Six Thoughts on Disneyland

Sleeping beauty CastleSo last week I lived out one of my parenting dreams.

Ever since my wife told me we were going to be adding a family member to our team, I had dreamed of sweeping that child into my arms and rushing them off to Disneyland. Now it is six years later (with a second along for the ride), and I finally made that dream happen.

When you are a fan of Disneyland before adding the kids (I used to have an annual pass when I went to the University of Southern California, and I used it… often), you can never realize how much the little ones will change the experience. It is almost a new park. There were things I never considered before suddenly being on the top of our list of what to do next.

Fantasy Faire and princesses? Before my kids I would have avoided that bit in the park. But my daughter had to go to it twice, and both times ran with a smile right into a character’s arms… and then frowned in almost every picture.

On a side note: It’s funny but each time I visit the park I always wonder if I made the right call in my life career wise. The idea of being an imagineer (writing the script for a ride or coming up with a new one) or even simply welcoming someone onto a ride like The Haunted Mansion (“Move to the dead center of the room…”) sounds so enriching.

Here are six things about this trip with a family that changed my Disneyland experience for me. Continue reading

Hey! I was the letter H in the #AtoZChallenge!

Me and TonyThis post is a day late since I have only recently gotten home from a vacation with the family. We just spent five days in the happiest place on Earth. Yup, I’m talking Disneyland. Want proof? Here is a picture of me with a surprisingly silent Tony Stark. (I have two posts planned for next week around Walt’s gift to the world, so stay tuned!)

The Masquerade Crew each April honors different bloggers that first are nominated by their readers. I was honored to be nominated by Marshall and Tracey Best (@ancumer) and I am this year’s letter H!

The H is to represent “Honesty” and “Humor” in my posts. Now, I’m sure my parents and maybe some ex-girlfriends will debate the honesty bit, but I do admit I do see a lot of eyes rolling when I make jokes here around the house. I must save the best material for my posts.

You can check out the page about me on The Masquerade Crew’s site here. And please, check out the other writers as well.

Thank you again for supporting my site Bests and all of my other fellow readers! This really means a lot to me! Thank you!

Learning to Share Disneyland

Walt at the ParkSo last night I had a dream where I met Paul McCartney at Disneyland.

I was standing in line at the Peter Pan ride with my family, and he was standing behind me with his family and some big bodyguards. I, of course, realized at once who this was, and when a pause happened in his conversation, I politely excused myself and said thanks. Thanks for everything since his music means so much to me.

Paul was very gracious in return and we lightly talked. He asked about me and I told him about my writing and how I listen to his music a lot when I create and how it is a soundtrack around our house. He seemed to really appreciate that, especially the idea of his music inspiring other artists. I even asked him if the rumor that The Beatles were approached to be in The Jungle Book was true (I don’t remember his reply, but in many ways that is only an urban legend at this point).

It was in this moment of the dream that my wife tapped me on the shoulder and asked who I was speaking to. I turned her around, and casually introduced her to Sir Paul.

…And then my wife fainted in a very dramatic fashion.

She even made a “whoosh!” noise as she collapsed, sounding almost like air escaping a tea kettle.

Now, my wife is not the kind of person to faint for any reason (I would faint before she would faint), and it was that realization that woke me up. So I didn’t get to talk to Sir Paul anymore, or even get on the ride.

All that standing in line for nothing. Continue reading

Non-Ghost Believer

GhostSome people don’t believe, others do, I’m somewhere in the middle but leaning heavily much more to the “no” side. Not a full-time denier but someone who believes he has reality on his side. And I can roll my eyes and yawn with the best of them.

Yes, I may watch the occasional special on a cable channel (I’m not recording them on my DVR or anything), but I would probably turn the channel after getting the gist of the ghost.

“Beheaded… yada yada… tragic lover. Got it. What else is on?”

