6.30.2002

Minority Report : 4 of 5

Minority Report is a great film for techno-geeks like myself, since it makes you long to buy all the cool stuff! The movie has a great look to it, doing an incredible job of combining the Washington DC skyline with the "automated highways" of 2054, and integrating ads and product placement in a way that makes the sets more believable. I was worried that the plot would be so complex that it would be terrible to follow, but it actually makes sense, and throws in several twists that keep you guessing without getting frustrated. I wouldn't call Minority Report a typical Speilberg movie at all, but it's definitely entertaining and thought provoking.

Happy birthday, Bay!

Today I went to Bay's first birthday party! Bay is the son of my pal Barron and his wife Mariko - I got to find out that Mariko was pregnant on the plane to Osaka to visit Matt. Wow, that trip seems like yesterday, and now he's crawling all over the place and pointing at things! The party was fun, with lots of amazing Hawaiian food - don't worry, I'll get the pictures up soon (you can always see Bay at Takoyaki.org until then)!

I want to join the circus

Ernesto and I went to the circus yesterday! I have always loved the circus - I remember seeing one when I was pretty young and buying one of the big giant programs. I had so much fun looking through those huge color photos and remembering the amazing things I had seen. So, of course, I had to get one of those programs yesterday (along with some sticky cotton candy)!

The show itself was spectacular, filled with some great acrobatics I had never seen before, like indoor ski jumping, wonderful trapeze work, and something called "cloud jumping", where acrobats launch off big swings and fly through the air until they hit giant sheets and slide down! They also had (by my approximate count) 15 elephants, 10 tigers, and lots of zebras, camels, and llamas. The music was fun, too, since the ringmaster sang these crazy Vegas-style numbers about the circus and the performers. I had such a good time!

I wanted to take lots of circus photos, but I was too excited to bother with the camera - it's tough to take it all in and enjoy things when you're worried about getting good pics. I did take a few though, so maybe you'll see those soon.

6.29.2002

Lilo & Stitch : 5 of 5

I've been excited about this movie for some time, so I was really psyched to see it opening day (which is the best time to see a Disney movie)! Lilo & Stitch did not disappoint - I loved it completely. The story is great, combining typical Disney emotion with a very non-Disney plot, and the animation was so wonderful - I really enjoyed the watercolor backgrounds, which made Hawaii look beautiful, and even made the scenes in space quite spectacular. The music is really good, though I have to say I actually prefer the "production numbers" with singing characters. Stitch is a cool character, and I know he's got a long future showing up in Disney stuff everywhere.

6.27.2002

Less than two bucks

The new Lilo & Stitch Happy Meal toys are super cool! I'm always amazed that I can get a full meal plus a fun toy for only $1.99.

6.24.2002

Dinner Club: Chefs Tom & Courtney

Come to the casbah as Dinner Club sits on the floor for a magnificent meal!

View photos: Dinner Club 5

Western Caribbean Cruise

A fantastic fun and food-filled voyage with my parents, since we hadn't cruised together in several years. We took a nice five day cruise, stopping at some of the ports I had visited on my last cruise, but they seemed new since we took different tours on shore. Grand Cayman was really fun, especially visiting the turtle farm (I loved holding a baby sea turtle)! Jamaica was beautiful, including the roller coaster ride through the Fern Gully rain forest. The ship was huge, and we enjoyed our balcony room. And last but not least, we definitely enjoyed the food (I ended every night with pizza in bed)!

View photos: Cruise 2002 Days 1-3
View photos: Cruise 2002 Days 4-5

Back from cruising

Hello again! Hope everyone had a nice week while I was gone. The cruise was a ton of fun - be sure to check out my pictures on the Trips page, plus a 10 MB movie (you'll have to turn your head sideways for a few scenes)!

The day after I got back in town was the next Dinner Club, featuring exotic dishes prepared by Tom and Courtney. The baklava was especially yummy!

I also got to see Lilo & Stitch on opening day, as every loyal Disney fan should have. It was really wonderful!

6.14.2002

Bye for now

This is probably the last WEBmikey post before my vacation - have a great time while I'm gone! Smell ya later!

