Being from Arkansas means you're born and raised a Razorbacks fan. As a state of 2.8 million with only one BCS team, you're calling the hogs from a young age. For those of you who don't know how to call the Hogs, it involves raising your hands above your head, wiggling your fingers, and yelling "woooooooooo PIG SOOIE" at the top of your lungs. It's great.
Now as a UA alum and a born-and-raised Arkansas, I take great pride in the spirit of SEC football and the traditions of the school. My contention that the SEC has the best tailgating and in-game atmosphere of all conferences was recently called into question by a Big 10 alum, and a bet was placed. We would visit each school, attend a game, and the looser would be properly ridiculed.
Ohio State vs. Northwestern was the first stop. Beautiful campus, great tailgating at Hiney Gate. Not to mention the fact that OSU clearly had an amazing season this year. Best of all, my dear Melissa was singing in Columbus and I got to see her!
OSU Horseshoe on Gameday
Me and Miss Laney in OH-IO
Brutus the Buckeye
So then the Arkansas trip came around. My team has had an interesting year, to say the least. This was about the time when fans started hiring planes to fly anti-Nutt slogans above the stadium during the game. Needless to say, in-game atmosphere was a bit lackluster compared to what I expect. In addition, travel plans were screwed up, thus tailgating was not an option (we barely made kickoff). To make a long story short, I lost. Now to be fair, one has to admit that this was not the best year for a full SEC-style game experience at Arkansas. I concede defeat on this one, but not on all SEC games, darnit. We're still better than the Big 10!
This was my first Thanksgiving to stay in the city, and my first time to watch the parade in person. I went out on Wednesday night to try and see the balloons get blown up, but the crowds were crazy and I quickly lost interest. Thursday I was lucky enough to have an amazing vantage point at 69th and CPW (thank you SO much, Liz!) to see the parade. Since we sat still the entire time, GPS worked but isn't very exciting. I did get a little camera-happy, so here is the parade pretty much play-by-play. The first few pics are of Central Park as we walked over. The colors were amazing.
I've found that when you move somewhere you have the best of intentions for fully taking advantage of all the activities to do, sights to see, landmarks to visit. You tell all your friends and family about all the amazing trips you'll be taking to said locations/landmarks/activities. And then you move and don't see a darn thing. It's funny, because when you go on vacation you see/do a lot in a limited amount of time. But in your own backyard? Not so much.
With that being said, I have put together a list in and around NYC so that I will a) remember all the stuff I want to do while I'm here and b) be motivated to go and do it on the weekends that I'm not traveling. Some of its touristy NY stuff that I just haven't had the patience to stand in line for, others are very random things I've just gotten in my head to go do. Just to give you an idea of what the list entails:
Adventure races upstate
Roosevelt Island Tram
Hiking on Staten Island
Mohonk- camping, biking
Bronx Botanical Garden
Jumping on the beds/riding elevators in Marriott Times Square
That big sailboat cruise thingie
Bike ride around Manhattan
Doing 2 triathlons this summer (NYC and Montauk?)
X The Cloisters
So to get started on this list, we took an expedition to the Cloisters. It was perfect fall weather and the trees are finally changing so we got a nice hike in as well in Ft. Tyron park. The cloisters themselves are amazing, both in terms of the artifacts they preserve and the buildings they're housed in. Plus you get a great view of the GW bridge.
About the pics below: first, let me say that the ISO function on the camera that's made for taking pics without flash in low light is amazing. Playing with this function let me take so many great pics that I had a hard time choosing. The GPS was fine outside, but took a bit to find a signal. Not sure if this was due to the tree cover or the day or what, but it was finicky. When I got the unit, I was disappointed to learn that it didn't work inside. However, when I got home and uploaded my pics it mapped the last GPS point the unit recorded before going inside with all the pics I took while I was in the building. I was actually able to map all the pics, including those inside.
Sometimes I reeeeally like my job. Like when I get to go to Orlando when its nasty in NY and play. I "have" to do stuff like behind the scenes tours in Universal Orlando, trips to Discovery Cove at Sea World, and site visits to resorts like the Omni ChampionsGate. I know, I know, poor me. The behind the scenes was really cool... got to ride the Mummy and the new Spiderman ride (pretty awesome 3D effects), and then learn how the rides were created, how they run, and how much they cost. Very cool. GPS came in handy as I could turn it on during the sites and then map where I took the pics. I'm planning to use the locations to do directions/logistics for my conference in April. Kind of a fun twist on giving attendees directions.
Behind the Scenes tour at Universal's Islands of Adventure:
This weekend was the NYC Marathon as well as the Olympic Trials in Central Park. Luckily I've just moved uptown, so it was literally in my backyard. I took the GPS unit and camera out to see how things worked. The GPS was simple to turn on- it blinks once slowly if its picking up enough satellites to map your location, and twice in rapid succession if not. It seemed to take a few minutes to get everything together, but honestly once I clipped it on my bag I forgot it was there.
The camera I'm using is a Sony DSC-W80, so I wanted to get used to the settings. It seemed to have every mode in the world except action shots, as you can see from some of the pics. Still working on that one. I was really surprised by how well the colors turned out once I uploaded the pics. Makes me look like a pretty good photographer, which is exactly what I want from a point and shoot!
The Olympic trials were amazing- guys running amazing times on this hilly Central Park course in some pretty cold and windy temperatures. Take a look at the screenshot below and you can get an idea of how the images display on the map as you upload.
So I got this nifty box of all this fun Sony stuff in the mail last week, and have spend the past few days running around the city and getting used to the technology. Not gonna lie, I'm dorking out just a little about the GPS data being embedded in my pics. I'm a big fan of Google maps, and can think of a bunch of fun stuff to do with this functionality. Like how I always forget where my fav NYC restaurants/bars/brunch spots are, but if I take a pic and then map it... you get the idea.