January 16

Well here it is, 2 weeks into the new year and I still can’t believe that the break is already over. It was suppose to be over a week ago but, the Christmas tornado that traveled through Embry-Riddle delayed us one week. If you haven’t heard about the tornado yet, I’ll go into more detail later. Anyways, I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks that I need to tell everyone about so let’s start with December.

December 12th to 24th:
After I finished my classes, most of my friends went back home but I stuck around campus a couple extra days to fly. I did some more activities and then I accomplished my first milestone in flying. I soloed! My instructor and I flew from Daytona to New Smyrna and flew in the traffic pattern a couple of times. Everything was going good and nothing was out of the ordinary. After a little while we landed and she told me to taxi to the hangar. So we taxied over to the hangar and she told me to shut down the engine, and I did, then she hopped out, turned around and said, “Go do three traffic patterns with full stops. Have fun!” And just like that, I was alone in the plane. I started the engine, finished all my checklists, and proceeded to the runway. I called the tower when I was ready to take off, then he cleared me for takeoff, and then I took off. I did everything as usual, except when I looked over to where my instructor usually sits, there was no one there. Just me and the plane. It was an incredible experience. Just to think that I was the sole operator of that aircraft and that no one was there to help me kinda freaks me out, but at the same time I absolutely love it. That experience is one thing that I will remember for the rest of my life. Also, it really makes me glad that I am at Embry-Riddle and that someday I will be flying planes for a living!

After my solo, I was done flying for the remainder of the year and I went back home. I went to work some for my dad to get some extra money because my bank account was getting pretty low. In high school I worked a lot and I had some money saved up, but then I got to college, and now, not so much. I didn’t have a job last semester because I wanted to stay focused on school and try to have as much fun as possible. Well, I did just that, but now I don’t have money. So I was glad I got the chance to work and save up some extra money. I worked up until Christmas and then I got to do some fun stuff. Not to say that working isn’t fun, but I did funner stuff. Or “stuff that is more fun” if you want to be correct, but that is longer.

Christmas to New Years Eve:
On Christmas Eve I went to bed pretty late because I still had some wrapping to do. I woke up around 7:30 and my sister and I went to see what Santa brought us. I ended up getting some new clothes, a lot of gift certificates, a lot of DVDs, and a new iPod. I got some smaller stuff too, and overall I was very happy. My sister and I got our parents pictures of us because we thought what would someone want from us and we decided it was pictures of us. Our parents actually really liked them which is good. After opening presents we headed to our family’s house and had some delicious food. It’s always good to see family because I don’t get to see them too much. Some of my family had to drive from Gainesville and they said it was some of the worst weather they have every seen. We all met in Orlando and there was a monsoon outside. It was raining pretty hard and it was even harder in Daytona at Embry-Riddle. I’m sure most of you have heard that a tornado came through Riddle and did quite a bit of damage. I’m still not sure of all the specifics, but I do know that we lost quite a few planes. Some buildings were damaged while others weren’t touched. Unfortunately, many of you might know more than I do so I won’t be of much help. I do know that you can go to this website http://www.erau.edu/db/rebuilding/ and see some pictures of the damage.

When I heard about the tornado, I was in the Orlando Airport getting ready to fly to New Hampshire. I was pretty bummed about it, but everything turned out to be okay. I flew into New Hampshire late Christmas night to go snowboarding with my friend. He went to high school with me, but he use to live in New Hampshire so he goes up there every now and then. I flew up and stayed there for a couple days and I got to snowboard twice which is good. Living in Florida, I don’t really have a chance to snowboard all the time, so when I get to I enjoy that much more. I busted out some tricks and did quite a bit of falling over, but no broken bones or black eyes. Overall, it was a success. My friends and I are thinking about planning a trip over spring break to go snowboarding somewhere. It should be fun if we decide to do that. When I got back to Florida, my girlfriend and I went to see the comedian Lewis Black, which was amazing. That was my Christmas present from her and we went and had a great time. Lewis Black is one of my favorite comedians and I was so excited about seeing him live.

