Crazy Random Happenstance

Billy: So good... Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
Penny: I love it!
Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance!
-Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Friday, September 30, 2011

Francie Doesn't Like Coffee Ice Cream...

"My name is Sydney Bristow, 7 years ago I was recruited by a secret branch of the CIA called SD-6. I was sworn to secrecy, but I couldn't keep it from my fiance. And when the head of SD-6 found out, he had him killed. That's when I found out the truth. SD-6 is not part of the CIA. I was working for the very people I thought I was working against. So I went to the only place that could help me bring them down. Now, I'm a double agent for the CIA, where my handler is a man named Michael Vaughn. Only one other person knows the truth about what I do, another double agent inside SD-6, someone I hardly know. My father."

****It should be obvious already, but there are going to be spoilers riddled throughout this post about various episodes in the series. I know Alias has been over for a long time now, but should anyone ever decide to start watching it on DVD (AND I SUGGEST YOU DO), it would devastate me if I were the one to ruin all the fun surprises for you. Think about it.****

10 years ago, on September 30th, 2001, my most favorite show ever premiered: Alias. As stated above (which is in the opening sequence before every episode during season 1), it was about a young girl named Sydney Bristow, (played by the wonderful Jennifer Garner) who is a graduate student by day and a CIA operative by night. She believes she is working for the good guys but in fact, finds out she is working for 1 of 12 (known as The Alliance of 12) crime organizations called SD-6. The show was J.J. Abrams creation and the idea for it actually came to him when he envisioned Felicity (yes, that Felicity) as a CIA agent/college student. The first episode of the series, Truth Be Told is the best pilot episode for any show I have ever seen (The Lost and Walking Dead pilots are a close 2nd and 3rd). No other show has ever had me so completely enthralled from the get go. I loved Sydney, I loved the missions and I loved watching the story unfold. It was quite literally like watching a mini movie. The pilot executed the way that the series would play out so well, that I couldn't wait to see her take down SD-6. Most pilots usually leave you kind of flat, bored, somewhat intrigued or just plain disappointed. This one had me ecstatic. 

Now, I should back up a bit... when Alias first aired, I knew of it but hadn't seen a full episode. I would catch bits and pieces here and there and they always made me curious but I wanted to start the series from the beginning. As it turned out, the first episode I ended up watching in it's entirety was entitled Phase One and it aired after the Super Bowl that year. I was utterly riveted from the get go. I had no idea what was going on in it at the time but was absolutely mesmerized by how kick ass Jennifer Garner was and how the entire episode felt like we were watching a movie. Jeff and I were both ridiculously impressed and almost giddy with how great we thought it was. We went out and bought season 1 as soon as it was available on DVD, enlisted Carrie to watch it with us and the 3 of us became completely consumed by it. We would watch 3, sometimes 4 episodes at a time and couldn't wait until we were all caught up. When we eventually did catch up, it was like Christmas morning every time a new episode aired. I was, in a word: obsessed. 

