Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament – Kissimmee, FL

In the thirteen years of being in the greater Orlando area, I had yet to visit this entertainment event. I had little interest in until hearing about a great discount. With a friend receiving coupon for 50% off (i.e. buy one, get the second ticket free.), I had figured worth the meal alone. The Medieval Times website had other another Labor Day special but, not as good as this proposition. With e-ticket ready to go, I had headed off to an evening to explore this blend of theater, live action and dinner.

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Upon checking in at the facility, each guest had had been segregated into different factions, representating their House (i.e. Yellow, Green, Red, etc..). Each house had their respective champion, like mine, the Yellow Knight. Post the introductions for each group and some back story, each champion had competed in various games of skill. Then these Knights had challenged each other for the right to  fight  the “bad guy.” The highlight of the action had been the splintering joust sticks on the opposing Knight’s shield. The best summary for the experience from a guy’s point of view, had been akin to the joy of watching professional wrestling.

With respect to the accompanying meal, it had been a lot better than my expectations. For the evening, everyone had received the following:

  1. Tomato bisque
  2. A piece of bread
  3. Half an oven roasted chicken
  4. A BBQ rib
  5. Half a potatoe
  6. Apple turnover

Just a heads up, the food had been served by design without utensils. The only thing I hadn’t finished, the weird tasting potatoe. Alcohol and any gratuity had been extra. There had been a lot of fathers and sons soaking up this family affair. If you had a little girl or boy, this had seemed like a perfect distraction to Friday or Saturday night.

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Address: 4510 W Vine St, Kissimmee, FL 34746

Phone: (888) 935-6878

Ticket: Prices vary, check their site for specials!

More information: medievaltimes.com

Changes @ gFX

With the summer about to wrap up, I had spent a few minutes test driving Adobe Creative Suite with Photoshop. The simple pleasures of creative musings never had seemed to stop to make me smile. The trial run for CS version of Photoshop had 30 days to go, but at $20 bucks a month, small fry stuff for a quality image editing tool. On top of the new banner, I had made a few other changes to this corner of electronic space.

a.  On the right, the recent postings’ links had now increased to 10 days with a time stamp.

b. Nature to Blog images had linked back to the original stories.

c. I had posted quick flashback to springs from this summer at Ocala National Forest. The video’s music had been from Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy Reconfigured.

d. Second mention on three of my favorite blogs I had put on Al Gore’s Internet!

1. OPINION: Mice, the Brain and the NSA

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2. Scrub Brush Bird Trail, Titusville FL

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3. Who is Nile Rodgers? Why you already know him!

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Who is Nile Rodgers? Why you already know him!

One artist had his fingerprints all over my lifetime of listening music experiences, Nile Rodgers. Ranging from my first musical purchase at age 13, with vinyl single 45 of Duran Duran’s the Reflex, through age 41, with an iTunes digital download, of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”, Rodgers had applied his signature touch of colorful tones, driving rhythms and celebratory style. In retrospect, he had shaped months upon months of audio to my brain. At over age 60, this writer, producer, musician, cancer survivor, had transcended 1970s’ disco, 1980s’ arena rock, and some of the biggest acts in contemporary music. Nile Rodgers had pushed some of the 1980s’ biggest acts into superstardom from Duran Duran, Madonna, and the B-52s. With established acts like David Bowie, Robert Plant, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, he had helped channel another aspect of their personas’ but, with a familiar feel. All of these creative efforts had seemed small in comparison to this summer’s mammoth hit “Get Lucky.” With a release back in May, still lingering in the Itunes Top 25 this week, it had only taken him two hours to write that track. This single had made Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, their best selling album to date. Even more amazing, his humility, he had not even called “Get Lucky” his own music. Meanwhile, he had been a fixture in Daft Punk’s promotional art like the video still below, as well as countless other cameos for other artists. I can’t tell you there had been some higher level of aesthetic in my appreciation for his works, except for a undeniable feeling of pure fun. Perhaps that had been the secret to his longevity, a higher love. As I had run down some of this man’s creative credits, hopefully you had been reminded of some of that floor thumping fun too.

We Are Family“, Sister Sledge (1978) producer

Good Times“, Le Chic (1979) band member

Upside Down“& “I’m Coming Out“, Diana Ross (1980) producer

Modern Love” & “Let’s Dance“,  David Bowie (1983) producer

The Reflex” & “The Wild Boys,”, Duran Duran (1984) producer

“A View To A Kill”, Duran Duran (1985) producer

Material Girl” & “Like a Virgin“,  Madonna (1984) producer

Here’s to Future Days“, Thompson Twins, (1985) producer

Notorious” (1986), Duran Duran producer

“Higher Love” (1986), Steve Winwood – session musician

“Moonlighting Theme”, Al Jarreau (1987), producer

Cosmic Thing“, The B-52’s (1989), producer

“Family Style”,  Vaughan Brothers aka Stevie Ray Vaughan  (1990), producer

“Reach Up for the Sunrise”, Duran Duran (2001), producer

“Get Lucky”,  Daft Punk (2013) writer, session musician

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More Information

About Nile Rodgers from www.nilerodgers.com

Nile Rodger’s blog about his experience through Cancer

Nile Rodgers Gets Lucky With Daft Punk, Finds Lost Chic Tracks (Huffington Post)

Nile Rodgers (Wikipedia)

Green Tea Extract – A Caffeine Substitute?

Late one night, I had been too tired to go to sleep watching cable television. My remote had stopped on a Dr. Oz segment focusing on products to reduce aging. One product had quite of bit of marketing hype on the internet, Green Tea Extract. Whether in pill or tea form, Green Tea Extract had been positioned as powerful antioxidant with a host of applications.

