Video: Recording a Podcast

The other day, I shared this video at Burnsland as part of the Burnsland Boring Video series. But because it is Beyond the Berm related, I thought I would share it here as well, just in case you don’t visit Burnsland very often.

Quite a while ago, this Behind the Scenes post revealed how we do things around here. And this video shows one side of that. Just in case you are curious.

But don’t worry – this video compresses a 50 minute podcast into about 30 seconds, thanks to time lapse photography. Because who would want to sit through a 50 minute video of me apparently talking to myself?

Enjoy!

Episode 53: Newsies Go Into the Woods with a Selfie Stick

Beyond the Berm returns with all the witty banter and insightful, um, insights that you have come to love! Hopefully you love it. You do love it, right?

Anyway, Episode 53 kicks off with Matt telling about seeing the stage production of Newsies recently. Interesting how a movie that almost no one saw has gone on to be a successful stage production, isn’t it? Hear what Matt thought about the show, and then what he thought about the recent movie version of Into the Woods, too.

newsies640x3201

Next, Steve talks about Walt Disney World’s recent clarification that selfie sticks are indeed still allowed in their parks, although you can’t use them on rides. We then talk a little about photography in parks in general and look at the more strict regulations that Six Flags parks now have about photography. Do you use a selfie stick? Do we need to invest in a selfie stick for the Beyond the Berm office?

We then talk about one of our favorite subjects, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Lots of interesting events have happened on the show, and now there is word of a spin-off show, although no important details about that are known. This, of course, leads in to a discussion about Avengers: Age of Ultron, which you may have heard is coming out very soon. Lots of good Marvel stuff going on right now.

All that and lots more in the latest episode of Beyond the Berm!

To hear our podcast:

Episode 52: Upcoming Disney Movies

Welcome back to Beyond the Berm! Has it really been a month since our last episode? Yes it has – did you miss us? Well then, you are in store for a treat, because here is Episode 52!

For starters, we discuss many of the Disney movies being released over the next several months, because it looks to be a busy year for the various movie divisions of Disney. We pay particular attention this time to Cinderella, which Matt just saw and gives his review. We also talk a bit about Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant Man, and then we focus some on the now-in-production live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.

Cinderella_2015_official_poster

We also discuss some of the upcoming changes at Walt Disney World. Did you know they are adding an extra track to Toy Story Mania and and extra screen to Soarin’? Are these wise uses of the money involved, or would it be better to spend that money on something completely new? Let us know your thoughts!

In addition to all of that, we talk about the new restaurant coming to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, some non-Disney vacation options that we have considered, and what we might want from a Disney vacation in the future. It never hurts to dream, right? Oh yeah, and our “interesting” count for this episode probably goes well over 100, if you forgot to keep count.

All that and even more in Beyond the Berm Episode 52!

To hear our podcast:

Program Alert: More Treasures from the Disney Vault on TCM

This Sunday, March 15, brings the second wave of Disney programming on Turner Classic Movies, or TCM as we usually call it, in their “Treasures from the Disney Vault” series.

This time around, the schedule includes “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” which of course is very fitting, since St. Patrick’s Day is two days later. Also included is the episode of the Disney television series “I Captured the King of the Leprechauns,” which features Walt Disney and Pat O’Brien giving a bit of backstory to Darby O’Gill. I have always enjoyed that show every bit as much as the movie that it is promoting – an effective way of using television to drum up business for a movie, something that Disney excelled at with their television shows.

darby ogill

Also included this time around are the short “Babes in the Woods,” the television episode “The Story of the Animated Drawing,” and the swashbuckling “The Fighting Prince of Donegul.”

But one of the other highlights of the evening is the recent documentary “Walt and El Grupo,” which examines the trip that Walt Disney and several of his artists made to South America, resulting in the movies “Saludos Amigos” and “The Three Caballeros.” And even better, “Walt and El Grupo” is preceded in the evening by “The Three Caballeros,” too.

walt-and-el-grupo-600

Be sure to watch or set your DVR! For more information, check out the Treasures from the Disney Vault page on the TCM website.

