April 11, 2011

It’s only been two weeks since spring break? For some reason it seems to me like it’s been a lot longer than that. On one side, we’re almost done for the semester (crazy huh?), but on the other, summer is just a few weeks away. I know all of you who are just waiting to get out of high school are actually looking forward to summer, but something about this place just gets to me. Call me crazy, but I’ll miss not seeing my friends for four months. I’ll miss my room. I’ll even miss doing laundry if it means not being here! I’m not sure if I even like the fact that, when we come back, we’ll be living in another dorm (airport view!). What’s even crazier is that I’m already a quarter of the way done with college. Guess who’s staying for grad school…?

Well enough with my rant—on to the good stuff!

The rain seemed to follow me back to Daytona from my house. The deluge hit campus like there was no tomorrow! A friend of mine said: “Dear friends with snow, I’m sorry for making fun of you and your weather. But this week you got your revenge when Poseidon vomited on my campus”. If you see some of the pictures I’ll post, you’d understand…the area between my dorm and the main campus flooded with (not even joking) at least 2 feet of water! Luckily, it only lasted for a few days.

Another nice thing we did was that we went WDW resort-hopping. Yes, I just made that up. Pretty much, we went to Downtown Disney (I can hear all of you thinking “again”? yes, again…) to park the car, took a bus to the Contemporary, and took the monorail around all the resorts. We stopped by the Polynesian to watch the Wishes! Nighttime Spectacular firework show at Magic Kingdom from across the lagoon. I think it’s becoming our new tradition…

Nothing comes close to how insanely busy last weekend was, though! Jim and I signed up to volunteer at New Smyrna Beach’s annual Balloon and Sky Fest. Remember how I had mentioned we would be working chase crew? Well, let me just say it was a lot more work than we had anticipated. We woke up bright and early (well…it was still dark out, so dark and early?) on Saturday and Sunday morning to make the 30-minute drive down US1. When we got there, we were each grouped with our assigned crew.

On Saturday, we worked with 175,000 cubic-inch Oggy the Dragon, who stood at an amazing 138 feet tall. Because of the winds, we couldn’t release the balloons, so they were only tethered for the crowd to witness. To top it all off, we had volunteer that went MIA—so three teenagers, 2 elderly people, and a former Navy man had to hold own the massive balloon. We got dirty, almost burnt to a crisp when we first started inflating the balloon, and we were sweaty and hot. But overall—it was a lot of fun! One of the volunteers turned out to be a former ERAU student (a FEMALE!).

The day after that, we worked with Sunny Boy, a sun-shaped balloon. This one stood taller at 140 feet, but held much less hot air, so it was a lot less work. After that, we took a stroll around the place, and ended up mining. Spruce Creek Mining Co. had set up a tent, where, for a few dollars, we bought a bag of dirt. After cleaning out the bag using a river-like system, we found a few big Emerald stones, rubies, peacock ore, and even some quartz! That must have been the highlight of my day…

Last big thing—The Big Show! Touch N Go productions held its annual big show on Saturday. This year, the university hosted Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake, two ska bands. It was less crowded than I had expected, but, having been drained of energy that day from balloon fest, we only stayed and listened for an hour or so. Still fun—I can never pass up a good show!

I suppose that’s all. Nothing too exciting coming up next few weeks. I have an analytical report to look forward to. Nothing too exciting except…OPEN HOUSE/SNEEK PREVIEW DAY!! Have you RSVPed yet? I look forward to seeing you all around! As always, message me with all your questions! This will be one of my last blogs (sad face), so I want to get as many of your questions answered before the end of the semester!

March 28, 2011

 Hi everyone. How is everything going? I am doing well myself. I just got back to Daytona Beach after Spring Break so I am feeling refreshed and ready to complete the semester. It is hard to believe that there are only about 20 days of classes left until the summer.

Since I last wrote, classes have been good and the workload has been manageable. Work at the airport has also been fun and I have been working hard there on designing a training program for employees that drive on the airport ramps and aprons. It should be a very good program when it is completed.

