<![CDATA[The Mousekebeers Podcast - Michael]]>Thu, 04 Feb 2016 03:44:30 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[MIke's Review of "Avengers: Age of Ultron"]]>Sat, 09 May 2015 20:05:47 GMThttp://www.mousekebeers.com/michael/mikes-review-of-avengers-age-of-ultron
I should start this post off by saying that I am a casual comic book reader. I don't subscribe to any, nor do I have a box of pulls at my local comic book shop. I do enjoy reading if there is a series I can really get into, but even those as time goes on I find myself drifting and eventually falling behind, and then off the series. That being said, I throughly enjoy the comic book genre and all the media it can produce. I grew up in the 80's, and got to enjoy some great comic book products like the animated X-Men television series, and as bad as they were, I loved the Tim Burton Batman films. However, by 2002 I had really come into my "geekdom" and was probably way too excited for the launch of the Sam Rammi "Spiderman" films which kicked off what we now call "The Marvel Cinematic Universe". Since then we've had hit after hit after hit, with only a few duds along the way (looking at you Ben Affleck "Daredevil"). As the MCU has grown, Marvel has exploded onto the scene in so many other ways. I for one thourougly enjoyed the Netflix "Daredevil" series, and I know Tad and Elaine are big fans of "Agents of SHIELD", and I will eventually get around to the first season of "Agent Carter" that's been on my DVR for months. Ok, I've gotten sidetracked. My point is the MCU is fantastic, and while they do take liberties with original comic storylines, I'm not an avid enough fan to notice. SO let's talk "Age of Ultron".

I was a big fan of The Avengers! I loved all the Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor films that proceeded it, and I am loving how the MCU is starting to intertwine the stories into one ongoing serial. Since Thor we have heard of The Infinity Stones, and since then we have now seen that 4 of the 6 have materialized. I won't give specifics to keep this post a spoiler free zone. I actually found myself trying to figure out how and where all four had come into play, and finally realized that 2 of them showed up in one movie. "Guardians of the Galaxy" to be exact. So, my excitement for this movie was high. I went in with no expectations for it to match the first Avengers, and I left very pleased. 

"Age of Ultron" catches up with the Avengers as they are searching for Loki's staff. Ok, quick confession, I haven't seen Thor 2. Did I miss something? When did the staff go missing? See, these things all connect! Anyways, within the team, Tony Stark is working on a global protection campaign that would not eliminate The Avengers, but would make them more part time than full time. The issue is, he's doing this without the knowledge of the other Avengers, minus Bruce Banner because Tony needs a second scientific mind. It is here that eventually leads to Ultron, a hyper-advanced AI that adapts to it's environment and people around it. Now when I say hyper-advanced, I mean this thing an dissect a situation, evolve to overcome, and eventually control. It puts Terminator to shame. The rest of the film does many things very well, but what it does best is sets up "Captain America: Civil War". Now I started this post by talking about my casual comic book reading, but Civil War was a series I followed monthly, and I'm here to tell you that Civil War is going to be amazing! Especially with Marvel securing the rights to Spiderman for the movies again. (Slight Spoiler: Peter Parker is a big part of the comics of Civil War, whether he is in the movie is yet to be determined. He wasn't listed on the announced cast of Civil War, but that could be on purpose). 

The action in Ulton is fantastic. It's pretty much go go go right from the start with very little exposition through dialogue. Recently, Joss Whedon has gotten some backlash about sexism in the film, and while I wouln't call it sexism, Black Widow really id take a back seat, almost subserviant role in this film. I don't know if that was because of the story she's involved in, but she is defently not the same Natasha from the first Avengers film. 
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<![CDATA[A Goofy Movie: 20 Years Later]]>Tue, 07 Apr 2015 22:31:38 GMThttp://www.mousekebeers.com/michael/a-goofy-movie-20-years-later
Wow! A Goofy Movie is 20 years old!?! I, like many kids raised on Disney in the late 80's and 90's, owned this classic (and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!) on VHS in the thick white clam shell case that could protect your Disney VHS movies from just about anything. I was 12 when this was released, so for me Max was always a relate-able character. He was a typical teenager who just wanted to be cool and fit in who was also embarrassed of his parents. I think most teenagers go through that stage at some point. I remember watching this movie over and over again in my bed room. There may have been some dance routines to Powerline songs. Maybe, not confirming or denying this. 