6.12.2002

Ready for the high seas

Be prepared for absolutely no WEBmikey updates next week - I'll be cruising the Western Caribbean! This will be my fourth cruise, and I'm really excited! I'm taking my parents as a way to celebrate their anniversary, Father's Day, and my dad's new life of retirement. I've pretty much got my packing finished - it's always crazy to pack for a cruise because of the semi-formal nightlife!

More travel news: I've booked my September trip to Walt Disney World! I managed to save almost $400 on the entire trip for two by using Disney Club discounts - I couldn't believe it. Now I'm having a blast figuring out how to plan each day!

Marie Callander's : 4 of 5

The only reason Marie Callander's gets a rating of 4 is the pie - they have absolutely fantastic, wonderfully terrible for you, incredibly yummy pies! The trick to eating here is not getting too stuffed on the meal, because the pie will do you in (and you can't eat here without having pie). The food itself is pretty good (I would give it a 3), but everything is so heavy - there's no way around it. Even the club sandwich I recently had was overloaded with huge, butter-grilled bread that made the sandwich overwhelming (but it made for good leftovers). Mikey's favorite pie there is coconut cream - there's no way to beat it!

Hercules : 4 of 5

Another new DVD from my latest PlayCentric order - I've been looking forward to seeing this one again! Hercules does a fine job of weaving a story around Greek mythology, following the young Hercules as he trains to become a hero, eventually to defeat Hades and fall in love with a gal named Meg. There are several great things about the movie: the animation style is very different from other Disney features (combining lots of angles with a Grecian art motif), Hades is a great villain with funny lines and cool effects (love that hair), and the Muses are incredible (portrayed as a black gospel group who totally get the story moving). The music is really good - my bell choir even performed an arrangement of the theme ballad!

Jedi Apprentice Special Edition: The Followers / Jude Watson : 4 of 5

Now I've read the absolute final installment of the Jedi Apprentice series, another "special edition" where half the story focuses on Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan while the other half is Obi-Wan/Anakin (as a way to get readers into the new Jedi Quest series). The story is really interesting, focusing on the uprising of the Sith. The plot continues from one half to the next, with 10 years between them, following the search for a Sith holocron (a device containing ancient secrets and images). I actually enjoyed the second half more, since it's really interesting to experience Anakin's inner struggles first-hand, especially when they are foreshadowing his eventual turn to the dark side!

6.10.2002

Happiest sign on Earth

I stumbled upon an image of the old Disneyland sign (before it became the "Disneyland Resort"). I used to love this sign! When I visited Disneyland in the 80s after many, many years of absence, I remembered the sign - I knew it was going to be there, and I knew it was going to say "The Happiest Place on Earth". That's the main thing I miss from the new sign. I've read that the huge letters were auctioned off, so someone actually owns that big "D"!

Cartoon Network has started showing Sailor Moon again (from the beginning) - yippee! I can't wait until Sailor Mercury shows up!

Habana : 3 of 5

I've really only had Cuban food once before (at Bongo's in Downtown Disney), so I'm certainly not an expert, but I recently had a nice meal at Habana with my pals Chris and Tom. I ordered a kind of sandwich made with fried plantain (instead of bread) stuffed with both pork and ham, plus cheese. It was really tasty, but a little too beefy for me - I couldn't finish it. I tried some things from my pals' plates, and I really enjoyed this fantastic stuffed potato, and some really yummy empanadas - now I know what to order next time! The service was fantastic and the decor was laid back and fun - I'm sure I'll go back eventually.

Iron Cactus : 3 of 5

My pal Ryan and I eat a lot of lunches together, and we're always trying to go somewhere new. We finally went to Iron Cactus for lunch - both of us had been there before separately, but I had forgotten what it was like. We ate on the patio, where we were the only two people there! We had a crazy gal waiting on us who talked about the wealthy regulars and their fancy cars - she was fun. I had a nice club sandwich with tortilla soup, plus a fairly good margarita (which always makes lunch fun). Nothing spectacular, but it was a great time sitting outdoors and enjoying the noontime weather.

Make Mine Music : 5 of 5

Now that I've said Melody Time was a mini-Fantasia, what do I call Make Mine Music? It's really the same format, but with even more segments. A few of the segments are much more "serious", including the sleepy Blue Bayou and the Two Silhouettes ballet. I enjoyed almost everything here - the fantastic opera-singing whale at the Met (probably my favorite), the classics Peter and the Wolf and Casey at the Bat, plus the really cool All the Cats Join In, with Benny Goodman playing! I hear Disney has cut a segment that had lots of comic gunplay, but at least they put some great extras on the DVD, including Music Land, which is one of my favorite Silly Symphonies.

