“Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings” for the Wii – Trust Me…

Speaking of Wii games, the new Indiana Jones game looks quite adventurous. Sporting some neat motion controls and some puzzle play that looks like it might be similar to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, which was, of course, the greatest Indiana Jones game ever made. Pretty kewl video about the game, and I don’t just say that because I have a friend who’s in it….


Disney to Release “Toy Story Midway Mania” as Wii Game, No Need To Go To Disney Anymore

When I first rode “Toy Story Midway Mania” a few months ago, I was really underwhelmed. I mean, it’s a good ride, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t get off going, “Wowee zowee! That was something I’ve never seen before!” You know that feeling — when you step off say, “Mission:Space” at Epcot and you’re like, “Holy CRAP! I’ve just been in friggin’ SPACE!” And at the time, I said to a lot of people, “It just feels like a Wii game.” And now it is one.

From Midway Mania

Yes, I like Wii games, but I don’t go to theme parks to play them. When I go to a theme park I want to have that “Mission:Space” or “Soaring” experience, where I get to do experience something, I get to have a rush of emotion and experience I can’t possibly recreate at home. “Midway” just feels like an annoying way to play a video game — what with the spinning and long waiting in lines with sweaty tourists. If I wanted that, I’d wait an hour to play Wii Sports with my air conditioner turned off and a packet of liverwurst open in front of me. And then when I played I’d have my wife spin my recliner in random directions between levels.

Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for the folks who put together these rides. It’s hard and it’s expensive. There’s no question in my mind that it’s an incredible challenge if you’re trying to make something a game and interactive and entertaining and also make it a big enough experience that people walk out thinking, “I may never do that again in my life. That was incredible.” And maybe Midway isn’t meant to be that kind of experience. But it’s hard for me to accept that you would build anything nowadays in a theme park that wasn’t that for someone at some level of thrill.

My suggestions? For Midway — it needs a better story. The game is fun, but where’s the “Buzz has been stolen by the evil carnival owner and the only way for me to get him back is to score high on these games and win him!” And then where’s the total twist on that, where’s the point where I won Buzz, but the evil carnies realize what I’m up to and I have to throw baseballs and pies to escape the carnival before we’re all caught. Just a blue-sky, not perfect. But I really feel like there needs to be a more emotion-grabbing resonance somewhere. The story that comes first and engages me in the game.

Maybe they’ll give away some liverwurst free with the Wii version.

Kiss Me, I’m (Honorarily) Irish

On this, the Irish-est day of the year, I share what might be my first Irish memory, and the thing that probably earns me an honorary Irish-ness.

Back in grammar school, we used to do plays every so often. I remember one we did, my class had to learn to sing a song in Gaelic. They wrote out the words phonetically, so we’d be able to learn them. I was used to that kind of thing from learning Polish songs phonetically off my dad’s Polka albums; to this day, I can actually still sing the Gaelic song we learned, Fellamy’s Boat or Báidín Fheilimí.

Picture the spectacle to rival Titanic as the curtains opened on the stage at the St. Alphonsus combo gym and auditorium. The ladies of the poor Irish fishing village (played with great empathy by the girls from my grammar sch0ol class) sit knitting at the back of the stage, waiting in the cold, wintry air for the return of their loyal husband fishermen. And there we are, as the song begins, rowing our giant cardboard boat out onto the stage, joining in the song. Poor Bridget — the first girl I ever had a crush on (and it was a HUGE crush, I think in present day I might have qualified for a restraining order). She sat there, knitting away, never knowing of the fate of my boat, wrecked offshore. What a sad, sad day. No longer could she kick my shins under the desk. Schoolwork would be her only contentment now.

I did, many years later, have this all pop into my head, and I found the song on YouTube. Crack open a Guinness and enjoy. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, all.


(Who’d a thunk, many years later, I’d be a fan of Gaelic Storm — a band that sings many of their songs in Gaelic?)

Ships and Dip V – Gaelic Storm “Beggerman” and Into the Pool

No one knows how to end a show like Gaelic Storm. First show, on the pool deck, and how do they top their crowd surfing from last year? They crowd surf INTO the pool. Awesome!

We actually saw Gaelic Storm the week before the cruise and asked Jessie Burns, the fiddler, if she was going to crowd surf this year, since she demurred last year. She said “Oh, no. I’ve heard from some other female artists that it’s just not a good idea.” In the interim, seems she changed her mind. If she needs to sue anybody…I got the video. =)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!



Ships and Dip V – Gaelic Storm “Born to be a Bachelor”

Well, as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, it seems only fitting to post some Ships and Dip V videos from a band that is led by someone who will someday be the Patron Saint of Liver Disease, Patrick Murphy. By the end of the cruise, Patrick complained he had “broken his liver”, but I like to think he sacrificed his liver so that those of us with weaker constitutions could still actually do things like walk, hear the music, and breathe.

Here, Gaelic Storm performs “Born to be a Bachelor” on the first night of the cruise, which was also Super Bowl Sunday. The band pulled a big crowd, proving that American football sucks compared to good music.


BnL at Universal Studios

From BnL at Universal

Got to see Barenaked Ladies do their first performance as a four-piece last night, and, if you’ll excuse the pun, they were fantastic. (Even punnier since the concert was at Universal Studios, whose sister park, Islands of Adventure has a section of the park devoted to the Marvel Super Heroes.)
On the Ships and Dip Cruises, I really got an appreciation for how much musical talent each of the members of BnL has, and that talent really shone last night, as they worked to figure out what this new arrangement of the band meant for their roles.

There was a moment during one song where I was singing along with the Steven harmony line, and I suddenly realized someone was doing it on stage. Did they have something recorded? Why no, it was Tyler, doing an absolutely bang up job with the back-up vocals. Jim did a fantastic job singing “Maybe Katie”, which always kind of sounded like a The Brothers Creeggan song to me. And he also did some fantastic dancing and moving around on stage. Kevin, it’s hard not to praise Kevin as the utility guy off the bench. He plays like 7,000 instruments, sings, and jokes. He did a fantastic job on “Sound of Your Voice”, which is particularly kewl since he wrote the song. Speaking of the cruise, I had heard him do the song there, and liked his version better than Steve’s version. Steve’s got the huge voice for it, but there’s something about the emotion in Kevin’s voice that I identify with more.

From BnL at Universal

Kevin struggled a bit on Million Dollars. Though he stepped up on the answer vocals to Ed’s call, he didn’t seem to have the timing quite right. Finally, Ed looked out at us, the audience, singing along loudly already and said, “Hey, can you folks sing along here; Kevin could use the help!” And we all joined in 1,000 percent at that point. Even before the show, I thought, they ought to just start doing Million Dollars as a duet with the audience, since they’ve sort of been doing it that way for a while already. And sure enough… It just goes back to my thoughts about Mike Evin earlier – music is collaborative, and the best musicians know that the audience is a part of any performance.

And I hope to be a part of the audience at BnL concerts for a long time into the future. The concert really made me look forward to what they’re about to craft in the studio. Can’t wait for the new CD! Can’t wait for them to drop by Orlando again.

From BnL at Universal