Confessions of a Disneyholic

Cars 2 opens this weekend and I’m not even excited. In fact, my excitement level hasn’t been this low for a Pixar movie since Ratatouille (important note, Ratatouille was the last Pixar movie released before I started working at The Disney Store), and I think that’s because I wasn’t a fan of Cars. Don’t get me wrong, it was a decent film, but it was certainly my least favourite of Pixar’s roster. It’s no Up or Wall•E or Finding Nemo.

That the Cars universe has explosions and choppers and international locales (I think the Mater’s Tales shorts had all these, actually) hasn’t really swayed me, and seeing the main billing as Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy doesn’t help either. That said, I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised by what I’m sure will be a high octane sequel. The near Abramsian secrecy around the content of the movie, which Pixar has shown on their projects of late, will hopefully ensure many surprises.

Since the first Cars, Pixar’s storytelling has jumped to a whole other level. compare Toy Story 2′s level of emotion to that in Toy Story 3. Whole. Other. Level. Plus John Lasseter is such the man at Disney these days that nothing leaves their magic factories without his approval… And his hands are all over this movie!

As the reviews start pouring in, I’m sure that we’ll get to know whether Cars 2 is a great movie by Pixar standards, by regular Hollywood standards, or if it’s a run of the mill sequel. One thing is certain though, every boy aged 3 to 10 will be seeing it. Twice if they get their way. I’ll probably brave the crowds and see the movie, as to not break the tradition of seeing every Pixar movie in theaters since Finding memo (minus Ratatouille). If not for the cars, for the Toy Story short. Who knows? Lightning McQueen and Mater might convert me into a true Cars fan!

103 – Mac and Hack

Cooking. Cooking is so much fun! But what happens when you have 5 cooks?

Hilarity.

I’m sure it would be much more hilarity if it involved more than just pasta. We really have yet to move beyond pasta. Or stir frys. Fries?

Movie night featured a very young Angelina Jolie in Hackers. I can see why so many people enjoy it – the costumes, people, funky cgi, floppy disks, and pay phones everywhere! It’s very much a pre-Matrix cyberpunk flick. Unfortunately I’ve seen The Matrix. But I did love that whole pool bit. And the hackers uniting. In fact, don’t kill me, but I would love to see a remake of this. Technology has changed so much in the last 15ish years… it could be pretty awesome! Or it might just give me a reason to enjoy the “original”.

Pictures: Making Macaroni and cheese (not Kraft Dinner-style, but I’m sure that would have been much more inexpensive).

201007_29_03 - Red Pepper

201007_29_05 - Pestle

201007_29_06 - Stirring with Gusto

201007_29_07 - Meal

101 – Is there an iPhone in my future? Plus Movie Reviews!

I really like the iPod Touch. I’ve wanted one since the first hit the market, but held off up until a couple of weeks ago, when I thought I had lost my friend’s sister’s Nano that I’ve been using this year (which I later found in my pants pocket in the laundry). I bought it with the idea that, if I really did like the device, I would return it and get an iPhone 4 once my cell contract expires this September.

Supposedly, it has a really nice screen, though my left-handedness might interfere with you know, calls.

Interestingly, I find the iPod (or smart devices in general) much better e-social devices than the computer. Where have I been all this time? I’m on MSN, Facebook, Twitter, and all these social tools much more, and reading what other people update. But I really do need a camera and internet connectivity – hence iPhone upgrading… They better be readily available in 2 months.

Or maybe I’ll find some other smart phone between now and then.

Movie Nights, Zip.Ca, and wonderful Pixar releases have allowed me to see a whole whack of movies lately. Here are a bunch of one-line reviews:

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past: The ghosts weren’t even girlfriends, and the end was perhaps the biggest disappointment since the third Matrix Movie.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: An intriguing hook, surrounded by wonderful makeup, effects, storytelling, and art direction, that just didn’t resonate with me like it probably wanted to.

The Tale of Despereaux: A brilliant trailer for a terribly thought out movie that could have been sooo much better.

Watchmen: I couldn’t even sit through the first hour.

First Daughter: You shouldn’t have a romantic comedy with two characters that have zero chemistry.

Casablanca: I’m sure it was worth all the praise 65 years ago, but for a movie with great one-liners still used today, I had a hard time following the characters and what was really going on.

Hannah Montana Movie: While surprisingly better than I expected, it was wholeheartedly unrealistic.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: An enjoyable movie that I probably should have seen in 3D (but the monkey voice translator pales compared to Dug’s collar).

