Friday, October 6, 2017

Nostalgia to Look Forward To

By Chris McGinty (of
I got into a very one-sided phone conversation tonight about my history as a songwriter. I think that the reason the conversation went on as long as it did, and remained as one-sided as it did was because I started to come to the realization that I have an interesting body of musical work that is largely on formats that make it difficult to properly archive. I can’t say that the overall quality of my songwriting qualifies as good. I think it took me a number of years to start writing good music. It’s not music for everyone, but it’s good.

The thing is that I started “writing music” as early as about 9 or 10 years old, but I lacked the talent of the young songwriters you typically hear about. The songs I wrote at that point were probably absolutely horrible. If there were recordings of them (and there aren’t) I would likely burn them. This is a lot coming from me, because I believe in preserving things.

As I got into my teenage years, I wrote better stuff. There are a couple of things that I would even claim are pretty good for what they are.

At the end of my teenage years, I did my first collaborative work. I wrote a song with my friend Dex that was more silly than anything, and then I wrote a reasonable amount of music with Miguel (sometimes with others involved). As with everything creative involving Miguel, he eventually bowed out of the project leaving me to work with the other person who had been involved. This happened with the “band” with our friend Brett, and would happen again later with the public access show with our friend Nathan.

Around 1998, I went solo musically, and until 2006 everything I wrote was on my own.

In 2006, I joined a band and then followed up with a second band in 2008. I co-wrote six songs, three with each band.

In 2009, I wrote three songs as a solo artist, and I’ve since not recorded anything new, though I have worked on some songs here and there.

This is the short version of the conversation. I got into a lot of detail about what worked and what didn’t. I explained the steps it took to find my own style and voice. I explained the few things that helped me along the way to improve the quality of my work. I got pulled over by a cop for walking at night. He said that there was nothing wrong with what I was doing, but ran my driver license anyway. That’s a rant for another time.

After the phone conversation, I remembered that I had written some snippets about how the three songs in 2009 came about, so I searched the blog and found that article. It was part of a six-part series of articles in which I scoured the draft section of our blog and talked about the incomplete material.

Talking about my songwriting history made me realize that I miss the songwriting process, and I feel like I should quit delaying and go buy a multi-track recorder. The primary reason I’ve not recorded new music is because my last multi-track recorder broke.

Reading those articles about writing the blog made me realize that I miss the blog writing process. The blog was nice because it was both Nathan and me writing, which meant that we had material to read by the other that gave us things to talk about, and sometimes write about. Even Miguel sometimes chimed in.

The blog may be a harder thing to reconnect with. Nathan and Miguel might be interested in writing again, and they might not. If at least Nathan wrote it would be easier for me to keep at it. If they both wrote, it would really be helpful.

Somewhere along the way, we forgot that we’re a creative team. It’s not that we’re not working on projects, but we’re just not working as closely together anymore.

I went down Memory Lane tonight, up one side of the street and back down the other. This little journey, coupled with a recent desire to continue contributing to the body of work I’ve accumulated in my life, has me looking to the future and thinking that it’s time to get back to work at what I should consider my real job.

Chris McGinty is a writer who has spent too much of his recent time as a shift manager at Pizza Hut.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Disney World - Magic Kingdom Pin Trading - Super Useful Info!

by Nathan Stout (of

So here are some AWESOME secrets on pin trading at the Magic Kingdom (all from me, not taken some click bait article, no sir... all me. For those of you who don't know Pin Trading is another money making scheme from Disney that's actually fun for us 'collectors'.

You buy some pins and a lanyard (if you want) and when you are at Disney World you can trade your pins with most Cast Members. You just ask for the one you want and you can trade the one you own that you don't want (they don't care which one you give them). Easy huh? The trading part is not really the money maker for Disney, it's the massive amount of nicer pins you can buy new from their kiosks and shops but forget that! Let's trade!

So there are several 'levels' of pins. Basic ones (which the cast members generally have) up to fancy big ones (which can cost up to $30 for the nicest ones). Secret #1 Go buy a bunch of pins off eBay before you go to WDW! The pin starter packs (which can come with up to 6 pins) will cost you around $30! Forget that! Spend $25 on 50 pins off of eBay! Just look for sellers that state that the pins are authentic and in good shape. Pick the ones you like out of that lot, then load up a lanyard with the junk and off you go! Now you will can not even go to WDW but just collect your pins with these eBay lots. There are many different auctions/buy-it-nows with varying amounts of pins. 25, 50, 100, 200! Cheap fun!

So here you are at WDW (and to a lesser extent Disneyland) with a lanyard full of crappy pins... get to trading! In order to get rid of the 30 unwanted pins I had I made a rule that I was going to just walk up to the Cast Member with a pin holder and ask to trade (not looking first at what pins they had). This was I was forced to trade away the unwanted ones. Sure, I would not always find ones I wanted but at least I was rotating out the stock and trying to move up the likeability scale on my crappy pins. I felt it was rude to walk up to a Cast Member, stare at them then walk away or reject them. Just seemed nicer to just do it.

One time I did the Keys to the Kingdom Tour and we got to go downstairs in the Utilidors and we passed the pin trading room. Here Cast Members stop by and get a pin holder they wear over their shoulder pre-loaded with pins to trade. Secret #2 Can you believe there is a whole department devoted to pin trading?! So just know that you will get standard (bottom of the barrel) pins early in the morning. Later in the day (after little Johnny has traded away his $10 pin will you start to see better pins on Cast Member's pin holders and pin boards). On the last day of my trip I scored a spinning 2016 pin from the Christmas shop in Liberty Square.

Wait, did you just say Pin Boards?!

Secret #3 Pin Boards! Throughout the WDW resort there are trading pin boards. These are cork boards of varying sizes where there are WAY MORE pins that what a Cast Member carries around with them. Some pin boards are not monitored all of the time so you can trade away several of your stinkers.

Could this article get any better?! IT DOES!

So during my last trip to Magic Kingdom I was in the gift shop of Space Mountain and there was a Cast Member at the pin board talking to some other guests and writing on a map. He was circling locations. When they left I moved forward and he asked if I wanted a map too, I said sure then asked him what it was... lol. He took out a map and began to circle every location in the Magic Kingdom of Pin Boards! Woot!

Secret #4 Pin Board Locations at MK! I hereby bequeath this map unto you! Click to enlarge!

Ok, so these aren't the biggest secrets in the entire universe but at lease you are not having to click though a bunch of links and ads to look at the article right? If so then this post was stolen off my blogger (

Love Nathan