This will be the final posting from my apartment in Orlando. I have cancelled my internet connection and need to take the router back to Brighthouse and close my account. This past week has been pretty crazy getting everything sorted out and trying to hang out as much as possible with all my friends I’ll be sad to leave behind. I’ve had a great last few days at the office aswell as some extracurricular lunches, salons, theme parks, and wrestling tapings. I am going to miss a lot of people when I leave and will always look back on these past two years with fond memories. I will be back often visiting and crashing on everyone’s couches (just so you know guys) so this is far from good bye. Tomorrow is my last day at the office and we have organized a little get-to-gether at the Ale House after work before I head out. Sarah and I are heading out to the Godzik’s for a BBQ later today then stopping by Henry’s T-Bar to watch the Skins game. The apartment is packed for the most part with just a few extraneous jobs remaining. All that’s left is to turn in my keys and pack up the car really. It’s all happening very fast- will post again when able, probably from VA.
Friday night I me up with Sue and Arnold and Arnold’s sisters to head downtown to Cheyenne Salon on Church Street. I had never been before but had heard a lot about the place. Before hitting the bar we went to Hamburger Mary’s, a really interesting restaurant with a retro ‘saved-by-the-bell style’ going. The unique thing about Mary’s is their wait staff. The restaurant only employs flamboyantly gay guys to be the waiters. Each waiter has a different colored shirt on and unasbashfully brings out the food and drinks. Madonna and Celine Dion blasts over the sound system, and they bring out your check in a red stiletto. The whole place was pretty fun and the food was really good. A different approach to downtown dining for sure and a place I’d recommend if you want a big old burger in a place that’s out of the ordinary.
After eating far to much we headed down the street to the saloon. Sue’s good friend ‘Jet’ was there playing with his band, and Sue was on the guest list and we all got in for free which was pretty cool. The place was amazing. The whole area focused around a center stage right where you walk in, and has bars and tables set up around the perimeter. There are stairs in the back leading up to a 2nd level overlooking the stage, then a second and third set after that leading up to the fourth floor looking down over the floors below overhanging the stage. It’s pretty cool, and was packed solid. For some reason the waitress thought I was with a special event that was also taking place there, as all my drinks came to me and didn’t cost a thing despite my best efforts to figure out my tab. Can’t beat that- best saloon ever! Jet’s band was really great and had everyone singing along and rocking out, he’s quite the showman. After the set we went to go talk with the band for a little before heading home. Really fun night. Glad I got to go hang with the Wolfgang’s before heading back to VA.
Wednesday was the employee-only night for Halloween Horror Nights 08. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been to three of these bad boys already. This one was definitely one of the most fun. George, Bruce, Rio, Greg and I went out for the ‘Advanced Screaming’ and had a great time. Some of the houses where a little dubious, but I know it was essentially a test night for a lot of the scare-actors and a fair few of the effects where not running until the full event starts this weekend. This year they had a focus on ‘scare zones’ much more than previous iterations, and the result works really well. Instead of the occasional characters wandering around between the haunted houses, there were five or six themed areas that where flooded with people waiting to scare you. They ranged from a crashed school bus filled with evil trick-or-treaters to chainsaw wielding guys in straight jackets.
My favorite area was themed after a twisted version of the Wizard of Oz. A creepy version of all of the main characters where wandering around in the fog while a wicked witch set fire too the rooftops. However the coolest part was defiantly the flying monkeys who swung from two of the soundstages across the path. It was very cool, and decidedly eerie. There was also a warped version of Alice in Wonderland and a few other classic fairy tales gone wrong. As always Bill and Ted where back for their Halloween Adventure show, which was pretty hilarious. The McCain and Obama parodies where pretty damn funny, as where some of the others the managed to fit in. There was a little too much Hellboy for my liking, considering I never saw it (did anyone!?) but the Speed Racer spoof more than made up for it.
Moving is tough. Not only do you once again have to address the fact that you own too much ‘stuff’ and have to find ways to box it all up; but in some cases you have to part with things that you can’t take with you. My couch, entertainment center and mattress are all spoken for, as is my computer desk and chair. Everything else should fit in the car. I am typing this sitting on a folding chair at a card table with monitors on it, and my video gaming and movie watching as been largely done on the floor. Arnold has been great helping me ship most of my stuff through the warehouse, so a lot of my things are already piling up in VA. I’ll be making the drive up with everything else with Sarah on Tuesday after doing my apartment inspection as soon as the office opens that morning. Least that’s the plan!
