Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Oh my! It is just gorgeous outside here today! The temperature is perfect, the breeze is perfect, the brilliant sun lit sky is perfect, the huge puffy white cloud mountains are perfect! I didn't want to come in.
And all anyone can say is "It's going down to 30 tomorrow night..."
Monday, November 29, 2010
Just about finished on the new RaceTrac station in Homosassa at 19 and 490! This is nice as have previously had to travel about 7 miles north to get to one of the low priced stations.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
GLUTEN FREE COOKIES
This is one of the most irritating things about having to be gluten-free, even now that there are some places carrying GF cookies. Take a look at this. This appears to be a box of cookies, and though the typical price of $3.50 to $4.80 might be a bit of a shock to one, the joy of once again having a cookie sometimes overcomes the very high cost of indulging.
But then when you get home and open it, you find that what is actually contained inside is as seen here: a lot of packaging hiding the fact that what you have just paid a very high price for is not a box of cookies, but more like a small snack pack of small cookies.
Not singling out this maker, as this is quite typical.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
A couple of sky shots from Citrus County Florida today. Went to the first (daytime) showing of Harry Potter and grabbed one shot at the mall, and the second at home.
About half an hour into Deathly Hallows, Part 1, I finally figured out that Dumbledore was already dead and that I never saw movie 6!
I found it a bit slow, but then I was hurting pretty bad and quite uncomfortable, so I don't really trust my own review at this point. In any case, it was not bad: some scenes were amazing, and overall, I have to think it was very good, but very different.
I also felt more than ever that this was an abbreviated version of even the scenes they chose to include. You better know what is going on before you see it.
Best line in the whole movie came from the lady behind me at the end, "Damn, I didn't want it to end there!"
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Just found on another fan's site that the accompanist is the very talented Aaron McDonald.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
ROGER HODGSON OF SUPERTRAMP AT DISNEY WORLD CONCERT
103 new images at:
Sugggestion: read the report, then view the images selecting slideshow, sit back, relax and enjoy the show!
A month or so ago, I read on Facebook that Roger Hodgson was for the first time going to be one of the guest musicians at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Eat to the Beat Concert series! I was thrilled! Roger was the one of two artists who wrote and sang for the very special group Supertramp who hit their height in the 70's while I was a morning disc jockey on WMWM, FM 91.7, Salem State College, Salem Mass.
His songwriting has been compared to that of Lennon/McCartney, and his voice called one of the most distinctive in pop music. I loved the music of Supertramp and the songs I loved most had been done by Roger.
I immediately made plans to be at Epcot for both days of his appearance, November 4th and 5th; and to be in the audience for each of the three 30-minute shows he would perform each night.
Two days before I was to head out for this highly anticipated event, one of my Disney friends announced a fan meet at Animal Kingdom Lodge for the 5th, so I added that to my plans, suggesting that they make the 3pm meet at Epcot instead, but was told that since some who would attend did not have Annual Passes, that a non-park setting was more desirable. I understood, but noted that I would have to leave at 4 to get over to Epcot to see Roger.
Another friend couple was down from New Hampshire and I planned to join them for lunch on the 4th, so this was to be a rather full and enjoyable two days.
However, on the 3rd, I was out for a drive and suddenly my brakes felt quite different than usual. While I could still stop with no problem, something didn’t feel right. I overheard one of the loaders at Home Depot talking car shop stuff and consulted him, described the situation and he suggested I might have blown out the master cylinder. I had replaced that recently, so knowing that would its repair would be covered, I didn't worry about it much and just considered whether to bring it to the shop before or after my trip to Disney. When I got home I called the shop and she told me to bring it in the next day. I asked for afternoon, as I don't get up early so well, and at 1pm, after the un-remembered TV repairman and trip to the VA Clinic had been worked in and around, I headed to the shop.
The mechanic got in, jumped right out, and said with a repressed laugh, "Don't need to drive that very far!" Turned out my brake lines were shot. These are metal lines that run from the engine compartment under the length of the vehicle and to the wheels. They carry the brake fluid, which is what creates the pressure on the brake pads to stop the wheels. He put it up on the lift and it was clearly visible that mine had rusted out and were leaking freely. Suddenly, my warranty-covered master cylinder was no longer the problem, but a hourly and laborious repair on a set of very rusty brake lines and the very rusted and special-order fasteners and connectors that held them all together, IF they could even be gotten off and if they didn't break apart in trying to work on them!