6.08.2002

Sakura Diaries Vol 2 : 3 of 5

The other day I got thinking about this funny soap opera and wondering how the story would progress, so I moved up this volume in my Netflix queue! I have to say that this set of three episodes wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the first DVD, but it was still good to see how the characters are progessing. The storyline gets a little sad here, but there are also plenty of funny and provocative moments. We finally get to hear why Urara is so obsessed with Tonma, and it just goes to prove how innocent and sweet she is - sigh. I just found out there is a new collectors edition set of this series (which is supposed to be a little more risque), so I may be watching these again!

6.07.2002

Melody Time : 5 of 5

I was really impressed with this early Disney feature, and I can't believe I hadn't seen it before (though I had seen segments on TV)! Melody Time is kind of like a mini-Fantasia, combining music and animation in incredible ways. The main difference is the songs here are sung by folks like the Andrew Sisters and Roy Rodgers, and the tone is much more lighthearted. Johnny Appleseed first appeared here, along with Little Toot the tugboat, a cool live-action/animation Samba piece, the awesome Bumble Boogie, and much more! Plus, the bonus features include Donald Applecore, which is the first Disney cartoon I remember seeing!

6.06.2002

Saludos Amigos : 3 of 5

Disney counts this as an animated feature, but I would say that's a stretch, since the movie is only 42 minutes long! This is really kind of a prequel to The Three Caballeros, and both of these movies were the result of Disney's "good will trip" all over Latin America (which is documented in the bonus features on the DVD). Disney artists made tons of sketches and paintings of everything they saw, then pulled everything into these two package feature projects. Saludos Amigos is kind of documentary style, but includes some super funny scenes, especially Goofy as a goucho! I hear they cut two seconds of Goofy smoking for the DVD release, yet Joe Carioca (the Brazilian parrot) smokes a cigar throughout - go figure!

6.05.2002

Only once

I'm amazed that I haven't seen Episode II more than once yet! What's wrong with me? (Can you tell that I can't think of any interesting anecdote to post tonight?)

The Parent Trap : 3 of 5

Disney has started releasing some of their classic live action features on DVD, so of course I'm going to rent them! I remember seeing The Parent Trap so many years ago (probably on TV) - so many things in the movie stirred up little memories, which made it fun to watch. Of course, the plot is pretty silly, but it's nice to watch such a simple and endearing movie (and it's funny that everyone is always drinking and smoking). Haley Mills is adorable, even if she is terrible at pretending to play guitar. It's also cool that the DVD includes the cartoon short that preceded the movie for the theatrical release. Now they just need to release The Love Bug movies!

6.03.2002

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh : 4 of 5

Mikey's Disney DVD frenzy continues with this newly-released feature, which was actually a combination of three Pooh short features (along with some extra connecting segments, including Christopher Robin's sad farewell to his childhood at the end). I remember watching these on TV - I used to love the live shots of Christopher Robin's room with all of his toys! This was my first time to see them combined into one movie, and it's done rather well. The backgrounds are beautiful and detailed, and the original voices are so fantastic - much better than more recent attempts. The DVD has some nice extra features, including cool photos of the Winnie the Pooh attractions at Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland!

6.02.2002

Charlie Duke figure

I was at a toy store today and I saw a set of NASA astronaut action figures, including a figure of Charlie Duke of Apollo 16. I thought this was really amazing, since my dad knew Charlie Duke in the Air Force! How weird - my dad knew someone who is now an action figure (it was pretty detailed, too - the face looked just like him)!

Speaking of astronauts, I saw the new 3D IMAX movie about the International Space Station - fantastic and inspiring!

The Life of Python : 3 of 5

This is a fairly interesting documentary (sort of) about Monty Python's Flying Circus (you can find my reviews of the rest of the series on DVD in the archives). I think it was produced as a special night of programming for BBC2, since it's presented in several segments as if they were different shows - the history of the group is pretty interesting, including the making of each movie, and I especially enjoyed the segment about all of the locations where sketches were filmed (usually less than 20 miles from the studio). The whole thing goes on a little long (there's even a silly South Park sketch on here), but it's still worth watching if you're a Python fan!