Posted in My Views On The Real World, Travel and Diversions

This Place Was Made For People

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I am a cast member working at Walt Disney World, and have returned to work  a month ago after the furlough, in which I got paid 40 hrs a week for doing nothing.  I have seen this place empty and full and these are my thoughts.



Say what you will about the Grand Canyon
Yosemite
Yellowstone
And other places of natural beauty and grandeur

But our place only gets prettier with people.

Here there are races and ballgames
Silly challenges and serious professional competitions.

There are meetings and conventions where deals are struck, mergers happen and the dissolution of musical groups.

But mostly there is storytelling.
Tales of princesses and lovable losers, disguises and confusion.
Fables of discovery, change, sadness and friendship.

But without people, without our guests experiencing it, 
it is just a lot of buildings and sidewalks.

We miss our guests
We miss the families that are here for the first time.
We miss the groups of friends that come here and laugh.
We miss the couples that are here for their hundredth time.

We are still here
Trimming trees
Pushing brooms
Patrolling the parks
And making sure it is ready when our guests come back and are part of our story again.

This place was made for people.

 




DISCLAIMER: I am not a spokesperson for The Walt Disney Company or any of its subsidiaries. The views expressed are my own and are in no way endorsed or sanctioned by my employer.

Posted in Travel and Diversions

Star Trek Original Series Set Tour

 

I was on the 3rd day of a solo vacation, location Ticonderoga, New York located on the northern end of Lake George.  After a night at a local campground I head towards the French and Indian War fort on the southern end of Lake Champlain.  It is early, so I do what I normally do when what I am going to is not open, I  wander.  My meandering takes me to the Walmart for a few supplies and then I head downtown.  I am always looking for a comic books,  gun shops,  2nd hand stores, just kind of open to the universe and what may be around the next corner.

That is when I see some very distinct letters, gold in color on the side of building, Star Trek Original Series Set Tour, I pull in.  The building appears to have once been a store, possibly a small mom and pop grocery store in downtown Ticonderoga.   The sign on the door informs me it will not be open for a couple of hours.  I decide to stick with my original plan, see the fort first and then come back here.

The fort is very enjoyable, I  have a great talk with a reenactor who was lawyer but decided to give it up to do something he truly enjoys, that conversation lasted a  good twenty minutes while he cobbled together some hand made shoes for other reenactors.  The rest of the tour is interesting and educational, along the way I talked to a couple of people, another reenactor, the guy running the gift shop, I asked them about the Star Trek thing downtown, neither of them know much about it, except the fact that William Shatner was at it a couple of weeks ago.  Promising I think, maybe it is something more than just a few relics from the original show in glass cases with the theme music playing in the background.

I drive back downtown and park right out front.  It’s a Thursday in May, not the height of the tourist season yet so emptiness is to be expected.  I go in, pay the $22.50 for a ticket from a nice lady behind the counter and look at some items in the display cases while another tour of three people finish up.

Then it is just me and my tour guide (sorry I do not remember your name, and you never sent me an e-mail for those free download codes that I promised you.)  He is younger than me, very energetic and extremely knowledgeable.  He leads me to a double set of wooden sliding doors, I kinda feel like I am about to enter someone’s bedroom from inside of their walk in closet.  He pulls a string to open the doors and we walk in.

Do you know that feeling you get when you see that beginning credits for a long awaited Marvel movie,  or when Lucy walks thru the wardrobe and finds herself in Narnia, maybe if everything is just right on a summer day and you open a comic book after the cover has been burrowing into your mind all the way home.   That is how walking into this meticulously rebuilt set of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 made me feel, like I was transported to a place I had always dreamed about but never really believed I could get to.

I am a Trekker, I grew up on the re-runs, the adventures of Kirk, Spock and McCoy ignited my love for all things sci-fi, this was a couple of years before Luke, Han and Leia came along. (sorry George, Gene got there first.)   I daydreamed about being Captain Kirk’s nephew  at least a decade before Wesley Crusher moved onto the NCC-1701-D.

The first room on the tour is the Transporter Room, the gateway to all adventures off the ship, the place where trouble started, trouble ended, or stories took a dramatic turn.   If you were going to have a face to face with your enemies or your allies this where it happened.  By the time I got halfway thru the tour,   I admitted to the tour guide, that if I would have known how great the tour was I would have paid double.

Image result for star trek museum ticonderoga ny

The rest of the tour is was as great as the first part, Kirk’s quarters, the Jeffery Tube, the Engine Room, and finally the wonderful, the fantastic, the place that every Trek fan would love to have duplicated in their own home, The Bridge.  I got to sit in Kirk’s chair, I got to look over all the buttons at Spock’s station, I got to examine Sulu’s console.  They even have the background noises playing as if operations were ongoing and the crew just stepped away for a second.

The only flaw I could see, and it is not really a flaw, is no ceiling.  This was the rebuilt set and they had to light the sets from above so that is to be excused and ignored.  Although I was told by my guide that they are thinking of putting a ceiling on the bridge because in one episode it was shown, so that is cool.

