Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Las Vegas Was Awesome Because We Got To Meet Holly Madison

When my wife suggested we visit Las Vegas this year my only request was that we go see Peepshow staring Holly Madison at the Planet Hollywood Casino and Hotel. As you may know, Holly was one of the Girls Next Door - one of recent favorite shows that I'm sort of fanatical about. She now stars in another reality show Holly's World which is all about her adventures working on Peepshow in Las Vegas. As much as I loved Girls Next Door for it's behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the Playboy Mansion, I'm as equally intrigued with Holly's World and it's glimpse into life in Las Vegas. So I was excited to see the show and visit some of the places where Holly and her friends hang out on the show. Stepping into the Planet Hollywood casino was like walking onto the set of Holly's World. There are so many spots that I've seen on TV a hundred times, it was pretty exciting for a TV lovin' fella like myself!

So we had tickets to see Peepshow Thursday night. It turns out that my brother flew in to town on Thursday morning for an event he was attending. We hooked up Thursday morning and hung out for a little bit, including walking over to Planet Hollywood to pick up my actual tickets for the evening's show. Short story shorter: we get up to the ticket counter, my brother whips out his credit card and scores my wife and I two VIP Package upgrades which include a meet & greet with Holly after the show along with pictures and a champagne toast. Needless to say, that was SUPER AWESOME of him to do for us. My wife and I were both super excited to meet her! She was very nice and friendly and took her time talking to everyone.

Here's the three of us!

You may remember a while ago I posted about my brother meeting Holly's Girls Next Door co-star Kendra.

In case you were wondering, Peepshow was fantastic! It's a high energy singing and dancing show with a very loose story frame. Holly plays an over worked and lonely girl who falls asleep one night and wakes up in a fairy tale land. All the different nursery rhyme characters try to help her find a man - they somehow do this by dancing and stripping. It's all done very tastefully. It's basically a modern version of burlesque striptease - which is an art form not just girls gyrating to rap music for $1 dollar bills.

We saw some other shows in Vegas too...

....Here's Jen and I with our official name tags in the hopes of being called on stage for The Price is Right Live! at Bally's. I've always thought this show sounded like a neat idea. It's basically a live version of the TV show, with a fresh batch of audience members plucked out of the audience for each round in Contestant's Row. All-in-all 50 people get a chance to win something! We didn't get called down, but our friends both won 1,000 Casino Comp. Credits in an instant win game they did between TPIR games. The show was alot of fun and they did give away some nice cash prizes and some dude won a Washer & Dryer set. There was a car and a trip in the Showcase Showdown, but nobody won!

We also went to Brad Garrett's Comedy Club at the Tropicana where Brad himself was performing for a few days. You probably best know Brad Garrett as Robert, Ray's brother on Everybody Loves Raymond. Apparently, he's not in town all that often so the house was packed to see him. We just lucked into being there when he was there. He put on a great show, he actually MC'ed an entire evening of comedy which consisted of a complete set by him and then long sets in between comedian Geechy Guy and hypnotist Mark Sweet. There was another comedian who came up briefly as well. We were in there for about two hours before it was done. A great night of comedy.

I also gotta give a shoutout to Tix 4 Tonight, a service that lets you score same day tickets to most of Vegas' hottest shows at a fraction of their face value. We used the service for all three shows I've mentioned here, plus the four we saw last time in Vegas - and we always have great experiences with them. Great seats, fantastic prices and the staff is incredibly knowledgeable. They seem to know everything about every single show in town. They must be doing a good business because they seem to have twice the locations they did when I was in Vegas two years ago. Even though there are frequently long lines at their sidewalk booths, I suggest their "hidden" location behind the giant Coke bottle. We never waited in a line there while I could see the line out on the sidewalk from where I was standing buying tickets. I can't recommend them high enough. They take the extravagant price of a night on the town and make it affordable that you can go see a show every night you're in town.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Week In Movies - By The Hammer of Thor

