Thursday, January 03, 2013

the 100 coolest things of 2011... 40 to 11

What's this... two posts in two days?  Its like... its like... its like we are going back to the old days of the blog... frequent postings.. lots of randomness... sometimes funny... okay, maybe never funny, but at least the attempt is there...

How about more of 2011...

The Lovely Steph Leann crossing one of the bridges.  While I shook it.
40... The Wild Africa Trek... Pay some money, go backstage at Animal Kingdom, find yourself hiking through the backwoods, crossing rickety rope bridges, then harnessed in and hanging over crocodile pools and hippo pools.

39... Panera Mac & Cheese... Bar none, best macaroni and cheese you will find at any restaurant. Great stuff.

38... "Winnie the Pooh"... this is how Winnie the Pooh should be. Director John Lassiter said that Pooh belonged to all of us, not just the toddler audience that Disney had put Pooh and the gang into. Great film, great laughs, animation is wonderful and its a twinge of nostalgia.

37... The Epcot Pin Event... Our first and only pin event, located at Epcot, with pin boards and books and trading and special access to special pins and so on. Its pretty intense.

36... one of the best humor sites you'll find online.

35... The Stampers... our friends David and Carlie Stamper. We love these guys, and they are great people.

34... "Onward" by Howard Schultz... Written by the CEO of Starbucks, its the account of the last six or seven years of the company, where Starbucks was, and where the company is going, especially after all the store closings in 2008. I like the book for the fact that Schultz doesn't pull any punches, and doesn't blame anyone else but himself and the team for the downfalls... and credit goes to the same team for the revival.

33... The Celebrity Apprentice... What a train wreck this show is, always.

Us and our segways, in the Italy Pavilion
32... The Epcot Segway Tour... There aren't many ways to better spend a crisp, cool February morning than riding around Epcot's World Pavilion for two hours on a segway.

31... "Real Steel"... Wasn't sure I wanted to see this movie at all, as it looked like a big screen version of Rock'em Sock'em Robots... yet, this turned out to be one of the most heartfelt movies I'd seen in a while. Yes, there are fighting robots in this film, but that takes a backseat to what the real plotline is, that being the relationship between a father (Colin Firth Club member Hugh Jackman) and a son (Dakota Goyo) and their reconciliation over those same fighting robots... including an old relic named Atom.

30... The Adjustment Bureau... A pretty good movie that I really enjoyed for the mere fact that I was able to write this article...

29... "The War for Late Night" by Bill Carter... What a great book. It recaps the crazy year or so when NBC brought in Conan O'Brien to take Jay Leno's place on The Tonight Show... then how NBC brought Jay back in prime time, ruined Conan's Tonight Show ratings, fired Conan, then brought Jay back to The Tonight Show, all while Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and others watched from the sidelines. Well written, and showing a side of all the main players that you wouldn't expect, including Jay Leno's tendency to be a... well, a jerk. Who'da thunk it?

28... The Rock Returns... Yes, I watch WWE, and yes, I wigged out when The Rock made his fateful return after being gone for years. Yes, I can smell what the Rock. Is cooking.

27.. "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol... Perhaps the best Mission Impossible film since the first one--its fun, its exciting and its well done. Complete review here.

26... Hoarders... What the what? Have you seen this show? Its insane. People are pack rats to the ultimate extreme... dolls... toys... clothes... cars... dead animals... all found in the midst, and within--sometimes under--tons of possessions. Yet, the show is addicting, its mesmerizing, and at the least, it makes you realize that your house isn't all that bad. Or, it makes you realize that maybe your house is headed that direction.

25... Rob Murray... we miss you, my friend.

24... 11/22/1963... Sometimes Stephen King throws you for a loop. Instead of a vampire infested town, or a rabid, maniacal dog, what if the story itself was a random diner that had a portal, a time portal, that took you back to 1958? And what if you could stop the JFK assassination from happening? All questions answered, at least from one perspective, in this novel that I finished in days... starts a little slow, but keeps you coming back over and over.

