Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to the Grind

Trip report ahead but first some brief housekeeping.

Today life returns to normalcy. Two weeks ago my family enjoyed a Florida vacation which was followed by me spending a week of job training in Cedar Rapids. I return to my late week shift of 1-10pm with the exception of Wednesday which I will start early due to an AM meeting. The plan is to get over to the YMCA this morning and get on the elliptical. I have had a couple good days with my foot but I am seriously thinking about scheduling a visit with my doctor. I have so far to go between today and January. Most likely once I am running again I will just stick to training and skip the Des Moines half in October. More on all this as things develop. Lets get to the post trip report.

We traveled to Florida on the 10th for a full week in the fun and sun. For this trip we flew on Allegiant Air Allegiant does not fly into MCO. It flies into Orlando/Sanford or St Peter/Clearwater on alternating days. We booked this airline because it was so much cheaper than the big carriers. How much cheaper? Well carriers such as Northwest and Delta wanted $400 pp round trip for just the flight. We booked Allegiant for $247 pp(tax included) round trip and that included a full size rental car and the baggage fees.

Our flight down left on time and went well. We landed shortly after 10pm and walked over to Alamo to pick up our car. We still had about an hours drive down to Cocoa Beach. Upon check in we were given a free room upgrade. We think this was because the other building were filled with softball teams that were in town for a tournament. The upgrade provided us a full kitchen and our building was the one that the free breakfast was served at.

Our building set back from the beach but it was only a short walk to the beach. (Much shorter than it appears in this picture.) A shuttle launched was scheduled for Saturday. We had hoped to watch it from the beach. Unfortunately it did not actually lift off until Wednesday.

We spent most of Saturday morning swimming in the ocean. Mid day we drove uptown and stopped at a Subway for lunch. Next we drove up north past Port Canaveral to see the ships moored there. Behind the Carnival ship was one of the Disney ships. I was surprised at the size of these boats. We began discussing the fact that we need to do a cruise sometime.

On the way back we came across Manatee Park. Although we could not get any good photos, we did see at least three manatees. They came within forty feet of the shore. All you could see was their heads lifting up now and then.

During spring break you often hear about Daytona Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. Evidently the party scene must gather in Cocoa Beach too. There were adult clubs all over the place. They were well maintained buildings but the shear number of them did not exactly say family friendly community. This sign, located next door to a souvenir shop is thanking Lisa for five years of service. Thanks Lisa.

On Sunday morning my daughter and I woke up to watch the sun rise. The beach had a number of these little fellas popping up here and there.

The sunrise was beautiful. There were about a dozen other folks down on the beach watching it. Ah the life of a tourist.

After breakfast we hit the road for Orlando and Saratoga Springs.

To be cont...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trip Report Coming Soon.

Made it back from Florida last Friday and have been to busy to post. This evening I leave for a week of training in Cedar Rapids. Hopefully the hotel has free internet and I can get something up soon. I was happy to see a good number during todays weigh in. Vacation along with DVC made it very easy to watch food intake. I have updated my weight. Mike's numbers are a few weeks old and once I hear from him I will update.

Enjoy your week everyone. I'll try getting something up shortly.

Friday, July 10, 2009

They know something is up.

"Can't I go too?"

Dogs are funny animals. I find it interesting that when ever we prepare for a trip they sense that something is up. This is especially true when I dig out the suit cases and travel bags. Sophie was really working those puppy dog eyes on us last night. We used to board our dogs but for the past few trips we have been able to have a house sitter stay here with them. Much less stress on them. Back in 2002 when we visited Florida on a 9 day trip, Jake our oldest dog (now 8) became so worked up at the boarders that he developed stomach problems and had to be medicated because of the stress. Jake is very much a lap dog and is spoiled with attention. Sophie is very much the same way. Our other dog Zoe could care less either way. She is a loving dog but would rather be doing her own thing. Usually that means staying outside no matter what the weather is doing. It could be pouring rain and she will go roll around the grass happy as a clam.

But hey enough about our dogs. We leave for Florida in just a few hours. The excitement has been building all week. We will be flying Allegiant air for the very first time. They do not fly into MCO. We had a choice of either Tampa or Sanford. We are scheduled to land at Sanford around 10:10 EST this evening. Then we are driving down to Cocoa beach for two nights. By not flying into MCO we are saving over $600 and that includes the car rental.

Nasa has a shuttle launch scheduled for 7:39pm Saturday. Due to the launch the space center is closed that day unless you have a launch ticket. We figure we can just go out onto the beach and see it.

Sunday we travel to WDW. Looking at the online calenders I noticed that the parks have added an extra hour since I created my Disney trip planning spreadsheet. I have everything on the sheet. Park times with extra magic hours and confirmation numbers for ADRS, hotels, flights and the rental car.

Our touring plan for this trip is for me to get an AP and the Tables in Wonderland card. Getting the AP because I am returning within six months. Everyone else is gettng a standard four day ticket. The plan is to hit the parks that have the evening extra magic hours. We also have a day left on unexpired hoppper tickets from 2002. This will let us to pick one day to park jump. We may use that to see Fantasmic once we see a schedule for that show. It used to be on the HS calander but it has been removed.

So the plan without knowing Fantasmic's schedule is MK,HS,EP,AK,Park Hop.