Soul Surfer (2011) I'm a sucker for a PG rated drama. I also like surfing movies. This is the true life story of Bethany Hamilton who was on her way to becoming a pro surfer when a shark chomped off one of her arms. In true inspirational sports story fashion, Bethany defeats the odds by learning how to surf again sans left arm. The cast is great including Helen Hunt (where's she been?), Dennis Quaid and a little friend of mine by the name of Craig T. Nelson. I'm couldn't care less about any of Craig T. Nelson's television work but I loves him in the movies! American Idol Carrie Underwood makes her film debut as a youth group leader. She's good although I found it hard to buy that while on mission trip helping tsunami victims Carrie's character was in full makeup, hair and dangling earrings. But we'll give her a pass because she's pretty! There's also plenty of amazing surf footage. At times the religious themes play a little too hard, and the dialogue panders on self-explanatory but overall this is a likable film with a simple message: No matter what your problems are - chances are there's someone else with a lot bigger problem than you.

Thor (2011) This turned out to be a really enjoyable popcorn flick. And I think this flick calls for the ushering in of a new movie rating. Thor is rated PG-13, but realistically it should be rated either PG-7 or better yet: PG-Boy. The movie responsibly contains zero in the sex department and only one brief utterance of "dumbass" by a background character, as far as profanity is concerned. There is plenty of action comic book violence, but none of it is bloody or graphic. Any boy that wants to see this movie - can handle it. And it was great fun. After defying his father, Thor is banished from his home and lands on Earth where he meets scientist Natalie Portman. Thor's time on Earth is humorous but not silly to the point where the film turns into a dumb comedy. The action sequences are tight. I especially enjoyed the scene where Thor single handed takes on an entire top secret military base. Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth who you can tell is having the time of his life. This is the film where I realized how good an actress Natalie Portman is. Without much to do she ends up being one of the highlights of this early summer blockbuster.

No Strings Attached (2011) Just a coincidence that I saw another Natalie Portman movie this week. Here she shines again with her great comic talents as she takes on a no-commitment (but all of the benefits) relationship with Ashton Kutcher. The minute this romantic comedy kicks into gear you know exactly where it's going to end but it's a fun ride along the way. Snappy one-liners keep the laughs rolling and great supporting performances by Mindy Kaling, Ludacris and Kevin Kline keep the scenes fresh. My wife and I watch alot of romantic comedies (because that's about the only place our movie tastes meet) and this was an above average entry.

Vegas Vacation (1997) Easily the weakest of the four Vacation movies, no matter what I'll always have a special place in my heart for the Griswold family. The final (to date) instalment in one of my favorite film franchises, Clark and family head to Las Vegas for another family vacation. Clark looses the family finances at the blackjack table, Ellen is romantically pursued by Wayne Newton, Rusty becomes a high roller and Audry kind of becomes a stripper - but this is rated PG so she's kind of just a go-go dancer. A neat side note, when the family goes to see Wayne Newton at the MGM Grand he's performing in the same showroom my wife and I saw Howie Mandel last time we were in town. You could pretty much see the table we sat at with a couple from Canada. Good times, eh? All in all, you simply can't go wrong with a Vacation flick.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Green With Envy Trailer

The Dutch Wonderland Trip Report Strikes Again

Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day outside. The sun was out and the temperatures were in the mid-70's. We went to a street fair, did a good amount of yard work and then a friend of mine came up from Baltimore and we had dinner on the deck with some lovely beverages. Sunday was to bring the temperature up to 80 with a slight chance of an afternoon/early evening shower. The kids were up for another trip to Dutch Wonderland and so was I. When we left our house the temps were in the upper 70's and you could already feel the warmth of the sun. There wasn't a cloud in sight. About 20 minutes into our journey to the park there wasn't a ray of sunshine in the sky and the thermometer had drooped almost 10 degrees. It was a bit overcast and gloomy most of the day, but we arrived at the park around 12:15 and were ready to make the most out of our day. I gotta say, Dutch Wonderland really works some magic. Both my boys had been wound up for days and Elias had been in a crabby mood for just as long. Elias and Tanner were both perfect angels full of youthful energy and excitement all day long. It made for an extra nice day!

