Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where In The World

We've got a winner! That's right sports fans, George Taylor of Imaginerding, successfully identified our last entry as being found in the Morocco Pavilion. To be precise, it is shooting through an open door of the Tangierine Cafe, promenade side, facing towards Japan.

Alright, now onto a new challenge. Where In The World would you find this?

Have an adventure. Have fun.

More to follow...

UPDATE: I Am Resolved

Sometimes it just helps to be accountable! I mean, if you're going to make a resolution and have any hopes of keeping, it just makes sense to share, or provide a status report from time to time. So let's see where we're at. If you need to, look back at my 01.01.10 post for the score card.

Number 7 - looking at dates for a solid week of doing absolutely nothing at all on the Gulf coast. I have to manage this against what traditionally tends to be a busy time (Labor Day week) in my calendar.

Number 6 - currently reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Yes, it is on the list and I somehow managed to never get around to reading it earlier in life. In fact this whole "Essential 100" thing has grown into a much larger project which we'll discuss here in the future in more detail.

Number 5 - my first trip to Walt Disney World is scheduled for February 26th. I am flying down for a few days to visit with a friend from the UK. We used to play in a band together in the late 90's and I have not seen him and his family since just before Christmas 2000. A short trip, yes. But it will be memorable one.

Number 4 - still taking pictures, but I am learning that when a tripod is in use, it also a good idea to use the remote shutter release. Don't trust a steady hand.

Number 3 - what can I say about weight loss? Well, I don't like being successful at it. You see, if you have no luck with one of those sucks-your-will-to-live diets, it is easy to quit. But when you've lost 12.2 pounds since beginning a diet earlier in the month, well, you just got to keep at it. I have and I am, but I sure would like a big plate of french fries.

Number 2 - for those of you keeping score, this is my 10th post for the month of January. This is landmark way to start a year and make a real attempt of making this experiment worthwhile, for you and for me. How far have I come? Well, in all of 2009, there was only one month when I had posts in the double digits - that was April and I had 10 posts. And I am not finished with January yet. But do me a favor, if see something you like, leave me a comment. If there is something you'd like to see, leave me a comment. Comments are fodder for bloggers - they are what inspire us and keep us going.

Number 1 - my family. Let me just say that Mrs. Doc, well, she is my heartbeat. And as far as my family is concerned, nothing has changed my firm belief that my family is the best part of me. Without them, I am nothing.

So there you have it. Thanks for letting me share how I am doing and I hope whatever goals you set for yourself are progressing as you like. If not, press in. Remember Uncle Walt, "If we can dream it, we can do it."

More to follow...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In Doc's World - PC vs. Mac (The Age Old Question)

So, what do you do when the weather outside is frightful? Why, bundle up and take a walk with the dog. And that is just what Mrs. Doc and I did this morning. Where we live we do not experience a snow of consequence very often so we get out in it and enjoy. At least until we decide it is too cold and that puttering around the house, eating leftover Jet's Pizza and considering an afternoon nap are a better use of time.

I posted a few photographs via my Twitter account earlier today. One was the view from my office. That made me think about how I haven't posted an In Doc's World in quite sometime. I am actually working on something that fits that bill. But it isn't ready yet. So in the interim, here is a bit of Doc's World. This morning there was the picture looking out of one of the windows in my office. This afternoon, here is looking into my office.

First, the PC view...

And then, the Mac view.

As we go on (there is a song in there somewhere), we'll take a closer look at some of the things that make it difficult to walk and work in my office, but provide a great deal of enjoyment and give me cause to recall memories of wonderful trips, times with family, and the friends that I miss all too often.

More to follow...

Thursday, January 21, 2010


You know, somedays you're just walking along the Streets of America with your grandson and you turn a corner. You've just arrived in Walt Disney World a few hours earlier, and you are really enjoying a nice late afternoon. Then, you hear some rumbling not too far off. You turn a corner or two, and then you find this.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Again With The Where In The World?

