Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Disneyland and San Diego

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:17 am

I had a trip to San Diego planned before I got laid off. When I got a job so quickly, I was still able to go on my trip. We visited Braidwood, Matt Strebe and Chuck Perkins while we were there. We haven’t gone to San Diego since they moved down there and it was a trip long overdue.

While we were there, we went to Disneyland. I can’t make a trip to Southern California without worshipping at the altar of the Haunted Mansion. It would go against everything that I am. Here is what I learned this trip to Disneyland:

Other people really don’t want to hear about Walt Disney’s old apartments in Disneyland or other nerdy details that Mike and I have learned over the years.

The Winnie the Pooh ride is the scariest ride in Disneyland. It’s scarier than Big Thunder. It’s scarier than the Matterhorn and its abominable snowman. It’s scarier than Space Mountain. Timothy Leary with a budget couldn’t have made a scarier ride.

The new Buzz Lightyear ride ROCKS!! You get to shoot and control the ship and it keeps score! I thought that the guns and ship control were non-working things that would make the kids happy, but they really work! Most importantly, the ride keeps score so you can kick your friend’s butt.

Speaking of Disneyland with kids, it’s way better than just going alone as an adult. The first day, we went with the Strebe family and it was so fun to see his children enjoy Disneyland for the first time. It was almost as if I were experiencing it for the first time.

Anyone can eat at the Blue Bayou restaurant. All you need to do is make a reservation. It’s the restaurant that is in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I used to think that it was a private club or something, but the entrance is right there in New Orleans Square. You can just go up to the Cast Member and put your name on the list. They will tell you when you can come back. Next time, I’m going to go there first thing to get a reservation right at lunch time. The prices were really reasonable and the service was excellent. We watched the pirate boats float by in the dark ambiance. I felt so privileged to eat there.

Innoventions is LAME! Don’t waste your time in there. You won’t learn about any new things. I can totally visualize how to fix it, but I’m not an Imagineer, so I really shouldn’t waste my energy on it.

It’s easy to drop serious money at Disneyland and that doesn’t even include the price of admission. I could have spent more, but Mike drew a line at the Haunted Mansion model home.

We had a lot of fun in San Diego. It was great to see our friends in their element. Whenever we’ve seen them over the last five years or so, they have been visiting family in Salt Lake and we feel lucky to see them for a couple of hours. This visit, we were consciously visiting them, so we got to see them every day. It felt really good to get that much face time. Can’t wait to go back!


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Filed under: Movies,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

He is antsy and fidgeting. “I think we should go to the theater so we can get seats together.”

The other two nodded in agreement. The voice of reason speaks out through her voice, “We already have our tickets. We’re going to get into the movie.”

The other two shake their heads, but he’s the one who responds, “Science Fiction movies make all their money in the first two days. We have to get there early so we’ll be able to sit together.”

The three of them are so uptight about getting to the theater early that I start feeling anxious about being able to get seats together. By the time we arrive, I am so worked up that I am rushing into the theater to save seats for our large crew.

The theater was empty…

I’m sure Douglas Adams would have thought it hilarious.

The movie was great. Go see it. I liked it better than the books. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out these sites:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Internet Movie Database – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Official Movie Website

When he walked into the empty theater, he was visibly surprised. “Must be a remote theater,” was his justification…


Salt Lake 5K Race Results

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I wrote a detail entry about my race results at the Salt Lake 5K on Starling Fitness. You can see it here:

Starling Fitness – 2005 Salt Lake 5K Results

I’m just glad that I didn’t faint in the crush of people finishing the race.


I’m Still Alive

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 7:48 pm

Just a quick note to tell you that I’m still alive and very happy right now. My head is full of all the new things that I’m learning. My fingers have been happily typing for Starling Fitness, so if you miss me, you can hear from me there. I will join you again just as soon as I am completely proficient at my new job.

Love ya!



Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am


My heart is breaking. So many sad secrets on the screen. I want to pat each person on the head and whisper, “There, there…”

“Is that that Secret thing?” Mike asks, peeking at my computer screen.

I nod. “Yeah, Braidwood posted about it on her blog.”

I try to think of a happy secret that I harbor that I could send in to offset so much sadness. I can’t think of any happy secret that I may have. I can barely think of a secret that I hide. So much of my life is posted here in naked honesty…

Ok, that’s a lie. Here’s one secret that I haven’t shared:

I know you’re reading this. It’s why I haven’t wanted to write here in a long time.

Via: Yes, please! – PostSecret – by Braidwood


The Disney Circus Comes To Town

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Mission To MarsLast Friday, I had a dream about Disney. All the old Disneyland rides of yesteryear were on a tour. It was like a traveling carnival. They had a Candyland ride that I remembered vividly in my dream, but now just seems foreign to me. They had Mission to Mars. I remember thinking that Disney was genius to do this because the rides in Disneyland were useless, but moving around the country in a carnival to small towns, they were incredibly valuable.

Unfortunately, they were horribly executed. The employees didn’t have “Disney faces” at all. They didn’t run the rides professionally. I decided to go on Mission to Mars again because I thought maybe they would be more professional the second time, but they weren’t. Instead, I was stuck on the ride while two of the employees were flirting and laughing with each other. I was stuck for forty-five minutes until I finally said, “I want out of here!” The whole thing felt like a huge disappointment to me and I just wanted to go home. Stacey had been talking to a vendor whose boyfriend (who worked on Mission to Mars) had dumped her. I just wanted to leave.

