Friday, December 8, 2017

Atlanta 2017

As you probably know, Marilu and I flew down to Atlanta a couple of weekends ago. It was the last part of her 40th birthday celebration--yes, I still need to post pictures from her party--and the main attraction was for her to finally see the Falcons play in Atlanta.

When we lived there back in the early 2000s, they had super popular quarterback Michael Vick (in the pre-dog days), and it was really hard to get tickets so she never got to see them. We thought it was going to be more of the same since ticket prices were astronomical for the first game she checked, but it turns out that was just because they were playing the Cowboys, When we checked the prices for a game against a non-overrated team--the Bucs--prices were much more normal. Still expensive, but relatively normal.

We ended up cramming a bunch of fun stuff into the 48 hours or so we were in the ATL. Keep reading and see what we got up to.

For the sake of convenience, we stayed right downtown at the Omni Hotel in CNN Center. It's within walking distance of all the major tourist atrractions downtown, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Falcons play.

Here's the view from our room on the top floor of the hotel. If you squint, you can see Georgia's capitol building in the background just right of the center of the photo.

Another view from the top floor. This is just outside of our door and shows a different view of downtown and part of Centennial Park. Plus a really hot chick!

We had originally planned to go to the Georgia Aquarium on our first day there, but my friend Clairanne (who gave us a ride from the airport...woohoo!) convinced us that we would enjoy the College Football Hall of Fame more. And I think she was right! You can see an aquarium anywhere, but there's only one hall of fame.

Upon first entering, there is a massive wall of helmets from what I think is every college football team in existence.

Of course, I had to get a photo with good ol' USF (located 4 up from my head).

Posing with some serious hardware. First off, the Heisman.

Then the old and new versions of the championship trophies.

We apparently have a lot of growing to do before we join a college team.

While walking through CNN Center, I saw Rick from Rick and Morty, one of the best animated TV shows of all time and had to get a photo.

We didn't have any concrete plans for our first night so on a whim, we checked prices for the Atlanta Hawks basketball game and were able to get a couple of seats for just over $50 total. The Hawks play in Philips Arena, which is connected to CNN Center so we didn't even have to go outside to get there. It was a bittersweet return for me since I saw quite a few Atlanta Thrashers hockey games while living there. As you may know, the Thrashers left for Winnipeg a few years back so all I have is the memories now.

Although neither of us are big basketball fans, it was a really fun time since it was so spontaneous. An added bonus was that the Hawks were playing the Toronto Raptors so we each rooted for a different team. The Raptors ended up destroying the Hawks but oh well, the beer was good.

The next day, we got breakfast at the CNN Center food court and then headed over to the stadium. Fan fest activities started a good 2-3 hours before the game so we had a good time there before heading in.

Earlier in the week, the old Falcons stadium--the Georgia Dome-- was imploded. I'm not sure if it was by design or not, but one piece of it remained standing. That's it below.

The ridiculously cool Falcon statue in front of the stadium entrance.

It's hard to describe just how impressive the stadium is without being there, but hopefully these pictures give some sense of how breathtaking it is. I will add that neither of us have ever been in another stadium that is even remotely as amazing as this one. Kind of makes me want to visit Dallas since that's supposed to be quite a stadium as well.

Here's another look at the imploded Georgia Dome taken from inside the stadium.

The coolest video display ever.

The Falcons were kind enough to win the game for  the birthday girl, 34-20. This is the post-game mingling at center field.

Go Falcons!

Afterwards, we had a delicious dinner at a nearby German restaurant. Then we posed in our best German garb.

And now for something completely different.

Finally, Marilu had me take a picture of what was left of her face painting. She got it for free at the fan fest in the morning. Pretty durable!

So those are my highlights. Unlike Disney, where the vast majority of photos were taken on my phone, for this trip, Marilu took as many pictures as me, if not more. I haven't had a chance to go through her phone yet, but once I do, I'll post the highlights in a separate entry.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Time Machine

If you recall from earlier this year, I wanted to try and post a lot of the older photos I have that never made their way to the blog. I'd like to get back to that for two reasons. First, it would help clean up my pictures folder if I don't have scads of photos in the To Do pile. Second, and most importantly to all of you, you get to see some aspects of our life that you never saw way back when.

So since we're in November 2017, let's take a look back at November 2015 today. 'Cause why not?

Like mother, like son. Lucas and Marilu ham it up for the camera. Quite a different look for him with that hair! 

These next ones are from some really, REALLY good seats at a Sens hockey game. Maybe she can remind me how the heck we got that close to the ice.

And sticking with the hockey theme (or ice skating, at least), Lucas and Zach pose just before we head out onto the ice for some free public skating at Mlacak arena.

And one final "speaking of hockey," Lucas's team faced another Nepean team this past weekend. And once again, they lost. It was 5-3, but it was a bit more evenly matched than last week and not nearly as bad as the score would indicate. It was 2-2 after the first period and neither team scored in the 3rd so if we could just get rid of a crappy 2nd period, it would have looked a little better, but oh well.

This weekend the Coconuts have a tournament on the east side of town so maybe their fortunes will change. I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Disney Day 7: And So It Ends

Before we get to the (sort of) last Disney post, I'll go over a bit of hockey news. As you may know, Lucas is playing at House A level for the first time, after 3 years of House B. Because there are less teams in A, they play against each other for the start of the season and then they move on and play against House A teams from other parts of Ottawa.

Lucas's team had a successful run in their Kanata run, going 3-1-1. This past weekend, they played their first opponent from Nepean, an area that consists of the west side of Ottawa (but not as far west as us) and south Ottawa. The weekend before, I was talking to one of our friends who has kids in Nepean hockey, and he had mentioned that the Atom program had gotten rid of one of their competitive teams this year, which likely strengthened their House A teams a bit. I can't say for sure that it was a factor, but it sure looked like it as the team Lucas played against was considerably better than them. The final score was 3-0, but if it hadn't been for the Coconuts goalie having a stellar game, it easily could have been 10-0.

The other two Kanata-Nepean scores that I saw were won by Nepean 2-0 and 3-1 so it looks like the leagues are wildly out of balance this year. Oh well, I guess it'll teach the kids character.

Anyway, back to our last day at Disney. Before we left our resort, I wanted to get a few shots of the room and grounds for posterity. So here you go...

A slightly blurry view of the room. We slept on the right side and Lucas had the foldout bed on the left. There's a much better picture of that at the end of this post.

The view from just outside our door. You can see a bit of the Louisiana theme.

This was the nearest pool to us, which we used a few times. There was also a much bigger one with a slide near the center of the resort.

This was taken on the back side of the main building.

Our resort was on a river, and you could actually take a boat ride (which you can see here) to various locations such as Disney Springs.

If you turned around from the previous two pictures, this is what you'd see.

Inside the main building.

This doesn't work so well on the blog, but here's a panoramic photo I took of the river side of Port Orleans.

Remember that pullout bed? It had a picture of an alligator that I assume was from the Princess and Frog movie (which we have never seen). As you can see here, it was the perfect picture for Lucas.

Since the photos weren't enough, here's a short video as we prepared to leave our room.

And finally, Lucas with his new favorite stuffy while we wait to go home at the airport.

As mentioned previously, I'm going to download photos off of Marilu's phone soon so I may have a few more Disney-related ones, but that's the bulk of them. Speaking of Marilu, I should have photos of her surprise 40th birthday party up soon too. Lots of people were taking pictures so once I get my hands on most of them, I'll get them uploaded.