It’s So Nice To Be Back Home Where I Belong

Last weeked was a busy,  fun and exhausting weekend, where I managed to touch base with a bunch of things that make me very happy, but that I’m still kind of recovering from.

First of all, Kristi and I met up at New York Comic Con.

My love for NYCC is real. Despite it’s often unweildy size, ridiculous ticketing policies and overall sense of muchness, I never have a bad time, at this, the first con I ever attended. And although I only touched base for 24 hours this time, it was still incredible.

Aside from taking a picture with Mark Hamill, Kristi and I walked the floor chatted with people at Artist Alley, and generally took part in fun.

I was reminded of what I love about Cons and pretty much immediately registered for another one (I’m finally gonna hit Broadway Con! WOOO!) and spending the evening at dinner with Kristi and Aless and acquaintance who I guess is a friend now Jake, and then at the Geek Girl Brunch After Party (Where Kristi and I were sexually harassed exactly 0 times! SO, improvement over last year’s after party! Which was NOT the Geek Girl Brunch one, I should note!)  I remembered how great the nerd life can be.

Of course getting home at 3 AM and passing out on my couch (though I did eventually make it to my bed) it made getting up the next day to drive up to Allendale and see my family, and head BACK into the city to see Hello Dolly! a little bit tough.

BUT WORTH IT!

I’ve mentioned that talking about Star Wars with my brother one of my favorite things in the world. One of the only things I love more than that is talking musical theater with both my siblings. Discussing Gavin Creel’s perfect crooning of “It Only Takes A Moment”, our excitement at seeing two of the greatest comedians ever performing some of the funniest scenes in the history of the genre (seriously, David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler’s work in the dinner scene of Act II  is insanely good!) the discussion of how the show will change when the replacements go in. (Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber are ALSO insanely good, but a good deal more dry than Bette and David. It’ll be a very different show, and probably a lot more sarcastic)

But overall, what this year, and specifically these past few months (which have been very stressful, for reasons I don’t want to get into here, suffice to say, day job drama) is that I don’t need to compartmentalize my interests the way I used to.

Which is part of why (also aformentioned day job induced stress) that I’ve cut back here. I have way increased my facebook presence however. So check things out over there.

There are videos of me and Kristi at Comic Con, (and of the aftermath) pictures of the cooking I’ve been doing, places I’ve been visiting, Katie and my weekly videos about Will & Grace, and general musing.

This blog isn’t going anywhere. It means to much to me, and it makes a great hub, but my attention has been elsewhere lately and it feels nice to have let go of it a little bit.

I am going to finish up the trip reports for the Disney Trip, and hey, movie season was quieter this year, but does roll ever on. (Thor and Star Wars and Coco are still coming at the very least.)

 

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The Sword Of The Goddess

In case you missed the signs, Annalise is literally the chosen one.

BEWARE! BROODING AHEAD!

The Marina Chronicle

Annalise and I sat talking pretty much until dawn. Once we were past the terribly heavy burden of the fact that she’d had a Dream of me as Brayton’s queen. (Just the thought of it makes me gag), and the Tristan mess, we were able to just talk, which was kind of amazing.

I like her. She’s funny and smart, and she’s a very good listener. I think all of this is going to make her a very good queen. I got back and found Papa sitting at his desk, asleep on his book. I smiled and slipped it out from under him. I glanced at what he was reading.

The sword is said to rise from the union of land of sea, Chosen by The Goddess and blessed by The God, The Sword will cut the strings that bind the wheel of fate and return the gods to the…

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Disney Cousin Fall Trip: 9/17/2017 Part 2: “It’s Really Not So Scary!”

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There was some discussion about what our first step would be when we got to The Magic Kingdom. The intitial plan had been to use a Fastpass on Jungle Cruise before our dinner, but because of Hurricane Damage, Jungle Cruise was close. We decided instead to hop on Big Thunder Mountain.

