Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year's Eve.

I wanted to sketch a New Years Celebration while avoiding the drunk drivers after midnight.  Raglan' Road Irish Pub (1640 Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830) celebrated New Years at 7 PM which is midnight in Ireland.  This seemed like a good pan, celebrate, at Raglan' Road and then watch the ball drop from home, away from the crowds.   The Pub in Disney Springs had a limited number of reservations and when Pam Schwartz called they couldn't take any more, but walk ins were welcome.  We decided to risk it, hoping there would be a few spaces at the bar.  

The lime parking garage at Disney Springs was listed as full, but we found a parking spot rather quickly on the second level.  Disney Springs was crowded and bustling with all the holiday decorations ablaze in the night.  The Raglan' Maitra D' didn't have a table available for an hour and a half but she did offer the bar.  Our spot at the bar didn't have a good view of the stage.  After stating a sketch several patrons moved on, and we slipped into their seats with a decent view of the stage.  

Sketching at Disney always seems frantic.  Every tourist is desperate for a good time and they are in a rush to find it.  Our bar stools were at a spot which created a bottleneck between the bar and the center tables. The restless crowd flowed past and often stopped because of the tight quarters.  I was constantly trying to see around the crush of the crowd.  It is a mind game that takes tons of patience.  I ended up loosing patience with one dad who stood right in front of Pam and the stage holding up his cell phone shooting video.   I got up stood in front of him and asked him to move to his right.  After wards he apologized saying he didn't realize he was in our way.  There is hope for humanity.  

On stage just before 7 PM, the band performed with a guitar, accordion and fiddle.  I never did sketch the fiddle player, I tried several times, she was elusive.  A line of three female and one male dancer danced an Irish jig, their upper bodies perfectly still.  At one point children from the audience were brought on stage where they were taught how to dance the jig.  Two of the youngsters knew how to dance the jig, and the audience broke out in thunderous applause. Everyone was given a complimentary champagne which couldn't be consumed until the countdown at 7 PM.  Everyone cheered sipped and kissed.  

After New Years, Pam ordered ham and colcannon, an Irish dish of cabbage and potatoes boiled and pounded. Pam rated her meal as a 5 out of ten. I ordered gnocchi, small dumplings made from potato, served with a white cream sauce. and scallops. The meals were cool by the time we got them.  Pam ordered a Rosemary Whiskey Sour and maple drink that she rather liked I took one sip, and it was STRONG.  I just ordered a Funky Buddah beer which was decent.  I was shocked that the beer was $10. 

I recently did one of those Ancestry DNA tests and found out that I am mostly Irish.  I always thought that I was half German and certainly Thorspecken sounds German but the DNA results begged to differ. I therefor am inclined to seek out more Irish celebrations so I can document more of the culture of my people. 

Walking through Disney Springs, a huge hulk of a man noticed my John Henry crew jacked.  He asked if I had worked on the film and I told him that I had.  He simply wanted me to know that he loved that short film.  The drive home wasn't too bad.  A few people tapped their brakes on I-4, but most people were just getting ready to go out for the night.  We settled in on the couch and watched the Times Square Ball drop on Pam's lap top.  We had to watch the insipid time wasting banter of the hosts who interacted with the freezing crowd.  The count down finally began before midnight Eastern Standard Time.  10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5...  The streaming video live feed froze.  A small icon covered the video screen and spun.  Noooooooooo! Fireworks were exploding all over Orlando.  We searched other digital streams to see if we could find the ball drop.  There was no instant replay. We think that Verizon must have frozen the data stream to convince people to upgrade to a cable package.  Apply was just in the news for slowing down data streams on old iPhones.  It doesn't inspire customer loyalty. It instead inspires people to stop staring at digital screens and get out to experience life in person.  

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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