Archive for July, 2009

Ramblings From the Future and Around the World

This is acutally from my trip in May, I wonder if anyone will notice... wait a minute...

TAKEN FROM THE NOTES APP FROM RYAN’S iPOD: I am a huge Disney fan, especially a fan of the Disney Theme parks. I have been to Walt Disney World in Florida 22 times in my life and to Disneyland in California 3 times. I rarely go anywhere else on vacation and do not see that changing in the near future. My family grew around Walt Disney World, so I have been able to see how the parks have changed over the almost two decades of my travels and I have become very opinionated about what they have become. I thought it would be interesting for people to see my rather peculiar though process as I went through the parks on my most recent trip, but I may be completely wrong…

Day 1

5:30 AM: It’s so damn early. Why am I up? Oh, plane… I have to get ready! Those 8:30 flights aren’t going to catch themselves!

7:17 AM: Where is Mr. Bill? We can’t go through security without him. Or can we? Daniel is going to try to keep up with me, but I remain unconvinced. I don’t think they have seen how fast I can walk.

7:40 AM: I hate going through security, they made me take off my shoes. That alone is not much of a problem, what is was that I was wearing FLIP-FLOPS! Now my feet are dirty, GREAT START!

10:00 AM: 20-25 minutes to landing! I can’t wait to get off of this bloody plane and start having fun. EPCOT is on the chopping block today.

11:13 AM: God, could this line move any slower? I just want to get to the hotel and get some food! RYAN HUNGRY! The airplane-shaped graham crackers didn’t help.

Classy lobby is classy

12:49 PM: We stopped at the Grand Floridian (which is probably the most beautiful hotel on property, and is also really freaking expensive. Not for the weak of wallet) and no one got off, so why are we waiting here?

12:54 PM: We are still at the Grand Floridian. Whee…

1:06 PM: Just got to the hotel! I hope we get to stay in the A Frame, stayed in one of the other buildings last time. You can’t get the full experience of the Contemporary without staying in the main building.

1:11 PM: VICTORY! A-FRAME!

1:14 PM: Super cool room is super cool! I can look out of the door and see the monorail going through the building and look out at Bay Lake from the balcony! The Bay Lake Tower looks like it’s almost finished. I wonder when it’s going to open.

The Imagineers just did a massive refurbishment to the Contemporary a few years ago. They had to make the Contemporary look contemporary again.

1:37 PM: Lunch! Finally! Lime- Roasted Chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese and sesame green beans! From a counter-service restaurant! For under 10 bucks! This is the difference between a value and a deluxe level hotel!
2:19 PM: Just rode with the pilot of the monorail and got a co-pilot liscence! Super cool!

A room with a view.

3:06 PM: The new “Spaceship Earth” is fun, but I feel that some of the message is lost with the interactive video section at the end. Stopped by Innoventions West on the way out and got a 3:30 session for the “Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure”. I did the Japan mission in May and I hope that Daniel will like it. It was pretty fun. Don’t really know what to do in the interim, I guess the Times Board will help.

Achievement Unlocked: Complete Bay Lake Tower

3:07 PM: “Soarin'” has a 95 minute wait and no more FastPasses!? that seems to be the biggest problem with coming in the afternoon. Oh well, I have some gripes with that attraction, mostly with the editing in the film. It’s not a seamless film like “Star Tours” and that really takes you out of the experience. I enjoy the attraction a lot, but I would not wait more than maybe 45 minutes for it. I guess we’ll head away from Future World East and head to the West side.
3:10 PM: Whoa, there is actually a wait for “Mission: SPACE”? I have never actually had to wait for it! At least the G-Forces are worth it, and the wait is only 20 minutes.
3:11 PM: Good, every one is doing the Orange Course. With “Mission: SPACE”, there is the right way (Orange) and the pussy way (Green). Green is just a simulator with just some tilting, no spinning. It essentially makes the ride not worth it.

3:23 PM: There is supposedly a “Horizons” (the attraction “Mission: SPACE” replaced) logo on the space station wheel in the queue, but I haven’t seen it. Might I be looking in the wrong place?

Any store named "Fantasia" is good in my book, now where is my book...

