Monday, July 27, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Well, somehow today I ended up making a new web site. There was a lot of stuff out of date, and I noticed it's been a long time since I've put anything in the blog. Comcast is dropping their web hosting services that are normally included with internet service. So I moved everything to a new server, AlterVista.org. So far, it seems to be working well. I may start using it for other sites in the future, especially now that GoDaddy's rates went way up. Well, life is a lot better than the last time I blogged. I have to admit, it got way worse after that post. Thanks to God, things are much better now. But there are a lot of lessons I learned from that whole experience. I'm finding out that I really don't know as much as I thought I did. And I know not to take Ambien or Lunesta anymore! But, I'm learning more because of it all. I've gone through several heartaches since then, and I look forward to the day when most of those go away too. I've met a lot of new, great people. And I learned some things that I've been doing wrong, especially in the last month. So I've been working on those, and hopefully it will pay off soon. I recently took a week long trip to Florida. I really enjoyed it. I wanted to do all the things that I normally wouldn't be able to do since I was single and traveling alone. And that's exactly what I did. I didn't stay in one place very long. The longest was 2 days in Miami Beach. It was great to go there, and I'm already looking forward to my next trip. I couldn't cram in everything I wanted, but at least I did everything I wanted to do alone. Once I got to Ocala, I stopped at Walgreens to get a SunPass sticker since I'd be using the toll roads a lot. They are $5, and you just register it online or by phone. The toll booths didn't know my sticker ID until the following day. Next time, I'll try to remember to do it ahead of time. The scary thing is that some off ramps no longer accept even cash. If you don't have a SunPass, they bill it according to your license plate... and of course add on a big fee. So my advice to anyone driving in Florida on the toll roads is to do the sticker in advance. I'm probably trading the van at the end of the year, so I'll have to get a new one on the next trip. But hopefully, they will be compatible with the Illinois and Indiana systems by then. I spent the rest of the day in the Orlando area. I stayed in Lake Mary. It was the 4th of July, so the hotel rates were higher about everywhere. So I just stayed there, even though it was a bit out of the way. I went straight for Del Taco. I had it on the way home on the last trip, and fell in love with it. So I had to go there. I went to do a few other things, and since I didn't have anything else better to do... I drove down to Kissimmee and tried to watch the fireworks. There was a pretty bad thunderstorm most of the day, so it was doubtful the fireworks would happen. But, it cleared just in time. Unfortunately, the spot I picked out to park in didn't give me a high enough elevation. So by the time I found a place, it was mostly over. But at least I was able to see part of it. The next day after a couple of stops, I headed over to Cape Canaveral to visit Padraig, who was one of my students for the past 3 years. He is interning at SpaceX, where he is working on the old Launchpad 39 where the Apollo missions and space shuttle missions launched. SpaceX is reconfiguring the launch pad for their new rockets. He already loves working for them, even though it's 12-14 hours a day and 6-7 days a week. I'm really proud of him. He's done a lot of great things, but this is a big passion of his. He was named Young Ham of the Year 2 years ago, and won every big ham radio award and scholarship possible. He's going to go even bigger places. I can't wait to see what the future is for him. MIT missed out on a good one. Cornell is lucky to have him. Then I went to my room in Indian Harbor Beach, or more or less Melbourne. I really like the hotel there. It's not across from the beach... it's on the beach. Every room has it's own private balcony overlooking the Atlantic. Every time I go, I think to myself that I just need to stay there the whole time and forget Orlando and all the tourist stuff. Sometime I'll listen to myself. It's so relaxing, convenient, and not crowded. But there's still plenty to do not too far away. I really like the Space Coast. I tried out Pollo Tropical for dinner. It was good! The next day, I drove to Miami. This was my first trip to Miami. My main reasons for going was to check off another NBA area on my list, and to go to South Beach. I have seen so much on Travel Channel about South Beach, so I decided I had to go at least once. So after some selfies at AA Arena, off to the hotel I went. I had first picked the Savoy, but at the last minute I decided to switch to The Hotel of South Beach (formerly the Tiffany). I think I made the right choice. It wasn't right on the beach like the Savoy, but it was cheaper and didn't add on a fee for this and another fee for that. Beach chairs were even included. While the room was small, they made good use of every inch. It was a lot slower than I expected. The staff said it was the off season, since hurricaines are unpredictable and it's hotter than normal. But, the trip to the beach across the street the next day was well worth it. There was a lot to look at, and after a short time a storm tried to roll in. It dried up, but it created a little breeze, and the sun went behind a cloud. It was perfect. I didn't think I would stay on the beach that long just taking in the scenery, but it was so comfortable after the storm came in that I did. The bad thing was the traffic and parking. I drove around over an hour just trying to find a place to park to go to the bathroom. I went for the valet service at the hotel. It wasn't cheap, but well worth it. I don't know that I'll go back unless I have a reason to go, just because of the parking and traffic. But I'm glad I went. As I walked back to the hotel, I was looking for a chair to use for a while. I spotted one that was empty. In the next chair was a guy wearing a DX Engineering hat. I decided to sit there, and strike up a conversation. Sure enough, the guy was a ham and frequents the Dayton Hamvention. So we talked ham radio for a good while. He was from the St. Louis area, so maybe I'll run into him at Dayton sometime. He was also there on his first trip to Miami. He was smart though, and didn't try to drive! After that, I went across Alligator Alley through the Everglades. I found a radio station that was about the Everglades. So I learned a lot about how the road was built, and why they built some of the things they did. The next stop was Sarasota at McDonald's to see my best friend from high school, Andy. He moved down there several years ago, and I haven't seen him since. So it was good to catch up with him. I also went to Sun City and visited there. On the road back, I stopped in Atlanta to see another one of my former students, Brandon. Back at Harrison High School in Evansville, Brandon played on some of my basketball teams. His passion was always baseball, but he didn't play. So we decided to check into doing some baseball broadcasting. We were able to get a student at WPSR to stay after school to run the board, and we got a cell phone donated that had a mic input. We got a little suitcase with a mixer and some headsets, and about once a week we would broadcast a baseball game. This was his start in broadcast radio. He said we would be on ESPN someday. I ended up moving to Bloomington, so I wasn't around for his senior year. But he did some radio work at WPSR, and enrolled at Butler and studied there. He did some student broadcasts there, and ended up interning for Stephen A. Smith at ESPN. So one day, he was on ESPN. From there, he did radio play-by-play for a minor league team in Utah, and did some field reporting in the process. He was the radio station manager and radio announcer for the University of Evansville, which was always his favorite team. He then moved to Butler, where he managed the station and did play-by-play. Recently, he accepted a position at Georgia Tech. So now, he is the football and basketball play-by-play announcer there, and is able to do contract work for Westwood One, ESPN3, and Turner Sports during the down time. He has a new gig lined up to add to that list soon as well. He recently did some first round NCAA basketball tournament games, and the Division II championship back in his hometown of Evansville. He's another student of which I'm very proud. He is working his way up the ladder quickly. So it was great to see him as well. The trip was a lot shorter using I-69, even though it's not finished yet. I will be so glad when it's finally done! It has saved me a lot of miles and hours even in it's partial state. So, it's back to work full time soon... even though I've been working a few days already. I will miss the time to travel as much. Hopefully I will find a travel partner soon.