Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Disney VS Universal: The Ultimate Showdown

Alright guys. I have now officially been a season pass holder at both parks. So here it is. The epic break down.

The Rides:


Universal has by far a lot more thrilling rides. You've got Hollywood Rip Ride and Rock-It, Hulk, and Dragon Challenge as 3 solid performing Rollercoasters. Dragon Challenge should really count as 2. Then you've got your slightly less vomit worthy, Transformers, Escape From Gringotts, Forbidden Journey, Revenge of the Mummy, Doctor Doom's Fearfall, River Adventure, and Ripsaw Falls. That's 11 pee-your-pants exciting points for Universal.

Disney is less exciting on this front. While there are technically "roller-coasters" at Magic Kingdom I wouldn't classify any of them as thrilling. They all have small drops and none of that weightless feeling I'm such a junkie for. Although, The Barnstormer, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain are listed on their site as thrilling I don't give any of them that title. Epcot has the audacity to call Mission:SPACE a thrill ride. Which for those of you who haven't been is a flight similar straight out of the 1980s. They also list Test Track, which I'll give the devil his do IS a great ride. I don't know that I'd classify it as thrilling but definitely a great ride. We'll give it half a point. Hollywood Studios is definitely where you want to be if you're a Disney thrill seeker not only do you have the Rockin Roller Coaster but it is also the home of the Tower of Terror. On top of that Hollywood also boasts Star Tours, which while it is another flight simulator is much more updated and exciting than Mission:SPACE. That's 3 points for them. You wouldn't expect Animal Kingdom to be the thrill capital of the world but I'll give it half a point for trying with DINOSAUR and a full point for Expedition Everest. Kali River Rapids gets another point since I allotted one to Jurassic Park's River Adventure and they're essentially the same ride. Totalling up to 6 points for Disney on the thrill front. 

Consensus: Universal wins for thrill seekers of all ages (who meet height restrictions)

For the younger crowd:

Universal has Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, which admittedly we never went to because the line was always a mile long. (I assume that means it's good?) ET Adventure although it does have height restrictions is a mild ride appropriate for any kid that's tall enough to sit on a bike, Kang & Kodos Twirl and Hurl, Men in Black Alien Attack (I'm giving it 2 points because I can), Shek 4-D, The Simpsons Ride, Terminator 2 3D, and Woody Woodpeckers Nuthouse Coaster. The Studios side racks up 9 points. On the Islands of Adventure side you have The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Caro-Seuss-el, The Cat in the Hat, High in the Sky trolley, One Fish Two Fish, and Storm Force Accelerator. Gaining them 6 more points. That's 15 mild kid-like attraction points for Universal.

Disney starts to really excel here. Animal Kingdom has A wildlife express train, Triceratop Spin, the kilimanjaro safaris (double points cuz I can), and Its tough to be a bug. 5 points. Hollywood Studios has the Great Movie Ride, Muppet Vision 3-D, Midway Mania, and One Man's Dream. 4 more points. Epcot has The American Adventure, Captain EO, The Circle of Life, Gran Fiesta Tour, Journey into Imagination, Living with the Land, Nemo and Friends, Soarin, Spaceship Earth, and Turtletalk with crush. That's 10 points just at Epcot. Magic Kingdom has Astro-Orbiter, Barnstormer, Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin, Dumbo, Haunted Mansion, Its a small world, Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Main St Vehicles, Winnie The Pooh Adventures, Monster's Inc Laugh Floor, Peter Pans Flight, Pirates of the Carribean, Prince Charmings carrousel, Stitch's great escape, tomorrowland speedway, under the sea, carousel of progress, and the disney railroad. That's 20 points for Magic Kingdom. Totaling 39 points for Disney. 

Consensus: Disney is the better choice if you have young kids who won't enjoy thrilling coasters.

Extra Points to Disney for having lots of Rides I can take my Toddler on like: Jungle Cruises, Kilimanjara Safari, Under The Sea etc. I think there are 8 of them. Where as Universal only has 2 that I'm aware of. 

Places to Sit:

This is not a cut and dry subject like Rides that I can provide details and a map of. All I can tell you is that Universal has a lot more shade, air conditioning, and sitting areas per visitor than Disney and that is super important to me, old people, and people with young children. For that I award them 20 points.

