Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Got Nothing

Good morning, everybody. I don’t know about you, but I’m really fighting the urge to grab a cup of coffee right now. I dropped into bed around midnight, was woken up at two by thunder, then up at five by my upstairs neighbors who don’t quite grasp the concept of courteous apartment living, then at six by my alarm to start the day. Needless to say, I’m a little worn out, and I know it’s going to be a long day at work today looking at reports, but I will survive.
Oh yeah, Leap Year day. Blah blah blah, moving on.
Actually, I really think that’s all I have today. I’m seriously THAT tired. Plus, I have a lot of reporting to get to.
I hope you all have a great day, and wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two Down, Three to Go

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, as in Two Days down, three days left to go. So what’s been going on? Well…

First, over the weekend, I realized how difficult it is to find a Sonic Screwdriver in this town when you’re actually looking for one, especially a Matt Smith version. FYE looks to have slowed down on carrying the Doctor Who merchandise, and Downtown Comics only had the Build Your Own sets, at least Downtown Comics in Castleton. I’m sure Who North America by the airport has them, but I don’t want to pay for shipping from someplace here in town. However, one will be found.

I’ve also been setting up a new PC for the family. It’s a cheap eMachine from WalMart.

Don’t judge me. It’s what we can afford, and it’s cheaper than building one.

I think I’m FINALLY done getting all the Windows updates, and updating the underlying software like Java, Flash, and so on. I have a lot of information to pull off the laptop that I’ve been using, but unfortunately the USB ports don’t like to work, so putting that info on a thumb drive or an external hard drive is kind of out of the question. For a lot of the documents and pictures, those will be moved using Dropbox. For the music, which is about 20 Gigs of CD’s that I’ve put on there, luckily most have been uploaded to Google Music, so those are currently downloading through Google Music. I think so far, I have 900 out of 4,500 done, and it’s running right now. I also have some videos on there, but we’ll just have to see about getting those moved over. I might just have to write them off.

Luckily, since I use Google Chrome, I didn’t lose any bookmarks when coming over, so that was nice. What is NOT nice is all the crap that I have to clear off the PC. Whoever decided to pre-install Norton on PC’s should be put in the stocks and subjected to lashings.

In other news, for those who use Swagbucks and weren’t aware, you can only cash in on FIVE of an item in any given month, and if you go for a big money item, they think you’re cheating the system and down comes the banhammer. I learned about the limit of five yesterday when I went for another Amazon gift card. Oh well, $25 a month isn’t that bad, for essentially not doing much of anything. I know I can also get $5 deposited in Paypal, but it is 700 points vs. 450 points, so I’m probably just going to save up for my next five Amazon cards before I think about that. At least with all this, I’m picking up the two Matt Smith Doctor Who Christmas specials on Blu Ray with nothing out of pocket. Next month will be a Disney film for Mary. I can’t be greedy, I need to spread the love around the family.

Well, this is enough for today. I have a laundry list of items I need to do here at work, so I should start doing what they pay me for.

I hope you all have a great day, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Not Quite a Monday Update

Yeah, it's later in the day.

I'm still working on setting up the new PC.

Work has been really busy.

And last week isn't really anything to write about.

But THIS week. This will be the week. I know it.

Have a great evening,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Computer

Yep, I stooped so low that I got an eMachine from WalMart today.

What can I say? Our current pc's were toast, or becoming toasty.

Setting up a new PC is fun. Not.

I'll see you all tomorrow.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Spent Downtown

So, today I drove downtown to attend a meeting of the local Star Wars costuming groups here in Indiana. First, the parking garage recommended by a "friend" was cash only, and this geek never carries cash, especially when walking downtown. Second, where I DID know to park was a couple of cold and windy blocks away. Would have been great if not for the aforementioned cold and wind.

The meeting was at Scott's Brewhouse, which is tasty but a bit pricey. But that could have also been the Founder's Breakfast Stout that I added to my order.

Mostly business stuff, but it was a good time meeting a lot of people who's names I slightly remember. It was a good time, but it did take up most of my day. Plus, dang it, now I want to make costumes again. Even more.

Right now, I'm getting stuff done around the apartment, then I'll be heading out to dinner with my folks and my aunt.

Oh, and added bonus: found two of those wine-ad style framed art prints from Target leaning on the dumpster by my parking spot. I love people who throw something out but think, "Someone else might want this, so I'm going to throw it in the crap and the grime." If you're curious as to what they look like, they're here.

I hope you're all having a great day, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's Friday

Wow, nothing yesterday? I guess Blogger doesn’t even pull in the spambots. Oh well, such is life. Time to move on.

It’s Friday. TGIF and whatnot. It has been a long week, and it’s not over by a long shot. It’s another long day of work today, which I’m not complaining about because, even though I haven’t had any time to do anything else, I am getting some good overtime in. Tomorrow there is a meeting downtown for the local Star Wars groups that I finally have a chance to attend, and that’s at 12:30. After that, family is in town and they want to meet for dinner, so yay, free food! Sunday, that will be the day I tackle the pile of laundry I’ve accumulated and hopefully go out and pick up some much needed supplies.

So, short bit today. Tomorrow, I might just throw down some more memories of working in the FX Industry. Yeah, riveting, I know.

Have a great day!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Looking at Tablets

So I was looking over the end of yesterday’s post, and I said something about posting something more substantial.

Yeah, I apologize for that. I don’t know what I was thinking. Me and substance are not good bedfellows. Plus, I don’t want to be accused of having too much substance. I hear substance abuse is a bad thing.

Now that we have that out of the way, how’s everyone doing? I know I’m above ground and providing for my family, so it’s not too bad here. As much as I complain about work, I do have a job, and I do mostly work with good people, so it’s not that bad at all.

