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Beach Trip - Gulf Shores - 2014 [19 Jul 2014|02:27pm]
Another boring travelogue below..

July 11-15, 2014

Day 1 - Most of this day was spent traveling. The plan was to have the rest of the family drop by my apartment in Pelham to pick me up on the way to the beach. This was a good because I had to spend almost all of the previous day cleaning up my apartment for the trip and would not have had the time if I had to drive up to Colbert County. They decided to come up to use the bathroom/etc. which was cool because everyone got to check out the apartment (only my mom and younger brother had been there previously). So everyone got refreshed and all and then we loaded up the two cars to start heading to Gulf Shores. The trip down itself was pretty uneventful for the most part. We stopped off at the Burger King off the interstate in Evergreen, AL to get some grub. I got a grilled chicken sandwich and some fries. I was bewildered by the fact that the sandwich was so small, so I got a piece of chocolate pie to go with it. I was also concerned that some Indian guy was staring at me from across the restaurant... but no matter. Then we got some gas at the Shell Station across the street and headed south again. My brother noticed that there is a Shrimp Basket at that same exit. It was just a gentle reminder of Tuscaloosa I guess. A short time later I decided to throw on my Jimmy Buffett Live in Anguilla CD to get everyone in the mood. We later switched to a 90's compilation album as we were driving through Foley. We've been through this section of Baldwin County so many times that it's amazing how many things I remember from previous trips. For instance, the fast food restaurant that I saw the guy with a DMB shirt in during the 2002 trip (I think it was the Burger King in Foley?). So we got to the realtor's place to get the key and proceeded to Driftwood Towers room 5E (pictures here: http://www.vrbo.com/461917). I think we had stayed in that exactly same condo before. We unpacked, got settled, etc. and went down to the beach to enjoy the last few hours of sunshine. Unfortunately, there was a lightning storm in the distance so we decided to cut the day short. Part of the family headed to Walmart and got some delicious sandwich meat. I made myself a cajun turkey and cheese. Several, actually. And we watched POTC: Curse of the Black Pearl as the remaining hours of the day ticked down. Actually, before that, we ended up watching most of the first Harry Potter movie. It turns out our vacation coincided with ABC Family's Harry Potter weekend. Those movies will forever be associated with the beach for me from now on. We ended up watching parts of almost all of them over the next few days.

Day 2 - Our first day to fully enjoy the beach and pool. Not much to say about this day. Pretty low key. Mostly just going from the beach to the pool to the condo and then repeat over the course of the day. We got a shitload of seafood from Lartigue's in Orange Beach for dinner. 5 lbs of shrimp, 5 lbs of crab legs, cajun potatoes and corn, etc. I went with my mom to pick it up with Jackson and Marshall just so I could check out the shop. It did not disappoint, there were plenty of fish-related items there to browse through.Anyway, after our $220 of seafood was ready, we packed it up and headed back to the condo to enjoy. Later that night, we went crab hunting and watched Casino Royale.

Day 3 - We woke up bright and early to head to the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. It was a place we had been many times before and it rarely changes much. They improved the museum cafe which is good because the one time we ate there it was basically hospital food. They did have one new expansion area called Hanger One I think? Anyway, there were some cool items in there. I got sucked into this exhibit on American POWs in Vietnam. Also, Nixon's Marine One was there which is a pretty cool historical item. It felt like we were the only ones there because we got there so early, but eventually the museum filled up. Little Liam wanted to play with everything and pitched a fit all the time. :) I almost had a heart attack because I thought they might check ID's before entering and I had left mine at the condo. But luckily, they didn't really check everybody. Anyway, we stopped off at the lighthouse nearby to eat a quick sandwich and chips before moving on. We came back to the condo and hung out for a little while, but eventually we headed to the Original Oyster House for dinner. I got the Luncheon Seafood platter with crab claws and meat pies as an appetizer. So much fried food, I thought I was going to vomit haha. I recognized our waitress, she may have served us there before. Afterwards we let Liam play at the playground behind the restaurant for a while. I wanted to check out the souvenir shops so bad but we didn't want to give the kids a bunch of ideas on what to buy so early. :) So we came back to the condo and then headed out yet again to take the kids to The Track to ride go-carts. They ended up buying three rounds of go-cart rides for the kids which took forever for them to tear through. I spent most of the time walking around the track and having Oasis songs in my head. Eventually, the 'older kids' headed back to the condo as the kids were finishing because we had been there for two hours and the baby was getting restless. So we got settled in for the night and I think watched some Third Rock from the Sun to end the day.

Day 4 - Caleb and I basically started the day by heading out on our own just to check out some souvenir places and grab lunch. We first headed west after leaving the condo. I assumed there would be some shops and things but we ended up driving the entire length of the beach without seeing anywhere to stop. We did stop at this convenience store called Waves (30.244403,-87.7163305) and they had some movies there. I almost bought Road to Perdition but it was a little more than I was willing to pay for it and it was only Full Screen (I actually found the widescreen version for $4 a few days later so that worked out). My brother bought the two Kill Bill movies. Anyway, we headed back east and had lunch at Bahama Bob's. I had the shrimp po-boy which was GREAT. It was especially nice being able to enjoy a meal outside and basically on the beach while drinking some sweet tea. After there, we went to Alvin's/Souvenir City. I was looking for a boogie board but they were all too expensive, so I ended up settling for a coozie and Alvin's and a keychain at Souvenir City. So then we came back and hung out at the condo for a while while everyone else went souvenir shopping. We watched the last part of the final Harry Potter and talked about Harry Potter a lot. As I said, it was the Harry Potter beach trip. And then we made our final trip to the beach and pool once everyone got back. We ordered pizza from this place called Marco's and watched some ABC family shows. We went crab hunting at night once again. A cool thing about this is that I walked (read: trespassed) onto the Gulfside Townhomes complex to check out our old stomping grounds. A flood of memories came flooding back to me. I can't believe we haven't stayed there since... 2002? I think? I still remember the people I met while we were there in 2000. Old friends long gone. Anyway, enough nostalgic rememberance for now. Afterwards, once we god back to the condo we watched some more Third Rock from the Sun and said goodbye to the last night on the beach.

