Part of reason Dad’s text hit me: it’s 1st time in 20 years he’s said he loves me. Not sure if it’s a sudden realization or it means he’s dying soon. Told him I loved him too…not for either reason but, despite everything, because I really do. Even if he wasn’t there when I needed him, he shaped who I am, and I am grateful for that.
Dad just texted me for 1st time since I saw him last month. Said I could “expect more soon.” Emails, texts, I dunno. Answered to ask if he’s had his next cancer check yet (he believes God will cure him, I’m athiest). Whichever of us is right, I hope he’ll be OK or at least not suffer.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow. What a Ride.’”—Hunter S. Thompson (via sothenshe)
I figured, like most things in America, that this was going to blow over in a week or so, so I refrained from commenting. And yet it’s still going, so maybe I can inject some sense into this “vitriolic political discourse” (read: political propaganda that just pisses people off) that everyone is talking about.
Immediately after the shootings in Arizona (I won’t recap…if you’ve been living under a rock use google), many people pointed to how heated the political environment is as the cause of this psycho turning a gun on a 9-year-old (as well as some other people who some consider important, but none pissed me off as much as him shooting a fucking child). The fact is, he was just a nutcase. Both liberals and conservatives agree on this.
And yet here we are, still pointing fingers. Instead of blaming anyone for the shooting other than that freak, we’re blaming each other for the dirty politics that have been going on for ages.
Yes, the political scene is ugly. Nobody seems willing to work with the other side. It definitely needs to change. But you know what? It’s not going to happen in the near future.
Liberals jumped all over Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity…the usual suspects on the right. These folks then turned around and said that Obama used phrases like “if the Republicans bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun” and other incendiary speech spoken by the left. It’s become a whole argument of “oh, yeah?” and “they started it!”
There was even a radio talk show host in Pennsylvania, Bob Durgin, who went off on the NY Times for inferring that political speech leads to violence, and responded with “Somebody ought to burn that paper down. Just go to New York and blow that sucker right out of the water.” Way to back up your argument, schmuck.
Dear politicians and pundits: Grow the fuck up! This isn’t kindergarten. If you can’t work together, quit so we can put some people in there who will.
At this point, I don’t care if you are liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, left or right. This shit needs to stop. We have a country run by a bunch of people with the mentality of five-year-olds.
So now I propose my own extremist solution: Lock these assholes in a room together. All members of Congress, everyone on Obama’s staff (including Obama himself), and the pundits. Feed them and let them take showers, but nobody leaves until they learn to get along and start working together without blaming each other for everything that isn’t right.
At this point, it’s the only chance we have.
OK, maybe not the only chance, but it’s the best idea I can come up with.
Yes, I sometimes talk about how hard life is. But as much adversity as I’ve been through, it’s made me the person I am today. To kind of segue from the Disneyland challenge, here are a couple of things that Walt Disney had to say about his tough times:
"All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."
"All you’ve got to do is own up to your ignorance honestly, and you’ll find people who are eager to fill your head with information."
"Try and fail, but don’t fail to try."
And my favorite:
"It is good to have a failure while you’re young because it teaches you so much. For one thing it makes you aware that such a thing can happen to anybody, and once you’ve lived through the worst, you’re never quite as vulnerable afterward."
Disneyland Day 30 - Favorite Walt Disney quote about Disneyland
"Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.”
Unlike the Eisner days when it only had to be passably good, and the cheaper the better.
Well, that ends the 30 day challenge, which took about 60 days to do. No more challenges for me for a while, but I’ll keep posting whatever I think that either (a) you will enjoy or (b) stuff I need to talk about (you didn’t forget that you’re my psychiatrists, did you?).
And, as always, feel free to ask questions (someday I may get a question from someone other than tumblrbot), comment, offer ideas, or whatever.
My favorite aspect of Disneyland is the idea behind it. At Disneyland you not only experience the stories you grew up with and have a great time on rides and watching shows, but you get to forget about the outside world while you’re there.
For one day (or longer if you can afford it) forget about terrorism, politics, the economy (OK, that one’s a little harder to forget when you’re spending $3.00 for a soda), your jerk boss, that rough day at work, reality TV, pollution, or whatever else is weighing on your mind.
Just have fun and be a kid again. If you have kids, be a kid with them.
Every time of year at Disneyland has its ups and downs.
If you go during the summer, everything will be open and you’ll have all of the shows (parades, fireworks, Fantasmic!, plus atmosphere entertainment) but you’ll spend most of your day waiting in lines and pushing through 70,000 people.
During the Christmas season (which I imagine would be the most popular answer to this question), everything is open, you get the Christmas parade, fireworks (with snow!), and Fantasmic!. You also get to see the holiday versions of the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World, which is great unless you haven’t seen the original versions. But again, you’ll be dealing with up to 80,000 people and long lines.
