Wednesday, October 26, 2005

So I am writing this the night before posting this. My wireless card apparently doesn’t like the network here so I’m without an internet connection at the moment. Usually I would just plug Mr. Laptop into the wall, but not tonight as I have, once again, lost the use of my livingroom to one of my housemates and her boyfriend. Yup, I’m getting bitter about it.

Last night/tonight I went to Spirit of Aloha, a dinner show at the Polynesian Resort with Canuck Chris and Frenchie Sonia. We got 20% discounts for being castmembers, but 18% gratuity is added on top of it. Pfft. It was all you can eat plus all you can drink – including alcohol! Not that I’m a drunk, but usually only sodas come in infamous American bottomless servings. However, one must note that the beer was American beer – the weak stuff. Seriously. I don’t drink that much but I know if I had drank as much Canadian, Scottish, Belgian or ANY other beer as the American beer I drank last night I would have been right sloshed. My favourite part of the meal was the appetizers – pineapple, salad and bread. The bread was pineapple-coconut bread and absolutely delicious! The salad had a really sweat and zangy dressings on it. The servers brought each table giant platters of food. As it was all you can eat, they offered to get more of anything you actually finished. The main course was sautéed veggies, rice, ribs and chicken. I don’t really eat ribs, but I had one and I imagine these are just your typical ribs, as with the chicken. The veggies were really good, and the rice was, well, rice. There isn’t really too much you can do with rice, eh? The dessert was brought in on these plates with smoking volcanoes on them. The dessert was shaped like a trapazoid (uh oh… memories of geometry are sketchy so I’m not sure if that is the proper term…) and was kind of a chocolate-raspberry pudding. It was good, but not blow-me-away good. All the food was good, but nothing absolutely fabulous other than the bread and salad. The show was broke up into three acts. You had food in front of you for the first two so the singing and dancing was minimal, especially during the first act which was rather silly and full of over-exagerated acting. The third act, after our plates were cleared from the table, was really good! It was the actual luau (sp?) and very entertaining with the highlight being a guy doing a dance with batons that were lit with fire at each end. My ticket was $42 and while I don’t mind paying that once, I probably wouldn’t come back to this show as there are soooo many dinner shows in Orlando.

After the show was over we hopped on the monorail and headed to Epcot. It’s funny, I thought I would hate going to Epcot on my days off but I really don’t mind. It’s not like I work at McDonalds – there is sooo much to Epcot and I can easily avoid my work location if I feel like it. We booted it through the park (stopping to say a few hellos along the way) and watched a concert by the Beach Boys! It was pretty good… but man, those guys are OLD! Yet their voices sound the exact same. Afterwards we walked over to the Boardwalk Resort (there is a walkway connecting it to the back entrance of the park) and went to Jellyrolls. I may have mentioned it before, but it’s a bar with two guys playing pianos and they take request from the audience and know an obscure amount of songs! We then walked over to the next bar, an empty danceclub, and pranced about for awhile before cleverly trying to figure out a free way to get home. The gates to Epcot were closed, thus we could not take the Epcot bus home. So we walked to another hotel and caught the bus to Downtown Disney and then one back to the Commons. Phew!

Before the whole dinner show adventure I had went to a “Career Insight” session being given by a Disney imagineer. Imagineers design, build, maintain, etc., the attractions at the park. They probably do work on the restaurants and shops too, but this guy worked with attractions. It was pretty cool and I got to ask some questions. The guy explained how it is sometimes difficult to bring together the practical folk, (say, engineers,) with the creative folk.

So yup, yesterday was a great day! Stuff like this is why I want to stay here for ages… As I told some people before I left, I’m not here because of the work, I’m here for the 102 days off!

This afternoon I’m heading back to Epcot with a couple of friends to partake in the eating and drinking festivities of the Food and Wine Festival. If I don’t go back to Canada weighing 497 lbs I will be FLOORED.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Happy Hurricane Day!


Well, I must say that is a *tad* windy today. And rainy. And, shocker, a bit chilly! Wilma has arrived, and while she is not the most pleasant houseguest, (she did get in as my smoker roommate failed to completely close the sliding door to our balcony...), she isn't causing too much chaos. However, she did screw up my plans to go to the House of Blues last night. Hmph.