As I have mentioned before, the spring is a very busy time in Daytona Beach. Now that the majority of the racing events and Bike Week is behind us, college spring break has been filling the area, including the 5 daily Boeing 757’s that Delta Air Lines has been flying into Daytona Beach International Airport. Going down to the beach area, normally very quiet during the year, you can see college kids everywhere on break, just enjoying the sun. It makes things exciting. My friends and I have gone down to the OceanWalk area of the beach several times to eat dinner and see what was going on and it is always fun.

As I said earlier, our Spring Break just ended as well. Many students either go home or on vacations to other areas of Florida during this time. Many, though, take advantage of the area that the school is in and stay around to socialize with the thousands of other college kids doing the same thing. I, personally, have a tradition of vacationing with my family during this time, and that is what I did. We always have a great time and this trip was no exception.

Initially, I planned on starting the trip on the Friday prior to the start of Spring Break by heading down to my parent’s house in Boynton Beach. However, when I woke up on Thursday, I discovered that my two classes on Friday had been cancelled so I actually ended up leaving Thursday afternoon, adding a whole day to the vacation. When I got to the house, I saw it furnished for the first time and I have to say that it now finally looks like a house. We stayed there until Monday, just looking around the area, going to the beach and pool, and visiting with my grandparents.

That Monday, we drove to the Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando until Thursday. While I did attend Halloween Horror Nights here in October, I had actually not visited the park as a whole for many years, since the last time I vacationed there with my family. We stayed at one of our favorite hotels on the property, Loew’s Portofino Bay Hotel, which is themed around the Italian town. The best part of staying at a Universal hotel is that by showing your room key at the entrance to the attractions at the park, you can bypass the line and walk right onto the ride. It is a great perk. They also run water taxis back and forth from the resorts to the parks, which is very convenient.

We actually found the parks to be surprisingly empty. With the exception of the new “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal’s Islands of Adventure (which I will talk about in a second), the park’s attractions seldom had wait times greater than 20 minutes. Using my iPhone, I looked up the Disney World parks and saw wait times of over 60 minutes in some cases, definitely much busier than where we were. This made it a lot easier to get around though and it was actually nice.

At the Universal Studios Florida park, a brand new roller coaster opened called the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket. It is very similar in theme (of course, not as detailed as a Disney ride would be) to the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park, but slightly more intense. The coaster begins with a 90 degree vertical ascent to the top, followed by a not much shallower descent down, combined with many twists, turns, and loops. During the ride, a song of your choice is blasted into your ears and the entire ride is recorded—some attempt at filming a music video. The videos come out really cool, but of course cost $50 dollars to purchase.

As I mentioned before, at the Islands of Adventure park, a new “island” based upon Hogwarts and Hogsmeade from the Harry Potter book series was constructed and let me tell you something. I consider myself a theme park expert having been to many in my lifetime but you do not know crowded until you have seen this place. Having just been constructed, it is still extremely popular, but you had to receive an entry time just to ENTER the section of the park, let alone ride any of the attractions there. What my family did one night is go to the park about 10 minutes before closing, and we were able to walk right into the area as well as the attraction there (which during the day has waits of up to 300 minutes). It was very well done for Universal, but being the Disney geek I am, I was quick to notice some of its deficiencies which took away from the fantastical effect. Nonetheless, it was great. The town has been masterfully recreated as has Hogwarts castle. Even the train at the platform is there with smoke coming out of its smokestack.

The lines, though, continued. There were lines of 90 minutes just to ENTER one of the stores in the area. Yes, you had to wait in line to spend money. Luckily, I am not a Harry Potter fan and I could have cared less to see what was in the stores. BUT, one line I did wait in was the line for “butterbeer,” apparently some type of drink featured in the book. It is essentially extra-sweet cream soda, with a butterscotch froth added to the top to make it look like beer. It is actually one of the best things I have ever tasted.

While many things had changed since the last time I was there, it was still a lot of fun. My favorites, like the Blues Brothers concert, Twister, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, and Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges are still there and operating.

On Thursday, we returned to Boynton Beach and relaxed a bit more before I drove back to Daytona Sunday. It was a great time and I enjoyed the much-needed break.

But, other than that, nothing else is new! I am back now to the grind and am looking forward to getting all of the remaining coursework done before a nice long summer off. I hope that you guys are doing well in school as well, and I hope that if you haven’t already, you are able to come and take a campus tour.

