Thursday, July 26, 2012

"You can act like a man!"

A great scene from the movie The Godfather

These men did.

True men of honor

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Goodbye Sweet Patrick (not my brother)

Remember Patrick from this blog (click here)? Well, the girls sent him a birthday card and even raised another 35 dollars buy selling lemonade at Pop's golf course.  In the midst of all this, Patrick's mother took the time to write my girls a thank you card.  She thanked them for the money and for the birthday card.  I can't imagine why she felt the need to take time out to send our girls a card, but I think that is somewhat a reflection of who they are as people.

Last night at 4 am Patrick passed after a long battle with Cancer.  I didn't know Patrick, I don't really even know the whole story.  I couldn't imagine the pain his parents are going through right now, but I'm somewhat comforted to know Patrick is no longer in pain.

With that, I wanted to thank you Patrick.  You taught my girls a lesson that is one of the most powerful lessons on Earth.  They prayed for you, the worked for you, they loved you, without ever knowing you.  Most taught them compassion.

May you rest in peace Patrick, you have certainly earned it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

World vs Land

I was recently in California for two work related reasons.  First, I was celebrating a friend of mines bartmitzvah. I was fortunate that I had to be in the area anyway (90 miles away) for a conference.  Two birds, one stone.  The service was this past Saturday morning and it was beautiful.  I could probably blog about that at some point, maybe I will.  Anyway, I had about 6 hours of down time between the ceremony and the party.  What is a guy to do?  Being in Newport Beach, I was about 30 minutes from LA, but having been there in March, I didn't feel a strong urge to return.  Before I continue with my blog, let me give you some back story.

I love my job as Eminent Supreme Recorder of SAE.  I would like to stay as long as I am being an effective leader for our organization and people want me around.  However, I know some day I will have to look towards life after SAE.  So what will I do?  There is really no telling, but I do have three dream scenarios.  1st, I would love to work for the SEC.  And by SEC, I mean The Southeastern Conference.  SEC sports is one of my passions.  If I could make a living off of it, that would be amazing.  2nd, if I didn't need money, I would love to run a bar in Key West.  I would name the bar Burbon's.  I know it is spelled wrong, that is the way my PawPaw and Dad have it spelled in their names.  With my place being a bar, I think it is a cool play on the word.  I would LOVE to run a bar down in the islands.  Funny I know, considering I don't drink.  Last, but not least, I would love to work for Disney.  I have no desire to be a character (which some would say that I am a character), Id want to work in the font office.  Working at Disney would be amazing.

I never went to Disney when I was Kid, at least not that I remember.  I didn't grow up watching too many Disney movies either. Toy Story was after my time. I watched Indy, ET, Star Wars, etc.  Course now you can find Indy & Star Wars stuff at Disney.  Many of  the Disney movies prior were really geared towards girls.  So my love for the place is not something that dates back to my childhood.  In reality, the first trip I took to Disney with my girls wasn't a great experience.  We first went when the girls were too small and on New Years Day.  As it turns out, NYD is the busiest day for Disney World ALL YEAR.  Yes, they closed the park at 10:00 am because it was at capacity.  The biggest benefit of that 1st trip is that we learned better what not to do.  We have gone back numerous times since then, gotten better and better with our trip details, and the girls are now at a age where the LOVE Disney.  They might not always remember going, but they love it when they are there.  It is a significant investment but a worthy one.  As a result of seeing their joy, I have become a huge fan.  Riding Splash Mountain with Reagan, Pirates with Caroline, and eating cotton candy bigger than her head with Baylor, is what it is all about.  Being such a big (new) fan of Disney, I thought it would be interesting to see how the west coast lives at Disneyland.  So with a few hours to kill and only being 15 minutes away, I thought Id go check it out.

First and foremost, the presentation on property is probably a little better at DL.  Being in California you have much more predictable and better weather.  Everything was very neat and a resort like setting.  Plus, there is a giant parking structure for people to park in.  This is in VAST contrast to the huge, sprawling, lot at DW.  You go down a couple of escalators and you are right there to get picked up by a  tram.  In a matter of minutes you are parked, on the tram, and at the park.  At DW, you park, take the tram, to get to the park, to walk some more, to either take the monorail or steamboat to the park.  That whole process takes about 2 days.  There is only one stop for the DL tram.  It takes you to Downtown Disney, Disneyland, and The California Experience.  All three major attractions right there at one stop.  Downtown Disney is actually very cool and free.  To have that right next to DL is a great idea.  Not anywhere close to the case with DW.  Also, it should be mentioned that it is early July and the temperature is a perfect 78' with ZERO humidity.  At DW, you sweat your butt off getting to the park, then they cram everyone (and their stench) into the monorail.

