Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Disney World 2016

My family went on a week long Disney World vacation at the end of May.

It's a given we were exhausted and our feet hurt!  Just for the record, I really do not like Magic Kingdom too much.  Too crowded and sometimes after hearing kids screaming all day--  I need a drink.

Little Mermaid and Seven Dwarf Mine Train was being built the last time we were at Disney.  Meh, I could have skipped both of them this time.  Same goes for Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh.

What I did really love was It's a Small World.  I know, it's dated and a little creepy if you don't like dolls, but I love the fact that Mary Blair designed the ride.  Due to the times it was pretty rare for a woman artist in the illustrating business.  It makes the ride special and she had a very distinct style.

This time we spent a lot of time in Hollywood Studios since I have a Star War nut.

My Grumpy Little Jedi

R did the Jedi Experience.  She was hot and pretty grumpy.  

My selfie with a Jawa.  They were hilarious.

Epcot was having a garden event.  I didn't get a photo of very many of the topiaries.  R liked this one. We saw most of them.  At night after Illuminations fireworks on the Wold Showcase there were bunnies munching on the Woody one.  Should have gotten a photo.  


And, Joe in his new hat from Animal Kingdom.

Lastly, I actually went on Tower of Terror.  I have a fear of heights and get nervous in elevators.  

Back right.

Commemorative selfie.  I believe I was still shaking.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Vacation time- Hogsmede, Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Knockturn Alley

I just went on a whirlwind of a vacation to Universal Studios Orlando with my mom, sister and daughter.

This is my second time to Hogsmede/Hogwarts and the first time to Diagon Alley/Knockturn Alley.  It was every bit as magical, if not more, as it was the first time I went in 2012.

Hogsmede with Hogwarts in the background

I took a bajillion photos of the dragon in Diagon Alley.

Few seconds later.

It was hard to resist taking photos of the dragon's fire every time it happened.  You knew he was about to blow when everyone was lined up with cameras up...you just fell in right with the crowd!

At night.

Food from the Leaky Cauldron.  Ploughman's dinner.  My favorite was the Scotch egg.  I hope to try my hand them soon.  I forgot to get a photo of my breakfast pasty.  It was egg, mushroom, and leek pasty.  At the Three Boomstick's I went wild and had the American breakfast.  My favorite both mornings was the potatoes.  We had fish and chips for lunch and somehow my daughter and I got free Butterbeer!  We enjoyed icecream at Florean Fortescue twice...Butterbeer and strawberries and cream.  R had what Hagrid bough Harry his very first trip to Diagon Alley- chocolate with raspberries.  I tried the Hogshead brew and the Dragon Scale brew, both were a little too hoppy for me.  I wanted a Newcastle but they no longer had it.  I settled for a Bottingtons instead.  I wish I would have tried the green beer instead.

Tale of the Three Brothers

I love the puppet shows of Tales of Beedle the Bard!  The puppeteers were great and the puppets were really cool.  The hands moved and everything.  The scene above is from Tale of the Three Brothers.  We caught it twice.  The other one was The Fountain of Fare Fortune.  

Also, you could watch Celestina Warbeck perform.  We only caught the very last of "A Cauldron of Hot Strong Love."  I enjoyed the show way more than I thought I would at first.

ETA-Wrong video...R's wand wasn't working properly.  The last night a wizard "magic spot" attendant suggested it to be taken to Olivander's for repair...aka replace.  

Here's the correct one:

We went to Olivander's both in Diagon Alley and Hogsmede about 4-5 times.  They never chose a child, always a teenager.  One, the girl was over 21 (she was drinking alcohol so pretty evident.)  I don't think she even knew much about Harry Potter.  She couldn't recite "Wingardium Leviosa." Every Harry Potter fan at least knows that spell!!

A really fun part to the parks this time was the interactive wands.  My mom ran across the interactive wands before we left for the trip.  R wanted one from B&N bookstore.  I suggested to wait and good thing we did! There are what I call "magic spots" around Hogsmede, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.  You cast your spells and watch the magic.

Ginny's wand (mine) and Hermione's wand (R's) with the map.  And, my time turner.

Weasley Wizard Wheezies collage

Hermione's Yule Ball gown...real movie prop

Harry's Yule Ball dress robes...real movie prop

I missed the third real movie prop which was the Ford Aglina car.

Knockturn Alley was hard to capture since it was a dark alley way even in day time.  In fact I think this photo was taken in the day time.  

Borgin and Burkes

Vanishing cabinet

Cursed necklace

We of course went and did other things besides Harry Potter, but it really made the trip.

I have tons more but this post is getting heavy.  OH and the train!  The Hogwarts Express was fantastic!  We rode it many times!  Twice we were in the same cabin with families actually from London which was a treat.

One last of the dragon:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Book thoughts- Jurassic Park and Lost World

I'm calling this book thoughts rather than a review for Jurassic Park and Lost World both by Michael Crichton.

Many of us now in our 30s have fond memories of Jurassic Park the movie.  As a kid, how could you not love the idea of dinosaurs being recreated.  It probably was my first introduction to genetics and DNA.  Science at this point in school was the basics like weather, gravity, etc.  To say the least, I was wowed.

