January 1st, 2006


Well, I must be off ...

Actually, I should have been asleep 3 or more hours ago (I'm having to get up at 3am, which is now just 2.5 hours away), but I've been "having issues" with my laptop. Actually, I was having issues with my "backpack" CD-R drive, which for some reason would NOT recognize any media I put in there ... pain in the ass.

You see, I've never travelled with my laptop (unless you count the rides to and from Chubb during the year I was in school there), and I have ALL my photos from the past several years on its HD. I am WAY paranoid that something will happen to the laptop (pick any: stolen, run over, dropped, EMP, whatever) and I'll lose all my pictures.

I've had this external CD-R drive for a few years, but have only on rare occasion made any CDs with it ... and tonight (once I got it all hooked up and figured out again how to use the software) it just wouldn't recognize any of the blank media I put in there (which was all fresh from a new pack). Yes, I tested it with other CDs and it read them fine, so something was wonky with it and the blank CDs. I ended up spending a few hours on that project (after having blown most of the afternoon on getting it to work with AOL ... so you may be hearing from me!), and finally broke down and pulled out my latest acquisition (well, it's several months old now, but it's new for me), which was an external HD enclosure and a 250gig drive. I'm currently waiting for it to finish formatting the various partitions I made on it, and then I'll at least drag over the pictures (I don't think I want to wait to dump the whole HD to it tonight).

Aside from messing with the laptop ... The Girls and I did our now-traditional New Years Eve thing (albiet without their Mom, who needed to pack), of going up to the "Zoo Lights" party at the Lincoln Park Zoo. We didn't do the usual multiple activities ... The Girls did get a chance to make some "smores" outside ... as they just opened a new Children's building, and they wanted to play over there for most of the time we had.

So ... I'm going to get 2 hours of sleep and we're off for Orlando ... however, it looks pretty good for my being able to keep up with y'all this time!

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Why lookie there!

Hey, all ... I'm actually updating this from the road! I realize that this is hardly earthshaking news to most, but I've never coaxed my laptop into playing nice with the web, and I managed to get AOL to connect down here (plugged into a wall jack in our hotel room) so I'm pretty happy about that!

Today was a grind ... we did manage to get up at 3am ... and got out of the house by 4am (which was sort of interesting, since in our neighborhood "bar time" goes till 5am on Sunday morning, so things (being it was still New Years Eve) were still somewhat hopping.

A less fun New Years Eve thing awaited us at Halsted & Divsion while trying to get to the expressway to get to O'Hare ... a bit before we got there (well, it had to be a while since there were like four squad cars on the scene) two taxis had had a real nasty head-on collision, totalling both, one of which was still smoldering. Not a fun way to start the trip.

We eventually did make it out to the airport (pain in the ass to have to get there over an hour in advance to be able to check the luggage at that hour!), and got on our flight. Between families going down to Disney, etc., and Wisconsin folks heading to one of the Bowl games, the plane was absolutely packed ... not that it mattered much to me, as I was only running on about 2 hours of sleep, so I nodded off the whole way down here.

We had decided to rent a car at the last minute (it looked so cheap on the web site), only to find that they really soak you on insurance down here ... we took what we usually do and it doubled our costs, and the guy was pushing hard for me to tak a full package that would have been three times the actual rental charge! Needless to say, I'm driving super careful!

As check-in here at the "Pop Century Resort" wasn't until 3pm, we decided to just go to one of the parks ... for some reason The Girls were hot to see some stuff over at Disney-MGM, so we headed over there for several hours. Didn't get to see everything (the "parade" was screwing up our intended schedule), but got to see several things.

I don't know what it is about the roads and/or road signage down here but I'm always getting totally lost. Tonight was no exception ... I thought I was coming across on 192 from the west side of I-4 heading over to Kissimmee (we were looking for a place to have dinner), but ended up going north-west on 417 (a toll road, yet), then escaping that via 528 southbound, which did eventually get us back to 192, but miles away from where we had intended to be! One good thing came of this, though ... I just love buffets, but The Wife doesn't much care for them, but we buzzed past this "Chinese Seafood Buffet" on 192 that everybody agreed on, and it was fabulous ... all you can eat with shrimp, crayfish, two types of crab, plus a full array of Chinese entress, sushi (mainly maki), etc. If we hadn't gotten lost we probably wouldn't have ended up there, so there was some use to all the frustration!

We have to get up early again tomorrow, as The Girls have a "Princess Character Breakfast" over in Epcot (at, for some reason, the Norway pavillion).

Anyway, I should toddle off to bed ... hopefully will have some pics to post tomorrow!

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