A few hours later, I got a call, and after the casing was opened that covered the brake lines, it was discovered that my fuel lines were also rusted out and leaking: cha-ching... I would not be getting my car back today- but was still hoping for a noon departure the next day, last chance to meet my friends who were down from New Hampshire.
The next morning, there wasn't any better news, for after they replaced the lines and filled the system up again, the lines to the other side failed. In the end, I got my car back around 5pm, with about $540 less in my bank account.
I kept everyone involved informed via the net, and my NH friends had already said, “see you next time”: apparently prescient?
So, Thursday, November 5th, I manage to hit the road by noon, heading to Animal Kingdom Lodge for the group meet. I arrived about an hour ahead of time and took the opportunity to shoot some pictures around the lobby, and then headed out to the savannah and engaged in an extended conversation with "Bonnie", the Anglicized name of Boineelo of Botswana who was on duty as guide and host for the folks out on the Savannah overlook. I had some great animal sightings and learned a lot from her about how those animals fit into life in her home country: for instance, while her people do eat meat, they do not eat the Watusi Cattle, for that is money and wealth and is only milked: other breeds of cattle are kept for eating. Meanwhile, she was surprised when I explained to her that the only reason most Americans know the word Watusi is because it was a dance here in the 60's. Unfortunately, I couldn’t demonstrate.
Bonnie also pointed out something to me I had never noticed: a carving of three giraffes in one of the large rocks in the Savannah overlook area!
"See the hidden Mickey," she asked?
As it was now 3 o'clock and I wasn't seeing any signs of a large group gathering, I decided that the meet must be up in the lobby and took my leave; but the lobby was equally unpromising and I figured I must have gotten the location wrong- maybe another building- maybe the new building at AKL- so I checked my phone book on my cell and found I didn't have the number of the person who had called the meet, but did have a friend of hers so called and asked her to check the meet announcement for me. She reported that she could only find a meet for December 5th...
I called another friend and asked her to check the Facebook announcement and she found only December 5th...
I began to think something might be a bit off...
I got the number for the meet planner but only got voicemail and I finally decided that despite my clear statements that I was heading down for the meet on November 5th, and that not having been corrected, that the meet was indeed the one on December 5th: I left Animal Kingdom Lodge to head over to Epcot.
On the way, I saw the turn off for McDonalds at All Stars Resorts and decided to grab a cheeseburger and stopped there. I had two, and I must say they were possibly the most pathetic cheeseburgers I have ever had... cold, tiny and tasteless: I ate them.
As I resumed my journey, I saw a sign for Coronado Springs Resort, and noting that I was still early for the shows, I decided to pull in and take a look at this resort that I had never visited, and barely heard of.
Coronado Springs Resort is themed in an Aztec/Mayan setting with colorful Spanish influenced architecture. It has a reputation among Disney World fans as a 'convention resort', that is, a place where people who are attending conventions stay, and not really park people or families. One of the CM's there told me they are trying to counteract that perception and promote it as a family resort.
I visited the shop just inside the main entrance, Panchito’s, which is themed from the movies Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros, the latter being one of the finest examples of animation and what can be done with it. (See: http://www.cornel1801.com/video/AN07T301/mo04.html) It also features the work of Mary Blair, reportedly Walt’s favorite animator, and most noted for her creations of the characters in Small World and the mural in The Contemporary’s Grand Canyon Concourse. Little Burrito, the flying donkey from the movie, sits just inside the door to greet shoppers. I chatted a bit with the Cast Member on duty there- and chastised her for not having seen either movie (nor Fantasia for that matter)... and had my picture taken with Burrito.
I then headed out to take in the grounds of the resort, and on the long walk to the Dig Site, the pool area. I had not bothered to unload my scooter and was on foot and this really took a lot out of me: it is a long walk. The walkway was beautifully landscaped and at the Dig Site, a Mayan pyramid lords over the pool area, and beside it the Jaguar water slide: a bit cool today, but people were in the water anyway. I shot some pictures and then made the long walk back to my car, again passing through the main lobby.
I decided to go to the Beach Club, as I wanted to enter Epcot from the International Gateway, which enters directly into World Showcase, as my only purpose in being here today was to go to the American Pavilion and the Theater for the performances of Roger Hodgson.