The show wasn't just about missions and wigs. One of the things that made it so great was watching the relationships between Sydney and all the other characters unfold. Her father, Jack (played by the amazingly talented Victor Garber) wasn't around much while she was growing up,  so there was a lot of tension between the two of them. The more they learned about each other, the more you could see how much they loved one another. Watching their bond grow with every season was heartwarming... which is a weird word to use when you are watching a show about killing and taking down terrorist organizations. It's obvious from the start that Sydney's handler, Michael Vaughn (played by the oh so handsome, Michael Vartan) is intrigued by her as soon as she tells him her story. The way he would look at her made viewers long for them to be together. They had wonderful chemistry and it was such a joy watching them work with each other on missions. The always fun Greg Grunberg played Vaughn's best friend, Eric Weiss. He also worked for the CIA and in addition to providing laughter and smiles, he ended up  becoming a really great friend to Syd.  Not only was Arvin Sloane the boss at SD-6, he was also Jack Bristow's longtime "frienemy". You never knew if he was good or evil and that made watching the episodes so much fun. Ron Rifkin was so subtle at being the bad guy and that made his performance all the more powerful. Every show has to have some comic relief and Alias had Marshall Flinkman. Kevin Weisman was so fantastic at playing the SD-6 tech guy that you couldn't help but love him. He created super swank, super smart gadgets for the operatives to take on missions with them. He brought a lighthearted element to the show and you couldn't help but find him lovable. Sydney also had a partner at SD-6, named Marcus Dixon (Carl Lumbly), who would assist her on all of their missions. He was a good friend to her and had no idea that he was A) working for the bad guys or B) that Syd was a double agent. Their relationship was interesting to watch because you could tell how heartbreaking it was for Sydney to lie to him. To balance out her secret life, Syd had friends at home who believed that she worked for a bank. Will Tippin (played by Bradley Cooper long before he was in The Hangover), was a newspaper reporter who harbored a secret crush on her. He was always around when she needed someone to talk to, as well as her roommate Francie Calfo (Merrin Dungey). She never had any idea what Syd's actual profession was and ended up paying the price because of it. 

There was a mythology interlaced throughout the series as well. Arvin Sloane, as well as Irina Derevko (who was Syd's mom and Jack's former wife, played by Lena Olin) were constantly in search of the devices made by a 14th century prophet, by the name of Milo Rambaldi. His inventions were capable of cloning and immortality (to name a few) and various crime organizations were in desperate want of them. He created a watermark which was used on all of his documents, known as the "Eye of Rambaldi" (I always kind of wanted a tattoo of that symbol but have been too chicken to get it done).  In addition to Rambaldi, the number 47 appears sporadically throughout the series. If you pay close attention, you'll notice it on doors, codes, hotel rooms or the amount of people they are referring to. It became a game to look for 47  in every episode and I would squeal with delight every time I saw one. As far as I know, it appears in Abrams other series, Fringe as well. 

The show had a slew of really great recurring guest stars throughout the series, but none more memorable than David Anders, Julian Sark. His loyalties were flexible and he almost always sided with the bad guys (Sloane and Irina, to be more specific). He was witty and smart (and handsome!) and a wonderful villain to watch. Anders brought so much to the role that the fans were always begging to see more of Mr. Sark. Christian Slater had a 2 episode arc as a workaholic mathematician, named Neil Caplan, held captive by Sloane and Irina. Quentin Tarantino guest starred over a 2 part episode in season 1, as the former SD-6 employee, McKennas Cole, who takes the entire office hostage (he appears briefly in 1 episode of season 3 as well). Ricky Gervais appeared in the season 3 episode entitled, Facade, as a former bomb expert and before there was Locke, Terry O'Quinn guest starred as Kendall, throughout most of season 2, (as the director of the CIA section that kept Irina Derevko under lock and key). Sydney also had a nemesis in Anna Espinosa (played by Gina Torres) who worked for K-directorate and appeared every now and then to cause trouble for her. Not to mention the likes of, Jason Segel (before How I met Your Mother fame), Peter berg, Tobin Bell, Faye Dunaway, Rutger Hauer, Sir Roger Moore and Justin Thereoux (just to name a few).

The relationships, missions, intriguing storytelling, really cool wardrobe and  visually compelling backdrops, combined with a fantastic score (done by the brilliant Michael Giacchino), made for one phenomenally entertaining show.

Alias was never considered a "hit" but had lots of critical buzz that surrounded it and an extremely loyal cult following. I was pretty devastated when it ended in 2006 (after 5 seasons) and I remember almost calling in to work the day after the final episode aired because I was such a mess. I loved seeing those characters every week and trying to figure out where the story was going to go next. It wasn't perfect all the time by any means but I adored it nonetheless. I loved seeing Jennifer Garner as a kick ass agent, loved seeing Victor Garber as "Spy Daddy" and I absolutely loved hearing that theme song every week. To this day, I have yet to find a show that makes me as happy as Alias did. There have been a few other series that were able to somewhat fill the void (Lost, Chuck) but they never came close to being as epic as Alias was for me. It made me think, made me ask questions and made me fall in love with storylines every week and I am thankful for that. It was like trying to figure out a puzzle every season. 

