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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

This is my last post of the year in what has been a slow year on the Brainsplotch blog. This is the fewest number of posts I've written since I started the blog in 2008. I have to admit that most of my blogging energy has been spent on my other blog, Treasures from the Spartan Attic. With the MSU football team in the Rose Bowl, that blog has been more enjoyable to write to be quite honest.

On a personal front, we just "survived" the worst ice storm I've ever seen in these parts. Our house was without power for almost four days, but we had it easy compared to some people I know. A few of my local friends had their power restored as late as yesterday. As the expression goes, "first world problems."

Needless to say, it made for an interesting Christmas, as we celebrated the holiday in a stranger's house. We were lucky in that my in-laws (who also lost power) were able to move us all into a house in their neighborhood that still had power, and it just happened that the owners were on vacation in Mexico. With the owners' approval, we set up housekeeping until our power was restored. When, on a whim, I called our house on Christmas evening and the electrically powered answering machine kicked in, it felt like a true Christmas Miracle.

***

I won't make any promises or resolutions concerning Brainsplotch in the year 2014. I've done that far too many times in the past and never seem to follow through on my promises to write. If I feel like writing, I'll do so, but honestly I don't think I'll exceed the measly 24 posts of this year (one fewer than 2012).

As far as my "Mark's year in review" goes: overall I'm happy with 2013. Like any year, it has had its ups and downs. The good has been seizing control over my health and getting on a running regimen. I've lost at least 20 pounds and feel better than I have in many years. We also took a memorable trip to Disney World, the first time I'd ever been there. And, of course, there's that MSU football team that has had an astounding season on the gridiron.

So I'm on here one last time in 2013 to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I'll see you on the flipside.

Friday, December 20, 2013

I'm back...with a brief recap of my Disney vacation

I can't believe I haven't posted in here since October 28. Has it really been almost two months since Lou Reed died and I wrote my little salute?

I was on vacation from November 22 through December 3. We went to the the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and it was the first time I'd ever been there. I'd always had a hard time imagining what Disney World looked like, and was quite astounded by its immense size when I finally got there. For those who don't know this, Walt Disney World occupies 25,000 acres outside Orlando, Florida. It's land owned by Disney, and is essentially its own "Vatican City." It may as well be its own independent nation state.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the experience. For one thing, I've never been to a place that operates with such seemingly effortless precision and efficiency. It's quite astounding. (I had a friend describe it quite succinctly as "benevolent fascism"). Yes, there's no doubt that the endless cheerfulness of Disney World can get tiresome and is a tad unsettling at times. I found myself careening across a wide array of emotions while there: from the giddiness of a child in an adult's body after seeing something like Cinderella's castle for the first time, to cynicism over how sanitized and manufactured the place often seems. The brilliance of the Disney 'imagineers" is undeniable, though. The fantasy world they create is seamless, shiny, and endlessly fascinating to child and adult alike.

Overall, I had a great time at Disney World and am still thinking about the trip--and I have to say that Cinderella's Castle was even more awesome in person than in photos.

I embarked on the trip with some trepidation, but returned enthused. I'd like to return to Disney World in the future (and next time actually ride on Space Mountain, which didn't happen this time).


 Above is a photo I took of Cinderella's castle. It was the evening of November 30 and out last day at the Magic Kingdom park.

Well, I'm gonna go ahead and cut this blog entry a little short (since the real world is beckoning me) and if I have time, add to it later. In the event that I DON'T (and let's face it, I probably WON'T), I want to wish all of my two or three readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.