Monday, April 10, 2006

Mr Sandman, send me a dream…

I fly to Disneyworld, Florida. On business, not pleasure. The next few days will be an agonizing Chinese water torture of endless Powerpoint slides in a conference aimed at the rather abstruse discipline I ply on behalf of Vertucon.

I have left my wife and kids behind, losing my Sunday in the process, in order that I can be bored witless by nerds while surrounded by happy families on vacation. My morale takes just the tiniest dip.

In the chaotically busy lobby of the hotel costumed characters are everywhere, exuding manic cheerfulness and carefully shepherding everyone into the approved sterile environment of the tourist areas.

The conference is in the Contemporary Resort, DisneyWorld’s first and original hotel, built to be the 1950’s idea of 2000. The vaguely pyramidal main building gives one the creepy feeling of having wandered onto the set of Logan’s Run, only digitally remastered for fat sunburnt people in obnoxious shorts. The excitingly futuristic Disney Monorail actually goes through the hotel building. This is exactly as much less fun as it sounds.

Like Logan’s Run, everything is dated, making a mockery of the name. It’s also creaky and inefficient, aggravated by the monstrous complacency of the staff (or “cast members”, as they’re officially titled). The lifts, for example, take forever, so I go in search of stairs. This unAmerican activity takes me abruptly off the set, so to speak. No-one in America uses the stairs, and the grim concrete stairwells are the refuge of the desperate and the excluded. I walk down three flights, past two six-foot chipmunks squabbling over a garbage can, and a Donald slumped in a broken armchair smoking a cigarette.

They stare after me with their cold, dead eyes.


The Contemporary Resort, yesterday. If you had to live there for thirty years, you’d beg for a visit from the Sandmen too.

17 comments:

R. Sherman said...

You have my sympathies. My own brood consistantly asks for a Disney vacation as opposed to the forced marches through the wilderness I put them through. The idea of spending a week or two of my life in the company of people wearing mouse ears is too much to bear.

Cheers.

HA HA HA said...

iven youve sean teh congnative style of powrapoint i trust?

Desargues said...

"...take forever, so I go in search of stairs. This unAmerican activity..."

According to "Boston Legal"'s Danny Crane (played by the ineffable Bill Shatner), elevators are for Democrats.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Your 6-foot chipmunks reminded me of my time at the University of Minnesota. The sqirrels there feasted, almost exclusively from the trash-bins and consequently their diets were much like the students' meals: fries, donuts, pizza etc.

These were the fattest squirrels you'd ever seen in your life. They puffed and panted their way up onto the litter-bins, barely able to heave their lardy tummies up there. Once there they would get that same crazed look as a 300lber at the Old Country Buffet gets. It was never pretty. 2 or 3 enormous squirrel bums twitching were all that was visible on the bin as the horrific feasting began.

It was an animal cruelty issue really. These squirrels were probably all undiagnosed diabetics with deadly cholesterol levels. I kept expecting one (there were loads of the tumsome wee devils) to fall over right in front of me on the path, clutching its tiny little atherosclerosed heart and exiting this world with a last sugar-whiskered squeak.

They were really some big-assed squirrels.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hey 3H - bit tough on Stalin, that. But not a bad analogy, considering what happened to that very statue just six months later...

Thanks for the Shatner quote, Des. Personally I think he never got over the realization that matter transporters weren't real. He certainly looks like he's dodged the stairs religiously ever since.

Ans Sam, quit complaining. Fat, wheezy, big-assed squirrels are ideal - easy to catch, and all the bouncier when you play squirrel badminton with 'em.

At my university, the squirrels lived mostly on cigarette butts, so we had to make do with the merely wheezy. You never saw such a scruffy and ill-tempered lot.

Aunty Marianne said...

Oh the horror.

I once saw a Disney cruise liner leave Port Canaveral. Its ship's horn tooted "When you wish upon a star". I nearly choked. The horror. The horror.

And I wasn't even on it.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

This 'monster rabbit' has been terrorizing the vegetable patches of villagers in England. It's a big story there at the moment and armed guards have been hired (honestly!) to keep watch and kill it when it appears.

No carrot is safe from the beast. They are calling it a 'were-rabbit'.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Any fool can dress up like a chipmunk. These people are the dregs of the entertainment industry. Throw tomatoes at them.

PI said...

Congrats Ivan (is Ivansky overly familiar?)You painted a graphic picture of the nethermost regions of hell. Nevertheless stairs are good - for the waist line - which was your concern a post or two ago.
Be a brave boy.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Aunty, don't be so hard on yourself. I'm sure that if you'd been aboard it would have made the trip even more magical for the rest of the passengers. Hasn't anyone ever told you how much you look like Tinkerbell?

Sam - that's one scawy wabbit. What would Elmer make of that, I wonder?

GB - good point, tho' a bit tautological. After all, only an idiot would dress up as a chipmunk in the first place. Especially around here, where they shoot 'em and eat 'em.

And Pi, I wouldn't mind taking the stairs so much if I hadn't gotten up at 5.30am to spend an hour on the damned treadmill. I feel I've already suffered enough.

Desargues said...

I have a hunch Elmer Fudd would use this. To be sure, extreme rabbits call for extreme measures.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Not enough, Des, I fear. I mean, the rocket looks like a carrot. He'll just catch it and eat it.

Desargues said...

Gosh, Ivan. If you think that mighty bird delivers carrots, I'm pretty much speechless. Would this be enough for a German-bred, super-sized rabbit, then?

Ivan the Terrible said...

A nuke? Uber-wabbits laugh at mere nukes. How about photon torpedos? Too rich for your blood, eh?

Desargues said...

Um... photon torpedoes? Maybe not too rich for my blood, but surely too quick for my brain. I'm still running on Pentium II, myself. Is that some gizmo they used in Star Trek? I'm a bit behind the curve on ST-watching, you know...

Or is that something Ahmadinejad's people are testing in the Strait of Hormuz these days?

Aunty Marianne said...

Naaaargh, Ivan, you don't want to go around messing with photon torpedoes. SO 22nd century. What you want to do is, create a small wormhole and tip the whole of Disney out somewhere near a black hole.

Not too close. So that it takes a bit of time for them to fall in.

Mwhahahahaha. MWAHAHAHAHA!

Tinkerbell my a*se.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Too late - I think somebody already did that, Aunty.