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Bamboozle, part 2

Sunday, 30. May 2010 14:34

Another post! Today, we are heading back to see Hanson at the Bamboozle Roadshow. But this time we’re at Six Flags in San Antonio, Texas! We figured we’d get here as soon as the park opened to take advantage of the rides first, but even at 10am it was packed! And the entrance is completely unorganized. When we first came in, we went directly to the turnstiles since we bought our tickets online, but we didn’t get a wristband for the concert. When we asked, the staff had no clue what we were talking about and said we had to leave and re-enter the park. Then, after waiting at the ticket Booth, we were directed to guest services, who then said we had to wait at the pink and green booths. It’s a good thing I’m not colorblind because I would have had no idea where to go… oh, wait… I am.
After we finally got in the park, we got on a log flume ride. Luckily for us, when the ride broke down while we were in our ‘log’, we were in the shade. Just think of those fools stuck in a log in the 90-degree Texas sun! That was all about 3-4 hours ago. Since then we’ve been waiting in endless lines to get on 1.5 more rides (we’re waiting for another as I’m writing this). Only 35 more minutes!!
Go figure the the past 3 parks we visited (Disneyland, Disneyworld, and Universal Orlando) had little to no lines. But then again, this is a Sunday of a holiday weekend with big-named bands in house. ::sigh::
30 minutes to go! Maybe if we waited in lines more often, there’d be more posts in our blog…

Category:Travel | Comment (0) | Author: Ryan

Bamboozle-e-do

Friday, 21. May 2010 21:44

image

Well, it’s been a while since we last posted anything, as usual, so let’s try to get back in the game. This evening, Megan and I headed a few blocks from home to check out the Bamboozle Road Show… and to consider whether we should go again next week in Texas. The lineup isn’t bad, but I might be the oldest person here! And we’re sitting in the bleachers like a bunch of geezers… sigh… Rock on!

Category:Mobile Post | Comments (1) | Author: Ryan

Hola

Friday, 9. April 2010 9:54

Well, folks – we’re back!  And in more ways than one…

It’s literally been almost 2 YEARS since anything was last posted in this blog, and it’s probably been almost as long since I last went to this page.  During that time, hundreds of thousands of spam comments were filtering their way into this blog.  So many in fact that it brought down our database.  Luckily, we were able to restore most of it, but the only way to get the posts back on this site was to painstakingly copy-and-paste over 200 entries, along with their comments.  There’s still a possibility that some got missed, but for the most part, we’re back in business.  To that end, we’ve upgraded to the latest version of WordPress so that I can post entries directly from my phone, and I’m hoping that we will end up making better use of this blog, especially on our future trips.  In any event, to help quell the amount of spam on this site, you’ll now have to enter a 4-character ‘code’ from an image in order to post a comment.  I hate those things, too, but it’s the only way to make this work without bringing down our database again!

In other news, we also had issues with our entire site a few days ago.  Over the past few months, we’ve been transitioned from our old hosting company (Emax Hosting) to Jumpline.  We neglected to update our domain nameservers during the transition, so our site ended up resolving to a dummy IP address.  That means that instead of seeing our pretty faces when you go to ryanandmegan.net, you got to see some random blond chick with a backpack.  Too bad it was a week after April Fools.  Check it out:

Anyhow, hopefully this won’t be the only post of the year, but we’ll see what happens!  See ya down the road!

Category:Site News | Comment (0) | Author: Ryan

Atlanta

Friday, 5. October 2007 14:25

So this is our trip to Atlanta.  It started horribly.