Yes Man: A fair rental that made me want to say “yes” to the next 20 things that came my way, but otherwise a forgettable Jim Carrey Movie.

Zack and Miri: So many plot holes in a movie that falls in the middle of my ranked Kevin Smith movies! Kevin Smith does this on purpose and it kinda annoys me.

Toy Story 3: Pixar impressively integrates tons of new characters into a 15-year old franchise and caps what will no doubt top (or at least rank high) in best trilogies lists to come. SO AMAZING.

Now, here’s an assortment of photos I’ve taken with my ageing cell phone over the last year (haha, yes. year. I hardly ever download pics from it… even more reason for an iPhone?):

200907_06_01k - Postman

200910_29_01k - Old Baseline

200911_08_01k - Serene

200912_29_01k - Push Lever "Slowly"

201002_12_02k - Wonder Woman

201006_09_01k - Droplets at Night

201006_19_02k - Dressed Up

201006_26_01k - Cities and Settlements

201007_22_01k - Freeze

201007_23_02k - Rubik's Cube

100 – Movies Should Be Easier to Watch

Through the magic of Zip.ca, and the lovely art of procrastination, I have managed to watch a few movies. One line reviews:

Star Wars: Clone Wars – Through production values kinda sucked, it was much better than those Episode I-II-III movies.

Slumdog Millionaire – Very interesting storytelling, but not worth all the hype.

Doomsday – The English made a Resident Evil movie, only incredibly gory and visceral and filled with plot “conveniences” – plus Doctor Bashir is the PM.

Space Chimps – Sometimes it takes a non-Pixar movie to remind me why I love them sooo much.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua – A surprisingly decent modern ripoff homage of Homeward Bound (which itself was a remake), which I preferred.

I really like the idea of renting movies over the internet (Zip.ca is the Canadian Netflix) because it allows me to make a list of movies I say I want to see, and I’ll actually eventually see them! So often I’ll see trailers and decide to want to see a movie, just to not see it ever. Or try to remember to rent a movie, except I haven’t had a membership anywhere since Videoflicks closed a number of years ago. And the only movies I buy are either sci-fi or Disney re-re-re-re-re-releases. Zip actually ensures that I follow up on my promises.

And as soon as Zip starts streaming its movies, I’ll be perfectly set.

Media really needs to get to a point where there’s a single format that’s hassle-free and crystal clear and you can pay to watch it as many times for 24 or 48 hours, or upgrade to keep it – on your tv, computer, mobile device – anywhere. Extras and all! And it should be cheaper if you bought a movie ticket (ie saw it in theatres). All seamless. As much as I love physical cds and dvds, this system would be far more convenient. As it stands now, we’re part way there… but not far enough for it to be de facto.

And it should extend to television. On demand is clunky. PVRs fill up (plus I don’t have one). We’re still largely tied to time slots. I should choose what I want to watch and be able to watch every episode from the time its available until forever. Not just the last episode for a week, or the whole season until the next season. All of it! On every platform.

Apple’s almost got something… they just really need to refine their media stores and fix Apple TV and make it easy for people to link all their Apple accounts across platforms and be able to stream or download content they’ve paid for. Disney’s working in this cloud-y distribution too.

Sure, there are places where I can stream or download all this stuff for free. Torrents are a revolution in media sharing. But I shouldn’t really have to resort to such unofficial ways to consume my media. It’s like if everyone started growing and sharing good because grocery stores are evil. Actually – that would be kinda cool. Plus, don’t get me started on ISP bandwidth caps.

But for now, Zip.ca is my best friend. And these are my top 15 titles that I’m hoping to get next:

1. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
2. Casablanca (Special Edition) (1943)
3. Adventures In Babysitting (1987)
4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
5. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
6. Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
7. Futurama: Bender’s Game (2008)
8. Yes Man (2008)
9. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
10. Bedtime Stories (2008)
11. Seven Pounds (2008)
12. Battlestar Galactica: Season 1: Disc 1 (2003)
13. Pineapple Express (2008)
14. Adventureland (2009)
15. The Hangover (2009)

It’s an eclectic mix. Also this is my 100th post!

082 – Transition

I never did catch up on the rest of my Disney trip blogs. I meant to, I just haven’t yet found the time. Over the past month and a half (has it been that long?!), I’ve talked to many people about it, and I’m pretty sure I lit up each time, except where I talk about missing Carl and Russel (Up characters) by 6 days. Up, by the way, is fantastic. Go see it now if you haven’t yet.