Out of curiosity, I stopped by Barnes & Nobles near work last night to check out the Nook Color Tablet. I’m not much of an iPad or Android Tablet fan, but I’ve been curious about how the hardware responds and how the media looks.

Now, let me say, while I love paper books, they are kind of a pain to keep at work. A few Christmases ago, I got one of the 3G/WiFi Nook readers that was a refurb, back when they were JUST starting to hit around $100. I have used this every day, and I’m currently reading the final book of the Hunger Games on it. I have been very pleased with it, and I’m not looking to replace it because it still works beautifully so that would be foolish, but I do wish I had something that I could share with the Geekling, with children’s books and the like.

I have played with the Amazon Kindle Fire, and while it’s nice, it looks like it gets a lot of its perks when you’re also an Amazon Prime member, which I am not. Plus, while I do like some “brickness” to my devices, as shown by my love of my Microsoft Zune, it just seemed a little too thick for me, and it wasn’t comfortable. So, since I already have an existing product relationship with B&N and the Nook, I wanted to give it a try.

Do you know how difficult it is to find a working demo of a Nook tablet in any retailer? Even in B&N, the one they had on display was dead from use, but the gentleman, who I believe was named Jared, at the Nook counter was able to get a working demo unit from the back to show me.

They have just released an 8 gig version for $199, and that’s the one I’m curious about. That’s 8 gig onboard memory, and it’s still upgradable to 32 gigs using a micro sd card. You can load movies and music onto it, and it looks good.

The onboard apps looked outstanding as well. I didn’t look at the normal books, since that’s not quite what I’m looking at it for. I prefer reading paper or an e-ink screen, and I don’t like reading too long on a back-lit LCD screen. I did have a chance to look at Netflix streaming on it, and the picture was clearer than streaming through the Xbox to my 720p TV. We also downloaded “Hop On Pop” which is one of the Geekling’s favorite, to see how it looked, and dang, is that Read To Me interactive book feature fun. It lit up the words on the screen as they were read, and if you clicked on the Cup, it showed the word and said what it was, and same with Pup. Even items not in the story, like the grass when they all fall off the wall, is recognizable for them to click on.

The tablet was smaller, but fairly sturdy. Since the Geekling loves touch screen devices, even having her own (deactivated) Motorola Cliq that has kids apps on it, this seems like a good idea. It has a long battery life, even when showing movies, so it will work well on flights to California or in the car, and while it’s not something that the wee one will have constant access to, it still has enough fun stuff that I know she’ll enjoy that it will make a good “You’ve been a good girl today, you want to look at a storybook?” item for bedtime to switch up the actual storybooks a little bit.

Shannon will be taking a look at them out in Cali now that I’ve said they look interesting, and if she likes them, then we’ll discuss picking one up. Something like this is going to be a family item, so we need to make sure all in the family agrees with it.

So I ask you, my limited and silent readers, does anyone have a Nook Color Tablet? What do you think about it? What have you heard? Please, feel free to let me know in the comments.


I’ve said before…

It’s so lonely.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hump Day

You know, I never considered Wednesday “hump day” because I’ve always had weird schedules. I’ve worked Monday through Thursday, or those weird retail schedules that are never the same week after week. Now that I’m Monday through Friday, 8-5, I totally understand it. So, happy hump day!

I don’t have much for today. I got thrown into a training yesterday that’s providing some temporary overtime, so I’ve got that going for me. Not a lot, but every little bit helps.

Oh, it has begun. Two nights ago, I passed out around 10PM, two hours earlier than normal. Why? So I could get up early to hit the fitness center to work out. Well, Monday night, I had everything laid out, lunch already made, everything ready to go except for setting my alarm. I will admit, that was an epic facepalm, but at least I was very well rested yesterday. Needless to say, my alarm was set to the correct time before I even got to work yesterday, so this morning, it was much better.

However, I forgot to plug in my phone, so I had to leave it on the charger while I was on the treadmill.

I took it easy, just did the treadmill this morning, before going home and doing my morning routine. I can say this, I’m a lot more awake. However, I’m writing this around 8:30, so I’ve also already been awake for four hours. Now, let’s see how I’m feeling come 5PM when I get off work.

I hope everybody is having a great week, and I’ll see if I can come up with something a little more substantial tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trying To Stay Positive

So is everybody doing all right today? I certainly hope so. I know I’m trying to keep up with everything, keep my chin up, moving ahead without dwelling on past failures, insert motivation platitude here, that sort of thing.

One thing I’ve been trying to focus on is keeping my outlook more positive and up. I used to smoke half a pack a day, and that’s how I used to deal with stress and uncomfortable situations. That is no longer an option, and hasn’t been the case since the Geekling was born. So I’ve seen myself slipping into being snarky, a jerk, and even a bit of a mean jackhole. That is not who my wife married, and that is not the father my daughter needs, so I’ve been putting forward a conscious effort to try to get my attitude up.

In my position at work, I do what I can to bring a smile to the face of my co-workers, or the visitors. I’m currently in the role of front desk/reception/switchboard at the office, so I see almost everyone at one time or another. Since good vibes breed good vibes, I do what I can up front. However, do you know how difficult it is to remain positive when you have CNN playing on a TV in the lobby for 9.5 hours a day? I am so tired about hearing about Whitney’s funeral, and the Republican Clown Show of a primary race. And while there is important news, like the fighting in Syria, I don’t CARE about a gay sheriff in Arizona, and I especially don’t care to hear these stories cycle through every 45 minutes. Luckily, since I have spent years working around televisions blaring videos, and radios blaring music, I have become very good at blocking everything out.