The big question you have to ask yourself when traveling, ‘would you go back again?’   This is different for different people and you have to weigh out your priorities when it comes to travel.  I love to travel and my goal is to see different things, new places,  and have diverse experiences .  Given the choice to go back and see things a second time versus seeing something I have never seen before I would most likely default to seeing the new thing.  There is something to be said to exploring a place fully of course,  I have been to Disney, Gettysburg, the Grand Canyon and Washington numerous times and I will go back to them at the drop of a tribble.  Other places like Hawaii, Las Vegas, Hershey, New York City, the Outer Banks I could go back to but it would not be high on my list.

The Star Trek Original Series Tour is a place I would go back to in a heart beat.  Probably not alone, I want to go back with my brothers who were right there with me on the floor watching that big old box set in the basement as Kirk fought the Klingons with a sword.  I want to go back with my buddy Scott who has talked to me for countless hours about science fiction and comic books.  I want to go back  with my daughter who has never watched an episode of Star Trek, but the tour brought me so much joy that she would probably enjoy it by osmosis.

The area around Lake George is gorgeous, majestic mountains and I would love to spend time on the lake, and Vermont is just a very short ferry ride away.  (Travel tip for the ferry:  If you go on a windy day, the water will be choppy and the ride across is a little rough and kind of fun.) There are countless little hotels, cabins for rent and campgrounds in the area and the summer weather is beautiful.

Oh and before I forget, they let you turn on the Red Alert from just about anywhere on the ship, I did it three times.

Posted in Interviews

Interview- Loraine Martian

This is an A.A. Forringer rarity, a person I know in person and I have contact with on an almost daily basis.  Ms. Martian and I work together and soon after I started working with her I discovered she is also a writer.  She is highly intelligent, imaginative and loves her coffee.  I hope you enjoy the interview, and like I told her, after my books are as popular as J.K. Rowling she can point to this interview as proof that she knew me back when I was an unknown (of course the reverse could be said if she gets successful  first and I am still an unknown).
   French fries- Shoestring, steak, curly, crinkle cut..?   What condiment(s) on them? 
I rarely eat fries, but when I do, I like crinkle cut if I can get ’em.
    How long have you been creating and why? 
I’ve been creating since I was a child.  I love acting, drawing, writing, crafting.  I’ve done at least one since I could walk and talk.
   What odor to you is the most pleasant? 
I think pizza.  Yes, pizza is the best smell.
    Favorite things to read?  What genre?
I enjoy Young Adult, classics and fantasy.
A boat you are riding in is about to capsize what did you do to contribute to this? 
There was most likely a spider in the boat or a flying insect literally ATTACKED me, so naturally my only defense was the flail my arms and scream, “KILL IT!  KILL IT!”
What is the best thing about creating? 
I think it’s the satisfaction of getting what’s in my head out. 
How much ground can a ground hog, hog, if a ground hog could hog ground?
Um… lots??
What is the worst thing about being a creative personality?
Along the same lines as the best thing about creating, the worst is when what’s in your head doesn’t translate the same when it’s out in the world, either when other people don’t get it or when I am personally not satisfied with what I created.
      If you could force one famous person to consume your stories who would you force, and how much would you force them to consume?
Well, since I only have one completed book, they wouldn’t have to consume much.  I would probably just be thrilled to have any famous author read and like my book, but most of my favorite authors are dead.
   How far do you hope your creating takes you? 
I am just happy when someone reads my book and has nice things to say about it.  I am not out for fame and fortune with my writing, art, or acting.  I do all those things for the pure joy it brings me.
Posted in Interviews

Interview – Gavin Aung Than

An interview with the cartoonist Gavin Aung Than who is from Australia so one of my standard questions about a groundhog went over poorly.   I have been a big fan of Zen Pencils for a couple of years.  I absolutely fell in love with the concept from the moment I discovered it, quotes tied with cartoons.  I have collected quotes for years and if you even do a nominal look at aaforringer.com you will notice that about 95% of the site is quotes.

I have bought his poster, Make Good Art, for my friend Ken and My Spirit is a Roaring Sea on canvas for my daughter and for myself two of his four books.

 

   French fries- Shoestring, steak, curly, crinkle cut..?   What condiment(s) on them?  

      Curly – ketchup, but not too much

        How long have you been creating and why?

   Since I can remember, always drawing. as a full time cartoonist – 6 years

    What odor to you is the most pleasant?

    That new baby smell my daughter had.

       Favorite things to read?  What genre?

Comics and novels. crime fiction – Elmore Leonard,  James Ellroy

   A boat you are riding in is about to capsize what did you do to contribute to this?

    I sat by and did nothing while the hole got bigger … and bigger.

   What is the best thing about creating?

   Having created something out of nothing, something that didn’t exist until i imagined it and then took action to complete it. it’s like being a god!

       How much ground can a ground hog, hog, if a ground hog could hog ground?

            uh….

     What is the worst thing about being a creative personality?

       Getting asked to do random interviews when I should be creating 🙂

        If you could force one famous person to consume your comic who would you force, and how much would you force them to consume?

  Zen Pencils could change Trump couldn’t it …. nah you’re right, nothing can.

How far do you hope your creating takes you?     

   Being able to support my family is all I ask.

 

Eventually I will be buying some more of his posters and I will eventually be buying Creative Struggles.  And if Gavin ever makes it to the East Coast of the U.S. I will drive long hours, if possible,  to meet him and get him to sign his merchandise.