Any other time of year, you are almost guaranteed to not be able to ride some things because they close during the off-season for refurbishment (if you’re a fan of the Matterhorn, you should know that it closes twice per year, for about three months each time…the pitfalls of a roller coaster built in 1959 that sits in a mountain made of wood, and has termites (we used to say that it is being held up by termites holding hands).
Still, my favorite time to go is mid-January to right before Valentine’s day. For me, I’ve been on everything hundreds or perhaps thousands of times. I can handle missing a few things because the trade-off is short lines. You can have as few as 14,000 people sharing the park with you (which translates to 5 minute or less waits for most rides, maybe 20 minutes for the really popular ones).
And if it rains (yes, it does sometimes rain in southern California), the park REALLY empties out. Lines get even shorter, and the only rides that close due to rain are the teacups and the Alice in Wonderland dark ride (part of the electric track is outdoors). And you can either join the Yellow Parka Brigade, as I called everyone who bought them for $6, or laugh at them…it’s not like it usually rains that hard there when it does come down.
If you’ve never been, go during the summer. Save up and spend at least a few days so you can see everything, and learn to use FastPass effectively to save some time waiting in lines. Bring your patience, your sunblock, and the most comfortable shoes you own (sandals are a BAD idea).
And if you must buy overpriced bottled water, only buy it once and refill the bottle at drinking fountains (in fact, the Tomorrowland Terrace and the Mint Julep Bar have fountains that are tall and dispense the water down so you don’t have to figure out the ideal angle to hold the bottle at regular fountains to get more than a half full bottle).
Whenever you go, make sure to check disneyland.com (or mouseplanet.com for the info that Disney won’t tell you because it doesn’t fit the image). These sites can get you up to speed on operating hours (they are fairly uniform, but if a company rents out the park for a private event, Disneyland may close a couple hours or so earlier than normal — and unlike what Adande says in the video I reblogged before this, these aren’t last-minute things; hours are posted well in advance), show schedules, what things won’t be open, etc. The more you know, the less chance you’ll be frustrated by surprises when you get there.
Does this have to be a real job? Well, it’s my post so I guess not (though I’ll give the answer which involves a real job below).
I would love to just be able to wear a nametag and walk around. Answering questions from guests, giving directions and recommendations. Listening to radio calls to help out whenever I could with security situations, first aid runs, attractions going 101 (Disney speak for “it broke”), crowd control, etc. Assisting cast members if any issues come up. Walking down the parade route right before the parade looking important, maybe dancing a little when the music comes on. Basically, just being there but with the authority to work when stuff happens. Some days I would just pick a willing family and be their concierge for the day.
The real job I want…well, there are two. One would be to work in West Side Attractions. The attractions in Frontierland, Adventureland, and New Orleans Square lend themselves the most to “playing a part,” and I think it would be incredibly fun to be a miner, an archeologist, a pirate, a creepy butler, or tell cheesy jokes on the jungle Cruise.
The other choice would be to work as a guided tour host. I know so much of the history of Disneyland, and tons of trivia. You get to spend time with a group of people, get to know them, and go on rides with them! Good times. The downside to this position is that you also work in City Hall, and get to deal with some stupid complaints (I was actually asked once, seriously, why we didn’t prevent it from raining - I told her I’d see what I could do).
If any Disney cast members read this, hear me out before you complain about my choice. I’ve always been partial to the Haunted Mansion costume.
For non-Disney cast members, you may wonder why this may ignite controversy. If you’ve ever worn this costume in the summer, you remember sweating uncontrollably in this. There is an optional coat, but the jacket that you see above is mandatory, even when it’s hot and humid.
I only wore the costume once (not the maid outfit above, but the tux). We were having an all-day meeting amongst those of us who were doing department-specific Disney University for our department. We were all dressed in our normal costumes, called “yellows.”
We broke for lunch and the lone manager that was present went to check on something. We decided that it would be great fun to meet up with her after lunch wearing random costumes from other areas. This would be very hard to get away with today, but costuming was a little more laid-back at the time (costumes have a habit of ending up on eBay…but Disney usually places the winning bid and shows up to the “sale” with cops).
One of us wore the Tom Sawyer’s Island cut-off shorts and patched shirt. One wore the pirate garb from Pirates of the Caribbean. I chose the Haunted Mansion tux. I had to have help with the full-windsor knot for the tie (I would still have trouble with that today, I think, but half-windsor doesn’t cut it for this costume). Then we proceeded to walk back to the administration building (behind Toontown). I felt a little odd walking through Fantasyland and Toontown in that tux, and it was hotter than hell in it. So for you HM cast members, I understand why you may not be a fan.