Another thing that doesn’t help is when people just expect me to do things without questioning at work. For example, I normally show up early. Let’s me make some oatmeal, and casually get schedules printed out for the conference rooms and not be rushed. However, when people come storming up to me with a problem, or expecting me to do something right when I walk in the door? Seriously, I can NOT clock in early. I am NOT authorized for overtime, and I don’t have people that can easily cover me if I have to leave early. Yet, they don’t back off. Luckily for their sake, no one has filed a complaint when I tell them that they have to wait until I’m on the clock, probably because I’m a LOT nicer than I have any right to be, but it still grates on me.

Yet, through all of this, all I can do is take a breath, remember my family, and keep going. That’s all anyone can do.

Just don’t push me, since I might be getting close to my breaking point soon. ;) However, in the mean time, would you like some tea?


Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Monday Again

Good morning, everybody! Did we have a good weekend? I know mine was fairly uneventful. Grocery shopping, cleaning, some meal prep for the upcoming week, and trying to get some more life out of my dying laptop was the order of the weekend.
First things first, exercise. I’m starting to get back on the horse, having hit the treadmill for 1.76 miles and the bike for 3.20. That’s not a lot, it’s not something I’m happy with, but I’m at least doing something again. Plus, I’m back to doing pushups at work again, but I unfortunately didn’t track those last week. I’m really pushing myself to get back to a day on/day off schedule this week, so we’ll see if I can walk the walk after talking the talk.
Something else that I would like to touch on is the “beer money” front. I’ve been plugging away at a couple of these, and I’ve dropped a couple more.
Now, the one that has been working best for me is Swagbucks. So far, I have $5 that have been deposited to Amazon, and $10 that are being verified and should be deposited by the end of the month. That’s been $15 deposited for running a video app on my phone at work, using the WiFi, for 50 points a day, doing searches and winning points that way, doing surveys, and other sundry tasks for 1-5 points here and there. $5 for Amazon is about 450 points, and I can do that with minimal effort over the course of a week or so, which is fine since I’ve heard they have a $25 a month limit. Remember, the goal here isn’t to get rich, or get a PS3 or something like that. The goal is just to be able to get a movie or book every month or so, and it looks like I’m on track for that through Swagbucks.
The other one that I’ve been keeping up with, although it has gone a lot slower, is Superpoints. They take 500 points for a gift card, and they don’t have as many opportunities that I have found. I haven’t had a chance to qualify for their surveys, and although I have some referrals, I’m only sitting at 400 points after a month. I’ve been pressing their “button” and spinning for random points, and even with 50 chances, I only get about 10-15 points a day. However, it takes no effort what so ever, so I’ll keep up with that since I’ll eventually get some more for Amazon.
The family is still gone, and will be gone for another month and a half or so. So there is that.
I’ll see you all tomorrow,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Poor Showing on Weekends

You know, I just can't write much on weekends.

I feel really bad, since I'm really trying to get my output up, but honestly, weekends are when I want to be doing more than just sitting here. Or, if I AM just sitting here, I'm catching up on things I don't do the rest of the week.

Plus, right now, I have the beginning of a migraine happening, so staring at a monitor isn't helping with that.

Enjoy your evening, and I'll be back in the morning with my Monday update.


Saturday, February 18, 2012


Not writing much today.
Starting to catalog the joke segments from TANcast.
They're close to 200 episodes.
Feel free to let them vomit in your earholes.
See you tomorrow,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Worn Out

I am worn out.

I really don’t think it was the change in the time zones. Honestly, that was a week ago, and jet lag does not last that long. I’m leaning towards hours of recycled air in a packed flight across country, but who really knows? I’m not really ill, although I did get really warm and almost got sick yesterday afternoon while just sitting and reading, but I’m just exhausted.

However, like I said yesterday, no excuses. I made it to the fitness center last night around 8:30 and spent 30 on the treadmill and 30 on the bike. I can tell that I haven’t been in a few weeks, and I’m kicking myself for it. Then, when I dragged myself out of bed this morning, I noticed that the scale hasn’t been giving a correct weight, having been stuck on the same weight since Shannon left, so I pulled the batteries and checked it again.

That was not pretty.

So I’m seriously back at the grind. My main motivation might be gone for a while, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be motivated. I’m not eating out any more, I’m definitely not drinking any more soda, I’m avoiding the coffee and the hot chocolate at work, and I’m re-evaluating my schedule and priorities at home.

I’m also working on a shopping list/menu today for the next week. Working on 3 square meals a day that are decent, and don’t involve anything from the companies Hostess or Frito Lay. Meats, vegetables, whole grains, and a couple of Healthy Choice meals for when I get home and I am too tired to cook.

I really need to buckle down. I do have a weight goal and date in my head, and at this rate, I’m never going to even come close to hitting it. And this might be why I’m feeling so tired and worn out. I started eating healthier and exercising, and then I dropped it cold turkey.

So let’s see if I can get back into that swing of things.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

No More Excuses

Okay, no more time for excuses.

I’ve fallen way behind in my goals. Ever since Shannon left town to visit her side of the family in Cali, I’ve lost all motivation to do, well, anything. I’ve been able to come up with excuse after excuse as to why I’m not exercising, or why I can eat Taco Bell, or why I can just sit and read instead of doing something a bit more constructive. I’m back up about 8 pounds, which doesn’t have me totally back up to my previous weight, but it is close, which irritates me to no end.

Tonight, I’m doing what I can to get back on a schedule. I need to run an errand on the way home, then I’m getting back to the apartment, making a light dinner, going to sit down and work on the PC while it digests, then I’m hitting the fitness center. If a treadmill is open, I’m taking that. If only a bike is open, I’m taking that. Heck, at this point, if an elliptical machine is all that is open, I’m taking that. I’m getting my fat arse back in there and starting again.

This weekend, I need to do some serious grocery shopping. Veggies, meats, whole grains; I’ve got to get myself back in the habit of healthy eating again.