I love that ride, even though I prefer it at night, I enjoyed it this time around too, the thing about having ridden it at night is that I know more of what to look for on the ride now.  I’m still excited to ride it after dark again though. Then we headed to Main Street to do some shopping (Tom was buying pins for all of his people, and we found an AWESOME set of pins that featured Mickey and Minnie dressed as Mary Poppins and Bert to give to my Aunt and Uncle! I also picked up a few things!)

We then headed up and climbed through the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it beats just wandering around doing nothing, and it’s right across the way from Skipper Canteen, where we were eating.

Then we checked in to the restaurant, this was important, since we weren’t riding the Jungle Cruise, we needed to get that sweet, sweet, Jungle Cruise humor.

Also the food. Our skipper was great, full of jokes and fun. I had the pork chops and Tom had the steak, and it’s hard not to feel grateful for that drink, even if it is just a simple glass of wine, or in Tom’s case a Blue Moon. We also sketched out our plan for the party, which wound up being a bit uneccessary, for reason I will get in to. (Hint, it involves basically no lines at all!)

We then headed over to Tomorrowland, as we had a Space Mountain fastpass. We speedily got through the ride and line and then headed over to Buzz Lightyear, which, I think actually matched it’s line number, but it was still less than 20 minutes.

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Tom is focused…I look bored…

We had planned on then doing Philharmagic, but it was already closed to be a trick or treating location so we moved over to Peter Pan, which again, line said 40 minutes. It was 25. We got out and it was party time, so we headed to Pirates, and the Haunted Mansion, and then Mine Train.

Mine Train was our second longest line of the trip (after Flight of Passage) at 45 minutes. A real killer. I love that ride though and especially like riding it at night. We then decided to camp out on Mainstreet for the Parade, found a spot at the hub.

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Boo To You really is exceptionally good. It’s entertaining, gives you a fun look at the characters and I have the song stuck in my head still.

We were kind of wiped, so we found ourselves a table outside of Casey’s, after swinging by the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor so that I could try the Pumpkin ice cream.

OMG, that ice cream, when I get around to favorites, I’ll talk about it more, but it was amazing. It tastes like pumpkin pie, and ice cream, it’s incredible. We moved to the middle of main street for Hallowishes, which is also incredible. The soundtrack and castle projections are fun, and we then decided to head out, rather than hang out for the extra 45 minutes. The short lines had gotten us everything we wanted to do earlier than expected and we were truly exhausted. We got back to Riverside and decided to grab a night cap at River Roost. We grabbed a seat by the fireplace, chatted about the overall fun of our trip, and I have to say, this remains my favorite part of just about any trip.

I love the parks, I love the restaurants, but I really, really love these decompressing moments. Juli and I drinking champagne on our condo balcony after our trip around the world. Sitting with a beer by myself, with my feet up, watching the bits of Symphony In the Stars I could see from my window at The Swan. Rolling the coffee table away in our villa at Saratoga to do yoga and stay limber the night before the race with Kristi. Chatting with the bar staff at Tune-In Lounge in my dapper-ware. This moment, relaxing and recapping with my cousin.

They’re the best. Cannot be beat.

There’s one more day of trip to talk about, but it’s breif, and then hotel talk and favorites! (Yes, I am squeezing over a month of content out of these 3 days…)

Stay tunes!

By The Water, In The Moonlight

Annalise and Marina need to talk…like, a lot.

The Marina Chronicle

There’s a lake right near by the camp and after dinner (which we ate with the contingent from Pantona. Countess Olivia is very good at keeping things from being awkward. I ought to ask her to teach me.) After Annalise asked if we could walk and we wound up here. We were silent for a few minutes until she started moving bubbles of water around, by carefully waving her hands.

“That’s amazing,” I whispered.

“Parlor tricks,” she muttered, “I’m out of practice and I’ve never been any good at battle magic. I don’t know how I could ever beat a shadow, let alone an army of them.” She looked at me. “I’m going to need a lot of help.”

