Monday, April 30, 2012

Stella - A Review

It's been a while since I've done a tele review, and since this show has grabbed me, I thought it fitting to share the love!

For those of you that watch British TV (I don't watch barely any American shows apart from Once Upon A Time), then you might know Ruth Jones from Gavin And Stacey (Nessa, "oh oh oh, what's occurrin?" that!). Ruth, along with James Corden wrote and stared in it (and in my opinion, it should have been called Nessa and Smithy, because they made the show!), and it was absolutely hilarious! So since Stella was also written and stared in by Ruth, I knew it could only be great!

Here's just a couple of clips from Gavin And Stacey:

And an absolutely funny live GOSH Gala skit!

But back to Stella:
Stella on Amazon UK

Set in Wales (shock - like Gavin And Stacey) the premise of the show is that Stella, a single mother of three, is juggling her incarcerated, but soon-released, son, her recently knocked-up daughter, and the youngest son, who is just trying to find his place in the chaos. Add to that an ex-husband (aka father of the youngest two kids) and his tangerine-tanned girlfriend (who he left/cheated on Stella for/with), the daughter's boyfriend and his wacky parents and their continual up and down relationship, her constant sex game-playing brother and alcoholic sister-in-law (who works for an undertaker), an infatuated-with-Stella lollipop man (what we call in the states a crossing guard), his son, and a total hottie named Luke who has his eye on Stella. And just when you think they've got the perfect relationship, Stella's first love (and father of her eldest) returns to screw everything up!

But don't just take my word for it, Ruth Jones is nominated for a BAFTA for her performance! The series ends with a cliffhanger, but the second series is filming now, so, as Nessa would say, "tidy!".

"Z" - A To Z Challenge - Zachary Binx

Although this challenge has been about Walt Disney World, I started with a dedication to my beloved Zander, who was born on "A"pril Fools Day 1997 (may he rest in peace), so I thought it fitting to end this challenge with his baby brother, Zachary Binx.

Zachary was originally bought as a present for Zander...I felt after my divorce that Zander needed another male influence and I know he didn't like being lonely since I work so much and since another husband wasn't then or now on the menu, a brother was just what was needed! Zach was named after the character in Hocus Pocus (and excellent movie with a very young Sarah Jessica Parker (amuck, amuck, amuck!), Kathy Najimi (before she lost her weight), and Bette Midler).  You remember the little boy the witches turned into a cat and his sister (who was a ghost killed by the witches), kept calling out the little boy's name in this really annoying sing-song-y voice?  That's who Zach was named after...problem was, I misunderstood the character's name, it wasn't Zachary Binx, it was Thackery Binx! But that's OK, he looks like a Zachary anyway!!

Zander couldn't STAND Zachary for the first six months he was with us! I think I should have taken Zander to the store and let him pick out his own brother, but after Zander's crappy life there, I didn't want him exposed to it again. But at the same time, Zander was so wonderful and I knew the store worked with the same Shih-Tzu breeder, so I knew that another kid from that place would have been perfect (and he was!). Zach followed Zander everywhere and Zander couldn't stand it! And god forbid I should touch Zachary - Zander would actually growl! Zander always sat in my lap, so I think Zachary just got used to not coming near me and he developed his sense of solitude. He became a loner and it's something that has stuck with him to this very day - which is probably good since he's on his own so many hours in the day, but it reminds me how prejudice I was with my kids, and now I regret it.

You'd think Zander thought Zach had cooties!

But eventually Zander warmed up to him (or just became resound to the fact that Zachary was here to stay) and they finally started getting along and suddenly they were inseparable!  Zachary would lick Zander's head for hours if I'd let him!  Zander would sleep under my head (until his little heart got so loud and he got too skinny for me to put my big head on) and Zach would tuck up at my side just as tight as he could.  But where Zander was always sick, Zachary was always healthy (except for bladder stones, which have caused him to have a couple of operations). So, there were lots of times where Zander was in the hospital and it was just me and Zach but we got along OK.

I used to make a pocket with my legs and Zach would lay there and just stare at me until he fell asleep!

When Zander passed, I expected Zachary to miss his brother, but surprisingly enough, he didn't, and, for a while, I didn't like Zach very much because of it.  It was almost like he was waiting for Zan to die so he could run the house (which is just my skewed Asper opinion, but still...). Zachary was always Zander's brother, and with my Zander gone, he and I had to get to know each other for the first time, even though he was 8 years old. I never thought of him as mine, he was Zander's, and I knew that had to change, and eventually it did because now he's my beloved pup, my biggest critic, and a pretty good snuggle bunny (even though he doesn't sleep against me anymore...he's taken more of a guard dog roll - like anybody would be scared of him)!! I think he just slept against me to piss Zander off, he wasn't my dumb blonde after all (although he's not blonde anymore at all)!

Zachary has his quirks...he can't stand walking in grass or getting his feet dirty, he refuses to drink anything but Smart Water (a habit I started when he first started getting stones and now he's spoiled), when he gets a new toy, he guts it first, then plays with the torn-out squeaker until I take it away, he prefers to ride in the back window of the car on long trips (which gets us more than a few stares - whereas Zander stood on the console and would never sleep), and my favorite of his eccentricities, he barks like the Cadbury bunny clucks!!

His best feature is the fact that he's covered in hidden Mickey's! No matter which way he turns, his spots merge into Mickeys!

And that's it for the A to Z Challenge! I can't believe it's over, but then again, I'm completely worn out! I think I might think twice before taking on a new challenge!

So, from me and Zachary, goodbye to the Challenge and welcome all my new followers! I hope without a specific subject, I won't bore you too much!! But my OCD will definitely keep you in Disney info at least for the next few months! Thanks to everyone for your kind comments and I look forward to following your blogs as well!