Our flight on AirTran was scheduled to depart at 6:40am on Friday morning.  This was the first time Megan or I have flown on this airline, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect.  Nonetheless, we decided that we should try to get to the airport about an hour ahead of time.  We were close – we got there about 50 minutes before takeoff.  Not wanting to mess anything up, I dropped off Megan at the ticket counter so she could check our bag, and then I drove off to the long term parking.  All seemed to go well – Megan checked her bag, went through security, and started waiting for the flight to board.  Meanwhile, I parked the car, took the shuttle to the airport, and checked into my flight.  That’s where the problems began.  I got to the ticket agent about 30 minutes prior to the flight, which is normally plenty of time on Southwest.  The ticket counter was set up with a series of kiosks where you could check yourself in.  Apparently, they turn off that service a half hour before the flight because a got a “flight departed” error message.  I tried to flag down an agent, which took several unnecessary minutes.  Finally, some guy comes up and is able to check me in from behind the desk.  We are now about 25 minutes before departure.  I went over to the security line, which was much longer and slower than I anticipated.  Usually, in the Southwest security line, if I am running late, TSA will let me cut ahead.  This time, they told me that I needed a representative from my airline.  So, it was back to the ticket counter for me, and it took several more minutes to flag down someone else.  And this person did not care at all about my situation.  She just said, “Your flight takes off in 20 minutes.  There is no way you will make it.”  So, she slowly shuffled around looking for someone to escort me to the security line.  This was another precious few minutes wasted, but I did get to cut to the front of the security line.  However, TSA must have seen something strange in my bag because they had to run it a couple times.  Once I was finally though, I had about 12 minutes left.  I ran as hard as I could to the gate, and as I approached, I saw another AirTran agent starting to close the doors to the jetway.  I ran up to her and showed her my boarding pass, and she said “Nope, the flight is closed.”  It was 6:31 – still 9 minutes before takeoff, but she would not let me on board.  When I mentioned that my wife was on board, she said “now that is funny – and ironic.”  I was not pleased.  So, all I could do for the next 15 minutes was stare at the plane – with Megan on board – just sitting there.  And I wasn’t allowed to board.  It was one of the most depressing feelings I’ve ever had.  It was right there!  Around 6:47, the plane finally started its push back, and all I could do was watch.

I went over to the counter to see what I could do, and the staff was of no help.  They just told me that all of their flights to Atlanta for the next two days have been overbooked by at least 4 people.  Nonetheless, I got myself listed on standby for the next flight (10:30), along with 16 other people.

While I waited for Megan to land, I did as much research as possible on my options.  Do I drive the 11+ hours down and pay $160 in gas (round-trip) and lose any possibility of sleep on Tuesday night?  Do I rent a car for $170 and drive to Atlanta, arriving late at night and spending $80 in gas?  Do I fly or drive into Charlotte and have Megan pick me up?  Do I sit at AirTran’s gate all day and just hope for the best?  Do I use one of my free Southwest flights and fly into Jacksonville and have Megan pick me up there.  That would be only about $75 in gas, but I would arrive late at night (well after midnight).  Or do I find another airline that has a flight to Atlanta?  Lots of choices here, and none of them were great.  After very lengthy discussions with Megan, we decided that I should pay out of pocket for a $311 Delta flight, departing at 11:07.  I would be able to use the $108 AirTran funds on a future flight.  So, I purchased the flight online, but when I confirmed my payment, the web site automatically switched me to the next (1:21) flight.  I didn’t realize this until I was halfway through security (which took extra long since I was deemed a threat by purchasing a same-day one-way ticket from the counter).  When I got to the gate, I was offered the very last seat on the 11:07 flight – for a $50 fee.  I didn’t have time to argue about Delta’s 24-hour change policy, so I just sulked and waited.  Finally, 1:21 came and I was able to board and get down to Atlanta around 3:30pm – a full 7 hours and $300 later.  What a waste.  But what ever happened to the 10:30 flight that I was a standby on?  Well, that departed about 9 minutes early, indicating that the flight was completely full and boarded, so I would have had no chance.  So, at least the right call was made there.  In all the flights I have made on Southwest, I have never experienced such rude and unhelpful customer service in the airline industry.  The worst part is that I now have a $108 dollar credit with AirTran that I need to use in the next year – well, assuming that my company doesn’t take the funds back for themselves.

