Wednesday, September 30, 2009

FREE Grayson Wray Download TODAY ONLY!

Magnatune Song of the Day
for Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Genre: Rock
Album: Picassos Dream
Artist: Grayson Wray
Song: 5. Into The Unknown

Listen to the album: hifi lofi


(only available today, Wednesday)


Today's free song is from the album:

Grayson Wray
Picassos Dream

Total time: 54:27
Release date: 3/2/04

Location of artist: CA, USA

You will be able to download a high quality version of this artwork when you purchase this album.

Monday, September 28, 2009

20/20 Vision

Your comments?


Maddy's Cancer Battle

Please Keep Praying

Fever and a cough with congestion. Treating her for a respiratory infection. Praying it's not more.

Your Prayers Please

Taking our dog to the vet. She's coughing up blood. Hope it's not the cancer progressing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Walt Disney World Vacation - Day 7: Epcot Center

IllumiNationsThe seventh and final day of our Walt Disney World vacation was spent at Disney's Epcot Center. It was probably my favorite of all the parks. I was eagerly anticipating Epcot Center, mostly for the World Showcase -- where countries from around the world are are showcased, including food, gifts, and even street shows. My hope was to get some schnitzel in Germany, but that didn't quite pan out, for several reasons. I'm quite regretful that it didn't, but my wife has promised to make up for it by taking me to one of Indy's German restaurants.

Soarin'We started the day at Epcot by riding Soarin', clearly the most popular ride at Disney's Epcot Center, as the cast members responsible for the ride meet the crowd at rope drop and guide them directly to the ride (those who wish to go, which was the majority of the crowd). The ride simulates a hang-glider soaring over the earth. It is quite realistic and an understandably popular ride, but not the best ride at Epcot, by any stretch of the imagination.

Mission SpaceIn my opinion, the best ride at Epcot -- and possibly the best ride of all the Florida Disney parks -- was Mission Space. Four riders join forces as the Commander, Navigator, Engineer, and Pilot of a space ship that is destined for the red soil of Mars. Each rider has his/her responsibilities in order to achieve mission success. The ride is very realistic (coming from someone who has never been to space, much less Mars), even simulating the G-force of take off. My son, who was quite hesitant to ride most of the rides during our vacation, enjoyed this ride -- twice, first riding the tame version of the ride with my wife, then the intense version of it with me. It was a blast, riding Mission Space with my son (no pun intended).

Snow WhiteOf course, like every Disney park, there was the usual compliment of characters that my daughter just had to meet, starting with Snow White, Moulonand followed by Moulon in the World Showcase. it was especially fun to meet Moulon, as she spent quite a bit of time talking with my little girl and even trying to get my son involved in the whole character thing. She almost succeeded.

My daughter, who has never even seen Disney's Moulon seemed to enjoy her time with the character, and I won't be surprised if she asks to watch the movie some time in the very near future.

While at Epcot, my son and daughter got to spend a little time talking with Crush the Turtle from the movie Finding Nemo. It was pretty cool, as Crush appears in a real tank and actually carries on a conversation with kids in the audience, talking with them and answering their questions and even addressing them by name. When my son was called upon, he asked Crush if he ever got to build anything.

Direct video link.

Our time at Epcot was interrupted in the early evening as we had reservations to have dinner with Cinderella and her family (the step-mother and step-sisters) at 5:00 pm. It was a very interesting event, as my little girl got to spend some time with Cinderella, Drizella, Anastasia, and Lady Tremaine. We were lucky enough to be seated very near the door that the characters entered the room from, so she was one of the first to see each of the characters.

Greeting pictures:

Lady TremaineAnastasiaCinderellaDrizella

One of the best parts of the event was that my little girl was chosen from all of the boys and girls there for the first dance with Cinderella. I don't know who was more excited, my little girl, or her parents.

Direct video link.

