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Feb 23 2017

Disney Subcultures

I’ve historically been pretty meh on Disney, but Brad and his family are way into it. So, having two kids and not being a monster, I’ve decided to get all the way onboard. It’s too crap to be rolling your eyes while everyone around you is awake with wonder. Alllll riiiight, I can be joyful. Let’s do this!

Anyway, in the few times we’ve been, I found my thing. Subcultures. Disneyland has a bunch of happiness-based subcultures. They are amazing, and there are too many to count. I love them so much, I feel slightly hectic about it.

Anyway, three of the most interesting subcultures are: social clubs, superfans, and “bounders.”

Social Clubs

Folks in Disney Social Clubs often travel in packs, and wear matching jackets or vests, like a ’50s-era biker gang whose members are all about cartoons.

Mickeys_Little_Monsters_social
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Some of them cover their vests in enamel pins, sort of like what you’d see at political conventions. Lots of them also have Disney tattoos.

socialclubpins
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They’re usually (always?) locals who have annual Disneyland passes. If you’re not used to large groups of people with tattoos, I should say these folks are very, very nice. Imagine the kind of adults you know who might form a club based on their affection for an anthropomorphic mouse. They’re like that.

Disney Superfans

Some people who come to the park are into Disney cosplay. Sort of like little girls who show up to Disneyland in a full Elsa costume, except grownups.

minnymousesuperfan
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Disney technically doesn’t allow grownups or teenagers into the park if they’re in costume — which means no wigs or props, nothing too spot on. They don’t want some rando coming in dressed as a grotty Captain Hook, because he wants to take photos with little kids. And legit on that, Disney. High fives.

snowdamfinosuper
Damfino

Superfans get around this rule by dressing “referentially.” So they can’t be mistaken for an official Disney character, but they also can’t leave the park and bite into an apple without falling unconscious. As it were.

Bounders

And here’s the one that really has my heart, “Disney Bounding.” Disney Bounders make a distinction between cosplay and being Disney Bound, as outlined in this video. They are rules followers whose love of Disney is too strong for them to stop wearing costumes to the park simply because they’ve reached adulthood. Allow me to sum up:

whiterabbitbounding

If you’re wearing an outfit that references a Disney character, but doesn’t read as a costume outside the park — or sometimes to half the people in the park — that’s Disney Bounding. It’s actually called “Bounding,” because be cool you guys.

snowwhitebounding
Source

These costumes are a little magical to me, because the best ones take an imaginary world and express it in a tangible way.

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DisneyBound

They’re a big wink to people who know to look for it, but you can still go out into the real world afterward without being like, “I AM WHIMSICAL! ACKNOWLEDGE MY WHIMSY.” Also, no one mistakes you for a pedophile, which? Favorable side effect. You can usually tell who these people are because they’re wearing color in unusual combinations.

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DisneyBound

Interesting, eh? I’m so into it.

Anyway, would you ever wear a Disneybound outfit if you were going to a park?

Sure, you say. You can think of no reasons not to. Shhhhhhhhhh. Wear this polkadot hair bow I got you. You look real cute.

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Jan 18 2017

A Case for the Cheapie Carry On Bag

preggorollybag
Preggo flashback to me with a random rolly bag.

Do you have a carry-on suitcase you love? I’ve spent hours researching the perfect bag: reading posts by seasoned travelers, watching You Tube videos about luggage, obsessing over the latest collaboration. Nothing ever seems just right for me.

So here’s the plan I’ve settled on as a frequent traveler and educated consumer:

Buy a bag with a single compartment.

It doesn’t have to charge your phone, or have a locking compartment for your valuables, or a place for your suit. Find a carry-on sized suitcase on sale, and then check for:

– Zippers with sturdy pulls that slide easily,
– Wheels that seem sturdy and roll smoothly.
– Handles or something baggage handlers can grab quickly on three sides.

And then buy the sucker. What makes the bag useful is how you pack it. Buying internal compartments separately, and assuming you’ll need to replace the exterior bag every few years, makes good sense.

Here’s how I subdivide a typical carryon:

– Two large packing cubes filled with rolled clothing. We have a different color set for each family member.
– One small packing cube for underwear, socks, PJs, and accessories like scarves.
– A rectangular dopp kitt.
– Shoe bags for my shoes (or you can put disposable shower caps over them)

I also pack three empty bags:

– A checkable duffle for purchases.
– A large mesh laundry bag for dirty clothes.
– A small mesh lingerie bag for packing wet swimsuits.
– A nylon travel purse.

If you buy an inexpensive, but sturdy bag, you won’t mind when it inevitably gets stained or scuffed because you were forced to gate check. You won’t be furious when you have to get wheels or zippers replaced because you paid too much to have the bag break so easily. You won’t suffer buyer’s remorse because one of the pockets isn’t the perfect size for your niche use. And you won’t attract attention to your blingy bag when ne’erdowells are looking on.

Buy a cheap, basic bag, and let each scuff feel as good as a passport stamp.

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Aug 20 2015

Hank Expresses a Preference: Mexican Snack Cakes

BARRITAS FRESA
Exterior like an unusually dry and dense Fig Newton, surrounding a strawberry-colored fruit(?) paste.

Did not meet expectations.

CHOCO ROLES
Thin layer of chocolate and cake around a sweet, creamy center.

He asked if he could eat the whole thing, which of course. Cultural experience.

MINI MAMUT
A slightly tired stroopwafel, but sandwiching four times the usual amount of caramel, drizzled in chocolate.

