Monday, August 29, 2005

Expedition: Everest Update

The construction of the new Animal Kingdom ride, Expedition: Everest, is going smoothly and in recent months, the tip of the mountain has been added and so has the exterior paint. According to an Animal Kingdom representative, the new ride will include upside-down loops, the trains chased by a Yeti, and the track will go in and out of the mountain structure. Construction is underway in the Asia section of the park to add a themed Himalayan town surrounding the ride. Capturing the general essence of Disney magic, the Animal Kingdom family will surely love this new addition set to open in 2006.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Local Music Review: Three-Cord Band

In our ongoing quest to support local music, Nadia and I would like to introduce a band that catches our eyes and our ears from the Orlando area.

We met the members of a Christian music band called Three-Cord at a Celebration area Chick-Fil-A during a promotion for Chick-Fil-A’s new coffees and cinnamon bun clusters (which were divine… but that’s beside the point).

We sat in the back of the restaurant eating our lunch and the band came in rather quietly, and we didn’t realize they were the band until they brought their instruments in and set up on the other side of the restaurant; they just looked like regular hungry customers to us. The band consisted of two brothers and a friend: Anthony, playing acoustic guitar; his brother Jonathan, playing a large percussion tribal-looking drum, and various other percussion instruments; and the bass guitarist, whose name I can’t remember for the life of me…

Their music didn’t carry well across the restaurant and we strained our ears to hear them, but we clapped anyway. And we were the only ones. You gotta support your peeps, you know? On their first break Anthony came over and introduced himself, in his words, to “the cheering section”. And Mother told him we were deciding if we should sit on the other side of the restaurant because we were cold, and he asked for us to come over, because there were only about ten people inside. It seemed like the other six people in the restaurant were afraid to sit closer, which is not unusual in that small of a setting.

After we moved the band was getting into their groove a bit, making jokes to each other and to the audience¾us, I mean. Their melodies were somewhat acoustic coffeehouse style, and their vocal style was somewhat Matchbox Twenty-esque. It’s kind of hard to put a particular style of music to this great local band because their sound was unique, and they weren’t trying to be anyone but themselves. In between songs (and sometimes in the middle of them) Jonathan would shove entire cinnamon bun clusters into his mouth and tried to look innocent about it¾that cracked us up every time. Anthony, his older brother, would say jokingly to his brother, “Dork, stop that,” and other brotherly comments would fly back and forth between them. The bass guy was the quietest, hardly said a word and sat on top of his amp, which was next to the swinging kitchen door, so when it opened he usually got banged on the elbow. And sometimes, he sat a song or two out and talked to Anthony’s wife and had more of those cinnamon bun clusters.

“Are you going to come and play with us now?” Anthony called over to him in the next booth. Sometimes, his jokes were just as good as the songs. After the last set, we clapped and cheered, and the band got up and started to pick up their instruments. Then Anthony said, “Does anyone want to see me embarrass myself?” Let me tell you, that got the loudest cheer of all. So he picked up his guitar and strummed a few chords. His brother obviously knew what he was about to do, so he borrowed the bass. Anthony broke into a commercial-type jingle the band wrote about Dr. Pepper that was totally unexpected. If Three-Cord sent in a demo tape of that song, I know the Dr. Pepper Company would pick it up.

Between songs about “Bush Drivers” and first-ever autographs from our “peeps”, the cinnamon clusters didn’t measure up to the good time we had with this band and their music (although Nadia loved the new coffees—she downed three large cups!). All in all, it was an afternoon well spent, and we bet these guys will become favorites of Orlando.

Three-Cord Band plays locally in the Celebration and Orlando area, appearing on various dates at Sherlock’s Tea Room in downtown Celebration and other venues.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mother Speaks

Mario said...
Ok, I have a question. What's the use of grumbling when raindrops come tumbling?

“Okay, my daughter told me you quoted this out of Snow White—is this a trick question? Life is too short to grumble about things you can’t change; instead of standing out there in the rain getting wet, why don’t you buy an umbrella (only $12.99 on eBay!) and sing a song…

‘Raindrops keep fallin on my head…
but that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red
cryin’s not for me ‘cause…
I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining…
because I’m free…nothin’s worryin’ me…

—BJ Thomas’”

Anonymous said...
yeah, i have a question 2, what is the best phone service 2 use?

“I think Nextel is a great mobile phone service provider. They offer many plan options—coast-to-coast walkie-talkies with other Nextel customers, inventory scanners for businesses, and they are linked with both Nascar and Disney.
For Pay-As-You-Go, stay away from Virgin, it’s a rip-off—you might try Cingular or T-Mobile.”

David said…
Hi! I came across your blog and I see that you've recently moved to
Orlando…I have heard mixed comments about living in the Orlando area (either you love it or you hate it) and I was curious as to what you thought of that area, Disney World aside.

“Orlando is very liberal; where I’m from originally, they are very conservative. As far as the job market is concerned, there are a ton of options that are available to you in the base salary ranges. The entertainment is great—it’s a great place for the arts community. It’s also very densely populated. You find a lot of friendly, working class people here, and a great deal of them speaks Spanish, and they’ll tell it like it is in both languages! There is also good high end shopping—Neiman Marcus, Tiffany’s etc. From December through April the weather is great, but the rest of the year there are storms every day. If I had to rate the quality of living, I would give the Disney area a 10, and the rest of the city a 6.”

Mario said...
I have one, why can’t i phrase the words? why do i fear confrontation? why cant i just say what’s on my mind? why do i feel that i must appease everyone? i don’t want to be a politician, i want to be a person. why cant i just say what i feel and not think before i speak? why must i respect everyone's feelings and give up my own? why cant i be real? why am i so fake?

“Let’s take this one by one:

--You fear confrontation because you fear rejection; Dr. Phil said our number one need is acceptance, and our number one fear is rejection. Confrontational situations force you to stand up for yourself, and you have to have the self-esteem to support that. If you don’t, you will not be in control of the situation, and thus you open yourself to the possibility of criticism.

--You can’t say what’s on your mind because you do not want to be judged. Everyone wears a social mask, and when you say what’s on your mind, you are dropping your social mask and letting people see the real you.

--All parents expect their children to act, dress, think, and be a certain way according to the values they have instilled in you. As you grow up it is normal to reach the limits of these presets; when you do, you feel restricted, like you can’t be your own person because of the expectations that others have of you. You feel that you have to appease people and act the way they expect you to even though it sometimes conflicts with what you want to do.

--You have been raised to act a certain way socially, and that comes from your parents; it is usually better to think before you speak, but not at the expense of sincerity. You should be honest with people, as long as you are aware of the fine line that can be crossed, causing you to hurt the people you love.

--It is important to respect other’s feelings; however, no one says you have to give up your own. Compromising your own feelings is a choice you make. There is a definite middle ground here, in dealing with others, and it is difficult to find that balance sometimes.

--You have to learn to accept who you are before you can be genuine around others. In trying to be more real, you take in all these ideas and opinions and influences from outside sources and medias in order to fill in the blank spaces, but strangely enough it makes you feel more empty, and more unreal, because these internalizations are not truly your own.

Dr. Phil says, “My position is, let the rest of the people live in a fog of self-deception. You take off the blinders and deal with the truth and you’ll leave them all in the dust.” I highly suggest you read his son Jay McGraw’s book Life Strategies for Teens. My kids and I have read the books and found them immensely helpful in dealing with life’s situations.”

Nadia’s Note: Please remember that all the opinions expressed in the preceding paragraphs are just that—opinions.