After getting inspected and swiping my annual pass in the entrance turnstile, I headed across the bridge into France and on towards America. I stopped at the rest room in Morocco on the way to wash some spilled Pepsi off my lens cover, and as I headed out I heard in the distance familiar chords and grunted audibly as I realized Roger’s first set had already started!
I got to the theater and was allowed to head in to check the middle row for handicapped spaces and seeing none, I scooted right on through, and parked my scooter at the edge and walked quickly back to an empty seat I had spotted on my drive through. Roger was in the middle of Take the Long Way Home, and asking the person beside me, I found that it was the first song, so I hadn't missed much: thank goodness!
Way back in college, I had the great good fortune of having a friend who made it his primary purpose in life to be on the cutting edge of music. All my friends, and myself at that time, lived for music. It was through him and those connections that I first came to hear many great recordings and the early work of many who would later go on to much wider audiences. Among them was Supertramp. We listened to Crime of the Century and Crisis What Crisis endlessly, often just having the turntable repeat one or the other for hours on end. I was also the morning DJ on the college radio station and I played Supertramp each show, though I was limited to one song per shift. At home, I would go to bed each night with my headphones pumping Dreamer and Hide in Your Shell directly into my brain. And of course, when Supertramp played Boston, we were there, first at the Orpheum for the Crime of the Century concert, and later, the Boston Garden for the Breakfast in America tour. Along the way, I had acquired three promotional buttons from A&M records that supplied their albums for the station. I was carrying one of these buttons this night hoping to get Roger to sign it.
Now, at some point between my years at Salem State and this night at Epcot, Roger had separated from Supertramp; but part of the agreement was that Roger could keep his music, not always the case in such situations; and recently while ripping my Supertramp CD's, I noted that the songs that I wanted were mostly the ones by Roger, most notably, the aforementioned Dreamer and Hide in your Shell. This is not to say I didn't love the rest of it, but the ones that I had to have, would take with me in my soul to my grave, were by Roger. So that this was not Supertramp playing this night made no difference to me, for it was Roger I wanted to hear- to feel- to connect to- to be a part of.
And now here I was, sitting in the first row of the second section, next to a couple of real fans, and being immersed in the sound of the music I loved!
Roger was in great form, his voice still beautiful, and not cheating, going for even the highest notes as they always had been. He looked happy and excited to be performing for us, and the crowd was equally enthusiastic. The end of the song was lost in applause and standing ovation, which only got louder when the notes of the next number were recognized: Give a Little Bit. He stood up from his Korg Triton Keyboard to put on his 12 string acoustic guitar for that one and was radiating from center stage in the spot light and his smile.
If possible, the cheers got even more enthusiastic when he next played the beautiful and moving Sister Moonshine, and it continued as a love fest between performer and audience through Breakfast in America, The Logical Song, Lord is it Mine, and finished up with the phenomenal Dreamer! The applause and cheering carried on even after he smiled and waved, disappearing behind the curtain as the first set ended.
I sat basking as I waited for the crowd to move out, then made my way to the front of the stage and asked the CM there if Roger was going to do a meet and greet. I was told he would not. I asked if it would be possible for the CM to get something to him, and he said it would have to be okay’d by his manager and then Roger's manager... generally discouraging. I understood and turned away, but then thought this was the only reason I am here today, so let's go for it! So I turned back to the CM and asked him where I could find his manager. Well, now he said he that that guy would have to check with his manager and he with his and so on, and generally was doing his best to discourage any idea of my making contact with anyone. This was not one of the happier CM's I have dealt with and he clearly had no interest in making any magic for me. I realized the futility of the trying to deal with him and scooted away.
While I had been talking fruitlessly with him, I did notice what was clearly some sort of special group in the front left reserved area, and a person who looked like she was some sort of 'official'. Now as I sat in the large center aisle contemplating my next move, she was walking along that aisle and I called for her attention and asked if she was with Disney. She said, no, she was with Roger.
I lit up! I asked her if I could have two minutes of her time, and as she stopped and gave me her attention, I went right on explaining to her that long ago I was DJ and was playing Roger before most people knew he existed and I had this promo button from 1973 (actually, not sure of that date) and asked if it would be possible for her to bring it to Roger and have him sign it for me? She immediately and unreservedly said, “Yes”!