Our manager wasn’t as thrilled with our scheme as we had thought, but it did make her giggle a bit. Still, it was worth it.
As far as the most comfortable costume to work in, I have to give it to the yellows, from my experience (they were retired in the mid-90s). They were comfortable, they breathed, and you got to make fun of people who tried to make fun of you. “Hey, nice outfit, bananaman!” “Well, I get paid to wear this. What’s your excuse for THAT outfit?” (note: this was only done with obnoxious teenagers)
(The guy in the photo is heading towards the old office, and is late…hence the reason he is carrying his shoes and belt)
The only downside is that Disneyland has a lot of trees. There’s a bug called the Cuban Laurel Thrip that loves Disneyland’s trees. They also like hair products and the color yellow. Even been to Disneyland and looked up to see what looks like a swarm of gnats flying directly over your head, and wherever you go they follow? Those are thrips (I got quite an education on these from one of Disneyland’s horticultural staff).
If you wear yellow, they love to land on you. They bite, but it’s barely perceptible and they are non-poisonous. You may develop a small mosquito-bite looking bump that doesn’t itch, but that’s it. So if you were ever approaching a vendor in Disneyland and saw them brushing their shoulders, don’t worry. It’s not dandruff. Just clearing the thrips off (and don’t worry, outdoor vendors never touch your food with their hands — always gloves, tongs, or some sort of wrapping between hands and food).
P.S. - It’s amazing how hard it is to find a picture of yellows on the internet. I only found two, and this was the only one to show the whole outfit.
This one took a lot of thinking, so I decided to go with something that very few people have ever done.
New year’s eve, 1996 (the day before it became 1997), I was scheduled an opening lead shift, starting at 5:00am. I was doing my thing, opening the day in the computer (assigning stock levels to different carts and basically telling the computer that the day has begun), assigning people to carts, etc. After the carts deployed, I went to lunch (this was probably about 10:30 am).
While on lunch, I got a call on my radio asking me to call the office on the phone. The early mid shift lead had called in sick (it was new year’s eve…SURE he was sick). They asked if, instead of leaving at 1:30pm, I could stay to cover the shift until the late mid lead came in at 3:00. No problem, I said. More money for me. Plus the mid lead job was easy; no computers, just walking around the park and visiting carts to make sure everything is going OK and call for stock refills or change if needed. This was my favorite part of being a lead. You walk around the park in (at least at the time) a collared shirt and tie, looking important, answering questions from guests…basically being an ambassador.
So 2:00 rolls around, and I’m having fun being the mid lead. The call comes: “Vending central to vending 4” (I’m Vending 4). “Vending 4.” “Can you 87 10-19?” “10-4.”
(For non radio people: 87 is short for 10-87, which means “call me,” and 10-21 was the main office.)
Guess what? The late mid called in *ahem* sick on new year’s eve, too! They are trying to call people in to cover the shift, but it’s new year’s eve, so fat chance of it happening. But the closing lead comes in at 8:00, so after that I can go. No problem, I said. It’s just another mid shift that I’m covering, and I’m enjoying my day. Besides, now I’m thinking that at 8:00 I can clock out, change clothes, then come into the park to enjoy the free new year’s hats, noisemakers, and fireworks.
But of course, at about 7:00, I get another call on the radio. Guess what? No closing lead. At this point I’m finding the whole situation absolutely hilarious. No worries, they say. We’ll just have to make do with the leads that we have, and Ken can go home. I propose another solution.
That’s right, I offer to stay and cover the shift. Sure, now I have computer work to deal with at the end of the night, but I’m loving the fact that I will be able to brag about working open-to-close on a day when we’re open from 8:00am-2:00am. They went for it.
Of course, it’s new year’s eve. It’s insanely busy in the park, and we’re blowing through ice cream, balloons, and glow necklaces like crazy (those were the three operations I was in charge of that day). As on every other day, we do an end-of-night inventory to make sure that the sales recorded match the inventory that we went through, within a reasonable margin of error. If the numbers match up, we “declare” the shrink and send the report off to finance . If something is fishy, but we can’t figure it out, we “zero” it, and tell finance that everything matched up even though it didn’t, so a fresh set of eyes can investigate further the next day and see if it was a paperwork error or if we need to investigate a possible theft.
Balloons: we’re missing a handful, short $25. No big deal, declare it. Glow: missing about 50, but that accounts for $100 lost vs about $10,000 made. Loss of 1%, but it’s new year’s eve, so close enough. Declare it.
Then comes ice cream. My inventory controller counts the ice cream. Numbers are WAY off. I go count the ice cream. I get the same totals, so I ask another lead to triple-check the counts. Same result. Not good. Sure, we sold a ton (after all, this is southern California…the weather was lovely even on December 31). That doesn’t mean that we can just take what is adding up to be a $33,500 loss.