Play Areas:

Disney has the Swiss Family Tree House, Advanced Training Lab, The Boneyard, Casey Jr Splash N Soak, Conservation Station, Fossil Fun Games, Shootin Arcade, Movie Set Adventure, Innoventions, KidCot, Treasure of the Seven Seas, Project Tomorrow, SeaBase, and Wilderness Explorers. 14 points

Universal has 4 themed Arcades, camp jurassic, if I ran the zoo, discovery center, me ship the olive, Curious George goes to town, Fievels Playland, and A day in the park with Barney. I'd like to throw in some bonus points here, because these are ALL easy places to supervise your kids with a single entrance and tons of space for the kids to run around safely. 4 bonus points bring them to 15 points.

Consensus: I like Universal's Play Areas better, but both parks have plenty of space for your kids to play. They just might get trampled or lost at Disney.


Universal has Sinbad, Stories You'll hear, Poseidon's Fury, animal actors, Beetlejuice, Blues Brothers, Barney, Fear Factor Live and Horror Makeup. I'll throw in 2 extra because it's rare that nothing is happening at CityWalk on your way in. 11 points.

Disney has approximately 30 shows going on on any given day. So yeah, I'm not even going to try and list them all. 30 points.


I loathe Disney's fastpass+ system. Yes, it's free. But it's just a fancy name for a result of them over booking the park literally every day. They have to run the park that way or the wait time would be over an hour on EVERY ride. Universal's fast pass option will cost you extra BUT it actually cuts your wait time at ALL the rides. Worth it if you're only going for a day or 2. Universal gets 5 points

Food and Drinks:

Universal sells a refillable drink cup. 20 points. They have 13 restaurants at Studios and 12 at Islands of Adventure. 45 points total.

Disney sports 59 comparable restaurants. 59 points.

Bonus Points:

Disney: 2 water parks and downtown Disney. 30 points

Universal: CityWalk. 20 points


So points wise: 
Disney scored: 186
Universal scored: 144

This may make Disney seem like the winner here, but let's examine price before we make that decision. 

For my Family 2 adults, and 2 children:
4 days to do all 4 Disney parks will cost: $1640.12
186/$1640.12 points for value quotient of: .113
2 days to do 2 Universal parks will cost: $759.96
144/$759.96 points for value quotient of: .189

If you're doing annual passes: 
Disney: $3318.56 for a value quotient of .056
Universal: $1119.96 for a value quotient of  .129

If overall value is your game the winner is UNIVERSAL
In experience (especially for young kids): DISNEY

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Souls, death and the afterlife

No energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed.
All your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that has been will forever remain in this world. All the photons that have ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths have been interrupted by your smile, or the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, race off like children, their ways forever changed by you. Scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is will ever be gone, just less orderly. 

The structure of the universe itself, and the laws, forces, and constants therein appear to be fine-tuned for life, implying intelligence existed prior to matter. I believe we carry space and time around with us "like turtles with shells." meaning that when the shell comes off (space and time), we still exist. People identify themselves with their body, but I feel that we are so much more. There is a part of humanity, that science cannot yet explain (although Quantum Biologists are certainly trying). I like to refer to it as the soul. While neuroscience has made tremendous progress illuminating the functioning of the brain, why we have a subjective human experience remains mysterious. The problem of the soul lies exactly here, in understanding the nature of the self, the "I" in existence that feels and lives life. This isn't just a problem for biology and cognitive science, but for the whole of Western natural philosophy itself. Biocentrism and other scientific theories ask some of the difficult questions about life: Is there a soul? Does anything endure the ravages of time?

Everything we experience – including all the colors, sensations and objects we perceive – are nothing but representations in our mind. Space and time are simply the mind's tools for putting it all together. Recent experimentation in quantum physics, that I don't totally understand, indicate objects only exist with real properties if they are observed. This not only defies classical intuition, but suggests that a part of the mind – the soul – is immortal and exists outside of space and time.

Human consciousness may be yet another state of matter like liquid or solid, but quantum. I don't have time to explain it all here, but if you're interested read this article.

Some scientists postulate that in fact when we die in this dimension our soul may continue to live in many other dimensions simultaneously.

