Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend in Orlando

So, as you might have figured out, I'm in Florida for a few weeks while Jonathan is still in California. We're not new to spending weeks apart, and many of you know we lived 330 miles apart for six years, including the first year we were married. We've both been busy this week, as I'm sure will continue for the remainder of the month!

Joe surprised everyone by DRIVING out to California last week, arriving Thursday, and staying until he feels like making the cross-country trip back. (For those who don't know our dear friend Joe, he's the most spontaneous person I've ever met, and goes full-speed ahead whenever he has a new idea.) I, on the other hand, have been busy catching up with friends and family. I spent Easter morning with Jonathan's parents, then headed down to PSL to see my friend Michelle, whom I had not seen since the wedding. After spending a few hours with her (by the way, if you know her, congratulate her on finishing her law degree this month and then heading to SPAIN for a year!), I headed over to see some family at my grandparents' house. We had a lovely cookout, and a few pictures were taken. Below you can see me with my brother and sister.The following weekend was a bit hectic. On Friday evening, Tori, BK, and I went to Kissimmee to see Al Capone's Dinner & Show. We were originally planning to see something different, but with 50% off coupons, this show won out. It wasn't ideally managed, but it was a darn good time. When you purchase your tickets, you're told that when you go to enter, you need to knock three times and give a password (which actually varies slightly from group to group, since I'm an eavesdropper...). After doing so, a little window in the door was slid open, and a woman peeked through (we're set in Prohibition-era Chicago, by the way), taking our ticket. The door opened, and mug shots were taken (however, if we knew they were mug shots, we wouldn't have smiled, LoL) before we were led to our table (from which we had an excellent view of the stage). Weasel, our server, took our drink orders (soft drinks, coffee, wine, beer, and several cocktails are included in ticket price) and let us know about the buffet set-up. The buffet was vast, and I'd recommend the lasagna and the breadsticks. Steer clear of the pasta salad and the fettuccine, as I didn't like the alfredo and Tori didn't like the marinara. The ham was sweet, the turkey was dry, the pot roast was good with the mashed potatoes, and the macaroni and cheese was decent. The lemon cake that was served later was average. The show itself was pretty entertaining. The cast was four females and two males, and the first act was far more humorous than the second. The jokes are pretty much your standard for dinner theatre, although there is a good bit of improv in the second act. I won't spoil the plot for you, but I will say that the resolution is a bit cheesy. After the show we had our photo taken with the cast.We randomly saw a mini-golf place, and turned in. Luckily, they were open until 11:30pm, so we enjoyed 16 holes of golf (Tori and I vetoed holes 16 & 17, as the greens weren't that exciting and we were short on time), taking a bunch of photos in between. It was pretty fun, but we're all lovers of mini-golf, so we may be biased. ;)

The next morning, Tori and I set off for a (very overplanned) day in Orlando. We started at the Orange County Regional History Center, since they have a special exhibit entitled, "Jim Henson's Fantastic World," and I've been dying to go since I found out it was there. (I've been an admirer of Henson's work as long as I can remember. Seriously, I vividly remember being upset at his death when I was six years old.) I wasn't that upset about the "no photography" rule until I found out that there was very very little for sale in the gift shop. I was prepared to drop some dough on a book or postcards or models, but instead I was only offered a t-shirt, a few Muppet figurines, and three or four stuffed toys. Needless to say, I purchased nothing. The exhibit itself was both enlightening and disappointing. I was amazed at the sketches and recordings of Jim Henson's earliest works, including a ton of commercials and specials which were sometimes never realized. They had encased puppets, including Rowlf the Dog, King Goshposh and his aide Featherstone, Sir Linit, Bert and Ernie, and Gobo and Cantus. I probably spent close to five minutes admiring the marvelous Gobo and Cantus, whom are very close to my heart (being Fraggles). There were tons of sketches from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, and tons of projects which were never finished. I'm not sure why there was a lack of attention paid to Labyrinth, although there was a book dedicated to the Goblins in the film (there was also NO MENTION of Dinosaurs, the 90s sitcom which was, in may ways, a Fraggle Rock for teenagers). Henson's Oscar-nominated short film, Time Piece, was also showing, along with a twenty-minute review and interview with Henson. While I'm glad that I went, I feel that there are SO MANY MORE THINGS that could have been displayed, I must get to the Smithsonian (tentatively scheduled for July) and the Center for Puppetry Arts (which is in Atlanta) to learn more.

Tori and I browsed the rest of the museum, although we were not impressed with it as a whole. We then headed out (I baffled her with the concept of parking validation), grabbed lunch, and headed to The Florida Mall. Both of us have been there (together and separately) many times before, but never once did we spend seven hours scouring that mall. We were ultimately unsuccessful in our major goal (new jeans), but we both picked up various new articles of clothing, and tried out the newest thing at Auntie Anne's. In case you haven't been lately, they now have a Pepperoni Pretzel, which is a typical pretzel covered in cheese and pepperoni slices. It's a hair more expensive than the other varieties ($3.09 before tax), but worth it. It tastes just like you'd imagine, LoL.

Oh, and the overplanned part? We had figured we'd make it to three malls in the eight hours we allotted... guess that just means we'll have to head back there soon!

More pics of these events: Dinner and Mini-Golf Museum

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