right) during a trust exercise

A nice vista on my trip...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Egypt Photo Post!!! W00t!

Egypt!

Ok for those of you not on Facebook that still read my blog... I have been posting some pictures on Facebook of Egypt today...

60 pictures actually! Yea!! I KNOW!!

it's crazy.

Anyway, if you'd like to see my adventures in Egypt go to this link and feel free to comment!

FACEBOOK EGYPT PHOTO LINK OF AWESOME

Cheers!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Top 3 of 2006!

OK the following is a post about people. Their names have been edited for comedic affect, but they really sent me these. Feel free to comment and add your own top three and I will check back and add them to the actual post! Cheers everyone! Auld Lang Syne and Happy 2007!

Craig "the Bronco" Heiter
1. Graduating
2. Bahamas Internship
3. Snakes On A MOTHERFUCKIN' Plane

Mike "Burnsides" Litzner
1. I got a promotion for my job
2. I played 1860s base ball (which, as you know, we weren't allowed to do on the Island...haters)
3. I worked two jobs (seven days a week) for seven straight months. Quite an accomplishment.

Melanie "Horsey Saucy" Hampton
1. Meeting you!!! (Finally...as if I didn't work on the same damn rock as you for what 5 years???)
2. Graduating College!!
3. Turning 21 :-D

Fiona "Is really my middle name" Curtis
1. having cousin Andy home from Iraq
2. being a homeowner
3. Andy's motorcycle accident

Trace Dominguez
1. 13 Countries under my belt (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Egypt, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Spain, France and -of course- Canada)
2. Rediscovering my love of family
3. Mackinac Island... I still love it.

Walt Disney World : 27 Nov - 3 Dec

I have decided the time has come. It's time to talk about Disney world and Virginia. My two trips this "holiday season." What is it about the 'holiday season' that gets people all worked up about saying Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays? What's wrong with the latter? People get too into it... It's Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, New Years, Boxing Day, Yule and Winter Solstice! Lots of holiday's all around each other, why pick just one!
I know I know, just because the Christians didn't want to get persecuted and maybe killed so therefore designated a pagan holiday (Dec25 - the Winter Solstice according to the Julian Calendar) to now mean the birth of their christ... It was just a perversion of the Pagan religion in order to spread their own! It's a bit sad really. But we're not here to talk about that...

>>>>>>> Trip to Disney in a Nutshell <<<<<<<

So it was nearly time, the end of November was upon us, we'd been planning it for months and months and the time was now... We were off to Disney World. 6 full days in the WDW Park system... how awesome. I was worried at first, figuring - I've been to Europe now, so this will be very fake-y but it wasn't at all! I mean it was fake-y but if you realized that and got past it there are many other things to enjoy in WDW! So anyway, a couple of days after turkey day we got on the plane here in Lansing, flew to Ohio then on to Orlando, got our car (which was a pain) and I drove our butts onto the Property.
Just in case you've never been lets give you a rundown of the Walt Disney World Property...

  • Walt Disney World was opened in 1971 and founded by Walt Disney himself - though he died before construction began.
  • Currently there are 4 Disney Parks: The first being Magic Kingdom (opened 1 October 1971) Disney's EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) second (opened 1982) with the addition of Disney's MGM Studios in the 1989s and Animal Kingdom in 1998.
  • Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Disney: the three most recognizable brands in the world and partnered so that on the Disney property you can only purchase Coke and if you eat fast food only from McDee's.
  • In addition to the four main theme parks, the resort contains two water parks, six golf courses, a sports complex, an auto race track, twenty-two resort hotels, Downtown Disney, Pleasure Island, the Disney Boardwalk and numerous other shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings.
  • It has its own fire department.
  • Property I keep referring to is the largest theme park resort in the world. The original land purchase was done under the names of many different false companies as to not aroue suspicion and have land prices shoot up in the region. The total park size is 27,443 acres, or about 43 square miles: twice the size of Manhattan Island, or the same size of San Francisco.
  • Over the past decade significant amounts of acreage have been sold off for housing and other developments, including land now occupied by the Disney-built (but not Disney-owned) community of Celebration.
  • It has it's own highway signs, state-of-the-art telephone system, laundry facilities, costume shops, maintainence shops, food distribution center, power plant, canals for water redirection (since most of central Florida is swampland), a tree farm to supply it's greenery, advanced greenhouses, a massive indoor sports complex and a hugely intricate public transport system (including interpark buses and a monorail as well as intrapark trains and people movers)
Anyway, that was fun... if you want to read a history of WDW go to: http://www.wdwmagic.com/wdwhistory.htm

So anyway, we got there and checked into Disney's All-Star Music resort, the same hotel we've stayed at every time we've visited! I really like the All-Star Music, there are actually three of them Music, Sports and Movies, but Music is the best...

Our first day in the parks we spent at Animal Kingdom, like ya do. We saw all sorts of good stuff including chimps and orangutans and tigers...

Anyway, I am not really going to type what we did every damn day... so instead I will post some pictures and label them so you can see what was fun!

I rode every ride that I could; which is big for me if you know me... I have never ridden rides before... I talked with the University Program people and found an awesome Irish Bar in Downtown Disney with a beautiful Traditional Irish Dancer named Danielle and a great band... Brock and I went many a time!