“I don’t know that I’ll be much help,” I said softly. She looked at me. “I’m not a fighter, and you have warriors, and the twins, and,” she laughed.

“Yes, I…

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Disney Cousin Fall Trip 9/17/2017 Part 1: “Brunch!”

Ah, waking up with a hangover in Disney. I’ve done it every trip I’ve taken since Juli and my trip 2 years ago.

This time, while Tom got ready, I trekked down to the food court again, returning with Biscuits and Bacon, and we quietly, but with great speed, found our way to the bus to head to Hollywood Studios.

The plan was to ride the 4 rides there and then head to Epcot for our brilliantly planned Brunch reservation at Spice Road Table.  We did succeed in that.

First we hit Rockin Roller Coaster, which is always a good time.

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It was Walk On (Thanks Extra Magic Hour!)  and rather than jump right over to Tower of Terror (I learned, from the stomach issues of the past) we headed to Toy Story, which again, we walked on to. Next we backtracked to Tower of Terror, which was showing an 85 minute wait time.

The cast member at the front said it was likely to be closer to 40, so we shrugged and headed in to wait in line.

I want to make it absolutely clear that I actually looked at the clock every step of the way. From entering under the gate to watching the video in the library, it was 10 minutes. From exiting the library to entering our elevator, it was 10 minutes. We waited 20 minutes for a ride that was marked with an 85 minute wait time. (I told you this would be a theme.)

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Tom is saying something profound, I’m sure…

Tower of Terror was great, it always is. After that we headed right over to Star Tours, where again, the wait was brief, but I love that queue so I’d wait, like a maximum of 40 minutes for that ride.

Tom nearly got sick so, we opted to skip Muppets, because seriously, nausea + 3-D is rarely a good combo, and we headed to the Launch Bay. The lines for the meets were a little bit on the long side, so we opted to head to Epcot, since Frozen Ever After was showing a 40 minute wait.

At nearly 10:30 AM.

YES REALLY!

We skipped off to the boat and rode over to Epcot, happily discussing our strategy (Tom feeling much better) and wound our way over to Norway, to get in line for Frozen, now showing 35 minutes. (At 11:15! Prime World Showcase arrival time. I was flummoxed). I set a timer, because I was curious. The Ever After line is a good one, once you get inside, full of things to look at and nice music and AC, but we didn’t even have to walk through Kristoff’s Ice House, and only wound around the town square once, and we only caught a glimpse of Oaken, before boarding our boat to the Mountain 15 minutes after getting on line.

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I’m still smiling huge because the line was so short!

I’ve ridden it with a Fastpass and had the line take longer than 15 minutes. I declared after our trip to see the whole gang, (and Tom’s agreement that Sven is a most impressive Animatronic) that I would ALWAYS come this time of year now, Hurricane Season Be Damned, because OMG 15 minutes? We were now late for our reservation, though I doubted it would be a problem, and we headed straight on over to Morocco.

Spice Road Table is on my “favorite restaurants in Disney World” for a reason, you guys. It’s a lovely place, small but not claustrophobic, interesting but accessible food, and never crowded. This was the first time I ate inside the restaurant, which was very different, and the first time I at there during the sunlight.

Tom helped himself to Lamb Sliders, and I went for a combination of hummus fries (BESSTTT) and Rosemary Brie Fondue. Both were excellent, and drinking a Pomegranate Mimosa made it officially Brunch.  (It’s not brunch without champagne drinks!) Post food and ooohing over the view, we headed to the front to get our bus for afternoon nap.

This nap was even more necessesary than the previous, and also featured football watching. I went and grabbed a soda at one point, and I ate the rest of the biscuits, because if I don’t eat every hour or so I get cranky, and also they were there.

The final thing I did during this break, was run down to the store and pick up a Christmas ornament. See, I have my own apartment now, which means that for the first time in my life, I will have my OWN Christmas tree, which means, I need stuff to put on it.