Let me take you back to 01.03.10. Yes, a full two weeks ago. It was back then during all the fervor leading up to Marathon weekend that I posted this photograph:

And so far, there has not been a single guess made. Does this mean that no one knows Where In The World this is found? Does it mean a few people know, but are not saying, thus giving others an opportunity. Or, am I missing something here?

Come on. Give it go.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Night At the Pop: The 80's

The decade started with one of the most exciting moments in recent sports history. The date was February 22, 1980. The location was Lake Placid, New York. The event was the Men’s Medel Round in ice hockey. Perhaps you can recall the words of Al Michaels, “Eleven seconds, you've got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!” With that, The U.S. Men’s Hockey team, a group of amateur and collegiate players, defeated the heavily favored team from the Soviet Union. We were in the early months of the Iran hostage crisis and having this moment provided a lot of American’s something positive to hang our hopes on.

We were shocked when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986. The shuttle program was the resumption of America’s space program following the Apollo era, and this tragedy reminded us of the toll that exploration sometimes extracts. A nation mourned.

On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” On November 9, 1989 is started. With that came the reunification of Germany in October 1990 and the eventual demise of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991.

The Eighties. It gave us Indiana Jones, advised us who were to call if we experienced any paranormal activity in our lives, and introduced us to a small alien botanist. Video gaming took a giant leap forward with the release of Pac-Man in May, 1980 and in the mid-80s, video gaming came back home with the Nintendo Entertainment System where Pong was replaced by Zelda.

Academy Award for Best Motion Picture to Ordinary People (1980), Chariots of Fire (1981), Gandhi (1982), Terms of Endearment (1983), Amadeus (1984), Out of Africa (1985), Platoon (1986), The Last Emperor (1987), Rain Man (1988) and Driving Miss Daisy (1989).

Grammy Award for Song of the Year went to What a Fool Believes by The Doobie Brothers (1980), Sailing by Christopher Cross (1981), Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes (1982), Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson (1983), Every Breath You Take by The Police (1984), What’s Love Got to Do with It? by Tina Turner (1985), We Are the World by USA for Africa (1986), That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick (1987), Somewhere Out There by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram (1988) and Don’t Worry, By Happy by Bobby McFerrin (1989). As an aside, on November 30, 1982, Michael Jackson released Thriller which went onto be the best selling album of all time.

As for former Beatles, Paul McCartney was nominated in 1983 for Ebony and Ivory; his duet with Stevie Wonder. It was said that the music died with Buddy Holly died in a plane crash in , but for me, it died on Monday, December 8, 1980 with the murder of John Lennon.

In Disney, The Fox and the Hound bound into theaters on June 10, 1981 followed by The Black Cauldron in June 24, 1985. We were introduced to Basil of Baker Street in The Great Mouse Detective on July 2, 1986. Disney gave us their interpretation of a Charles Dickens classic on November 13, 1988 with the premier of Oliver & Company. Then on November 15, 1989 a renaissance in Disney animation dawned with the release of The Little Mermaid. It was the last Disney film to use the multi-plane camera and one of the first to utilize the Computer Animation Production System, or CAPS. The score went onto win the Academy Award for Best Original Score and both Kiss the Girl and Under the Sea were nominated for Best Song, with Under the Sea taking the statuette. A number of live action films were released, most notably, 1982’s Tron, which is one of the first films from Disney, or any studio, to make extensive use of computer graphics. On June 22, 1988 we were asked Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Produced for $29.9 million, the film went on to become the second highest grossing film of the year and won Academy Awards for Sound Editing, Visual Effects and Film Editing.

The Los Angeles Lakers went to the NBA Championship on eight occasions during the 80’s and brought home the trophy in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.

Next up, a trip back to the 1990’s.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It Is The Little Things

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World with my wife, the parks were crowded with the expected Christmas Week crowds. But this was okay. Though I go down to the parks fairly often, I am still like the kid in the candy store, in that I have to do as much as I can as quickly as I can. I know that I should slow down and enjoy all that the parks offer; especially those little extras that the Imagineers and cast members offer.

