Archive for May, 2008

OrangeJuice: Home Suite Home

In 1998 a new Tomorrowland debuted at Disneyland. It featured an empty Submarine lagoon, an old rickety Space Mountain, a transplanted attraction from Florida and an ill-advised and ill-fated new attraction called the Rocket Rods. The later would close before the turn of the century and the transplant, Innoventions, would eventually become a mere shadow of its Florida predecessor.

These days Tomorrowland is fresher and sharper than the “new” version unleashed in 1998. Space Mountain is a sparkling gem, Buzz Lightyear has taken up residence in the Circlevision Theater, a gleaming new fleet of monorails are on the tracks and the Submarines are once again cruising through the icy blue waters of the lagoon. But what of Innoventions? Is it still the attraction that time forgot? The answer is a resounding “no”.

The bottom floor of the old Carousel Theater, the current home of Innoventions, is under major construction. The Mayor of Tomorrowland (that’s Tom Morrow for you layman) got his eviction notice and the Innoventions Dream House is moving in. The sprawling interactive, live action, free form exhibit will span the entire bottom floor including the rotating outer ring. It’s real technology on display that you can touch and feel. You don’t have to settle for watching Cast Members demonstrate how the technology works, you will have the ability to walk right into the modern abode and put it to use yourself – no restrictions.

The exhibit features every technological marvel they could cram in and a character family that wanders through the house interacting with guests and living out the daily dramas of being a modern family in a modern home. It’s like nothing you’ve encountered in any Disney Park around the world. So keep your balls peeled to see how the new concept works. Will the openly accessible techno-toys prove to be too troublesome to manage and maintain? Only time will tell.

What I can tell you is, the new Dream House is finally living up to what Innoventions has been promising all along: new technology in everyday application. Are you sure this doesn’t belong in Fantasyland? [smirk] All joking aside, it’s a smart and welcome addition to the new new Tomorrowland. Now if only they would bring back the People Mover.

OrangeJuice: Midway Madness

Are you ready to get in a really really really long line? The construction walls are just about to come down over at Disney’s California Adventure in the Paradise Pier district and Toy Story Midway Mania is almost ready for the public’s prying eyes. The attraction with the overly wordy title is in its final test and adjust phase as I type this.

Long Story Short: You get in a vehicle, pop on some 3-D glasses and play several different, interactive computer generated midway style games. On your journey you’ll shoot darts, hoops, suctions cups and pies from your own personal “gun” and score points. When you’re done, you’ll get a score. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds.

Good: The technology on display here is staggering. One of the simplest and most dazzling effects is how the projectiles that splat, soar and careen their way onto the 3-D targets actually appear as if they are coming from the “gun” mounted to the front of your vehicle. Other 4-D effects serve to enhance the experience, like puffs of air when you pop a balloon or a light splash of water when you hit a wet target. It’s great fun and immensely entertaining.

Bad: There is no story here. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The very best Disneyland attractions are the ones that place you in the middle of a story in progress or at the least a highly themed environment. Beloved attractions tell a story. Also-rans do not. On Midway Mania you get in, you play the games and you get off – it’s like Buzz Light Year’s Astro Blasters on steroids without a plot. It’s all whiz and no bang.

Ugly: The ride vehicles are technically superior but strange in shape and size. Also there’s no clever disguise of a mine car, bobsled or jeep. It’s just a big weird behemothey thing you sit in to facilitate the game play.

Odd: It was noted among quite a few male riders exiting the attraction that firing the “gun” (an unusual device that requires you to yank repeatedly on a cord every time you want to fire) bears a resemblance to **ahem** a certain type of gratification. Females may not get it but the guys on board spotted the similarities immediately. One fellow even claimed to be blind after riding. You may want to steer clear of unsupervised packs of teenage boys.

So there you have it. Toy Story Midway Mania is spectacular display of a superior technology hindered only by it’s lack of story. It really doesn’t matter what I think anyway because people are going to love this attraction! It’s the type of family friendly fair that plays directly to the Disneyland faithful and the Pixar devoted. In other words everyone on the planet is going to be scrambling to ride it over and over again.

It’s Freeeeeeee! Part XXVI

All right, so this time it isn’t exactly a free coffee or chicken sandwich of unknown quality.

This time, it’s all about getting free legal advice.

It’s called Law Day 2008, and it’s being held at Whittier College in Costa Mesa this Saturday, the 31st. Go here to get the full details. It is being sponsored by Legalzoom.com (co-founded by none other than Robert Shapiro. Yes, that Robert Shapiro.)

From divorce cases to trusts to your neighbor’s rooster crowing at all hours of the morning, it’s your opportunity to get some advice from a laywer without a retainer being involved.