I have already turned off my work cell which shall remain in Iowa. I am not taking a PC so I am not planning on blogging while gone. I may send a text pic or two out to some of you whose phone numbers I have. OK I need to wrap this up and finish packing.

And if anyone is wondering... My foot is doing much much better. The pain in my arch is nearly gone. What remains is some stiffness. If this keeps improving as it has over the past few days I hope to be back doing short jogs following this trip. I am sooooo tempted to jog the trails around the resort. I'll just play that by ear.

Stay focused out there everyone and Keep Moving Forward.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Iowa State Fair to let public vote on Michael Jackson butter sculpture

The following article appeared in the Des Moines Register on July 8, 2009

The Michael Jackson dairy debate continues: The Iowa State Fair today announced that it will let the public vote on whether the recently deceased King of Pop will be part of its 2009 array of butter sculptures, alongside the iconic butter cow.
"The Iowa State Fair appreciates the input of hundreds of people who have voiced their opinions, both positive and negative, on the issue of including Michael Jackson as a companion element in the 2009 moonwalk butter sculpture," the fair said in a statement.

"The ongoing discussion has created a lot of, well, 'churn,' " Gary Slater, the fair's manager and chief executive, added in his own statement.

OMG. Butter humor?

Lori Chappell, the fair's marketing director, said, "A lot of people are pretty passionate about the fair." While this year likely marks the height of fair butter sculpture controversy, she said, there was a minor flap over the role of religion in 1999 when former sculptor Duffy Lyon chose to carve "The Last Supper" for her 40th year at work in the refrigerated display case in the Agricultural Building.

The 2009 butter sculpture will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission and Neil Armstrong's walk on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. The sculpture will include an astronaut, an American flag, the surface of the moon and, depending on the public vote, Michael Jackson in recognition of his "moonwalk" dance step.

OMG again. Using the 'moonwalk' to create a tie in?

The online poll will be conducted at from July 9 through 3 p.m. July 16. Final results will be released July 17.

Each user will be allowed to vote only once and to that end will submit an e-mail address and ZIP code. The poll, however, will not be restricted to Iowa ZIP codes.

View local newscast video of this story "here". Besides searching for the poll at the state fair site KCCI has the poll up on their home page.

Please take the time to vote this thing down. The Michael Jackson love fest really needs to end. Yeah, sure he made music that people enjoyed. (Myself included) But enough already, so many people are capatalizing off of his death it makes me ill. I can only imagine that one year from now there could be another memorial concert to honor him again.

Much more respect has been given to other recent celebrity deaths. May they rest in peace.

KoKo Taylor 80
Ed McMahon 86
Farrah Fawcett 62
Billy Mays 50
Gayle Storm 87
David Carradine 72
Huey Long 105
Karl Malden 97 (Karl died? When was this reported?)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Satire: Remembering Hoagie

For those of you following the events of the past few weeks over in Passamaquoddy, today a memorial concert was held for Hoagie Cagg. I arrived early and claimed my "Bass Pass" Personally I thought the show would never end. I can't help but wonder how Hoagie would really feel about all of those who are trying to gain exposure and make a few bucks at his expense. It seems everyone is crawling out of the woodwork to get their own moment in the sun. Where were all these people during the past 20 years when the tabloids were calling him a freak? Who defended him? Did anyone?

To catch up on the latest ocean front news be sure to visit Doc Terminus and his blog. Click "here" to be magically transported to Passamaquoddy. The Hoagie plates are going fast so order yours today.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A little Disney humor. Place your order.

"Would you like some Mr. Po, ah I mean some potato salad to go with that?"

From Chris: Was Woody serving any "Hamm", was he?

"Sorry Chris, but it seems we ran out of the BBQ "Hamm". Could I interest you in a double Bullseye burger and and a side of Stinky Pete Beans?"

"Andy how long on that corn!?"

Last Friday we attended the Des Moines Art Festival. The event is held downtown and features local artists and live entertainment. Lots of creativity all around us. At the far end of Locust avenue I snapped a picture of Woody's Smoke Shack. I could not resist having a little photo shop fun with it.

We skipped all the quick service vendors and dined at "Centro" pronounced chen-tro. The restaurant is upscale with prices that run from 9.99 up to 49.99 a plate. We both enjoyed some Bruschetta. My wife had the Tuscan Grilled Chicken sandwich and I had the Shrimp and Scallops. Everything was excellence including the service. If you visit Des Moines on buisness or with a spouse I recommend dining here. Pizza is also on the menu.

As June concludes I fell pretty good about the month. Although my weight has not changed much (yet) I am pleased to view my June log and see that this month I have been more consistent. Over the past two days I have visited the YMCA. I think I am going to drop SNAP, at least until cold weather returns. I have found that I can work the Y into my goofy work schedule. I managed some swimming this past week and was surprised at how much it took out of me. Lots of room for improvement there.

The program I ran on the elliptical machine today had me alternating forward and backward strides. Although it felt awkward this really stretched out my calves and I felt great afterward.

My foot is getting better. Rolling the frozen pepsi bottle under it, mixed with some stretching is beginning to pay off. The goal I want to work toward (once I begin jogging again) is 8 mile outings by October. I may skip the Des Moines half later this year because I am concerned about further injury. I really want to make it to Disney healthy and hopefully take 30 minutes off last years time. I'm realistic though. I know I have plenty of ground to cover before then.