Because of the crowds, this recent trip allowed me to do just that. I slowed down and simply enjoyed being in the parks and enjoying my surroundings. It is then that you can appreciate the little things, like a fresh rose laying on the ground.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 - The Year That Was

A few days have past now since we rang in the New Year and many have given us their year in review. With that said, I thought it may now be time for me to share my summation of this past year. So without further delay let’s look at:

2009 - The Year that Was.

This year began with me thinking that I would spend more time at home, enjoying perhaps a few “Backroads Tennessee” type of trips. I know that I honestly planned for there to be just one trip to Walt Disney World. I had, after all, the privilege of going to the parks on three different occasions in 2008. The only other time I accomplished that feat, three visits in one year, was 1994.

Let me just stop here to point out that I love to travel. Yes, I have had a sense of wanderlust since 1975 following my first visit to Paris and London. And I have been blessed to have lived in Europe and to travel quite a bit. So, I was relatively content to stay at home. But now, looking back at this past year, I am surprised that I travelled as much I did.

Chalk it up to the recession. Economy collapses, airfare and hotel rates drop, and Doc hits the road. First stop Las Vegas, Nevada.

Way back in 2008 my daughter called me from Vegas, with a tear in her eye, and said, “Dad, we have got to come here and you have got to see Cirque du Soleil ‘Love’.” So we did. For my birthday we flew to Las Vegas with tickets to experience ‘Love’ on a Monday night. Please note, you don’t go see ‘Love’, you experience ‘Love’. In my opinion that is. But, on the Saturday morning before we were to fly out, our trip plan took an unexpected turn when we discovered that a few additional tickets were released to see Paul McCartney at the Hard Rock on Sunday. With that quick trip, the year would have been great if I had done nothing else; see a Beatle and a Cirque show in less than 24 hours.

But, the year didn’t end there. Now understand, going to Alaska was Mrs. Doc’s idea. She has wanted to go to Alaska for as long as I can remember, and having a few friends who have been up north a couple times, and sharing how great it was, was not helping any argument I could come up with as to why we shouldn’t go. Now I am I glad I couldn’t come up with even a bad argument.
Alaska. I can say two things about Alaska. The first is Wow! The second is that I would seriously consider living there if it wasn’t for the fact that it is 4,206.3 miles from Juneau to Lake Buena Vista and would take roughly 76 hours to drive. That is 76 hours; non-stop. It would make it very difficult to get to Walt Disney World on even a fairly regular basis. Still, it is a phenomenal place and I hope I have the opportunity to go back again; two or three times in fact. I feel about Alaska as I do about Zimbabwe. The first time I got out of the city and into the bush in Zimbabwe, I was in the place that I imagined Africa to be. Alaska is the place that I imagine true wilderness to be.
So, as I mentioned at the outset, I had only planned for one trip to Walt Disney World during the past year. But as it turned out 2009 afforded me three trips to my Laughing Place. The first was what I now call the “Papa’s Dream Come True” trip. I have already written about how walking down Main Street U.S.A. was a dream of mine ever since the birth of my first grandchild on June 5, 2000. Labor Weekend of the year saw that dream come true.
Before making the planned October trip another event took place that has quickly become one of the most memorable moments for me in recent years. That is, memorable amongst a long list of memorable moments. This time it was the honor and privilege of walking my daughter down the “aisle” for her wedding. Aisle is in parenthesis since it wasn’t so much an aisle as it was a lush walkway in one of the garden atriums at the Gaylord Opryland. And though the whole affair was one to be remembered, it was those private moments before, and the actual walk that will live forever inside of me. It was a dad walking with his little in the garden; we were laughing and playing as we strolled to her husband-to-be. If I could go back in time, if just for a moment, this would be a time I would revisit over and over. I wanted our walk to last just little longer.
The second trip to Walt Disney World was in October; the trip I had planned as a solo trip for photography and hanging out with friends. But, this plan quickly changed when my oldest grandson asked to come along. His parents said yes, and Devon and I had a great week together. I love being a grandfather! When there are five grandchildren in the family it is hard to spend a great deal with any one child for any length of time. Although I try very hard to do so. But having him along on this journey was a real treat. I got to share some of the reasons why I love Disney with one of my favorite people, and in the course of doing so, and I learned how to do some things I might ordinarily not do. Devon was taking me places and we were doing things that I had not done in what seems like forever. He taught me some things that week and that is a wonderful thing.