Nick and Nora apparently have an infinite play list, which sounds interesting- interesting enough for them to make a movie out if it apparently. Tony and Amanda snagged some advanced screening invites for Thursday and passed on a couple to me. Jason and I headed down to Downtown Disney to catch the flick and meet up with the guys for the showing. Unfortunately due to communication issues we ended up stuck outside the overbooked show and had to miss it. Oh well. We made the sot of it and chilled out at the Irish pub for a bit and wandered around the Virgin Megastore for a while scoping out the latest and greatest in the Blu-Ray section. All in all not a bad evening, it was cool to chill with Jason a bit before leaving, and I never was really sold on the movie anyway. Apparently it was pretty good- but ‘free’ probably lended a helping had in that review.
Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling is the WWE’s biggest competitor right now, and has a decent roster of wrestlers old and new. They are based out of Florida and do a lot of their TV tapings in the soundstages at Universal. Last Wednesday was a taping and Bruce and I where planning on going. That morning Bruce was on property for some Hulk tapings and was working with a guy who operates a lot of the video productions on the park, including TNA. Bruce mentioned that we where planning on going and the guy told him that he’d get us reserve seats. We show up after work and there is a guy waiting for us outside. We where running a little late leaving the office and where worried that we might have missed the boat. The guy escorts us through to the backstage area and out to our seats that where front and center at ringside.
Very cool seats; I should reach out and touch the ring if I’d wanted too. At one point a jobber got tossed into the railing in front of us and smashed the hell out of my knee against the metal. If he was a big name or a cool character then I’d have had no problem but being that he was a member of a team called ‘Beer Money’ I was generally more interested in the bruising rather than patting him on the back and getting on TV. Booker T was there, who is one of my favorites from my wrestling-fan days, as where a few other big names like Sting and the Dudley Boys. There where two ring girls there to amp the crowd up who took too standing right next to us which was also nice to see.
After the show let out people where being escorted through the park in groups due to a special event taking place that night. We skipped the lines with our IDs and wandered out though the backstage area. We ran into Sharkboy while leaving which was pretty cool. Afterward we hit up the Ale House for pitchers and lobster (a first for me) which was a pretty good way to cap off the night.
On Tuesday Bruce and I attended another seminar hosted by PEI to check out the latest software and listen to some experts do a few presentations using new gear. Unfortunately this presentation centered around Final Cut Server, a program that I don’t use or really plan on utilizing in the near future. As with most seminar style things the boring people spoke for far too long and the interesting bits went by too quickly. Afterwards we were ushered into another room and fed- which makes even the most tedious presentations worthwhile. They where giving away prizes, and good ones at that. The guy sitting next to me netted a full CS 3 suite, and some lucky punk whose ticket number was just 2 way from mine grabbed some nifty 3D packages. Food was good and they had a bar in the back, so all in all it was an interesting night.
Lighting storm’s are nothing out of the ordinary during the average work day her in Orlando. Florida’s storms tend to last for about 20 minutes then peter out, but can get rather intense for their brief duration. Last week there was a strike of lightning that made my desk shudder and freaked out most of the people in the office. ‘That sounded close’ was the general murmur down the hall. Moments later Henry came on the PA to announce that a tree at end of the parking lot by the lake had been struck and was on fire. So of course I ran out and got a snappy. You can’t really tell but the neighboring trees have lines of fire running up them, and the center tree (the strike-e) is in a crater surrounded by a ring of fire. The authorities showed up within minutes and contained the fire before it got any real size going. The area smelled like burnt wood till the end of the work day. You may recognize this area from a previous posting. Apparently its where all the action goes down in our area.
Saturday was Hayden’s 3rd birthday and Sue and Arnold had a Super Hero-Themed party planned for the little guy (well not so little these days). It’s crazy to think its been a year since I went to his last party…anyway, the moon-bounce was back, this time with Batman allover it, and everything from the decorations and banners to plates and wrapping paper was dripping in Spider-man. I made a surprise visit for the kids dressed as Spider-man in a costume Sue and Arnold had been tracking down a few weeks prior. Arnold’s sister’s helped sew me into the costume which was admittedly a little big on me and had a few issues (weak Velcro holding the back up and a mask that hung limp. However with a few on-the-fly modifications involving a red panty hose and a lot of careful threading we made a pretty good stab at the web-head. I made my entrance by popping up over the fence and jumping in on the party while al the kids where in the back yard.