I have a lot I want to do this year, and a lot I need to get done, and I’ve got to get the lead out and get to work on it.

So how about everybody else? Are they happy with how their year is going so far, and how you’re doing on your goals?

Feel free to comment.


It’s so lonely in here.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Twelve Wonderful Years

So, my wife gave me permission to track down the recent Doctor Who series on DVD/Blu Ray last night.
I’m so proud. It brought a tear to my eye, it did.
I’ve known this woman for 12 years. I first started talking to her back in 2000, the day after Valentine’s Day. I knew her from a message board called The Replica Prop Forum, or the RPF. It is a message board that focuses on the replication of Movie Props and Costumes, also discussing general pop culture topics. We’d participated in some of the same threads, particularly bagging on The Phantom Menace game for the Playstation, and how the only worthwhile part to it was the inclusion of the “Duel of the Fates” music video.
Look it up if you’re confused.
Anyway, I dropped her a message on AOL Instant Messenger. Yeah, remember that? Anyway, since she talked about TIE Pilot costuming, and I was into X-Wing Pilot costuming, I did some geek message thing talking about shooting her TIE Fighter out of the sky.
Seemed like a good idea at the time, but in retrospect, I’m surprised my daughter exists.
Anyway, she actually talked to me, and we started conversing regularly. When I say regularly, I mean, every time I’m not at work or in the bathroom. Hours spent chatting online or on the phone. I don’t want to know how much I spent on pre-paid phone cards, since we didn’t want to pay for long distance at the apartment.
In May of that year, I took a week of vacation and flew out to Southern California, where we met face to face. That also happened to be on the 15th of the month. We hit Disneyland, which for me was the first time. We hit Universal Citywalk, where I purchased her a TIE Pilot Helmet for her costume. Not one of the small ones, but a Don Post Classic Action. We checked out toy stores and comic shops and her local geek hangouts and had a great time. By the end of that week, I knew this was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
In July of that year, she flew out to Indiana, helped me pack up, and moved me out to California. From there, it’s history. We’ve bounced between California and Indiana a few times, Cali from 2000 to 2002, Indiana from 2002 to 2007, Cali from 2007 to 2010, and back to Indiana.
When we were in Indiana, in 2004, at the Indianapolis Irish Fest, I popped the question with a claddagh that I found there that I thought was perfect. Needless to say, I prefaced the question with “Hon, you know how you give me a hard time by never planning anything out? Well, here’s some more ammo for you…”
We got married in Las Vegas on Halloween, 2005. It was a small ceremony at the Excalibur Casino. Hey, it was a 4 hour drive for her side of the family and friends, a 4 hour flight for my side, and the entire city was an open bar for the reception, so it worked out well for us. She was worried and stressed until I got her a yard of margarita, then she was okay. On the 31st of October, she became Mrs. Troxell, and we’ve been solid since.
We have had our ups and our downs, we have had rough times and great times, but through all of it, we have been partners. She is my wife, my mate, my lover, and my best friend. She is the mother to my children, and the chocolate to my peanut butter. She is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and she is the reason I am who I am today. Without her, I’d never have done half the cool stuff I’ve done in the past 12 years. I’d never tried for the job in Hollywood. I’d never applied for attractions at Disneyland, and I’d never tried to get a job at Fry’s Electronics in Fishers.
Okay, that one was a bust, but it paid the bills very well.
Shannon, thank you for a wonderful twelve years, and here’s to twelve more, and beyond.
Thanks for sticking with me,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snow And Valentines


It happens in Indiana, especially during the winter. It should come to a surprise to NO ONE when it appears, falling from the sky and accumulating on the ground. And yet, here we are. People are coming in late to work, the social network feeds are being flooded with “OMG SNOW!!!” and there are people telling me of slide offs that they saw as they were coming in.

Seriously, there’s not even a lot of snow. And we knew it was coming.

Now, I admit, I live just east of Castleton Square Mall, right before I-69, and I work at Keystone at the Crossing. Not exactly a long drive, and 82 nd /86 th Street is normally very clear. The road out of my apartment complex is normally junk, as is the road heading to the parking garage at Keystone. With that knowledge, I left a bit early for work.

And I ended up being 50 minutes early.

Now, I’m normally 40 minutes early, but that’s not the point. The point is, WHY ARE PEOPLE RUNNING LATE?


Happy Valentine’s Day?

Came into work this morning, and there was a single white rose sitting across my keyboard.

Um… okay?

There are no deliveries that early, plus, I’m the one that lets delivery people in. My backup is consists of a group of 3 women who all work different schedules, so I was 98% certain that this was not for me.

Supervisors thought I would be upset that it wasn’t for me, but honestly, I was relieved. It kind of freaked me out, honestly. Nobody here should be buying me roses. I’m not THAT friendly. And I knew Shannon didn’t send it, because like I said, I accept all the deliveries, and none had come in.

Finally, I have tickets this evening to an advanced screening of Titanic in 3D. I was going to have a friend come with me, but he can’t make it. Now, I’m not sure I’m going to go. We’ll see how I’m feeling, and if I can get some other stuff done before it starts.

Be careful out there, and I hope you all have a great day! Tony

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another Monday Update!

All right, it’s Monday, and I’m exhausted. Who knew it only took a few days for your body to get used to a three hour time difference? I even passed out early last night, but it was still difficult to pull myself out of bed this morning.

Anyway, I know on Monday, I like to review the previous week, but I honestly have nothing to review. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t hit the gym, and while I WAS watching my intake, the trip to Cali had me cheating just a bit, so I’ve packed some back on. I’m kind of irked at myself over this, but it does no good beating yourself up, so I’m going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start hitting the gym again this week. I’m REALLY hoping that I can hit the one at the office after work today, so we’ll see how that goes.

