Sunday, April 21, 2013

Epcot Update: April 18th, 2013

On April 18th, my wife and I enjoyed one of the first after Spring Break days at the parks, at least one of the first we've had time to get there.   We decided to spend our day at Epcot, which was still surprisingly busy.  Even with some breakdowns, I was able to finally experience the new Test Track, which was quite enjoyable.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of that attraction, but I have plenty of others.

I'm continuing to photograph dark rides and provide pictures whenever they appear clear and don't look like I was completely smashed while operating the camera.  This robot rooster is from Living with the Land, an Epcot attraction that is often overlooked because it's actually educational.  The first part is a journey through semi-elaborate sets depicting different climates on Earth.

The second half of the experience is a ride through a functioning experimental greenhouse.   This includes aquaculture, or fish farming.  One of the oddest hidden mickeys is here, where you can find a shrimp house with a familiar shape.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

39 Pounds to Disneyland: Halfway There

The continuing tales of one chunky Disney fan's personal quest to lose 80 pounds and visit Disneyland, in that order.  
See my first 80 Pounds to Disneyland post for all the details.

Since the beginning of the year, I have already lost over 40 pounds of weight.  To put that in perspective, that's like a large sack of bird seed was constantly weighing down my body, and now it's been removed.  I feel lighter, look a little less bulbous, and fit into clothes that I kept claiming had shrunk in the dryer.

All these things excite me, of course.  However, what's really driving me now is the realization that I'm over halfway to getting to Disneyland.  Now I have less than 40 pounds to lose until I finally visit Walt's park, and it seems like an achievable goal.

All along I knew that I'd hit the wall, and my reward at the finish line was the inspiration that would get me through the malaise.  It worked like a charm.  Now I'm dedicated again to eating better and getting my daily exercise, because it's only a matter of time.  I will reach my goal, and I will have my trip, and I will try not to regain all the weight through vacation eating.


Of course, this means that I'm rekindling one of my old passions, trip planning.  Since I don't know exactly when I'll reach my goal, I can't book any hotels or flights, or buy tickets, or really do anything that's productive.  Ignoring logic, I'm still starting the process because it's fun.  I've already purchased some guidebooks and will read them front to back to front again.  It can only increase my anticipation, and thus I will drive myself harder to reach my goal.  I'm over halfway to Disneyland, even if I'm two thousand miles away.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Madness of Buster Bubbles: A DisneyQuest Tale


I do not hate tourists.  Without them, Disney World, the attractions, and pretty much anything that isn't swamp or retirement homes in Central Florida wouldn't exist.  I don't begrudge them descending upon the land like a plague of locusts when spring break comes around, because that's logically one of the few times many people can realistically take a vacation.  However, I never want to be locked inside a confined space with a seemingly unending mass of them ever again.  It forced me to face Buster Bubbles, the true face of madness.

The scene of this particular nightmare was DisneyQuest, Disney's "Indoor Interactive Theme Park," also known as a five story arcade filled with outdated games and simulators.  On a typical day it's only busy once the parks start to close, but on a rainy day during busy season it fills to capacity.  Temporarily forgetting our senses, my wife and I decided to follow the masses and use it to hide from the weather.  This was a one time mistake.

On a good day, DisneyQuest is a flawed experience with a myriad of problems.  It's a flashing, glaring, ear shattering assault of over stimulation, that still manages to be a little dull.  Add a few hundred people per square inch, and claustrophobia ensues while lines form for games one to thirty years old.  While facing this mess, I suddenly discovered that I was hungry.  I can barely tolerate crowds and stifling atmospheres normally, but when I'm hungry it's unbearable.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Plastic Art: The Hunted 8" Dunny by Colos

Designer toys are one of my prime interests at the moment.  I've always loved art, but it's never been especially practical to collect for both reasons of cost and space.  This still young plastic artform allows designers and artists to express themselves on a mass market, often mass produced canvas.  Even Disney produces its own series under the name Vinylmation, which I recently started writing about for the website

Dunnys are one of the original American designer toys, and they often release limited edition figures in larger sizes.  The piece above is called "The Hunted," and is a limited edition release of 1250.  Designed by South African born artist Colus, it's inspired by the springbok, an antelope with a striking black and white face.  Available on April 11th, this 8 inch vinyl Dunny will retail for $75, unfortunately a bit out of my price range.

Springbok at Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safaris
I'm disappointed I won't be able to acquire this piece, as I love art that represents the animal kingdom.  "The Hunted" manages to express the beauty and mystery, even a little bit of menace, of the antelope.  A wooden plaque placed around the figure's neck gives a literal bent to the hunted name, and expresses the fragile nature of these creatures in the wild.  In reality, springbok are almost comical in how they bounce across the savannah, but this design remains magnificent regardless.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

42 Pounds to Disneyland: The Wall

The continuing tales of one chunky Disney fan's personal quest to lose 80 pounds and visit Disneyland, in that order.  
See my first 80 Pounds to Disneyland post for all the details.

I am a little over 42 pounds away from my weight loss goal.  One week ago, I was a little over 42 pounds away.  I'm pretty sure tomorrow it'll be 43 or 44 pounds.  After 3 months of mostly consistent progress, my diet/lifestyle change/size reduction has finally hit the wall.  It's that horrible time when progress seems to stagnate, effort dries up, and my dear friends apathy and distraction come around to visit.

Generally speaking, I'm surprised it took this long.  My entire life I've been a stress eater, which is a horrible vicious cycle.  If your immediate reaction to being called fat and ugly is to eat something unhealthy, you feel doomed to follow a terrible cycle, and feeling doomed also makes you eat.  While I'd never say my life is bad, trying to help support the household through inconsistent freelance work while looking for a more stable job position is stressful.  In addition, working from home means any time I'm agitated, depressed, or just bored, there's a refrigerator and a full cupboard waiting for me downstairs.  For a while I resisted the alluring hum of the fridge, but I'm finding myself inexplicably staring inside it far too often lately.