Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And this one is for mama!

So we cover all of the bases, this one is for mama (and everyone else too). We received the first of a couple shipments for mrsguru's BIG christmas gift (ok, it was actually the day after Christmas gift).

We received the three sets of her new Christmas china!



This is the main part, the rest of the accessories are on their way. Although, not everything made it in one piece. One bag had a broken cup, so I have to return it and order a new one (bummer).

If you are interested, it is Pfaltzgraff Winterberry

This one is for Mom!

Mrsguru spent her day off in the kitchen, her first priority: making her first batch of pizzelles! She's made them with my mother before, but never on her own or with her own pizzelle iron.

They are great and perfect! What do you think?


Monday, December 22, 2008

Men's Room Lines?!?!

Just a quick post today... everyone knows that Women's restroooms usually has lines and men's restrooms don't have lines. Well, I found a place that always has a line for the men's restroom: the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk Resort!

And you want to know there are always lines:

ESPN Club - Bathroom TV

They have TVs all over the restroom! There are TVs between each stall, inbedded in the walls behind the urinals, on either side of the counter mirror and in every corner of the room. Shangri-La!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Family Christmas Celebration Game Plan

For those of you who are not immediate family members, this post really will be boring for you... but if you are immediate family, PAY ATTENTION!

Team BJ will be travelling to Valdosta on Christmas Eve and will stay that night at Team Bruce. Team BJ will spend Christmas morning (and a few hours) with Team Bruce, before moving on to Team Cleo's house. The idea was to have an early Christmas dinner and then do Christmas presents with Team BJ, Team Cleo, and Team Richard.

Team BJ will spend the next few nights with Team Cleo and will return to stay with Team Bruce Sunday night.

On Friday, Team BJ will be with Team Cleo when Team Perry arrives.

Team Sam and Team Joel will arrive at Team Cleo's Sunday afternoon and stay with them (this is when Team BJ will stay with Team Bruce). Monday morning the following will have Christmas gifts and celebration together: Team BJ, Team Cleo, Team Richard, Team Sam, and Team Joel. At some point in the early afternoon, Team Bruce may join in the festivaties.

Team BJ may leave late Monday night or extreme early Tuesday morning. Unknown at this time when Team Sam and Team Joel will return to their points of origin.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trans Siberian Orchestra Concert

For the last few years, Trans Siberian Orchestra has come through Orlando on their annual Winter tour. Usually the concert date(s) are very close to Christmas Day, so we have been unable to go to the show. This year they moved the concert date big time, 11/15/08, so we were finally able to attend the show. I grabbed two seats the day the tickets went on sales (after a week os invitation only presale) and I'm glad I did. Our seats were in the last "lower bowl" section in the arena, so if I had been any later in ordering ticket, we would have been in the rafters.

This was an amazing concert! It had a ton of lighting effects, great musicians, and lasted nearly 3 HOURS!

Normally you are not allowed to take cameras to concerts, so I didn't take my camera with me. Well, that was a mistake, because they had no issues with taking photos or videos. So the photos below and the video are kinda crappy, because they were taken on my mobile phone (which nearly died on me because I was taking so many photos).

So enjoy the photos and video, click the images for larger versions:


And here is the short video I took:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Update

I just wanted to do a quick post, so everyone didn't forget about us.... I have a ton of photos that I have uploaded recently, I need to start posting about them. The problme is that things are not going so good at work. Because of the economic problems and some major financial missjudgements this past summer, the company is in very bad shape. If we can make it through the year, we may make it, but it is going to be extremely tough! And to top it all off, looks like we will not be able to go to Georgia for Christmas, looks like I am going to have to work Christmas Eve and the day after. So who knows.....

But I wanted to take a moment and show off one of our new trees.... yes, one of our new trees, we now have 8 TREES! help me, please.......

"A Christmas Story" Tree
Click image for larger version and apologies for crappy cell phone photo

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Downtown Disney T-Rex Restaurant Review

A few weekends ago, we found ourselves heading to Downtown Disney and we were getting a little hungry. As we arrived, we had a wonderful idea: try the new T -Rex Restaurant! I must apologize in advanced for the quality of the photos; I did not bring my camera, so all I had was my cell phone camera. And I was also hampered by the fact that my cell only had a small charge left on the battery... next time I will take my camera, I promise! Just click the thumbnails for larger versions of the photos.

So we walked up the main entrance, put our names on the list and waiting (at the time the wait was approx 30 mins)... This was a good thing, because it allowed us to cruise around the shops and exterior to see how everything looked (the restaurant had only been only a week prior to us arriving).

