Okay, so being a fan of both the Star Wars franchise and Disneyland, it was really only a matter of time before I made a little write-up about the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue attraction at Disneyland (and Walt Disney World).
Apart from griping about the fact that some permutations of the ride experience involve elements from the godforsaken prequel films, Star Tours is just as campy and silly as the original ride. Disney Imagineers did a fantastic job of updating the entire experience for a new generation of fans. The queueing area feels more like a “legitimate” spaceport and less like some Quonset hut in a backwater rim world–this I’m not sure how I feel about. The original Star Tours had the same kind of feel as the original trilogy films: low-tech, analog, hastily constructed, and ad hoc. Now, the whole scene seems more elegant: Solari boards are replaced with high-resolution LCD displays, maintenance droids are replaced with security officer droids (albeit with similar whimsical attitudes about their jobs), and there’s no more People Mover running through the station.
Whether or not I appreciate the “upgrades,” I love the attention to detail and subtle nods to the original attraction. Oh, and the fact that Patrick Warburton voices one of the afore-mentioned security droids. In all, it’s definitely worth the trip to the park if you haven’t ridden it yet.
After a little searching, I happened to find a copy of the original video feed from the ride. Rex (the original pilot droid, voiced by the incomparable Paul Rubens) does not appear in the footage as it is the actual screen projection (probably recorded on VHS considering the tracking issue), but all the music, sound effects, and voices remain. The part that I enjoy the most is fact that it was filmed completely with models–not the CGI bullshitery that permeates Hollywood now (and ST:TAC is unfortunately no exception to this rule)–something about it just makes it look that much more real.
After three months of procrastination, I finally finished the video documentary of Disneyland’s Leap Day celebration event. Beginning at 6am on February 29 and running until 6am March 1, Surge, Jessica, Lucia, Ian, Angela, and I braved the elements, sleep deprivation, and the throngs of rabid crowds to survive one of the biggest events ever held by the Disney parks. Unfortunately, as you may find out from watching, it may have been one of the biggest event planning SNAFU’s since Opening Day. In all, it was quite the experience: one of laughter, merriment, and bonding that–if we’re lucky–only comes along every four years.
Donald gets down with his bad self. It’s a typical day at Disneyland.
Remember that terrible 1990’s Disney movie, Blank Check? Well, Mr. Macintosh does, and he isn’t too happy with the result.
So, Drake, Hammy, and I–on a lark–started a new podcast last night. Entitled Afterburn, so far it’s a humorous look at aviation news while we rant about various topics and whatever happens to come to mind. Think Top Gear meets Diggnation but about planes and helicopters instead of cars.
I came to an all-too-important realization today while I was trying to write up bios for each of us, and that was that I should always do my word processing in a local file before typing directly into a browser window. Yes, internet common sense, I know, but I was running on some 3 hours of sleep, nursing a hangover, and fueled more by mania than anything else. That being said, I’m typing into a TextEdit window now before I do all the nifty formatting things in the WordPress publisher.
I’ve been on a little bit of a creative kick as of late–doing various projects that seem to satisfy that little creative spark I get every so often. Sketchuary, I guess, was a warm-up. For those of you who don’t know, I tried to start the Sketchuary project of a sketch a day for all of February. I made it about seven days, then promptly lost any time and energy I had set aside for it as the production of Anna In The Tropics drew ever-closer. I tried to catch up while on vacation in California (mainly by sitting in the relative comfort of Disney California Adventure’s Animation Workshop and being taught how to sketch various characters), but still only managed another three or four sketches.
Needless to say, this blog post is coming out of this creative mania. I have a few artsy projects lined up, and a few completed. I’ve already done a few frame jobs, and I have a couple of collages to do (one of Las Vegas souvenirs, another of Tron stuff from DCA, and yet more of squadron patches I got tired of keeping locked away in my firebox). I’m seriously considering more podcasty things to do, but I think the blog is pretty effective right now. Maybe if I get more interesting posts, I’ll be able to attract some followers?
I know I keep saying “expect more,” and rarely deliver; I’ll refrain from that this time, and simply say that I’m excited to stay busy with more creative projects–maybe my natural zest for showmanship will fuel a desire to keep showing off even the most inane things.
Meanwhile, keep an eye open for Twitter posts and feel free to browse my plethora of diversions scattered about to the four winds:
According to anonymous sources via The Wall Street Journal, Apple is possibly in the process of wooing at least CBS and Disney into a subscription service for streaming television. The basic rundown is that the customer could subscribe to a program stream without having to deal with those messy, customer-unfriendly cable companies that everyone I know loathes and despises in a vein similar to their affections for Terrorists and Nazi Zombies.
I, for one, am ecstatic about the prospect of only having to pay for the small handful of channels I watch (when I actually sit down and watch television). If I want The Military History Channel, I don’t want to have to purchase Golf TV, BET, Lifetime, etc. when I will practically never find myself actively watching such tripe. Of course, this is something we’ve all been subjected to since the advent and explosion of the format since the 1980’s. I remember talk during the late 90’s about the FCC kicking around the idea of “TV a la carte” wherein, thanks to programmable receivers, consumers would be able to purchase subscriptions only for networks they actually watch. Lobbies representing the cable providers (namely Comcast and Verizon, if memory serves correctly) immediately went into action championing the plight of the niche-market TV networks–small, usually locally-oriented, stations that have little to no widespread appeal (think low-power UHF stations of old)–saying they would inevitably be destroyed if no one had the opportunity to stumble upon them. Thankfully, we now have Web 2.0. With its proliferation of on-demand services such as RSS, YouTube, Twitter, etc., the “no one will ever see this” excuse is practically eliminated.
I think this is certainly the start of something new and necessary for the growth of entertainment, information, and technology. With seemingly limitless options provided by the Interweb, television doesn’t have to be held hostage to timeslots…or location-specific receivers, for that matter. My only concern is the fact that Apple might keep a stranglehold on the market–is there a way to make sure that the receiver software stays open? I don’t want to have to deal with iTunes just to keep up with 24 or Doctor Who. Frankly, I don’t want to have to deal with iTunes, period, but that’s a subject for another time.
In the meantime: Streaming media to your set-top box, laptop, or phone? Yes, please.