Thursday, July 31, 2008

after Alice there's - Pooh!


















I have Very fond, strong memories of Pooh from when I was a kid. "I am a little black raincloud" is still as fresh in my mind as it was when I heard it at age 3. And that's pretty good for someone with a memory like mine! You know, the Sherman Bros' songs are SO catchy, I still remembered most of the score to Snoopy Come Home (SADLY not on cd!!!) from when I saw it at age 2 or so, and I hadn't seen it since then (tho we got the dvd and watched it last year). Yes, I could whistle "At the Beach", the title song, etc. even after All those years. Now That's staying power!

The Pooh ride at Disneyland was good, but hands down the best of this ride is in Tokyo. MUCH different than the American rides. And worth it just for Tigger's bouncing room!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

X-Files movie & DL





We saw the X-Files movie on Sunday and were both bored with it. I've no idea why this film had to be in theatres. It had the same scope as a tv show; nothing grand about it. I'd only seen 1 episode of the tv show in the mid-90s and this film doesn't make me want to revisit it.

Now to a better subject - back to Disneyland! Specifically, the Alice in Wonderland ride, which they don't have in Tokyo or Orlando. VERY interesting to me, since this is my favorite Disney cartoon (GREAT voice line up and script). I was surprised that the line starts outside, of course with music playing. It's an imaginative little ride that, like everything in Fantasyland, is far too short. But we went on it twice because we'd picked a weekday (less crowded) to go, and the park was about to close when did it the 2nd time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

the Magic Kingdom!
















Here we are in the Magic Kingdom! I have to admit, tho, when we first saw the little castle we laughed! We were SO unimpressed with something that looks no bigger than a cake decoration. It's like half the size of the one in Orlando. They really need to build a new one. Well, maybe not. :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Disney California


















And here we are inside Disneyland. Well, Disney California, which is where we went first. It was all new to us, because they don't have this stuff in Orlando. Actually, DisneySea in Tokyo was supposed to be here. I think it fits better in Japan, being Right Next to the sea.

See the hummingbirds? Mayu is a big fan of these rare guys. See if you can spot them in 2 of the 3 pictures.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Batman & Mama Mia

Just wanted to interrupt the trip for a moment to say that we saw Mama Mia and Batman this weekend. The music and basic story for MM was very good. I LOVE movie musicals. I wish they'd make a Bunch more. I found Hairspray to be completely engaging and great. Dreamgirls was almost great. Phantom of the Opera was great, but it needs to be seen in a theatre. How many of you would go see a favorite film at the theatre even tho you can see it on dvd? I'm very curious about that.

Anyway, MM's script and direction was pretty bad. I like the fact that the stars sing the stuff all themselves, even tho they can't sing. It gives it a charm that harkens me back to Alice in Wonderland; brilliant cartoon and Wonderful songs, and even tho Alice can't sing, frankly, it's nice to hear that for a change from all the great singers who do cartoons but who all sound the same. But the innocence and not-too-serious nature of MM endeared it to me. We're going to see it again. I figure if musicals make enough $$, they'll keep making them. (ppssssttt....! That's a good reason to buy my books!)

As for Batman, it's very good. Usually I LOVE long movies because I can get engrossed in them. But Batman seemed to keep ending, and I have mixed emotions about that. On the one hand, it's Not a formula film and that I applaud. On the other hand, I was getting a bit bored waiting for it to end (and it really doesn't, because of the Joker). Katie Holmes should've done the film. I don't know Why she didn't, but when EVERYONE but one key player is in something, it leaves a hole. You can't really separate the role from the actor.

The look of it was good, the Joker was of course great. Yes, it was dark, perhaps too dark (in spirit, I mean), but it's the ending I didn't care for (and I won't give it away here) because I think it was totally unnecessary in order to achieve a drama set up for film #3. Well, the trilogy is going to be in trouble anyway because Any actor who tries to take over Heath's role is going to be slammed.