The story was simple: Goofy wants to reconnect with his son, and Max wants to go to LA to go to a Powerline concert. Powerline, he's kind of like Bruno Mars. Actually, he's EXACTLY like Bruno Mars. So they pack up the car and head off on a road trip full of hi-jinks and hilarity that can only come from a cross country car trip. Plus, the songs were super catchy! Seriously, these were some gems of Disney Animated musical numbers. First we have "After Today". Max's proclamation to stand out and to get the girl of his dreams , Maxine, to notice him. Ok, Max and Maxine? That's like me dating a girl named Michelle. Anyways, not my point. It's what we call in the theater world an "I Wish" song. Here is this huge number involving I'm pretty sure every student at Max's school, plus some great nods to classics like "Grease"
Speaking of impressing a girl, now's a good chance to share "Stand Out". I mean, who didn't try to old "Hijack a High School Assembly to Perform a Lip Sync Number to a Girl"? Just me? Well, ok then. BTW it wasn't an assembly. It was the talent show. It also didn't work. 
See, it didn't work for Max either. Actually, it totally did. Anyways, our next song comes as Goofy and Max are heading out on the road. Goofy just wants to reconnect with a son he feels he's losing (the assembly stunt gets Max in some trouble fyi), and Max just wants to go to sunny California and be a cool normal teenager. I personally love this song, and it always finds it's way to my road trip playlists. Plus, the Mickey cameo is classic!
Along the way, Max and Goofy meet up with Pete and his son, PJ, and also have a hilarious encounter with Bigfoot. Seriously, who knew Bigfoot loved disco?? So if you ever find yourself trapped facing Bigfoot, just turn on some BeeGees. You'll be fine. One of the funniest scenes in the entire movie comes when Goofy takes Max to a roadside "attraction", not unlike a certain Disney attraction featuring singing bears, named "Lester's Possum Park". Warning, this song will be stuck in your head for a while. Years, maybe even forever. As a Disney Attractions Cast Member I can vouch for the success rate of kicking or hitting an attraction to make it work. Really, it's our equivalent of "turning it off and on again". So let's get ready to do some yodeling, with "Lester's Possum Park". Poor, Mordecai. 
Eventually, Goofy and Max settle their differences and come together as father and son, and of course, sing about it. Seriously, this movie has a lot of great songs! 
Ah, finally the climax of the movie. Max get his wish all along and ends up at the Powerline concert. Sorry, to spoil it for you, but this song is a 90's Disney staple. Also, further proof that Powerline and Bruno Mars are the same person. Then there's the "Perfect Cast". Watch the movie, and you'll get that reference. 
I love this movie! I always have and I always will. It's one of those movies that when people tell me they haven't seen it I seriously question their childhood. In all seriousness, this movie was a gem of 90's Disney animation. Sadly, it has for the most part slipped into Disney movie oblivion. It hasn't had an updated DVD or Blu-Ray release, and here it is now on it's 20th anniversary, and again, no special release. You can find it on Amazon for pretty cheap used, and even new at a good price. Luckily, it hasn't reached the status of a Little Mermaid or Sleeping Beauty, who when in the vault will go for upwards of $100 on eBay. I strongly suggest you check out this classic for a new generation. You will be glad you did. Now I'm going to go dance in my living room to some Powerline. Not ashamed at all. 
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<![CDATA[Diary of a Disney Cast Member: Part 2]]>Sun, 12 Oct 2014 22:02:25 GMThttp://www.mousekebeers.com/michael/diary-of-a-disney-cast-member-part-2
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"I told you this was a bad idea"
Happy Sunday, Mousekebeers!! While I'm battling what I believe to be a slight case of the flu, I figured it's a great time to add a new chapter. When we left off, I had just found out where I'd be working, which was EPCOT Fastpass Attractions. To elaborate on that, I would be hopping between all the attractions in EPCOT that offered Fastpass. At that time that consisted of Test Track, Honey I Shrunk the Audience or HISTA as it will be referred to from here on out, Living with the Land, and Malestrom. That's right, from time to time I got to change costumes and go pretend to be Norwegian. Well, more like go hang out with the coll Norwegian guys, and of course the pretty Norwegian girls. We also worked what was called the Tip Board. If you're familiar with EPCOT, then you know about the big kiosk right in the middle between the two sides of Future World that offers maps, directions, and has the giant display showing all the current wait times. Well it has a name, and it's called Tip Board. I actually enjoyed working Tip Board because you got to handle a lot of guest requests. Tip Board can also, well at least at the time they could, make you dinner reservations. That was always fun. I also enjoyed calling the Goofy Birthday Hotline for kids with birthdays. If you don't know, the Goofy Birthday Hotline is/was a phone number you could call and Goofy would give you a special birthday greeting. I to this day wish I knew the number. If anyone out there has it, please forward it to me :). 

