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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween Time Agian

Yes, it's that time of year again, when ghosts and goblins come to your door and we watch spooky cartoons and movies. This year's installment is the Disney classic, "The Legend of Sleepy Hallow", as told by Bing Crosby. This is one of the high points of Disney animation for me, but I'm also a nut for Halloween, so I guess it's a perfect fit.

One of these days, I'll get down to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and get to see the live action Headless Horseman.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949 Cartoon) by DemonPreyer1

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Podcasting Pet Peeve

I listen to a good number of podcasts. In fact, if I'm not listening to old radio programs, I'm listening to a podcast. Heck, one podcast even plays old radio programs for me.

That being said, I tend to work my way through a show's backlog before I listen to the most current episodes. I find that this gives me a nice background for the show and allows me to get whatever references the hosts are currently making. There is a problem with that way of doing things, however.

You see, if a show is dealing with present day stuff, be it comics, movies, or TV shows, and trying to predict what's to come, it makes it hard to listen to after the fact. Trying to predict the plot of Batman v Superman, for example, is all well and good, except if the listener doesn't hear that episode until after said movie is already out. Now, that's alright for a show to do as a small segment, but if entire episodes are devoted to that, it makes it practically un-listenable later on.

I've actually stopped listening to shows because all they did was review the then-current comic and try and predict what the next issue would hold. Well, that episode only has a shelf life as long as the next issue isn't out. For someone like me who is listening after, sometimes years after, the topic was current it just sounds silly. I'm not saying people can't do that for their shows. These are their shows, after all. I'm just saying that it's something I have a hard time listening to.

That's why the shows I do tend to look at the past. Things I loved growing up, or have rediscovered, but very little on future events. I hope that makes my shows, at least somewhat, evergreen. So that a new listener can start at episode 1 and work their way up to current without what gets on my nerves with shows.

How about you, dear reader? Is there anything about podcasts, or other shows, that just rubs you the wrong way?

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Thursday, October 13, 2016


Back in 2014 we vacationed at Walt Disney World. Since this was going to be Kira's first trip, we went for 2 weeks. Pricing it out (as I tend to do), I found that getting two 10 day passes (for Michelle & Kira) and one Annual Pass (for me) would actually save us money, as the Annual Pass came with free parking. It also came with a MagicBand, but that was shipped to our house and didn't arrive until after I activated the Annual Pass in Orlando.

So, I had a MagicBand, but never really used it. Oh, I unlocked some stuff in Disney Infinity (1.0 & 3.0), but that was it. Now that we're planning our next trip to Orlando, and we're planning on staying On Property for the first time, we'll all be getting MagicBands. Therefore, I decided that I should get used to wearing something on my wrist again, as I've been doing without a watch for a number of years.

I've noticed something now that I've been wearing this regularly. I actually feel better with it on. It's not any "The RFID creates and EM field with interfaces with your chakras" BS. No, it's purely a mental thing on my part, and I realize that. Heck, if I won the lottery I'd move to Orlando and spend pretty much all day, every day in the theme parks. So bringing a little bit of Walt Disney World with me every day just makes me feel good.

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Evaluating Vacation Options - Travel

Like most people, I don't live near a Disney Park, so I have to figure out how to get there. We happen to be a just the right distance that there are several viable options, and I've done two of them in my life. So, for our vacation next Spring, I've been looking at all the possibilities, which include flying, driving, and taking the Auto Train.

We (actually, I) drove to and from last time and, while 17 hours behind the wheel is a long time, it wasn't so horrible that I wouldn't do it again. It is also the cheapest way to go, since all you have to worry about is gas, food, and tolls. The major benefits here are that we don't have to worry about how much stuff we're taking and we will have our own vehicle to drive around in.

The second way to go would be to fly. I'm not opposed to flying, even though the last time I did was when Michelle & I got married, I just think it's a little too much hassle for too little reward. Plus, we would have to rent a car and deal with luggage limitations.

It seems to me that the best of both worlds would be to take the Amtrak Auto Train. Yes, it would still involve us driving down to Virginia, and it isn't cheap, but we'd have the car and luggage, and I wouldn't have to drive the entire way from New Jersey to Florida. How does it rate on a dollars and cents basis, though?

Here's our criteria:
Two adults and one child traveling from South Jersey to Orlando Florida

We'll look at the Auto Train first, and pick the Family Stateroom, so we have some place private.

Round trip on the Auto Train would cost $2,035. That includes meals, wifi, and taking the car along. No premium loading/unloading of the car, or anything like that. Total time on the train = 17 hours. Total time getting to and from stations = 4 hours. Total time per directions = 21 hours.

Now on to air travel. I'm going to use numbers from my time share discount, to be fair about it. We'll also be looking at non-stop flights from Philly to Orlando*. For three round trip tickets it would cost us $1,440 on American Airlines. Car rental for this trip, picking up and dropping off at Orlando International, would cost $330 from Enterprise. Parking at Philly would cost around $110 and checked baggage could be up to $210, bringing us to a total cost of $2,090 for this trip. Total time in the air = 2.5 hours. Total time in the airport = 2 hours. Total time getting to and from airports = 2 hours. Total time per direction = 6.5 hours.

Going by by the bottom line of each version, Amtrak is cheaper and has less restrictions on what we can take. Yes, it takes longer, but since much of that travel is overnight, and I'll get to relax during it. I'm willing to deal with it.

* I should point out that we could travel with Spirit Airlines out of Atlantic City as well. Round Trip for the three of us there would be $477 (saving $$963). Parking there would be $130 (adding $20), but the baggage fees could be $530 (adding $320). So net change for Atlantic City would be saving $623, or a total cost of $1,467. Quite frankly, paying the extra money to not have to deal with plane travel/rental car/etc, is worth it to me. Your mileage, as always, may vary.

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