As usual, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you might have!

Talk to you soon!


February 22, 2010

Hello, again! I’m pleased to tell you that the weather hit a turning point today and it climbed into the 70s! I took full advantage of the beautiful day and headed outside to work on homework.

Let’s take a look back on the past two weeks: I worked the Daytona 500 and got sunburned, had my first test of the semester, saw a huge spider at work, and got accepted into the MBA program. My job working at the Daytona 500 was to stand at one of the gates and tear tickets. The weather was freezing and I didn’t even think about needing sunscreen; however, the sun was shining and I spent the day looking directly at it. After two years of getting burnt, I will remember the sunscreen next year. My first test was in my Ethics class and I think it went well, but I won’t know for sure until Tuesday. This week I have my first test in Airline Management and I’m thinking it shouldn’t be that bad. The spider at work freaked me out because I hate spiders; thank goodness he’s no longer a problem! I was excited to see the big envelope in my mailbox and when I opened it there was the acceptance letter, so now it’s official that I’m going to do my MBA. Yippee!

The other day while I was working, I met an Embry-Riddle freshman who was just checking out the airport and he asked me what there was to do in the Daytona area. I figured if a new student wants to know what there is to do, then a prospective student probably does too. With that said, I’ve created a list of things to do in and around Daytona whether you are visiting the area or coming to school:

  1. The Beach
    Daytona is home to the World Famous Beach and is a great place to have some fun. You can lounge around, go for a swim, or try surfing—just have a good time!
  2. Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
    The lighthouse is a good place to go for a bird’s eye view of the city! Also, you can learn about the history of the lighthouse and tour some of the other buildings.
  3. Ocean Walk Shoppes
    If you want to see a movie or grab a burger at Johnny Rockets, then the Ocean Walk Shoppes is where you want to head. After the movie, you can get some ice cream from Cold Stone and walk down to the beach.
  4. Putt-putt or Miniature Golf
    There are at least ten putt-putt places in Daytona, so you never run out of options! My favorite is Pirate’s Island because the whole place is a pirate theme and the course winds up a hill and around waterfalls.
  5. The Dairy Bar
    I love ice cream! Back home I work at a place that used to be called the Dairy Bar, so I couldn’t believe it when I found one down here. The ice cream is pretty good and you get to sit and eat it at wooden picnic tables.
  6. Angel and Phelps Chocolate Factory
    They offer free tours of their chocolate factory and at the end of the tour you get a free taste test. Who doesn’t love chocolate?
  7. Daytona Lagoon
    At Daytona Lagoon you can play laser tag, putt-putt, drive go-karts, or go splash around in the water park. If you have a group of people and want to have a few hours of fun, this is the place to go.
  8. Daytona Beach Airport
    Of course you want to come and check out the airport! Behind the Daytona Speedway you can park and watch planes take-off and land.
  9. Daytona Flea Market
    If you ever wanted to see a lot of “treasures” in one place, you have found the spot. I have found some good deals on Daytona Beach apparel here.

There are plenty of things for you to do in Daytona besides go to class! I’m looking forward to Spring Break, so I can go do some fun things besides homework! I hope that wherever you are that it warms up soon and you can have this wonderful Florida weather.

Until next time,


March 22, 2009

Spring Break was wonderful and now I feel refreshed and ready to finish out the semester with a bang. In fact, I felt so revived that I stopped procrastinating on my Business Law paper and actually started it. The amazing thing is I finished it too, so now I have that out of the way! As you know already, my sister came to visit me for Spring Break and we had a good time. She even got to go to some of my classes with me and I’ll let her tell you about her experience…

Hello! I am Kaleigh’s sister, Katelyn, and I visited during her spring break. Kaleigh told me that the ERAU campus was small, but I was still surprised at how small it actually is. I think that there are many benefits to a campus of that size. For one, you are close to all of the buildings and would be able to get to class on time very easily. I went to two of my sister’s classes with her. International Business was interesting and the class size was small. The teacher knew everyone by name and most everyone participated in the class discussion. Since it was Friday, Kaleigh was dressed in her Air Force uniform and I got to watch her being inspected. She had to stand at attention while other cadets looked over her uniform and her shoes. She passed inspection. I am glad I was able to sit in on her Air Force class. Five cadets gave a briefing on planes and the history of the Gulf War. It was a really professional type of class and atmosphere.