After dinner with Cinderella and her clan, we returned to Epcot for extra magic hours, a time set aside after normal park hours for guests who are staying in a Disney resort. We also watched Epcot's fireworks, IllumiNations, from the World Showcase. It was one of the best displays of the entire vacation, as well. This video isn't the highest quality available on the internet, but it is the view as we saw it.

Direct video link.

If I had it to do all over again -- and we probably will in a year or two -- I would seriously consider dropping Hollywood Studios from the agenda and spending an extra day at Epcot Center.

This was our first family vacation, and the first trip to Walt Disney World for myself and the kids. We had a great time, and we're all having Disney vacation withdrawal now. I told my wife earlier today that I'm ready to go some place fun, like Kings Island, just to help me get over the Disney high. I never thought I would enjoy the House of Mouse so much, but that was before I considered taking my kids there.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone with young children. It was a time filled with some of the best memories of my life.

Your comments? Joe

Maddy's Cancer Battle

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Walt Disney World Vacation - Day 6: Hollywood Studios

Hollywood StudiosDay six of our Walt Disney World vacation took us to Disney's Hollywood Studios. It was the longest, hottest, most dreadful day of our time at Disney World! We aren't much of a movie family (considering that most movies aren't actually for families), so there wasn't a great deal at Hollywood Studios of interest to us. Oh, and it was also the most crowded day at any of the parks we attended, as we went on a day that Disney's Fantasmic show was to be presented (twice) after dark.

There were some highlights of the day, of course, as it wasn't all bad. Naturally, my little girl got to meet several more characters, and was actually working on her second autograph book.

Character greeting pictures:

Little Einstein's QuincyJoJo and GoliathThe Incredibles FrozoneThere weren't quite as many characters at Hollywood Studios as we had seen at the Magic Kingdom (of course), as the park is dedicated more to the behind the scenes action of Disney than the character magic.

But my daughter did run into one character who just doted on her like you wouldn't believe. Mickey MouseShe spent several minutes with Mickey Mouse while the line of waiting fans grew longer and longer. He cuddled her and played with her hair, as if he was grooming it for her, then invited her to groom his own hair (she didn't quite understand). It was actually quite cute, watching my little girl get so much attention from the world famous mouse.

She had seen Mickey several times already at Magic Kingdom, but there was just something about the visit with Mickey at Hollywood Studios that was quite, well, magical.

That wasn't the only magic of the day, though, as my son -- who had spent the entire trip being quite reluctant to get involved in anything but some of the rides -- actually drummed up the courage to volunteer for Jedi training. It may have had something to do with the fact that he created his own light sabre the night before at Downtown Disney -- I don't know -- or it may have been that he had drummed up some courage after meeting Captain Jack Sparrow the day before. Whatever it was, it was quite an exciting time for my boy's parents, as he was one of several kids called up onto the stage to learn how to fight with a light sabre and defend the galaxy against the dark side of the force.

Jedi TrainingJedi TrainingJedi TrainingJedi TrainingBest of all was when all the little Jedi trainees were surprised by the unexpected appearance of Lord Vader himself, accompanied by two Storm Troopers. Each of the trainees got to take their shot at a duel with Darth Vader, and I think my boy did quite a job of defending the cause of freedom.

Direct video link.

Another memorable moment of our long day at Hollywood Studios was watching the Extreme Stunt Show. We got quite a look at what happens behind the scenes in action films, and some of the stunts were quite impressive -- but I could have done without some of the hokey pretend film-making they do to present the show.

Direct video link.

Direct video link.

Direct video link.

We could really feel the heat from that last one.

And, of course, the main reason that we stuck it out at Hollywood Studios until the end: Fantasmic. This isn't the greatest video clip available online of the intensive light show, but it's a short clip of the way we saw it. Enjoy.

Direct video link.


Maddy's Cancer Battle

Book Review: Green by Ted Dekker

Book ReviewIn his latest, highly anticipated work, Green (The Circle, Book 0: The Beginning and the End), Ted Dekker brings his Circle full circle. What began as a trilogy has quickly evolved into over a dozen volumes in this epic saga of the Circle.