Which, methinks, is a bit of a better deal than an ice cream cone.

Although some people may disagree with me on that one.

Signs of the Apocalypse?

As if the earthquake I felt this morning wasn’t enough, there was the hail.

In May.

Wasn’t it like, a hundred degrees just four days ago?

Gulp.

"New Media" and the Register

Listen, I get it. I get that the OC Register is a newspaper, and in these times, the newspaper as we know it is going the way of the dodo.

I also get that they are trying to expand the paper with different offerings.

But it seems to me that the paper is beginning to move in a very “opinion” oriented direction via all the new “blogs” that are appearing there. Now tell me why I should look to the Register for a blog when anyone and their mother can write their own blog? I mean, look at me!

I look to a newspaper for reporting, for facts, for news. Not opinion.

And really, as if we didn’t already have a bad enough reputation as the shallow end of the pool, they give us this.

Is the Register’s move toward more lifestyle and opinion pieces a wrong move, or is it what everyone else but me wants? I have a really tortured relationship with the Register. I go to the site because I am looking for local news reporting, and they are pretty much my only option. If I had another one, I probably wouldn’t patronize the site.

Is journalism dead?

Only time will tell.

A Sense of Entitlement, Anyone?

It isn’t bad enough that the ticket brokers go ahead and take the best concert tickets, leaving it so that even if you are “first” to get tickets, the best are already gone.

No, the Orange County Fair directors have to step in and take their unfair share as well.

The LA Times reported that Fair directors get up to twenty-six premimum orchestra tickets apiece. That compares to the four they get in LA county, and those are in the bleacher sections. And the biggest winner? Deborah Carona, wife of our esteemed former Sheriff, with 1,100 tickets over the past two years.

And this is when in three of the past five years, the concert series has lost money. Gee, I wonder why.

State regulators are urging the directors to change the policy, but the President of the board states, “It isn’t an easy thing to work out.”

Oh, how so?

Stop giving yourself so many freebies.

Sounds pretty easy to me.

Let the Sun Shine In!

It’s a hot day in Orange County. The sun is blazing and so are the right wing blogs. It was to be expected and they delivered right on queue. They’re doing their usual sniveling about being forced by the Government to treat their fellow United States Citizens, friends, neighbors and family members with the same kind of respect and civil rights as everyone else.

I think it really irritates them that the decision came from a conservative court. Ha! I love it. In a landmark decision, the state Supreme Court essentially ruled that Gay people can get married in California. Jumpin’ Jehovah with a bullwhip and rainbow flag – it’s about Goddamn time.

When my wife heard the news yesterday her jaw hit the floor. When she picked it back up there was a big smile on her face. I declared that yesterday was a better day than the day before and tomorrow (that’s today, for those of you keeping track) would be better still. There’s nothing like a little hope and faith in humanity to really improve your mood. Let the sun shine in indeed!

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It’s Freeeeeeeee! Part XXV

Today from 7am til 10-:30 pm, if you buy a medium or large drink, McDonald’s will give you one of their new chicken breakfast biscuits.

Then, from 10:30am to 7pm, they will do the same with their new Southern style chicken sandwich.

I can’t vouch for the taste or quality, but it’s free.  Sorta.

No Reservations OC

Recently I’ve been watching the Tony Bourdain show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel.  If you aren’t already familiar with this fantastic show, Tony goes around the world seeking out the best local/ethnic/indigenous foods in a certain region or city.  They are almost never chain restaurants, and are usually locally owned.

He visited LA not too long ago, and wound up tasting some Mexican, Thai, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, and Philippe’s.

If he came here to Orange County, where would he go?  Is there any restaurant that is considered an “iconic” OC restaurant?   

Finally, Some Letter Grades!

Well, hopefully, anyway.

The Register reports that a grand jury has recommended that Orange County move to implement the letter-grading system for restaurants that are used every freaking where else except here.

I have no idea why this hasn’t already been done.  As consumers, it is our right to know the level of compliance with state standards at the places we eat. 

I think I have heard some lame excuses from people that the letter system is not ”business friendly” or some such blather.  Yeah, not business friendly only to those who get anything lower than a B, or maybe even anything lower than an A. Talk about an incentive to keep your kitchen and its environs clean!  You know, other than the whole possibly sickening your customers thing, which apparently isn’t enough for some businesses.

Just think, that whole Angel Stadium rat debacle could have been avoided altogether!  Once people saw a “D” rating, I’m betting they would have just eaten before the game.

I am very conscious of the letters displayed when I eat in LA, and I can’t imagine it would be different for anyone else.

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