3:50 PM: Okay, we get that “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” is a 37 minute slow moving show with no stops for bathrooms. You can stop repeating it! I just want to see the bloody show!
4:30 PM: Heh, I have to use the bathroom after the 37 minute slow moving show with no stops for bathroom breaks. Irony. My friend Marco, who is going to school down here, called and said that he is on his way to the park. I hope he understands that the park closes at 9. Well, we’re done with Future World West until our 7:30 FastPass for Test Track is up, time to move east.

Journey Into Imagination Shirt

I don't care that there is a rather flamboyant man holding a purple dragon on this shirt, I'm still wearing it with pride!

4:35 PM: “Soarin'” has a 70 minute wait and Daniel really wants to ride it, I don’t think I would wait more than 45 minutes for it so I think it’s time to split up.
4:40 PM: My mom didn’t want to wait either, this kind of dampens my plans. She doesn’t like the “Seas with Nemo and Friends” and we don’t want to go to World Showcase yet. God damn it! There is really only one attraction left in this section of the park, my nemesis…
4:43 PM: There is NEVER a wait for “Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment”. This does not bode well for the overhaul announced during EPCOT’s 25th birthday.
4:50 PM: If you want to read my views on this bastardization, check out the article.

4:53 PM: Oh mans, they have a shirt for the original Journey Into Imagination! I am so buying this!

Mary Blair's art is awesome, if you disagree I will find you!

4:55 PM: Well, we still have time. I haven’t actually spent any time in Innoventions in years, so that should be next.
5:30 PM: Mr. Bill and Daniel are finally done. So it’s time to travel the world! Daniel and I are headed for the international Gate Way (which is a great way to get in and out of the park in the afternoon and evening) to get our Kimmunicator and start the World Showcase Adventure. Huh, I guess my mom and Mr. Bill don’t want to play. Their loss!
5:37 PM: Our first mission is to stop Senior Senior Sr. from using a Procrastination Ray on France (not that France does anything anyway! A-ha a-ha a-ha! I kill myself!).

I want to control the monorail! Must... resist... stupidity impuse!

5:40 PM: Wow, I must not have spent any time at all in the France Pavilion, I never noticed the giant stained glass representation of Beauty and the Beast! I guess doing the World Showcase Adventure is a good way to get a captive audience in the pavilions.
5:53 PM: Wow, the bookstore area is cool! They have books and statues devoted to all of the Disney movies set in France! Hey, a section for the Hunchback of Notre Dame…

The JAMitors are super-cool. I really don't have anything else to say about them, carry on.

6:11 PM: One of the coolest things about the Adventure is that the Imagineers added items to the pavilion for the game, and they fit in perfectly with the look and themeing of the area. I never would have guessed that the olde-timey camera was part of the game until I played!

6:15 PM: Well, we saved France. I want to check out the store in Japan, so I think we should head there next. Starting the Japan mission… NOW!
6:16 PM: We have to stop the Killer Bebes from finding the Baby Bebe and using her elemental powers? What the fuck is this shit, Charles? Oh well, might as well do it. We have time. (By the way, Kim Possible is a great animated show. Think Venture Brothers but for kids and you’ll have the show.)

I like the decision to put the Eiffel Tower in the background, it forces people out of their safe zone.

6:49 PM: Well, Daniel doesn’t want to do this anymore and the last part of the mission was in the store. I think it’s time to shop!

7:18 PM: Damn it, there is an awesome hat and bad ass pair of shoes in the Japan pavilion store, but they’re so expensive! What? Overpriced Revoltech and Pokemon plushies as well! Argle-bargle-bargle!

7:19 PM: Well, it seems that Marco is finally here. Took him long enough.

I have never seen this window before, I feel stupid.

8:21 PM: Man, “Test Track” is fun. I do miss the “World of Motion”, but this is probably the most worthy predecessor to the old EPCOT audio-animatronic shows. The less I speak of “Journey into Imagination with Figment” the better. Well now I have to wait for Marco to come out. He waited in the Single Rider line and was loading as we got off, so this shouldn’t take too long. My mom, Mr. Bill and Daniel went back to the hotel because Daniel was acting like a baby, so it’s just going to be me and Marco.
8:30 PM: Well, it would be pretty cool to get some food before watching Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. I’m in the mood for some somen, so back to Japan!

I found a hidden Mickey in Morocco!

