Quinn and I went with the Cub Scouts today to hike to the top of Flag Hill in the Sunol Regional Wilderness – part of East Bay Parks. We had a great day today and as you can see Quinn did a great job posing for photos. The hike was pretty steep but we made it to the top in just over 50 minutes, so it wasn’t too bad at all. Â View all the photos on Flickr.
As this blog has already well established, Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies are the best cookies ever made. And thanks to fans of the cookies such as yours truly who vocally demanded their return, Mother’s Circus Animals are still available in stores again. But today at the store I discovered something that’s even better than Mother’s Circus Animals.
Better than the Circus Animals cookies?
Mother’s Circus Animal Cookie Ice Cream!
Yes, friends, this is here and it’s real and I’ll tell you what, it’s delicious! Â It’s from Sunnyside Farms, which is a store brand available at both Lucky/Save Mart and at Raley’s. The ice cream features big chunks of Circus Animal cookies all inside pink and white cookie batter ice cream. Â There’s a nice blog post that gives additional details about the Mother’s/Sunnyside partnership. The good news is that the post was dated in July 2011, so perhaps the “limited edition” is something that will last for a longer time.
If you have love for these cookies you definitely need to try this ice cream. It is really great.
I discovered this song completely by accident, by hearing it played on KOHL – Ohlone College’s radio station. I rarely listen to the radio but so glad I was between podcasts when I turned on the radio.
This is from Gotye, which is the stage name of Belgian-born Wally De Backer, currently residing in Australia. The song is “Somebody That I Used to Know” and features Kiwi singer Kimbra (Kimbra Johnson). As someone who grew up during the heyday of The Police there is a resemblance to Sting’s voice during the chorus. It’s a former number one hit in Australia, which seems like a good time to discover the song now that the Australian Open Tennis tournament is being played.
The video is also pretty interesting so give it a listen!
“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra.
We visited Walt Disney World over the New Year’s break, and very much enjoyed our time there. As a longtime Disneyland visitor I always find the Magic Kingdom to be a disappointment. There are many things to like about the park, to be sure. But as a Disneylander I am left with an unsatisfied feeling. There are some obvious differences in the park, especially with super-headliners like The Matterhorn and Indiana Jones not at the Magic Kingdom. On the other hand, as a newer park there are different/improved things in Florida as well.
So, I decided to see if I could quantify this. This analysis looks only at attractions and not at shows, character greetings, fireworks, shopping and dining, or other intangibles. Instead, we’re just looking at attractions to experience. Â What I did was compare the attractions in each park. If they were clones (or near clones) of each other, then that would be a wash and even out from a points perspective. If a similar ride was “a little” better in one park or the other, then I would award one point. If it was significantly better then I would award two points.
In terms of attractions unique to one park or the other, 1-3 points are awarded based on value/scope. So, Shunken Ned’s Jungle Boats at the Magic Kingdom only gets a 1, whereas something of larger scope and appeal such as Mickey’s PhilharMagic gets a 3.
In my ratings below, I’ve tried to be as fair as possible. In some cases I actually awarded points to the attraction I actually prefer less, due to historical value or other elements. An example of this is Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, which I prefer but lacks an extra scene in the Magic Kingdom version (which, therefore, gets the points). I grouped attractions more or less together by land, though this wasn’t completely equivalent due to differences in the parks.
|Main Street USA|
|Main Street Vehicles||2||Main Street Vehicles||Vehichles rarely run at MK, greater variety at DL too|
|Disneyland Railroad||1||Walt Disney World Railroad||Primieval World missing at MK|
|The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln||The Hall of Presidents||2||Greater scope and entire land built around this attraction. But DL has the Steve Martin movie.|
|The Disney Gallery||1||none||Not much of an “attraction”|
|Sleeping Beauty Castle||Cinderella Castle||1||Much larger castle including a restaurant. But DL has a walk through.|
|Dumbo the Flying Elephant||0||Dumbo the Flying Elephant||0|
|It’s a Small World||1||It’s a Small World||Larger attraction features Disney characters in DL.|
|Mad Tea Party||0||Mad Tea Party||1||Can spin the cups much faster at MK|
|The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh||The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh||1||Better queue and theme and ride at MK|
|Peter Pan’s Flight||Peter Pan’s Flight||1||Better animatronics at MK|
|King Arthur Carrousel||0||Prince Charming Regal Carrousel||0|
|Snow White’s Scary Adventures||Snow White’s Scary Adventures||1||More focus on Snow White at MK|
|Mickey’s PhilharMagic||3||Excellent 3D film with Disney music|
|Casey Jr. Circus Train||2||Mild thrills for kids|
|Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride||2||Dark ride with cult following|
|Alice in Wonderland||2||Used to be a 3 until OSHA forced changes on outdoor portion|
|Pinocchio’s Daring Journey||2||Dark ride|
|Matterhorn Bobsleds||3||Disney classic|