Update (04/09/2010):  Even though $108 was unused from AirTran, it’s still not my money – it belongs to my company, who booked the flight.  And since it was booked through a third-party travel agent (and since I booked a different flight instead of rescheduling via the travel agent), none of that money was returned to anyone.  My company was nice enough to reimburse me for about $20 (I was expecting nothing), but I still ended up being almost $300 in the hole.  A life lesson, I suppose.
Note: I did end up flying AirTran again.  Twice.  Once was for a trip to Orlando via work (no choice) and the other was a non-stop to Seattle for under $100, which even Southwest couldn’t beat.  We ended up getting to the airport at least 2+ hours ahead of time for those flights…

Category:Travel | Comment (0) | Author: Ryan

Midwest II

Monday, 3. September 2007 20:01

Well, we are back from our second adventure into the Midwest USA.  We travelled about 2,050 miles by car over the course of five days, visiting 8 large states, 3 of them being new for Megan and me.  That’s our trip in a nutshell.  So go ahead and take a look at the pictures, and you don’t need to read anything else.  But, if you really are interested in what we did, keep reading!

Our trip started early in the morning on Thursday.  By waking up at 3:30am, we were able to make it to the airport with about a half hour to spare.  Of course, that meant that our checked bags were marked as “late” but we didn’t really care.  Our plan was to spend the entire day in St. Louis, so if they didn’t make the flight, we could always pick them up later.
The flight went well.  There was a little bit of weather along the way, and the only thing we could see out our window were clouds.

Upon arriving, we picked up our rental car from Alamo – which was more trouble than it was worth.  They just directed us to a parking lot and told us to pick a car.  Although there were some signs that designated economy, compact, and mid-size cars, none of the actual cars were in their correct spaces, so we had to go through each one to find a good match.  We ended up with a Saturn Aura, which was pretty nice – at least compared to our usual rentals.
Our first stop in St. Louis was the Anheiseur-Busch brewery.  Since it was around 9:00am on a weekday, we were two of four people on the tour, which made taking pictures and movies a bit awkward.  But, we still got free booze afterward, and that’s always nice.  I think this was the only free thing that we did on the entire trip!

After that, we had to check out the Gateway Arch.  They have a tram on the inside that takes you to the top – the tram is actually kind of scary.  There are multiple egg-like compartments that seat about 5 adults uncomfortably close to one another.  The top had some good views, but that was it.  Nothing else to do up there except come back down.  Now, when we got the tickets for the arch, we also got tickets to take a riverboat “cruise” down the Mississippi River.  How exciting was that?  Let’s just say that Megan and I fell asleep halfway through it.  Literally.

After that was finished, we spent the next hour or so looking for a good spot from across the river where we could get our picture taken in front of the arch.  However, there is nothing on the Illinois side that gets you even close to that kind of opportunity, which is really a shame.  The reflection of the city off the river would be pretty neat, I would imagine.  We did find a place that was next to a factory, which was as close as we could get, but it still wasn’t much.  From there, we drove a few hours south to our hotel in Nashville.  We got there just after a Titan’s pre-season game, so there was a bit of traffic, but it could have been worse.
The following day, we got up pretty early and made our way to Opryland and the Gaylord hotel.  My parents stayed here a couple years ago and highly recommended it, and I can see why.  Without paying over $200 for a room, we were able to experience a hotel that has atriums packed with waterfalls, gardens, rivers, and even islands.  The ceiling of the hotel was covered in glass, which made us realize that it probably cost a pretty penny to keep that place cool and prevent it from turning into a greenhouse.  Anyway, we couldn’t find anything else fun to do in Nashville, so we started driving a few hours to the west to Memphis to see the king.

We got to Graceland a little after noon and paid about $50 to visit the former home of Elvis.  The tour of his mansion was pretty awesome, especially because you knew that all of the furniture in the home was original.  There were of those made-up offices and bedrooms that you see in historical homes of people like George Washington.  And the mansion was barely a mansion on the inside.  I felt like I was walking into someone’s house that loved the styles of the 1970’s.  We also got tickets to see other museums, like the Elvis costume museum and auto museum.  We got them as part of a package, so we only paid a couple bucks for these things, and thank goodness because the $8-10 normal charge is outrageous for what amounts to just a small room of clothes and cars.

By this point, it was already getting late, so we checked into our hotel, which was within walking distance to Graceland (too bad we already paid for parking at the museum).  Then we went out to Beale Street to get our party on.  The party animals we are, we stayed out until almost 10 or 11 before heading back to the hotel.