I was thrilled! She asked for my name and I pointed to it on my hat as I told her (it helps) and asked her to also thank Roger for the music. She said she would and told me to wait up at the top of the theater and headed off to the stage door, where she had been headed when I first spoke to her.
I headed up to the edge of the theater area, where the crowds were lining up for the next show, and the CM’s were guiding the last of this audience out so they could put their ropes in place. I told him I was waiting for one of Roger’s people, and I waited excitedly there.
A few minutes later, I saw the lady emerge from the theater doors and she waved to me and walked up the path. She handed me my button, signed, and said Roger had something else for me and handed me an autographed set-list!!! I thanked her and tried to tell her how much it meant to me and we parted with big smiles. I can't remember her name, but boy I sure appreciate her making some big magic for me!
I showed off my new treasures to the CM and a few others who had been listening in and then carefully put the set-list in my storage box under my seat, and looking around, decided my best bet for seating for the next show was to go hang out at the center rope and wait for it to be opened. I chatted with the CM there, an intern from Mexico, here for a year, from Baja, just over the border. He told me he could let me in once the proper entrance line had emptied. While we waited, a lady came along and said, "I'm in the third row" and he let her in- reserved seating with a dinner and show deal- and I jokingly said, “Hey! I'm in the second row!” He laughed, looked over and saw the line was almost emptied out, and said what the heck, go ahead, both of us knowing I was heading for the reserved handicapped seating area anyway, but it was a nice touch.
By this time it was getting noticeably cooler, the sun nearing setting and this being an unseasonably cold couple of days here in central Florida. I scooted on down and was happy to see that only the first HC space had been taken and I got the second one to the left, putting me squarely in front of Roger’s keyboard on the stage! I was maybe 30 or 40 feet from where he would be? Nice venue! And with a 10X zoom on my camera...
Next to me this time was a man in a non-powered wheel chair and we chatted it up about Roger and Supertramp during the break. Then I noticed the Earth Globe in its 'parking spot' next to the theater and grabbed a CM to take a picture of me in front of it. The Earth Globe is the centerpiece of my beloved Illuminations nightly spectacular that ends each day at Epcot. I returned to my scooter seat and laughed as I noticed there were now vendors moving through the aisles hawking beer and wine just like at the ball games. I shot a picture of the empty stage and was looking about a lot for anything else when a young lady tapped me on the shoulder and told me that if I wished, she would take a shot of me with Roger behind me on stage during the show.
Shortly, the announcer came on and we all started to cheer enthusiastically even before Roger appeared from the left edge of the stage and smiled and waved as he headed for his electric keyboard and sat and started the first notes of second set. It had cooled a bit and Roger had added a vest to his outfit. I was also in a much better position to shoot him, now sitting directly in front of his keyboard.
At an appropriate moment, I passed my camera off to the young lady in the row behind me and she got the shot, then a few minutes later, it dawned on me that she might like the same (she had mentioned that she had forgotten to bring her camera) so I signaled her to take my seat and I got a shot of her and her boyfriend. I gave her my email addy- haven't heard from her yet.
I do not remember the song order of the second set, but several were repeats but added was School and It's Raining Again. The crowd was even more enthusiastic. As I glanced around at the audience, I noticed a little girl in the row behind me dancing- quite well, and with great joy! I tried to get a shot, but it didn't capture how good she was, only her and her mother's joy!
Roger also introduced his accompanist who covered all the fill-in and some of the solos that go with his songs and I regret that I do not remember his name but only that he was from Canada, and was very good, playing everything from harmonica to saxophone and also some vocals when needed.
At the end of the set, Roger walked to the center stage mic and thanked the audience and said see you again in 45 minutes! He waved and smiled as he left the stage.
I hung around again waiting for the place to clear and chatting with my photo pal, and with my wheelchair mate, had a shot taken with him, and then headed out for a cigarette break in a back passage next to the American Pavilion. Finishing that, and starting to really get cold now, I headed back to the center rope to await the next show, now truly facing the challenge of hanging in there despite the cold. I chatted with the CM from Mexico again, and again got to the second seat in and directly in front of Rogers keyboard!