My Top 5 Favorite Episodes:

1.) Truth Be Told- The Pilot/Season 1:
Sydney's fiance, Danny is killed when SD-6 finds out that she revealed to him that she is a spy. She then realizes that she's working for the bad guys and that her father is a CIA agent (she thought he made airplane parts). Syd ends up going to the real CIA for help and begins her life as a double agent. Everything about this episode was perfection. I have seen it countless times and will continue to rewatch it over and over again. Simply put, it is fantastic and my very favorite episode of any show.  Ever.

2.) Almost Thirty Years- Season 1 Finale:
In order to get Will back from Sark and "Suit and Glasses", Syd must steal Page 47 from an underwater SD-6 vault to make a trade. Dixon catches her and although she tries to explain that she isn't betraying her country, he walks away disappointed. The episode ends with Vaughn trapped under water, unable to escape and with Syd's mom (who she hasn't seen in almost 30 years) revealing herself as "The Man".

3.) Phase One- Season 2:
This is the episode that started it all for me, so it holds a special place in my heart. Sydney and the CIA are finally able to take down SD-6 and the Alliance of 12 simultaneously. Syd and Vaughn share a kiss and all the fans who had been begging for them to finally be together, celebrated! The episode ends with a shot of  Doppelganger Francie (evil Francie) talking to Sark, saying "the job is done". The camera pans over to the floor where the "real" Francie is lying dead, with a bullet hole in her head. 

4.) The Telling- Season 2 Finale: 
This episode contains one of the best fights in the history of TV, which takes place between Sydney and Evil Francie. After half a season of being completely oblivious to the fact that Francie hasn't been acting herself, Will and Syd both discover that the girl they thought was their friend, is actually Allison Doren, aka: a doppelganger, aka: Evil Francie. It also contains one of my favorite lines of the series; "Francie doesn't like coffee ice cream". The episode ends with Sydney waking up in an alley, in Hong Kong. She calls the CIA and they send Vaughn in to talk to her. She notices that he's wearing a wedding ring, as he explains to her that she's been missing for almost 2 years. S H O C K I N G.

5.) There's Only One Sydney Bristow- Season 5/100th Episode:
Anna Espinosa returns, after Peyton (Amy Acker) breaks her out of prison and offers her a job with the criminal organization known as Prophet 5. They decide the best way to get to Sydney is through her friends, so Anna abducts Will and plants a bomb in his brain. Prophet 5 ends up stealing Sydney's DNA, so they can turn Anna into her doppelganger. Mostly I just love this episode for the clip below:

Honorable mentions: Remnants- Season 3, it had the long awaited return of Will Tippin. Mirage- Season 4, Jack is sick and in order to find the only doctor that can cure him, Syd has to pretend to be her mother. It was haunting and heartbreaking all at once. Bob- Season 5, Rachel goes undercover and runs into Sark. Neither of them knows who the other is. I pick this episode simply because it is a very heavy Sark related episode. 

So, to end this extremely long blog post (and I will, I promise. Even though I could literally go on and on), Happy 10 Year Anniversary to J.J. Abrams and crew! Thanks for bringing to life my most favorite show in the whole world. I will always be in awe of your talent for being able to show viewers how entertaining the spy world and personal/family/work relationships can be. You will forever be a genius in my eyes for creating the character of Sydney Bristow. Also a huge thank you to all the actors who played those parts for so long, especially Jennifer Garner. No one comes close to her in my eyes.