Before I get too ahead of myself, I wanted this part to be about two major days in any Cast Members life. Your first paid day as a CM is your Traditions Day. What is Traditions? Imagine your typical work orientation, not like the housing and College Program orientations I talked about in Part 1, and amp it up to 11! This is where you learn all about Disney service, and the Disney Point. Ever noticed at Disney Cast Members never point with one finger? The Disney Point is done one of two ways, either two fingers (the traditional way and the way I still point to this day), or with an open palm. Why the special point? Who knows!? It's just what you do. You also get to learn about the "point system" which is essentially the "how can I get away with murder but not get fired" system. It refers to call-ins and disciplinary. Short version, you have to really really try to get fired from Disney. It's here also that you get your name tag and ID. The iconic pieces of Cast Member attire. I was there during the 100 Years of Magic Celebration so my name tag had my favorite anything Disney rather than my home town as they are traditionally. So mine said The Haunted Mansion. Thinking back I could have probably came up with something better, but I stand behind it. Most times guests would just ask me why I was working at The Land when my name tag said The Haunted Mansion. I'd usually respond with something like "Shh. Don't tell anyone I've escaped". 

After Traditions you get your schedule for the next few days which starts with your Discovery Day. This is a day where you get into a group of about 15-20 who all will be working at a certain park, and a guide takes you around and teaches you everything about your park in one day. You also get to ride as much as possible and eat a pretty nice lunch at one of the restaurants in the park. Growing up, I went to Dist a lot. Every 3 years from the time I was 3 until I was 18 to be exact. In all those years I went to EPCOT only once, in 1991. I didn't remember anything. I was pretty sure I never rode Horizons, World of Motion, or Journey into Imagination. I vaguely remembered Spaceship Earth, but I may have never ridden that either. The good news was on Discovery Day I got to experience EPCOT like never before! Now, many things may have changed in 12 years but for me the ending of Discovery Day is a moment I won't soon forget. After a long fun day of park exploration our group was taken to the area right behind the Fountain of Nations. There you will find the classic knot logo for EPCOT. We were circled up and then told to turn around and face the other direction. As soon as we did this fanfare and music comes over the speakers in the area, and a voice comes over and says "Ladies and Gentleman, please face your attention to the Fountain of Nations, and join us in welcoming our newest EPCOT Cast Members!!" People started applauding and cheering, some even took pictures with us. Total strangers, but Disney fans who wanted to share in our moment. 

Following Discovery Day you receive your training schedule, and that's where the real fun, and Part 3, begins. Cheers and Ears!!
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<![CDATA[Diary of a Disney Cast Member: Part 1]]>Wed, 08 Oct 2014 21:58:58 GMThttp://www.mousekebeers.com/michael/diary-of-a-disney-cast-member-part-1
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Me singing with The Dapper Dans on Main Street!
Hey everybody!! In my absence from the audio part of Mousekebeers, I wanted to sit down and do something I've always wanted to do, and that's write about my days as a Walt Disney World Cast Member! It seems that when people find out I worked at Disney, the first question I get is "What was that like?" followed closely by "Were you Mickey!?" in a close second. To answer the first question it was one of the most amazing times of my life! I don't regret a single thing about it, and I wouldn't change anything. To answer the second one, no, I wasn't Mickey. Sadly, I'm too tall to be friends with the head mouse in charge. 

Another question I get quite a bit is "How did you get that job?". Like every other job out there, I applied. Actually, I was lucky enough to be selected to the Walt Disney World College Program, a pseudo-internship. I say pseudo because nothing about my program helped me towards my college degree. The WDWCP is intended for any college student to be able to take off a semester, or more if you extend your program, to go down to Orlando and work for Disney in one of thousands of different roles. The goal is for you to get your foot in the door, then go home and graduate, and then return to Disney with your degree and a giant leap ahead of outside applicants. The application and interview parts of my program were simple. I had to drive to a larger school in Valdosta, Georgia because my school in Albany wasn't on the list of recruiting schools. I met with a Disney Recruiter and simply had a conversation. They asked me what jobs I'd like to do, and more importantly what jobs I wouldn't do. While not everyone wants to be a custodian or sell Mickey Bars in the 100 degree Florida heat, Disney does try to cast you in a role you'd actually want to do. Of course, this doesn't mean you'll get your #1 pick either. Mine was Jungle Cruise Skipper, followed by Haunted Mansion Butler and Tower of Terror Bellhop. I didn't get either of these.

After about 6 weeks I got a letter of acceptance. My mother had it framed. The letter simply told me I was in Attractions. That's it. That's all you get. Your department. You have no idea what park, what ride/attraction, or if you'll be selling popcorn, ice cream, or if you're lucky, beer! I called and accepted my role, and started with the legal paperwork. Things like school verification, school credit (if gaining any), immunizations, and housing. That's another crap shoot. You don't know who you'll be living with until you literally meet them in your Disney provided townhouse. Now, 12 years ago there were ways to arrange and stack the deck to get your friends in your place. For me I was lucky that my friend Kenny was in line with me and we asked, and were granted to be roommates. Disney deducts your rent and utilities from your paycheck for you, so you don't have any bills outside of personal ones to deal with, and you don't have to worry about getting evicted for not paying rent. 