Day 5 - Last day. Before we left, we headed down to the beach one last time. We didn't swim. As a matter of fact, I was wearing jeans so I'm sure I looked like a knob. However, it did keep sand from getting all over my legs so it wasn't too bad. And then, we made sure everything was packed and ready to go. I spent some time taking one last good look at the condo. Once that door closed, all I had was memories. Good memories. Took the elevator down, took some final pictures in front of the palm trees outside, and started heading back. The trip back was rather eventful. We stopped at the Subway at that same intersection we stopped at during Day 1. On the way back, we made the traditional stop at Peach Park. I had some Peach ice cream and pie. Yum. We swung and made some pictures at the swingset. I was bewildered by the fact that there is a barbeque place there as most people probably just go there for ice cream. I think I saw two people buy something from that stand the whole time. But oh well. We always like going there. I got to check out all the restrooms and old pictures of 'peach queens' that haven't been changed since I was a little kid. After we left here, they dropped me back off in Pelham to get my car (I was going to drive back to Colbert County by myself later that night). I ended up spending a lot of time at the Summit that night doing some general shopping. I found a couple of documentaries (Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Searching for Sugar Man) that I had been looking for forever. I ate a steak dinner at the bar at Logan's, stopped by Walmart to buy a few other things, and headed to Colbert County for a couple of relaxing days with my family as my vacation ended.

Some other highlights:

- throwing the football on the beach w/ Jackson, Clint, and Caleb
- the numerous failed attempts to build a sandcastle for Liam to destroy
- there weren't any jellyfish in the water this time!
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Disney 2012 [08 Sep 2013|04:07pm]
Hello all,

For anyone reading this in the year 2013, this is just a personal travelogue for a vacation my family took to Disney World in June 2012. I was inspired by my entry for the same trip in 2004 that is helpful for keeping certain memories alive that might otherwise fall by the wayside. I may go into too much detail here but just keep in mind that it is meant for my own purposes only. I'm keeping it public because I don't think anyone sees my entries anyway, and I don't want to have to log in to remember that this is here (this is my second time logging into LiveJournal in nearly a decade). So, if you're reading this, I hope you enjoy my incoherent ramblings.

Oddly enough, I don't really remember which days go with which and where we were on certain days, so instead of this being a chronological recap, it's probably just going to be categorical for the most part. Probably a mixture. I dunno, who cares?


We left later in the day to start our journey. We had plans to stay over in Ozark and sleep on the way to Orlando. This isn't necessary for us since it's a half a day's drive from where we live, but with 3 children (and one unborn child) tagging along, it made things a little easier. The trip to Ozark was pretty basic, we've driven it a hundred times before. We stopped at a Burger King near Prattville (I think it was this one: 32.460067,-86.422407). I thought it might be the same one we ate at with Morgan and Jonathon many moons ago while taking them to their moms. (It was around '96 because I remember them having Hunchback of Notre Dame toys). Anyway, the only real drama occurred when we got a bit lost in Montgomery at night. Anyone from 'Bama knows that this can be bad news. We got redirected through some unsavory neighborhoods but finally got on the right track after stopping at a gas station to ask for directions. I remember I got to see an abandoned mall that I had always heard about on the way, so it wasn't a total waste of time. I remember listening to that What's Up? 90's greatest hits CD on the way down. Good times. Anyway, we finally got to the ironically named Quality Inn in Ozark (31.449726, -85.661561). Our room was on the backside of the hotel next to an expanse of forest, which allowed for an immeasurable amount of bugs to occupy our room by the time we checked in. It was an okay room though. We got there late at night. I remember the lobby being really dimly lit to give the illusion of class. Anyway, that night we got to watch Alabama Softball win the national title. That was an almost perfect start to the trip. Here we were, in the middle of nowhere, at some strange hotel, watching our softball team reach the pinnacle (first of many, hopefully). It's one of the joys of traveling that I've always appreciated. I remember logging into Facebook and seeing the expressions of joy, and Ross making a 'Bama national title joke on there that was humorous. Then: sleep.


Anyway, needless to say my brother and I were up till about 2:00AM watching that game (I think it was rain delayed), so the next morning we were rather pooped. We all got up and headed to the free breakfast. It was sufficient... muffins, some eggs, my brothers and I hitting up the waffle maker. Cereal. Yogurt. We talked to some of the other hotel guests about things I can't remember. Shoulda made this entry last year. Anyway, after breakfast we headed back to the room to get ready to head to Orlando. One of our 'neighbors' was praying with this other fellow. They seemed to be loaded up to the brim with a U-Haul, full truck, etc. I guess they were moving somewhere. I wonder where they are now. My brother pulled up some funny Muppets sketches on his Mac just for the hell of it (with that Bluegrass band... "To Morrow?" and "You don't want my Love" or whatever they are called. I'm not looking it up). Afterwards, we loaded up and hit the road. We stopped at this awesome rest stop on the Alabama-Florida border (30.994744,-85.408507). In the lobby of that rest stop, it almost looked like a library packed with tourist brochures. They served free orange juice there. Welcome to freaking Florida. We took a few nice pictures, used the restroom, and hit the road. We reached the Interstate and headed East. We stopped at this Taco Bell outside of Tallahassee. I think it was this one (30.327157,-82.964634). Afterwards we stopped at some rest stop. I can't determine for sure which one, but it might have been this one (30°26'40.58" N 83°43'59.97" W) From that point, it was straight on to Orlando. I remember the ride down through Gainesville in 2004 feeling like traveling to another universe from rural Alabama. Swanky gas station, funny tawlkin peeeeepow, but I've been to many more places since then, so it wasn't such a culture shock this time. We tried to show Jackson Florida's football stadium, but it wasn't visible from the road like I had thought. I thought I saw Ian (a guy I know that attends UF) on the side of the interstate, but he doesn't have a car so I don't know why he'd be on the interstate. We stopped at this shady looking BP station next to a definitely shady night club (29.497272,-82.293081). Good times!