Now, i'm going to go watch Season 1 for the 47th time! < O >

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Dilemma, A Couple Reviews and Channeling our "Inner Kelly Taylor"

I have a TV dilemma of sorts this evening. Not really a dilemma anymore, as I have decided what I am going to do BUT it was a dilemma nonetheless. I'm talking about Dancing With The Stars (ABC 8pm-10pm) being on at the same time as The Sing-Off (NBC 8pm-10pm). Ben Folds and lots of insanely talented singers VS. an out of control DWTS cast. What to watch and what to DVR? I know the anticipation is killing you, so I will just tell you: I'm going to watch Dancing With The Stars live, while the DVR records my precious Ben Folds for me. Why? Because Carrie will be watching DWTS live and we must text each other while it's on. We MUST. Anyway, I am looking forward to both of these shows, especially The Sing-Off, not only because I get to see Mr. Folds on my TV every week but I am really looking forward to seeing Sara Bareilles (taking over for Nicole Scherzinger, who is now on the X Factor) as a judge. The show is usually on at Christmas time but they've decided to premiere it in the Fall. You should check it out, if you have never seen it. Some seriously talented people on this show. It's very entertaining, I promise.

Also, Castle kicks off its new season this evening on ABC at 10pm. Welcome back, Nathan Fillion! I sure hope Beckett's wardrobe gets better this season... but then again, I kind of enjoy making fun of all her really awful outfits.

Who watched the Emmy's last night? I did and I really enjoyed them. Reading all the reviews of the awards today, I would say that I am definitely in the minority on that one. Honestly though, I think I enjoyed it so much because almost everyone I wanted to win, won and that is always fun. I thought Jane Lynch did a good job and I didn't get bored until they started talking about all the TV movies and mini-series that I have never heard of. The fact that Peter Dinklage won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones was reason enough for me to love the awards ceremony. I never used to like Dinklage. In all the other things I had ever seen him in (Elf, Nip/Tuck), he always drove me nuts, so I was bummed when I saw he was going to be on GOT. As the season went on though, he blew me away and his character quickly became one of my favorites. He really is a fantastic actor and it doesn't hurt that he was cast in a role that was absolutely perfect for him. Finally, WOO freaking HOO for Modern Family. I love this little comedy so much and to see it get some well deserved recognition makes me so very happy! Jane Lynch said it best when she said "Welcome back to the Modern Family awards!" They went 5 for 5 with Julie Bowen winning for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Ty Burrell for Best Supporting Male. The writers won a couple and then the entire cast and crew won for Best Comedy Series. This show is consistently hilarious and heartwarming and every person on it shines at one time or another. Seriously, if you have yet to get on the Modern Family train, hop on and see what all the fuss is about. And then tell me how right I am. I really enjoy being right!

Last week, Jeff and I watched the pilot episode for Up All Night, starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. It's a half hour comedy about a married couple dealing with the "newness" of being first time parents. Maya Rudolph is in it as well and plays an Oprah-type character. It's not a show devoted to the dealings of the baby itself, in fact, the baby is barely in it. It's moreso about how they re-adjust to everyday life. I really enjoyed this first episode. It's very easy to relate to and if i'm being honest, I think it's making me have a small crush on Will Arnett. He makes me laugh and I hope it ends up being picked up.

We also watched the Season 3 premiere of The Vampire Diaries (CW, Thursdays @ 8pm). Loved it. Love seeing Stefan as a "bad guy" and well, I just love seeing Damon Salvatore back on my TV.

The Secret Circle (CW, Thursdays @ 9pm) premiered right after Vampire Diaries. I've talked about this show before, just mentioning that I had read the books (by L.J. Smith) and that they were turning it into a TV show. The show is pretty much nothing like the books (so far) but I will stick with it for now and see how they interpret the story. Kevin Williamson is behind the creation of it and I have total faith in him. We'll see if he changes my opinion of him as the season progresses.