Finally, after months of waiting, my arrival day came. I arrived at Vista Way, or as it's called in the program, Vista Lay, more on that in future parts, and checked in. It is here that you finally find out your job. I was assigned to Epcot Fastpass Attractions. Yes, Attractions. Plural. My job was to hop from ride to ride that had Fastpass capabilities and handle guest flow. I was also that Fastpass Nazi who told you you can't use your 7pm Test Track fastpass at 1pm. After check in I got my housing assignment. A 4 bedroom, 8 man townhouse. Yes you share a bedroom with two twin beds. It's not the grandest living, but much better than dorms. Think dorm room, but it's really a house with a living room, kitchen, private bathrooms, and all the amenities of off-campus living. I met all of my roommates, some of whom I'm still very close to, and got settled in. I also met the girls upstairs. 8 guys downstairs, 8 girls upstairs. Pretty nice huh? Now on your first day you go through Orientation. Essentially it's a 3 hour class on how to not get fired or kicked out of the program. You're under 21, you get a wellness apartment, which means you can't drink. AT ALL! First violation and you have 24 hours to move out and you're also fired. Things like that. You also get your checking account if you want. Disney has their own Cast Member Credit Union which is pretty awesome! After orientation we did what any fresh faced CM would do on their first day, we used our free park admission!! 

I think this is a good spot to end Part 1. Tune in for Part 2 coming soon!! Cheers and Ears!!
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<![CDATA[Top of the Stout Latte To Ya!!]]>Sun, 21 Sep 2014 20:35:44 GMThttp://www.mousekebeers.com/michael/top-of-the-stout-latte-to-ya
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Starbucks has begun testing a new "Dark Barrel Latte" with reportedly is designed to taste like a stout beer a la Guinness! As of now the product is available is select markets, but could see it's way nationwide by the holiday season! Would anyone be interested is a latte that tastes like Guinness? Can't say I'm not intrigued. For more info, check out Buzzfeed

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<![CDATA[It's time to "Let it GO" to malestrom :(]]>Mon, 15 Sep 2014 00:05:54 GMThttp://www.mousekebeers.com/michael/its-time-to-let-it-go-to-malestromPicture
I personally am not a fan of change when it come to the Disney parks. Maybe I'm a traditionalist, or maybe I just think things are great the way they are. Recently a lot of changes have been announced to Epcot, but most recently it was announced that the beloved Norwegian boat ride "Maelstrom" would be closed and replaced with an attraction themed to the newest Disney cash cow, "Frozen". 

Before I get into this post too far, let me start out by saying I actually enjoyed "Frozen". It was a great story, filled with great characters, and even better music. "Let it Go" has gone from good to bad so many times with me I've lost count. That being said, I liked "Tangled" better. Sorry, but I did. However, it was "Frozen" who blew up at the box office, and therefore gets all the theme park love that comes with being a runaway hit. The wait to meet Elsa and Anna is still 4+ hours. Hollywood Studios had a successful "Frozen Summer", and even their own limited edition Magic Bands. So it came as no shock that "Frozen" would get an attraction. Norway in Epcot seems like the perfect spot. Arendelle, while fictional, is a Norwegian village after all. I guess I, and many other Epcot purists, just didn't want to see them take our beloved trolls and vikings away. Much like the fans of rides like World of Motion and Horizons hated to see their favorites leave to make way for Test Track and Mission: Space. 

Personally, I hate this idea simply because of this. When the new ride opens in early 2016, will "Frozen" be the classic they want it to be? Will it be worthy enough of it's own attraction? While many will say yes, I say it won't. Yes it was a fantastic film, but I think as time ticks on the demand for "Frozen" in the parks will diminish. The lines to meet Elsa will get shorter, and the merchandise won't sell out as fast. "Frozen" has made a mark on the history of Disney animation, but in my opinion, not one that will last a life time to merit a theme park attraction.

Also, does this mean that Norway will now be known as Arendelle, thus taking away from the original "World's Fair" theme of World Showcase? I feel the presence of a "Frozen" attraction will do just that. No longer will be celebrating the heritage of Norway, but now the storybook fantasy of a mythical village. It will take some time, but as long as I can get my Geir Ness cologne in the gift shop, I can look past this eventually. 

 I hope for the success this will most certainly bring Epcot, but personally I think it's a bit too presumptuous. Meanwhile, I will begin to look for crow on eBay, and have it ready to eat should the necessity arise. 

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