Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The One with Excessive Amounts of Cereal

Today I calculated that I've eaten over 17,000 bowls of cereal in my life.

Here's the math: I've eaten about 2 bowls of cereal a day (one for breakfast, one for dessert after dinner), every day of the year (365 days/year), since I was 2 years old (so for 24 years now).

24 x 2 x 365 = 17,520.

What can I say except I love cereal?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The One with Club 33

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Copy and pasted from Wikipedia (but all the pictures were taken by yours truly!):
Club 33 is a private club located in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. Officially maintained as a secret feature of the theme park, the entrance of the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at "33 Royal Street" with the entrance recognizable by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it.
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Club 33 members and their guests have exclusive access to the club's restaurant, and the premises are not open to the public at large. It is the only location within Disneyland to offer alcoholic beverages. (Which, we don't drink, but it's an interesting bit of info).
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Members get free access to both Disney parks whenever they are open, plus early park admission several days each week.
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In addition, members are provided with valet parking to the overall Disney resort and access to Lilly Belle, the presidential caboose car on the Disneyland Railroad. Recently, Club 33 members were also provided the new benefit of getting up to six immediate Fast Passes per day, bypassing the stand-by queue for any Fastpass attraction in the parks. (I didn't know this! Dang! Oh well... maybe next time, if there ever is a next time! :)

When Walt Disney was working with various corporate promoters for his attractions at the 1964–1965 New York World's Fair, he noted the various "VIP Lounges" provided as an accommodation for the corporate elite. This gave him the idea that culminated in Club 33. When New Orleans Square was planned, this special area for corporate sponsors and VIPs was included. Disney asked artist Dorothea Redmond to paint renderings and hired Hollywood set director Emil Kuri to decorate the facility. While originally intended for exclusive use by Disneyland's Corporate sponsors and other industry VIPs, when Club 33 opened in May 1967—five months after Disney's death—individual memberships were also offered.
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As of 2010, there is a 14 year wait list for membership and it is closed to new additions. It only allows 487 members. Members pay an initiation fee of $27,500 (if they are a corporation) or $10,450 (for individuals). On top of that, they pay annual fees of about $6,100 or $3,275, respectively. (Holy moly...)

To enter Club 33, a guest must press a buzzer on an intercom concealed by a hidden panel in the doorway. At one time, a member needed only to insert his/her membership card in a slot near the buzzer and the door would open. However, this process no longer works.
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A receptionist will ask for their name over the intercom and, if access is granted, open the door to a small, ornate lobby.
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Guests have the option of going to the dining level via an antique-style glass lift, an exact replica of one Disney saw and fell in love with during a vacation in Paris, but the owner of the original refused to sell.
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Undaunted, Disney sent a team of engineers to the Parisian hotel to take exact measurements for use in the creation of a replica; even a sample of the original finish was taken so that it could be duplicated; or a staircase to the second level that wraps around the lift.

The second level has two dining rooms. One room (the Trophy Room) has dark wood paneling (that's where we ate).
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(Side note: I just finished reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and there is a bunch of significance to the number 33 - and here we are at Club 33 with a maximum occupancy of 33 -coincidence? I think not!)

The walls are adorned, in part, with butterflies pinned under glass and hand-painted animation cels from the original Fantasia film.
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The other room (the Main Dining Room) is more formal but has a lighter environment.
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Once at the dining level, guests can view antique furniture and art pieces collected by Lillian Disney.
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Walt Disney handpicked much of the Victorian bric-a-brac in New Orleans antique stores.
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The club is furnished with props from Disney films. There is a fully functional glass telephone booth just off the elevator that was used in The Happiest Millionaire and an ornate walnut table with white marble top that was used in Mary Poppins.
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A harpsichord which was rumored to have been an antique was in fact custom-built for Lillian Disney specifically for use in Club 33.
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The underside of the lid features a Renaissance-style painting that was actually done by Disney artists. Elton John and Paul McCartney have each played this harpsichord.
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Walt Disney wanted to make use of Audio-Animatronic technology within Club 33. Microphones in overhead lighting fixtures would pick up the sounds of normal conversation while an operator would respond via the characters. Though the system was never fully implemented, it was partially installed and remains so to this day. An Audio-Animatronic vulture is perched in one corner of the club's "Trophy Room." The microphones are clearly visible at the bottom of each of the room's lighting fixtures.
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In the dining room area one may walk through a door leading to the balcony.
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(Fox and I out on the balcony; and a mistake of a photo but I think it looks coolio):
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The balcony overlooks the water in the New Orleans area of the park. The shows often put on there are also very visible from the balcony.
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And that's all Wiki has to say! The rest of these pictures are about our dining experience and other things I found interesting. Like these bathroom labels.
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Inside the special assistance bathroom / painting of Little Red Riding Hood
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My place setting:
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First we got to partake from the seafood and salad bar.
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Hold the seafood... bring on the meat, bread, and fruit!
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Somehow I neglected to take a picture of the main dish which consisted of filet mignon and mashed potatoes. It was heavenly! Then it was off to the dessert bar.
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I love how everything is enshrined with the Club 33 symbol.
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Goodbye chocolates.
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The entire party enjoying a once in a lifetime opportunity at Club 33. And get this - at only 10 months old Fox was the OLDEST of the four babies that were there! We're like old timers now!
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Thanks so much for arranging this and for having the major hookups Daisy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The One with Mrs. Hayes's 4th Grade Class of 1994