I did not read the books then.  I am not sure what held me back-- maybe not wanting to ruin a movie or I felt it would be too much the same. Whatever the case, I just recently read Jurassic Park and Lost World for the first time ever.

I am even more awed now.  How do I explain the thrill I got out of Jurassic Park, I barely can...  What I can say is that I truly am glad I waited on reading these until I understand fully the science (even if it is pseudo-science, or is it?).  I did have issues trudging though some of the Chaos Theory though.

Lost World started out slowly.  It felt like an afterthought at times.  The children involved in the second book seemed more unlikely, but added a nice depth to the story.  I liked the strong female character of Sarah and was surprised how minor of a character Ellie actually was in the first novel.

It is very interesting to me how the two novels were stretched over three movies.  Scenes from the first book showed up across all three movies, even  the second movie which was based on the second novel. Compys.

I understand why Lost World movie was incredibly different from the novel.  The novel was a slower building story line with more planning and dialogue, not a theatrically thriller.  Of all the movies, the Lost World is my least favorite.  I thought Jurassic Park III regained the mystique that was in the first movie.

I am beyond excited over the new movie Jurassic World!  I plan to go opening night!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Book review: California

I am not a fan of post-apocalyptic anything- books, movies, television shows, etc.  California by Edan Lepucki caught my eye even though it seems to fall into that genre.

It is not a sci-fi.  The downfall of the nation is economic and resource based.  The circumstances make sense.  There are no longer printed books...it's all e-devices and e-materials; once the internet goes down there is no longer any information distribution basically.  Memory and human cooperation and ingenuity is the basis of survival.

I felt like this book was anti-climatic.  Dark secrets and "he said, she said" drove the story.  Basic human nature of mistrusting each other and good ole fashion gossip.  The details surrounding the mistrust is founded for most part.  But, the climax was slightly dissapointing.

The contrast in living arrangements for the two main characters are rudimentary hunter/gathering versus Stepford wives.

I don't want to ruin the book for anyone else.  If you happen to run across this post and you have read the book, I would like to hear your thoughts.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: The X-Files: Ground Zero

I recently finished a fan fiction,  The X-Files: Ground Zero by Kevin J. Anderson.  I thought I would review it quickly for other X-Files fans.  Especially now since there's talk about new special episodes possibly being released.

The basis of the story incorporates known nuclear bomb testing sites and a contemporary (1990s?) day test.  It seems to be a very cut and dry case, but don't worry all of the typical conspiracy and paranormal comes into this tale.  I will say no more.

I found the first few pages hard to get through, but it might have been my circumstances- I was on a work trip.  My mind was buzzing about all kinds of digital repository terms.  It had the same layout as an episode with an added bonus.  With this being a novel, the reader has insights into Scully and Mulder's thoughts as well as dialog.  This one focused a lot on Scully.  Scully stays a mystery to an extent in the television series.  This novel expanded on her youth and some of her rebellious collegiate days. Oooo, drama.  Okay, as dramatic and rebellious  as Scully gets which is as one would expect- not much.  The sexy interaction between Scully and Mulder was missing though.

David Duchovny folds outs would have made this book a best seller.  Just saying.

Go find this book. Read it. Find out the truth.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

R2-D2 Cross Stitch

I forgot how easy it is to cross stitch.  Of course, I'm not doing a bajillion color changes or anything intricate. And, I'm not showing the backs....it's a hot mess.

I finished R2-D2 last night completely and have C-3PO's main color all finished.

I'm attempting to buy as little as possible for these. So far, so good.  I'm just getting close on some of the colors and using what cross stitch fabric I have on hand.  That's why the droids are on red.  It was the only color that did not clash too bad.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cross Stitch for Christmas

I always try to make Christmas presents.  I succeeded fairly well in 2014.  This year I'm wanting to try something different from sewing* or knitting, so why not cross stitch.

There are so many fun and hip cross stitch patterns on Etsy.  I just bought several patterns that I had been eyeing.  The shop (Wee Little Stitches) is running a 20% off spring sale. I struck while the iron was hot.

I bought 2 Batman (heroes and villains) sets, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, Hermione, and Ron set.  My brother is getting a single Batman. If I feel generous I will add the Joker.  My daughter is getting Batman and the Riddler (her favorite).  My sister will be getting, I think, C-3PO and R2-D2.  I might add, "These aren't the droids you are looking for."  Probably not though.  I can see myself still working on these on Christmas Eve.

I just remembered this Halloween pic, but I'm keeping my dogs below still.

I don't think I'm going to cross stitch for my parents.  I probably will get them photo books printed of my daughter.

Since I just bought the patterns and haven't started, but blogs are boring without photos; here is a photo of my chihuahuas:

Roo and Tico

I guess I should add that this is going to be interesting.  I haven't cross stitched in probably 20 years when I was little kid.  I've embroidered some.  I'm hoping it comes back to me since I was never really taught in the beginning.  I just did it.

*Funny story.  I made my brother a lap quilt.  When I bought the quilt batting I just quickly grabbed something.  I had no idea I bought crib size.  Jokingly on Christmas morning I told him and his girlfriend, "By the way, it's crib size."  Now, they are saying it is a cursed fertility blanket like in the movie The Proposal since I am becoming an aunt in November! LOL.