Imagine waiting your whole life for the return of a Savior -- the Creator of the world, Himself. Watching, waiting, and fighting for your very life against a horde of unbelievers. Watching as many of the faithful begin to doubt, eventually turning against all that you have believed for so long. Imagine, even, that your very son is one of those doubters who has turned, deceived by the evil into believing that there is a better way.

And then your Messiah comes to take the faithful home with him. All that you have waited for all of your life has finally come to fruition, and you have finally made it to the Promised Land -- only to discover that your son is not there.

What would you do? Would you -- could you possibly -- be happy in a paradise that your own son was not a part of? Or would you beg your Savior for a second chance to save your son, knowing that the Creator of the universe can do anything that He wants? If there was a way to come back and save those who missed out on Salvation, would you take it?

* * * END OF SPOLIERS * * *

It's very difficult to describe just what Green is about without giving some part of the story away. What Ted Dekker began several years ago in Black truly comes full circle. Dekker explains that Green can be the beginning or the end to this epic journey, I suggest this volume be saved for last. You may find yourself wondering how this book can both begin and end this saga, but the shocker ending will make it all excitingly clear.

Dekker has outdone himself with Green

Direct video link.

Your comments?


Maddy's Cancer Battle

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Walt Disney World Vacation - Day 5: The Magic Kingdom

Breakfast at the CastleOur fifth day of vacation -- our 3rd at Magic Kingdom -- was the most magical of all. My son finally started to loosen up and actually had a really good time. My little girl had breakfast with all of the Princesses in Cinderella's castle, and met her favorite Disney character, Tinkerbell.

The morning started a bit rough, as we tried once again to drive from our resort to the Magic Kingdom, parking at Disney's Contemporary Resort and making the five minute walk to the park. We had been tipped off to this little shortcut by a gate guard at the Contemporary Resort on our second day at the Magic Kingdom. Apparently, it's such a top secret shortcut that it's forbidden, as the gate guard on this third day told us we were not allowed to park at the Contemporary Resort unless we were staying there (we stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort). Not about to let my daughter miss out on breakfast in the castle, I turned around and left the gate, drove a half mile or so down the road, and turned around. My little girl's happiness was more important than some stupid gate guard's rules -- especially when those rules had been broken for us before. I drove back to the contemporary resort and passed the gate entrance to an entrance for "Cast Members Only," where I followed another car through the gate and parked within sight of the very gate guard who told me I couldn't park there.

We made the walk to the Magic Kingdom, where my little girl was treated like a Princess as we entered the park for breakfast an hour before opening time. Breakfast at the castle was not the best meal -- but it wasn't all about the food. My little girl met almost every Disney Princess:
ArielAuroraBelleSnow WhiteCinderella

After breakfast at the castle, my Princess entered the park, greeting her subjects with a royal wave.
Direct video link.

More character greetings:

My son, who has always been very hesitant to meet any of the tall costumed characters, was just as bad at Disney, though I was able to bribe him to stand for a family photo of Mary Poppins. He also was very hesitant to ride any fast or intense rides, but he finally started to loosen up on our last day at Magic Kingdom (and was even looser at Epcot two days later).
Buzz LightyearCaptain Hook and Mr. SmeeDaisy Duck
GoofyPinochioMary PoppinsMickey and Minnie

My Son DrivingOne of his favorite rides at Magic Kingdom was when he got to "drive" a race car.

One of the best parts of the last day at Magic Kingdom for me was when my son actually volunteered to go up with Captain Jack Sparrow. He had seen other children learn sword fighting techniques from the famous pirate, and hoped he would get to do the same, but he was instead sworn in as a member of Captain Sparrow's crew. It was, however, a major step for my son to get so involved with a character.

Direct video link.

The last day at Magic Kingdom by far was the best, and I find myself every day thinking of new reasons to go back. I didn't think I would miss it so much, but we had lots of fun as a family and can have lots more.

Average Joe's Review Store