Anyway to the pictures:

First : Animal Kingdom


The Bro's in front of the Gates.
Tree of Life

New Ride: Expedition Everest... Awesome. And it has a Yeti.

Brock and Evan being Yeti's

Our Second Time... or maybe third...

Dad joining in the fun.

Asian Tigers! So Beautiful! I want one...

Hippos have been known to be very defensive towards humans, and according to the paper by Dr Ed Evans, hold the title of African mammal which kills the most humans.

Giraffes on the other hand just look neat, and eat leaves.

A nice picture of Fish. Lots of them!
The gorillas were very active. He also mooned us.

Next : EPCOT Center - Future World
EPCOT is by far my favourite park. I just love everything about it, the hope that it inspires for the future and the international feelings you can almost get when wandering the World Showcase... I just love it.
It Rained on our first EPCOT Day, but we made the best of it as you can see!
The Ball is HUGE!

The New Mission: Space ride feat. Gary Sinise!
The Land Pavilion: Classic.
Tomato Trees in the Horticultural Gardens in EPCOT's The Land Pavilion... so cool!


The Fam (except me because I was behind the camera) at the Imagination Institute
A.K.A. - Honey I Shrunk the Audience

My Mom and Dad. I love them lots. They are hilarious.

A Cute Coconut Monkey filled with Yummy Alcohol!

I got that monkey at the Luau at Disney's Polynesian Resort~ so cool! And the best frickin' Pineapple EVER!

Then: Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!
You've got to love the Magic Kingdom, it's commonly thought of as only a kids park, but with a 24, 20, and 18 year old along with my parents, Grandma and Aunt Cindy we spent a whole day there! It was so much fun! They updated the Pirates of the Caribbean and added Jack Sparrow as a character in the ride! It's really impressive actually...

Gateway to Walt's Dream...

A nice view of Splash Mountain in the Distance, with Tom Sawyer's Island on the Right.


The Castle... utilizing Forced Perspective they make it seem taller than it really is, as it becomes taller, its proportions get smaller. Using this method, the top spire of the Castle is actually close to 1/2 of the size it "appears." Major elements of the Castle were scaled and angled to give the illusion of distance and height. Specifically designed you will not see a flashing red light on the tallest tip because it is under the FAA height requirement at a total of 189ft.


In case you didn't notice in the front of the castle there was a Beyonce. She was there singing for the Christmas Day parade... no it was not Christmas Day, but they were pre-taping, so if you watched it you might have seen me in the audience goggling...

Mum and Dad again.
And Then: MGM Studios

MGM Studios used to be my least favourite park, mostly because I didn't ride rides, but that is all different now. We went there a few times throughout the week and once with just the 4 boys (Dad and the kids) Dad had just turned 60 that week, but he still rode all the rides with us! Rockin' Roller Coast, Tower of Terror and everything!
Main Street of MGM Studios, full of shopping and more shopping... a few restaurants.

No visit to MGM Studios would be complete without seeing the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular!


The brand new, direct from Disneyland Paris: Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show! Using Opel cars they do all sorts of stunts and show you how car stunts are created for films, it was really awesome and fascinating as well...

Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show again... it was cool! Loud though. Pretty much impossible to capture the movement of the cars and how fluid and great it was with a still camera, sorry!

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights... there were a lot of them all on a family farm and they were sued by their neighbors so they donated them to Disney World and now they are put up at MGM every season. This is the 3rd time I've seen them, they used to be on the backlot, but they took out the backlot to make room for the Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Spectacular.

Well that is all the parks, but there are still more pictures! We went to many of the parks twice, and some three times. 6 days is a long time to be at Disney and traveling through their facades and recreations, but even having left the country and gone to many of the places in the International Showcase I still love the parks... they really are magical... speaking of that:

EPCOT #2 : World Showcase


A kind of crappy view across the World Showcase Lagoon

Look the Monorail!

The Ceiling of the China Pavilion where they also have minis of the Terra Cotta Army! it's cool!

Ahh fifers... the American pavilion was a little sickening, but interesting none the less.

Can you guess where this is? A pub called the Rose & Crown is featured prominently, it was supposed to be the UK, but it wasn't quite right. The streets were too clean and too wide... the pub was too well lit and the service was too good. Oh well! It's all fake anyway, though the entirety of the World Showcase is manned by true international students and people on the exchange program for 10 months at a time... pretty sweet deal... I wonder if Disneyland Paris needs fifers...

Pictures from Nighttime Entertainment:

This next section will be just pictures from different night shows and things, I got lots of fireworks shots at Magic Kingdom, the Spectromagic Parade at Magic Kingdom is always a delight, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot is really cool and of course Fantasmic at MGM is anything but average... though impossible to photograph.

A nice shot of the Epcot Ball at night...

After Dad, Brock and I went to get fries in Fantasy Land behind the castle before the fireworks show and Spectromagic Parade we walked right under it... not bad.

Nice fireworks during the Wishes show

More Wishes
Right near the end of Wishes...

This marks the end of Disney World's photos. There are lots more, but I only gave the better ones and the ones who's story is easier to explain... I hope you enjoyed it, and Happy New Year! Sorry it took me so long to post this, but as you can see it's a lot of work!

Cheers!