I'm going to see Batman again too, because there's a Lot to take in in this film. Convoluted or complex, I'm sure I'll like it better the 2nd time, because I often do when I see a film twice.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Downtown Disney - Anaheim, CA! part 2
































Still in Downtown Disney. I forgot about these pictures. One of the non-Disney stores contained lots of these Christmas villages that are popular with collectors. Amazing amount of stuff. Whole worlds.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Downtown Disney - Anaheim, CA!



















You thought we'd never make it, right? Well, we did. The wife and I, in our penultimate Calif. activity, finally got to the place where the empire started. Disneyland, Calif.

We got in late afternoon the first day, and were TIRED. But we weren't going to waste a day ticket on a half day's sport anyway, so we drove over to Downtown Disney, the shopping area of most Disneylands, and spent some quality time there shopping, eating and just looking. We also bought our tickets for the next day. Just 1-day tickets, because I'd been there once when I was 10, and I knew it was small. If it looked small to a 10-year-old, it wasn't going to look bigger to a man at 37.

We had a lovely dinner in Rainforest Cafe. We'd been to these all over (the worst was in Tokyo Disneyland; the best was here and Orlando) and were never disappointed. This was Super. Equal to the one in Animal Kingdom perhaps. We started off with tri-colored corn chips covered in taco stuff (beef, sour cream) and split a macademia-crusted fish dish, which really Is big enough for two. (Most places we go, we split a dish. Less to eat and/or lets us have the room to try a thing or 2 more.) Of course the atmosphere was fun because every 10 minutes some animal in the jungle comes alive, and every 30 or 60 minutes, the whole jungle comes alive when the sound of a storm brews.

After and before that, we spent some time walking around all the grounds that didn't require a ticket, including the beautiful hotel with its locked up Peter Pan pool and unlocked waterfall below. Then stores. The bookstore, which isn't owned by Disney, had many non-Disney published Disney books there, and I was/am jealous. I need to find time to crack stores like that. I bought a book or 2 - Mouse Tales was 1 of them. Just haven't had time to read it yet.

Just walking around was lovely. In a way, it's too bad we did this the first night, because it ended up being The best part of Disneyland. It really is. Once you've lived with Disneyworld in Orlando your whole life, coming to this smaller place can be a let down. But! I wasn't let down. I enjoyed Every moment. It was DIFFERENT. Downtown Disney looks nothing like the Orlando version; in a way, it's better.

Tomorrow, we take you into the park!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

still on Hollywood Blvd.



















Here we are on the great Hollywood Blvd. The section you see here, and where we had a nice lunch before leaving Hollywood, was one of the best. We didn't have time for any sightseeing - we had wanted to go into Beverly Hills. But we'll have to save a lot of things for when we can fly to Hollywood from Japan sometime. We wanted to get out of the area before everyone got off work!

It's funny, but I've been reading the new material that Larry Gelbart wants to put out. He HATES Los Angeles. The misc. articles he's written for magazines about LA are pretty damning - dealing with traffic, people, the biz - but I don't think I've read anything I disagree with yet!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the perks of a publisher

Guess what I got today? The manuscript, contract and photos to Gary Burghoff's autobiography. Yes, this is Radar from MASH. And Charlie Brown on Broadway. I'm VERY happy to have this book in our catalog for next year. The pictures he sent are Great. Not to mention the lovely reproductions of his paintings, which I hope to use on the front/back cover. Well, the front cover image is already decided: Gary's favorite: Radar hugging the teddy bear.

And there's never a better excitement than going through a celebrity's private photos. That's one of the perks of this biz!


Oh, and all this came about because someone is writing what looks like a GREAT book on MASH. He's friends with Gary.

Oh, and Gary elected Larry Gelbart - writer of Tootsie, MASH and Oh God - to do the foreword. And from that, I might publish a book by Larry.