Regardless, I believe in the human soul because I can't explain how I know when my children are hurt, even if they aren't with me. There is a piece of me that even with all I know about neuroscience, and genetics I cannot explain. I know it's there because I feel it, and I truly hope that I will be alive to see the day that scientists crack the code.

Reasons why marijuana should be legal

Right now, in most states, the only place to buy marijuana is from a drug dealer. This is the only reason that people, specifically teenagers, experience the phenomenon known as a "gateway drug". Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the ‘Reefer Madness’ images of murder, rape and suicide.

Prohibition is both unsuccessful and expensive.Our police devote thousands of hours to arresting, booking and imprisoning marijuana smokers, many of whom are otherwise law-abiding. The most unfortunate of these arrestees have spent over a decade in prison, in some cases for nothing more than possession of cannabis for personal use. Each year, enforcing laws on possession costs more than $3.6 billion. One of the strangest aspects of the war on drugs is how completely it has failed at reducing drug use, despite costing over $51 billion annually. After three decades, criminalization has not affected general usage; about 30 million Americans use marijuana every year.

It isn't keeping anyone any safer either 90% of those serving time for marijuana possession with no prior record are not guilty of committing any subsequent crimes. Only 3.1% of them ever commit a violent crime

Marijuana has many legitimate medical uses that go way beyond getting "high". It can be used to treat glaucoma, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, cancer (both by stopping the spread and in some cases reversing the effects), hiv, anxiety, Alzheimer's, Multiple sclerosis, hepatitis c, inflammatory bowel disease, Arthritis, metabolic disorders, Lupus, crohns disease, Parkinson's, stroke, PTSD, and many other medical problems. Research of its effects is currently limited so just imagine what medical advancements we could make with open research and development.

Legalization will not lead to increased use. In fact it will help us better regulate the substance. There is reason even for people who oppose the use of marijuana to support its legalization: legal substances can be controlled in ways illegal ones cannot. Experience speaks for itself. Mandatory underage drinking laws and effective marketing campaigns have reduced underage alcohol use to 24.8 percent in 2011, compared with 33.4 percent in 1991. Cigarette use among high school students is at its lowest point ever, largely thanks to tobacco taxes and growing municipal smoking limits. There is already some early evidence that regulation would also help combat teen marijuana use, which fell after Colorado began broadly regulating medical marijuana in 2010.

Marijuana is less addictive than tobacco or alcohol, and compares favorably to those drugs on nearly every health metric. The evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. It's effects are mostly euphoric and mild, whereas alcohol turns some drinkers into barroom brawlers, domestic abusers or maniacs behind the wheel. The very heaviest users can experience symptoms of bronchitis, such as wheezing and coughing, but moderate smoking poses little risk. A 2012 study found that smoking a joint a day for seven years was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function. Experts say that marijuana increases the heart rate and the volume of blood pumped by the heart, but that poses a risk mostly to older users who already have cardiac or other health problems.

Cannabis sales could be a great source of revenue for the US government.  Just like medicines and other goods, legalization of marijuana can substantially rake huge amount of profits, which we badly need in these economic times. In the first six months of 2014, Colorado alone has pulled in more than $25 million dollar pot-related tax revenue, and the state expects the value to triple in the middle of 2015. Just think about how much money the country will make if the entire U.S. legalized the use of marijuana? According to the latest analysis by the NerdWallet, if all 50 states legalized marijuana today, the country could gain over $3 billion in tax revenue.

Legalization would lead to more jobs. A report from the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG) indicates that an estimate of 10,000 new jobs have been created in Colorado since recreational marijuana sales began. If the entire U.S. will legalize marijuana, it will certainly create if not millions, at least hundreds of thousands of legitimate jobs.

Friday, September 25, 2015

It Gets Better, So Much Better

So, bullying is not something I usually talk about for a variety of reasons. For one, I'm very torn on the issue. I do think our society has become a little over sensitive and that you have to have tough skin to make it in this world. On the other hand, I think it is truly tragic for anyone who hasn't even graduated from High School yet to lose their life because they feel that they aren't worth anything.

I was bullied a lot in Middle School to the point that I physically made myself ill with anxiety before school every day. I missed classes, whole days and I will never get that time back. Time I could've spent learning, which I was truly passionate about. I was a weirdo. I listened to different music than everyone else. I was into things they didn't understand and I always had my hands up first in class. It made me a target, and at the time I didn't have the social grace or understand of "normative" behavior to stick up for myself or "fit in". I'm so glad I didn't.