8:49 PM: Okay, if we continue to wait in this line we’ll miss the fireworks and no somen is worth that.
8:53 PM: We have a spot over in Italy for the fireworks with no problems with trees or other intrusions blocking our view. It’s Marco’s first time seeing this show, so he should see it correctly.
9:27 PM: Illuminations is probably the best fireworks on property and the 2nd best fireworks display put on by Disney (the first being the now defunct “Remember… Dreams Come True” fireworks at Disneyland). This display actually brings a tear to my eye and (temporarily) restores my faith in humanity, it’s that good.

I really don't have a silly/funny caption for this picture. Bummer.

9:34 PM: Well, there is a massive line for the monorail, but there is an Art of Disney store on the way out of the park so we’ll be able to waste some time.
9:41 PM: Oh my god, this Fantasia statue is freaking awesome… and so is this Aladdin one! Damn my lack of funds!

WANT!

9:49 PM: The Art of the Incredibles? Art of Wall-e? Art of Ratatouille? Once again, damn my lack of money!
9:57 PM: Well, the line should have died out a little bit. I think it’s time to leave, I want to go to bed.
10:00 PM: I was wrong, very wrong.
10:27 PM: Well, we’re finally getting on the monorail. Now we just need to hope that there isn’t a line for the resort monorail line at the Transportation and Ticket Centre.
10:30 PM: Victory! No line!
10:31 PM: The monorail left as we got up to it! Fail!
10:45 PM: Finally, time to get back and go to bed. Good night, Internet.

I have three other days that I can post, do you people want to read more? I can tell you that the next day (the Magic Kingdom) is quite enjoyable and rambletastic, if that helps to sway votes.

By the way, I’m going to try to update on Mondays and Thursdays now. The theoretical next post in this series will be next Thursday, so be prepared for something new on Monday!

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I Return With a Bang

big_bang_theoryFROM RYAN’S SELDOM USED TV: Sorry about the long delay between posts. I have some good stuff coming in the future, and hopefully this slump I have been in about writing articles is over. I have a lot of new stuff in the works and will hopefully be getting back into a regular schedule

This season, TV suffered two great losses. The first was the loss of a legend, a man with an unbreakable winning streak, a man who greatly enjoyed shooting people and consistently got away with it. Television lost the great Denny Crane when Boston Legal left our screens for theoretically greener pastures. I was crestfallen, but I grew to accept the loss (unlike the fanatical Firefly fans. Yes, it was a great show, but seriously people, get over it.) Then, at the end of this past season, a great doctor left our midst. Dr. John Dorian left the halls of Sacred Heart and I suffered another loss. Now you may say: “But Ryan, Scrubs got signed on for another season!” and you would be right, but the show is now more or less dead to me. For the past 8 seasons of Scrubs, everything has been told from JD’s perspective, so removing him from the show will change everything.

So with two of my favourite shows (more or less, Comedy Central’s near constant running of Scrubs definitely helps with the loss) finished, I needed something to fill the gap. I wanted something that would attack both the smarter comedic style of Boston Legal, but be as consistently funny as Scrubs has been for the past eight years.

Luckily, I believe that show has been found.

The show in question is CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, a situational comedy about some geeks/nerds interacting with the “real world.” Explaining the shows concept like that does not do it justice, so I will try to convince you why it is fantastic by explaining it’s characters (a la Lather’s Blather):

Dr. Leonard LeonardHofstadter (played by Johnny Galecki) is arguably the main character of the series and is definitely the least socially awkward of the main geeky/nerdy cast (besides his reliance on using a Force FX Lightsaber to investigate a noise during the night and his concern as to where his Bat Signal went). He is an experimental physicist and works at the California Institute of Technology as an experimental physicist along with his roommate Sheldon and his friends, Raj and Howard. He is in to many of the major geekeries: underwear pervert comics, video games (lead guitarist in the group’s Rock Band sessions, captain of their Wii Bowling league (complete with personalized uniforms), and plays on Raj’s team during their weekly Halo night), science fiction television (especially Battlestar Galactica, as evidenced by his original series flight suit hidden in his closet), and technology (but not Apple products, as it seems that he enjoys going down to the Apple store and making fun of the Geniuses). He is very sarcastic (much to the dismay and confusion of Sheldon) and is constantly looking for love, mostly from Penny.