|Storybook Land Canal Boats||2||Charming boat ride|
|Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room||0||Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room||0||Essentially similar once again|
|Pirates of the Caribbean||2||Pirates of the Caribbean||Much longer ride at DL|
|Jungle Cruise||Jungle Cruise||1||Longer attraction with extra scenes at MK (but Trader Sam is better at DL)|
|Tarzan’s Treehouse||0||Swiss Family Treehouse||0||Essentially similar|
|Shrunken Ned’s Junior Jungle Boats||1|
|The Magic Carpets of Aladdin||2||Fun Dumbo-like attraction|
|Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye||3||Super-headliner|
|Splash Mountain||0||Splash Mountain||0||Essentially similar|
|Big Thunder Mountain Railroad||0||Big Thunder Mountain Railroad||0||Essentially similar|
|Frontierland Shooting Exposition||0||Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade||0||Essentially similar|
|Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island||Tom Sawyer Island||1||Themed better at MK and big plus for Fort you can enter|
|Mark Twain Riverboat||0||Liberty Belle Riverboat||0|
|Haunted Mansion||Haunted Mansion||1||Extra scene in MK, but better looking exterior at DL. Edge to MK for elaborate queue and hitchhiking ghosts|
|Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes||1||Only runs on weekends and busy season|
|Sailing Ship Columbia||1||Runs less frequently than Riverboat|
|Country Bear Jamboree||1||Would be a 2 if animatronics were well maintained|
|Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters||2||Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin||Much better experience with hand-held blasters in DL|
|Astro Orbitor||0||Astro Orbiter||0||Essentially similar|
|Space Mountain||2||Space Mountain||Far better track, audio effects, seating in DL|
|Autopia||0||Tomorrowland Speedway||0||Essentially similar|
|Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover||2||So sad that this isn’t running at DL anymore|
|Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress||1||Very very dated animatronic show|
|Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor||2||Wish it was funnier|
|Stitch’s Great Escape!||2||I like it better than the predecessor but nobody would be sad to see this go|
|Disneyland Monorail||2||Part of Walt’s vision of a world in motion|
|Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage||3||Nemo overlay works well and preserves a Disney original|
|Star Tours: The Adventures Continue||3||Super-headliner|
|Captain EO Tribute||2|
|Innoventions||1||Not very compelling, but maybe more than Carousel of Progress|
|Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey||2||Charming fun|
|Chip ‘n Dale’s Treehouse||1|
|Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin||3||Immersive dark ride|
|Gadget’s Go Coaster||2||Short kiddie coaster|
As you can see, Disneyland’s rating was 51 with Magic Kingdom only ranking as 24. That’s twice as many points!
Magic Kingdom currently suffers due to the construction of the new Fantasyland attractions. So, the loss of Mickey’s ToonTown surely hurts. That said, the Magic Kingdom is still far, far behind its cousin in California.
If you have any thoughts on the rationale or my ratings, please leave a comment below.
Here’s my list of 42 most listened-to songs, according to the playcount from iTunes. A big dip in total plays for the top songs, with the most played song only having 34 plays and no others with more than 20. Compare to the list from 2010 where 19 plays would landed just at the end of the bottom 50! In 2009, 34 plays wouldn’t have even made the top 10.
In total, 1337 songs were played at least once in 2011 (1539 in 2010, 1431 in 2009).
I guess I wasn’t listening to as much music in 2011, or at least not as obsessively. Anyway, congrats to Foster the People for topping my list. The high rank for The Go-Go’s was thanks to much playing of their catalog prior to seeing their show in L.A. in August. And the high rank for A Flock of Seagulls is thanks to a “new wave” playlist that I like to play at work.
|Houdini RAC Remix||Foster The People||34|
|Lonely Boy||The Black Keys||19|
|Warrant||Foster the People||18|
|Departures||Karminsky Experience Inc||17|
|Lust To Love||The Go-Go’s||15|
|Messages||A Flock of Seagulls||14|
|Helena Beat||Foster the People||14|
|The Power Of Rolling Along (Till The World Ends)
[Pet Shop Boys vs. Britney Spears vs. Adele vs.
Rihanna vs. Bloodhound Gang vs. Huey Lewis vs.
The All-American Rejects]
|You Can Run||A Flock of Seagulls||13|
|The High Road||Broken Bells||12|
|Houdini||Foster the People||12|
|Reach (Extended Dance Version)||Martini Ranch||12|
|Blue Tip||The Cars||11|
|Send Somebody||Colin Hay||11|
|Don’t Ask Me||A Flock of Seagulls||11|
|I Would Do Anything for You||Foster the People||11|
|We Got The Beat||The Go-Go’s||11|
|Born This Way||Lady Gaga||11|
|I Ran (So Far Away)||A Flock of Seagulls||10|
|Space Age Love Song||A Flock of Seagulls||10|
|Telecommunication||A Flock of Seagulls||10|
|Modern Love Is Automatic||A Flock of Seagulls||10|
|Pumped Up Kicks||Foster the People||10|
|Don’t Stop (Color On the Walls)||Foster the People||10|
|How Much More||The Go-Go’s||10|
|What You Want||Evanescence||9|
|Made of Stone||Evanescence||9|
|My Heart Is Broken||Evanescence||9|
|D.N.A.||A Flock of Seagulls||9|
|Call It What You Want||Foster the People||9|
|Waste||Foster the People||9|
|Life On the Nickel||Foster the People||9|
|Miss You||Foster the People||9|
|Our Lips Are Sealed||The Go-Go’s||9|
|This Town||The Go-Go’s||9|
|On The Floor (feat. Pitbull)||Jennifer Lopez||9|
|Hypnotico (Bonus Track)||Jennifer Lopez||9|