Maybe now I can get back to stitching and reading and I'm sure Am would be grateful if I finish our 2010 trip pics DVD!!  And don't get me started on the stack of British tele DVD's I've got to get through!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Surprise, surprise!!

You remember that X-Pass system I mentioned in the "X" A to Z Challenge? Well, guess what? Disney is rolling out a test of it May 1! How scary! Maybe it will bomb and they won't implement it!  Then again, maybe my Asper fear of change is just kicking in and it will be fantastic!

Here are the deets:
Orlando Theme Park News - X-Pass announcement

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Y" - A to Z Challenge - Walt Disney World

"Y" is all about the food!

Yak And Yeti - In Animal Kingdom, this fairly new restaurant (built in the Asia addition of Serka Zong along with Expedition Everest), it has that Nepal kind of theming. It's Asian food but with a twist and it's really good (especially for an Animal Kingdom restaurant)! They have both a sit-down and an outside counter service area and we've done both (the outside has excellent fried rice and egg rolls!).  Plus, it's a prime example of Disney theming at it's best!  A lot of the trinkets and decorations where imported from Nepal.

Here are some pics:

I spy with my little eye a Keebles in purple!

The counter service outside:

Am loves her rice!

Yorkshire County Fish Shop - a counter service Fish and Chippie next door to the Rose and Crown. There is a ton of outdoor seating (although I only discovered that there is seating across the street as well until after I ended up having to stand and get my fish stolen by the damn mine, mine, mine birds! They are evil! You'd think you could keep such a large bird from stealing your food, but they move like the wind and you don't have a chance!

I didn't realize until I starting searching for pics, that I don't have any! Great goal for next time!

Friday, April 27, 2012

"X" - A to Z Challenge - Walt Disney World

"X" is gonna be another short one and it was a pretty hard one to come up with more than just one.

The first thing I wanna touch on is the new proposed xPass system that is supposed to be rolled out early next year. This is the NexGen version of the FastPass system. For those that don't know what a FastPass is, it's basically a ticket you get after putting your park pass in a machine. The ticket entitles you to return to whatever ride you're getting the pass for at a prescheduled time and get in the FastPass line, which is a much much shorter line. In some cases, the FastPass line bypasses the entrance queue and you miss a lot of cool stuff (i.e. Expedition Everest...I'd recommend riding this one first normally, then FastPass away!).

Basically, the xPass system gives resort guests (whereas the current FastPass system is open to everyone) a certain number of passes based on how early you booked your trip (the earlier the book, the more passes you get). Then, at a specific advanced reservation date, you schedule your passes. Annual passholders and DVC members get an even higher number of passes.

The problem with it is you'll have to know exactly what specific time you want to ride a specific ride and be there at that time. Planning your days and meals are one thing, but what time you can be a ride is almost too much. They will probably change the proposal numerous times before it is actually implemented, if at all. But it's all that's on the minds of the Disney geeks! The general grumble is that it will be the death of spontaneity...but Disney planners ought to know, there isn't much spontaneity at WDW, not if you want to have a good trip!

Next up, X-S Tech - The company that makes the interplanetary teleportation system at Stitch's Great Escape, but was a lot more prominent in Stitch's previous incarnation...The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Alien encounter preshow was voiced by Tim Curry (but the very first incarnation was voiced by Phil Hartman) and the experience was brought to you by the chairman of X-S Tech, Dr. L.C. Clench (voiced by Jeffrey Jones), and your experience was voiced by Kevin Pollak and Kathy Najimy.

When Stitch took over, all the Stitch voice artists replaced Tim, Jeffrey, Kevin, and Kathy, but the original still plays on MouseWorld Radio.

The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter:

Stitch's Great Escape:

Yeah, I know I was scraping the bottom of the barrel with "X", but it's done now!

As an added bonus, to my good friend Kate, I'm gonna add another category - x-stitch! I've done a few Disney projects throughout the years, and, even though they are on my Finished Projects page, I thought I'd show them off again here! I typically will finish a Disney project before any other simply because I'm obsessed with them! When WDW started carrying stitching kits a few years ago, it was like Christmas had finally come! So, without further ado:

The first one I ever did...the iron on for Walt's face has faded throughout the years, so it doesn't look as pretty as it once did:

I actually have another 7 dwarfs stitch in my stash as well, but I haven't done it yet:

The the big mamma:

Almost forgot this one (which I still haven't framed)!

Then, of course, there is my current project:

that will eventually look like:

As far as stash goes, I've still got a couple of Disney kits, but my main focus next will be the Haunted Mansion stretching portraits that I designed myself using X-stitch software!

Now...that's it for X!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"W" - A To Z Challenge - Walt Disney World

Wow, I can't believe we're almost done! So lets go with "W"!

World of Disney Store - the worlds biggest Disney store, it's massively huge and has EVERYTHING! It's very easy to get lost in there! My only complaint (which I have written to Disney with) is the fact that this store has baskets and no buggies! I would love to have a buggy instead of having to fill a basket, taking it to a counter for them to hold, then getting another basket and filling it, finding the counter where you left the other basket so you can leave this one, then getting another's a never-ending process!

Wolfgang Puke's - ok, ok, it's Wolfgang Puck's, but if you've eaten there, you'd agree with me! It is horrible food with absolutely horrible cast members, the decor is cheesy, it's just awful! So, I'd bet you're wondering why I included it? I felt the need to warn the masses against it! It never ceases to amaze me that people do actually like it!

Am's face says it all!

Wilderness Lodge I've already reviewed HERE ad nauseum. Wishes could be honorable mention, but it's not the fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom at anymore, so it doesn't qualify. So, that's it for "W"!