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What had gotten my attention, Green Tea Extract’s thermogenic effects on the body. The mild burst of energy from oral consumption had been an intriguing property. For my application, I had been looking to supplement caffeine in the morning or before a workout. Caffeinated gum, sodas, and assorted energy drinks, had been too much to stomach with their over the top percentage of caffeine and/or sugar. Green Tea Extract, while providing 2% to 4% caffeine by volume, had offered a slow and short rise in energy. This supplement had provided no ill effects like jitters or uneven temperament. Any claims of weight loss or hungry suppression by using Green Tea Extract, I had not been able to verify. Whether at work or home, I had never felt unable to focus, sleep or eat as with other products like 5-Hour Energy, Stacker or RockStar.

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For reference, my consumption had been limited to one pill (400 – 600 mg), accompanying a protein shake during my mornings. I had tried a formulation from the Vitamin Shoppe and the Spring Valley brand above. There had been no big difference in the brands, less pill count, concentration and price. The manufacturers’ maximum recommended dosage, had been two pills with meals three times a day; However, the daily recommended dosage had seemed more like a marketing ploy to sell product (i.e. lather, rinse, and repeat). If you workout or want to replace coffee, I had suggested a review of Green Tea Extract.

For more information

Green Tea Extract (Wikipedia)

Dr. Oz’s Green Tea Project on weight loss.

WebMd’s uses for Green Tea Extract

WebMD’s side effects from Green Tea Extract

Weight loss effects of Hoodia from Mayo Clinic

Hoodia (Wikipedia)

As always, consult with a medical profession before making changes to your diet and/or review any possible adverse drug interactions.

Review: Breaking Bad Final Season, Episode “Confessions”

Rating:  Watch it now!

Summary:  Sal had sprung Jessie Pinkman from the Albuquerque Police Department; However, not before Hank Schrader had made a few minutes to angle Pinkman to roll on Walt.  After Jessie’s release, Walt had scheduled a desert rendezvous with Pinkman to discuss a fatherly “vacation.”  After dealing with Pinkman, Walter had revealed to Walt Jr. his cancer  but, only as means of manipulation.  Next at the White residence, Walt had reached a supposed moment of contrition by recording  a confession. Pivoting to a scene in Mexican restaurant, Hank and Walt had a face off about “how to be a man”. After a heated exchange between the two couples, Walt and Skylar had left the recorded confession on the table.  The reveal of the confession to Hank had been worth every minute of this episode, absolutely phenomenal.  The episode shifting gears to Pinkman leaving town, he made a realization turning his recent apathy into rage. The entire episode had been about confessions of sorts, but more about revelations. Hank Schrader had wanted to go to DEA but, do so would be at a significant price. Pinkman had been left in place, where conflict with Walter, seemingly inevitable.

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For folks missing the broadcast or a DVR, you can pick up new episodes on iTunes:

“Confessions” (posted 8/25/2013)
Inside Breaking Bad: Episode 603, “Confessions” (posted 8/26/2013)

AMC had scheduled a rebroadcast of “Confessions” on Sunday, September 1st 7:57 PM (Eastern)

Next episode, “Rabid Dog” Sunday, September 1st, 9 PM (Eastern)

AMC’s Breaking Bad airing schedule: http://www.amctv.com/schedule#series/Breaking-Bad

AMC’s website for more information: Breaking Bad

If you haven’t seen the rest of the series, checkout 1-5 on Netflix.

Sakari Sushi – Winter Park, FL

The reason for the shout out, I can’t think of any other restaurant that had been consistent over any length of time (1 year  or more) in the Central Florida area. Sakari Sushi, formerly Seito’s, had continued the quality food and service over the past decade. Despite the name change, I have been able to select the same options from Spicy Tuna Roll, California Roll A, and to Sex In the City Roll. As always, the staff had consistently been attentive and polite. The facility had been cool, clean and fresh smelling (i.e. lacking any flies).  There had been the option to sit outside, but I have sat inside with the AC, sans flies. On a Sunday afternoon, they now have hung televisions for sporting events (i.e. NBA, NFL, college football). If you had been looking for consistent location for sushi, check them out in Winter Park Village off 1792 and Lee Road.

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More Information: Sakari Sushi

Review: Jobs

Rating: Worth matinee of $8.75

Summary:  The appeal of the picture had stemmed from Ashton Kutcher’s spot on performance and the inspirational message of “thinking different.” After skipping this title on the first week of release, I had grown more curious about the Jobsian mythology, after watching the documentaries Steve Jobs: One Last Thing (2011) and Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview (2012) .  Capturing the mercurial powder keg of this visionary, Kutcher had believably pivoted from calmness to madness and back. For Ashton Kutcher, his role had been transformational from comedian to actor. Outside of the film’s cheap production values from style, set and film stock, his ability to sell through Steve Jobs made the movie worthwhile. Highlighting his genius, Job’s ethos had been marketing a great idea to finished product. His ability to direct talent has been transcendent among many of his contemporaries. Jobs’s relentless ability to see past the present and non-believers, had set him apart but, at a personal price. At one point, Steve Wozniak had eloquently stated “The product is about you… It must be very lonely in there.” Those small moments had taken a backseat to pop culture history of the Apple I, Macintosh and iMac. With every opportunity, Jobs had always seemed ready to apply his business pragmatism. Those visions had been rooted in ability to stay hungry and stay foolish. Fitting Kutcher had ended the film with the following, “Those crazy enough to want to change the world, are the ones that do.” When you finish watching this dramatization, you might had thought you can too.

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More information:

Steve Jobs: One Last Thing (2011) available on Netflix
Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview (2012) available on Netflix
Jobs (IMDB)