Time won’t be an issue soon, so I’ll catch up on all kinds of pictures. My last class for the summer is tomorrow. My last shift at Disney is Friday. It was a month ago I found out that the store is closing, and each day since then has been increasingly difficult. I may have only been with the company for two years – one of which was actually with Disney (the first year, the Store were owned and operated by The Children’s Place), but in that time, I’ve felt I’ve found somewhere I belong. It’s a company that I would love to continue working with, certainly in a position at an office if not in the field at a store level. The people have been fantastic, especially co-cast members, and especially the guests that I’ve come to know over time.

Thank you to everyone for being a family and for allowing me to enjoy being at work. For enjoying retail. It’s mind boggling that I came so close to not accepting the job when Sharlene called me back about it. I’ve learned so much from everyone would do it all again in a heartbeat – even if it means hearing Hannah Montana’s “Life’s What You Make It” 30 times a day.

I once learned from a mediocre Disney movie to “keep moving forward” (clearly not Wall-E, or Up. Those are fantastic. Go see Up). As I look forward to the summer and fall, I have a new year of school (a last one, I hope… for now), a new job, a new position at CFFN, and a new Web site that I’ve gone back to creating. My life is a deck of cards, and someone is shuffling!

076 – Ads, Earth, and Booster Juice

I’ve actually been noticing advertisements over the past couple of days, whether it’s that Flint one (there’s an ad on the radio right now, coincidence?), or this weird recycleme.org one all about organs (oh hey it’s about organ donation. Well done, Government of Ontario!), or these new ones that are solid black with seemingly odd white copy… I should learn what they’re about. Next time I get a change, I’ll take pictures. All I know is that they’re far more interesting than the plain ones I’m used to.

Dinseyworld is sooo soon! I started the check-in process! I have to get on a mass laundry schedule and start deciding what to bring. Jimminy “nobody ever listens to me” shirt? check. Red Mickey shirt? Check. Wall-E shirt? check! Princess Jasmine shirt? I don’t have one, unfortunately. The next shopping day I get, I’m going to get all the little things I need for a trip. Sunscreen perhaps. Travel bottles (i prefer to not have to buy expensive travel sized products, but rather take travel portions of the home products I have. I also need to make sure I have my tickets. Where did I put them again?

Disneynature’s first theatrical release, Earth, opened on Earth Day. And it’s 90 minutes of awesomeness. James Earl Jones narrates the story of three families: polar bears, humpback whales, and elephants. Along the way, a few other supporting, er, animals pop up, including my now favourite superb bird of paradise shown above. From this angle, he looks like a Pokemon or something random. And the poor female just wasn’t interested. Poor guy. The movie has had some criticism for focusing on family-friendly and for reusing some material from the Planet Earth series (they were both filmed at the same time to maximize budgets and save costs), but I haven’t seen that yet, and most of those criticisms chalk up to “but Earth is still good and its worth it”. I agree.

Plus Disney planted a tree for me. That the fourth one they’ve planted for me, if i do my math right. They also gave me a reusable water bottle for recycling.

200904_22_k01 - Mickey Loves Earth

And if that wasn’t enough, Booster Juice finally has a new reusable mug! No more Styrofoam for me!

200904_24_k02 - Reusable Booster Juice Cup

072 – Disney’s (second) Oldest to it’s newest! Plus Money!

The Canadian dollar is being my hero! It’s been on an upswing for the past week, more or less. While i doubt it’ll keep that pace, I would absolutely love it it went up a bit more and stayed there until mid-May. Analysis have been saying the dollar’s good fortune wouldn’t last too long, so I paid off half of the balance on the hotel and bought some US money for spending purposes. I also went through all my change and found 95¢ worth of US coins, plus another 50¢ in pennies. About 5% of my pennies were American!

This sudden interest in US currency prompted me to check out my quarter collection. I had been keeping US State quarters that I find at work, but wasn’t sure how many I had. Turns out, I have 22 different states represented overall (and I scrounged up another dollar in duplicates). If anyone has ones that I’m missing, please can I have them? I’ll give you my address and everything (just please don’t come and stalk me).


[Click to view my collection]

The new American bank notes are awkward. The newest Canadian designs embrace the colours of the notes of the past. The American ones, are slowly moving beyond their Original Gameboy green-and-black look, and are stuck in a middle “look i have some colour!” state. A note to American currency designers: purple and green are not so nice-looking together.