Dutch Wonderland used to have a really big multi-lane Giant Slide - which were apparently all the theme park rage back in the 70's. For whatever reason, DW took out the original slide a few years ago and but in two three-lane portable Fun Slides. They're not quite as nice, but they get the job done. Here's Elias and Tanner racing each other - which was a nice surprise because the girl at the top of the ride last time wouldn't let anybody race. (Booooo!)

The first weekend we went to DW, Tanner won a little green plush duck at the duck pond game. Both the kids really took to the little guy and he's become their Dutch Wonderland trip mascot. Elias really wanted one, so I let him play but instead of winning the small sized duck he wanted - he actually won a medium. Elias was disappointed and I asked the girl working if he could just have a small. She gave him three small ducks since that was the trade-up value. Elias and Tanner might as well have been handed the keys to their own toy store. They were beside themselves with joy over having a collection of four of these (cheap) ducks. They went on all the rides with them, they all got names and they were just so pleased with the whole ordeal.

One of the unique (and not very publicized) attractions at the park is letterboxing. That's where you follow a trail of clues to find a hidden surprise. There are three hidden throughout the park. You can print out the clues at home or load them onto your phone. I loaded them up while the kids were on a ride and we found two of them. We do alot of letterboxing in the summer, so they were pretty excited to get a chance to do it in the park. The boys could not have been more excited when they found the two boxes we looked for. Inside the box is a giant stamp (we stamped our season pass coupon books) and a journal to record your name and when you found the box. Since it's the beginning of the season, there weren't many names in the book yet.

Turtle Whirl is basically a Tilt-A-Whirl. Tanner has been dead set against riding it but decided to give it a try this past weekend. He was instantly hooked and the two of them rode it eight consecutive times. As for me, I sat on a bench because spinney rides make me sick to my stomach! Turtle Whirl quickly rose to the top of the boys list of favorite rides. You might remember this ride from John and Kate Plus 8 in the episode where they took the kids to an amusement park. It was Dutch Wonderland, and I remember there was some kind of Gossling meltdown right in front of the Turtle Whirl.

This weekend was the opening weekend for The Wanderers, a fantastic strolling band that performs throughout the park. We caught them earlier in the day by the monorail station where they played Name That Tune with movie songs. Of course, Elias got several right and impressed the guys in the band with his movie knowledge. At the end of the day we caught them again in the courtyard along with the park mascots Duke the Dragon, Princess Brooke and Sir Brandon. Here's a shot of everybody (including the characters) doing the Hokey Pokey. A fun ending to another fun trip!

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Week In Movies - Beyond Vegas

In addition to the Las Vegas movies, I also saw:

The Swinger (1966) After watching Viva Las Vegas earlier in the week, I got on a bit of an Ann-Margret kick and ended up finding this little gem on Netflix Instant. What a great film! Ann-Margret plays a writer desperate to get her work published. When she submits her work to a Playboy-esque magazine they tell her it's too tame and not in touch with what people want to read. So Ann-Margret reinvents herself as a phony hedonistic sex kitten and then things really start to take off in her career. The plot actually fades away halfway through the movie but there's so much wacky hi jinks, funky 60's psychedelic camera work and editing plus great singing that it doesn't matter. This movie came out at a time right before the ratings system when films were pushing the envelope with how much mature content they could sneak into a film. Imagine a very soft PG rated comedy about porn and sex...that's what you've got here. (Check out Don Knott's The Love God for a G rated movie about porn.) There's a fantastic opening credits montage that's more entertaining than all of the last 25 years of Hollywood's output. A very fun film that's not out on DVD, but you can find it on Netflix Instant.

Spider-Man 3 (2007) Over the course of the last three Friday nights my boys and I watched the entire Spider-Man trilogy. Overall, it's a very solid trio of films. #3 is a little long, as there are lots of loose ends to tie up from the whole sage. There's a few too many bad guys. Spidey battles Sandman, Venom and New Goblin all in one film. But it's all fun and the most impressive thing about all three films is the sense of humor that is maintained throughout. There are scenes of pure comic joy in all these films that I find refreshing for a superhero franchise. Of course after watching this, Saturday morning my kids dug out all their Spider-Man 3 Happy Meal toys from Burger King and played with them all day.

