The Oh! Manatee Tour – Day 2

We leave the Sea Chest hotel with its expansive bedroom and kitchenette (I love the word “kitchenette” – makes me think the fridge should be wearing a mini skirt) and we hit the road back to Weeki Watchee.

I’m glad we did.

It started to rain the moment we pulled in, but we were undeterred. We were here to see Mermaids, dammit! And so was half of the Bible Belt of central Florida apparently. We had some time to kill before the show so we decided to take a small boat tour of the spring run-off down to the ocean. While in line two families were discussing their past weekend which included a trip to Starbucks (they made it sound like they were visiting New York City for the first time) and the sermon one mother was giving another outside of Sunday church.

“Her beliefs are not MY beliefs because I believe in the GOSPEL!”

This went on for a while and I eventually stopped listening to the nattering.

Boat ride over, we headed to the Mermaid theatre.

It was spectacular.

It was the most surreal piece of theatre I’ve ever seen.

It was America times one thousand.

It was a cast of 5 kids in mermaid outfits (one doubled up with mermaid/creepy turtle costume) huffing air from garage tire hoses while they swam round and mouthed the words to songs that were one note off from Disney copyright.

It was unconsciously sexist. The opening number was about how mermaids would make horrible wives, men! Mermaids, we are told, do not  cook or clean so just get use it and look at beauty. The choreography incorporated rump and breast shaking as a metaphor for celebration. There were no Mermen.

It was not to be missed.

SharkBoy and I just looked at each other when the lights came up and burst into laughter.

We got back into the car and booted it down the interstate to Bonita Springs. After checking into our 90% powerless hotel (a burnt out transformer next to the hotel means reduced room rate!) we headed over to Captiva Island and The Bubble Room Restaurant.

The Bubble Room is decorated as if Pee Wee Herman had a psychotic break. Slightly pricey but worth the visit. When we arrived the waiter (dressed in Bubble Scout uniform with a felt roast chicken on his head) sat us in the Honeymoon Nook. We were forced to sit side by site looking out over the restaurant for all to see – THAT WE WERE IN LOVE. awww! I had the Some Like it HOT HOT HOT shrimp (yes, they were) and SharkBoy had the Marilyn Mignon. After desert and drinks, it came to about $80.

We did a bit of a photo safari after dinner and came across a large scale Nautilus sub in the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea room, from the movie of the same name. The waiter said it was one of 3 left in the world. I touched it. It was like touching James Mason’s beard.

We drove back home along Captiva Island where the homes start in the $1M range. Beautiful. Just before hitting the hotel we found a tacky mini golf place and SharkBoy won by 2 strokes.

Sleep came fast.

The Oh! Manatee Tour – Day 1

Here’s the first day of our Oh! Manatee Tour for you to look at! Look!

As you may recall SharkBoy and I worked Andrew’s PWA Garage Sale (as well as the Fabulous BobaFuss, Doug, TK Butters, Kevin and many others) all day Saturday the night before, so we were very tired when the alarm went off at 3:30am.*

The flight down to Florida was uneventful but full at 6am, Sunday. The first two weeks of September are usually the best for seeing things in Florida with an unobstructed view of kids. But the flight was full of them, regardless. Thankfully they were as dead as we were – quiet flight!

We grabbed our rental car, a silver Dodge Avenger (I wanted a cape on it) and headed straight to Silver Springs.  Sharkboy says (via the ever trustworthy internet) that this is where Creature of the Black Lagoon was filmed. When I posed a pic on Instagram, I got one person disputing that fact, even though the oldest tour guide in the history of mankind repeatedly showed us crystal clear spring water holes where the Creature menaced many a fair young maiden.

I also got to sit beside the Smelliest Feet Girl in all of Florida. Her mouth was pretty dirty too. “Look at that FUCKING turtle!!”

Back into the car where we spent the rest of the afternoon driving to  Weeki Watchee – home of the “City of Mermaids”

So we got a little lost, the iPad/paper map wasn’t helping much and we decided to motor down to our first hotel without finding it.

On our ride to the hotel, we decided that an early start and return to Weeki Watchee would be a good idea, even if it meant losing out on seeing the Gloria Swanson Memorial Parking Lot. We were going to find that eventually finding the Mermaid city was going to be a highlight of the trip…

At this point we were starting to get an idea of how long the distances between our road side attractions were going to be. A lot. But we both like car trips so it wasn’t an issue, however we found ourselves planning the next day under the cover of whatever hotel’s wifi we had access too. It kind of killed our free spirited travel concept.

First hotel: The Sea Chest Motel in Treasure Island, Clearwater FL. I liked it! 50s swank meets sad end-of-season destitution with clean rooms, comfy beds and working AC. The partying over 50s that hung out by our window were a bit of a worry but they were respectful and clammed up at 10pm.

 

*Beeteedubs, the Garage sale netted in over $1900 woo!!