The Disney parks are actually closed this morning!!! There are plans to reopen at least Magic Kingdom and Epcot (my park) in the afternoon, weather pending.

I think the worst of the weather is over. I woke up around 9:30 as the wind was pounding on our window, but it's calmer now. Too bad as now the video I took doesn't look as good... If only I had went out earlier! Alas, the comfort of my bed was too inviting. And actually, it sounds like I spoke too soon as it's getting really gusty again... Anyway. There isn't any thunder and lightening, so I'm happy. Last night I was working and the lightening was right mad! I really don't like lightening to begin with, so I was quite glad when we got to close our kiosk's flaps so I couldn't at least make out the outlines of the lightening. And in lucky breaks, I was working at a different kiosk last night (a visa no-no, but it was an emergency so it was okay) and when we were clearing it out for hurricane-emergency-preparation-blah-blah-blah I found a rain poncho! Yay! When I saw the fellow canucks later in the evening the poor souls were absolutely DRENCHED. :(

Despite the mad lightening last night, it mostly smoothed over by 9.00 and Illuminations (the fireworks show with the World's Best Music) went on!

Tonight I go in for clean up. Basically we put all the stuff in our food and wine kiosks in storage last night and now we have to sort everything and stock 'em back up. "Yay."

Anyway, time to hop off and do something. Adios!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

In preparation for the impending hurricane I bought a flashlight today.

Jen = 1, Forces of Nature = 0

Take THAT, Mother Nature!

It even came with batteries.

I actually bought water too, although that was before I learned of the hurricane and it was moreso because the water here tastes like wolf urine and as a result I'm rather dehydrated - not a good thing when working in the hot sun. And although I don't have much water, I have a case of beer to fall back on ;)

I'm lazy... I need to do something. Get some exercise of sorts. But I have to leave for work in less than an hour. Man, time here goes WAY too fast.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Oh, it's been awhile, eh?

A whole week!

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Hallowe'en Party was lots of fun! It was like being a kid again - we got soooo much free candy. I probably have cavities now. The park wasn't too full and we were able to go on lots of rides with minimal waits. It was great! I paid about $30 for my ticket, which I think is worth it. Normally people have to buy a regular ticket and the party add-on for about $40. I'm not sure if I would spring for that. However, I've been to the Magic Kingdom so much now that it was cool to go for something "new", something I have never experienced before! There was a special parade and different fireworks, although some of the music for the fireworks was just weird. Almost like a cheesy radio version of older Disney songs which I didn't really like. There were also "dances" at a couple of venues. I walked into one that reminded me of a Disney World commercial because there were a bunch of characters dancing with children on a dance floor.

Wednesday was back to work and I can't for the life of me remember what I did after work. Probably nothing as I was rather tired as I had been working really long shifts. Thursday I worked a lovely thirteen hours shift. How joyous. I was in an absolute sour mood one day at work last week. I was just tired, the sun was beating down something fierce with minimal wind and a cloudless sky, had been working so much and slightly flipped out at the end of the night on Thursday after my long shift. We got to the bus by it's scheduled departure time but the bus was full so we were turned away. We used to be allowed to stand on the bus like regular public transit, but now it depends on the driver and we weren't allowed. I was pissed as the bus runs only every half hour that late at night and now I wouldn't get home until after 1.30 which would give me less than eight hours before I would have to leave for work again. Anyway, I think I cheered up by Friday night or something. But man, I hadn't been that pissy at work since my early filing days back in July when I used to sit on the floor in the washroom and try and convince myself not to cry.

On Sunday night I changed right after work and went to the House of Blues for some free booze, fun and socialising. Unfortunately, there was no free beer to be had, just mixed drinks or wine.

You know what bar serves the most awful mixed drinks of all time?

Shock! The House of Blues!

Man, those drinks are practically half liquor. It's brutal! The only decent thing I could get from them was amaretto sours and those things have so much sugar that I found my teeth hurting the next day! However, amaretto gives me fond memories of the fabulous Pownel Street summer of 2002 so that was nice. After hopping about to the HoB's horrible techno music we walked over to the ever-present Pleasure Island. Eventually I went home.

Monday was another day of work, but a short one as my shift was only seven hours long! Monday night I planned on staying in as preparation for my Tuesday plans but ended up finding myself at PI, again, and didn't hit the hay until 3.30. My bad.

