Bye Bye Lala

5/11/10 at 9:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m bummed – lala.com was sold to Apple(iTunes) a few months ago and they announced last week that they’re closing the site at the end of May. I took advantage of lala.com late last year and I liked their business model. You could listen to a song or album all the way through once for free, and then decide if you wanted to rent or buy the MP3. The “rent” was paying a little bit of money for listening to the music over the internet. For about a dollar I could buy an album’s worth of music, while the MP3’s would run up to $10. An individual song was about a dime to rent. That beats a buck for an MP3!

I usually listen to the radio in the car and have enough CD’s to listen to at work if the mood hits me (not often). I’m not a big fan of MP3’s as the audio quality is poor. By getting a full preview I could listen to old albums I had not heard in a long time (if ever) as well as new music. The last few months have been a reacquaintance with Jethro Tull and Steely Dan. I also heard about an African artist, Dobet Gnahore, on a PBS world music show. I can’t understand a word but she sings right purty, and the rhythyms are downright intoxicating.

The twenty bucks I spent at lala.com will be transferred over to iTunes, where I’ll get the privilege of using that money to purchase MP3’s. Oh boy. I have avoided all things Apple in my computer world, to the point where I avoid dowloading Quicktime. I’ve dinked around with a few Apple computers, but they don’t do much for me. I’m no Micro$oft fan boy, but I know it well enough to get around, and I enjoy working with computer hardware. I suppose the music world is changing where individual songs are downloaded, but I’m old enough to appreciate albums and the diversity of music some artists could pack into an album. Some could tell a story as well, and it’s a shame that seems to be lost now.

Everyone wants to burn their own CD’s and choose various songs for an “album”, as if they’re some DJ with a special mix touch. I can’t afford to buy a whole download of an (MP3) album, so I’ll end up choosing a few songs and lamenting those that are missing. Time moves on without me, and I’ll have to take a bite of Apple too. Uggh.

Disney Drain

5/11/10 at 8:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yes, we took the plunge and went to the funnest place on the earth, DisneyWorld. We stayed on-site at Port Orleans-Riverside for 5 nights, took the “plus” dining plan (1 snack, 1 counter service, 1 full meal) and went to the parks for six days. I’ve wondered how some people will go for ten (or more!) days with just four parks (and two water parks), but now I know better. Having a day to recover after three or four days of walking/standing on concrete can be very helpful.

It didn’t help that on the first day I got painful blisters on the inside half of my pinkie toes (don’t laugh). I had purchased some what-I-thought-were-quality shoes a few months ago and used them occasionally for a morning walk or going to the mall. Fortunately I had two other shoe options, but the damage had been done and it made walking more difficult. Kristal ended up getting a bad sun rash on her legs, to the point where she went to an urgent care facility after the third day. They told her to stay out of the sun and off of her feet for the next two days. I took the kids in the morning for the following two days and we met for lunch. The final day was a half-day at Hollywood Studios, probably my favorite park out of the four.

There was some good that came out of her rash. On the first morning without her the kids and I took the bus to Animal Kingdom. At first Joey was off to the side on his own, then a couple of adults sat next to him, so he moved over to me and sat close by me. That time was worth all of the “drainage” (money/fatigue) as it reassured me that he looked to me as a dad. Ordinarily, if Kristal had been there he would have went straight for her. As time goes by I feel our relationship improving, but it’s still frustrating when he puts the wall up. Part of that is his personality, yet I wonder how much is the adoption thing. Ah well, there’s no guarantees with children, but I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than be a dad.

After the half-day at Hollywood Studios we ended up driving straight through back to home (11 hours), and it felt good to sleep in my own bed even if my head did not hit the pillow until 2 am. Since there was no food in the house, and we were too tired to do legitimate grocery shopping, we went to Zaxby’s for lunch. After lunch I told Kristal it was the first time all week that I got up from lunch and was able to walk normally without pain. I kept telling myself the two months before the vacation that I needed to train for the extra walking, but I got lazy in the mornings and busy after work. I should listen to myself more.

I can tell I’m getting older as I enjoy the shows more and the rides less. I would do one roller coaster ride a day, first thing in the morning, where I needed the next few hours to recover before lunch. I envy some of the grandparents who got to go along with their children/grandchildren. They would hunt out shady spots to sit, just like me. I’m not sure if I’ll have the energy/strength to accompany any grandchildren to Disney, as I’ll be over 70 by the time I have grandkids old enough for Disney (if I’m lucky).

Next year will probably be Yellowstone, God willing. Don’t know if we’ll fly or take the train or a combo of the two, but I doubt I could survive that much driving!

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