I chatted with a mother and daughter next to me for a while, mainly about the weather and that the daughter, now in Minnesota should have left it there. Oh! Mother was in a wheelchair cause she had broken her foot and it was bare and exposed and getting cold! I grabbed a CM and asked if she could possibly get us a towel or something to wrap it with. She looked at me like I was crazy, but agreed to try. Never saw her again. I then moved out of my scooter seat and sat on the low curb in front of the ladies to make it easier to chat with them and noticed and commented that the cement curb was warm! Immediately a lady on the other side of them moved to sit her butt on that curb!
Then I heard a young couple on the next bench talking shop, as in Supertramp fan shop, and excused myself from the ladies and moved over to chat with them and show off my autographed button. We chatted all about the group for the rest of the break, and then the announcement started and I got back in my scooter seat and joined the cheers as Roger came on for his final set of this night and this appearance at Epcot.
As he sat down at his keyboard, he commented that it was getting chilly and he had put on everything he had! Had added a suit jacket. He rubbed his hands together to warm them and then started the first number, again, I don't remember. Again, there were repeats, but some songs are okay to repeat, Give a Little Bit, Dreamer...
Of note for this set was that his accompanist came on wearing a pair of Minnie Ears! Looked kinda silly, but, it was for his young daughter in the audience- the crowd went wild with that!
As Roger was heading for the end of his allotted time, I started to get nervous, so I turned to the fans beside me and said quickly, "Back me up!" and as the applause quieted from the just finished Dreamer, I screamed out clearly, HIDE IN YOUR SHELL! My friends repeated it just as determinedly, and I again, and some others picked up on it, and finally Roger acknowledged it, saying since there area so many requests for it... but then he started not that, but the oh so beautiful Two of Us! Ah! As he set down his guitar from that, he moved to his keyboard and explained that time constraints… he was going to push it… and did a shortened version of Hide in Your Shell! Oh my! What a perfect ending! But not quite the ending, as he said good bye and ended with It's Raining Again. Most people at this point are on their feet, as many have been for the whole concert, and at least swaying in rhythm, if not actually dancing.
And then it was over. My thoughts now turned to finding a good spot to view Illuminations which would start in half an hour, though at the time I thought it was mere minutes as that is how it used to be, concerts ending virtually as Illuminations starts, so I headed on out. It was only days later that I read that Roger had done a meet and greet after that last show, spending an hour with those who had stayed and spending quality time with each person one on one! But at the time, I had no idea that this was even a possibility, and with the pending start of Illuminations, and my chilled shaking body, my thoughts were limited to survival and a view.
My usual- and quite good- location was in the direction away from the exit that I would be using, and again, being so cold now, I had no inclination to make that final trek any longer, and then I thought of a spot I had been curious about for some time, so traveled through the mobs from America, past Japan and Morocco, through the always crowded turn at France, and to the start of the bridge where I had previously seen a waterfront area marked off as reserved for handicapped viewing. Only it wasn't! It was now private party reserved! Arg! Show time was fast approaching, so I thought quickly and reverted to my first idea, to view it from the departure point of the Earth Globe and I made my way back to the American Pavilion and found a spot along the rail, behind a tree just as it started. Too late to get my lens filter and magnifier on my camera, I lost the opportunity to shoot the Earth Globe from this close, but I did get to see it, and experience a few details of the show I had never done before. And to paraphrase, even a bad viewing of Illuminations is better than a good viewing of anything else!
As soon as the show was over, my only intent was to get out and get warm! I headed with and through the mob toward the International Gateway, and the promise of some warmth for a moment at least in the lobby of the Beach Club resort. My battery died as I was in the final stretch, so I had to pull over and switch off to the back up I carry, and then into the lobby! I headed for the men’s room- and nice thing about the restrooms here in the resort is that the faucets are not electronically controlled so you can just turn it on and leave it on: I turned it on hot and ran it over my hands and wrists for ten minutes at least, until I began to feel as if I might live! Ahhhhhhh...
Reinvigorated, or at least partially thawed, I headed to the lobby shop and bought a cup to use the hot chocolate machine. It only filled about 3/4 of the cup, so I saw a lady with a bigger refillable cup and told her to get ready to take over and hit it again to finish the fill of mine and she cut in quite expertly at just the right moment. I smiled at her and said, "You must be a mother!"
Out to the car, load the scooter, and two hours to home! Arrived to find my inside temp at 62, turned on the heat and downloaded my pictures, took a quick look at those and the video clips and then hit the sack!