Saturday, March 27, 2004

Ok, I'm back from Florida, and I've got lots and lots of stuff for you. Before I left I promised lots of people a live diary from Florida, and I kept it up for a couple of days before I stopped having time to just sit down and write. Here are the first couple entries.

Entry 1:
7:30 PM Monday, Departing Chicago

It'll take less than two hours to reach Orlando. That blows my mind. It takes me more time to sit through my Modern Philosophy class. Maybe if we took Prof. Knepper on a plane, let him lecture and we landed in a new city when it was over, I'd go to class more often.

I let Laura read that first paragraph, figuring it'd be good for a laugh. I ended up having to read it to her, she can't decode my handwriting. I guess now I can write whatever I want. Seriously, though, it's great to have Laura along on this trip. I hadn't been on an airplane since I was 12, and without her dragging me through the airport I may not have made it to my plane today. Without Laura's contant encouragement a few months ago this trip probably never would have gotten planned and probably just would've stayed as one of those things I always talk about doing. And on top of all that, without Laura today I probably would have gone to jail.

You see, today didn't have history's greatest start. We decided to leave early for the airport, and somehow our timing was just perfect so that when a guy in a truck decided to make a left turn despite the fact that he couldn't see if anyone was coming, I was right there to hit him. It was a minor fender bender (literally, here's a picture of the damage behind the headlight) but before I thought to call the police, the guy had driven off. The first thing Laura did at the accident scene was to grab me as I was getting out of the car and pull me back in to make sure I wasn't going to kill the guy...and that was the first time I realized killing him wasn't such an exceptional idea.

But it evened out, cause she got to laugh at me when I wasn't smart enough to empty my pockets at airport security and ended up getting wanded.

Here's an airplane thing I'll never understand. I've been on two planes today, and on both, the captain has told us it was ok to take off our seat belts and move around, but if we wished to stay in our seats we needed to keep our seat belts on "in case we experience some unexpected turbulence along the way." So basically, what he's saying is "We may experience turbulence rough enough to throw you out of your seat, but if you're not in your seat, you're screwed and we're just gonna let you flop around. Feel free to get up, though."

It hasn't happened yet, but the point where I forgot something critically important will almost certainly come. At that point I'll probably want a list of things I did remember, to point back to. Let's make that list now.

Tickets to 4 baseball games
Excedrin (Hurricurbstompers, actually)
my glasses
two pairs of sunglasses
one baseball book
two Dragonalnce books
driving directions to our rental car, and all four baseball parks

I'll add an entry as soon as my obvious oversight presents itself. But for now, it's back to my reading.

On a last note before I close the book, my car needs a flight attendant. If someone came up to me and gave
me Dew every so often in my car, I could drive forever.

And on another last note, I miss video games.

Tuesday, 10:25 am, Daytona Beach

Today's continuing theme: "We're in Florida." And that's going to sound really dumb unless you realize it's been a really long time since I've been on vacation, so I need to periodically remind myself. Every moment is special to me. So is every hot chick that walks by. Not counting Laura, we're at 2.

Right now I'm watching a pigeon dig in the sand. I think it's lost. (3)

The water isn't very warm. Laura and I got ankle deep before we decided that was enough (4) ocean for today. It's windy too (5), the seas are really rolling. (6)(7) It's just a little too cold to sit half naked. Not that that's stopping most people, just me and the hot chicks off to our left.

Some asshole just fed the seagulls behind us. Now they're everywhere. And the sun went away. Two cute girls sat near us but it was too cold to get naked. Not fair. I guess they still count, though. (8)(9)

I guess now would be a good time to look back on last night. Going back to Irene's house was no big adventure . . . baggage claim, pick up and the drive back all went reasonably well (10). Irene's house presented a dilemma, though. You see, there's a bit of a culture difference between Laura and I and Irene, who is older and retired. (11)(12) On a side note, I asked Laura if we could take 11 and 12 home with us, she declined.

Getting back to the previous subject, though, Irene drives slow. She drives a realtively small car and has a large dog that rides along everywhere. Ok, another side note: Going to the beach implies you will see certain things. One of those things is not a lemonade truck that drives between you and the water.

I'm going to finish my thought on Irene now, I promise. Laura and I hadn't even considered that Irene wouldn't know we usually sleep together. We got to Irene's house and found two twin beds in our room. And Irene's house is quiet as a tomb at night. (13)(14)(15) I'll leave you those problems to digest on your own.

I mentioned before that the ocean was cold. What I did not mention was that my feet got stuck in the sand and broke the flip flops I had been using as shower shoes since day one of college. It produced an early quote of the week contender: "I have felt the pull of the ocean. It broke my flip flops."

Sadly, that's the last non-baseball related journal entry I had time to make this week, but I'll run you through a quick "Greatest Hits" of the rest of the week now and link you to my pictures.