I got really lucky. I went to an "alternative school" Sturgis Charter School. Check it out if you're not familiar with it. Attending there, saved my life. I got to go to school with a bunch of other kids who loved education, most of which were weirdos like myself. I also got a great education for free. What beats that?

Then I grew up, and I found other people who love the weird stuff that I do, including my husband. I had 2 beautiful children. All that drive, and intelligence that made me a target in Elementary and Middle School, pushed me to be a hustler in real life. It got me an amazing professional job, where I am appreciated, for who I am. Nobody makes fun of me for playing video games, or listening to bands they've never heard of. They think it's kick ass that I'm a "know it all". My friends play MTG with me, and are down for a game of League before bed. I am happy. I am loved. I am fulfilled. I'm not afraid to tell people about my sexuality. I'm passionate, and strong. I am me.

If you're struggling. If it is hard, just to get out of bed. If every breath feels like fire in your chest. If there are people in your life who don't appreciate you. Don't give up. I'm proud of you. Just keep going. Someday you will find your people. You will find where you belong. You will be loved. There will be moments, that will take your breath away in all of the best ways. You can do it. You can make it through today to see tomorrow. I promise. It will make you stronger, and better. Someday there will be people who need you. Stay here, so you can be there for them. Keep it up.

Oh, and those bullies. My bullies? They're still right where they were then. Stuck on Cape Cod. Some of them are junkies. Some of them are flipping burgers. Because it doesn't translate. Eventually they run out of people to push down to make themselves feel better, and being "popular" in school doesn't mean anything in the real world.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Subscription Boxes

So I compiled a list of subscription boxes I want to try. Some I tried. Some I'm waiting on, and some I decided weren't for me.

Conscious box is one I would LIKE to try. It's a bunch of products from "brands who care".
Hand-picked healthy, socially conscious and natural home, food and beauty items delivered monthly! Discover a beautiful life inspired by brands who make a difference. It's 19.99 a month and I'm not sure how much I would USE the products but it's definitely something I'm considering. I think it may be a Christmas gift for one of the people in my life.

I DID subscribe to gamergirlmonthly and so far I LOVE it. I got a yoshi keychain, portal earrings,
pokemon bracelet and zelda necklace in my first box. It's only $13 a month and so far I enjoy it a lot. I think this is a great one for any nerdy girl in your life. The jewelry is cheap but definitely worthwhile. In the end. I cancelled this particular box because it only shipped USPS and they manage to deliver my mail to the wrong address or not get it to me on time pretty much every time. The box gets a 4/5. Most of the items were things I was into and of decent quality but the shipping really killed it's value.

Club W is one that I am definitely planning on subscribing to. They send you wines based on your taste profile so basically as soon as I'm off my diet I am ALL ABOUT THAT.

I just ordered Lootcrate  which was on my list to try, but the new "level up" system threw me off a bit. When our Geekfuel subscriptions ended after 6 months I decided to give it a try and got my husband their standard box, and myself the Firefly Cargo Crate. The subscription boxes look awesome but the price to add a shirt to the mix seemed silly to me. They seem to have changed things around now and you typically get a shirt. The standard box is only 13.95 and includes atleast $45 worth of "loot". The level up option now offers 4 different choices depending on the types of accessories you're interested in adding. They also offer a lot of other specialty boxes including gaming, pets, star wars etc. I haven't gotten my first box yet but when I do you can check out my review in my Nerdy Boxes Blogpost. If you'd like to try it out please use my referral code.

For my anniversary I subscribed to Blue Apron and it was the best decision ever. ALL the meals have been amazing and it gets my husband and I to cook together. We did the family plan twice a week and for 69.95 it's less than it would cost me to buy the ingredients to make these meals in the grocery store. After a few months we did cancel. Mostly because we stopped shopping at Aldi's but overall this is a great option for most families. This box gets a 4.5/5

Citrus Lane caught my attention but I don't plan on trying it. None of the toys were anything my kids would like. If the toys appeal to you 29.95 a month isn't too horrible of a price to have something you and your littles can get excited for each month.

