Archive for August, 2007

I’m a published photographer…

Posted in Flickr, life, personal, random on August 24, 2007 by Paxton

Hey, everyone, guess what? I have 3 photos that have been published on legitimate websites. How cool is that? All three photos can be found on my Flickr account.

The first two photos were picked up by an online travel map/guide website called Schmap. The photos reside in their Orlando Guide.

The first picture they used is of the local haunted house attraction Skull Kingdom. Click here to see my Flickr version. The pic below shows you how it looks on Schmap’s site, click the image to go directly to the Schmap! Orlando entry.

Skull Kingdom

They also use a picture of mine of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Click here for the Flickr version. Below is how it appears on Schmap’s site, click the image to go directly to the Schmap! Orlando entry.

Margaritaville

In the photos above and on the websites, look on the right hand side and you’ll see my picture. Note: They use 2 or 3 other images as well as mine, so you may have to click the “right” and “left” red arrows to scroll through the provided pictures. You will see my name below my picture.

The third picture that was picked up for use is of the AMC Empire movie theater in New York City. Click here to see it on my Flickr account in full glory. When I was on assignment in downtown Manhattan, this was my favorite place to see a movie. It’s right off Broadway on 42nd street. A beautiful building that provides a top notch 5 floor, 25 theater moviegoing experience. I took the picture right before I left New York City for good.

The picture was used on one of my favorite consumer news websites, The Consumerist to illustrate an article they have about AMC Theaters. Click on the image below to go directly to the article. You can see my name at the bottom of the article text.

AMC Theaters

Very, Very exciting. Thought I’d let you share in my published greatness!

I’m not actually at work today as I’m going to be driving to Birmingham, AL for a wedding. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

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The Golden Archives: McDonalds Sandwich Hall of Fame

Posted in food, humor, McDonald's, pop culture, reviews with tags , , on August 21, 2007 by Paxton

Old McDonalds signWhile perusing the internets looking for McDonalds commercials the other week, I also found some cool information on weird sandwiches that McDonalds either used to serve, or serves in other countries that we don’t know about. McDonalds foreign and regional menus can bring a decidedly different feel to the American so used to the menu here in the states. First, lets take a look at a few sandwiches that have come and gone from the mostly static McDonalds menu. After these forgotten sandwiches, let’s take a look at some regional/foreign Mickey D’s delicacies you may not know about. It’s fascinating what people in other places love to eat.

HulaBurgerYes, this was actually on the McDonalds’ menu in the mid-1960s. Ray Kroc noticed that he was losing lots of sales on Fridays. When he realized that Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays, he decided he needed to come up with a non-meat replacement for hamburgers. His first choice? The Hula Burger. It consisted of a bun, a piece of cheese and a slice of pineapple. That’s it. Sounds kinda kooky, and it was. Unfortunately, people wanted real food and not just toppings on their sandwich so the Hula Burger flopped. A popular phrase during the time was, “I love the Hula, but where’s the burger?” Lou Groen, owner of a Cincinnati based McDonalds, created the Filet-O-Fish and when the Hula-Burger crashed and burned Kroc had to try it on the menu. The fish sandwich was a winning success and has been there ever since.

McJordanAhh, the McJordan. When MJ was shilling for McDonalds in the early ’90s there wasn’t anything they wouldn’t slap his name on. The McJordan burger was the most famous. A quarter-pounder with cheese, BBQ sauce and TWO onion rings adorned this artery clogging heart attack machine. That silence you hear is the stopping of many people’s hearts upon eating this chunk of meat and cholesterol. Yikes. I remember my friend Steve got this one time and he snuck it into the movie. When he opened the bag the overwhelming smell of BBQ sauce and beef nearly made me hurl…that would then have caused a chain reaction of ralphing not unlike the pie-eating scene in Stand By Me. Luckily I have a strong gag reflex.