I was also rather proud that I got a new blog posting up on the SoCal site, which is still up and running despite my best efforts. Plus, I was able to get a buffer around and set scheduled updates so this blog still had content being added to it. Probably didn’t matter much to the 5 people who visit, but it mattered to me. Plus, I was able to add a couple pictures to yesterday’s post, so I might continue throwing in some visuals every now and again. I’m not a picture a day sort of person, so I’m not always clicking away to be able to throw stuff up, but I might want to throw something up on occasion.

Coming up this week, I’m hoping to see a tax refund check deposited, to which Shannon and I have decided is going to buy us a new computer. When that computer is up and running, I get to load all my information up to it, and then I’m revamping a LOT of my online profiles. Also, I’m starting to clean the apartment top to bottom, getting things ready for Shannon and the Geekling’s return at the end of March.

Eventually, I’m going to pick up the knitting needles and start figuring that out, but once again, I need extra money to get started, which I don’t have.

I’m going to cut it off there today, as I really need to find a way to wake up.

I hope you all have a good one, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Disneyland Trip!

All right, folks. I'm back.

I hope you enjoyed some memories of Disney and Hollywood, and I'll continue those in the next week or so, but I just got back from Cali, and I like to post something current for once.

First things first, I flew out on packed Southwest flights on Wednesday evening, flying from Indianapolis to Las Vegas, then on to Ontario, California. I was picked up there, grabbed some dinner, then dropped off at the Candy Cane Inn, which is located right on the edge of Disneyland. I like this place, as it is close, it is affordable as far as the "Resort District" goes, and it is clean. Plus, they also have free parking for a single car, and a free continental breakfast of donuts, muffins, bagels, cereal, fruit, yogurt, and beverages, which, while it doesn't include bacon, it's still enough to get you going in the morning, so you don't have to buy overpriced food at the park. Once there, and once I know Shannon had made it home okay, I crashed, since it was midnight Pacific, which was 3 AM Eastern.

I woke up the next morning, had breakfast, then walked down to the park, easily making it before it opened. I walked around the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney, a large store that carries almost anything you can find in the parks.

 Disney has been doing a lot of mash-ups as of late. They had a large line of artwork from Star Wars, with Mickey replacing Luke, and other Disney Characters re-creating Star Wars movie posters. And then, there was also this picture to the left.

Stay classy, Disney.

Anyway, while waiting, I had to hit Star Tours 2.0 IN 3D. Yeah, what can you do? But it worked out very well. The ride was smoother than I remembered the old Star Tours being, and the 3D effects were done really well.

The walk through to the attraction was kind of cool. The beginning part of the queue was very similar, and rather unchanged cosmetically, with R2 forever trying to repair a Starspeeder.

The rest of the queue was changed, though, with droids waiting to be repaired, and a new security scanner that, after being held up in line there for about 5 minutes, started getting REALLY annoying.

After entering the attraction vehicle, I noticed that it just felt more comfortable, and put on my glasses when it started. I'm not going to go into too much detail here, as it's been written about to death online, but for those who aren't aware, there are a ton of random options that this attraction will go through, so it helps keep it from getting stale. My ride consisted of the Vader/Stormtrooper opening, dropping out of hyperspace on Kashyyyk, and then ending up on Naboo. It was a lot of fun.

The family showed up around noon, and the Geekling looked a little thrown off seeing her Dad there after leaving him in Indiana. She was presented with her birthday button and we spent the rest of the day hitting attractions that she loves, like The Little Mermaid, It's a Small World, Peter Pan, and the Carousel.

Sadly, I didn't get any photos from my phone for most of this, as I was honestly paying more attention to her than I was taking photos. There are photos out there, just not mine.

I know she had a wonderful birthday, and I had a fun time.

Back to the swing of things tomorrow, though!
Have a great day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Glitz! The Glamor! The Poverty!

So since we’re on the thread of California, since I’m spending the end of the week out there, I figured I’d throw something else out there.

I used to work in Hollywood.

Nope, you’re not going to find me in a movie or a TV show. You’re not going to see my name on IMDB or in any credits, but I DID spend some time working for an FX Studio.

Now, if I had any credit, it would have been as “The Guy Who Does All The Stuff That No One Else Wants To Do.” Now, to be fair, I had no training. I just had experience building garage kits, fairly poorly I might add. However, a gentleman from the Replica Prop Forum decided to give me a chance.

I started working in their archives, which is a fancy way of saying “Storage Unit,” helping clean pieces, organize molds, and build display stands for an upcoming display/auction. I worked mainly with pieces from Bicentennial Man while I was in there, but I was also surrounded by dead bodies from The Stand, pieces from the Ghost Riders sequence of Blues Brothers 2000, parts from Virus, and spec pieces from Superman Returns, The Hulk and Fantastic Four.

After a few weeks, they pulled me out of the storage unit and moved me up to the main studio to help out in the Foam Room. I learned about foam latex over there; how to prep the stone molds to inject the foam, how to clean the equipment, how to assist in injecting the foam latex into the molds, and how to demold the pieces and get them ready for the next run.

We were running pretty large pieces over spandex suits that were to be used on “The Tick” live-action series. It was while running these pieces that I also learned about the concept of “Back Pressure” when injecting a mold. When you’re injecting the foam latex into a mold, you use a foam gun, which looks like a big hypodermic needle. Well, when you’re done injecting the foam into the mold, you need to pull the handle back a bit to help relieve the pressure. If you don’t, you will have a geyser of blue foam latex erupting out of the mold.
Into the face of the poor assistant who is standing over the injection hole, ready to plug it so the foam doesn’t leak out.

Namely, me.

