Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Through His Eyes

I've been privileged enough to visit Disneyland so many times in my life now, but it never gets old.  Even though it never gets old to me, I rarely get to experience something NEW.  That changed this past week when our nephew (along with the family) accompanied us on our trip.  Now, he went with us about a year and a half ago for his first trip, but at a year and a half old, he doesn't really remember it nor was he able to fully process where he was.  But this trip was something completely different.

Leading up to the trip, he had fully grasped what Disney and Disneyland was.  He now had favorite Disney movies, knew all the characters by name, and sang along with the songs.  He's now a full fledged Disney fan instead of when he was very young and simply watched them because they were visually stimulating.  He was now actually excited about getting to meet all these characters in person.  Besides Disney characters, he also had become very familiar with Disneyland rides thanks to the magic of YouTube.  He loved going on YouTube and watching rides, clearly having his favorites.  The lead up to going on the trip was much like many other kids, "When do we go to Disneyland?" being asked on a daily basis.  We had that feeling that this was going to be a special trip.  We had no idea just how special it would be.

Despite the excitement, he did a really good job of behaving throughout the long drive down to Anaheim.  His first moment of excitement was after the Grapevine and the view of Magic Mountain rides came in to view.  He screamed and pointed, "Disneyland!!!"  It was adorable that the site of roller coasters made him think we were there, but we had to break his heart and tell him we still had a little bit to go.  When we exited the freeway and told him we were almost there, he actually started clapping with excitement.  I know how that feels.  We checked in to our hotel and then my family had to wait in line to get their tickets validated.  It had been an hour since we got off the freeway and he was still so patient.  Finally, we got to go in through one of those magic tunnels and we were finally in Disneyland.

We were in the park for no longer than a minute that a parade started right where we entered.  Again, because of the magic of YouTube, he already knew the music for this parade and his eyes lit up when the music started.  We found an amazing place right at the start of the parade and as soon as the parade started coming out, you could see the excitement in his eyes.  It really was magic seeing him so excited, jumping up and down, waving to the characters as they came out, and dancing to the music. In all my years of going to Disneyland, it is easily one of my favorite moments of all time.  He was finally seeing something in person that he had only seen on a computer screen.  And he got it.  He got that he was in Disneyland and seeing things where they really happen.
Enjoying the parade

From there we headed over to Haunted Mansion, his favorite ride to watch on YouTube.  We told him where we were going, but he still asked once we walked in that first gate and approached the ride.  When we told him we were at Haunted Mansion, he bent over, put his hands on his knees, and screamed out, "Oh, GOD!"  I couldn't believe the excitement in his voice.  This was going to be great; his first ride was going to be an amazing experience.  And then as we entered the ride he screamed bloody murder.  We couldn't believe it.  He loved the ride on YouTube.  He was so excited 1 minute earlier.  And now he was too scared to go in.  We tried to calm him down to no avail.  We finally just decided that we were going to see what happens if we just bring him in.  He screamed as we entered the portrait room.  And then all of the sudden, he stopped.  It was like he flipped a switch as we walked that last hallway to the Doom Buggies.  He started pointing stuff out and asking questions.  He got on the ride with Jess and I and pointed things out the entire ride.  He had overcome what initially frightened him.  As we exited the ride, he begged to go on again.  In fact, he would beg to go on the ride all trip long, even after multiple times on the ride.

The next day we started meeting characters and he would run up to each and every one to give them big hugs.  There was no hesitation.  He had become so familiar with the characters over the last year and now seeing them in person, there was nothing but excitement.  Seeing the giant hugs for each character was pure Disneyland magic.  They were the kind of moments that Disney records and puts in their commercials.

This magic continued throughout the trip.  Huge smiles, pointing at everything on every ride, waving at any character that walked by, it all contributed to an amazing time for all involved.  I spent most of my time on this trip looking at him.  It was just amazing to see someone so excited about my happy place because they were seeing it all for the first time.  I can't remember my first time experiencing Disneyland so to see it through his eyes was truly a special experience that I will never forget.  Only at Disneyland.

Until we meet again

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Happened To The Movie Reviews and the Next Part of the Guns n Roses Countdown

You two or three readers might be wondering what happened to the movie reviews I was doing.  Well, I AM still watching all of my movies in alphabetical order.  That much hasn't changed.  But due to the fact that I wasn't really blogging at the time, I got behind in actually writing the reviews of all the movies.  So now, by my calculations, I am 43 movie reviews behind.  It's just become too big of a hole to dig out of.  I am going to continue watching them, but I think catching up on the reviews is out of the question!  Sorry!

I AM continuing with my Guns n Roses countdown though!  If you remember from last post, I am counting down my ten favorite songs they have released.  We continue on with #9:

"Better," is the only song on the list from the infamous Chinese Democracy album and truthfully, I love it.  Although most people seem to hate the album, I really enjoy it.  Sure, it is more like the broad range of the Use Your Illusion albums than the hard rock of the Appetite album, but I really enjoy it.  Then again, I always slightly preferred the Use Your Illusion albums to Appetite.  There wasn't enough on the album to crack my top ten other than "Better," but that doesn't mean it lacked appeal for me.  "Better," is the song that seems the most like it belongs on the Illusion albums.  Axl's voice is pretty similar to how he sounded on them and the tempo and tone are also quite the same.  The only thing really missing is the sound of Slash.  As I said in the last post, Slash has such a distinct sound and it is really missed in the Chinese Democracy album.  But that is not to say that the songs lacked guitar prowess.  The awesome Buckethead played on some of the songs on the album and this particular song included some great solos by him.  Check one out around the 2:40 mark.  Hell, watch the whole video.  It has the feel of the Paradise City video and makes me so sad that I still have yet to see this band in concert in any incarnation.  Maybe one day. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Guns n Roses Countdown (and a quick catch up)

I haven't blogged since September.  What was once an outlet for my thoughts has become just another forgotten page on the internet; a diary that you find in the back of your closet while cleaning it out.  It will probably never be what it once was (thanks to Facebook keeping everyone up to date with my life in a much simpler fashion), but I'll never get rid of it.  Hell, in December the blog will turn TEN years old.  That thought just boggles my mind.

And it isn't like I have had nothing to blog about.  Since my last post, we took a memorable trip to Europe, a fellow blogger that I became friends with because of this page passed away, I had work stresses, and Jess became pregnant.  This blog has tons of stories in the archives about our pregnancy struggles.  Like I said, this was essentially my diary for many years. 

But I was inspired to return to blogging a few days ago while listening to nothing but Guns n Roses, my all time favorite band, on a two hour car ride.  I thought to myself, "How difficult would it be to come up with my top ten favorite songs by this band?"  I tried to come up with a short list on that ride home and have spent the last couple of hours looking at track lists to try to narrow it down to 10.  I finally did... kind of.  We'll start this series by doing #10 on this blog post.  Enjoy because I know I did.

#10 - Mr. Brownstone

Off the first album, Appetite for Destruction, I think this song fully symbolizes early Guns n Roses: raw, vulgar, and drug related.  The opening guitar is the unmistakable sound of Slash, my favorite guitarist.  His sound is so recognizable, and that is something I love about him.  When I heard the first single from Velvet Revolver and heard that guitar sound I hadn't heard for years, I was hooked.  But it is this early sound that got me started.  Sure, I couldn't relate to this song because I clearly wasn't a heroin addict, but I still love this song because it reminds me of those early Guns n Roses days.  We don't have rock n roll bands quite like this anymore.

I'll be back in a few days with #9.