Blondie Goes To College (1942) On to the 10th Blondie film and the last of the series which is available currently on DVD. Dagwood enrolls in college and drags an unenthusiastic Blondie along with him. Wacky shenanigans arise when Dagwood tries to keep his marriage status a secret so they can better fit into the college scene. It's a nifty look at campus life back in the 40's. This instalment also has a surprisingly emotional ending which stands out from some of the other Blondie films I've seen recently. The five Blondie movies that I've watched over the last few weeks are all on a cheapo DVD release Blondie Vol. 2. Netflix is currently missing their copy of Blondie Vol. 1 and it seems that the remaining 18 films in the series are only out on old VHS releases. I'll have to do a little video detective work in order to enjoy anymore entries in this silly cinema series. (I'm up for the challenge!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Las Vegas Film Festival

Sadly, I did not attend a film festival in Las Vegas anytime recently (or ever, for that matter!) I am, however, heading out to Sin City in a few days so I decided to get myself in the mood by watching some movies featuring the great city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Perhaps the all-time most iconic Las Vegas picture is 1964's Viva Las Vegas. The first 30 minutes of this film play as a travelogue of vintage Vegas as Elvis Presley and his buddy go hopping from resort to resort looking for a girl they ran into earlier. This is a super lightweight affair with only a hint of a story. The film is a classic and it's a great memorable romp for three reasons. #1) There's plenty of footage of the Vegas of past. Most of the properties featured in the film have been torn down and rebuilt so many times they are recognizable by name only. Other locations in the film have been lost to time all together. #2) The music is simply great. If you like Elvis or not, you won't be able to resist tapping your toes to some of the numbers in this flick. Catchy, upbeat and full of energy - this is what movie musicals should be like! #3) The ridiculous, unadulterated hotness of co-star Ann-Margret. It says something for a performer when they can not only hold their own performing next to the King of Rock and Roll but in some cases Ann-Margret upstages Elvis with her singing and (especially) her dancing. She lights up the screen every time she's on. If you only know her as Ann-Margrock, the one-time babysitter for Pebbles Flintstone, you'll be surprised to see how much of a 60's sex kitten she was. Youch! Great fun! I give it a Vegas Film Festival rating of 4 out of 5 dice!

I have a casual acquaintance with James Bond. I've seen a handful of his movies. Some I've really dug, others I've had no idea what was going on and fell asleep. In 1971, master spy James Bond appeared in his 7th filmed adventure, Diamonds Are Forever. The story takes Bond to Las Vegas where the bad guy is stock piling diamonds to run some satellite that does something bad. As always, I couldn't quite follow the story but the tone is light, the one-liners are funny and the action is quite engaging. In this current era of loud over the top explosions and sound effects it was nice to see a fight scene played out with no music or punching sound effects. The movie doesn't make love to the city of Las Vegas as other films set in the town do, but there are again some nice shots of the Vegas of yesterday. The McCarran International Airport of 1971 looks like a vintage model railroad buidling compared to the modern airport of today. The bad guy's hideout is the fictional Whyte House Casino which is reality was played by the Las Vegas Hilton. And there were scenes shot at Circus Circus, which if you go in there today you can still smell the cigarette smoke in the air from 1971! Although not as flashy and coherent as a modern day thriller, this early Bond entry is still fun. We'll give this outing a Vegas Film Festival Rating of 3 out of 5 stars.

Now I gotta be honest, I don't remember Saved By The Bell Wedding in Las Vegas being this much fun but I really enjoyed revisiting this TV-movie from 1994. First off I need to mention that this movie is from my own personal DVD library on a double feature DVD with the first Saved By The Bell movie: SBTB Hawaiian Style - which I love! Great DVD I picked up for $3 at an Ollie's Bargain Mart. Back to the movie...the gang from Bayside High take a road trip to the Neon City for the quickie wedding of Zack and Kelly. Slatter, Screech and Kelly are all along for the journey. Jessie is absent from the proceedings and isn't even mentioned until the end of the film when she makes a cameo along with a few other players from the SBTB universe. It's fun seeing the gang get into adventures too big for a sitcom. Eventually, they all end up on the run from the mob and a car chase ensues showing Freemont Street before it was closed off to traffic and covered with a giant television set. The legendary Stardust Resort plays host to Zack and Kelly's wedding party and there are plenty of shots of what the the casino, lobby and porte cochere of the hotel looked like before it closed in November of 2006. There is also a scene that was shot at Debbie Reynold's Hollywood Hotel & Movie Museum which closed in 1999 and is now a Clarion Hotel. In addition to the great recent vintage Vegas footage, this is a fairly well done, fun TV movie that's worth checking out if you are (or were) a fan of the series. Vegas Film Festival rating: 3 1/2 dice out of five.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother Nature is Dumb