The McJordan brings to mind the 1993 promotion between McDonalds and the movie Jurassic Park. McDonalds added the “Dino-Size” your meal option to its menus. The Dino-sized version of the quarter pounder with cheese was the DOUBLE quarter pounder. My friends and I called it the McDeath, because to eat it would cause immediate cardiac arrest. I actually ate it once, and was sick the rest of the night. Oh the memories. This was actually the first time I remember seeing the Double Quarter-Pounder with Cheese on the menu. Did you know that at one time you could order a McDonalds POUNDER? It’s was 4 quarter pound beef patties on one sandwich. Tell me your arteries didn’t clot just reading that sentence.

McDLTI know you remember this one, the McDLT (McDonalds Lettuce and Tomato). The funky styrofoam container is a dead giveaway. It keeps the hot side hot and the cool side cool. Interesting gimmick for a burger with just lettuce and tomato. Check out a very-80s commercial for it starring Jason Alexander (George Costanza). I don’t remember ever eating it, but it looked like it was good.

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Remembering Elvis and Elvis Week

Posted in Elvis, personal, pop culture with tags on August 16, 2007 by Paxton

Elvis Week Banner
Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. He died, in his home, on August 16, 1977.

My wife and I are big fans of Elvis. We even named our kitty Presley after him. For our second anniversary we traveled to Memphis, TN and toured Graceland (which I had never done). On the way back we stopped in Tupelo, MS and visited “The Birthplace”, Elvis’ boyhood home. I have read Volume 1 of Pete Guralnick’s two volume biography of Elvis. Amazing. It’s amazing to see the history Elvis created and lived through. Elvis lived an amazing life, yet he died so tragically.

Let’s celebrate the man and his iconic image, not linger on the circumstances of his death. Let me see what pictures I can dig up here of my wife and I and our dealings with all things Elvis related.

Elvis AvatarYou’ve seen my Elvis Avatar from an earlier article.

Elvis M&MI also created this M&M avatar of Elvis. Somewhat goofy, but I like it.

Elvis HawaiiHere’s a picture of a commemorative Elvis statue outside the Neal Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. This is the venue that Elvis filmed his famous “Aloha from Hawaii” concert in.

Elvis NascarDale Earnhart Jr. is going to drive a commemorative Elvis car for the singer’s 30th Death Day anniversary. I like the color scheme.

Elvis Reese’sI mentioned earlier about trying the Elvis Reese’s Cups with Banana Cream. Well, there’s a whole website devoted to it.

Elvis Volume 1
Elvis Volume 2
Here is the two volume Elvis biography I mentioned earlier by Pete Guralnick. I’ve read Volume 1 which covers his birth through him leaving for the Army in ’56-’57. Volume 2 picks up after the Army until his death.

Last but not least, below are some pics of me in my Elvis Halloween costume. Steph actually made this Elvis jumpsuit with her own two hands (and some help from her mother). It’s AWESOME.

Elvis1
Elvis2
Elvis3
Pretty BAD-ASS, isn’t it? I love it. It’s always a hit whenever I bust it out.

As I said, the wife and I are big fans of The King and love to listen to his music and read about him. Visiting Memphis and seeing Graceland and going to “The Birthplace” were a lot of fun. If you ever get the chance, do it. I actually want to go again.

So, in honor of the 30th Anniversary, Memphis is holding it’s annual Elvis Week with activities, concerts and games. It’s also Elvis Month on TV Land, so if you get that channel on your cable system tune in to check out Elvis movies, concerts and specials.

Long Live the King, baby.

Viva Las Vegas

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Awesome McDonald’s Commercials I Remember

Posted in food, humor, McDonald's, pop culture with tags , , , , on August 8, 2007 by Paxton

McDI’ve have been going crazy the last few days looking up McDonald’s stuff. YouTube, Google Images, Flickr, X-Entertainment, anything I can find about Mickey D’s house of beef. I find this place unbelievably fascinating. It’s not just the food, though, it’s the whole McDonald’s mystique. The whole history, advertising, menu and pop culture influences of the world’s greatest fast food chain is endlessly interesting and entertaining. Oh, I won’t eat there, mind you, especially after watching Super Size Me. I still love the burgers and fries, but I feel so guilty eating them after watching that documentary.