You never know what leads where, eh?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Walk of Fame this way































The night after the Magic Castle we walked down a couple streets to the most famous street in the world. Here you see some footprints in front of the Chinese Theatre. I really wanted to see a movie In that theater, but nothing interesting was playing (we'd seen Speed Racer in a Huge theater in Palm Springs, but it was one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and I didn't want to waste 3 hours of my life again in Hollywood). But we took a walk down the sidewalks, which unfortunately are merely filled with average shops selling t-shirts and very common items. I'd heard from other people, that the glamor had gone from this place. Alas, they are right. I'm afraid I don't understand why This area isn't made trendy. Just a street or 2 over is a very nice, trendy area, like an outside mall. Well done. Atlanta has better areas than where the Walk of Fame is located. Is it that the city thinks tourists will come here Anyway, so why make the area clean and full of niche shops? That's the only reason I can think of. And I think they're wrong.

However, it was good seeing the stars of the various people we publish books on. And I'll show you more of those tomorrow too!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

driving in to LA!

















A grey day in LA, eh? Well, this is the view from the highway. And WOW. You know, I've driven in NYC, even drove a truck there one Sunday morning. But that's Nothing like driving into LA. And it wasn't not during rush hour either. All the rumors on traffic there are TRUE.

We didn't have a Lot of time to spare. We were meeting June Foray for dinner at the Magic Castle (her idea) that night, and I still didn't have good shoes to wear! We checked online to find that Magic Castle has a dress code, hence the thousand dollar couple you see before you.

Alas, there's a rule about no photos in the MC, so we didn't take any inside. But we did have a Great time there. More later!

Monday, July 14, 2008

before leaving Palm Springs

















Before leaving the lovely Palm Springs, we had breakfast at the Rock Garden Cafe in downtown.

And this building photo is the REAL Vicki's, where Bill Marx plays. Tho it seems he and his band are playing somewhere else now!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

also in Palm Springs































And while in Palm Springs, as I think I mentioned, we saw Bill Marx play a GREAT 3 hours of piano with his group. And Harpo the clown even stopped by! What a fabuLOsa day it was.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

night life in Palm Springs































And here we are at night in downtown Palm Springs. The pictures don't do it justice. I guess it's really just one main street, but it's alive with a lot of people, clubs, cozy restaurants and shops that rightly stay open late. We stopped to split an ice cream in a quaint place. Lucky to get a table too!

Monday, July 7, 2008

and while in Palm Springs
































The first night we were in Palm Springs we walked around the lovely downtown area, full of shops and little restaurants. For those of us who are glad to get away from the chains of Burger King, Borders, Sears, etc. it's a welcome sight to have individual stores to walk around. And while you're walking around the area - how many people know this? - you come upon stars on the sidewalk, just like in Hollywood. Now, some names you just won't know, but I knew a lot. Some of my authors were on these sidewalks!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hancock

A friend and I saw Hancock yesterday. It was good. Not great, but certainly interesting. The camera was unnecessarily shaky and the effects were not good (did anyone who saw the trailer of Will Smith kicking the car while flying think that that was a good effect? Then you'll disagree with me), but I enjoyed the characters and it was Fun, which I think is the best Anything can be.

I did have one question tho, filmmakers. If bullets can't stop him, why can alcohol effect him with pleasant numbness and hangovers?

:)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

saying goodbye to Rancho Mirage

















We hated to go, but it was time to leave Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and the lovely Bill and Barbara who had shown us Such a good time. Oh, I forgot to mention that we were fortunate to have timed it so that we got to see Bill Marx play with the jazz group he jams with every Sunday afternoon at Vicki's Restaurant. It was on Mother's Day! So the crowd wasn't as big as usual, but the talent was just as swingin'. We were impressed and Loved the whole 3 hours. They played standards both of us recognized, including the title song from my favorite Disney cartoon, Alice in Wonderland. Oh, and before leaving the house, Bill played an impromptu medley of Disney songs JUST for the 2 of us. Best piano playing I've ever heard in my life. The man is to the piano what his dad was/is to the harp. He's promised us a cd of that medley - which would sound different, he promised - and we're going to HOLD him to it!!

On the way out of town, back on the highway, we drove thru the Windiest area we have Ever seen. I thought ocean front property got a lot of wind. That's NOTHING compared to this. The car was constantly shaking and you have to press the gas pedal harder just to maintain regular speed. Amazing. Amazing. No wonder the gov't put out SO many turbines or windmills around the mountains to capture all that wind POWER.