On Saturday, we got up early once again and took a brief stop in Mississippi for no other reason than to say that we’ve been there.  I think this is sort of cheating, but whatever works.  From there, it was off to Little Rock to see Bill Clinton’s library and museum.  This was the fourth presidential library we’ve visited, next to Kennedy, Ford, and Lincoln.  The museum was interesting and you could spend a lot of time there if you wanted, but as a whole, there wasn’t a whole lot there.  The museum takes you year by year in his presidency, and you can even check out his daily schedule for every single day that he was in the White House.  Probably the thing that made it most interesting was the fact that we have started to see artefacts from history that we have lived through.  Very surreal.  I also realized that Billy did a lot more during his presidency than I ever realized.

After that, we went over to Central High School where just about 50 years ago to the date, 9 students were turned away from classes due to their race.  It was pretty interesting to be right there.  The school itself is huge and still in operation today.

After that was said and done, we headed north because we wanted to check out the Ozarks.  About two hours into our drive, we saw a sign for Hot Springs National Park, a place that the two of us have heard of but knew little about.  Unfortunately, the area was to our south – out of the way, and back the way we came.  So we had to make a call – continue to the Ozarks, which is pretty much just rolling hills like western Maryland, or head back the way we came to Hot Springs.  It was getting late, so we quickly made the call to do the latter.  Was it worth it?  Eh.  I wouldn’t recommend the place because it’s more of a tourist town than anything else.  But, there are fountains around town that pull water directly from the underground hot springs, so the temperature of the water is almost scalding.  It was unique, anyway.  After that, though, we had an extra long drive to Oklahoma City.  It was the equivalent of driving from Baltimore to Ocean City and back without stopping.  We got to the hotel after midnight and slept in a little later than expected.

After church on Sunday, we went to the site of the Oklahoma City bombing.  Again, this was another memorial to an event in history that took place during our lifetimes.  I don’t remember too much about the bombing, as I was only in 7th grade.  I don’t remember the place I was when I heard about it or anything like that.  I just remember a building on the news that was half blown apart.  I have a better recollection of O.J. Simpson’s police chase.
The memorial was quite touching, and our outdoor interpretative speaker was exceptional.  Unfortunately, the museum didn’t open until 1pm, so we had to scrounge around looking for something to do for three hours.  We did find some botanical gardens to walk around in for free, and by the time that was over with, we were able to head back to the site.  The museum is very overwhelming, as it is comparable to that of other similar memorial museums – the Holocaust museum in DC comes to mind.  There were articles of clothing from both survivors and victims and a room full of photos and keepsakes from every person that perished.  Well, on that happy note, our next stop was Tulsa.

In Tulsa, we drove by the house that the singing group Hanson grew up in.  Megan said that some people are crazy enough to go right up to the front door, but we ‘admired’ from a distance.  We got dinner and spent some time looking for souvenirs, but there were none to be found, and since it was late, we had to get moving.  Our next stop was Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.  This marked a particularly stupid stop from our last Midwest trip, but as it was only an hour away, we decided to give it another try.  The result?  Well, grass is grass is grass, I guess.  Go figure.  By this point, it was dark, a billion stars were out, and we were on our way to Springfield, MO for the night.

On Monday, our final day, we drove from Springfield to Branson.  Branson is nothing more than a complete and utter tourist town, but it was still impressive.  It must be the place to go for Midwestern vacations because the place was packed.  Even still, since we were there early, we were able to walk through a couple museums.  One claimed to be the world’s largest Titanic exhibit, and I tell you, that is no lie.  The place really is impressive.  I thought the place would be marketed towards kids since the museum is in the shape of the ill-fated boat, but the museum houses tons of artifacts that have been recovered from the ship.  We also saw the “Bodies” museum, which has exhibits across the nation.  It consists of actual bodies of people that donated themselves to science.  You can get an up-close look at muscles and bones and virtually every organ – most of which are not even behind glass or rope.  Very cool.  Of course, just those two museums alone blew a $100 hole in our pocket.  Ouch!  Although, I’m sure we had spent two or three times that in gas alone by this point.

After Branson, it was time to go home.  We got to St. Louis with plenty of time to spare, especially since our flight was delayed by a half hour.  We got to Baltimore in the 10:00 hour and were back home before midnight.  All in all, the trip was tiring, but very enjoyable.  Whew!  That’s it for this entry!  I’ll try to add in some pictures later on.  Take care!

