31 July 2012

Fireworks at the Castle

One of the things I'm most excited for at Disney is to see the Wishes fireworks show that happens nightly above Cinderella's castle. Ever since I was a kid, I've loved to marvel over fireworks--and I never seem to lose that sense of awe, either. I've heard that the Wishes show is fantastic, and I'll be sure to take some pictures to share when I return (or I'll finally make some space on my phone and download a Blogger app and post it real-time for once!).

Today's fact of the day: "How many stone blocks were used to create Cinderella Castle, the most photographed building in the world? None. The building's shell is actually a steel skeleton covered in fiberglass. The castle was built to withstand hurricane-force winds exceeding 90 mph." - Little-Known Facts about Well-Known Places: Walt Disney World, Laurie Flannery

30 July 2012

Facts & Photos

Here are some photos from a good weekend spent with my parents and Todd. We ate at Yard House, a relatively new restaurant in our area that has amazing appetizers (think big juicy onion ring towers and maple bacon dipping sauce with sweet potato fries) and good food. I really enjoyed dinner, as well as The Dark Knight Rises, which we watched afterward. Although I didn't think Bane stood up to Joker as a villain (but who really expected him to?), I thought this film's storyline had more substance to it and I really enjoyed the performances of both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway (who I usually don't like too much). Without further ado, here are the photos. Scroll all the way down to check out today's Disney fact of the day.

Todd and I outside my house before heading to the mall.

Onion ring tower and dipping sauces

My roast beef sandwich with au jus, soup, and truffle fries

Todd's bearnaise burger

My dad's burger-man creation

My mom's plate

"Why are the elevator motors in the Tower of Terror actually sealed inside the building? Because they're so massive, at 12-feet tall and 35-feet long, that they weigh a whopping 132,000 pounds, generating enough torque to equal 275 Corvette engines. They had to be lifted by crane into place, and the building was then completed around them, sealing them in." - Little-Known Facts about Well-Known Places, Laurie Flannery 

27 July 2012

Dark Chocolate M&Ms

I'm about to embark on a tv show-watching spree with Todd while, of course, devouring all of the candy that I can grab. Well... I'll try not to eat THAT much.... maybe. The shows that we're mostly watching are Covert Affairs and Colony. The first is about a CIA agent who embarks on a number of semi-dangerous missions while pining for her blind co-worker. The second is a real experiment performed on a group of (coincidentally well-equipped and knowledgable) individuals who must live in a pseudo-post-apocalyptic world.

Anyway, before I go explode with yummy goodness, here's the fact of today:

"One of the hottest dinings spots in the Magic Kingdom, Cinderlla's Royal Table, originally was named King Stefan's Banquet Hal. King Stefan was a misleading moniker, since he was dad to a different princess: Sleeping Beauty. The name change went into effect in 1997" (Little-Known Facts About Well-Known Places, Laurie Flannery).

26 July 2012

And the Wind Begins

The weather channel is predicted heavy wind and ferocious thunderstorms for this evening into tomorrow, and at one point during the day it even cautioned about a possible tornado watch. I can't even begin to imagine the havoc a tornado would have on New York City--and hopefully I won't actually have to find out, either! The winds have just started picking up in tandem with the darkening sky, and I expect that the rains will commence within the hour. This is the perfect weather to curl up with a book and read before going to sleep. I think I'll do that with my Hemingway biography. I'm about three-fourths of the way through it, and it's really keeping my attention well. I enjoy the way that straight biographical facts are tossed about with literary criticism and some rumors and speculations.

But before I go, here's the Disney fact of the day: "Disney uses a well-known film technique called forced perspective to create a larger-than-life feeling in many areas of the resort, especially the Magic Kingdom. Cinderlla Castle is a prime example. Although it's only 189 feet high, it seems much taller. How? One example: Disney shrinks the size of the stones and windows as they get higher, creating the illusion of height." (Laurie Flannery, Little-Known Facts about Well-Known Places")

25 July 2012

Short Blog Break

I'm taking a very short break from working on my final Frankenstein paper to post today's Walt Disney World fact of the day. I just finished writing about Shelley's comparison of Victor Frankenstein to Satan from Milton's Paradise Lost, and I'm now poised to describe her second comparison: Frankenstein and Prometheus of Greek myth, a titan who is said to have created humans from clay and who gave fire to his humans despite Zeus' instructions to the contrary. That discussion will encompass the responsibility of the creator and the overstepping of one's bonds as a means of destruction, supporting my argument that Shelley depicts Frankenstein's fall as a warning against secretive science and the quest for power.

Here is today's fact: "Walt Disney World employs more than 62,000 people, including at least 58,000 cast members. That's more than twice the number of employees at the Pentagon (23,000), one of the world's largest office complexes. WDW is, in fact, the largest single-site employer in the United States."

And here's a photo for today, to keep things colorful. This is from a recent trip that Todd and I took to the NY Botanical Gardens. We might go back on Saturday; if we do, I'll post more photos:

24 July 2012

Goals and Grandparents

Now that I'm done with my summer class, barring a final paper on Frankenstein that I have to finish writing this week, I really do have some time to post semi-regularly again. And posting regularly is, as always, one of the goals that I strive to achieve. Among them, this time, is trying to eat healthy--in general, but specifically for the next three weeks, before I go to Walt Disney World and eat a TON of junk food. The countdown to Disney is 19 days, and Todd and I leave on Sunday, August 12. I'm very excited; I haven't been to that world of consumer-driven magic since 2001, and I don't remember that trip super well. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I'll share one little known fact about Disney each day, taken from Little Known Facts About Well-Known Places: Walt Disney World, by Laurie Flannery. Todd and I went through the fact book the other day and found some pretty interesting ones. Today's little known fact: "Through Disney's Harvest Program, founded in 1998, the resort's excess prepared but unserved food is collected and distributed to state agencies by the Disney Harvest truck in cooperation with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. WDW donates nearly 50,000 pounds of food per month."

In other news, we go to press today at The CPA Journal and my grandparents recently visited from Florida. Here is one photo, for now, of Todd and I with my grandparents. (I just realized that we're both wearing striped shirts <3)

21 July 2012

Happy Birthday, Hemingway!

Today is the birthday of Ernest Hemingway, author of many works, most notably The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises, and A Farewell to Arms. I've recently finished a spree of reading all of his novels, and I'm now reading a biography on Hemingway by Kenneth S. Lynn. The biography further confirms the sense that one gets, while reading, that much of Hemingway's material was grounded in his own life and personal experiences--even though this action was something he strictly preached that good writers shouldnt' do.

But despite his violation of his own rule, Hemingway is--in my estimation, at least--still a very good writer. While some of his novels, like To Have and Have Not, had me hoping it would end sooner rather than later, the good ones were very good. With stark prose and a short, choppy rythm, Hemingway could describe a scene more fulfillingly than a painter could paint it. His characters are always human. His vocabulary often had me looking up words in the dictionary. His endings always left a sour taste in the mouth but a certainty in the gut that that was, in fact, the only ending, and that anything else would have been cheating the story.

I never used to like Hemingway, but after reading through all of his novels, I've changed my mind. I'd encourage everyone who scoffs at him to just give him one more chance. At the very least, his works give an insight into the mind of a writer, the writer, and in his memoir, A Moveable Feast, he gives all writers some philosophical techniques to think about and, perhaps, improve.