We got to Disney in late afternoon. We accidentally detoured into the Animal Kingdom parking lot while trying to get to our resort (All-Star Sports). No worries. Anyway we got there and started the checking in process. There was a little controversy as we were trying to pay with money orders or something. While the more adult folks were doing that, I took the time to check out the lobby of the resort.


It is very similar to All-Star Music which we stayed at in 2004. Sports star photos lining the walls, same type gift shop, arcade, food court, etc. When we first arrived there, we thought about eating at the food court, but had to deliberate after seeing the prices. We ultimately decided to eat at the McDonald's down the road (see below). Anyway, I'll talk about the resort here since I'm not sure when what happened when. We stayed in the Surf building, which is pretty cool since it is by the pool. Our room had a picture of Goofy surfing in it, which was rad. We don't spend a lot of time in the hotel room since that's not our priority at WDW, but it was a nice little room. We had adjacent rooms so it was kind of cool to go back and forth between when I was bored with what was happening in a certain room. We watched a shit load of Food Network there. Both rooms were tuned to it on a regular basis. The kids alternated between staying in our room, and I remember when Marshall stayed with us he was oddly obsessed with Sweet Genius. There was some Punky Brewster type girl contestant on there that I fell in love with for the night. One guy on Sweet Genius reacted to every surprise ingredient like it was an epic disaster. I need to find those episodes. We watched a lot of Chopped as well I think. I'm getting really nostalgic just thinking about all this, but it's more to do with the fact that it was something that we bonded over while we were there. Anyway, as I said we were in the Surf building on the backside. It was convenient not just for being close to the pool but also because there's a giant shark tail in front of it, so it is hard to get lost on the resort. The pools are awesome as well. We didn't have anything planned the first night, so we just hung by the main pool and they had a movie playing (Finding Nemo I think?). There were a group of girls there that looked like the UF softball team, and I think one of them yelled at me that she was gonna "tear me up all night long". Not sure how to interpret that. We also tried out the other pool that was shaped like a baseball field, with stands and everything. Kind of strange. I remember staring at one of the sports pennants on the side of the building (there's one for every team) while in the baseball pool and trying to figure out which team it was. I finally realized it was Milwaukee's. The tennis building is funny just for its centerpiece, which is Donald getting upset with Huey, Dewey, and Lewey because they are about to hit a basketball to him to something. I also was able to walk around to see the Crimson Tide pennant on one of the buildings. anyway, the only other notable thing for All-Star Sports is the gift shop, which is pretty basic, but loaded. I remember it just like I was in there yesterday. I picked up a souvenir of some Disney music from the parks, which is not one of my most prized possessions.


It's a pretty big McDonald's that I have been to before. I remember the effeminate man at the counter taking our order. Reminded me to Fred Schneider. It's an interesting setup there because the McDonald's is designed to handle a massive influx of people, but we were the only family in there. The point-of-sale thing is on this little podium. Weird. Anyway, I ordered a Big Angus or whatever its called and we all sat down on a counter to eat. I remember some discussion about sauces or whatever because McD's has a hundred of them now and they wanted to try them all. Anyway, we ate and went back to the hotel with dreams of the magical experiences to come or some jazz.

Again, things are gonna get categorical here because I don't remember the days when we did certain things.