Because I am who I am, I know that there will be a healthy amount of Disney representation on that tree, just generally, but I wanted something to specifically remember the oddness of this year and the four trips that went into it. I came up with the idea of getting an ornament from each resort I stayed in, which can become my tradition, even AFTER this crazy Disney year ends, when I stay in different resorts. (My dad is determined to return, and we’re likely to stay either on the Boardwalk or on the Monorail loop then…) So, I grabbed the Riverside ornament this time. (I also got a Saratoga Springs one, but that’s for the report on Monday of this trip!)

Once all of that was settled in, we headed down to get on our Magic Kingdom bus, for our last park excursion of the trip, and some Halloween time fun! (WEEE!)

Stay tuned for more on that!

“I’m Done Talking, Let’s Play”

First of all, yes, I did go see a movie. YAY!

And that movie was Battle Of The Sexes, which was excellent. So double YAY!

And Aless was with me. So TRIPLE YAY!

Battle Of The Sexes itself really good. Emma Stone is fantastic, the focus of the movie is completely different than I thought it would be, but we’ll get there. If you’re unfamiliar with the “battle” at the center of the movie, it refers to an exhibition tennis match between long time champion Billie Jean King and retired Hall of Famer Bobby Riggs. It was a media circus, a referendum on women’s sports and a defining career moment for King.

But that match is barely even a part of the movie. It’s much, much more about King, her sexual awakening, (King’s a lesbian, but was married to a man for most of her 20s.) the founding of the Virginia Slims Women’s Tour, and her push to have equal prize money for female champions (A fight she won. The US Open was the first tournament to comply. Billie Jean King is THE SHIT you guys. Read about her.)

Stone’s performance is exceptional. Actually every performance in this movie is exceptional, but she sets the tone. Her confusion as she falls in love with her hairdresser is palpable, her standing her ground is exceptionally rendered.

Steve Carrell brings a broken childish humanity to Riggs too. His story is less compelling but still interesting, an aging addict trying for one last score. He plays Riggs as complicated, a little confused, and somewhat backward (though nowhere near as backward as he came off publicly.)

The supporting cast gives really strong performances, with standouts (naturally) from Alan Cumming and Sarah Silverman. (Seriously, if Silverman doesn’t walk away from awards season without at least a few dozen nominations and at least one statue, I’ll be shocked.)

Overall this is a solid movie, made revolutionary by the life of it’s subject.

Rankings:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Battle Of The Sexes
  4. Dunkirk
  5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  6. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  7. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  8. The Dark Tower
  9. Cars 3
  10. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers

Goodbye Christopher Robin – I was sobbing at the trailer for this. Forget about the actual movie, I mean, I’ll see it, but oof.

Wonderstruck – I’m pretty sure I read this book and really enjoyed it. The movie looks really good though.

Disney Cousin Fall Trip: 9/16/2017 Part 2: “Well, that was worth it!”

I’m a big fan of the 2 hour afternoon hotel break on a Disney trip. It’s not something we ever did growing up, because we weren’t rope droppers, so there was less need for it, and we always went in November when it’s not quite so hot.

But now that I’ve gone during hotter times of the year with a “get to the park early & then stay late” touring style, I love my post lunch hotel room time. Time to regroup, have a cool drink, lay down and maybe nap is absolutely necessary now, ESPECIALLY if you’re doing more than 1 park in a day. Which we were!

So, after our Animal Kingdom adventure, we enjoyed about an hour and a half in our room, and then did some shopping.

Tom was looking for a very specific pin, legendarily the only piece of Kingdom Hearts merchandise in the parks. And there it was, right in Fulton’s General Store, the gift shop at Riverside.

Hooray!

We then boarded our Epcot bus, and off we flew to indulge in plenty of food and wine. (Actually it wound up being mostly beer…)

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First, of course, we stopped by Soarin’, which is such a delightful ride. I’m always happy, everytime I ride it. We had a fastpass, so we pretty much walked right on. After Soarin’ we hit the Festival center, where I claimed my free annual pass food and wine stuff (Button with Remi on it, and a button that say AP.) And did some more shopping and general gawking.