This weekend the weather was a real jerk. The kids were excited to use our Dutch Wonderland season pass and hit up the park again over the weekend. I was game but the weather forecast called for rain Friday afternoon all through the weekend and into this week. It looked like a sure bet and we pretty much put plans on the back burner. Friday I was working in the yard trying to get stuff done before the rain. The sky was dark and around 4:00 it got even darker. I cleaned up the yard quickly trying to beat the rain, but still nothing. After dinner we played outside a little bit, thinking we were getting some last minute fun in before the rain - but still no rain.

Cut to Saturday afternoon and there is still no rain. Finally around 1:30 I said to the kids, "Let's make a run up to Dutch Wonderland. The weather probably kept everybody away today. By the time we get there the park will be empty." We got to the park around 3:15 only to find it packed! We had to park further away than we did last weekend. It turns out there was a Brownie/Girl Scout Camp-O-Ree that weekend - so there were plenty of people there who had already planned on making a weekend out it. The crowd thwarted the kids plan to ride the Kingdom Coaster another dozen times. With the 15 - 20 minute wait we ended up only riding it twice. The kids still had a blast, it really is a good coaster!

One of the things I'm going to like about having the passes is access to a carousel and a train all summer. Sometimes in the heat of the summer, I'm just craving a spin on a merry-go-round or a ride on a miniature train. Now we don't have to settle for a mall carousel or find a public park with a train...

I wish DW had a antique Grand Carousel, but their model will do just fine.

The sun never did come out Saturday but that didn't stop the boys from enjoying one of their favorites, Sky Fighter. They love this ride simply because it has guns on it and they always sit facing each other so they can blast one another.

Elias and the Knight of Dutch Wonderland, Sir Brandon

We got in a good three hours at the park and capped the afternoon off by introducing my little guys to the wonderful world of Waffle House. As an added bouns, they both fell asleep on the way home so I got to enjoy the rare sounds on silence! Just as we pulled into the driveway at home it started to rain...for about 5 minutes. Sunday was sunny and near 80 and would have been a great day to go, but it was SUPPOSED to be rainy all day! A pretty much wasted weekend thanks to dumb ol' Mother Nature!

edTunes - Wannabe

I loves me some Spice Girls. And I loves me some Spice World, the girl's big movie adventure. You might watch this clip of the girls Spice performing their hit Wannabe in their movie Spice World and think it just doesn't make any sense out of context with the rest of the film. The beautiful thing is: this scene doesn't make any more sense tucked into the rest of the motion picture that wraps around it! And that's the magical beauty of the Spice Girls!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Classic Commercial Sunday - #64

This first commercial plugs Kings Dominion's newest ride at the time, Sky Pilot. A girl got me to go on that ride one time and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life! I would also like to mention that I stand by my theory that Peoples Drug is a way better name that CVS!

Now that's a jingle!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dutch Wonderland on the News

The local Fox affeliate was live at Dutch Wonderland Thursday morning to show off the new rides.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Week In Movies - The Wrath of Blogger

Blogger had some maintenance issues this week and in the process they seemed to have yanked down my latest "My Week in Movies" post and then lost the final draft in my dashboard. I don't feel like rewriting, I'm pretty sure it was up for a day or so. Anywho, here's what I still have for posterity sake and we'll pick back up with the feature next week!