T-Rex Restaurant
T-Rex Restaurant; Sign over the main entrance of the new T-Rex Restaurant

When you see the restaurant from the parking lot, you are actually looking at the back of the restaurant. The front is actually facing Village Lake (the lake the Downtown Disney surrounds.

Dino bones out front
Dino bones out front; Just above the main entrance is this huge dino skeleton

To the left of the entrance is a small area for setting, the fun stuff is to the right of the main entrance. There is a children's dig site where kids can uncover a full size dino skeleton and a place where they can even pan for gem stones!

Kids Dig site from outside
Kids Dig site from outside; Better shot of the kids Dig Site, which also includes a place where you can pan for gems and small fossils!

Kids Dig Site
Kids Dig Site; They even have a small "dig site" for kids to play in viewed from inside the gift shop

Kids Dig Site One Last Time
Kids Dig Site One Last Time

They also have several other items and skeletons setup around the exterior of the restaurant.

Expedition Jeep Outside
Expedition Jeep Outside; Outside the entrance, beside the kids dig site is this loaded Jeep

T-Rex Skeleton in front of the Kids Dig Site
T-Rex Skeleton in front of the Kids Dig Site; This T-Rex skeleton separates the Kids Dig Site from the outside world :)

After exploring the outside, it is time to head inside the gift shop! When you step through the entrance you are greeted by this giant (full size maybe?) T-Rex audio animatronics!

T-Rex AA Inside
T-Rex AA Inside; Just inside the restaurant is this giant T-Rex audio animatronics..... Very cool!

T-Rex AA Again (Crappy Cell Phone Photo)
T-Rex AA Again (Crappy Cell Phone Photo)

And of course, like any self respecting big bully, even T-Rex had his toadies:
T-Rex Little Buddy!
T-Rex Little Buddy! On either side of the AA T-Rex, there are two smaller AA dinos

As with the Rainforest Cafe, the theming of this place it out of this world! The ceiling in the gift shop is made to look like our solar system with a giant flaming Sun!

Gift Shop Ceiling
Gift Shop Ceiling; This is the ceiling of the restaurant's gift shop, everything lights up during one of the scheduled "shows"

And in the heart of the gift shop, is a special edition of the popular Build-A-Bear shops, a Build-A-Dino shop!

Build-A-Dino Signage
Build-A-Dino Signage; Inside the restaurant's gift shop, there is a Build-A-Dino Workshop

Every thirty minutes, there is a "show" that happens in every room of the restaurant (each room is themed differently, more on that later). In the gift shop, all of the planets and sun light up and there is also a very colorful light show (along with all of the AA's doing a lot of roaring).

Another shot of the Gift Shop Ceiling
Another shot of the Gift Shop Ceiling

The merchandise is, of course, all themed after dinosaurs and geology. There are dinos of every size and type, cheap gems stones, geodes , etc... all over the place. I tried to get some photos of some of the stuff, but my cell phone was running low on battery power and none of the photos came out.

There is more to pass the time in the shop then just browsing, they have these touch screen terminals throughout the shop were kids (and big kids) can play dino themed games and puzzles.

Dino themed video games
Dino themed video games; Throughout the gift shop area, there are several touch screen monitors with dino themed games to play

The theming of the restaurant is fantastic and there are AAs all over the place!

Giant Grasshopper
Giant Grasshopper; This is a giant grasshopper on the wall between one of the dining rooms and the gift shop

Next we are going to talk about the dining area of the restaurant. Like the Rainforest Cafe (both are owned and operated by the same company), the dining areas are split into themed rooms, the T-Rex restaurant has 5 different themed rooms! Oh and if you find out that you have a favorite room, you can request the room when you leave your name at the desk....

The room we eat in was themed as if it was the top of a volcano! This is the closest dining room at the main entrance and is also where the kitchen is located. You can see portions of the kitchen from this room and there are flames all over the room! The ceiling is done like the open night sky, so you can see stars and the moon. During the "show" a large meteor shower takes place on the ceiling, using projectors, lights, and other effects.... As the show progresses, the meteor show getting bigger and plenty of explosions!

They have another room, which includes the bar area, that has a giant AA octopus hanging in the middle. This room, of course, is themed to the ocean and includes a lot of giant fish and jellyfish!

Octopus AA and Bar Area
Octopus AA and Bar Area; The restaurant has a bar and dining area themed to the ocean, this is a big Octopus AA that is over the bar

Above was the last photo I was able to take with my cell phone, because the battery died.... sorry!

They have two smaller rooms to the rear of the dining area that are jungle themed and redwood forest themed. But the one that looked the coolest (no pun intended) was the Ice Cave dining room! This room was covered and surrounded by translucent plastic (to look like ice) and had a blue glow, so the only light are blues and light purples. This dining area features a large woolly mammoth AA and several small and very cute woolly mammoth AAs. During this show, the mammoths roar and the whole room flashes different colors, really cool!