The third trip was the weekend prior to Christmas. I attended the Candlelight Processional in 2008 and left saying that “Mrs. Doc has got to see this!” She did, on December 21st to be precise, with one of her favorite actors, Brian Dennehy, narrating. Another thing that I enjoyed about the trip is the crowds. Okay, I don’t really enjoy the crowds, but because of the crowds doing a lot of things became problematic. I mean, a twenty minute queue for the FastPass return Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, or a five minute queue before taking the speed ramp up to the TTA, is busy. So, put simply, I was blessed with the opportunity to stroll through the places that I love with the love of my life. Not a bad way to spend a few days.

Looking forward, I don’t know how many trips I’ll manage in 2010. I know that I need to take my granddaughter, Shelby, for her solo trip with Papa. I foresee a lot of encounters with Princesses during that time. I wonder how much a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will set me back? I also have friends from the UK coming over to visit the World and would like very much to spend a few days with them. Then too, there is a hope to see a friend that I have somehow missed going to the parks with this year; on some occasions literally within weeks of each other. The road trip west on Route 66 will need to wait until 2011 and Mrs. Doc and I are needing desparately to get back to London and Paris. That too may need to wait.

This year may be more of staying around the house; taking some inspiration from Benjamin Franklin Gates and discovering some of the treasures we have in our own back yard. Perhaps it is time to take my copy of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles off the shelf and get busy.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Where In The World

Way back, during the last decade, we put a photograph up that looked a great deal like green slime. You may recall the date; it was 12.07.09. The picture, in fact, was not green slime. It could have been though since it could be found in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure. Our good friend Ryan Wilson of the Main Street Gazette correctly guessed the location.

For this week, we offer you a photograph of a different color.

Check back on Wednesday when I'll share Doc's year in review. It has a lot do with other stuff, but also has some to with Disney.

More to follow...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Night At the Pop: The 70's

The 1970’s. My coming of age decade. While each decade carries its fair share of events that become synonymous with the time in which they occurred, the 1970‘s seems to have a bit more than it’s share. Events like, Watergate, the end of Vietnam War, presidential resignation, oil embargo and the ensuing lines that followed, recession, 13.3% inflation, and the going up and coming down of Skylab. And this is simply a very small beginning to what could be a monumental list. Many things that began in the 1960’s, to root and grew in the 1970’s. As with the decades that came before and the ones that have followed, the 70’s provided it’s own soundtrack and palette on which we expressed our creativity.

The Grammy Award for Best Song was given to The Games People Play by Joe South (1970), Bridge over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel (1971), You’ve Got a Friend by James Taylor and Carole King (1972), The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack (1973), Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack (1974), The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand (1975), Send in the Clowns by Judy Collins (1976), I Write the Songs by Barry Manilow (1977), a tie, Evergreen by Barbra Streisand and You Light Up My Life by Debby Boone (1978) and Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel (1979). And for the record, Let It Be by The Beatles was nominated in 1971.

Looking quickly at literature, the decade gave us titles such as, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, All The President’s Men by Woodward and Bernstein, Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer, and The World According to Garp by John Irving. And, in 1974, a little known author released his first novel, Carrie. Since then, Stephen King has sold over 350 million copies of his works.

The Academy Award for Best Motion Picture was given to Patton (1970), The French Connection (1971), The Godfather (1972), The Sting (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Rocky (1976), Annie Hall (1977), The Deer Hunter (1978) and Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). Meryl Streep, the most nominated actor/actress in Academy history, won her first Oscar for her role in Kramer vs. Kramer. Her co-star Dustin Hoffman also won his first statuette for his portrayal of Ted Kramer. And while we’re on Academy history, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of only three films to have one the “Big Five” Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Writing). The only other times this has occurred was with 1934’s It Happened One Night and 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs.