Duel (1971) The other night I was trying to decide what to watch for my evening movie and I thought to myself - I should watch something really good...for a change. So I decided on Steven Spielberg's film debut, a really tight story about a guy driving a car and a truck that's out to kill him. There's not much of a backstory here, or much in the way of characters. It's a simple game of cat and mouse that is perfectly laid out and extremely intense and creepy. A really good movie which was actually a TV-movie and then expanded into a theatrical feature. Good stuff!

Ghost Story (1981) I actually remember when this came out, I was 8 years old. I didn't see it. I'm sure I had no interest in it. I just remember seeing this poster at the movie theatre way back then. I've wanted to see it in recent years because it is the final screen credit of Fred Astaire. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who didn't expect to find full frontal male nudity in Fred Astaire's last picture. It's not 81 year old Astaire who we see in his birthday suit, but it was still surprising. The story involves four old friends who share a deep dark secret. It starts off really slow and confusing at first, but the movie picks up and was quite entertaining. There's still a few good scares left in this 30 year old horror movie. It's available on Netflix streaming.

Revenge of the Cheerleaders (1976) I'm a huge fan of the 1973 film The Cheerleaders which might just be one of the silliest movies ever committed to film. Surprisingly, I've never seen it's sequel which sadly takes itself a little more seriously.

I also saw:

Blondie Goes Latin (1941)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
American Raspberry (1977)
Blondie In Society (1941)

Monday, May 09, 2011

Our First Trip As Royalty

Even though it's essentially a kiddie park, I'm gotta say that I'm pretty excited that we got season passes to Dutch Wonderland this year! As a huge amusement park fan, I've always wanted to be a season pass holder to anywhere. Growing up we didn't live close enough to a park to make it worth while and later on in life when I worked at Hersheypark and could go whenever I want - I was too fat to ride anything. The nice thing about Dutch Wonderland is most of the attractions are designed for families to enjoy together and as as a stay-at-home dad an amusement park full of rides for my kids is a great way to kill many long summer days of daddy duty! So this past weekend, the boys and I headed up to Lancaster, PA (about an hour drive for us) and spent the day at the park. It was nice to have the more relaxed approach to visiting and not worrying about getting everything done in one day. We took our time around the park and I pretty much let the kids dictate where we went and what we did. They had a blast!

Since there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of blogging about Dutch Wonderland out there, I thought I'd do some trip reports when we make it out to the park. This was the second weekend of the season and there was a good turn out at the park, but certainly far from crowded. The weather was absolutely beautiful and I simply enjoyed being outside and feeling the gentle warmth of the sun.

One of the things that I really like about Dutch Wonderland is that they can take a simple ride and elevate it slightly by it's presentation. Off-Road Rally is a pretty simple "off the shelf" kiddie truck ride, with a train of trucks that travel around a slightly off-oval track. I've seen this ride at other operations simply dumped on a gravel lot or grass. I've always liked the nice way DW has framed this ride with lush landscaping. (Elias and Tanner are in the green car.)

The highlight of the park for most older kids is the Kingdom Coaster. Opened in 1992, this family coaster delivers quite a ride for a park known for it's no-thrills. The ride is pretty much a full sized wooden roller coaster minus the first drop. There are alot of twists and turns in this 90 second ride as well as a decent amount of air-time.

This was the first year Tanner worked up the nerve to ride it and he was an instant fan! That's Elias hand (with the watch) going no-handed down the second, slightly bigger drop.

One of two new rides this year is Huck Finn's Leapin' Frogs. The kids dismissed this at first as just another round-and-round ride but then we noticed it was actually a variation of a dune buggy ride they LOVE at the beach. While traveling around-and-around the frogs hop up and down. This is achieved by a wheel traveling along a track inside the rides center mechanism. The track lifts the cars up and then drops them which creates a bouncing sensation. The kids swore this frog version was a bit more souped up than the dune buggies and perhaps they were right as the frog cars looked a bit heavier than the beach cars. Either way, Leapin' Frogs will be a must ride for Elias and Tanner on future visits.