Oh! Since I wasn't really able to comment a whole lot on the True Blood finale in my last post, here are a few quick thoughts:


* Sookie found her inner Kelly Taylor and picked herself over Bill, Eric and Alcide.
* Alcide abjured Debbie Pelt. (Straight out of the book. LOVED it!)
* Steve Newlin's a vamp!
* Jason Stackhouse. There is no specific reason for mentioning him, I just really, really love him.
* Russell Edgington is free! ("Are you SERIOUS?!") Hahaha
* Bye bye, Debbie Pelt.
* And finally... last but not least and the reason I danced a jig at the end of the episode (literally, I jumped up off the couch and started dancing in the middle of my living room floor), TARA WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD by a shotgun blast that was meant for Sookie. Thanks, Debbie! No one can say you were good for nothing now!

Zooey Deschanel's New Girl premiere's tomorrow night on Fox @ 9pm!

Oh... and Glee's 3rd season premiere's tomorrow night as well. Ehhhh. (Note my lack of enthusiasm there)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Off to Neverland!

Last year, when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Florida, Jeff promised me that we could go. I was ecstatic. So, come January, I started doing some hardcore research on hotels, condos, parks and prices and we decided to do both Disney and Islands of Adventure. We invited my Mom to come along (because she loves Disney), couldn't convince my Dad to go (because he hates Disney) and asked my Sister, Natalie (it would be her first "real" vacation) to join us. First things first, we decided we were going to drive down and make a road trip out of it (Mom and Nat flew down). We also made the decision not to tell Charley about it. At first, I was going to tell him on his Birthday in May, but then we figured why not just wait and completely surprise him? I figured it would cut down on the "are we at Disney World yet?!?!" every 5 seconds in the car. He knew we were going on a road trip and that we would be staying in hotels, so he was very excited just to be away from our normal routine for the day. He was also incredibly fantastic in the car and only got whiny on the final day, right before we arrived home.

A few Scott Family Road Trip Extras:
- The nicest hotel we stayed in was Richmond, Kentucky (Jeff's homeland, of course).
-We were all sick of Georgia. So much so, that Charley was yelling "I just want to get out of Georgia!"
-Gas prices are way cheaper down south.
-Rest stops should all have ice machines.
-Each state should have a billboard of radio stations as you enter it. Yeah, we had our ipod but it was fun listening to the local stations as we went through each state. Country stations, to be more specific (as per Jeff's request and he was the driver so he had control.)

We were able to keep our destination a secret, right up until we saw the "Welcome to Walt Disney World" sign, welcoming us into the resort. C got real quiet as he figured out where we were and then got a huge smile on his face. When we pulled into the resort (the All Star Movies Hotel), we told him that someone would be meeting us to show us around the hotel (meaning my mom and sister). His whole face lit up when he saw them but he was still trying to process everything. As we walked through the giant statues from Toy Story and he was taking everything in, he started to get very excited. I'm really happy we planned it as a surprise. It was so much fun and so worth it just to see his face when I was explaining to him all the things we would be seeing/doing in the week to come (the picture on the side there, is me telling him about the parks and all the Star Wars stuff we'd be seeing). Anyway, a great time was had by all. It was an exhausting, fun time and it went by in a total blur but we have lots of fun stories to tell from it and Charley said I "made his dreams come true" and asked why we couldn't go to Disney World all the time.

Here is just a quick list of the things I really love and really dislike about Disney World.

The good:

- The bus transportation. If you stay onsite (at one of the Disney hotels), they provide you with free transportation to and from every single park (including Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), as well as Downtown Disney. There are designated lines in front of each hotel, for each destination and then people line up accordingly. This was so convenient, especially on the days we were dead tired. I loved not having to worry about parking and all that nonsense.