Category:Travel | Comment (0) | Author: Ryan

Orioles Magic

Saturday, 25. August 2007 13:45

Howdy! Last night we went to our second O’s game of the year – and the second within the past couple weeks.  On the last weekend of July, we went to see the Orioles defeat the Red Sox with Colleen and her boyfriend Jeff.  We sat way out in left field in home run territory (section 74).  In order to dissuade ‘outsiders’ from invading Oriole Park during Boston and New York games, the Orioles only sell a few thousand tickets in the beginning of the year and hold the rest in ‘packages’ where you have to buy tickets to several other home games in order to buy tickets to these prime games.  Not wanting to do that, we luckily found these tickets at face value on eBay.  Other tickets were going for 2 and 3 times their normal value – literally, a pack of 4 tickets a couple rows above the dugout went for $680.  True, these are good seats, but come on!  After you add in parking and food and drinks, you are spending a thousand bucks to go to a 3-hour game.  I’d much rather fly out to Australia again for that kind of money.

Anyway, I digress.  The Red Sox game was great, especially since we won in a comeback, and it got Megan and I back in the spirit of the O’s.  So, last week I bought a couple more tickets on eBay to see the O’s face the Twins.  This time, the tickets put us 5 rows out from first base, and they cost less than our outfield tickets!  Check out our view:

Megan and I met after work at UMBC so that we didn’t have to bring two cars into Baltimore.  We got to the game just as it was starting, found our seats, and watched the Orioles hit several home runs.  By the 7th inning, we were winning 4-0.  Then came our bullpen, which completely destroyed the game.  In the last 3 innings, the Twins got 7 runs and we couldn’t catch up.  At least it wasn’t a complete blowout like the 30-3 loss we suffered just two days ago.

So, there goes my hope in the Orioles.  Until we learn that we need to improve our pitching staff and stop spending money on veteran hitters, we will never get anywhere.  No matter how good your hitters are, if you can’t stop the other team from getting runs, you are never going to catch up.  But anyway, we did get a nice fireworks show at the end of the game.

Still dazed from the flashing rockets and the stupid loss, Megan and I headed home, and just as we were pulling into our apartment, we realized that we left Megan’s car back at UMBC.  An hour later, we were pulling into the apartment parking lot – again.  It was now almost 1am and time for bed.  Ho-hum…

Anyway, it’s less than a week before our St. Louis trip, so we’d better start planning that.  Take care and keep cool!

Category:Travel | Comment (0) | Author: Ryan

Home Page

Wednesday, 15. August 2007 20:34

Boy, the past couple weeks have not been pleasant when it comes to administering this site. In short – we’ve been hacked, multiple times. It first started towards the beginning of the year when we noticed that some random links started appearing at the bottom of our home page. It wasn’t anything too painful, and we were able to delete them straight away. After locking down some of our files and changing our password, things remained quiet – up until August 8 around 4:30pm. It was then that every single one of our index files was corrupted and all of the information in them was wiped away.

Index files (such as index.htm or index.php) are where web browsers first look to open web sites. In other words, when you go to ryanandmegan.net, you are actually going to ryanandmegan.net/index.php. The same goes for virtually every link on our site that is organized into a file system. Our travel page is ryanandmegan.net/travel/index.php, our webcam page is ryanandmegan.net/webcam/index.php, and so forth. They are pretty critical files, and when they are lost, that’s a big deal.

Unfortunately, the most recent backup that I made of our site was from May 2006, and since only our index files were impacted, it would not be worth our time and cost to have our web hosting site restore our site from tape backups. After hours of work, Megan and I were finally able to restore our site to the way it was in May of last year. I guess that’s the good thing about not having many updates!

However, we would only be good for less than a week. On Tuesday morning (August 14), the same thing happened. This time, we reported the problem to our web provider, who blamed it on our guestbook and told us to update our password. Fingers crossed, that’s what we did, so we’ll see what happens.
There is still some damage that will take a while to repair. Our wedding site, for example, well, that was up-and-coming last May, so that’s how it stands now. And our guestbook, that’s a mess. We are just going to disable that for now. In the meantime, we’ve completely backed up the site again, so at least we won’t have as much to do if this happens again. But, gosh, you would think that people would have better things to do than hack into other people’s sites.