Magic Kingdom is a place that gets smaller the older that you get. I think part of it is because I went to school at a large campus, and walking distances don't mean much to me anymore. Anyway, we saw the opening ceremony for the park for the first time. Afterwards, we did the standard thing of going around the part in a clockwise motion. Hit Adventureland. One thing you have to realize is that your experience of the ride can be totally different depending on who your tour guide is. This is especially true for the Jungle Cruise. One time we road it was this old man, and the second time it was this young fellow who was much more entertaining. We also hit up the Swiss Family Treehouse, always a treat. Had ice cream near there. Kids rode the magic carpets. Rocked the Enchanted Tiki Room. I suggested that we sit on the outside of the "circle" so we could see everything. Not sure if this was a great decision, because it wasn't as immersive, but whatever. Went over and hit Pirates of the Carribean. There's an awesome gift shop outside of Pirates that has an assortment of Pirates-related things that are pretty cool. My mom surprised me later with a pirate Mickey from there. I considered buying On Stranger Tides there, but figured that I could get it online for cheaper (I ended up ordering it on Amazon while we were at the resort, as a sort of "future souvenir." Side note: I found out that the Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs DVD was released while I was at the resort, a most awesome other future souvenir since it is somewhat related to Disney). Anyway, I plundered through the plastic crap but didn't buy anything. I remember trying to find a restroom there that was impossible to find. It was supposed to be around the back of the gift shop but we could never find it. Or it was out of order. Or maybe I did find it and just don't remember. Anyway, we spent a little time lounging about there as well. I remember a live bird parking itself by us while we were sitting, and Clint making a funny joke about the bird looking fake. We tried to eat at Pecos Bill one day, but the kitchen had exploded or something so we had to head over the Columbia Harbour House (more on that later). We also spent some time checking out their Jack Sparrow look-alike guy. He was pretty convincing. Anyway, next was Frontierland. Clint was terrified of riding anything there because of his fear of heights. Splash Mountain was obviously out of the question, but we conned him into riding Big Thunder Mountain, which was hilarious. I told him they could probably hear his screams for miles around. Anyway, the non-pregnant and non-anxious among us rode Splash Mountain, which was good times. That queue line is always brutal. I remember in the cue we were in front of this Irish or Scottish family who were upset at waiting for so long. When we got close to boarding, they yelled at my nephews "Don't let them stop ya, lads!" Fun. We ended up riding it with them. Awesome. My second spiritual family. We stopped at the Splash Mountain gift shop on the way out, and got to see our picture from the plunge. I was able to bring myself to make a few funny faces. I wish I had bought a copy of one of them, but whatever. I saw a picture there of the cast members riding the plunge, and they all had a "What are you gonna do?" pose on, was quite inspirational. We stopped at the restroom next to the queue on the way out, it was funny how I had a flashback to my dad and us stopping at that same restroom in 2004. He unfortunately couldn't come with us this time because of work, but I had certain moments where I thought of him. Anyway, we headed to Liberty Square, where we had lunch at the aforementioned Columbia Harbour House. We actually ate there twice on separate days. The first time I had the hummus sandwich but it wasn't any good. My mom gave me part of her tuna. The second time I ate some fried chicken fingers I think. The restaurant itself is pretty neat, kind of like an old-time colonial building. There are two floors which I explored a lot during my time there. It was packed the first time we ate there but not so much the second time. Anyway, we split from there and headed to Haunted Mansion, where I complained about the hummus sandwich to my brother and his wife. I remember on the Haunted Mansion, they stopped the ride while our buggy was on an incline, which was quite comfortable in hindsight. Not much special happened from this point outside of the rides, we made the rounds to Hall of Presidents, It's a Small World, Philharmagic, we saw the Little Mermaid show here I think, watched the kids ride the teacups, checked out some princess shop. But then, we took in my favorite area: Tomorrowland. We rode the cars and ate lunch at Cosmic Rays (again, twice on two separate days). I think I had the ribs the first day but a burger the second. Rode Space Mountain and the Carousel of Progress. Stopped at yet another restroom that reminded me of my dad. My brother noticed a massive wound on my foot and offered a band-aid. We checked out the Monsters Inc. Laugh-In, where they tried to get this poor Spanish speaking lady to participate in the show, after she kept insisting that she couldn't speak English. Awkward. She was three seats down from me so my social anxiety is keeping me from ever seeing that show again. Also rode Stitch's Great Escape which was poo-poo. Finally, we took in the fireworks show and headed back to the resort. I remember I took a special trip to see Tomorrowland and night, because I had remembered it being pretty inspiring back in the day.


We spent one day at Epcot which was pretty fun. I think the only day where the weather was perfect the whole time there. On our way in, our bus driver yelled at some people crossing in front of his bus at the entrance. Funny stuff. We took in all the normal things, Test Track was shut down for renovations so no go there. I rode Soarin' for the first time. We went there early to get fastpasses and I still wasn't able to ride it until the afternoon. After we got the fastpasses for Soarin, we booked it over to Spaceship Earth to ride. One time when we rode it (I believe the second time), there was a drunk girl on the ride screaming "The war is over!" at the newspaper scene. Quite humorous. I was in a trance because of the Judy Dench narration the whole time. The exit for Spaceship Earth is pretty cool. This whole Siemens sponsored area. We spent about 30 minutes hanging around there. I remember Clint and Mollie playing some game that they had there that was this interactive game. I remember it looking like crochet but what would I know (or remember) We also rode The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends. Interesting queue line, though the ride was a little disappointing. My favorite part of Epcot this time was probably the Land, where we had lunch. I got this seared Salmon with cold noodles that was quite refreshing after eating junk food the whole time we were there. My brother and I had to eat off in a corner by ourselves because the court was so packed. Around that time we also saw the Lion King short film about the environment, which made me think of when we saw it in 2004 with my pop. We also rode Living with the Land which is a personal favorite of mine. We rode Soarin right after lunch I believe. I remember there being some Ukrainian (?) blonde-headed cast member there who was screaming at guests like some it was a boot camp when they broke the rules of the queue line. Quite humorous. Anyway, we conned Clint again into getting onto this ride. Unfortunately, he chickened out before they raised us up. I remember looking to the right and seeing him book towards the exit door. I'll give that a LOL. We also rode Mission to Mars and Ellen's Energy Adventure or whatever its called. We also headed over to Journey into Imagination which was CRAP. Why can't they find something good to do with Figment? We also checked out Captain EO, which I was glad we saw. I would have much rather seen Honey We Shrunk the Audience but what can you do since it is not there anymore. We also stopped at a restroom that I remember us going to in 2004. Not much else to speak of as far as Future World goes. I wanted to check out Innovations, but we were only really able to walk through it. We got some ice cream before heading toward World Showcase.

We didn't do much diddling around World Showcase, basically just walked around it. We got held up in Mexico cause everyone had to use the restroom. My brother and I rode the Three Cabeneros or whatever it is. I much prefer the old ride that was there. Then we sort of just... walked around. We rode the boat ride in Norway. We weren't able to watch any of the films or anything, but with only one day for Epcot, some stuff has to be cut. I remember it was getting around dinner time and we stopped for a second in France to deliberate. We were sitting on this fountain or something, and Jackson says "Why don't we eat there?". He was pointing at the very expensive French restaurant there. I told him we are eating there if he is buying. Smiley face. We also walked around to Canada and England. By this time, we couldn't see anything in World Showcase even if we tried since everything "closes" at 7 except restaurants. We did get to check out the shops in England which is cool because that was my favorite part of World Showcase in 2004. Unfortunately, the Beatles cover band is long gone and there isn't as much of a Beatles theme, but no bother. I can't really remember for sure where we ended up eating. I think it was Electric Umbrella. Anyway, we took in Illuminations on the south side of the Lake. Good end to the day.


