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4/16/2014 A brief tour of Boston

If you didn't see Monday's post, Guardian of the Stone (one of my novels) is free on Amazon this week. On a completely different topic, did any of you guys see the blood moon Monday night? I got rather lucky and managed to see it despite a lot of clouds. My camera, as much as I like it, isn't really ideal for photographing the night sky, but I did manage to get one pretty nice picture. Now for one last belated travelogue...

Saturday (March 29th): A Brief Tour of Boston
I was only in Boston for a few days and most of that was taken up with family stuff (I was there for my Grandma's 95th birthday party), but on Saturday morning my cousins gave my brother and I a quick walking tour of the city. There wasn't time to see a whole lot, but it was fun. And it was kind of cool to see the city now since as I was recently running around Revolutionary era Boston in Assassin's Creed III.
The history behind the city still shows through and it's full of cool old buildings, both important ones like the state capital, and regular homes. There's also a ridiculous number of impressive old churches. It seems like we ran into another one every block or two. But the coolest place we saw was the Boston library. If it's not the world's fanciest library, it's certainly near the top of the list with all the marble, arches, and elaborate murals. And check out this study hall. You didn't see all that many books though, and most of the ones there were old and rare (here's my brother and cousins in front of one of the shelves). As it turned out, there's a more modern and ordinary wing where most of the books are kept. We also walked around a fancy mall, stopped in a store dedicated to 3D printers (which was neat), stopped by an interesting playground, and got a nice view of the river.
And that's about it. I didn't get to see all that much of Boston, but it was fun and I'd love to spend a couple days there sometime and take a closer look around.


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4/14/2014 Passover time

Remember that PV is updating five days a week (Mon - Fri) now. Except tomorrow, when there will be no update since I'll be celebrating the start of Passover. Also, remember that I'm running a weekly dev blog for Aurora's Nightmare (my upcoming visual novel game) at http://penandswordgames.com/AurorasNightmare/ If you'd like even more to read, and haven't picked up Guardian of the Stone yet (the first novel in my Verities Silex trilogy), it's free through Friday on Amazon! So give it a download and, if you like it, please leave a good review.

On a different subject, I didn't really get the chance to do all that much touring during my weekend in Boston a couple weeks back, but I did get some pretty cool photos, so I think it's worth a travelogue entry. Expect that on Wednesday.


4/11/2014 More Disney

Click the TWC button on the left to see this week's bonus comic and continue on to read the rest of the travelogue entry I started back on Wednesday.

Monday - Thursday (March 24th - 27th): Vacationing at Disney World Part 2
So anyway, after checking in, I walked around the All-Star resorts, caught up on some internet stuff, and then headed to Downtown Disney. It was actually the busiest I've ever seen the place (I guess I wasn't the only one on spring break), and there was good live music on the streets. After walking around for a bit and getting a meat pie, I went to my main destination, Cirque du Soliel's La Nouba show. I saw it once before a couple of years ago (see my first Florida travelogue) and it was just as amazing the second time. I've said it before but, if you ever have the chance to see a Cirque show, go. You'll never see anything else like it.
I spent the next day at Animal Kingdom. As always, watching the animals was a whole lot of fun, as were the rides. And check out this video I got during the bird show. The park hasn't changed much since the last time I was there. The only real difference is that the Festival of the Lion King show is currently closed, along with the Camp Mickey kids' area, since they're doing construction there (it's being turned into a large new section based on Pandora (from the movie Avatar)). One thing I took advantage of during the day (and the entire trip) was the new Fast Pass+ system, for skipping lines at various attractions. It replaces the old Fast Pass system. Now, you get three Fast Passes per day (though only one can go towards the most popular couple of rides). You can choose them at one of the Fast Pass+ kiosks in the park, but the lines tend to be kind of long so, if you got you park tickets in advance, I recommend signing up for My Disney Experience on the Disney World web site and making your FP+ selections online ahead of time (you can also download the companion app and make your FP+ selections on that). You can do the same with restaurant reservations too, which is a really good idea for the more popular places (especially for dinner). That's what I did, and I finally got a chance to try out Tusker House, Animal Kingdom's African buffet, which was pretty great (lots of types of couscous, veggie dishes, and some grilled meats).
Next day, Disney Hollywood Studios. The props at the Studio Backlot Tour had been changed around a lot since last time, and there was some pretty cool stuff. They also have a goofy little Pirates of the Caribbean show running right now (it's in a building that tends to change every now and then depending on what movies are currently popular). I ate at The 50's Prime Time Diner. It's just what it sounds like in terms of food (meatloaf, milk shakes, etc.), nothing exotic, but good. What's really cool though is the theme. The whole place is done up like a stereotypical 50's house, complete with TVs playing period appropriate shows. All the wait staff treats you like family (literally), and you're reminded that mom doesn't like elbows on the table. I also have to mention the dessert menu, which is on a Viewfinder. It's really a fun place to eat. Later that night, I used one of my FP+ selections to finally get a good seat at the awesome Fantasmic show. Good thing I did too. The lines for that show were just as bad as I remembered. After that, I took advantage of extra magic hours to finally get on the Toy Story ride. Personally, I don't quite see why the lines are always so long (other than the license), but it is one of the best of those target shooting rides that I've been on. Oh, and I also got the build your own lightsaber I've been eying ever since my first visit to the park years ago.
I spent my third and final day at Epcot, which is in the midst of the annual Flower and Garden Festival. So that means lots of flowers and Disney themed topiary everywhere, a butterfly house and other gardens, and concerts (only on weekends though, so I didn't get to go to one). Also, food booths! Not nearly as many as at the Food and Wine Festival in the fall, but there's still some excellent selections. A few of my favorites this year include sweet potato and cinnamon waffles topped with pineapple softserve, ghost pepper dusted tilapia with mint sauce, and the potato and cheder biscuit with smoked salmon. Speaking of food, I also ate at the main restaurant in Germany for the first time. It's a buffet (pickled vegetables, meats, pretzel rolls, and bread pudding, to name a few dishes) designed to look like a traditional German village. Eating there is also the only way to see the German music show, which is pretty cool. Here's one of the many different instruments they played. One of my priorities for the day was actually catching the various shows I never got to before, including the Mexican mariachis and MoRockin' (the music and dance show in Morocco). I made sure to catch Off Kilter (the Canadian / Keltic rock group as well), since I really enjoyed them last time.
And that about sums up my time at Disney. While I wish my mom could have come like we'd planned, it was still fun and I enjoyed the convenience and perks of staying at a Disney resort. I'll have to do it again sometime with a group.


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