Thanks to someone on Facebook (where-oh-where did you ever find this and why-oh-why did you publicly post it?!? lol), I now have a vivid recollection of my 4th grade classmates and my atrocious bangs (Malm - we need to have a little chat about this!).
Oh the MEMORIES!!!
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I actually quite enjoyed elementary school at George C. Payne elementary in San Jose, CA. And once this picture was posted and a few of the other people in it started commenting on it, I got to catch up with old friends. The magic of Facebook.

Thanks for the flashback guys :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The One with Sea World San Diego

Yesterday was a long and fun day! Thanks to the Army and Air Force, we got free tickets to Sea World San Diego so the Bybees picked us up in the AM and we made the two hour trek down south. I've never been to San Diego, but we'll definitely be going back one of these days to do a session though this beauty of a temple!
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We arrived a little after the park opened and got right in.
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I bet this looks so festive all lit up at night!
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First event: the dolphin show!
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It was probably my favorite of the four shows that we saw throughout the day, what with all the acrobats and costumes and music.
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Not to mention the dolphins performed amazing tricks!
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Next we walked through the shark tanks. This is as close as I ever want to be to a shark. Shudder.
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Look at the size of this prehistoric shark jaw! T'would not be a fun way to go...
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Family picture time!
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Next we saw a pet show. I was like, why would I come to Sea World to see dogs and cats and birds when I can just go home and see my own zoo? :)
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But it was actually really fun and entertaining!
I spy with my little eye, a cat tight rope walking!
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I spy with my little eye a cat climbing across a rope upside down!
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Pretty trees outside our lunch spot.
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Our other friends the Kimballs and their three little girls met up with us at lunch. We got a meat sampler platter.
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Then we walked through the turtle exhibit where scuba divers were feeding them lettuce and thousands of other marine life gathered around to partake.
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In the gift shop I was instantly mesmerized by the jellyfish. I could stare at these things for hours! Are they legal pets?
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'Member these things?
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There was a time 15 years ago when I would have been in a tizzy to get my hands on this Beanie Baby!

Then we saw the Shamu killer whale show.
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Half the show consisted of the killer whales dousing the audience. We sat in the very last row to get some shade and feel the breeze. And to avoid getting wet :)
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Hooray!
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The final show we saw was the sea lions.
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I only got one good picture of a sea lion doing tricks - found in the photo collage below.

Then we took a quick detour to Alaska. Well, not really, but it felt and looked like it!
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"Baby beluga in the deep blue sea. Swim so wild and you swim so free..." Gotta love some Raffi!

Next we walked through the penguin village. These are such funny little rotund creatures!
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For some reason we decided to go on Atlantis at the end of the day instead of the beginning. Chris, Blake, and I got super duper soaked! So much for avoiding the "splash zones" at all the shows haha.
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We all got cooked to a crisp from being in the sun for 10 hours. Even with multiple applications of sunscreen!
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Here are some more of the animals we saw, collaged together to save some space:
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From top left to bottom right: Dolphins are so nice and playful it seems! I want one :) Sleeping polar bear. A sea lion balancing a ball on its nose. Sharks, sharks, and more sharks everywhere! A giant something. Pretty jellyfish. Sunbathing sea lion. Killer whales. A beluga whale.

Hopefully soon Fox will love animals as much as I do and get a kick out of going to the zoo and such!
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Good fun, good friends, good times!