Today, on THIS GLORIOUS DAY OFF (!!!), I went to Islands of Adventure, Universal's other park. It's pretty cool, although I can't help but think the layout of the park is a bit of a hassle. It's around a lagoon, so you have to walk all the way on either side to get to the "top" bit.

The Spiderman ride was GREAT! It was so different than anything else I've been on. It combines dark ride elements with 3D screens and, just, well, everything! It was so much fun and I probably wouldn't have picked up how they did it but I looked up at the ceiling at one point because I was completely disoriented. It was sooo cool! We also went on a log-flume-ride thing and got completely drenched. Perhaps even dripping. Actually, I know I was dripping. They also allow bystanders to control these weird squirtgun things that are on the ride. A person watching pays 25 cents and has the opportunity to take the riders from the lovely level of "pretty wet" to "soaking wet". Anyway, I got sprayed right in the ear and could feel water gushing around my hearing aid. Here is hoping it still works as I'm so useless without it at work as there is always background music and what not.

Anyway, time to hop off! Things here are, generally, going well. I'm pumped for next Tuesday as I'm going to a career insight session being given by an imagineer! Imagineers are the folk who design the new rides. It's a "clever" take on the words imagination and engineer.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Day Off!!!!

Today I do not work!!! At all. And it's a good thing because I've been working a LOT lately and and pretty much perma-tired. (I cleverly stole that from Anne ["I'm perma-pink"] and modified it for my own use.)

Last night the staff at Le Cellier cooked us up a big turkey and other restaurant food and we had a giant Thanksgiving Potluck. I don't even need to eat today. I woke up this morning after a somewhat restless sleep still absolutely stuffed. That being said, I *think* it was worth it, although my heart and digestive system probably want to murder me. And I'll want to murder me too as I try to fit into a Hallowe'en costume from my thinner (unfortunately thinnest!) days.

Speaking of Hallowe'en (yay!), tonight I am going to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Hallowe'en Party! It's a ticketed event (e.g., you must pay extra) held periodically at the Magic Kingdom throughout October. As castmembers, we get $10.00 off tickets that are usually about $35-40 depending on if you buy in advance.

Anyway, I need to run.... Papa on MSN distracted me (in a good way :) ) and I need to hop off and shower before meeting people in, umm, twelve minutes. Jen, late? Never ;)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Oh, the delicious food I have been eating as of late!

The best things I have had at the Food and Wine Festival so far is a toss-up between Germany's apple strudel, Poland's nut bar and Canada's maple fudge. Yup, those are all desserts. However, the "mains" are pretty good too, with the exception of the weird sausage thing in Germany which I didn't really care for.

Things have been busy, busy, BUSY as of late! Lots of work and lots of stuff going on. I finished a 45ish-hour week today which isn't too bad, especially since three of my shifts were only six-hours long. Tomorrow I start a 60-hour week with the highlight being a 11.15 - 0.30 shift.

I'm in a good mood right now as I just came home from my roommate's birthday party and got to practice my realllllly rusty French! I think I get along somewhat decently, I'm just pretty bad with verb tenses. I was also practicing with one of my Quebec coworkers a couple of days ago. I find her much easier to understand than the French, but I think it's because Quebec's prononciation has become anglicized over the years, much how our Canadian English has evolved versus British English. Anyway, back to the point.... It was slightly intimidating going to a party with primarly French people. Not that they are scary whatsoever, but because they know each other and I feel kind of rude speaking English when they are speaking French. At first I was rather quiet and wished I had dragged someone along with me as suggested by my roommate. She then asked if I would mind going back to our flat and fetching the birthday cake (which I did :) ). When I got back I decided I was being retarded and tried to strike up a conversation. Flashback to an article I read long ago about being social and mingling. There are always a couple of questions, slightly modified depending on the situation, that can fly at any party. Most people at a party know the host, or know someone who knows the host (i.e., it's your date's friend). Commons style, the question can be, "Do you know who lives here?" if you do not have a clue whose place you are visiting or "How do you know [insert host name]?" So cheers to that article I read long ago! I picked someone who looked like she didn't know too many people as well, et voila, I now have some more people to hang out with!! Her English was quite good so I spoke English with her mostly. A guy showed up whose English was more than adequate but I felt trying to speak in English would be polite and kind of fun! Nine-hundred million grammatical errors later I am now home and in a good mood. This is what I like about the Commons - meeting people from all over. It's soooo easy to hang out with just the Canucks and it sometimes takes some effort to meet the other internationals. Don't get me wrong, the Canadians are great, but you tend to get curious about all those people speaking other languages :) And really, where else do you get the opportunity to do this?! So I'm very glad I went to Smiley's birthday party despite my initial feelings of awkwardness. But sometimes you just need to suck it up and take reign of the situation at hand. Even if you feel like everyone else knows everyone else, chances are there is a least one other person who is a bit lost as well! :) Moral of the story: going to a party because you know one person and like cake isn't a bad thing! Besides, by the end of it I didn't even have any cake (probably a good thing).