I tried graze last year and I actually enjoyed all of the snacks they sent me. For 11.99 a month the pricing seems fair enough and its something I'm considering re-ordering. Overall the box gets a 3.5/5

Taste Trunk was a hahahahah no. They're boxes start at $99 a month and offer you gourmet food to try.

Tinker Crate is one I'm considering for my son and husband to do together each month. For 19.95 a month they send you all the parts for a project.

I really wanted to try Hello Fresh. My friends had said great things and many of the meals looked good but they didn't offer my diet. Major bummer. It's $69 a week for 3 meals for 2 people.

I'm currently subscribed to Geek Fuel and our first box was a major success. I loved the t-shirt and Doctor who ice cube tray, plus the bob's burger's comic book, array of pins, nail wraps, and poster. The steam code was a definite bonus. I paid like $130 upfront for 6 months and so far I'm a FAN. If you decided you'd like to try out Geek Fuel please use my referral code. For a deeper review check out my upcoming "nerd boxes" blog post. I'd give it a 5/5. We only cancelled because we wanted to try something else, and may very well be back.

I want the comic block from Nerd Block SO bad. I'm gonna start dropping hints to hubby so hopefully I can lock it in for XMas this year. It's only 13.99 a month and includes 3 comics, a comic collective, plus a t-shirt. Unbeatable! All their other boxes look equally awesome. I think this definitely needs to be our next one. My husband could do Arcade or Classic and I could do the Comic one. SO MUCH EXCITE. I finally subscribed to this on 2/24/16 so look for more details on my upcoming "nerd boxes" blog post. If you decide you want to grab this one, also please use my referral code.

The Book Drop offers 4 different subscriptions based on the types of books you'd like to read and costs $16/ month. The idea is really cool, however I can probably purchase my own book that I know I'll enjoy and haven't previously read for under $16/month. Still really cool for someone too busy to go to the bookstore or who is trying to get their kid/teenager into reading.

Pley allows you to rent unlimited Legos. Which is beyond amazing, because my son goes through legos like it's his job. The only down side would be trying to return all the pieces when he's done. Probably wouldn't work for us until there's no toddlers in the house. Pley also donates a toy to underprivileged child for every new member which is AMAZING, but one major downfall is that they didn't list their pricing anywhere on their site. I would've had to sign up for a free trial to see the options. Not a fan of that mumbo-jumbo.

Book Free allows you to rent books. You can do 2 books a month for 8.99, 6 for 21.99 or unlimited starting at 15.99 (to have 2 books out a time) Now I know the library does this for FREE, but this company ships the books both ways free of charge and gives you recommendations of what to read next. If I didn't go to the library for my kids ANYWAYS I would definitely be into this.

For more information about these and other subscription boxes check out cratejoy.com


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Taxes Enrage Me

Lemme just break this down for myself because I'm about having a heart attack. Out of my $2800 commission check the government took $1118, but we'll call it $1000 for easy math's sake.

That means I paid:

  • $270 to the military (I wish it was actually going into the pockets of the military families I know and love but no it's going to fund a bunch of wars that I don't agree with. Awesome.
  • $265 to medicare.  
  • $153 in interest to the Federal debt.
  • $84 in social security and unemployment. Too bad it won't be there when I need                          it.
  • $58 in Veterans benefits
  • $50 in agricultural benefits
  •  $34 to government
  •  $25 to education. How in the FUCK is this possible. You took almost half my hard earned money and you only want to put 25 goddamn dollars back into our schools where it is DESPERATELY needed. So that my kids can grow up to understand and be angry about their taxes. But that wouldn't be good for the government now would it. So let's just raise a whole generation of idiot sheep instead. (/endrant)
  •  $19 to transportation.
  • $16 to alternative energy and environmental. Really? REALLY? We can spend BILLIONS of dollars on war every year but this is what we put into THE PLANET WE HAPPEN TO LIVE ON. Great. You guys are geniuses. Really
  • $15 on foreign affairs. Fuck it. Why bother talking to other countries when we                            can just bomb them right?
  •  $11 on Science. Forget NASA, we already went to the moon. Don't bother curing diseases. Big Pharma pays us way more to keep everybody sick. 
  • A DOLLAR on housing & community. One. Single. Dollar.

The above comes from www.nationalpriorities.org. I couldn't really find any other comprehensive reports as to where the tax money is going. Shocker.