Fan Expo 2014

I’m over-tired right now. Trooping really is a young man’s game, but I did my best not to faint from heat, exhaustion and nerd BO (mine in particular)

Here’s some of the best shots of the weekend when I had a moment to take shots…

 

 

 

Escape from Tomorrow

escapefromtomorrow“The Cat Flu!”

Let’s address the elephant in the room, even if Disney won’t. Escape from Tomorrow is filmed almost entirely on Disney Parks property, without Disney’s knowledge or consent. Tales of how the director cued his actors with cell phones and filmed scenes with regular “vacation” sized cameras while filming guerrilla-style in Magic Kingdom came out when EfT debut at Sundance. It gained a lot of buzz and everyone held their breath to see what The Mouse would do.

The Mouse said nothing.

Probably the best thing it has done with regards to protecting their brand. Especially since Disney has a policy/habit of suing people out of existence for breaching their walls. Any action on their part  would generate more buzz for the movie, but their silence was win/win for everyone involved: Disney didn’t come off as assholes and the director got to keep his movie.

Escape from Tomorrow tries really hard to be an updated Eraserhead with a lot of nods to David Lynch’s unforgettable film. Mirroring themes of hidden worlds, there is hommage to The Girl Behind the Radiator in the form of Siemens scientists living under Spaceship Earth without DisBEEEP’s knowledge of them being there. Or blood as black as pitch being used as symbols of deconstruction, degradation. EfT has a lot to thank Mr Lynch for.

It’s not a stellar film. It suffers from pacing issues and what I regard to be serious character flaws. I found the film distracting for me: I was getting pulled away from “why things are happening” within the story to “how things are happening”. For the first part of the film I was reverse-engineering the scenes instead of taking them in. I attribute that to being a total Disneyphile. Not too many people will notice that a couple chunks of the movie is actually filmed in Disneyland, CA but we did. SharkBoy speculated that the production might have come under suspicion by The Mouse and moved their operation to Florida to complete the movie, hence why the jump between parks.

I would agree to that. The film suffers from too many establishing shots. Most of the movie seems like it’s filled with a lot of WE’RE IN DISNEYWORLD! LOOK!! LOOK!! kind of punches in the face. A lot of short script exchanges happen within somewhat secluded areas of the parks, away from suspecting security guards, I suppose. Like one scene near Tomorrowland Terrace where not a lot of people go (except for smokers) which has a great view of the Castle is possibly the longest scripted moment within the movie, on property. Little actual plot points are filmed within these park shots. Long expositional moments take place in hotel rooms or with actors in front of green screens.

One thing that did bother me was the way the lead character, Jim, seemed not to react to his initial descent into insanity. While on “it’s a Small World” ride he turns to see his wife lean into the frame and slo-mo the line “I HATE YOU…” complete with the atypical fisheye lens used from Jim’s perspective, which we all know in movie symbolism is “We’re party to someone’s hallucinations!” Jim’s reaction is to blink. Next, his son’s eyes become complete black orbs inside his head. His only comment is to say “There’s something wrong with Elliot.” and then… nothing. He rubs his eyes, grunts and shrugs it off. His non-reaction to these moments doesn’t lead us to believe that he’s sinking into madness, but actually make us think these are everyday occurrences. There are a few switch-back moments where we gladly play along with Jim’s delusions but the entire movie, he seems rather unfazed that he’s losing his grip with reality. It’s frustrating for us not to see some sort of balance here.

SharkBoy mentions that to actually have Jim react like we’d expect him to while on It’s a Small World (or anywhere else in the park, publicly) would have attracted a lot of attention. Which again, I agree to. Nitpicky points. But kind of essential to take us out of ourselves and have him acknowledge that something is frightfully wrong.

In all I really enjoyed EfT, technically and story-wise. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Randy Moore in the future. I give it 3 Spaceship Earth Scanner helmets out of 5.

 

 

Garage Sale Update

Last weekend was our (I guess now) annual PWA yard sale fundraiser held during the massive Cabbagetown Festival.

Saturday was a washout with all the rain. I’d like to officially apologize to TJ, Jordan and Doug for cancelling their costumed appearance but I think I saved you guys a good soaking. It was a good thing I didn’t reschedule for Sunday because it was “neuken mentale” as the Dutch say.

Loosely Translated: fucking mental. Seriously.

The crowds were out at 8.30am when we walked over to Postbear’s house to start setting up. As we started to pull things out of his basement, there was a line up forming. We opened at 10am, sharp and literally the three of us, postbear, SharkBoy and I, were swarmed with all manner of shoppers. And it didn’t let up at all.

Needless to say I could not have put on my TD armour at all. Though I did get a couple people asking me where the Stormtrooper was this year! So definitely next year!

