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Not So Much Travel

When I started this site, I thought I’d be traveling a bit, that’s why I included the Travel category. In 2005-2007, I was in a job that had me traveling around the country 2-4 times a year. In 2008, I was in a job that was supposed to have me traveling out of the country twice a year. But I’m now in a job that has no travel at all.

I was never big on traveling before 2005. I was a confirmed homebody with minimal interest in figuring out the logistics and going through the effort of traveling. That’s not to say I didn’t travel. I did some, mostly to visit Cowgrit’s relatives (Texas, Arizona, New York), or to go skiing (West Virginia, Colorado), or for our honeymoon (Florida). But if I had had my way then, I would have just stayed home.

But then, after traveling some for my job, I started seeing the journeys as little adventures. Although some of the destinations could have been interesting (New York, Chicago, San Diego), I had work to do there, and my stay was only 2-4 days, so I didn’t get to see much of the locations.

The trips weren’t vacations. Besides, even when traveling, I’m apparently still a homebody. When I was in New York on business, I spent my 3 evenings watching movies (Lord of the Rings DVDs on my work laptop) and reading books (Honor Harrington series) in my hotel room. When I was in Chicago for nearly a week, I spent my evenings playing World of Warcraft (I made top level 60 at that time). When I was in San Diego for just 2 days, I went to bed early because the 3 hours time difference killed me.

I did get to see some of the areas, during the days, so I can honestly say I’ve seen the cities at least nominally. (I got lost in Chicago driving a rented car for about 3 hours.) But it was really just a nibble and taste, not a full course of the places.

I came to enjoy the travel experience. I was fine with the trips lasting no more than a week, no more often than 4 times a year. The airport experiences, flying over America, and checking into hotels actually became kind of fun. It broke up the sometimes monotonous daily grind of going to my office every day, every week, every month.

And then when I got another job at the beginning of last year, I was looking forward to the expected out-of-country trips. I got to go to Sweden last March, and that was the coolest business travel I ever got to do. I was supposed to get a trip to China, too, last year, but, well, it didn’t work out.

Now my new job has zero travel, and I’m finding myself missing that aspect of work. Plus is kind of weakens the whole Travel section of this site. At least I traveled to Disney World with the family, so I was able to file something in the category. I guess I’ll need to figure up some more travel with the family so I can add to this section.


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Tea is Sweet

During our vacation in Disney World, I ordered sweet tea to drink at every meal. Every time I was told “We only have unsweet tea.”

The first time I was told that, I retorted, “But this is Florida!”

The waiter shrugged his shoulders, nodded his head, and said, “Yeah, I know.”

That’s just wrong. Is this the case in all of Florida? It’s been so many years since I’ve eaten a meal in Florida, and I don’t know if I even asked for tea then. Maybe it’s just a Disney World thing. If all of Florida is “unsweet tea,” I vote for us to kick the whole crazy state out of the southern United States — it’s northern Cuba.


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Walking the Walk

My handy-dandy cell phone tracks my walking distance each day. In my days at Disney World, I averaged over 10 miles a day walking through the parks. This is why sane people where shoes designed for walking. I was surprised at the number of people wearing flip-flops, and then I saw this Playboy bunny wearing heeled flops.

This woman was done up for a night on the town — odd that she was boarding a Disney shuttle for a day at the parks. She wore big sunglasses with the Playboy bunny logo on the temples, a low-neck white t-shirt, a very short mini-skirt, and shoes that, as you can see above, couldn’t have lasted an hour walking through Disney World. For some people, sensibility will never be able to overcome fashion.


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Lego Heaven

One evening of our vacation in Disney World, we went to Downtown Disney. While Cowgrit and Momgrit went shopping at the World of Disney store (more like 3 stores), the Calves and I visited the Lego Imagination Center.

The first thing you see when you near the Lego store is the giant Lego constructs. The picture to the right shows the sea serpent and the t-rex. The serpent is actually in the water of the harbor — I’m told it is constructed of 2 million Lego pieces. The t-rex stands about 10 feet tall and its head occasionally moves from side to side. To get a sense of the scale in the picture, the rails in front of the serpent and dino are about four feet high.

Not pictured is a robot, that stands as tall as the dino, an ocean scene with a giant crab, shark, and fish, and a life-sized family of four with four dogs on leashes. All of these constructs are made of normal size Lego pieces — the dino looks like it’s made of large blocks, but they’re really just regular, small pieces put together to look like large pieces. All the statues are just awe-inspiring.

Inside the store is every Lego piece and set you can think of, including sets I have never seen in any other store. For instance, check out this picture of the Millennium Falcon — for $500. It is to scale with the standard Lego mini figures — Han, Chewie, Leia, and Obi Wan are sitting in the cockpit. (As a nod to all you other Star Wars geeks: Yes, I noted this is an odd grouping.)

Besides the Star Wars sets, there’s also all the Bionicles, Exowarriors, fantasy, and real-life sets all around, too. Plus there’s a metric butt-load of individual Lego pieces you can buy by the scoopful. You can also build your own mini-figs — three for $10.

Outside the store, under a big permanent shelter, are tables for open building. In the center of the tables are bowls of loose Lego pieces, and there were 20 or 30 kids around building any and every thing they could imagine. There’s also two sloped race tracks for testing your race car builds. After picking out a couple sets each to buy, my boys hung out building cars and racing them with other kids for probably an hour.

That is just an amazingly cool store. I wanted to build and play too, but there was just too much going on for me to get distracted from paying attention to the boys. So I enjoyed the experience vicariously through my sons.


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