I thought I'd start out with a joke (to restore your good humors after so many days without diary entries :-) that David sent me this morning...
An English professor wrote the words "woman without her man is a savage" on the blackboard and directed his students to punctuate it correctly.
The men wrote: "Woman, without her man, is a savage."
The women wrote: "Woman: Without her, man is a savage."
Seems vaguely appropriate since much of the time Kirsten and I weren't actively sightseeing (and we are very active sightseers) we were talking (and sometimes bitching :-) about men. Not to imply that this is what I do with all my female friends (especially since most of them are bi, that would be silly :-), but Kirsten and I have this special rapport, which makes her exceptionally good for that kind of conversation. So we spent our days in Epcot (Saturday), Walt Disney World (Sunday), and MGM Studies (Monday), and our evenings/nights talking. Not much sleep. :-) Especially good was the dinner at the Crab House (I don't know if they're a chain, but if you like seafood, can afford moderately expensive meals ($15-20/entree) and can find one of these, the food was absolutely fabulous. The best restaurant meal I've had in a while. (note of warning: taste perhaps slightly influenced by two glasses of French merlot (I have an abysmally low tolerance, which is useful, because I got quite giddy on just two glasses -- I haven't gotten drunk in months, and it was great fun :-)) We had crab-stuffed mushrooms, shrimp with cocktail sauce, crab and shrimp and mushrooms in a white wine sauce over pasta, crab stuffed shrimp, the aforementioned merlot and split a slice of key lime pie for desert. Indulgent, but amazingly good).
One of the best things about the trip was finding out how extremely compatible Kirsten and I are as travelling companions. She's the best person to travel with (especially for sightseeing-type travel) that I've found -- we get hungry around the same time -- our feet hurt around the same time -- we're both pretty flexible, yet enthusiastic -- we're both willing to go on mushy rides like "It's a Small World" (which I know damn well that Dave or Kevin or Chris would have hated -- oh, they would have put up with it, and perhaps even pasted a smile on their faces (well, Kev wouldn't), but they would have made sure we knew they were enduring it for our sakes. Which is, admittedly, sweet, but it would be even sweeter if they could manage to muster up some actual enthusiasm (we manage it for basketball, after all...) and enjoy themselves) -- we even managed to still be in very good moods after 3 days of intense playing and 3 days of horrible weather.
Speaking of the weather -- how DARE it be cold and/or raining for our entire trip?? This is Florida, right? Argh! I can't tell you how frustrating it was, especially as we had packed totally inadequate clothing for the weather (oh, we had heard the weather reports, but it was just too depressing packing heavy sweaters and winter coats for a trip to Florida -- we just had to put in those little tank tops and short skirts instead...). Well, we suffered manfully (what a silly word, when the consensus seems to be that women have more endurance long-term) and managed to be cheerful nonetheless. It helped that the weather cut most lines down to nothing, so we managed to do 2-3 times as many rides as we would have been able to otherwise.
Highlights of the parks -- Epcot's Morocco pavilion (for the beautiful and charming tour guide (the best I've ever had) with the sexy French- Moroccan accent -- her name is Marim, if you're ever there), Epcot's Japan pavilion (for the beautiful netsuke museum and the fabulous shop (I got a t-shirt with my name in Japanese :-) and a book on origami)), and Epcot's China pavilion (also with a fabulous shop, and a 360 degree movie of China, narrated by an ancient poet :-). In the tech part of the park the only bits I really enjoyed were the history of communication ride inside the giant globe (informative and nicely detailed) and the Body Wars ride (could have stood being a little more educational, but was fun nonetheless).
At Disney, I was impressed by less (and there were fewer cool things to buy), but you must must must ride the fabulous Space Mountain -- they've revamped it since I was last there, and it's now a really beautiful as well as exhilarating rollercoaster (more curves than drops, which I appreciate). The Cinderella mosaics on the inner wall of the castle were also gorgeous, and much of the park seems to have been cleaned up, reorganized and brightened since my last visit, especially the New Tomorrowland (which also has a great movie with the voice of Robin Williams (whom I adore) as the Timekeeper -- another 360 degree one -- but this time a voyage through time, with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
The best ride, however, had to be at MGM Studios -- the amazing Tower of Terror! I don't want to give too much away, but it's even better than you'd expect from the description (a 13 story free fall drop), with great attention to detail, cool special effects and a spooky atmosphere. The Indiana Jones show was too rainy to watch, but I remember from my last trip that the special effects were pretty amazing (ditto Catastrophe Canyon). Also really really good was the animation tour, with another movie with Robin Williams (he must have some deal with them :-) and a chance to see animators at work on the new movie (The Hunchback of Notre Dame -- how the heck are they going to give that a happy ending??).
Oof. All Disney'd-out now. In the rest of my life -- well, there hasn't been much yet. Returned to work yesterday -- desk is mostly cleared off. Planned to be ambitious and make potato gnocchi last night (found some great recipes in the rec.arts.foods on-line archives) but was too tired when I came home and ordered curry delivered instead. Did manage to clean the living room. Kitchen tonight (and will probably eat leftover curry). Then I can cook tomorrow (that's the plan, at any rate...). Also have a pile of e-mail to answer -- deleted all the mailing list stuff, and answered those requiring short answers, but those of you who need longer answers (you know who you are :-) may have to wait a bit. I'll try to get to them today...
Two more grad school apps due the 15th. Argh. Still, good to be back!
And to close with another quote, that Jordan just sent me and that seems particularly appropriate given all the movie stuff I saw:
From the lips of a Hollywood mogul (back when there really were such things):
"There's only one good plot, and that's a delayed fuck." - Louis B. Mayer