Tuesday we drove back from Daytona to Orlando, ate lunch at the biggest TGI Friday's I've ever seen and spent $110 to get into Universal Studios. I was a little skeptical about the ability of any amusement park to be worth $55 per person for 5 hours, but I'm not disappointed. Laura and I had this picture taken of us in front of the park.

Getting into the park was a funny story. You see, we were hoping to get a deal on tickets, so we stopped at one of the discount ticket places that appear everywhere in Orlando and got tickets. Anyway, the tickets had Laura's name on them. So when we got to the gates of the park, a solid 15-20 minute walk from where we parked, they asked for ID from Laura, who had left everything but her cash in the car. So Laura said no, she didn't have any ID. So the woman behind the counter asked if she had anything with her name on it, and again Laura said no. So the woman hid Laura's name on our ticket and asked me "What's her name?" When I responded correctly she let us in and prompted the other quote of the week candidate from Laura, "You're my thing with my name on it!"

We proceeded on to Nickelodeon Studios, which I guess actually was a disappointment. You see, there's a chance at Nickelodeon Studios to go sit in a TV studio and play games and stuff, but while we were there nothing was actually being taped. There was also the giant slime fountain you see on TV, but that was about it. Nothing was going on outside, and aside from the shows being put on you couldn't actually go inside. The Ren and Stimpy restroom sign, though, provided an excellent photo op.

On our first pass by the line to get into Shrek was too long, but we got this picture taken with him. On a side note, Shrek put his arm around Laura and tried to push me away until he saw Laura start to glare at me, not knowing it was Shrek's fault, then he let me in.

We saw the Twister thingy...not really a ride, just kind of a demonstration of what happens in a tornado...waited a long time in line to watch a plastic cow fly by and see a gas tank start on was ok, but they over-hyped it. The whole show was only about a minute long.

When we came out of Twister, Beetlejuice was dancing in the street, by the firehouse from Ghostbusters. I'm still not sure how to react to that. Next was Jaws, and that was cool. I mean, it's a little cheesy, the shark is obviously fake, but you actually get to ride in a boat and stuff.

We waited a long time in line to get on Back to the Future, but it was well worth it, it was my favorite ride of the day. You actually ride in an eight person Delorean and chase the stolen Delorean around, and you crash into stuff and the car tilts all over the place, it's a good time. Here's me and Laura outside with the Delorean.

On the way to E.T. we saw a banner with a weiner dog on it, and of course I had to have a picture.

E.T. was cool, you ride bicycles through a big tunnel following ET back to his home planet so his healing touch can save it. A little cheesy but fun. I'm enjoying the rides where you get to ride on things. I think that's why I didn't like Twister. I just stood there and watched things.

Men In Black was a close second behind Back to the Future for best ride, you get to drive around and shoot at aliens. In the end you get a score and they show you your picture with everyone you rode with. I considered getting a copy of the picture, cause everyone in it looked goofy except for me, but decided against it, so sorry, no pic for you here.

At this point we had seen everything we wanted except for Shrek, so we decided to get in line and wait it out. Universal does one thing I really like and one I don't. First, every ride/show/whatever has a wait time listed outside. So when you get in line, you know about how long it's going to take. That's nice, cause we waited until the lines got shorter for a couple of things we wanted to see.

Here's what I don't like. Universal sells Express Passes for its rides. So if you have whiny kids or an inability to wait in line like the rest of us or feel that spending $55 to get into the park wasn't enough, you can buy Express passes and automatically go to the front of the line. But when the line for Shrek is 75 minutes long and I see the same people use Express passes to butt in line 3 times, it starts to bug me.

Anyway, we waited and I grumbled at people who snuck in front of us and finally got to see Shrek, which was pretty good. Not quite worth a 75 minute wait. but maybe a 45-60 minute wait. It was all done in 3D, and I didn't realize it when we sat down, but the chairs were set up to do things like bounce up and down, spray you with water when Donkey sneezes, and shoot cold air by your feet to make it feel like spiders are on the floor. Good times.

All in all Universal was good. They do a very good job of not just making it a park full of rides. There's cool stuff in between rides too. Like I mentioned before, when I was done trying to figure out why Beetlejuice was dancing in the streets, I noticed he was next to the house from Ghostbusters. Little things like that are cool.

That's about all my notes from Universal...we went out for dinner Tuesday night and spent all day Wednesday and Thursday at baseball parks (notes on that will appear at sometime in the next few days).

Friday morning was rough...we had a 6:15 am flight out of Orlando, so we got up at 4:35 (3:35 Central time) to go to the airport...there was no Dew on the plane but that was the biggest issue. Aside from the fact that I was kinda tired and grumpy all day yesterday and got drunk on top of it last night. But there's my trip to Orlando. And like I said, the baseball part will be up on Snowbaseball sometime soon.

Way long post concludes. This has been KL Snow.

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