Woolly Mammoth AA from across the restaurant
Woolly Mammoth AA from across the restaurant; Looking from the gift shop, under the big T-Rex AA, at the large Wooly Mammoth AA

There was a lot of talk about the amount (and cost) of the fossils that were going to be used in the bathrooms, so we both had to go check them out. I was expecting a decent sized skeleton (still in rock) to be in the bath room, but there wasn't. There were several rocks with small trilobite fossils and a few other really small fossils, nothing really impressive. The floor, walls, and ceiling appeared to be made of marble maybe that is where the money went! Well, there was something pretty cool about their bathroom, everything in the hand washing area was motion activated, including the soap dispenser!

We've covered the gift shop, the theming, even the bathroom... I guess we do need to mention the food. The food was very, very good! We have been to several restaurants that are owned and operated by the same company (including the Rainforest at Downtown Disney, the Yak and Yeti at Animal Kingdom, and even the Rainforest Cafe at Disneyland) and we have had mixed results. The food at our Rainforest Cafe was pretty good, but it was downright bad at the Yak and Yeti (except for the drinks and deserts).

Well this place had the best food, from the appetizers, to the entree, and the drinks! We were too full to get desert, besides, we are only a few steps away from Ghirardelli’s (why had desert here?). There were other dishes on the menu that sounded very good also, it was a difficult decision for both of us to pick which ones we wanted to try first. Since everything was so good, we will be back to try the others.

We started off with Dexter's Dual Dip for an appetizer. This dish featured two different nacho type dips and chips... very good! Mrsguru had the Lava Tomato Basil Soup and the Triassic Tortellini, both were great! I had the Red Earth Rigatoni which was extremely good! Of course we both had drinks, I believe it was called Caveman Punch, which I highly recommend!
Below are shots of the outside menu board, not that the deserts (which were a little limited, but again, why stay when Ghirardelli’s only a few feet away) and the drinks are not listed on the board:

T-Rex Menu; Part 1

T-Rex Menu; Part 2

T-Rex Menu; Part 3

Cutie Dino on the Menu Board

So all in all, this is a really good restaurant for all ages... great food and of course the kids will love the dinosaurs! If there is anything negative to say, it is probably the overall pricing of the menu, it is a little high for our tastes. Two drinks, appetizer, soup, and two entrées ran us about $80... which is not bad for some places at Disney, but there are other places with food just as good that is a little cheaper.... I'm sure the next time we go, it will be a little cheaper, because discounts don't start until mid January. That is when they will allow the pass holder, cast member, etc... discounts, so that is probably when we will be heading back.

Hope you enjoyed the review and I'm sorry about the photos.... CHEERS!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to everyone! Last night was our first Halloween in the new house and we were hoping that we would actually have some trick or treaters this year. Over the several years we were in the apartment, we had zero kids come by, we hoped that this year would be different.

We even went so far as getting a permium treat to give out, popcorn balls! It was an ok night, approx 15 kids... which was pretty much all of the kids in the townhouse complex. Later that night, we found out that the HOA didn't keep the entrance gate open. It is usually closed by 8:00pm, but we thought they might keep it open to allow more people through for trick or treating, but they didn't. I may inquire with the HOA and see if the gate can stay open a little later next year.

We did dress up the front porch a little, but I have some BIG plans for next year! In the mean time, enjoy the photos (remember, click the photos for larger versions):

Starting to Setup
We are starting to setup for handing out candy

Continuing to Setup
Almost done setting up the porch

More Decoration
Close up of some our decorations

Mini-Maleficent as played by Autumn
Here is Autumn wearing her Maleficent ears

Maleficent and her precious
Maleficent and her precious

Maleficent's Throne Room
Charlotte outside on the porch

Maleficent's Fury
Maleficent's Fury; Charlotte striking Maleficent's famous pose
And one of me in my kilt
It's not all about Charlotte, there was one photo of me

Ghost Tombstones
One of our two Disney Haunted Mansion Ghost Tombstones!
Big Jack-O-Lantern
Big Jack-O-Lantern; Custom, hand carved pumpkin... done my yours truly

Mini Jack-O-Lantern
We always get a small pumpin, another custom carving job

Bright on the Trick and Treaters
Bring on the Trick and Treaters; Notice how we rearranged everything, just for the popcorn balls!

Maleficent's Fury, at night!
Maleficent's Fury, at night!; I may try loading some plugins and adding Maleficent's green flames

Jack-O-Lantern; Nice shot of my jack-o-lantern

One last shot
After a few hours, it was time to close up