I’ll just leave that there, and pick up on this later.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Disneyland Time, Part 2

Yesterday, I touched a bit on some of my time as a Disneyland Cast Member, and I’m going to talk a bit more today about that. The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage was not the only attraction that I helped work, although it was my original and it was my favorite. A few months after I was trained on Finding Nemo, I was cross-trained on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.

I didn’t work at Disneyland, I worked at Pixarland.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is an interactive attraction where you take the role of a Space Ranger in your Space Cruiser. There are lasers and targets throughout the attraction that you shoot at. At the end, you get your score and your picture taken, which unlike other attractions where you have to buy it, you can instead email it to yourself. This was a very simple attraction, with a steady rotation and a lot of motion. Instead of standing on a dock, occasionally moving to lift and lower hatches with plenty of time to interact with guests, many times you were on a moving walkway, gesturing where to enter and exit the space cruisers, and trying to make yourself heard over the sound effects.

I never really enjoyed working this attraction, since I loved the spieling at Nemo, and whenever I worked Lightyear, I ended with a headache and having lost my voice. While I did enjoy the constant motion on the sidewalk, the sheer amount of noise in the attraction drove me batty, and I loved the breaks where I was just sitting in the quiet camera room, making sure nothing obscene was going through for people to email themselves. Plus, the attraction never really liked me, having made sure it would break down and have to do an evacuation during my proficiency test when I finished training.

Through the good and the bad, my time at Disneyland is hands down one of my favorite work experiences in my long history of employment. It is a shame that they barely pay over minimum wage, and it’s impossible for a cast member who doesn’t have tenure to get full time, despite any lip service they give you saying that “if you do a good job, you’ll get full time in no time.” They were right, there was no time that I got full time, despite getting guest compliments and recognition from the supervisors of the attractions where I worked. However, I do still have some good friends from the park, and some knowledge and a familiarity with the park that I do like. I do like learning about behind the scenes of theme parks, so having a chance to see places like the Roundhouse where they store the train and Monorails, or Float Storage, or seeing how they did the effects for the subs really were a good thing.

Plus, shaking the hand of Gary Busey is always good bragging rights.

When I left there, I did become an Annual Passholder. Now, Annual Passholders are known to be, well, Passholes sometimes, and that’s something that I tried really hard not to be. I love the park, I know how bad some of the Cast Members have it, so I try not to add to it. The Geekling loves going to the park, and I love going to the park with her and her Mommy.

It was an experience that I’m glad I had the chance to be a part of. California always breaks me financially, but it does give me some great experiences, gifts, and friends.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Disneyland Time, Part 1

Today, I’m in Southern California. I’m at Disneyland, celebrating my daughter’s 3rdbirthday. Since I’m the master of too much info, I’m going to let you know I wrote this early. This has nothing to do with this trip, but instead of my past with the park.

Back in 2008, I was a Cast Member at Disneyland for approximately 8 months. Now, for those who are not familiar, Disneyland is the one in Southern California. It is the original park. A lot of people, especially here in Indiana, hear Disneyland and they automatically think of Walt Disney World down in Florida. This is not the same.

When I worked at Disneyland, I worked in Tomorrowland Attractions. Essentially, this means I was a Ride (Attraction) Operator in Tomorrowland. Remember, Disneyland doesn’t have Rides, it has Attractions. The only ride in Disneyland is Mister Toad’s Wild Ride. Anyway, being an Attractions Host meant that I was responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the attractions I was assigned to/trained on, in addition to providing the whole “Disney Experience” to guests in the park, aka being clean shaven, cheerful, outgoing, helpful and friendly.
I started my time at the Magical Kingdom of Commerce on the newly re-opened Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. This involved driving a large “submarine” on the hunt for Nemo, that little clownfish with the “lucky” fin. Having been based on almost 50 year old Attraction vehicles, these were not computer ran vehicles, but instead ran by a Cast Member in “sail” above water that controls how fast and how slow the sub is running, making sure he doesn’t run into another submarine, and just generally making sure they are giving a good show.

When not driving the subs, we would also be in charge of opening and closing hatches, loading and unloading guests, assigning guests to rows while making sure we aren’t overloading the sub, and working outside the attraction, doing guest control on a line that, at the time, would sometimes reach a 90 minute wait. These were the fun times, where you would try to keep “in theme” while interacting with guests. For example, we worked for NEMO, which stood for Nautical Exploration and Marine Observation. For attraction specific questions and spiels, we’d want to keep that in mind. I always took things a step further, and tried to make as many bad nautical puns as possible. For example, if I were loading guests on to the sub:

“Right this way, Explorers! Welcome about Scout! Please watch your head and step while heading down the stairs, and if you don’t watch your head and step, please watch your language, there are little explorers present. When you reach the bottom of the stairs, please move ALLLL the way down to the end of the row, filling in every available seat. Listen, I know we all love our elbow room, I’m a big guy, I understand, but please, let’s not be shellfish!”

It was fun. It was a good time. I got paid to play. However, I also got paid to deal with people who checked their brains at the gate when they walked in. A comedian I enjoy has a bit about the 3 O’Clock Parade, which is sadly very true. People will walk up to you and ask, in all seriousness, what time the 3 o’clock parade is. It was also very fun trying to figure out which attraction they were asking about while asking for directions. Autotopia was easy, it was Autopia. Magic Mountain was always fun, since there was another amusement park straight up I-5 called Six Flags Magic Mountain. Plus, you’d get folks that were convinced that rides from other parks were in yours, or wondering why Shrek isn’t in the parade, so that was always fun.