I’ve had over 1000 visitors to my blog. I’m no Joseph Mallozzi, but I bet I could be if I ran sci-fi show, ate a lot of exotic food, and had scary, yet adorable puppies to show off. In fact, if that were the case, I would in fact be Joseph Mallozzi. I suspect most of them arrive via google image search finding pics of T’Pol from an entry I made way back. But thank you if you’re one of the ones who follows the blog, whether on Livejournal, through my site, RSS feed, facebook links, or any other source that I just can’t think about at the moment.

Recently, I watched two movies (in hi-def Bluray!)


I hadn’t seen Pinocchio (1940) since I was very young, and I wasn’t a fan then. I’m still not a fan. Even though I don’t get excited over the movie, now that I’m older, I’m able to appreciate the movie a lot more. The animation is spectacular. The underwater scenes and the scenes inside Monstro are beautiful and detailed, to the point where I can’t even believe this movie has been around for 70 years! Also, Figaro has become my favourite Disney cat (sorry, Berlios). He’s just so amazing and expressive and little!

The hi-def transfer was very nice, but it wasn’t as spectacular as I was expecting; Sleeping Beauty raised my expectations too high. It makes me wonder why Disney is re-releasing two huge old classics one after another (Snow White is due this fall) and not something more modern, like Lion King or Beauty and the Beast to really show off the platform.

Bolt, however, was a fantastic hi-def watching experience. It was just like watching it in the theatres, only on a smaller screen, and three people instead of 70. I actually think Bolt’s a great movie, Disney Proper’s best CG movie to date. It’s not quite on par with a Pixar flick, but in terms of visuals, story, characters, and everything, it’s much better than Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons. I wonder how much of that is John Lasseter’s influence.

The opening sequence, which shows the filming (with real-time editing and special effects I might add) of the Bolt show is spectacular, as is the set disaster bit. The region-specific pigeons deserve a lot of credit. They’re all hilarious! Also, this movie boosts my love for Malcolm McDowell (Mr. Linderman, the guy that killed Kirk, for you sci-fi nuts), the voice of Dr. Calico, the green-eyed Man. Rhino, the little break-out hamster starlet from the movie gets an all-new short, much like how Pixar makes shorts for their feature releases. This one was pretty forgettable, but cool while it lasted.

070 – Harold, Kumar, and Barack, all at once!

I finally returned a movie to ZIP.ca, I think it was The Manchurian Candidate. I’ve had three titles for a long time now (it, along with Tron and The Prestige) and no desire to watch them… so I had to cut my losses somewhere and return one. ZIP, probably thrilled that I’m still alive, promptly sent me Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

Harold and Kumar 2 was an enjoyable, but not-as-much-as-its-predecessor comedy. As Harold and Kumar hopped from one improbable disaster to another, I couldn’t decide exactly what kind of movie it was, and I think that imbalance kept the movie from being better than it should have been. It around a lot from smart comedy, to slapstick comedy, to fart jokes, to a hilarious-yet-touching poem about the square root of three. I haven’t seen White Castle in ages, though I’m pretty sure it’s a better movie. Though Neil Patrick Harris with unicorns AND rainbows? That deserves some mention.

I still don’t know what I think of John Cho as Sulu in the new Star Trek movie. He does make a great Harold, but Sulu? I’ll have to wait until May 8 to find out, but I still think James Kyson Lee (Ando of Heroes fame) would have been my #1 choice. But isn’t he cute as a 90s pre-emo?

Obama was fantastic on Leno last night. I think if all politicians had the sincerity and down-to-earth realness that he presented, then politics would be better off. We would be better off. Just hearing his take on presidential life and living in the white house was truly interesting. The poor guy wasn’t allowed to walk 750 yards. But that quip about the Special Olympics, well I expect it to be headlines when I walk pass the newspaper machines.

Also, I don’t get why so many people are complaining that he should be “at work dealing with the important issues, not gallivanting on talk shows.” He was on for half an hour, and I doubt Leno was his only stop out West. Plus, haven’t people heard of multi-tasking? I know women are better at it then men, but still. i should be doing homework right now, or getting ready for work. Besides, how much vacation time did Bush take while in office? It’s not like things were less busy back then.