Episode 51: Occasional Disney Fans

Beyond the Berm returns today with Episode 51! Check out all the interestingness of our latest episode.

Matt begins by mentioning something he saw in Steve’s Twitter bio, “occasional Disney fan.” Steve clarifies that a bit to be “occasional Disney parks fan,” and the most recent contributor to that occasionalness is the ticket price increase that went into effect on both coasts this week. Is Disney pushing away some of its biggest fans by some of their recent actions in the last few years? Listen in and see if you agree.

Steve then brings up the recent announcement of a new DuckTales series coming to DisneyXD in 2017. Will it be good, or will they take too many liberties with it? Here’s hoping that they leave most of the original DuckTalesness intact.

From there, we move into a discussion of the season finale of Agent Carter, followed by our thoughts about the second half of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season which starts next week. We had some mixed but overall positive feelings about Agent Carter, and we have high hopes for Agent Coulson and his crew. And all of that leads into a discussion of the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, too. Will the Marvelness continue to build?

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Poster-700x1037

So how many times have we added -ness to a word to make a new word? That’s interesting! Be sure to listen in to our adventures of Episode 51!

To hear our podcast:

Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

If you listen to our podcast regularly, you know we often talk about the Marvel movies and television shows. Last night at around 10:30 our time, which would have been 11:30 PM on the east coast, Marvel dropped some major news (which you can read in its entirety here).

The first part of that news was that Spider-Man, one of Marvel’s most popular characters, would be appearing in one of the upcoming films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although in which movie Spider-Man would appear wasn’t stated, it is widely assumed that his appearance would be in the next Captain America movie, since it has already been announced that the movie would follow the events in the Civil War storyline, which features an important appearance by Spider-Man in the comic books.

Spider-man

That news had been rumored for some time, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise. However, the next part of the announcement was even bigger, more surprising news, at least to me. As part of the press release, it was also announced that after Spider-Man’s appearance in a Marvel Studios movie, the next Spider-Man movie would be produced by Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team, along with Amy Pascal, for Sony Pictures. There has been talk for some time that Sony was planning to once again reboot the Spider-Man franchise, so that wasn’t surprising. But having Marvel Studios essentially make the movie for Sony to distribute is a really big deal.

After all, Marvel Studios, under the leadership of Kevin Feige, has a great track record with the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, including the movies featuring Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Avengers. They seem to have the golden touch these days. And who would know better how to make a Marvel movie than the people at Marvel?

If you aren’t aware, long before Disney bought Marvel, and even long before Marvel decided to make their own movies, they gave Sony the rights to the Spider-Man movies. So while Spider-Man and the Avengers characters, along with all of the other Marvel characters, regularly interact in the comic books, they have always been in two separate worlds in the movies. But now, their worlds are coming together, which is a pretty historic moment, considering that the movies are being released by two different companies. Of course, Disney still comes out ahead with its ownership of Marvel. Not as much ahead as if they were releasing the Spider-Man movie themselves, but they pass some of the risk off to others while still reaping some of the expected financial rewards. Also, the press release states that they are exploring ways to use some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe characters in the upcoming Spider-Man movies as well.

The timing of the announcement was interesting for a couple of reasons. First off, why make a major announcement like that when many people have already gone to bed? I have no idea, but I’m sure they had a good reason.

The second interesting timing tidbit is thanks to the inclusion of Amy Pascal as one of the producers. As you may know, it was announced last week that she is stepping down as the chairwoman of Sony Pictures, a move that is largely seen as a response to the recent data breach at Sony. And interestingly, she helped to bring the first Spider-Man movie to Sony Pictures back in 1999, so she and Spider-Man go way back. Plus, she has a nice place to land when leaving her current job. Spider-Man is good for everyone, it seems.

So this is an interesting turn of events for Spider-Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Are you looking forward to it? I know I am. Please let us know how you feel, too!

