9.30.2001

Orlando, Florida

In September 2001 (soon after the national tragedy), my good friends Chris and Eliza went with me for my first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. We were there for four days so we could spend some time at each park: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and MGM Studios. We stayed on the property so we could fill every minute with Disney goodness. Even though we were a little in shock from the recent events, we had a fantastic time!

Walt Disney World Details

During September 2001, my pals Chris and Eliza were nice enough to go with me to Walt Disney World in Florida. We stayed at one of the many resorts (Caribbean Beach) so we could ride buses to the parks at the crack of dawn and party at Downtown Disney in the evening. I had always wanted to see Walt Disney World, being such a fan of Disneyland in California, and we had a fantastic time. There's so much to say about each day that you're just going to have to settle for some quick summaries! We planned this trip way before the events of September 11th, but it was so wonderful to go to a place of hope and happiness and live life as it should be in spite of the world's difficulties.

WDW 2001: Animal Kingdom

Fun: Riding the cool Dinosaur ride twice and watching tigers play
Food: McDonalds at the Restaurantosarus
Adventure: Watching three rhinos 10 feet from our safari jeep and getting really drenched on Kali River Rapids

View photos: Animal Kingdom

WDW 2001: Epcot

Fun: Zooming around Test Track twice in a row while the park was deserted
Food: Lunch at Morocco with belly dancers and dinner in Germany with 33 ounce beers
Adventure: Getting stuck in the Maelstrom ride in Norway for 15 minutes listening to a voice say "Please remain in the boat"

View photos: Epcot

WDW 2001: Magic Kingdom

Fun: Riding all the classic Disney rides, including the three mountains (Space, Splash, and Thunder) before 11:00 AM
Food: Getting stuffed at Cinderella's Royal Table in the castle
Adventure: Caught in a torrential rainstorm during the Jungle Cruise ride, resulting in getting soaked through and through

View photos: Magic Kingdom

WDW 2001: MGM Studios

Fun: Watching the Indiana Jones Stunt Show and seeing The Little Mermaid sing
Food: ABC Commissary quick snack
Adventure: Dropping 13 stories in the incredible Tower of Terror

View photos: MGM Studios

Walt Disney World trip

Well, I managed to get the Walt Disney World page up (check it out in "What's New?" to the left), but not much else. The weekend goes by so fast anymore!

My DDR secret

It's time to reveal a secret that I haven't told my pals - I am a closet DDR junkie. "DDR" is Dance Dance Revolution, which is a popular Japanese arcade game that involves stepping on arrows in time with cheesy dance music. I first saw the game in Japan, and was amazed by it (probably because I was downing vending machine sake). Then I played one game of it while visiting my parents - I was terrible, but I kept thinking about it for days afterward. Next I found all kinds of DDR websites, and after reading those I broke down - I bought a Playstation 2, DDR, and a Red Octane dance pad (a large pad with the arrows that you dance on to play the game). Now I am hooked - I play at least an hour a day, and I'm getting good! My addiction has spread to arcades, too - I found a few DDR machines in town and I've been visiting on the weekends to play. I'm even good in the arcade now (though all that sweating in public is embarrasing)! If my obsession continues, I'm going to have to buy a Japanese PS One so I can play all of Japanese DDR games (which have lots more songs than the US version)!

Lucky pal

Just a mention that my pal Chris is the luckiest guy I know - he was in an accident on his motorcycle that totalled his bike and flipped him through the air and he only broke a couple bones in his hand. Chris plays guitar in The Greatest American Heroes, of course, and he's still managing to rehearse! I have some pretty amazing friends, I think.

Japanese browsing

Well, the singles thing was kind of fun - not really productive, but it was a fine way to spend the evening. Yesterday I spent the day driving around shopping - I went to two stores that carry anime toys, books and videos. I didn't buy anything, but it was great browsing all of the cool (and expensive) stuff. Then I went to an Asian market to get some Pocky - a popular Japanese snack that is basically a chocolate covered pretzel stick. When I visited Japan, I ate them almost everyday, and I saw them for sale in the Japan section of Epcot, so I started craving them again. They are super oishii!

9.29.2001

Getting stale

Hello again, finally - WEBmikey is getting seriously stale! I was going to work on some things tonight, but I'm going to a crazy singles mixer with my pal Ernesto (purely for emotional support, I think). Here's some "coming soon" items to watch for (hopefully by tomorrow!):

  • A page about my fun trip to Walt Disney World
  • As many Last 5 reviews as I can stand to write
  • More blog entries to talk about stuff
  • 9.28.2001

    Bubblegum Crisis: Hurricane Live : 3 of 5

    Well, I though this was the next volume of the series I'm watching, but it's really just a set of music videos for the older Bubblegum Crisis series. Still, I really enjoyed it, since I'm hooked on J-Pop, and I especially liked the live concert segments, which included a girl band pretending to be the actual characters from the series - so okashii! Anyway, the music was good, and I got to see lots of the older series that I wasn't familiar with (and I much prefer the style of the newer series!).