Dr. Sheldon Cooper (played by the astoundingly good Jim Parsons) is Leonard’s highly neurotic, condescending, overbearing, and socially awkward roommate. He also works at the college, but as a Theoretical Physicist studying String Theory. Unlike his “friends” he seems to not have any interest in the opposite sex, which leads to theories about how he would reproduce Sheldon(mitosis is in the lead). Even if he had a functioning libido, his abrasive personality would instantly stop any sort of relationship from getting off the ground. He looks down on everyone who has an IQ lower than his (which includes almost everyone, as he has an IQ of 187) and thinks that they should just stop trying as they will not amount to as much as he will/has (he moved right up from the 5th grade to freshman year of college, was a visiting professor in Germany at 15, and got his second Ph.D in his early twenties) but as a trade-off, he is almost completely unable to read people and has little-to-no knowledge of sarcasm. Sheldon’s life in incredibly regimented, with every night of the week containing a different kind of food for dinner and an activity (Wednesday is Halo night, Tuesday is burger day) and if anything were to go awry it would probably end with him having a complete nervous breakdown followed by an aneurysm. All of the rules of Sheldon and Leonard’s shared apartment are created by Sheldon, and include such ridiculous rules as “no whistling,” the establishment of a strike system that resets yearly and can only be fixed by taking his online class, and no percussion instruments (which arises the idea that Rock Band should theoretically be banned from the apartment).
Just as a note, Sheldon is the genius who created Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock. Just thought you should know.
Penny (played by Kaley Cuoco) is the woman who lives across the hall from Leonard and Sheldon and is usually the objePennyct of Leonard’s affection. She is an aspiring actor from Omaha, Nebraska (with a very over-active libido, according to Sheldon) who just can’t get her foot in the door and thus works at the Cheesecake Factory. For most of the series, she is the person that the majority of the viewer base is supposed to relate to: the “normal” person looking in on the geeky and nerdy aspects of the other characters, but she eventually joins in on the geeky escapades, whether it is going to the comic book store and finding out that the geeks are more scared of her than she is of them, dealing with an addiction to MMORPG’s, and joining the guys for a paintball game populated with other scientists from CalTech. A lot of the humour from the series comes from Penny’s multitude of facial expressions as she always seems to have a new one for every situation and they are all priceless.
Howard WoHowardlowitz (played by Simon Helberg, whom most of you should recognize as Moist from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog) is Jewish, almost stereotypically Jewish. He loves a good brisket (especially when it’s made by his mother, whom he still lives with and she still packs him a lunch everyday), (sometimes) observes the sabbath day, and has that stereotypical Jewish voice. Howard considers himself to be a lady’s man, trying hundreds of different methods of varying success to get any sort of sexual interaction (including complementing the woman in any of the languages he (thinks) he speaks, saying that they can drive a car on Mars, or using insulting complements to lower the girl’s ego), but only comes off as being creepy and disgusting. If Howard was a superhero, peanuts would be his greatest weakness, his alergy is so intense that eating just one nut would cause him to turn into a giant walking callous (think of Ned from the Venture Brothers). He is the only one of the geeks who has a master’s degree instead of a Ph.D, master’s degree in engineering.  Howard is a character mostly played for laughs, so his character is fairly archetypal.
Raj
Rajesh Koothrappali (played by Kunal Nayyar) is a particle astrophysicist from India (who surprisingly hates Indian food) and is practically the complete opposite of Howard when it comes to women. While Howard has the “courage” to speak to women, but ends up failing horribly; Raj has a terrible issue with shyness. He is completely unable to talk to attractive women and the only way to overcome it is to be completely drunk (or be on some experimental medicine), much to the chagrin of his parents and the women he somehow attracts. This chronic shyness actually leads his friends to forget he is in the room if Penny is there and leave him behind when they leave. Like Howard, Raj is mostly just played for laughs, but in the second season he takes on a much more prominent role.
Hopefully I did a good job with portraying the show in this fashion, if I didn’t… please write some constructive criticism in the comments. Wait, what was I thinking? Constructive criticism on the internet? That would be the day.season-2-promo-pic-the-big-bang-theory-2847657-2500-1667