23... Triple H vs The Undertaker... Brilliant match between two WWE legends. Should have highlighted WrestleMania.

22... "Crazy Stupid Love"... Every year, there is one movie that I didn't expect to love and I end up adoring... last year, it was "Easy A". This year, its "Crazy Stupid Love". Starring Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, and a 1-2-3 punch of Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei and Emma Stone, its smart and funny, and unlike some of the other films on this list, I've watched this over and over on cable. Meaning, the re-watchability of this film is very high.

21... Tim Tebow... Tebow! Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow (tebow, tebow... tebow) Tebow Tebow...

TEBOW: Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow

Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow. Tebow, Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow, Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow!

Purchased for about $3
20... The Billy Joel Collection... Visiting 2nd and Charles, a local used book and CD shop, my Billy Joel Collection was expanded considerably... for about 25 bucks, I added, among others, "52nd Street", "The Bridge", "Turnstiles", "Songs in the Attic", "Glass Houses", "Storm Front", "River of Dreams" and "An Innocent Man"... that's a lot of Billy Joel, and that's really cool.

19... Pastor Calvin... After close to 30 years at Valleydale Baptist Church turned Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship), Pastor Calvin Kelly decided to step down. Oh, there was some silly little something, and I say "silly" and I mean "silly", lest you think I'm being sarcastic, but either way, he is a good man, a good Christ Follower and I'm proud of him for following where God leads him and his family.

18... Disneyland... 2 free park tickets + 2 free airline tickets + Marriott Rewards Free Hotel Stay = a trip to Anaheim to visit Disneyland Park and California Adventure. Now, there isn't enough time to go into all of the trip, but one of our favorite attractions was...

17... The Wonderful World of Color... A water based show on the lagoon at California Adventure, its full of light, color and imagination, and its just cool.

16... The New Star Tours... So, when I was in Disneyland, I read on Twitter that they were doing testing for the brand new Star Tours--remember, this is May 2011--so I kept checking for when I might be able to get in. Finally, I saw they were accepting "Annual Passholders", and being such, I hoped to get to ride it... of course, I was a Walt Disney World passholder, not a Disneyland Passholder, there is a difference.

The Lovely Steph Leann, only 3 or 4 months pregnant at that time, was unable to ride then... so I went alone, and made it to the Star Tours attraction. Of course, my WDW Pass wouldn't get me in, but I noticed a Cast Member working with another gentleman's fast passes... I asked him if there was any way I could get to ride, and he nodded and said, "Come with me". So he escorted the other gentleman and myself past the long, winding line and straight to the entrance of the building... and it was awesome. The ride was awesome.

15... "I Can't Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand)" by Justin Fisher... My boy JustFish is a story teller. Some of his stories are a bit long winded, some are right on the money, most are hilarious, all are sincere. This is a book of stories, one after another, about his struggle and life with cerebral palsy, and the blessings God has given him through such a handicap. He's just a good dude.

14... The Muppets Soundtrack... its the awesome music to the awesome movie called...

13... "The Muppets"... What an awesome film. I mean, straight up fantastic. Of course, this is someone who grew up on the Muppets, has the series on DVD, has all the movies on DVD (except for "Muppet Treasure Island"... I just can't get into that one) and have loved Kermit & the gang for years. Plus, toss in Jason Segel, and Amy Adams (whom I'm in love with) and you've got a great movie on your hands. Even the bizarre rap song by Chris Cooper somehow works in this film. Sort of.

12... October Disney... went in October. Loved it. (the trip was over a year ago, so I'm a little fuzzy on the specifics of this trip...)

11... "Walt Disney" by Neal Gabler... This book is a behemoth... and its filled with dates and names and times and things that are very detailed about the life, both personal and professional, of Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse and those Magic Kingdoms that bear his name. If you want a light telling of his life, this is not the book for you. But if you want the details, the minutiae, the backstories behind the stories, then pick this one up. I loved every page, and look forward to reading it again.

And for your weekend... finally... The Top Ten Coolest Things of 2011... you don't want to miss it as we wrap up then, and start working on just now...

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