In the early 70’s, a fairly unknown director named George Lucas joined with Francis Ford Coppola and Gary Kurtz and decided to make a movie. They spent roughly $1.27 million and put together a little thing titled American Graffiti. It was a teenage coming of age story set in the early 60‘s follows the lives the lives of a few groups of teenagers during one night and early morning in Modesto, California. It helped to launch and further the careers of Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard. Oh, and a guy named Harrison Ford. It became one of the most profitable films of all time and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The film sparked a revival of interest in the 50’s and 60’s. This in turn gave birth to television’s Happy Days and provided multiple theming opportunities for high school homecoming dances. I admit, that in 1974 I went to the homecoming dance with my hair greased back and a pack of Lucky Stripes rolled up in the sleeve of my white t-shirt. The film also did something else - it made a instant millionaire of George Lucas who took some of his profit and began serious development of an opus set among the stars.

Looking at the Walt Disney Company, the animation division gave us The Aristocats on December 24, 1970. They followed with Robin Hood being released on November 8, 1973, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh on March 11, 1977 and The Rescuers on June 22, 1977. On the live-action front, Bedknobs and Broomsticks opened its full release on December 13, 1971 and we were introduced to the small village of Passamaquoddy and a green dragon named Elliott in Pete’s Dragon on November 3, 1977.

In the sports world, Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in Houston, Texas on September 20, 1973. The Pittsburgh Steelers became the first team to win four Super Bowl Championships (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979).

Next, we look at a decade that saw video gaming go from "Pong" to "Pac-Man". See you in the 80's.

More to follow...

Friday, January 1, 2010

I Am Resolved...

I am not one who makes New Year’s resolutions on a regular basis. I have often found them more of a source of stress and therefore rarely make them. But a friend of mine asked the question this year and I got to thinking about it and discovered there are a few things would like to resolve myself to do.

So let us begin. Being a Disney geek, I put them in a Top Seven format to make it easier for those of you who are like minded.

Number 7

I am resolved to spend 7 days on the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. It used to be an annual event for my family to spend a week on the Gulf Coast, but as the family as grown it has become harder and harder to manage these trips. I have now gone two years without sitting and staring mindlessly at the horizon and listening to the surf. That changes this year.

Number 6

I am resolved to begin reading The Everyman’s Library “Essential 100”. I considered resolving to read the Pulitzer Prize winners over the past so many years, but then you have to consider which categories to read and then it raises the whole question of should I be reading the winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Then it could get ugly. No, the “Essential 100” provides a broad enough spectrum. Come to think of it, I still have the eleven volume The History of Civilization by Will and Areal Durant that I need to tackle. Maybe 2011.

Number 5

I am resolved to visit the Walt Disney World parks with as many friends as possible, whenever possible, with particular hopes of reuniting with a certain friend from western North Carolina.

Number 4

I am resolved to become a better photographer. I sense a growing passion to elevate my photographs to an art form (even if only for my own pleasure) and this will not be done without study and application.

Number 3

I am resolved to loose a minimum of 2 pounds per month and perhaps partake in a little exercise. At my age I can’t hope to be sculpted, but maybe I can look a little better than I do now. With a cruise on the Disney Dream scheduled for February 27, 2011, that would mean dropping 28 pounds. I can live with that goal.

Number 2

I am resolved to be more consistent in writing and posting to my blog. Let’s face it, 57 posts in a year is not that impressive. But to be more consistent will mean taking things in a different direction from time to time. This means more non-Disney content, but content that will be of equal interest to the readers. I am reminded that a blog is (as defined by Merriam-Webster) an “online personal journal with reflections and comments.” Though I love Disney, there are other areas of life that interest me and I can reflect and comment on.

Number 1

I am resolved to love my family more in this new year than I did in the past year. I will become a better husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, in-law, and friend.

So there you have it - Doc’s Top Seven Resolutions for 2010. Yes, there are honorable mentions, but these are the most important.

If you are one to make resolutions, then I wish you the very best in striving for your goals in the new year.

More to follow...