Another perk at working at a theme park is SoCal is the celebrity sightings, if you’re into that. I don’t know why it’s never been that big of a deal for me, but it was always kind of cool when you’d look, and there’s Kobe Bryant coming up to the subs with his little ones, or if you look over at the front dock, and there is Penn Jillette boarding the sub. It was interesting, when you’re doing crowd control in front of the Castle before the fireworks, and Gary Busey walks down the line, shaking cast member’s hands and thanking them for the great day. And it was fun seeing the look of gratitude on Gordon Ramsey’s face as you let him and his family through the back door at Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters with a smile and a nod. I enjoyed helping them out like normal people, and helping their day be a bit better.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about Buzz Lightyear and some of my experiences there, as well as general thoughts on the park.

Til Tomorrow,

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beer Money Revisited

Today, I’m going to revisit my “Beer Money” post with some new things I’ve found, and opinions on other things I have been using. Also, I’ll tell you something I’ve learned.
First, on everything I’ve been trying, I’ve been giving a separate Gmail account that I haven’t been using much, for the inevitable Spam overflow. I’ve also been using a TOTALLY different password than I use anywhere else, or than I’ve EVER used anywhere else. I’ve heard good things about these sites, that they are on the up and up, but it’s still better safe than sorry.
Now, I’ll give you my Clover and AppRedeem/AppTrailers opinions. Clover, I have received money off of, but since no one is signing up under me, I haven’t received any extra money to deposit to Amazon. I figure I’m going to give it another week, and if it’s still not doing anything, it’s gone. Invite link is if you would like to check it out, you get started with a bit of money, and I get a bit of money. However, AppRedeem/AppTrailers have been a total waste of time. I understand people are getting good things out of it on the iOS platform, but for Android it is weak sauce. AppRedeem is supposed to give you points for downloading and trying apps. They haven’t changed in the past few weeks, so after I got that initial batch of points, I haven’t been able to score anything. AppTrailers, which is tied in to the same point system, has a very weird system, and I haven’t been able to get more than 20 points a day using it. Since it’s 1000 points for $1 in Amazon, it’s just not worth the time or the effort, or the space on my phone, to use.
Moving on to new sites I’ve been using.
The first is Swag Bucks. Swag Bucks is one of those websites that gives you points for using special offers, surveys, searching, watching videos, and playing games. Yes, a lot of the BIG point items involve purchasing items, or signing up for Netflix for the first time, or something like that, but we’re not looking for instant gratification, are we? Nope, we’re looking for a slow but steady, nickel and dime income for small, fun stuff. Videos are normally worth a point or two, some surveys, if you qualify, are worth quite a bit. I was able to take one last night pertaining to Batman: Arkham City that was worth 100 points. Searches and games will give you random points, and if you follow them on Facebook or Twitter, then they will post up bonus codes for a handful of points. Honestly, I’ve been randomly messing with their site for a couple weeks, and I’ve already got $5 for Amazon coming. And this isn’t from referrals, or large sign up bonuses. Instead, it’s just from doing surveys, searches, about an hour a night as I’m doing other things. I’m not getting that much out of it, but I’m getting equal to what I’m putting into it, so I’m fine with that. It’s money I didn’t have before. Oh, and before I forget, they do have a couple of Android Applications. One is a video player, which I will just leave running at work, which scores me about 50 points max a day. The other, which I don’t use, is a search app that gives you random points for using it, but since I don’t do enough searching on my phone, it’s not worth taking up space.
Another site that I’ve started using is called Superpoints. It is a similar site to Swag Bucks, but they aren’t as easy to score points off of. I’ve been doing videos, surveys, and using their “SuperPoint Button” every day to score points, but I’m not getting as much out of it. They seem to be more on the pyramid level, with referral bonuses, and the ability to earn points when someone below you earns points. They also seem to be pushing the special offers more than the surveys and videos, and I haven’t found an Android app, so I haven’t scored as much. Now, to be fair, I’ve been spending more time on Swag Bucks than on there, so on a day off, I might want to spend some more time actually looking into what it has to offer. Now, one thing I DO know, is if
One thing I’m adding on the blog is a sidebar with my referral links. If you are interested in any of these, please sign up using my referral links, and let me know in the comments. A lot of them will give me an added bonus, and we all like an added bonus. This will be put up next week, so please check back. If you want a referral early, just leave a message in the comments.
Also, if you have one that you use that you would like to recommend, feel free to do so in the comments. However, please respect the fact that, not to be greedy, but this is MY platform, so please don’t put your recruiting links in the comments. I will remove them. You have been forewarned.
Have a great day,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yesterday Was a Partial Wash, or SWAG!

And yesterday was a wash.

Not long after I wrote the blog post, and was training the person who will be covering me at the front desk, I started feeling like someone was squeezing my guts. An hour later, it was a really strong twisting feeling, then at noon, I left for home, where I proceeded to expel the demons for a few hours before falling asleep watching… Honestly, I was so out of it I don’t know WHAT I fell asleep watching. Either way, you know I wasn’t feeling good when I never once opened up my laptop to get on the internet.

I woke up a few hours later feeling drained, but better, got some bland food in my stomach, checked the mail, and got on the Internet. Here, I felt a little better as I started collecting some swag.

First, in the mail, I received a free sample of Kleenex, because hey, free Kleenex. I’ll be keeping it at work as emergency cold catchers. Thanks, Freebies Sub-Reddit.

Also in the mail, I got a Klout perk for Chili’s “2 for 20” steak meal, which is a $25 gift card for Chili’s. Bonus free meal for Shannon and I, thanks to having Klout.

Online, I was able to collect a bit more Swagbucks and cash out for $5 for Amazon, bringing my “beer money” Amazon total to $13. Since I’m not expecting a lot out of it, I’m finding that pretty awesome.

Finally, before I logged off last night, I noticed a Tweet talking about a special on 3D Computer Software, $800 worth for free to get people into design. So, I scored and downloaded that, hopefully to use on a new PC we’re hoping to get by the end of the month.