Episode 50: Interesting Observations

Beyond the Berm returns with its milestone 50th episode! Unfortunately, we don’t have golden cake and ice cream for everyone, but we do have an entertaining episode to share!

For starters, we discuss the news that Tom Staggs has been promoted to the number 2 position at Disney, that of Chief Operating Officer, which most see as an indication that he is next in line to run the company when Bob Iger retires. Is this a good move? Listen in to hear what we think about it.

Next, we talk about the upcoming Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, as well as wondering about what plans there are for Star Wars in the Disney parks. We discuss some of the rumors that we have heard while we wait for an official announcement.

Disneyland 60th

Matt then brings up the 60th Anniversary celebration coming to Disneyland this summer and the plans that have been announced for it. Did they leave you feeling underwhelmed, overwhelmed, or just whelmed?

We then close out the show with a brief discussion about Marvel’s Agent Carter, which we are both enjoying watching while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes a brief break. Have you seen the show? What are your thoughts? We would like to know.

Oh yeah, and we say the word “interesting” at least a few times. All of that and more in Episode 50 of Beyond the Berm!

To hear our podcast:

runDisney Shots & Thoughts

Episode 49 featured a good amount of detail about my experience during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.  I wanted to include a few select pictures of my trip around the world, in addition to a brief recap of my adventures the next weekend for the Star Wars Half Marathon.

WDWMarathonCastleOne of my goals was to run fast enough to get to the Magic Kingdom before dawn so that the Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle would still be lit and visible.  Running through castles is one of the best parts about Disney races.

Marathon09

This was the first Disney race that I dressed up and the first that I stopped for pictures with characters.  Taking a picture with Mickey while dressed as Mickey was one of the highlights of the marathon for me.

WDWMarathonFinish

And I finished the race much like I had run it — with jazz hands.  Not sure why I feel like Mickey would run a marathon with jazz hands but I did.  It still doesn’t quite seem real to me that I ran 26.2 miles.  I might not ever run that distance again but I’m proud to say that I did it once.

Running a marathon almost makes running a half marathon seem like nothing.  Thirteen point one miles is still a good amount of mileage to run though.  The Star Wars Half Marathon was my third half marathon, having completed two Disneyland Half Marathons the previous two years on Labor Day Weekend.  It is easier to compare Star Wars run to those rather than comparing to the events of the previous weekend in Florida.

As a big Disney fan as well as a big Star Wars fan, I thought this would be the perfect event for me.  And while I enjoyed it, I think I preferred the Disneyland Half better.

Event pickup was the same — going to the bottom parking level at the Disneyland Hotel to get my bib and pre-purchased pin.  Having done this in the past, I’m now familiar with how it goes.  I was excited to see the Coast-to-Coast designation next to me name in the sign-in book and received my wrist band that allowed me to get my bonus medal at the end of the half marathon.

The pickup and corresponding expo had begun Thursday but I couldn’t make it down until Saturday, the day before my event.  There hadn’t been a lot of preview of the merchandise but what I had seen, I wasn’t that interested in.  The design of much of the stuff was done in a comic-book style, which didn’t do much for me for the most part.  The Disneyland Half has animated Mickey and gang and Avengers was well suited for this style but I didn’t feel it worked as well for Star Wars.  I’ve heard a lot of stuff had sold out early but it didn’t affect me much because I wasn’t that into it.  I was happy with my “free” participant shirt, which featured Chewbacca, and I picked up a Coast-to-Coast shirt I had passed on in Florida.  Seeing runners who had just completed the 10k with their medals around the neck made me wonder whether I should have done the Rebel Challenge though.

Race day started fine.  Got down there early enough and saw a little performance by the announcing crew and R2-D2 and C3PO before being told that we could head to our corrals.  With a different route than the Disneyland Half, we had quite a bit of walking to do from the staging area to the corrals.  Waiting for the race to start, they showed clips from various Star Wars movies, which was neat.