The Bad: The guy who stiffed me $0.40 on a $3 glassware purchase AFTER we haggled for 10 min about the price. Yes, I punctuated my argument with “IT’S GOING TO CHARITY!” A

The Really Bad: We had quite a few things stolen right from under our noses. The yard is big, there was a super amount of stuff from one end to the other and maybe some of the “missing” stuff might have been legitimately bought and we forgot about the purchase but all three of us conferred at the end of the day on certain transactions and discovered that some things walked away without being paid for. I don’t know why people think it’s cool to steal, but apparently there are horrid people in the world. I hope they enjoy stealing from a registered charity.

The Good: We must have had 40-50 boxes of stuff. At the end of the day (it was getting onto dusk when we finally packed up the remnants), I would say there were 10 good sized boxes left – we’re talking those 16 gallon Rubbermaid thingers. So nearly all sold!

The Gooder: All three of us, during the madness of sales, had at least one person come up to us and stuff money into our hands for NO REASON AT ALL. Remember when I said I was bitter? This kind of kills that vibe. We were so busy we couldn’t set up a donation tub, and we probably couldn’t have kept our eye on it anyway. So it was great to see people organically giving money. Thank you random strangers!

The Goodest: We raised over $1400. There is still a couple outstanding sales, post-sales, that might push us over the $1500 limit but there we are. Think about that for a moment. Imagine moving/selling that much stuff through an afternoon of crazy.

Postbear has given the money to PWA to be distributed to a few needy channels within the foundation, like their foodbank.

Already postbear is talking up next year. Ideas are churning. Volunteers are being organized. Things are happening…

I have to single out Andrew (postbear) for all his hard work in organizing this amazing day. He worked really hard and long on making sure the yard was level, the stuff was donated and delivered on time and hauled his “never out of bed before 2pm” ass up and moving at 8am. Thanks for a great day!

Happy anniversary!

I’ve had an awesome weekend, thank you very much!

Friday, I picked up my new toy: a GoPro Hero 3 and started to snap pics with it. See below. Expect fun videos of rides at Disney!

Saturday we picked up new luggage for next month. Light ones, since we’ll be gone a long time and dick chomping goombas Air Canada are charging for your luggage Expect us to not fly AC unless we absolutely have to!

Then we went to Skyfall, the latest Bond movie, which was cool.

Sunday, I woke to a book of retro Disney posters and handed my loving husband his 22 disk Blu Ray set of all the Bond movies (with an empty spot for when Skyfall comes out). Yay anniversary gifts!!

Then we went to the Bond exhibit at the Bell Lightbox. It was cool, but most of the items were replicas and not actual props. But cool, none the less.

We were going to go out for steak, but my cough has returned (not as strong, or startling but annoyingly just as hard) – I can’t tell if I’m having a cold attached to the tail end of my whooping cough, or if its just an extended bump. I’m feeling better as I type this and not taking any chances.

I hope your weekend was awesome!

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Thank you Thank you Thank you

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Foto by Glenna Williams Via Facebook

The day came and went without a hitch. I admit I was nervous, this being my first organized event (sort of, ish,) through the 501st and  I didn’t want to besmirch their good name. I was fawning over Katherine, manager of the President’s Choice Cooking School at the Loblaws at Carlton and Church, thanking her every 2 seconds for the use of her room/office.

Katherine was utterly awesome. She didn’t have to give up her office for our duffel bags, or stick around until 4pm on a Sunday to wait until we were back and changed, but she did. She, ladies and gentlemen, is a TROOPER.

Why did I fawn? The YMCA over on Grovesnor, the 519 Community Centre and the support staff at the Toronto District School Board dismissed me with rude indifference when I approached them for loan of a change room for the day – in a couple cases, my emailed rejection responses sounded like the recipients had not bothered to read my initial emails. When Katherine so easily said yes, I was in a bit of shock at how nice she was. I will say that if I ever need use of any of the Y, the 519, or the TDSB, I will think twice. And you should all go enroll in a class at the PC Cooking School (they do Sushi!)!!

In the end, it seems I had no worries at all, thanks largely to the seasoned troopers that had signed up for the event. These guys were on time, ready and entertaining, even after the LONG walk they had to endure in their outfits. I did hear one say that “it wasn’t every day he gets to walk up Yonge Street in full gear” so I think they had a good day!

In the end, we raised over $2300 for ACT. And I thank all of you readers for putting up with my calls for money over the last month.

I felt the day was a bit under-attended in comparison to previous years, but I think it was due to the short rain fall just before the walk. That or people just don’t care much anymore. Global TV was the only news outlet to put the walk on their main, 6pm news while CP24 and CityTV did mention the walk briefly on their mega-everything-gets-largely-ignored-OCD-news-channels. Also, the walk was in direct competition with the Bowel Cancer walk, somewhere else in the city.

Still, the message got out there. I did have to explain to someone why Star Wars characters were at the event. “I’m sure someone out there infected with HIV liked Star Wars,” I said, in creepy past-tense.

Today, I am sore. Like “old guy” kinda sore. I’m not 21 anymore.

Again, to all who helped, my heartfelt thanks.