I think if Disney kept their old rides and put them on a carnival tour they could probably squeeze out a few more dollars from them, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. I’ve never said this before, but sometimes it’s good that they go. Sometimes the rides are dated and no longer of interest except for nostalgia. Sometimes they are so dated that the jokes don’t make sense anymore.

For example, think about Mission to Mars. No one wants to see that ride again (ok, that’s a lie, nostalgia plays big with some people, but stay with me here). The animatronics would look silly. The joke about the albatross flopping into the radar, setting off alarms makes no sense in a post-Cold War world. It was a ride that needed to go, just like Adventure Through Inner Space.

I loved Adventure Through Inner Space, but it was an artifact. Back in the early sixties, we thought science was going to cure all our ills. That ride really exemplified that concept. Now, that idea is true, mostly, but we don’t think it’s that neat anymore. Sure, science cures diseases and makes our life easier, but more and more, we are learning that some things in their natural state are far better than the chemically altered versions. Like food, we thought that food would be perfected by science to make us healthy, but it didn’t turn out that way. Big companies have been chemically altering food to taste really good, but it’s not healthier for us. The ride was slightly educational, but it’s more about a commercial for Monsanto. It had to go.

It’s the same for The House of the Future. Who knew that houses would look about the same as they did back then? Sure, we have better insulation and better electrical wiring, but nothing beats the rambler/cottage style house. Not even a plastic house on stilts.

I have been spending so much time lamenting Yesterland because those old rides remind me of when I was a ten year old girl, going to Disneyland for the first time, but they really don’t make sense anymore. I’m glad that Disney keeps updating Disneyland. I would gladly sacrifice both Rocket Rods and the People Movers for the Buzz Light Year ride. Sometimes, what they replace it with is not as good as what used to be there, but they figure it out pretty quickly. Why they haven’t realized how lame Innoventions is, I have no clue.


Gossamer Commons

Filed under: Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:25 am

Whatever you’re doing right now is not important. Right now, go click on this link and start reading Gossamer Commons. I’ve linked you to the start of the story.

Gossamer Commons – by Eric A. Burns and Greg Holkan

Eric writes the story line and Greg does the artistry. I can already tell it’s going to be a story that you want to read. If you like my weblog, you’re going to love reading Gossamer Commons. What are you doing still reading this entry? I told you to go read Gossamer Commons…


Illustration Friday: Nourishment

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am



Radio Silence

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

There are a couple of ways to say nothing. One is to say nothing. Another is to say a lot of nothing. Monkey Jabber. Small Talk. My, isn’t the weather nice? What did you do last night? Where did you get that shirt? Did you watch that show last night? Have you heard the new song? Did you hear about our colleague? My answers are inconsequential and ignored. They just fill the air with words hiding my true self.

I’ve experienced enough monkey jabber for a lifetime. It feels good to just sit in silence sometimes. I find it shockingly reassuring. After listening to the never-ending jabber for so long and being expected to respond to it, I am happy to smile politely in the quiet that has been given to me.


Star Wars III

Filed under: Movies,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 4:22 am

I saw Star Wars Episode III. I’m apalled that the man who created Princess Leia could write Padme. He made her so weak and spineless. Princess Leia would have ended that mess fifteen minutes into the movie.

There were plenty of other inconsistencies in the movie, but I am willing to forgive them. What I can’t forgive Lucas for is turning Padme into a weak and submissive character. I think of the little girls all over the nation playing Star Wars.

“You have to be Padme.”

“I don’t want to be Padme.”

“You have to be Padme. You’re the only girl.”

“She doesn’t get to do anything. Can’t I be R2-D2? R2 kicks ass!”

“You’d rather be a droid than a girl?”

“I’d rather be a droid than Padme.”

Considering how agressive women can get when they are pregnant, Padme should have taken him out with a kitchen knife in his sleep. Anakin wouldn’t have had a chance to go to the dark side.


Lake Stench

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 4:36 am

When it’s going to rain in Salt Lake City, the air smells of dead brine shrimp. When you visit The Great Salt Lake, it smells like that all the time. Lots of people hate that smell. They call it “Lake Stench.” I’ve grown up equating that smell with rain, so I like it.

People look at you funny when you tell them that you like the scent of Lake Stench. It’s socially unacceptable here to like the smell of The Great Salt Lake. When they complain about the smell, I just keep my opinions to myself now.

I hear people talking about the smell of the ocean all the time. Before I was familiar with the ocean, I used to imagine that it smelled like The Great Salt Lake. I told my friend from Florida this and she retorted, “No way! This smells nothing like the ocean! The ocean smells clean! This smells like…” She paused to think of the right word, “…garbage.”

The stench of The Great Salt Lake smells clean to me. The wind blows over the lake right before the rain storm, bringing the scent of dead brine shrimp and soon after, the rain starts. The rain washes the city clean and dissipates the smell. I guess it’s just what I’ve grown to love about this city.


Illustration Friday: Aquatic

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am


I’d Like To Buy a Vowel

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 12:06 pm

The green Subaru Outback in front of me had a license plate with the following letters:


It’s a vanity plate. The license plate is not a happy flirt with chance because the letters don’t follow the appropriate pattern for plates in Utah. They made this on purpose.

The license plate frame read, “Don’t drive faster than angels can fly.”

The closest I can come up with is: Saran It For You. I imagine a home-based company that wraps whatever you wish in Saran Wrap. I know it sounds silly, but it’s the best I can come up with. What about you guys? Any ideas?

Update 06-15-05: The answer from everyone is “Serenity For You.” You guys are right, especially considering the license plate frame. I don’t know why I didn’t see it on my own.

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