    9.27.2001

    Monkey Magic: Enter Stone Monkey : 1 of 5

    This show used to be on around 6:00 AM on Saturday, and I used to see the last 5 minutes of it after Stanze got me up out of bed. It looked kind of interesting, with lots of CG work, so I figured the DVD would be good. Well, I'm afraid that Monkey Magic is magically boring - it seemed to take forever for me to get through all of the episodes on this disc. Some of the animation is fun to look at, but the story is a snoozer and the characters are just too stupid for me to care about. I may like the goofy theme song, but I'm definitely not going to rent any other volumes of this one.

    9.19.2001

    Off to Walt Disney World

    Just a quick blog post to say I'm off to Walt Disney World tomorrow morning - I get to be at the airport at 4:00 AM (oh boy). So, no WEBmikey posts until next week. Get ready for tons of photos!

    9.16.2001

    Moving on

    Even though I'm excited about going to Walt Disney World this week, I've still been struggling with getting past last week's events. Today I wandered around the mall just for some escapism, and the best thing that happened to me was hearing a young boy yell "Neato!" in a toy store. All my life I have never wanted to let go of my childhood, and I attribute much of my happiness to that goal - last week was so rough that I lost sight of that. Listening to that child look at the world with wonder and excitement was just what I needed, and just what I need to do. At first I thought of this as a selfish task, but this is my way of being stronger than the tragedy - believing the world is an amazing place and that life can be wondrous is all I can do to help myself and those who know me.

    9.15.2001

    Here come the Heroes!

    The Greatest American Heroes have hit the scene - and we were a hit! We simply could not have asked for a better debut gig. We played last night to a completely packed Carousel Lounge, full of all of our friends, plus friends of friends, plus all of the folks who stayed after the previous band finished. We were amazed! The best part is that everyone loved what we're doing (TV show themes and surf) - people recognized all the songs (how couldn't they?) and even danced! (When's the last time you saw a full floor of folks dancing to "Welcome Back Kotter"?) The legendary Stella was there and pumped up the crowd, too (she also made them sing "God Bless America" and the National Anthem, and everyone really enjoyed it - we also donated all of our tips to the Red Cross, and ended up raising over $200). I think part of the great time was because people were so ready to have a great time after the rough week - I even overheard someone say that it was great to hear TV themes because there hasn't been any shows on TV all week. To top it all off, the Carousel asked us to book another gig there right away! Thanks to all who were there, and be sure to see us again soon!

    After the great time last night, I'm finally ready to start getting excited about Walt Disney World again. I'll be going there with Chris & Eliza on Thursday for four days of Mickey. Don't worry, you'll see a full report here!

    9.13.2001

    Feeling numb

    It's been too long since I posted - I think I've been avoiding writing (or even thinking, really) anything since Tuesday. I watched most of the tragedy live, when no one knew what was going on. I remember wondering how long it would take to repair the World Trade Center before the first tower fell. I spent the whole day numb - I cried a lot, but couldn't sustain the tears since I was too shocked to even feel as sad as I wanted to. I know plenty of friends of friends and sisters and cousins of friends who could have been affected, but thankfully all of them are safe. I stayed at the WTC Marriot during my last visit to NYC - directly between the twin towers. You can see a few shots of the surrounding building here (no shots of the towers, though). This entire area is simply no more. I'm getting on with life now, hoping that the air travel situation doesn't affect my trip to Walt Disney World next week. It seems like continuing to enjoy life is all any of us can really do.

    9.08.2001

    Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 Vol 3 : 4 of 5

    Wow, all kinds of things happen in this volume! First, we get to feel sorry for poor Nene (the ultra-kawaii Knight Saber), who just doesn't perform well enough in battle and almost gets kicked out of the group (don't worry, she redeems herself). Then we get lots of backstory on Linna (the most down to earth girl and therefore the most attractive) when she visits her parents (this is science fiction action?). Plus, we see that Mackie (Sylia's brother who showed up recently) hasn't changed in years - I'm guessing he's an advanced boomer made with Sylia's DNA! Netflix doesn't have anything past this volume - what's up with that?

    Almost 4,000 hits

    I'm about ready to hit 4,000 on my page counter - woo hoo! Do I hear champagne corks? (Ho ho ho.)

    Why do people in the right lane drive right past a sign that says "Right Lane Ends" and then stay in the right lane until it forces them over, causing them to run others off the road? And why are these people always driving SUVs?