Well now we’re potentially ruining dinner.

NAPOLITANO
Dry sponge cake with a thin layer of orange paste and another layer of chocolate on top.

I don’t think he was into it.

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Aug 19 2015

Hank Expresses a Preference, Mexican Candies

BUBBALOO
Banana bubble gum with surprise banana-syrup center.

Not a fan of surprises.

CARLOS V
A chocolate bar.

Yum! Wait. Weird aftertaste.

DE LA ROSA
Tasty, slightly powdery, peanut-based marzipan.

Hank feels angry at this candy.

KRANKY
Crispy cereal bits coated in “chocolate.”

Kranky? More like amiable. Right you guys?

GOMITAS
Dense, vaguely fruit-flavored gum drops stick to your teeth, while hot spicy powder lingers at the top of your throat.

Hard pass.

CHOCO RETAS
M&Ms meet Andes Mints.

Delicioso!

MORITAS
A condensed Kool-Aid powder gel, rolled in citric acid cake sprinkles, heightened with a thunderclap of high-fructose corn syrup.

A brief pause to consider the intensity of flavor.
Interest bordering on panic.
Hank expresses a strong preference for the diabetic stylings of Moritas!

Stay tuned! Tomorrow Hank expresses preferences for Mexican snack cakes.

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Aug 18 2015

Where to Eat in Sayulita, Mexico

We just got back from Sayulita, which is a small surfing town about an hour outside Puerto Vallarta. The town is tiny, the commercial district is only a few blocks square, but it’s oriented around tourism so there are lots of food options.

We were traveling with Ozzy (4 months) and Hank (8 years), so the places listed here are great for kids too if you have a family in tow. These were a few of our favorite things to eat and places to be.

Paletas from Waikika
Ave Revolucion, 63732

Paletas are ice pops made from fresh fruit, strawberry was my favorite. They’re like a heartier popsicle, and about half of them are made with cream as well. We went during the sweltering off season, and I could have had one of these for every meal.

A Bucket of Beers at Capitan Cook
Las Gaviotas Beach

An umbrella and beach chairs waiting for you with a bucket of beers in ice. My blood pressure drops just remembering it. The blue umbrellas at Capitan Cook were our go-to beachside camp on the main beach.

There were lots of vacationing families with kids here, so it was easier for Hank to make friends playing in the water where we could see him. The tacos, asada, and guacamole were fresh, there was always a chair for the baby to nap on, and Hank gives a thumbs up to the virgin Piña Coladas.

Sunset at Don Pedros
Calle Marlin 2, Centro

Don Pedros is an upscale restaurant overlooking the beach. It’s pricey for Sayulita, but the view is lovely, plus they have a great bar, a good selection of fish and veggies, and pizza if you have kids. Good way to treat yourself and ease into town if you’ve just landed after a long flight.

Handmade Pasta at Il Vizietto
Avenida Palmar | Next to Camping Junto del Rio

Ah, Mexico. Renown for its pasta.

We wouldn’t ordinarily try an Italian restaurant in Mexico, but we walked by this charming open-air restaurant every day on our way into town. The swing seats proved too much to resist.

Il Vizietto starts serving dinner at eight, and the setting is so romantic. The waiter pours you a cocktail while you watch the fireflies, and then you head up to the kitchen window. The owner shows you the three types of pasta he made for the evening and you pick one. The pasta is amazing, and the salad was good too. So if you get tired of tacos, Il Vizietto has a bar-side swing waiting.

La Rustica
Avenida Revolución 40C

La Rustica is a cute place with great coffee, in case you’ve been zombie-ing around in search. They’re known for their wood-fired pizzas, but we liked their breakfast. Chilaquiles were my favorite, but they also have good fancy pancakes, and the environment is calm.

Tacos and Margaritas from Yeikame
Calle Jose Mariscal # 10

Yeikame is an unassuming cafe with sidewalk tables, but it was my favorite place to eat in town. Great traditional Mexican food at reasonable prices. Everything on the menu is satisfying, and they have a wide selection of fresh juices and frescas.

While you’re there, try one of Yeikame’s Margaritas. It’ll take things down a few notches, and you’ve got no place to be.

If you’re looking for more suggestions, these articles were super helpful:

Where to Eat in Sayulita, Part One: Mexican Food
Where to Eat in Sayulita Part Two: Non-Mexican Food

Have so much fun.

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Aug 2 2015

Plantain Chips with Hot Sauce

Mexican snacks!

These banana chips are real good. They’re probably fried in triple beef transfat Crisco, but I do not quer. They come with a packet of hot(ish) sauce tucked in the bag, and all is right with the world.

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Jul 14 2015

Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, You Should Go

We headed up to Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville yesterday, and had a great day.

The Russian River beach has been in operation for nearly a century, and it feels exactly that quaint. They have everything you need for a day by the river, so you can just show up in with your suit and a towel for a day of swimming. We’ve been going for years.

There’s no charge for admission, but we rent a beach umbrella, chairs, and a couple of tubes for $5 each. You can also get paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks by the hour. The beach is rocky, so one of the guys comes out with a mallet and pounds the umbrella in for you. They also dredge out a shallow area where the tiny kids can wade.

You can bring a cooler, or visit the snack bar for lunch. It’s so chill, and easy, and Hank always finds kids to play with when we bring a little collection of squirt guns. If you’re a river person, it doesn’t get any more perfect.

Johnson’s Beach
Open Mid-May Until the End of September
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Parking is available ($5/car on weekends and special events).
Directions

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