- They know how to decorate/design. At least our hotel did. Paying tribute to five different Disney movies (Toy Story, 101 Dalmatians, Fantasia, The Love Bug and The Mighty Ducks), we were all in awe of the statues and attention to detail that they put into each section, right down to the Mighty Ducks pool looking like a hockey rink. The Magic Kingdom was decorated for fall and Halloween with Mickey Mouse pumpkins on all the lamp posts. It was just magical and fun.

- Speaking of magical, it really is "the most magical place on earth". If you love even the tiniest thing about Disney, they find a way to pay tribute to it. They can turn your kids into pirates for the day or transform them into a princess and even train them to become a Jedi at Hollywood Studios. Their tagline is "Making dreams come true" and I totally believe them. They also have something called a Photo Pass. In every park, there are designated "photo spots" and they have photographers there who will take your picture for free (say, in front of Cinderella's Castle) and then you can go online and purchase them. It's a fun way of having everyone in the picture... the downside is it's not so cheap to buy them off the website. The photographers will also use your camera to take the picture and I thought that was really cool (see side photo).

- The people who perform in the shows or operate the rides truly appear to love their jobs. Some of those people have to dance in the same parade every single day, in the blistering heat and they do it with a smile on their face. A ton of work is put into entertaining the huge masses of people who visit the parks every day and that blows my mind. I love that so much thought, energy and creativity is put into showing people a good time.

-There is no shortage of souvenir's. This is both a good and a bad thing. The good for now... They have so much stuff that you can't get anywhere else... From all the Disney characters dressed as Star Wars guys, to Indiana Jones, to every kind of Mr. Potato Head part you could think of, they have it. They have the widest variety of cups and coffee mugs (you know I heart my cups/mugs) that I have ever seen. Even if you can't afford to spend the $20 on the R2-D2 Mickey Mouse ears, it's fun just to try it on and see that it exists.

-It takes you away from reality for a few hours, a few days at a time and really, we could all use that every once in awhile.

The bad:

- If you stay onsite, they pretty much make it impossible for you to get food, medicine, milk etc. anywhere other than the hotel store/cafeteria. My mom needed Benadryl and they didn't have any in the store. When we asked where the closest drugstore was, it was miles away. Our only option was to have it delivered to the hotel from the store, for a delivery fee, plus the cost of the medicine. Annoying. Also annoying that a half gallon of milk is $3.50.

- Food prices in the food courts and restaurants are insane. The main thing I worried about the entire time we were there was "how much is THIS meal going to cost?" On average, we probably spent $40-$50 each meal (except for breakfast. Breakfast was cereal in the hotel room). Most of the time the food wasn't even worth the price (although Planet Hollywood makes a damn good cheeseburger). The hotel offers a $15 cup (it's a smaller type travel mug) that you can purchase and then get unlimited refills on all beverages (not alcohol) for the duration of your stay. Needless to say, we got drinks even when we weren't thirsty just because it was available. While we were at Islands of Adventure, I told C that I would buy him ice cream if he went on the Dr. Seuss Trolley with me (I would have bought him some anyway but a little bribery never hurt anyone). He did and when we got back to the hotel, I bought him a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream on a stick. Here, it would have cost $1... In Disney, it cost $4. That made me so angry. I can't tell if the meal plan would have saved us money or not. The only difference I see with it, is that at least our food would have been prepaid. Really though, if you plan on going to Disney, don't just save money for souvenir's, save money for food too. (Also, the workers in the food court at the hotel were total holes and that was a real downer).

- Again, there is no shortage of souvenir's and this is awesome if you have buckets of money to drop on every single $40 Mickey Mouse t-shirt or $10 keychain but these prices are definitely not convenient for the family on a budget (which we happen to be). They sold balloons for $15 that we saw tons of people purchase. Sure, they were cool balloons but paying almost $20 for a balloon that will most likely be on the floor, deflated 24 hours later is crazy to me. I can't justify that. Call me a Grinch if you will. I am OK with it.

With all that being said, if you ever think our economy is doing poorly, just go to Disney World. The amount of people that visit these parks on any given day astounds me. They come from all over the world too. ALLLL over and that is a pretty cool thing to see.