Of course, we also went to the beach while I was in Daytona. It was really pretty, but there were a lot of seagulls. We went to Daytona Lagoon and raced go-carts, played miniature golf, and laser tag. I got to sample chocolate at Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory on Beach Street. One of Kaleigh’s friends took us out on his boat on the Intercoastal Waterway. We walked on the boardwalk and went shopping, I discovered a store I really like called Maui Nix. My sister and I love ice cream and we visited Ritter’s Custard and the Dairy Bar. The flea market was huge and had about everything a person could even think about buying.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Daytona Beach Campus. I told my sister I would love going to a school where it was warm and palm trees surrounded me. She does not realize how lucky she is! Everyone I met on campus was really friendly too. I am so glad I was finally able to go and visit my sister!

I really enjoyed having my sister come and visit me! I’m looking forward to the end of the semester when she is going to come back because there are several things we didn’t get to do. Next time, she is going to go to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and we are going to play miniature golf at a place called Pirate’s Cove. She really liked the campus and the fact that there are palm trees everywhere!

I was telling you in my last journal entry how the week before Spring Break was Operation Bottoms Up (OBU) Week. Well, my job as Operations Support Squadron Commander kept me pretty busy and I enjoyed the learning experience. My primary job was to execute Lead Lab on Wednesday morning and I was so happy that it went well and everything went according to schedule. Now, I just have a couple weeks left of Field Training Preparation. One big event that is coming up is the QFR (Qualifying Fitness Review) it’s basically another PT test, but the scores follow you to Field Training. I went running everyday over Spring Break with my sister and I plan on continuing that, so hopefully my run time will be really good.

I hope everyone is looking forward to the rest of the school year and summer! I know I sure am. If you have any questions, send me an e-mail. Be sure to take a look at the pictures I posted!

Until next time,

November 30, 2008

Amazing is the word that I would use to describe the past two weeks. I am amazed that I finished and presented all my group projects with no major hiccups. In fact, the presentations went really well; one teacher told me I did a good job and looked completely comfortable talking in front of everyone. I was glad she said that because I used to get quite nervous getting up and speaking in front of a class, but I have figured out that the more prepared I am the less nervous I am. Time management is essential in college and it’s something that I’m constantly trying to work on. For example, sometimes I should go back to my room and study; however, I end up sitting in the UC talking to people or back in the dorms visiting with my neighbors. Due to some of my choices over the last week I ended up not studying as much as I wanted to for my math test and now I have to take the final. Oh well, you live and learn!

I left Daytona on Wednesday with some friends to go home with them for Thanksgiving. We headed up to Georgia and spent actual Thanksgiving there and then we went to North Carolina for another Thanksgiving on Saturday. I had a good time and ate a lot of wonderful food! We spent quite a bit of time driving but that was good because it allowed me to get some homework done and catch up on some much needed sleep. I talked to my mom and she told me that it snowed back home, so when I go home in nine days there will hopefully be snow on the ground!

In my last entry, I mentioned how I was going to the Silver Wings and Arnold Air Society Regional Conclave since our school was hosting it and I am the Regional Vice-President. The conclave is a gathering of all the Silver Wings chapters and Arnold Air squadrons in a region. We had people attend from Florida State University, University of South Florida, and a few other schools. The event kicked off on Friday and we all headed to Daytona Lagoon for three hours of laser tag and go-karts. I hadn’t been to Daytona Lagoon before and I had so much fun racing go-karts! Saturday, we had meetings all day on how everything is going at each school and we shared community service ideas. That night, I got to get all dressed up and attend the formal dinner. The dinner was good and we got to listen to a retired Major General talk about some of his experiences. On Sunday, everybody headed home and back to school. If you are thinking about coming to ERAU and you want to get involved on campus, you should consider Silver Wings because we do community service, help you network, and we have a lot of fun!

I decorated my little Christmas tree and have been listening to Christmas music for the past week. I’m so excited to have the holidays here again! My next entry will come after I have finished finals and am home, so I’ll probably post some pictures of snow!

If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to send them my way!

Until next time,