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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Rolling with the Coasters

So at the end of this past week, we packed up and headed out to Ohio. It was a three-with-one-stone kind of deal. We had gone up to Ohio the previous year a couple times to hang out at Cedar Point. This was a first for our family, and we quite enjoyed it. Jeff, who is notorious for his motion sickness, even tried one of the coasters. While I give him an A for effort, it probably wasn't the best idea. Nevertheless, we had a great time and definitely wanted to come back.

This year the International Polka Association was holding its dance in Independence, Ohio, and Jeff thought why not hit up Cedar Point again since he'd be doing some sound mixing at the dance. As icing on the cake, he thought it would be great to visit a childhood memory, King's Island. So it was a road trip.

We hit up King's Island first, and it was much better than I thought it would be. The coasters are always the key draw to these places, and while I think Cedar Point has the scariest coasters, King's Island put in a good show with some fun coasters, and the first coaster I ever rode why laying down. The park was very clean, the lines short, and the rides were fun.

Next we went on to the IPA dance at The DoubleTree Hotel. We had some downtime, and the kids enjoyed being in the pool, and Jeff enjoyed seeing friends and family at the dance. Sadly, we realized we left our camera at King's Island the day before, and it was now four hours away. Happily, we bought a new and improved camera, and I will hopefully have some awesome pics from that to post soon. The old camera is being shipped home.

We then headed out to Cedar Point the next day, which was also Jeff's birthday. While no one can argue that they have some of the best coasters, the park was crowded, hot, and the lines were long. I was tired before we event started. Kids wanted to get on The Raptor first thing, and after more than an hour and a half wait, I wanted to say it wasn't worth it...but I would have been lying. It was fun, fast and smooth.

We then wanted to hit up a couple of the other rides quickly before the threat of rain became a reality. Kids were very stoked about getting on Millennium force again. I don't like that ride, it's sick and not in a good way. But the kids love it.

It was then time for some lunch at Johnny Rockets. By this time I was crabby, because that's how I get when I'm hungry. I was annoyed by the wait, the flies buzzing around the restaurant, the crumbs on the seat I was given, and the mushy pile of something unrecognizable that I stepped on with my new gym shoes. Things looked much more pleasant after chili chess fries and an orange float.

Then it was on to Disaster Transport and Top Thrill Dragster. After these two thrill rides, the kids wanted to cool off. So they went on the water rides, and Jeff went on his first ride of the day.

Afterwards Arielle and I headed off to The Maverick. It was another long line, but by this time the sun was fading at least, so it wasn't quite as hot. As we stood in line we were playing with the idea of trying to get on the Magnum XL before we left the park. Aidan had decided to hang back with Jeff. Once locked and loaded on the ride, I had forgotten how brutal the ride was. There is no gentle climb up the hill with this one, it's a take off like a bat out of Hell. It's a crazy ride until you get the tunnel where you slow down to almost a stop, then take off at full speed again. My headband was blown off my head, and we had no thoughts of going on any other rides after that. We were done, and by the miserable look on my son's face when we exited the ride, it was apparent he was too.

Off we went in search of a suitable dinner place to celebrate Jeff's birthday. It was going to be Outback and was revised to Red Lobster. I was feeling rather crabby as all the people who came after us were seated before us, but Jeff was not bothered. Our waitress was indifferent, but the food was good, as was the sangria. We sang Happy Birthday to Jeff, ate our desert, drank the coffee and went in search of lodging for the night...

And we searched, and searched, and searched...

Every hotel between Sandusky and Toledo was booked full for the night. We drove a while and found a hotel that said they might have rooms, but couldn't tell because the computer was out. This afflicted two other hotels in the same area. We were racing with other potential lodgers from one establishment to another in the hopes of not being a moment too late and missing the very last room available.

In the end the very last two rooms at the local Days Inn went to us and the weary travelers who accompanied us through three different hotels. We pretty much took what we needed to into the room, then fell face flat on the bed until mid morning.

It was a great time, kids had fun, and we spend time together as a family.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A new iPad 2

So I'm one of the few hundred thousand who went out and got the latest iPad. I'm part of the elite group who are not waiting two, three, four, or five weeks for delivery, thanks to a wonderful husband who was First in line at Best Buy. It was not all sweetness and light, though, as I was looking for a 64G unit, and as luck would have it, our local Best Buy was the only one not offering that version.

Well that dampened my spirit for a few minutes, but an iPad in the hand is worth two on the truck (or in the mail), so we took it and ran. I was not disappointed with the beautiful piece of technology. It lived up to every attribution of pleasing aesthetics I've heard.

I had not held an iPad before this, so I could not marvel at how much lighter it is. It actually was heavier than I thought it would be. But other than that, it was a beautiful piece of work. Now that I've had it for almost two weeks, I have found it to be indispensable.

I have hooked it up to our wireless network, synched it to iTunes on my laptop, and quickly began exploring the wonderful world of the app store. I found apps that allow me to access my other computers remotely, let me turn my Facebook feed into a personalized news magazine, and ones that allow me to view and edit work files. I can get all my emails through one inbox, view and edit work files, and IM and text on the go with a bigger screen and keyboard.

I have never been an Apple fanboy, or fangirl for that matter, and I love my Moto Droid to bits, but I am happy with the purchase. Only drawbacks I've encountered include the lack of a file system (which is a hard concept for a veteran PC user here), and the lack of any really good photo apps out there a la something like PicSay Pro for the Droid.

I'll be happily outfitting this thing for months to come, and hopefully no iPad 3 will come along in the fall and make it feel outdated before it's a year old. ;-)