Needless to say, with Swag coming in, I wasn’t worrying about writing last night. And tonight won’t be much, as I have to pack and get things around for my trip tomorrow afternoon.
I am going to try to get some general reading posts put up for the days I’m gone, though, so we’ll see what happens there, if I can get that done.

I hope you all have a good day, and stay away from the Sugar Free Hot Chocolate.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Can't Write. Busy.

And I’ve been so busy, I wasn’t able to write anything yesterday.
While that bugs me, I’m over it. I did a full month, so I’m feeling pretty good. I figure if I can get 350 blog posts out this year, then I’ve done pretty good.
Today is going to be busy as well, since I have to train an associate at the front desk to cover while I’m gone later this week.
I do have some thoughts to get out, so I might do another posting when I get home, though. However, don’t hold your breath. First, that’s hours away, and second, I might not do it.
Have a great Monday!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Superb Owl 46

I'm really glad that everyone is downtown, having a good time. And trust me, judging from the news I'm seeing, EVERYONE is downtown having a good time.

Me? I'm just sitting here, doing laundry, trying to figure out why everyone is partying and throwing a fuss over an Owl.

I don't care how Superb it is. It's just an owl.

Even though I will admit I shed a tear at the beginning of Deathly Hollows.

Talk at you tomorrow,

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Musings

It’s Friday. The day to fry something up. Like bacon. Everybody fry up some bacon for FryDay.
Anyway, so ends another week. I really need to pump up the exercise over the weekend, and I’m certain I’ll be able to since I WON’T BE GOING ANYWHERE!
It’s Indianapolis, it’s Super Bowl Weekend, and we are full of football fans. I remember the football types in high school, and I know I won’t stand a chance out there. I just figure I’m going to make sure I’m stocked with food, and I’m just going to watch Netflix, play games, and hit the fitness center this weekend. At least, I wish I could.
I still have some family tech support this weekend, mainly heading out to my folks place to back up my mom’s Office files and install a new version of Microsoft Office. I also need to check up on my father’s laptop, make sure everything is okay, and make sure he doesn’t need anything else installed. Then, I need to make sure I have everything ready for the trip to California next week, load up some Doctor Who on the Netbook, and make sure my Zune and Nook are totally updated. Make sure I have shorts packed, I have my toiletries, and my room booked.
I’ll be staying at the Candy Cane Inn off property. Now, off property at Disneyland just means you’re about as far as the parking garage is, just in the opposite direction. Plus, they don’t charge for parking, they have a nice breakfast buffet, and free wi-fi for when I’m NOT at the park, so I might be able to get something up after all. Just, don’t hold your breath. Which, I know you are.
I love that whenever you get a refund from TurboTax they say “That’s money in your pocket.” I’d rather of had that money in my pocket months ago when it was initially taken out. I guess that’s just life when you’re living in America. I guess I’m at least getting a little back, especially since I earned a pittance last year. However, a pittance is still better than nothing, so I’ve got that going for me.
With that being said, does anyone know an affordable body shop in the Indianapolis area that could work on a Scion xb’s rear bumper?
‘Til tomorrow,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day

All right folks! Good morning! It’s Groundhog Day! Two things I want to get off my chest today.

First, according to Punxsutawney Phil, we have six more weeks of winter. So, we’re going to have a six week winter this year? The rest of winter has been pretty weak sauce so far. It’s been in the 60’s this week, for crying out loud! Those Super Bowl Scarves that the volunteers received are looking pretty silly!

Second, and I’m only going to say this once: If anyone walks up to me today, trying to re-enact any of the scenes from the film “Groundhog Day,” I’m going to punch them square in the junk. You’re not Bill Murray. You’re not funny. Just stop.

I hope you all have a great day!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Month, New Post

All right, it’s a new month and I’m still at it.

First off, today is my wife’s birthday, so happy birthday to her. I’ve already posted on Facebook and sent her a text, because that really shows you care, right?

Second, It’s one week until I fly out to California for the Geekling’s birthday. I’m planning on heading out on Wednesday night and surprising her when they get off the tram at Disneyland on Thursday morning. I’ll be out there until Saturday, when I’ll be on a plane all day and get home late that night. I figure there will be no blog postings on those days, because I can’t guarantee internet connectivity, and I don’t want to type it out on my phone’s keyboard or on the mini-keyboard on the Netbook I’m bringing with me.

I’m not a fan of flying. Even when I’m smaller, I’m not quite built to cram into a small seat with two other people. I hate sitting still for a 3-4 hour stretch, with nothing to entertain me than a movie or three, my Nook, and my Zune. People don’t want to converse. If you try to be friendly, they look at you like you’re a freak, or worse. All you can really do is stick your headset in, sit back, and pray for the purgatory to be over soon, or at least one of those peanuts to get lodged in your throat to end it even quicker.

I could keep going, but every two bit comedian and hack writer has touched on how lousy flying is, and this two bit comedian/hack writer isn’t going to dwell on it.

Now, while I’m out there, I’ve got some things I need to do. First and foremost is surprising my daughter at the Magic Kingdom, so called because when you visit, POOF! Magically, all of your life savings have disappeared because you wanted a churro. However, it’s a good time, and the Geekling loves it. I’m sure I will have multiple trips on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, It’s a Small World, and The Little Mermaid, and I’m looking forward to getting a picture with her on the Carousel and bringing her on Peter Pan, which she has recently watched and started digging on. Personally, I just want a couple trips on the new Star Tours, so hopefully I can snag that.

Also, while I’m out in Sunny Southern California, I need to meet up with some friends for some pie, get some pastrami at The Hat, and see if I can get my butt over to Burbank to try to find some stuff at a great Army/Navy Surplus store over there that I really enjoy.

Then, when I come back, I get to write all about it.

I’ll make sure to take plenty of pictures, see if I can throw in some actual visuals on this blog every once and a while.