063 – Wine & Whine

2008_06_06_k01 - Bicycle Remains

2008_06_10_k03 - Approaching Storm

2008_06_16_k01 - London Fog

2008_07_01_k01 - Familiar Faces

2008_07_09_k01 - Soccer Ball Head

2008_07_12_k01 - <3

2008_07_29_k01 - Italian Tomatoes (product of Mexico)

2008_07_31_k01 - Pictionary in a Can

2008_08_16_k01 - Squish

2008_09_13_k01 - Mask

Pictures: A bunch of random ones that I took with my cell phone over the summer.

I often forget to dump the pictures that I take with my cell phone, and when I do, I often forget to upload them to Flickr. Well, this is part one!

Disneyworld is 66 days away. Time is going so quick! However, before I can get on a place, I need to deal with assignments, midterms, presentations, and finals, not necessarily in that order. Those are the parts that I’m not looking forward to.

There are three drinks that I can’t see myself ever liking are coffee, wine, and beer. Last night, I decided to buy some wine just to see if maybe the “10 times” rule that Prashanta is always on about could apply. After talking to the guy at Wine Rack, I decided to try a pinot grigio, based on the fact that I was looking for something simple. It was alright in the sense that I actually managed to finish a glass (or two?). Some have already suggested that I try red wines… we’ll see! If there are any specific suggestions, let me know!

Yogurt commercials are strange, all womany happily eating yogurt with each other.

I recently watched Be Kid, Rewind. The start was a bit slow, and the end was somewhat frustrating, but the middle part was pretty entertaining. I think the most disappointing part was that the movies that the characters would remake in 20 minutes were watchable online, and not in the movie itself – not even in the credits.

On the tv front, Dollhouse is proving to be an interesting show with twists and whatnot – hopefully it can sustain this beyond a couple of episodes. Heroes is proving to be average with touches of excitement that keeps me interested. Mad Men (I’m jsut starting) isn’t proving to be anything special after 3 eps, beyond its authentic old school 60s theme (not that I was alive in that day and age with which to compare).

Interesting link: http://www.cscoutjapan.com/en/index.php/eco-art-the-green-island-project

050 – Day Two

200812_11_03 - Snowshoes

200812_11_04 - Ploughed Bike Path

200812_11_07 - Winter Sun

200812_11_08 - Deserted

200812_11_10 - Undisturbed

200812_11_12 - Cattail

200812_11_15 - Trio

The benefit of not having buses is that I won’t hear the early morning bus go by if I’m up at 4AM and 5AM. I haven’t been up that late in a long time.

I had to go to school for a meeting, so I walked. I brought along my newly-acquired snowshoes so that I could take the bike path that cuts through the Centrepointe area. This path is faster than taking any major roads from my house. After the recent blizzard, I figured the path would be travelled, but difficult (hence the snowshoes), but to be surprise, it was completely ploughed! On my way home, I donned the snowshoes and walked around Centrepointe park – at least until the battery in my camera died.

Is walking a realistic alternative to public transit? It is in some cases. For instance, the walk to school was a pleasant one, given that the weather was nice. And to be honest, it isn’t something I’ve ever done. The only time I had not taken the bus to get to school was the one time I biked along that same path earlier this fall. The 40-50 minutes it takes might get old over time though, especially if it got really cold.

I do, however, really like the idea of showshoeing. I hated it back in elementary school when we would use the big, heavy wooden ones. Not too long ago, I got the idea that I would like to try it again, with a more modern, aluminum set. I figured since I love winter so much, I should go and do more outdoorsy activities, beyond skating on the canal (which I hate and only do once a year). Perhaps I’ll actually try snowboarding this year. It looks so easy in 1080 and SSX, after all!

Day two wasn’t much of an issue, even less so than yesterday was. As I ponder how I’ll get to and from work over the weekend, I’m hoping that the City and the transit union stop acting like fourth graders and start actually trying to resolve their issues. At least the union leader isn’t doing interviews anymore. A 10-year old could give better interviews – 10-year olds are in the 4th grade, after all.

Speaking of which, I did see Dan in Real Life last night. It was a surprisingly good movie, with actors in roles in which you don’t often seem them. It also makes me not want to wait to have children. That movie might have caused a strange dream in which I was introducing to my family two women (one slightly younger and one significantly older, though neither are people I actually know) who were pregnant by me. However, it was all elaborate, like a reality show, with all kinds ot twists and turns and “you’ll find out… when we come back!”-esque moments. I guess that would be the best way to go about such a situation.