I don't have a whole lot to say about this park this time. We hit all the major attractions that we could. On Star Tours, Marshall was the spy, which was fun. Unfortunately, a hearty rainstorm hit halfway through the day and a lot ended up being cancelled, we only got the see the first half of the Indiana Jones show. And Fantasmic was cancelled, which was awful because that was my favorite part of 2004. On the plus side, I rode Rockin' Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror for the first time. And, we got to see Muppet Vision 3D. While everyone else was in line to get a picture with Sorcerer Mickey, I decided to walk around the general area and check out some things. They have a viewing area where you can watch people animate. It was kind of fascinating, it must be horrible to sit there and have people watch you draw. I was kind of more interested in their general work area... what CD's they had on hand, etc. Anyway, I also saw a poster for Wreck-It-Ralph, which at that time I knew nothing about, but once it was released became on of my favorite movies of that year. We ate lunch at Pizza Planet, which was interesting. Not good food, but I liked walking around and checking out the arcade games. We also rode the Backlot Tour, which didn't seem to have as much stuff this time. After everyone else watched the Beauty and the Beast show (we went on Tower of Terror at the same time), we ate dinner in this outdoor area near Fantasmic. I ate a pretty large plate of ribs and chicken. After that, the rain hit hard and we decided to leave a bit earlier than planned.


Halfway through the trip, we decided to take a day off from the parks just to swim at the resort and just relax. We decided to go to Downtown Disney as well that night. We decided to eat at Planet Hollywood, but didn't realize that our bus dropped us off at the opposite end of the park from it. We ended up discovering weird areas in Downtown Disney, like this out of the way little corridor behind the shops. Anyway, we made our way over to that end and ate. We were on the second floor I think in this little circular booth. Everyone was nice, I think they were training our waiter. The manager came over and talked to us a bit. I ordered a New York Strip which was surprisingly good. I then walked around and looked at some of the movie props. I remember seeing Forest Gump's Alabama helmet, which was pretty exciting for me. We then went walking around the shops. We went into this little candy and treats store (Candy Cauldron I think?) where I got to hear a British person refer to a cookie as a 'biscuit'. Life goal attained. We then went around to the T-Rex restaurant. I checked out the gift shop there while everyone else went into the Lego store. I walked around in there a bit as well, before we all got hopelessly separated. We reconvened at World of Disney which is pretty damn huge. I ended up getting one of my take-home souvenirs there: A DVD about the making of the Magic Kingdom. It was getting dark by that time. I seem to remember some concert or something or other taking place outside of world of Disney. We also went over to Little Miss Mix and Match or whatever its called for Mollie. I decided to walk around a little by myself. There was this little Christmas shop next to our bus pick-up that I checked out. Fun. We left there and headed back to our room. I decided to take a detour to All-Star Sports' gift shop to get that music CD that I mentioned. After that, I think we all had a late night swim which was nice.


Like Hollywood Studios, there's not much to say about this one. We saw the Lion King show, went over to see Dinosaur, and rode the Primeval Whirl. Saw a lost drunk gentleman between Africa and Asia. Ate lunch at Flame Tree. I had ribs. Checked out the Finding Nemo musical which was AWESOME. Rode the Safari. Rode Expedition Everest (Marshall decided not to ride at the last minute), Kali River Rapids. We finished by eating at Rainforest Cafe in late afternoon. I had steak. Again. Our waiter reminded me of Kevin Murphy/Greg Gaston. He was talking to us about how bad the weather had been (by this time it was raining like crazy again) and how it had never rained this much the whole time he had been in Florida. We walked around the gift shop, then went back to the room. We probably swam again that night, but I think they closed the pool because of lightening.


After Animal Kingdom, we spent another day at Magic Kingdom, they details of which are mixed in above. I think the second day we decided to take the boat over the lake to get to the entrance, which wasn't totally fun since it took so long. It felt like the last boat out of Saudi Arabia or something with everyone trying to get on. I will mention that last moments of our trip: we decided to stay and watch the fireworks again. Well, most of us did. We were hanging out in the train station building (where there are a lot of weird old timey dime movie things and other old novelty games to mess around with). Seating was at a premium, with some of us sitting on the floor. Clint and the kids decided to go back to the room, while my brother, mom, sister-in-law, and I decided to stay and watch the fireworks. While making our last melancholic walk out of the park, we were talking about the next time we stay we might be able to do more since we might all be gainfully employed (which is true now for the most part, my little brother's still in med school). I said "We might be able to stay there" while pointing at the Contemporary Resort. Until next time I suppose.


Our trip back the next day was rather uneventful. We left the resort and headed north on the interstate. We listened to my new Disney Parks music CD for part of the way. We stopped at a KFC but I can't remember which one. I think it was near the exit where you get off the interstate to go north towards Dothan. It was probably this one: 30.727994,-85.184868. Afterwards, we got some gas at the Murphy Oil next door. From there, we drove north through Montgomery. We decided to basically straight shoot this whole trip without sleeping over. We stopped at the Walmart in Calera to eat dinner at their Subway (33.146409,-86.751376). It was here while looking around at the decor at this Subway (pictures of Tomatoes, stuff like that) where I hatched a harebrained scheme to open a pizza restaurant in Florence since we don't really have a good one that is not a chain. It was going to be in the strip mall next to Rice Box and have funny sayings from the owners on the wall. It was getting late so I was getting a bit crazy. I can't remember why but my brother and his family decided to go ahead and head back to Colbert County without us since they know the way. We ended up leaving this Walmart soon after. As a funny aside, I live about 10 miles from this WM now, so it might be an interesting place to go back to. Maybe this weekend. Anyway, I watched some episodes of Star Trek: TNG on the way back to pass the time. I think the Best of Both Worlds episodes. Then, we got back to Cherokee and that's that.

