Monthly Archives: June 2012

My San Francisco Trip Notebook

Every time my wife and I go on vacation, I take the lead in doing most of the planning. As a traveler, you might label me as a bit of an anal retentive. I don’t want us to miss anything fun or interesting just because I was unprepared. This usually means building a trip notebook to carry with us wherever we go. I thought I’d share the notebook I have built for our upcoming trp to San Francisco. If you find this kind of neurosis interesting, or want to consider adding it to your own list, please click below to see more…

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Review: Brave

I took my girls to see Brave today.  I’ll give you their reactions before I go into my own.  Josie, my seven-year-old, cried at the end.  Actual tears.  I had to console her during the closing credits.  In fairness, she’s a sensitive child.  Kara, my three-year-old, fell asleep.  In fairness, she was really tired.  She fell asleep on the way to the theater and managed to stay awake through most of the movie.  She had to sit on my lap, but that was mostly because she was too little to hold the seat down on her own.

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Juror #9: Joseph Sweeney

I think certain things should be pointed out to this man”

Joseph Sweeney’s “Juror #9” is the first to reverse field and support Juror #8’s plea for a more detailed deliberation. He does so not because he has been convinced that the boy is not guilty, but because he recognizes that it is the right thing to do. A rush to judgment is just what the whole legal system was created to avoid. He quickly becomes one of Juror #8’s strongest allies, though, as the imperfect and sometimes twisted arguments for conviction are gradually shown for what they are. Like Juror #2, he tends to be ignored or taken for granted by some others in the room, and he often finds that he must stand up and shout just be allowed to speak his mind. Sweeny’s character brings these experiences to some of the key questions about important prosecution witnesses, and helps to turn the tide.

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My Disney World Memories – Part 5

When we returned from our Disney World honeymoon in 2003, I had absolutely no intention of coming back any time soon.  I enjoyed it.  But I had my fill.  Mindy and I talked about making a return trip in a decade when we had kids who were “the right age” to enjoy it.  It’s now nine years later and we have been back three times with a fourth trip planned for the fall.

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Top Ten Pixar Movies


Pixar’s 13th feature film, Brave, is released in theaters today.  To celebrate, I’m ranking the top 10 Pixar movies of the 12 that came before it.

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Haunted Mansion Pics!


Just thought I’d share a few pics from our night at the Magic Kingdom last October.

Largely based on Lebeau’s recommendation, we added an evening at “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” to our trip to Orlando and were very glad that we did. As 2 adults without children in tow, we found that the price of the 4PM to Midnight tickets ($60 last year) were a pretty good value. While the crowds were big enough to retain the excitement of being at Disney World, they were also small enough that we didn’t wait more than 10 minutes in any queue. We got a lot done in one night in a great environment!

The above photo is a fun atmospheric shot Lynn took of the pet cemetery.

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My Disney World Memories – Part 4

In the last installment of this series, I gave a pretty detailed account of the first full day of our 2003 honeymoon in Disney World.  I don’t remember the exact sequence of events for the rest of the trip.  So I am going to recount the highlights in no particular order.

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Kings Island with the Kids – End of School Edition

Josie’s last day of school was Wed, May 30 which was a half-day.  We didn’t have anyone to watch her on Thursday.  So I figured I would use some vacation time and take the girls to Kings Island before it got hot and crowded.  As it turns out, we had a day and a half of light crowds and perfect weather.

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Juror #8: Henry Fonda (Part 2)

In part 1 of this article, I detailed Henry Fonda’s early life and film career through the end of the 1950s. After six years away from film, Fonda had come back in a big way with “Mister Roberts,” which had opened the door for some high-profile projects, including “War and Peace,” Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man,” and our personal favorite here, “12 Angry Men.” Unfortunately, a couple of box office disappointments and at least one unfathomable creative dud had left Fonda licking his wounds and retreating to the television western “The Deputy.” As he would prove, however, Fonda still had the prestige, popularity, and talent to hold a strong place in the industry.

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Review: Prometheus

Prometheus marks legendary film maker Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien franchise he launched.  Although it is connected to the original Alien story, it is much more than an Alien prequel.  It is arguably the most ambitious main stream science fiction movie made in years.  The fact that it ties in to Alien is almost besides the point.  Prometheus works best as a stand-alone story.

*Spoiler Warning*

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The Low Down on the Alien Franchise


Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction, Prometheus, opens in theaters today.  To mark the occasion, I am looking back on one of the most beloved science fictions franchises in movie history.

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My Disney World Memories Part 3

In the previous installment, I began to recount the story of our Disney World Honeymoon (or Disneymoon) in 2003.  It was the first WDW trip I had ever planned and my inexperience showed.  The first day was a logistical nightmare that resulted in us experiencing one attraction while visiting three parks in half of a day.  On top of that, I had left my driver’s licence in the pants of my rental tux.

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Juror #8: Henry Fonda (Part 1)

You’re a sadist.

Henry Fonda’s “Juror #8” (or “Davis” as he finally introduces himself) is the ostensible hero of “12 Angry Men,” the individual who initially stands alone against derision, impatience, apathy and hate. All of this is true, but the real triumph of Fonda’s character is that he succeeds in bringing out the best in some of the men around him, allowing them to become heroes in their own rights. What is remarkable in Fonda’s performance is his rare ability to embody humble integrity, even in moments when the character is kind of being a pompous jerk. Next time you see the film, consider his actions from moment to moment rather than as a whole, and you will see a man who is willing to get his hands dirty in service to an ideal. Despite Juror #7’s pronouncement that he has the “soft sell,” Fonda’s character is neither subtle, nor kind when arguing his case with sledgehammers like jurors 3 & 10. If you want an omelette, you gotta break a few eggs.

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