La fin. A demain!

PS: sorry for lack of emails as of late.... My internet connection has been a bitch to contend with as of late but it seems to have straightened out now. So expect replies soon! And to my parents, I may talk to you again someday, but at the moment our time difference is an issue. I get home from work after you go to bed and then stay up waaaaaay late. Bienvenue aux Commons!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Oooh, where does the time go?

I started working the Food and Wine festival kiosk a couple of days ago. Our food is quite popular and deservingly so! I got to try a bit of it, but I'm holding a grudge against our freakishly-popular, canadian cheddar cheese soup. It's really good, but it's far too hot and we keep burning ourselves on it. Our girl burnt herself pretty badly and has her hand wrap up and a large souvenir blister.

Last night I went to a party at a co-worker's place. Thank God, as the two previous nights I spent bumming around at home doing nothing. The first night I was just too tired to move until practically 11.00 (then I went and played volleyball with my roommate and hung out by the pool for a bit) and the following night I was kind of tired, kind of moody, yet bored and blaaaaah. I don't like being in a bad mood here because it seems so silly as I'm incredibly lucky to be here, but sometimes it just creeps up as I get frustrated, by times, with a somewhat lack of a social life. I think it's because, as I stated before, everyone works different hours and sometimes it's hard to track people down.

Next week we are doing mandatory overtime as our festival kicks up high speed. Honestly, if you are in Central Florida and have the opportunity to go to Epcot you really, really should. The festival has about 27 booths featuring local cuisine (local to the host region) and alcohol. You can get "sample sizes" of wine and beer (the beer is generally a proper portion) for less then $5.00 and a sample of food for between $1.50 - 4.00 depending on the kiosk. And honestly, the portion sizes aren't really that small either! To eat cheaply in Walt Disney World generally requires a lunch at a quick-service restaurant. This would be just as cheap if you were to buy two - three "samples" and probably much nicer. I'm half tempted to go in early today to do some poking about but I think I'll wait for a weekday and as apparently the locals will be flooding our park this weekend and next. This is the festival's tenth anniversary and we have had people tell us that they come every year to have some Canadian soup and fudge. Although many of the kiosks change hosts year to year, Canada is always a staple and it one of the first kiosks to the right side of the World Showcase. As I mentioned above, we serve cheddar cheese soup, maple fudge, maple glazed salmon (mmmmm...), Canadian Ice Wine, Riesling (wine), and Labatts. The most expensive thing is a 12-oz Labatt beer at $5.00 which is standard price on Disney property for that amount of beer. It's probably pretty standard at most theme parks, actually.

Our kiosk is quite close to Greece's. (Greece is staffed by Epcot staff and not actual Greeks.) I see a lot of people with the kiosk's version of Spinach Pie and it makes my stomach churn. When I was in Greece our group was served that for our dessert on a boat. Biting into a pastry expecting chocolate or strawbeery and getting SPINACH is pretty disapointed and disgusting. A lot of people say it's good, but I prefer to spend my money elsewhere, like Ireland or Catilla & Leon (mmm, Spain). I was looking at our guide for Ireland's booth (again, staffed by locals, sorry Shan :P ) and it is serving Leeks and Potato Soup. Ingrediants: leeks, potatoes. Hee hee...

Anyway, I'm off. I'm going into work early today to stock myself up with some new, clean costumes. I don't get my shorts very dirty (although my pair from yesterday has some nice splatterings of soup on them) but I pretty much have to peal my shirt off at the end of my shift as I swear I sweat nine buckets of sweat during work. It's kind of gross, my persperation is the body's natural cooling system. ;)