Upon my landing (slash tumbling) into the yard three kids screamed and bolted inside, parent following. The remaining kids however, Hayden included where really excited to see Spider-man leap into the party and posed for pictures and gratuitous high-fives all round. After webbing Hayden with a can of silly-string and bouncing with the kids in the moon bouncy for a bit I made an exit and darted for the bathroom to get out of the suit. It was 100 degrees midday Saturday and I was DYING in that getup! After tearing of my stitched on suit and changing back into my Peter Parker attire I rejoined the party, sitting quietly in the back under some AC with some heavily iced drinks.
It was a lot of fun and I’m really glad to get to be a part of what I am sure will be remembered as a great birthday for the little guy and all his friends there. Sue and Arnold went all out for him and I’m sure everyone there appreciated it, especially Hayden. I signed a three year deal and will be returning next year as either Buzz Lightyear or Batman, depending on who’s more popular.
Burn After Reading is a movie about incompetence and arrogance, and how a situation can spark from something seemingly benign and snowball into something almost incomprehensible. The real joy with this snowball is the where it ends up though, which makes for an odd movie to review. I feel almost unable to write an traditional review simply because I think that by commenting on any specifics I’d be ruining it for anyone one who thinks they might potentially catch the film. The way it develops, unfolds and concludes is done in a quirky, and largely original way that really gives it it’s appeal. What I can say with confidence is that I liked it a lot, though I see its shortcomings enough not to be blown away.
The casting is a mixed bag with some big names is quirky roles mixed in with some other castings that fall flat in many ways. Don’t worry though, as the character’s played by Cloony, Pit, Malcovich and Simmons outshine the shortcomings. I will say that the movie takes a somewhat unexpected turn about halfway though and changes its tone and direction when wrapping up. This will either ruin the movie for you or make it even more absurdly hilarious. The theater I was in had the audience laughing out loud through the credits, but there was one couple who clearly where done and got up and left. I really want you to like this movie, but I feel that by selling it, I’d be doing it a disservice. It’s not perfect and it’s not what you will expect (most likely) but its worth catching if you have a spare few hours this weekend.
So I have decided that schlepping all my furniture back up to VA is going to cost more than its worth- literally. I priced U-Hauls, the AutoTrain and PODs, and came to the conclusion that my couch and computer desk (the only two pieces of particular personal value) are just not going to make the cut unfortunately. SO I have been posting flyers and pimping my wares to co-workers and friends hoping to move the stuff and make a little gas money. So far the couch is spoken fore, as is the desk, the computer chair, my mattress and the bed frame. Smaller items like the folding chairs, workout gear and sock draw are taken care of too. All that’s really left is the TV entertainment center. Not bad for week one of my ‘Everything Must Go’ sale. Shouldn’t be too hard to push the rest of the stuff. Fingers crossed.
P.S: No the image doesn’t really make any sense…. But I think of this guy and his Tupperware whenever the word ‘schlepping’ comes up.
Yesterday Bruce and I headed to SeaWorld to use our respective methods of getting into the park for free. Bruce being a Universal employee gets in whenever he likes, and I have a free pass good till the end of the year as part of a ‘Buy One Day- Come Back All Year’ ticket. We very much skipped the majority of the fish and rides and focused on the Anheiser Busch aspect of the park. After a fair few samples and a round of the tasting class we caught a show and a ride before heading out. Afterwards we met up with Henry and his friends up at the Wing House and put a dent in as many pitchers and wings as they where allowed to serve us. It was a fun day- if not a little heavy on the beers in retrospect.
Viva Piñata- the most addictive game on the 360 is back with a sequel. I traded in a few of my more irritating titles and picked it up last week. I anticipate a fair few late nights on the couch (till I sell it) tending to the game. If I don’t answer the phone odds are that’s why, sorry in advance.
