Victoria: March 2006 Archives

Yay! I heard today that I was accepted into the doctorate program! "Doctor" is almost as good a title as "Admin Tyrant."

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So I have not been refraining from talking about my Walt Disney World trip because I had a horrible time - I have just been busy. Actually, I had a good time at WDW, surprising even (and maybe mostly) myself.

Cinderella's Castle

From everything I had heard about WDW, I was most leery of the much-touted excellent customer service provided throughout the resorts. This made me have visions of harried employees grimly acting appropriately cheerful to avoid getting cattle-prodded by the Mouse. I was pleasantly surprised to find it pretty normal. There were some absurdly cheerful "cast members," but i got the feeling they were that way naturally, and not through employee abuse.

Sorcerer's Hat

The weather was excellent - the first day was a little cloudy, but the others were bright sunshine and in the low 80s. And I think we went at a good time, because although it was crowded, it wasn't the kind of insane crowded that I have heard is possible. I don't think I would ever visit in the summer, what with the crowds and the heat and humidity.

Spaceship Earth

In fact, my only complaint was that it was not relaxing at all. There was so much to see and do, and I only had four full days there to do it in. By the end, my body ws just exhausted. Luckily my ankle held up, although I did have to start taking painkillers by the end, which I haven't had to do in a while. After I came back (to a midterm), it felt like I needed to take a vacation to recover from my vacation. And then I went to Washington to see the panda.

I Heart Carbs
The cutest t-shirt in Disney

All in all, I think I would go back, but I would want to do a much more relaxed, "adult" visit. The weird thing about WDW is that it is just so big and encompasses so much that you can imagine countless trips where you do everything completely differently and never exhaust the possibilities.

Disney-MGM Studios Sign

But I also feel like I am glad I have done it at least just once, so it is not a huge deal if I never make it back there. My problem is, once I have a great vacation, I am torn between going back to the same place, or going to one of the many other new and different places that I have never been before. With so many possibilities, do I really want to spend time someplace I have already been?

Tree of Life and Everest

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Another diner that I barely know anything about (other than that I have been there once) is the Red Lion Diner. I think I will have to make Mike go back there, too, since I hardly remember anything about it. Again, feel free to fill in information in the comments section.

Red Lion Exterior

My ignorance about the Red Lion Diner is so great that I don't even know for sure where it is or how to get there. It is close to Medford, because the one time I did go was with Mike and his parents when they lived in Medford. Which explains why we don't usually go there now, because it is not exactly in the neighborhood.

Neon Lion

I don't remember much about my one dining experience there either. The service was good, I remember. I think I got breakfast. The food was good, too. Basically the only reason we don't go more often is because it is so far away.

Lion

As you can see, they decorate with the lion motif in mind.

Red Lion Sign

I do know that Mike's family prefers it to the Medport, which was closer to their house, so I'm going to give it 3 Coffee Cups based on that and my one barely-remembered experience. Maybe we will stop there on our way to the shore sometime this summer.

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Butterstick in the Tree

Butterstick in the Tree

Butterstick in the Tree

Butterstick in the Tree

Mike and I got tickets to go back and see the Stick again in early April.

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If you have been reading this website for any length of time, then you know that I am a little obsessed with PandaCam, and the baby panda Su Lin in San Diego. Well, there is a baby panda on this coast as well, and his name is Butterstick.

Butterstick on the Tree

Well, that's not his real name, it is the name that some DC-area bloggers have christened him. His real name is Tai Shan. This weekend, Mike and I went to visit him and his mother Mei Xiang in the National Zoo.

Butterstick with Bamboo

The National Zoo is free, but you have to get tickets for a time slot to enter the panda viewing area. I was taking no chances that I would miss the baby panda (since they can't guarantee that he will be out), so I ordered four different time slots, starting in the early morning, when they are supposed to be most active. We got there a little after the zoo opened at 8am. Then we quickly realized we wouldn't even need our tickets, because the Stick and his mom were already out and about, and you could see them from above as well, at the Panda Pavilion. The baby panda bumbled around while his mom ate bamboo, and then disappeared down a little slump. After watching for forty minutes (and taking hundreds of photos), we went around to the ticketed entrance and used our first ticket.

Butterstick in the Tree

We were only there for a few minutes before the Stick emerged again, to the "ooohs" and "ahhhs" of the crowd. It was kind of funny, because they had put metal around most of the trees in their area to prevent the Stick from climbing them, which is typical panda cub behavior. There was only one tree that he could get up in, and it looked well-used. When he climbed up it, the crowd immediately began speculating how he would get down again. "He'll fall out," one woman said. "That's what he always does."

By the time we left to go to the gift shop, I had filled both my memory cards with pictures of the Stick. After the gift shop, we started back to the car, and Mike said, "Let's stop by the pavilion once more before we go." It turned out to be a great intuition, because when we returned, the Stick was wrestling with his mom. I immediately started erasing pictures from the day before to make room for even more panda pictures.

Butterstick and Mom

We left after that, having spent two and a half hours and several gigs of memory on panda photos. All told, a successful Panda Weekend! Except for the pandas, DC was kind of lame. We went to the Smithsonians (Natural History and Air and Space), and they seemed (to me, who'd never been before) boring and outdated, and (to Mike, who had been as a kid) much smaller than remembered. Is there anything cool about DC besides pandas?? The cherry blossoms weren't out yet.

I also went to Disney World last week and returned in one piece, so I will post about that soon, too.

Butterstick in the Tree

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!