Entrance Advantage: DL

Once you get into the park you right way begin to see the "biggest" difference between DL and DW.  Disneyland (at least it appears) is so much smaller.  Main Street USA is the first experience at the Disney parks.  MSUSA looks much more claustrophobic, smaller, and older (which it is) at DL.  At the end of MSUSA is the iconic castle.  The castle at DL literally made me laugh out loud.  I thought it was a joke.  It is absolutely tiny compared to the DW castle.

MSUSA Advantage: DW

I first went through Adventureland to get to New Orleans Square.  In Adventureland you have The Jungle Cruise, (same) Tarzan tree house (which is smaller than the Swiss Family Robinson th at DW), and the Indiana Jones Adventure.  This last one sounded awesome.  Due to the fact I was by myself I could skip all the lines and go to the front of the fast pass line.  A very cool perk.  It took a long time to get to the front of the Indy line and as soon as I did the ride closed.  FAIL.  Therefore, I can't report back on the Indy ride.  The Jungle Cruise is close to the same as DW, except they don't have as many boats, so it takes a lot longer to get through the line, and the ride isn't as long.

Adventureland Advantage: Slight DW but Indy not scored

I then went to the New Orleans part for DL, which is a non existent area at DW.  Im torn because I love New Orleans, but I also love Liberty (Libertyville being the replacement for New Orleans at DW).  After all, I am an 'Merican.  I will consider this a push.  Pirates of the Caribbean begins through the front door of an old plantation home....this is pretty cool.  They also do a great job of moving you through the line.  Once you get in the boat it takes you right past a New Orleans style restaurant.  This is pretty cool as well.  I feel like you are in the boat much longer at DL than you are at DW.  The ride is very similar otherwise, except for one major difference.  You can tell that DW shut the ride down for some time and gave their ride a face lift.  As a result, DW's looks newer and there are more Johnny Depp Jack Sparrow references.  Jack Sparrow is only referenced 3 times at DL, almost an afterthought.  I like the New Orleans setting, I like Libertyville.  I liked the plantation home look, but it did not fit at all with the pirate ride. Therefore, I have to go with the setting of the DW ride better.

New Orleans Square vs Libertyville (which isn't where the PotC ride is at DW): Push

I then went to Critter Country which is where the Pooh ride and Splash Mountain is for DL.  Splash Mountain was a good bit different.  All I can say is that it is much less southern at DL.  Splash Mountain is significantly toned down.  Also, the ride itself is different.  It is a single log flume, and it goes faster through the ride.  I like sitting side by side with Reagan, and I like taking my time through the ride.  There are only a minor few differences within the ride itself, but DW has the advantage here.  Lumping this ride in with the rest of Frontierland as it is at DW, all other aspects are pretty similar.  The other biggest difference is that you sail around Mark Twain's island in an old wooden US warship at DL, where at DW it is a paddle boat (more my style).

Frontierland Advantage: Disney World

I mentioned the castle at DW being much better, probably should have included it in Fantasyland.  The rides are similar, give and take with some of them.  The biggest difference between the two in this area, is that I feel like DW was much more Princess driven. If you have girls, which if you haven't heard I do, Fantasyland is much better at DW.  I will include Its A Small World, in this area even though it is sort of separate.  Its actually a pretty neat ride at DL, part of it takes place outside.  Again, better weather.  The boat ride at DL is in a very contained area.  You are given the appearance of being in a bigger river at DW.  I did like the illusion of being on the river at  DW better.  However, the animation, and the layout of the animation, was probably better at DL.

Fantasyland Advantage: Slight edge for DW.

Mickey's Toontown at DL was fine, I didn't spend too much time there.  Really just a fly by.  I know that DW is totally redoing theirs and turning it into a circus like feel.  Gotta go with DW here.  The rest of the parks are pretty similar and I didnt spend a lot of time there because Im not a fan of them either place.  DL does have the Matterhorn Bobsleds, but DW has the new Beauty and the Beast area.

I didnt mind being there by myself, even if it was somewhat creepy to others at the park.  I just stared at the kids with a crazed look in my eyes, talked to myself out loud, and people parted like The Red Sea.  It was actually nice to be able to go at my own pace and skip to the front of the lines.  All that wasn't enough to mask the fact that Disney is so much better with my little girls.  There will probably come a day when the girls are grown, that Brooke and I can enjoy it by ourselves.  However, at this stage of my life, the experience is just so much better with them.  To Reagan, Carolina, Baylor Grace, and Hadley,  it really is the happiest place on earth. That makes this father happy.

Both are great places and have their own advantages.  If I had to choose, I would take the size, space, and newness of DW...... as long as my girls are with me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Give Up, Don't Ever Give Up

Dedicated to my father in law, mother in law, Mom, and my PawPaw, who all battled Cancer.  The ESPYS are on tonight, please watch.