Sarah brought some Kinoki foot pads on her recent trip after I commented about always wanting to try them. If you aren’t familiar the pads stick to your feet and draw out all your body’s impurities and toxins through your soles. Sound pretty hockey eh? Well I have wanted to give them a shot since seeing them on TV but never brought myself to actually doing it. I am still very skeptical as to the ‘toxins’ part of it all but after a few nights of trying them out I have to say they are getting some nasty looking stuff out of somewhere when it comes time to take them off in the morning. I fell so rejuvenated!
So it’s official. Come the end of the month I will be moving back to Virginia. It’s going to be hitting the two year mark next week since I left, and while I have had a lot of fun, met some fantastic people and had some really interesting experiences down here, its time for me to head back home.
The guys at work understand that I need to go, but are sad to see me leave. Though they are interested in keeping me on the Colorvision team long-distance on a freelance basis, which is terrific news. The creative outlet that the job offers, as well as the great team I work with are not things I want to have to give up, and it’s nice to know that the feeling is mutual. I plan on spending the remaining weeks here with the great friends I’ve made and enjoy the people who have made this two-year venture so easy and memorable.
p.s. does anyone need a couch?
Brighthouse- my internet provider just left a few hours ago after hooking my internet back up. It went down mid last week much to my chagrin and I’ve been limping along sans-internet since. After a good hour or so of phone calls, being on hold and trouble shooting with tech support, it turns out that the connectors outside of my building has been knocked loose, I’m guessing when they installed the cable for my new upstairs neighbors or something of that nature. Oh well its back now and not a moment to soon. Its sad how reliant I am on the net, but I am very glad to have it back!
The real tragedy here is that Hamlet 2, as a comedy is not as funny as the tragedy it’s based on. This is one of those movies where if you have seen the commercial you have latterly seen all it has to offer. There is nothing that brought a smile to my face that I hadn’t seen in the ads, and while that is to be expected somewhat with most films, this movie really did pour all the chuckles into a 30 second spot- which tells you something about the remaining 1 hr 30 min.
I will say that the movie deserves some recognition for the charming character interactions between Katherine Keener and David Arquette’s ‘Gary’. The conversations between the two are priceless and do ad some level of depth to the otherwise cardboard characters. Everyone else on screen is written and acted to fulfill a specific role in the film and does nothing to seem like a believable, likable or even very funny addition to the cast. The real shame is with Steve Coogan though, who as the lead is as unbalanced and random as Homer Simpson as far as teetering between quirky and absentminded to downright retarded. This imbalance makes it hard to find him funny and makes the plot borderline irrelevant by the half-way-point.
It seems the whole movie was geared around the Jesus musical at the end, which while funny, isn’t worth the build up and drudgery leading up to it. Unfortunately the only thing that will be remembered about this movie is the catchy interlude “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” and that’s only because I cant get the annoying chorus out of my head.
So Castle Crashers is the best Xbox game ever (at the moment) and there is no further purpose to this post that to try and convince you to download it for your 360 (or buy a 360 and download it if you are that far behind). It’s a multiplayer brawler akin to the old Simpson’s / Ninja Turtles arcade cabinets, and I totally love it. Unfortunately I don’t have anyone on my friends list who has the game to hack and slash besides me with. That’s where you come in. Go grab all the stuff you need at a Labor Day sale and meet me online. Oh yeah Happy Labor Day. Now go.
Yesterday Sarah and I headed out to Melbourne beach to hang out on the water with Sarah (work-Sarah) and Neil and to help move Jenn’s overly heavy furniture into her moving Pod. She decided last week she was moving back to Chicago on Tuesday…short notice. I was a shame to see her go even after the short time I’ve hung out with her, but I know her absence is going to be hard for Sarah and Neil who have known her forever. We hung out together at the apartment and grabbed some lunch at a steakhouse down the road. Then we grabbed desserts from a little market and hung out on the beach. The weather was far from delightfully sunny (as one expects at a Florida beach) but we had a good time walking along the shoreline and just chilling for a bit. Ali (a friend of everyone else) was there with her son Devin who was pretty adorable, so we spent some time throwing shells into the water and talking about Ninja Turtles (as adults do) though he did seem a little afraid of Squid-Man-Tree (see below). After a long and overly sweaty carried back we called it a night. After stopping for some pain killers for my blown out back of course (damn you all-wood-furniture and narrow stairways!).