Then we hit Spaceship Earth, which I adore and always will. I am curious how it might transform again, with Seimens pulling out their sponsorship, but who knows if it will at all. I just know that it’s the best.

After that we began questing around the World for snacks and drinks. We didn’t stop for munchables or potable at every country (skipped: Norway, Japan & Morocco), but we did a decent job. Specifically, when Tom raised an eyebrow at waiting 20 minutes at La Cava, I implored him to trust me, and lo and behold “Well, that was worth it!” became the theme of the evening.

Then for Norway, we explored a bit while we drank our Margaritas, moving quickly to China, where we watched the acrobats and I got pot stickers. Then we moved on to Germany where we got beer, and Tom got a Brat. We settled in by the water and enjoyed, and then headed in to shop a little in the Christmas store specifically. I considered purchasing a Pickle ornament. (This is an important tradition…I’m like a sliver German, and it’s a thing? I guess? I dunno, but I know that my tree will need a pickle.) I reconsidered and we went to Italy.

Since I am constitutionally incapable of not going to Tutto Gusto when in Italy, we stopped there. (Also, our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:40, it was about 5, we needed an in between). Sparkly wines and refreshing small plates held us over, and we were on to America. I went for a Sam Adams Octoberfest, and Tom went for a Yuengling. Then came Japan, and rather than grab Saki, we nursed our beers and walked through the department store, where the epic discussion of lack of merch began.

Tom found another piece of Kingdom Hearts merchandise, you see, and then we looked at the Myazaki stuff, and he declared “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! No Face has more representation in the park than actual Disney characters in this game!” (He then made it clear that this is not to take away from how awesome No Face, is.) We explored the rest of the store, talking about other favorites that are weirdly not in the parks (Wall-E? Why no Wall-E?) before heading to Morocco, where again, just exploring happened.

It is important to note that by this time, we had a good buzz on. I pointed Spice Road Table out and explained that if I hadn’t managed the Pub reservation, that would have been where we were eating.

“Can we eat there anyway?” Tom asked. I shrugged and said it would make for good brunch, and popped into My Disney Experience and made us an 11:30 AM reservation. We thought this was the greatest plan of all time.

Then France, where I began babbling in drunken Franglais, and I think Tom was done with me. (Bless him) While in France I helped myself to some Boeuf Bourgenioun and A Kir Royale, while Tom had a glass of Cabernet.

Once we crossed the channel, Tom had some cheese dip at the Ireland booth, I hopped to Canada quickly and grabbed a bowl of the cheddar cheese soup. (YUMMMM!!!)

Then we checked in to Rose & Crown, I mentioned that I was hoping for a patio table. The hostess smiled and nodded, and we headed into the pub, where I tried my new favorite drink ever, The Snakebite. It’s half Strongbow, half Harp. It’s delicious, and I think I had three of them.

We were seated at an AMAZING table outside, and our waiter (Kevin? I think?) immediately brought us more drinks, and gave great recommendations.

Now, I love Illuminations, I’ve enjoyed meals and watching it from LA Hacienda De San Angel and Spice Road Table.

But I’m converted. If you’re going to sit and watch the show, it has to be from Rose and Crown. WOW, the view is spectacular. The food’s not bad either. I had a shepherd’s pie that did the trick, even if it didn’t blow me away.

After the fireworks we walked out to the Boardwalk and right into Jellyrolls.

Ah, Jellyrolls. There’s never a bad moment in that place. The cover is annoying, but the music and crowd are always great and it’s the cheapest beer on property. Hooray! There was a lot of dancing, laughing, singing along to 80’s music, and a surprisingly poignant conversation about how gay men of our generation don’t need Cher as an advocate anymore. (Though she should still be loved and celebrated, because she’s awesome.)

A car ride home and a few drunken watches of the electric headboard later, we passed out.

To be continued!