It's been fun recapping this. So many good memories, and glad that they are now preserved.
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Just woke up. [12 Nov 2012|02:38pm]
Hello everyone. I've been in a coma for seven years...

Actually, the truth is probably even simpler. Life got in the way of my updating the journal like I used to do back in the day. Since the last update, I have earned two college degrees (BS and MS), wrote many a parking ticket, was a teacher for two years, and am now a salesman albeit temporarily (hopefully). I guess I always had time to update this journal, but it seemed like LJ was leaving me a bit as others started losing interest in it. Finally, I left LJ as well. Despite that, I never thought about deleting this journal. It contained so many past memories that are too priceless for a mere click to wipe away. Come to think of it, it's probably incorrect to say that I ever left LJ.

I often look back at this journal for nostalgic reasons, but it never occurred to me to actually do anything active with it until now. I always thought when I wrote here that one day I'd be able to look back at these entries and remind myself of some good times. Surprisingly, I have actually done this on the random occasion. These look-backs often fill me with joy but sometimes sadness. This afternoon I looked back at my user page and found a few old friends that I actually spent quite a bit of e-time with. However, almost all of them have all moved on. Some of them blogged long after I stopped blogging but have since ceased. Some appear to be updating semi-regularly. Several have the heart-wrenching strike-thru across their name, thus making any attempt at reconciliation impossible. One is someone who I still consider myself to be pretty close to although we don't speak to each other for 3 hours a day like we used to in the AIM days. All of this is an amalgam of past memories that are overloading my senses right now. This entry is an attempt to sort them all out.

The last time I blogged regularly was on Myspace. I gave that up in 2008. It was a pretty strange time for me. I never look at my Myspace blog because it contains the tortured memories of a boy being forced to grow up while halfway through college. It is perhaps why I gave up blogging altogether. LJ, by contrast, is filled with mostly happiness. A lot of people didn't have a good high school experience but I look on those times as nothing but positive. I feel lucky to have that to fall back on.

When I look back at this journal, I'm surprised at both how much and how little has changed. I still listen to Sigur Ros although not as much as I used to (that goes for music in general). I bought the new DMB album this year, although I have only listened to it once. I thought it was good, I'm just not as much of a music geek as I used to be. I still listen to U2, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles. I still watch MST3K when I can. Speaking of which, I still haven't watched any of the last four MST3K box sets (which I have) and am planning on starting the Gamera set tonight. I still like movies meant for someone half my age. I've never been more entertained by Addams Family Values than I was a few weeks ago. I could have done another epic blog on Disney World (see June or July 2004) since my family was there again this year. I've been to the beach several more times.

However, some stuff has changed. I've picked up an obsession with Tom Waits. I'm more geeky about film than music these days. My DVD collection is growing at a rate that is difficult to even keep up with. I don't play guitar as much though I still have the equipment and skills. I'm lucky enough to have made dozens of new friends. I moved away from home for a while. I just got a new car. Remember my 2004 Mustang I got brand new for a high school graduation present? Sold it last month and got a Civic. Loving the gas mileage so far. I will miss the Mustang but it was time to move on as eventually happens with most things in life. Oddly enough, I haven't been to Gatlinburg with my family since 2003 (see blog entry on that... July? can't remember). However, I went there with a school trip for one night in 2009.

Anyway, it's time to wrap this thing up for now. Doing this makes me feel a little better about everything. One second ago, I thought about just deleting this text and leaving this journal be. However, I have decided to let it go through and stand as a tribute. I hope that somebody out there will read this. I'd be happy to know that you did!

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I'm back, I'm back, I'm back! [24 Jan 2005|08:44pm]
[ mood | busy ]

Ok, I had a nice little break from LJ/Xanga... and now I'm ready to return. Next time I decide to leave for so long... just... slap me or something.

Prom is coming up fast, and I still have no date. I'd rather just not go, really.

Last Friday all us honor roll students got to take a field trip to the mall. Me & Jessie spent nearly 3 hours just walking around doing nothing in particular. It was fun as hell though. I hadn't been in there for forever. They have carpeted the floor and I don't know why. That's just a no-no for a mall. I feel sorry for the guy that has to scrub that floor when someone spills something.

Friday night was spent at my friend Josh's concert. Luckily a whole crowd of Cherokee-ans was there with me so we all had a romping good time. There were a few bands there that I liked. I never understood that hardcore stuff mahself, but whatcha gonna do. Some guys came in the venue and started stiring shit up which was rediculous. We got some peace and quiet by walking through downtown Sheffield at night. Why didn't we get jumped? I will forever ask myself that question. I had to leave somewhat early and didn't get to see Josh's band play. I heard his performance was very interesting. lol.

Until I think of something else... lata. Oh, now I can pimp the John Lennon icon I acquired a few months ago. Yee.

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Erica's not on, and I have to tell this to someone... [28 Nov 2004|10:53pm]
[ mood | confused ]

Uh ok, so I was watching this movie today... one that I've been watching ever since I was a little kid around the age of 8. It was on TV, and I hadn't seen it in years. (Addams Family Values, for those of you who care) It made me very nostalgic. But not the good kind of nostalgia where you're just thinking back to your past and remembering events that took place so long ago, but the bad kind where you wish things were the way they used to be. When you saw the world in a much different way, and had fewer worries. It's kind've freaking me out right now. I don't know what to think. It's probably just the cold medicine working it's magic, or the cold itself since it's sqeezing the breath out of my eternal soul. In any case though, here are some song lyrics that capture almost exactly what I'm feeling right now. These should be very familiar to you Beatles fans out there, and I know there are a few of you on my friends list. Also, for the people who have been my friend online for the past few years (because nobody I know personally reads this journal), these go out to you as well. Thanks for being here with me for so long and I'm glad that I've stayed in contact with all of you.