Category:Site News | Comments (1) | Author: Ryan

Home Page

Thursday, 15. February 2007 12:12

Welcome to our home page! It’s about time that we updated our home page, albeit not much has changed. We just registered this domain name for another year, and we realized: Holy cow! We need to actually start using this site for all it’s worth! Of course, most people just come here for the webcam and the occasional travel page, so those will stay up to date as needed. It is so difficult to maintain anything else because it seems like there is constantly “a lot going on!” And it’s amazing how fast time flies. Already, we have been married over 4 months! In the words of Sidney Ponson, “Believe it!”Hopefully we will be starting a new “blog” section of the site. Why? Because everyone else does! Neither of us have a MySpace page, and our LiveJournal/Facebook sites are rarely, if ever updated – let alone WebShots! Speaking of which, we will start uploading our pictures to this site, as well, so we can finally get rid of our WebShots account. It’s awful expensive, and our guests have to deal with ads and pop ups. Not cool.Anyway, enjoy the site, and hopefully we will have something new here by February 2008… 

Category:Site News | Comment (0) | Author: Ryan

The Price is Wrong, Ryan

Friday, 9. June 2006 22:14

I was reviewing some old video clips this evening when I came across the taping of the “Price is Right” that Megan and I were on in Los Angeles.  Even though it probably breezed by most viewers, I found the scene where I embarrassed myself on national television (in the audience, mind you – I was never called to ‘come on down’).  In the clip, a woman just won $5,000, and Bob wants to know if she should give it up in hopes of getting more money.  He turns to the audience, which returns with a loud “NOOOOO!!!”  After all, five grand is a nice chunk of change, and you don’t want to give that up too readily.  Or do you?  I guess I wasn’t paying attention or something, but I throw my fist into the air screaming “YEAAAAA!!!”  Then, realizing that I’m the only one, I reach my hand back onto my head as if I was just stretching… or itching my scalp.  What a fool!  I took the snippet of the show and posted it to this site so you can download it and see me looking like a fool: 
Ryan on the Price is Right

The video is about 3 megs, so if you’ve got a slow connection, click the link and then go grab a cup of coffee or something…

Category:Personal Stuff | Comment (0) | Author: Ryan

Final Message on UMBC Site

Thursday, 9. February 2006 18:55

Well, it has certainly been a nice run.  I’ve been “maintaining” this itty bitty site here on UMBC’s servers for almost five years, but now that time has come to an end.  I’ve been out of college for over a year, so UMBC has decided that my 20 megabtyes of space is just too much for their hardware to handle, so my account, my email, my everything is being trashed, effective February 22, 2006.  Between now and then, I’ll slowly be removing all of the pages from my site, and hope to have my webspace completely cleared out by Friday, February 17, 2006.

A lot has happened on this site over the past five years – school reports, school schedules, Our Parody movie madness, Trivia-of-the-Day, Big Shot’s final countdown, The Kenny G Spot radio show, webcams, pictures, and travel across the United States and all the way out to Australia!

For those who truly are going to miss all of the amazing updates that I’ve had on this site… ::cough::… have no fear – Ryan is here!  I’ve purchased my own domain name, which I hope will be up and running by March 1.  My wonderful fiancée Megan is probably going to do most of the initial nitty-gritty work on it, like fixing all of the broken links, updating the outdated, and cleaning up the nasty FrontPage html code throughout the site.  If you want to join me at my new home (gosh, I feel like Howard Stern…), just email me at rkenne4@gmail.com, and I’ll let you know the new domain name (I don’t feel like linking my old site to the new one, especially since it’s not up and running, yet).
In case you didn’t read anything above this line, let me summarize:
 - This site is going to be completely gone as of February 22, 2006.
 - My email, rkenne4@umbc.edu, is going to be completely gone as of February 22, 2006.
 - If you want to know my new web site, email me at rkenne4@gmail.com.
I love you all, and thank you for visiting!  I hope you’ll visit me again on the other side!
Ryan

Category:Site News | Comment (0) | Author: Ryan