Whenever we go to a park for the day, we always seem to miss the shows because we're too busy trying to squeeze so much else into our day. I made it a point to finally see some of Dutch Wonderland's entertainment offerings. We hit up a 4:00 performance of A Dragon's Tale, one of the two shows performed in the Aqua Stadium. High-Dive shows used to be a staple in most amusement parks so it's nice that Dutch Wonderland still has one since most have been retired at this point. A group of five divers act out a silly tale about a princess and an evil knight, to a prerecorded soundtrack. As you can imagine, I saw alot of theme park entertainment when I was younger and I've always marveled at the bottom-of-the-barrel low brow, corny humor these shows maintained. I'm happy to say that the Dutch Wonderland show is about as corny as they come. It has some really funny moments mixed with bad puns, slapstick and current pop culture references. It's not many kiddie parks that you'll find a group of medieval knights dancing to Beyonce's Put a Ring On It. High-Diving is a feat that seems to impress young and old and the show is incredibly entertaining for everyone. I'm looking forward to seeing the park's other high-dive show.

Along the back end of the park runs the Mill Stream which is home to several species of water foul. The ducks at the park are just as big of an attraction as all the rides and fancy other stuff. This little family of ducks we saw brought ooooh's and ahhh's from many families.

Did I mention my kids loved the Kingdom Coaster. I was going to keep track of how many times we rode it this summer, but I already lost count. I think we rode it 12 times and then the kids went an additional two more times. Three or four times around at once is about all I can handle. At the end of the day, the guy running the ride was just letting everybody stay on and didn't even stop the train in the station. The cars just whizzed by the empty platform and we rode again and again. Pretty cool.

Elias and Tanner in the second to last seat, riding without Daddy. This was the last ride of the day and ending to a great first visit as Season Pass holders at Dutch Wonderland.

Friday, May 06, 2011

My Week In Movies - Fly The Friendly Skies

Stewardess School (1986) In the wake of the success of Police Academy in 1984, there was a tidal wave of movies ripping off the formula and trying to make a quick buck. As you can imagine, I've seen a good number of Police Academy rip-offs and few are more blatantly stealing from the original than Stewardess School. I first saw this on HBO years ago, as I anxiously awaited it's debut after a brief theatrical run. Recently, while researching silly movies of the 80's, this title was reactivated in my memory banks but I was disappointed to discover that it had not been released on DVD. So, imagine my delight when Stewardess School popped up on the Sony Movie Channel the other night! Ultimately, this sex comedy is horrible - but it's having so much fun trying to be wild and wacky that you just can't help but have a good time while watching it. The movie follows the traditional group of misfits, each with one personality trait, as they enroll in...well, you guessed it - Stewardess School. Police Academy is further ripped off with the plot point that the academy has recently lowered it's standards of admissions and there is an mean, strict instructor who tries to get the various students kicked out of the program. Neither of these borrowed plot devices has any baring on the story - but they are thrown in for good measure. The great cast includes Ralph Mouth from Happy Days, Jack Tripper's wife from Three's A Crowd, Zed's girlfriend from Police Academy 4, and the fat girl from Bosom Buddies. A worse movie has never been more enjoyable.

Spider-Man (2002) We were in the mood for some Super Hero action the other night, and Spidey fit the bill just perfectly. I forgot how good this movie was. The was the first screening for my little ones. They were completely awe struck with the proceedings. When Peter Parker eventually dons the traditional Spider-Man suit and heads out into the city swinging on webs from buildings...my children might as well have been watching actual video footage of the creation of the universe. They simply went out of their minds with excitement! Which made the movie all the more enjoyable for me. Also, I loves me some Kirsten Dunst! We can't wait to tear into number two, which I've never seen!

April Movie Count: 13 (disappointing)
Best New Movie: Rio (slow month)
Best Rewatch: Yogi Bear
Worst Movie: Country Strong
2011 Movie Count: 70

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Proud Parent of a Young Artist

Every once in a while, your kid brings home a piece of art work that he or she did at school that is a little bit above the rest. These are the projects that get hung on the refrigerator or somewhere else in the house. My son Tanner brought this picture and short story home from preschool the other day, and quite honestly...I couldn't be prouder of him!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Summer Movie Preview III

My kids are super excited about this one...

And speaking of animals...
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