Consider: If there were ghosts, the south would be filled to the brim with the ghosts of slaves; Germany would be unlivable because of the ghosts from the Holocaust; and every battle field (from Gettysburg to Iwo Jima) would need barriers to keep us living people out. And it would completely change the funeral home business.

I live in a house where someone died. They died in the same room I sleep in each night! Who knows, I might even sleep on the very spot that he took his fated last breath. Yet… I got nothing.

So why is it I can still be scared or hypnotized by the idea of a ghost? Heck, when I saw Paranormal Activity I was up for days, every bump was enough to wake me up fully.

“This is ridiculous, Scott,” I mumbled to myself again and again. “This is absolutely ridiculous. There is no such thing as ghosts. No such thing… What was that noise?!” Continue reading

The Mad Man I Stole From (Part 2)

White Piano

This is part 2 of a rememberance I began in Part 1 here.

So for two months, I worked for the mad man, and strangely I saw him very rarely while doing it. I was supposedly restarting his car company, chasing his dreams, but I was doing it mainly solo. The working arrangement went something like this:

  • When I could get away from my own writing, I would leave him a voicemail saying I was going to the office with the white Elvis piano. (I would never receive a response to the message.)
  • If it was the right guard at the front desk (which was only occasionally, sometimes if another guard was on duty when I left later they would have some questions on where I was coming from), I would sneak into the building and up to my own little office.
  • After playing a few chords on the piano (Who wouldn’t?), I would then go to my spot in the back, turn on the computer, write for a few hours, and print up whatever I wrote for his review.

The strange thing is he never reviewed what I wrote! Not even a word. The most I would hear from him was the weekly small check by the computer waiting for me and an occasional assignment.

Usually, those assignments involved me having to drop off a check someplace or making a phone call for him. On one occasion, I had to drop off a check at a government office, I was informed exactly which worker to meet with and a script of what to say. That experience took over four hours with nothing but old magazines in a waiting room for entertainment.

After the specific worker took the check from me (after listening to my excuse from Mr. W that the rest of the money would be in soon), he looked me up and down and asked, “What are you doing working for him?”

It was a great question. “I have no idea,” I responded. And I didn’t. Continue reading

The Mad Man I Stole From (Part 1)

CarI needed money.

I had just moved out to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. I was going to get my Master’s in writing and I had dreams of screenplays and television pilots, actresses calling me and pleading for a role in my latest projects. I also imagined myself wearing sunglasses a lot. The LA dream!

Now, I did have some savings before making the move. I had even set it up so my student loans would cover my student housing, but as the weeks turned into months I saw that savings stockpile dripping away thanks to food and a car loan, and maybe one too many trips to Disneyland.

My initial hope was to find work at a studio, but anything I would have gotten would have been so entry-level I’d be surprised if they even paid me a dime. I would be working for the experience and the contacts, probably a good decision for my career, just not for my livelihood. Plus, I had no idea how to make coffee. I assumed such a job would involve coffee.

When I first arrived in LA I did my best to get to know each of the professors (thinking that each was a possible contact to someone in the industry who might want a young, ambitious writer like me). One professor was quite fond of me since I recognized her from an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. I even owned a copy of that episode and she was thrilled to see she was listed on the back of it as a guest star. After that she gave me a series of odd little jobs, including once transporting some of her sculptures (she was an artist as well) in the back seat of my car. One of the statues was of an angel fallen to the earth surrounded by little rocks. I still occasionally find some of those little rocks in my car.

After eating dinner at her house with some of my fellow students (she was always having us over), she told me about this man she knew. Eccentric, she called him, a real character (“You would like him.”) and he owned a car company.

“A car company?” That idea floored me. How does someone just own a car company? Was he Henry freaking Ford?

“Well, the brand,” she explained noticing the expression on my face. “He is an entrepreneur and he is trying to start it up. He needs a writer. Are you interested?” Continue reading

Boo! New WKAR Book Review: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Current StateJust in time for this spooky holiday!

I have a new book review on WKAR’s show Current State. This time I am taking on the “lost” classic novel by Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree.