SWHalf01

I was in Corral B so I didn’t have to wait long after the race began to start my run.  I was surprised how slow the start was with supposed “faster” runners in the corral but it was an OK pace to start.  I had worked hard to get the better start time but perhaps it was a bit of a curse rather than a blessing.

During the Disneyland Half, the sun rises earlier in the morning and the course is run outside of the parks for the first couple of miles but in January, it remained dark for the first part of the race, which headed pretty quickly into the Resort.  Running backstage was done completely in the dark and they didn’t seem to have any floats or other things of interest on display back there.  There simply wasn’t much to see until we made our way into Disneyland.

I love running through the Disney parks and this race was no exception.  Having enjoyed stopping for pictures with the characters in Florida, I had intended to do so again if I saw anyone I wanted to take a picture with.  We headed down Main Street and into Frontierland.  The first photo opportunity was near the dock of the Mark Twain.  It was “Luke” and “Leia,” though they didn’t quite look like them.  I kept going into Fantasyland where there were some Stormtroopers near the carousel.  We ran towards Tomorrowland (no running through the castle … a big bummer) and a cast member was directing people to another photo op near the Matterhorn, though I couldn’t tell who it was (later found out it was Chewbacca).

I wanted my picture taken with Darth Vader and was excited to see him in front of Star Tours but the line was prohibitively long.  They were using the queue of the attraction for the photo line and I honestly thought maybe the ride was open it was so long.  It must have been at least a 20-minute wait when I went past so I decided to skip it.  I read at least one report about someone waiting more than 30 minutes for a picture — much too long in the middle (or rather start) of a race.

We headed through more backstage areas and out the front gates.  I heard my name called and was pleasantly surprised to see my mom.  I stopped for a quick hello and picture before continuing.  The Darth Vader breathing in the underpass between the two parks was pretty cool.

In DCA, there were some Jedi.  I knew that Boba Fett had been here for the 10k and I was interested in a picture with him but his line was at least 10 minutes.  Too long again to wait.  I did stop off for my picture with some Stormtroopers near a bug’s land.

SWHalf03I would have stopped for the characters from Star Wars Rebels, as I saw that they were there during the 10k, but I never encountered them.  I only saw one more group of Jedi before heading out onto the streets of Anaheim and Garden Grove.

One thing I didn’t think I’d like about this course wound up being pretty cool.  Part of Harbor Blvd. was used twice during the race — going and coming.  I didn’t want to run the same stretch twice but as I was passing Katella, the leaders were coming down the other side of the street towards the finish, which I thought was neat to see.  Had I been in a later corral, I wouldn’t have seen this.  Though, if I had been in a later corral, I would have caught an incredible sunrise inside the parks instead of on the streets of Anaheim.  (The lack of sunlight in the parks also led to horrible pictures from MarathonFoto, so I didn’t buy any).

During the Disneyland Half, I look forward to going to Angels Stadium and running the warning track but this course didn’t have that offering (there was a motocross event happening at the stadium so it was all torn up).  Unfortunately, that meant there wasn’t anything to look forward to during the last 10 miles of the race.  We just ran.  Honestly, it was kind of boring.  There were spectators throughout and one stretch had members of the 501st but I didn’t really get to appreciate their costumes as I ran by.

My knee held up pretty well, which I was pleased with.  There was some illnesses going around Kathy’s school the week before the race and I started feeling a little ill myself during the race.  I don’t like using the restroom during a run but after passing by a few port-a-potty stations, I decided I needed to take a bio break.  I felt much better afterward and was able to complete the course a lot more comfortably.

I was happy to hear my name from the announcers as I came across the finish line — the first time they’ve called my name.  Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention but I didn’t see any characters at the finish line as I was crossing.  Perhaps they were in the middle of a shift change?  I got my Star Wars Half medal and my Coast-to-Coast and was finished with yet another long-distance run.