As far as Islands of Adventure goes, I loved everything about it (other than it raining on the day we went, but that isn't their fault, haha). My only minor complaint is that we had no luck meeting any of the Super Heroes and that could have just been bad timing on our part. When we took Charley to meet Spider-Man (who was inside a room, inside of a store), they took him away because it was raining outside. On us. In the words of the cute British girl in line behind me, "but he's inside, isn't he??" So Spider-Man was a bust. When C saw Captain America, he was so excited to meet him and they said he couldn't take anymore pictures. Captain America ran away, even though Charley was the next person in line. That made me so upset that I had to walk away and fight off crying. Aunt Natalie saved the day though and took him to buy a Captain America toy in the souvenir shop. Again, bad timing on our part, I guess.

And finally, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We saved it for last. 1.) In hopes that it would be less busy in the afternoon and 2.) You always save the best for last, don't you? I needed to prepare myself for it. Not that I thought that it would disappoint me but just the fact that this is years in the making. Getting to see the shops and school that once only existed on paper was a huge deal to me. When we walked up to it, I stood outside the entrance for a few minutes collecting myself. I had tears in my eyes and chills from seeing everything so awesomely decorated. The train took my breath away, as well as the castle. Everything looked just as it did in the movies and in my imagination. The structures and buildings were done so magnificently, I was in complete awe. The shops themselves are pretty tiny, so it's difficult to browse casually but they are amazing. The displays in the windows of chocolate frogs and quidditch supplies brought a huge smile to my face. Everything is so well done. At one point, they had a choir dressed in Hogwarts robes, perform songs (from the movies) while holding singing frogs. The Butterbeer is delicious and is a cross between cream soda and a shortbread cookie (Nat and I had it frozen, which was awesome). Moaning Myrtle talks over the speakers when you go into the bathrooms and the rides were awesome. Buckbeak's flight is fast and takes you through part of Hagrid's pumpkin patch. The Forbidden Journey is the ride that goes through the castle. It is out of this world amazing and easily the coolest thing I have ever seen. It makes you feel like you are playing in a quidditch game, flying on a broom with Ron and Harry, flying away from Dementors and being spit on by Aragog. I had tears in my eyes when it was over because it was so fantastic. We didn't go into Ollivander's because quite frankly, it was 47 billion degrees outside and it had the longest line (we only waited 20 minutes for the other rides) and I completely forgot about the third roller coaster (The Dragon Challenge) because I was so consumed by everything else. All in all, I loved it. Everything about it... except the bajillion people who were there. Even so, I can't wait to go back.

So, that was our trip. It was a lot of fun and I loved seeing Charley get so excited over certain things and then run to tell Jeff, "Daddy, it was so awesome!". It was really tiring at times and my head got insanely sunburned but it was all totally worth it. 

Miscellaneous TidBits and Thank You's:

- I absolutely, positively loved the True Blood finale.  So, SO much better than last years. I have no idea where they are going to take the story next season and I think that's awesome. (That's all I will say about it at this point because I know there are a few people who haven't watched it yet).

- I watched Ringer last night. I don't know how I feel about it. It was strange. It was nice seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar again though.

- Thanks to Carrie for giving me trivia and keeping me entertained via texting on the drive down to Florida when Jeff and I would slip into one of our sleepy modes.

- Thanks to Dawn for visiting and playing with our pups and cheering them up while we were gone.

- Thanks to Nuncle Dennis and Aunt Rhonda for letting Charley borrow the DVD player. It helped SO much during the drive!!

- Finally... A HUGE, HUGE thank you to everyone who voted for me over the past month. I appreciate you guys and the fact that you take the time to read my ramblings more than you could ever know. As long as you keep reading, I will keep finding silly things to post about.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

It goes without saying that I have some pretty unbelievably awesome people in my life and I love them a whole lot!