    It's weird how the 15 or so Japanese words I know are the words I hear all the time in cartoons, on TV, or in songs. I guess I picked the right words! (I have seen "sugoi" translated as "cool", "wow", "fantastic", "amazing" and a few other things - does English really have that many more exclamations?)

    9.06.2001

    Drinking with Tom

    Dinner = 1/2 jar of applesauce + 1 Guinness at Continental Club + 2 Belgian Wheat at San Jose Motel (Don't worry, I had a healthy lunch!).

    Tom and I were supposed to see the new Rude Mechanicals' play, but the tickets he won didn't include a reservation - they were sold out. So, we caught the last hour of Hot Club of Cowtown at Continental Club (they had lots of guests - a pianist, another fiddle and a guy on alto sax), then had some drinks at the San Jose Motel with the beautiful people. We ate lots of wasabi peas, too. It was lots of fun listening to a drunk girl saying "you're my fucking friend" over and over.

    I ended up seeing three folks I knew tonight, and inviting them to the gig next Friday. It's weird how when I finally get out I see people I know.

    There was a Robert Creeley poem stuck on the wall in the bathroom at the San Jose. Creeley is great - I was really complemented when my poem Trash was compared to Creeley in a workshop I took a million years ago (at least it seems that long).

    A thought

    Why have there been no blog entires lately? How should I know? Maybe I haven't had any deep thoughts lately. How about this one: I really like boiled eggs.

    9.05.2001

    Romeo Must Die : 3 of 5

    I borrowed this DVD from Barron without knowing anything about it - this was my first Jet Lee movie. I liked the story quite a bit, and the action was really good, of course, as well as the soundtrack. I also had never seen anything about Allayah, except for the news of her death - she was really good in this movie, both in the action scenes and emotionally. The special features were pretty interesting, though I didn't like how they tried to "video-ize" them with hip hop - they could easily stand on their own without that added distraction!

    9.03.2001

    The Music of Disney / A Legacy in Song : 4 of 5

    I found a great price for this three CD set on Amazon.com, so I bought it to get fired up for my recent Disney World trip. This is a great set, including almost everything you would want to hear, along with some obscure things that are just plain hilarious. The book that comes with the set is fantastic, too. Now I can cry to "Part of Your World" whenever I want!

    9.02.2001

    Pink Martini / Sympathique : 4 of 5

    I simply had to buy this CD after hearing track after track on internet radio and loving it. This is a beautiful CD project - I really don't know the background behind it's creation, but the whole production is a tapestry of lovely goodness. Fantastic Latin rhythms, lush strings, and sexy vocals - unbelievable from start to finish.

    9.01.2001

    Amazing Nurse Nanako Vol 2 : 2 of 5

    Much more shameless boob bouncing, but at least the story does move along somewhat into the mystery of just who or what Nanako is. We find out that the doctor (Nanako's boss/keeper) had a dream of building a cyborg named Nanako, presumably after his childhood nanny/friend leaves. His old MIT rival shows up to fight Nanako (who he is sure is a cyborg), and the gang uses the interesting technique of torturing Nanako to get her to attract the enemy so she can destroy it at close range. This volume shows much more of the other characters at this strange hospital, too, including the older woman after the doctor's attention. I don't know any of the characters' names yet - I'm still too shocked that I'm actually watching this series.

    Curse of the Jade Scorpion : 3 of 5

    So many people talk about the "old Woody" and the "new Woody", and while his older films are much better (Manhattan is my second favorite movie), his recent ones are still really entertaining to me. You always know you're going to get a black screen, Garamond Condensed white letters on a black background, and 30's jazz, and there's just something comfortable about that. You may know that I'm anti-Helen Hunt, but even she could deliver Woody's great one-liners with ease. So what that there's nothing special about it? This is still a fun and relaxing film.

    R.E.M. / Murmur : 3 of 5

    Long ago, I had all of R.E.M.s albums copied from friends on cassette. Well, I gave up cassettes a while back, so I think I'm going to buy these CDs myself (slowly). I felt like I was a college junior again as soon as I popped this CD in and heard "Radio Free Europe"! You can't understand a word of lyrics on this album, but this is very cool pre-commercial R.E.M.!

    /usr/bin/girl

    My pal Scott is a big fan of weblogs, and he sent me this link. Zannah is an amazing Seattle gal that manages to live an interesting life and still maintain daily updates to several websites! She's a fantastic writer and loves anime - where are these girls in Austin? Take a look at /usr/bin/girl - here she basically shares links to fun sites and animations. When you want to get to know her better, you'll find a link to her personal journal here as well. All I can say is, The James is a lucky guy.

    Visit site: /usr/bin/girl