SWHalf04

Reading others’ reports after the race, it seemed like quite a few people liked the Star Wars Half.  It’s not that I didn’t but I didn’t feel it was great and am not sure that I’ll continue doing it in the future.  I think the race brought out a lot of first-time runners and a lot of people who were more fans of Star Wars rather than Disney, which may account for some of that opinion.  There were a lot of intricate costumes worn and the event seemed lively from that standpoint.

I’m not a typical runner either, so I think what I enjoy from a run isn’t necessarily what the typical runner likes.  I’m not a fan of cooler weather and actually prefer the warmer temperatures of the Disneyland Half.  I like the sunrise a little earlier so that I can enjoy the setting I’m running in a little better.  A lot of people liked the course but I thought we entered the parks too quickly and left them too quickly for what would then become a fairly standard road race.

I had planned for the Star Wars Half Marathon to be the end of my running career (and it may still be) but I apparently am not quite done with runDisney yet.  I decided that I’d do the Disneyland Half again this year since it is the 10th anniversary of the event and they sometimes do special medals to commemorate (plus it’s Disneyland’s 60th so who knows if there might be more surprises).  Next year, my daughter will be old enough to do the 10k’s and I told her that I’d run the Tinker Bell one with her.  Perhaps I’ll do the Avengers event at some point too to say that I did them all.

It’s not necessarily easy to do such long-distance events but runDisney does make them fun and accessible to a wide range of abilities with a fairly generous pace requirement.  They cost a bit more than the standard running events but honestly if they weren’t Disney-themed, I wouldn’t be doing them.  They’ve been a great way to challenge myself physically and I love the bling hanging from pegs on the wall of my office.  And like many things Disney, runDisney is highly addictive.  I don’t relish the thought of training for more events but I can’t help thinking which ones I’m going to do next.

~Matt

 

Episode 49: Matt the Marathon Man

Welcome back to Beyond the Berm for Episode 49!

If you have been following our adventures here (and if you haven’t, why not?), you know that Matt has been preparing for the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland. And if he completes both, he earns a Coast to Coast medal as well.

This past weekend was the Walt Disney World Marathon. Did Matt complete the marathon? Wouldn’t this episode have been titled differently if he didn’t? And if that doesn’t answer your question, how about this:

matt-medal

Listen in as Matt tells about his experiences along the run. Can running 26.2 miles actually be fun? It certainly sounds like it!

And best of luck to Matt and everyone else participating in the half marathon at Disneyland this weekend!

To hear our podcast:

runDisney Attire

On several podcast episodes, I’ve mentioned that I’ll be participating in the Walt Disney World Marathon and Star Wars Half Marathon. I’m often amazed at the creative attire that people come up with when running runDisney events. Usually, I just wear the tech T-shirt they provide as part of the event registration but this year I’ve decided to spice things up a bit and actually run in costume.

For the Walt Disney World Marathon, I’m running as the Big Cheese himself — Mickey Mouse. I’ll be sporting a solid black T-shirt, red shorts and yellow shoes. To accessorize, I’ve spray painted two buttons yellow and attached them to belt loops in my shorts. A pair of fuzzy white gloves and traditional Mickey ears completes the ensemble.
MarathonMickey

For the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon, I bought a Darth Vader costume T-shirt with cape from Target and will be pairing it with black shorts. I bought a Darth Vader helmet with Mickey ears at Disneyland and am borrowing my daughter’s Mickey light wand to act as a light saber. Black gloves, socks and shoes help me fulfill my turn to the Dark Side.
DarthMickey

Neither of these outfits are particularly creative but are a fun way for me to participate in a runDisney event beyond simply running the distance. Of the two outfits, the regular Mickey is the most simple befitting the 26.2 miles I’ll have to endure while wearing it. I just hope the ears stay put, the 80-degree expected weather don’t make the gloves unnecessarily hot and the shoes turn out to be as much performance issue than just looking the part. The Darth Mickey will be more tricky with the rim of the helmet potentially striking my neck on every stride and the possibility that my light saber may be difficult to keep retracted. But as much as I’d like to pull decent times, I’m not running to win and these costumes will hopefully make the events even more fun than they already are.

~ Matt