Not many other fast food chains have created an entire world named after itself filled with colorful life-size puppet characters that love to eat fast food. Not just love to eat it, but live to eat it. It’s insane. The McDonaldland characters almost deserve their own article here on my blog, and they just might get it the way this week has been going, but today I’m going to show you some of my favorite McDonald’s commercials that I remember as a kid. The ones I watched over and over on Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons. I found so many good memories while surfing YouTube the other day that I thought I’d share. Maybe you remember them too. I’ll also include, at the end, some other funny or classic commercials I came across in my digging. Enjoy!

Commercial #1 – Larry Bird vs Michael Jordan – The Showdown

Jordan_Bird2
Jordan_Bird1

Classic. One of my all-time favorites. Mostly because I have a stalker-like, awkward love for Larry Bird. Seeing Jordan and Bird face off in the ultimate game of horse for Jordan’s bag of burgers is awesome. This commercial even inspired a sequel or two that included Charles Barkley. This was back when the NBA was still cool. What happened? Click here for the commercial

Commercial #2 – Mac Tonight

Mac Tonight

This particular commercial is the one I first thought of when I decided to write this article. The character and song in the commercial display an unbelievably cool vibe, especially for McDonalds. Mac singing Sinatra-style on top of a giant burger like some Vegas lounge act gone crazy. Wonderful! I still love this commercial and the song. The production values are ridiculously high. Check out the giant McDonald’s/box of fries towards the middle. So cool. Click here for the commercial. I believe there were a couple of different versions of this commercial using the same song including one where Mac is singing inside a rollercoaster as he rolls around and in-between yummy McDonald’s food.

This commercial was actually redone this year with updated song and CGI animation. Click here for it. It’s pretty good, but not as good as the original. Nothing like seeing a dude in a quarter-moon costume that can only move it’s mouth.

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The End: Harry Potter Book 7

Posted in books, Harry Potter, pop culture with tags , on August 1, 2007 by Paxton

Harry7Well, I finished the book at lunch today. What can I say, I am almost a little stunned right now. The ending hasn’t had a chance to sink in, but I can easily say that the ending was everything I wanted it to be. Well, really, I would have accepted almost any ending Rowling would have given us, but I really enjoyed this one.

As a whole, the book, as some might say, drags a bit in the middle. However, I started the book at a leisurely pace. I wanted to savor it. If you look closely at the picture I posted on my entry last week, I was only about 200 pages in…and that was Wednesday…4 days after the book had been released. I was really taking my time enjoying the book. This is why I think that part in the middle didn’t drag for me at all. It actually had some really good character moments for our 3 heroes. Then, right after this, the action in the book really picks up and by last weekend I was starting to get excited. I really started pounding through the book. I read at lunch, in bed at night (much to the dismay of my wife), even in the bathroom at work (oh yes, my book has been ‘flagged’). I was obsessed again with the story and the final 200+ pages just flew by.

There are some unbelievable moments in this book that pretty much wrap up all my questions and answer some lingering questions I never really knew I had. Some of the actions in the book had me screaming and throwing the book across the room, only to be bawling like an infant 2 chapters later. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride. As I finished reading the book at Firehouse Subs today, people gave me the “eye down” as I started whimpering and crying like a 9 year old girl with a skinned knee. Yes, it was embarrassing, but I couldn’t help it. Wonderful, wonderful book that I loved with my whole heart. I loved the characters, I loved the world created in the book, I loved the journey the stories take us on. Just unbelievable writing. Makes you wonder how far ahead this was planned. I mean, the end had to have been planned by at least book 5. At least. Probably even book 4. Wow.

Like I said, I’m of few words right now because I’m literally only a few hours from finishing it. A journey that began in the Tampa airport in 1999 has finally reached it’s destination, and I couldn’t be happier. I think I may take a day or two before I read another book. A respectful, reading silence if you will, for what will surely go down as one of my favorite book series of all time.

I eagerly look forward to JK Rowlings next venture. Hope everyone else enjoyed it. Potter-palooza can now end (at least until the final 2 movies come out).

🙂

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