In My Life

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

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Good evening, again. [27 Nov 2004|08:33pm]
[ mood | tired ]

I figure it's time for a mass update since it's been a while... a few major things have happened.

First of all, I was given the honor of being an attendant at our coronation a few Fridays back. It went pretty smoothly. I felt like a rock star up there in a tux, and I got plenty of nice complements though they probably didn't mean them all that much. :D In any case, it was a great experience and I hope I can do something like that again before school's out. Shortly before that I learned that I have a D in English that absolutely HAS to be brought up. But I turned a 0 test grade into an 82 this week so that should bring me up some I think.

A few weeks ago my parents surprised me with a shiny new red Mustang. :) It's my early graduation present. I've finally gotten used to handling it. Maybe I'll post a pic of it sometime.

Thanksgiving went alright... all this food is making me sick though. I feel a stomach ache coming on.

Oh, and U2's new album "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" came out this week. Very special, since they average one every four years. But it's superb and I recommend it. It's one that you just can't stop listening to unless you happen to have Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" by your side, which can cause you to take breaks from it.

By the way, those of you who have protected entries, I'm having trouble staying logged-in on LiveJournal. I haven't been able to read what you post but I'm trying to fix it. <3

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You gotta promise not to say anything... [28 Oct 2004|09:23pm]
[ mood | tired ]

Hello again. Finally got up the strength to post a new entry. Go me!

GTA:San Andreas finally came in the mail today. It was terribly late, but it's great anyway. Since we're just gonna be working on homecoming at school tomorrow I'm just gonna stay up a few extra hours to play it.

What's happened to me in the past few weeks, you ask? Absolutely nothing.

Hm.. I've been losing sleep like a mofo. I stayed out school yesterday, and even then I didn't sleep for more than 6 or 7 hours. I've been doing well in my first 2 blocks, but I've been seriously slacking in Anatomy and English. I absolutely lucked out on my anatomy test today. Made a 64. I should've made a 30, because I only knew %30 of it. But that's our school system for yah. Big thanks to Mrs. Whisenant for going over every test question each Friday (or in this case, Thursday).

Homecoming tomorrow. Wooooo. Let's get a win!


I promise I'll update more. Hah, I've been saying that alot though.

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Cousin's b-day, ect. [02 Oct 2004|10:55pm]
[ mood | peaceful ]

Wow, it's been a week since I wrote on here. Better late than never.

I spent the day in Birmingham with my cousins. I had a good time. I was in a peppy mood anyway, I think I could've gotten my hand chopped off during the trip and still would've been in a good mood. Oh, and I ran into my fourth grade teacher in the Galleria, which was very strange.

Most of this week was alright. There was alot of confusion, alot of questioning, alot of self-discovery, ect. Not all of it pleasant. Friday was amazing for its own reasons.

Sorry about the lack of detail in this post. I'm usually not talkative when I'm typing. Heh. I don't remember alot of this week, since I've been sort've distracted. I hope there is a new beginning for me ahead next week. Time will tell. Sit tight, kids.

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The new LJ update layout is cool... [25 Sep 2004|12:27am]
[ mood | cranky ]

Went and saw the ole' Cherokee ball squad play today at Central High. I am not even going to tell you the outcome. You know what it is. It was cool just hanging around. Josh and his woman were there, so it was three times the fun it usually is. I rode up there with Ross, and he's probably still driving on the Trace at night trying to find his way back home. Hahahaha. That's funny. He's gonna starve to death out there.

I'm freakin' tired. Thank god it's Friday. I wanted to go to Big Spring Jam tomorrow and see The Wailers again, but no can do. Oh well. It will be a good weekend anyway. hopefully.


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Shame shame. [21 Sep 2004|08:30pm]
[ mood | sleepy ]

Shame on me for neglecting my LJ so much. This thing definately needs more attention...

The break we got because of the hurricane went by pretty fastly. Thursday it stormed. Friday and Saturday were both beautiful days though. I had alot of good "alone time" though. Yeap, I wasted my days.

One word to describe this week - BORIN'! BORIN' BORIN' BORIN'! We haven't really been able to do much in school because of the graduation exam, and I'd rather be occupied than just be sitting there. But oh well.

Me and my friends need to go do something sometime. I realized that I haven't talked to Ty in I don't know how many ot days. Damned scattered schedules.

Those are today's random thoughts. Have a good week everybody.

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don't you... [15 Sep 2004|03:20pm]
[ mood | cranky ]

We're out of school for the rest of the week! YAY!

A hurricane's a-comin' though. I bet it knocks out all our power.

I've been tired as hell all week. Now I'll FINALLY be able to get some sleep. That is, unless storms keep me awake. I've got all this free time now but nothing to do with it. Maybe I'll write some songs, or I could finally start playing Final Fantasy X again. On second thought, I'll probably spend all my time on this thing.

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I've got something to say. [11 Sep 2004|05:02pm]
[ mood | content ]

Yesterday was good. We got beat by Lexington and that sucks. I really thought that we'd win that one. Everything else was nice, however.

I got a new DMB concert yesterday. (12/31/95) Most of the encore wasn't included, but it was a long show. I still haven't listened to it (except for the first parts of the songs). It has a very good sound quality though. It could be right off the soundboard, but who knows.

I met my brother's new girlfriend (at least, I think she's his girlfriend) today. She's very nice looking, and it seems like she has a nice attitude as well, so she might be good for him.