You can hear my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-ray-bradbury-s-halloween-tree

You can find The Halloween Tree on Amazon here. If you would rather read my new book review it is available below.

Happy Halloween! Continue reading

If I could wear a Halloween costume…

Trick or TreatAs an adult, it takes a certain amount of courage to put on a costume. Let me correct that…  it takes a certain amount of courage and alcohol to put on a costume.

A costume draws people’s eyes towards you almost like being on a stage except it’s more personable. There isn’t the protective separation because of spotlight and distance. It’s real, you are a dude dressed up and they can see you… and talk to you.  

I have always been impressed with people that have the strength to put on a costume. I look at them with a certain amount of awe, even those that attempt the cheaper creations. Of course, there is nothing like a great one though. For example, there is a woman down the street that on Halloween will dress-up as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz and she has the look and cackle down perfectly. It can take a fan’s breath away… and also instinctively take two steps back in fright.

For me, I never feel more like an introvert than at this time of the year. I go into my shell as I hand out candies; always being sure to give a little bit more to the kids who look truly great.

Oh wait, does that make me a bad person? The fact I judge a kid’s costumes and award accordingly?

Possibly.

Actually the more I think about it, the more I am embarrassed I admitted that. Because even those in a bad costume are braver than me at that moment. But if I was to dress up… Continue reading

Finding Comfort in Possessions: 14 Days Until 40

Back to the FutureOne of the films I loved growing up was Back to the Future.  I’ve owned the trilogy a few different times now, and have the current version on Blu-Ray. I believe I bought it that opening week when it came out. Yeah, I’m one of those kind of collectors. I like things fresh off the shelves like fruits and vegetables.

Well, a few years ago I was reading an interview with one of the creators. To be honest, I can’t remember if it was Robert Zemeckis or one or the producers or writers, but the speaker complained about the importance of greed in the film. If he had a chance to go back, he argued, he would have made it more about family as compared to the acquisition of possessions at the end.

In other words, Marty’s family didn’t have to be rich and successful and Marty didn’t need the sweet new truck. Just getting his family back together should have been enough.

Being a child of the 80’s, this idea kind of blew my mind. And between you and me, I feel like Marty had earned that truck… but now as a dad trying to imagine a better world for my kids, I side with that speaker. I would like my kids to see it that way. Marty won without the truck.

Yet, with 40 fast approaching, I seem to be finding comfort in some of my possessions. They help me turn off my brain, focus my thoughts. And, in a way, define my journey up to this point and where I would like to see myself go. Of course, being the blogger I am, I have written about most of these things before.  So I will link to an original post and then give you an update on where I am now. Therapy? Partially. Helpful? Definitely.  These are my sanity as I step slowly towards this halfway mark… Continue reading

The 3 Mes: 22 Days Until 40

Number 3I’ve become very self-centered over the last few months.

Not in a “I’m going to be rude” kind of way. No, this is more like I get lost in thoughts, staring off into the distance. It’s like…

I’m sorry, I was someplace else right then. I’m back now.

A few posts ago, someone commented that I was going through a mid-life crisis. At the time, I brushed it off. Me? No!

I didn’t have any of the signs we all know from television and movies! But… now…  I think this might be my version of it. An exclusive and unique mid-life crisis. Sounds like something I would do. And to get through this stage in my life, I thought it might be “fun” to document my thoughts and feelings. Capture this moment. As a writer, you never know what will lead to inspiration and right now all of my focus seems to be on this, this shift. It is new, it is different, and it won’t happen again.

Okay…. Oddly, at this time (22 days off from life’s halfway mark) I feel splintered, broken into three different versions of myself.

There is the present me, the future me, and the past me. And I can see them in the mirror, they haunt me. When I get dressed in the morning, I sometimes wonder which one I am dressing like, which one I am going to be that day. This may all seem very dramatic to some, but I am a writer. It comes with the territory, drama is in the DNA. One of the great truths for all three of the mes. Continue reading