We keep investigating, getting higher managers involved. Well, now it’s 7:00am. The opening crew for January 1 is standing behind us telling us to hurry and close out the day on the computers so they can take over and open the next day. Finally, at 7:00am, I said “screw it” and chose “declare.” Whoops.
I never found out how, but the missing ice cream was accounted for the next day (my guess is that someone moved some to a satellite freezer and didn’t tell anyone who was still going to be around at closing time), and a message left for finance cleared everything up. I was told that I was no longer allowed to work 27 hour shifts, though I pulled some 16 hour shifts several times afterward (what can I say, Fantasmic guest control is easy overtime when you can get it).
But even with the crazy end to the day, I was so slap happy that I enjoyed every minute of it. I still like to tell the story whenever I’m at work and someone complains about working 9 or 10 hours. They usually love the story so much that they don’t take offense to the fact that I just said “Oh yeah? Well I once did 27 hours straight and loved it!”
This was a bit more eloquent before tumblr went down, and I didn’t have the patience (or memory) to recreate it the same way. The feeling is the same, but it may not translate as well this time around. I may look into LiveJournal…at least for these deep posts that I hate losing (I never hear the people I know who are on that complaining about downtime).
Well, it wouldn’t take a genius (if they happened to notice) to figure out that me spending my holiday on twitter and tumblr means that I didn’t end my 2010 as well as I would have liked, but it was still better than most of the year. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve given up hope.
As much as 2010 sucked, it had its moments. I plan on making more of those moments in 2011. I’m not into the whole “1/1/11” being a new start for everyone. Some people will be the same assholes they were. Some will be the same wonderful people they were (or being even better). All I can do is keep working toward being the latter, regardless of a fancy date.
I already think I’m a wonderful person compared to many, but I can be better (as can we all). I’m going to keep being me, and trying to make me a better person along the way, and hope that this year it has better results (I didn’t slip on being better in 2010, but life slapped me in the face pretty hard). I don’t know whether to slap life back this year or say “screw you life, I’m better than that” and just be better without dwelling on the tough times.
But either way, I can’t help but believe that 2011 will be better. Because if I didn’t believe that, what would be the point?
So like I said earlier, followers, thanks for hanging in there with me in the time that I’ve been here. You have been nothing but kind, and I really do appreciate it. If I say something that you don’t want to touch, no problem. If, like in a few heavy situations I’ve had, you have something to say, SAY IT. I can state for a fact that it’s helped to hear another point of view besides my own twisted head.
Dear Fnerners and Bnerers, Once again, for a reason which dates back to 1582, we celebrate the annual re-boot of the Georgian calendar, with much jollity and good cheer, with singing, carousing, dancing and inebriation, leading to the consequent impact on personal health, as population after population succumbs to the morning after the night before.
Tomorrow (or is it already today?) is equally worthy of celebration, it being a date that even the Americans can get right - 1.1.11. So, perhaps some will turn the hair of the dog into the leg of the dog, perhaps even the dog of the dog. Just try to avoid making it the pack of the dog if you possibly can. Moving along, we won’t have long to wait for the next new year. On 3rd February 2011 we move into the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, which is another great excuse to throw a party. Shortly after that, on either 20th or 21st March 2011, we have Nowruz 2570 (1390) the Persian new year, which being the Spring equinox, coincides with several other reasons to go for it (and why not?) :
Purim - Jewish
Ostara -Wicca/Pagan northern hemisphere
Mabon -Wicca/Pagan southern hemisphere
Holi - Hindu
Hola Mohalla - Sikh
On and on and on it goes, each occasion supposedly unique and special - and so they are, just not for the reasons we give. Any excuse will do, really, religious or secular, national, international, or familial, new year, new baby, bar mitzvah, first communion, graduation, retirement, sporting victory, sporting defeat, you name it. What these occasions all have in common is that they bring us humans together so that we can try, in our sometimes generous, often flawed and occasionally dangerous ways, to break down the inter-personal barriers which exist between us on every other day of the year. It’s no wonder we sometimes break things in this great effort to reverse the social norms which constrict most of us most of the time, in pursuit of the much deeper need for renewal.
So, on this New Year 2011, let us all say a very large, long and heartfelt thank you to the Healers of the world - to the doctors, nurses and paramedics, as they cope with the flood of injuries which accompanies this annual mass loss of balance. Thank you, wond’rous children of Hippocrates, for you are indeed special; you frequently stand between us mortals and the worst consequences of our desire to feel more connected with one another and less alone; and without you, life after the party would so often be much, much worse than a simple hangover.
Aside from that - thank you for all your kind messages and support this year. Remember to be extra nice to people who resemble small animals. Until next time, Jack the Cheese