Have a good weekend, everyone. *I've finally gotten to the lazy stage where I post the same thing that's on my xanga in my LJ :P*

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Holy joe. [08 Sep 2004|08:57pm]
[ mood | bored ]

How come nobody wants to talk to me online? I think I'm a fairly interesting guy. Hah. Oh well. I guess I'm on my own for tonight.

Today was very tiring. The field "trip" we took to Shoals today only lasted about 3 hours and took my easiest class (Art) with it. I walked around for a little while with some friends, talked to some of the college reps there, basically just burned time. I got my bag's worth of goodies so it wasn't a total loss.

would someone donate some good mood? please place your offerings into this bucket - \_/

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That was so real. Yeap. [04 Sep 2004|11:40pm]
[ mood | cheerful ]

We got rained on at the football game Friday. Badly. It nearly broke my spirit. And also, I'm starting to slip away in Anatomy. I've gotten two 63's on tests so far. Everyone else is doing fine. Why can't I get all that stuff in there? PAH. I'll be well rested this week, I assure you.

Yet another family reunion today. This time it took place in the sticks. LONG way from civilization. We must've drove 15 miles without even spotting a gas station. There was alot of close family there that I could hide with, at least. I find it hard to get on with deep country folk. I mean, what DO we have in common?

'Bama's looking good for this season. Maybe they can actually have a POSITIVE record this year. ;)

Sorry for the lack of updates.

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Hm yeap. [01 Sep 2004|11:34pm]
[ mood | contemplative ]

School has become less stressful than it was last week, and my brother allowed me to copy some of his CD's that I'm utterly nostalgic about. So that keeps a smile on my face. However, we were supposed to have read the prologue to The Canterbury Tales over these past few days, and guess what? I didn't do it. BAH! I'm such a lazy bum. I need to pick it up, losing pace this early in the semester is not a good thing.

Here's a thought, maybe I shouldn't stay up until 11:30.

Everyone knows that this week has been the RNC. I, one of the only liberals in my class, happen to also be one of the only ones to keep up with the events of the past few days. Though, still, it sparked a political debate in Art class today. I believe I heard the sentence "If I could, I'd vote 10,000 times for Bush." :P Pass the Pepto, please. I don't know how I'm gonna break it to Jenna that the whole Tides Foundation thing was just a bunch of hoop-la. She's a friend of mine, and I don't want her to think that I'm critical of her. Really, the only thing I'm critical about is our news outlets. Double-check everything, I say.

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Many subtle sounds... [29 Aug 2004|01:02pm]
[ mood | busy ]

I went to the Waldrep/Lauderdale family reunion yesterday (because I'm half Waldrep. Woo!) They gave out a little newsletter thing to everyone, and it had a section telling the history of various last names associated with the Waldreps/Lauderdales. I found this about my last name:

Turberville- English (and claimed by the Scot) First found in 1066 AD in Breconshire, England where they were granted land by William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings.

I got William the Conqueror on my side, bitch. Here's the history of the Waldreps:

Waldrep- Scottish in origin. Originally spelled Waldrope and means "keeper of the wardrobe". The Waldreopes' kept the Kings' wardrobe and selected his attire in Scotland and England. First found in Scotland where Robert de Warderob witnessed a charter by Countess Margaret of Buchan in 1210. Joseph Wardrope immigrated to Georgia in 1734. It is believed that Michael Wardrope decends from this line.

We dressed up the king! I guess we were the "fab five" of medieval times.

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So anyway... [24 Aug 2004|07:53pm]
[ mood | chipper ]

You know what I found kinda strange today? I was watching the Weather Channel today (to get the 411 on the thunder I was hearing outside), and all of the sudden, "You Enjoy Myself" (Phish) starts blasting as they were scrolling through the weather reports. I was like... hmmm cool. Makes me wanna listen to Phish again, but I'm fasting on them until I can finally get "Undermind." (hopefully this weekend).

Today was nice I guess. A day for kicking back. We were supposed to go out and paint the cheerleading stand today in Art but it started raining. Figures. But I got my Pen & Ink drawing done, so I can't complain much. Not a day after we finish presenting our last essays we get assigned another one. 3 fucking essays in the first few weeks of school! It's insane, crazy, rediculous, unnecessary, daft, loco, amongst other things. Oh well.

There is supposed a bonfire tonight for the football game. Who would want to sit around and watch a fire burn? Me, that's who! Hm... I like a cozy campfire as much as anyone, but I don't know what a huge fire like that does for spirit. They have their secrets I guess. ;)

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A short trip. [22 Aug 2004|04:38pm]
[ mood | irritated ]

My family and I (including my grandparents) all took a small trip today. We went to see my grandmother's old house on Cove Rd., which is still standing somewhat. I wanted to go in because it looked like there was some stuff in there, but alas, I knew my grandmother would royally freak out. We also stopped by at the cemetary at Mhoontown for a reason I don't really know. I like walking through cemetaries. Alot of thinking time. We also stopped by a few of the recreational areas on the Tennessee River. Again, I don't know why we did that.

It was good fun though. Interesting. Here's hoping for a good week.

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Uhhhhggg. [20 Aug 2004|10:33pm]
[ mood | tired ]

Cherokee lost their first football game of the season today. Well, it didn't really count, but I dunno if the rest of the season will be any better. Looks like I'll be doing alot of walking around this season. I need the exercise anyway.

Right now, I'm very tired, sick, and confused. I need a damn girlfriend.

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We barely remember... [18 Aug 2004|06:34pm]
[ mood | worried ]

It's official. Ross, Chris, and me are screwed. Our group essay is due Friday, and we don't even have a single paragraph down yet. Please be with us. Maybe Ms. Floyd will cut us some slack since we switched topics today.

Over half of the week is over. I don't know what I'm waiting for though.

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