Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Halloween at Disneyland Is Just Around The Freaking Riverbend

This title comes courtesy of my 14-year-old, whose Facebook status after our trip to Disneyland on Saturday read:

Had fun at Disneyland yesterday :) I just have to say that anyone born in the 90's MUST see World of Color at California Adventure. Was pathetically tearing up in every other scene. COME ON, THEY WERE PLAYING ALADDIN AND THE LION KING, AND JUST AROUND THE FREAKING RIVERBEND.
Is that the sequel to Pocahontas – 'Just Around The Freaking Riverbend'? Because it totally should be.

Anyway, backing up a little, last week just about killed me. In a freak of nature never to be repeated again, my husband and I went out THREE nights in a row (more about that later) without the kids. These three events, while fun, required me to actually dress up, put on makeup and wear heels, and by the time I got to bed Friday night my feet hurt, my back was killing me and I may or may not have realized that in my sleepy haze I had accidentally brushed my teeth with hand cream.

Either way, my teeth are really soft and supple now.

So of course Saturday morning we got up and did what all sane people do when they're delirious with exhaustion and shuffling around like a couple of dazed senior citizens at a rave - we took the kids to Disneyland! (Add to that the fact that my husband got his backpack stolen the night before so on top of delirium we have anger and fist-shaking at the world. More on that later, too.)

Did I tell you how smooth and young my teeth feel? 

We weren't about to pass up this Disneyland visit, though, since it was the annual bloggers event to kick off Halloween Time, their seasonal celebration (September 17 to October 31) where several attractions are transformed with 'haunted' themes – Space Mountain becomes Ghost Galaxy and the Haunted Mansion gets its 'Nightmare Before Christmas' makeover – and guests are able to trick-or-treat at the resort at Mickey's Halloween Party. (Note: In addition to having a new name, this separate-ticketed event is at Disneyland this year and not California Adventure. See details here.)
 If you haven't been to Disneyland during the Halloween season, you really should check it out. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Halloween (I know, I know) but this event almost makes me want to embrace the holiday a little bit more. I said almost.

After our jam-packed day of checking out all the Halloween attractions we headed to dinner at the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ, which for a carnivore like me is HEAVEN. Buckets (yes, real buckets) of ribs, chicken and sausage served with buckets (more buckets) of beans and corn. I'll have to do a separate review of this place someday, because it really is that good. In fact, I've decided to start serving dinner at home 'Big Thunder Ranch BBQ' style – although Bucket Of Ramen might not have the same effect.

The evening ended with a viewing of World Of Color. I had seen it before, but it was the first time for my husband and kids and as you can tell they loved it. In fact, I liked it better this second time around, and I think that it was because of the fact I was seeing it with my kids – who knew seeing all those Disney classics would make them cry? I guess it's the same way i feel when I see that 'Best Of' montage on The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.

After 10 hours at Disneyland my husband and I were considering riding the Monorail over and over again just so we could take a nap, but the kids were still running around like a couple of crazed mice on speed. At 12 and 14 my girls have long grown tired of other things from their childhood (including their parents) but Disneyland is the one place they still get excited about.

Check out these videos and see if you don't want to hop in your car and head over. this weekend. After all, Halloween is just around the freaking riverbend.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

My Daughter Takes On 'Dragon Quest' and Wins

A few weeks ago Nintendo sent over the new Dragon Quest game for the DS and as usual I just opened the package and handed the whole thing over to my 12-year-old. I can't even begin to understand these video games – it may as well have been a box filled with parts to build a pony. Although at least with a pony I could point out things I recognized, like 'ear' and 'bladder' before my daughter stepped in and said, "You're doing it wrong, mom."

This time Nintendo sent over several copies of the game so that my daughter could have her friends try it out, too, and it just so happens the package arrived the day before she was having a slumber party. How perfect is that? Unfortunately her friends all think that they'll get a new DS game every time they sleep over, and now they're just hanging out on our front porch till all hours just waiting for me to invite them in. Funny, they were never this enthusiastic when I handed out my pizza rolls.

(I will say this, though – those girls played this game for hours on end, nonstop that weekend. I woke up at 4am to find them all awake in the living room, their little DS screens glowing. There were also empty soda cans and potato chips strewn about – it was a tween girls' version of a frat party.)

The people at Nintendo wanted some sort of video reaction to their game, so not only did my daughter write an eloquent review but she put together this video with her best friend. We had just seen 'Inception' so it's a sort of homage to that, as much as a homage as two tween girls could muster after staying up till 4am and getting hopped up on root beer and Cheetos.

Here is the review my daughter wrote. It's a 100% her. Please read through to the end for the important life lessons she gleamed from this.

As I’ve heard, the Dragon Quest games are quite popular in Japan, as well many other role-playing action games. Although I’m not a big fan of action games as much as I like a game with a story-line, Dragon Quest quite generously balances them both.

When you first start off, you get to create your character known as a Celestrian. You can pick out the eyes, the hair, etc., either way creating an adorable hero to represent you through the game. Celestrians are basically angels, that are guardians to the many towns in the game. They go through the town and help people, gathering benevolessence, otherwise known as gratitude gained from helping the mortals in your town.

Your oh-so-adorable Celestrian hero guards over the small (But big in heart!) city of Angel Falls, where you invisibly float around listening to the many “Oh no he didn’t!"s and collecting benevolessence that you give to the great tree, Yggdrasil. The tree eventually bears magical, golden fruit, known as Fyggs, that can make the consumer’s desire come true. The bearing of the fruit also means the Starlight Express will arrive and take the Celestrians to the world of the Almighty. But, when the Yggdrasil finally bears fruit that’s when it all goes wrong. Right when The Starlight Express arrives, purple blasts of light shoot up, followed by many “Oh snap!"s as you plummet to the ground (Along with the Fyggs) without your wings or halo.

For all of the adventures, I think the stories that go along with it are very interesting, although sad, and make the game interesting and fun. The downside of the stories is that each one usually involves a death and creepy ghosts wandering around.

I’ve also found defeating the many monsters extremely difficult, in which some take days to defeat. Of course nothing is impossible, so after many tiring days of sitting on the couch fighting fictional monsters, I eventually defeat them.

I think one of my favorite things from the game is the clothes. You can explore different towns for their clothes and decorate your characters to match their personality. Cause I mean, when you’re fighting to your death, you might as well die fashionable.

Overall, I think the game is very creative, and while the entire story is quote confusing, the smaller stories are sweet, and give important messages as in: “Don’t eat magical Golden fruits from strangers.” and “Don’t go fighting Dragons after dark.”
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

See 'Mysterious Skin' And Meet My Nephew At The Same Time

What if you had strange, unsettling dreams that eventually led you to the bizarre delusion that you had been abducted by aliens? And what if that delusion led you to the painful realization that you had suffered an unspeakable childhood trauma?

And what if someone wrote a play about it, and then cast my nephew as one of the two leads? I would ask you to go see it, of course. And then, if I was so inclined, I might just call you repeatedly over the next week or so to see if you had bought your tickets.

East West Players 

Mysterious Skin 

In association with the
L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center and
Center for the Pacific Asian Family.

David Huynh
Scott Keiji Takeda (<- that's him!)

Premieres on September 15 and runs through October 10
at the Henry Hwang Theater in downtown L.A.

For more information and to purchase tickets please click HERE.

Come out and see a powerful play, support local theater and see my nephew in his L.A. stage debut. Don't make me call you.

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