After the Lewis Black show, I just hung out with some friends from high school and was more or less a slacker. I got to sleep in and just relax which is very nice. Nothing really crazy happened so I guess I’ll move on. For New Year’s Eve, a couple of my friends went to New York to watch the ball drop but I just sat on my couch and watched it instead. I turned on the TV and saw the ball 2 minutes before it dropped. My friends were there for 8ish hours before the ball dropped. They said it was pretty crazy, but I enjoyed not having a million people around me. But next year I might head out there just to see the infamous ball in person. We’ll see.

New Years Day to Present:
On January 2nd my mom and I flew over to Los Angeles to see the one and only Price Is Right with Bob Barker!!! I don’t know if there is any one out there reading this that doesn’t know who Bob Barker is, but if there is, I suggest you immediately find out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Barker The man is a legend and so is the show. My graduation present from my mom was to see Bob Barker and The Price Is Right so we flew out to L.A. and we actually got to be in the Price Is Right audience. The show airs on February 12th on CBS at 11:00am Eastern. If you happen to watch it or TiVo it, I am in the third row a couple seats left of the 1st contestant’s podium. When the far left person bids, you can see me to the left. Also, one of the last people to get “called on down” is an old lady and she was in the row right behind me and she walked by and I patted her on the head. Seriously, watch on 2/12/07 and see my “pat an old lady on the head.”

If you are unfamiliar with the PIR process, at 6:00am you get a priority number and come back at 8:00am and get a permanent number. Well, we tried on the first day and got there around 5:30am. We were there a half-hour before they opened the gates and we got number 365. The studio holds 325 people. So needless to say we didn’t quite make it. They sent us home and we found out that even though the gates open at 6:00am, people get there much earlier. So, in order not to make the same mistake, I camped out on the street from about 10:00pm the night before. I had a blanket, chair, and a pillow; I was set. I had my iPod and some Sudoku puzzles and I took a couple of 15 min naps. Eight hours later, I was number 21! We were pretty much guaranteed to get into the audience. So we got a number at 6:00 and then again at 8:00 and then went back again at about 10:00am. We sat in line for a long, long, long time. They had to process everyone and that took a lot of time. So as we sat there, we started to make friends with others and played games like UNO. Well, a couple seats down from me there was a guy doing magic tricks and some of them were pretty cool so I wanted to show off my skills as well. I have always loved magic and I know a couple of cool tricks so I thought . . . what the heck? How is a crowd of 40 strangers different than my mom and in front of a mirror? So I walked over and awkwardly introduced myself and told everyone to kneel down and put there hand on the ground. I told them to twist there arms until they couldn’t anymore and I did the same, but then I did it one more full rotation. Some of the people started screaming and freaking out and I started to laugh. They thought it was pretty cool though so I borrowed a deck of cards and did some more tricks. Everyone seemed to like them and I didn’t mess them up too bad so that’s good.

After some tricks, there was a short interview with potential contestants and the producers to see who gets picked. I guess they didn’t like my mom and me too much because we didn’t get picked, but we still had a blast. So after the interview, we moved to a different sitting area and there was quite a bit of people crammed together. The group of people that I showed the trick to earlier sat next to an old lady and they wanted me to show her those tricks. Well a magician isn’t suppose to do the same trick twice to a group so I hesitated showing it again. Well I had my name tag on so everyone knew my name and they all started to yell “Blake! Blake! Blake!” trying to get me to do the trick, so I finally gave in and showed Francis (the old lady) the trick. It did the trick where I give the person the Queen of spades and switched it with the Queen of clubs and kept switching back and forth. I pretty much confuse the person and then tell them to flip the cards over and there two red aces. So I did this trick to Francis and she turned the cards over, had a brief moment of disbelief, then she threw the cards in my face! It was pretty funny! So if anyone would like to see some magic tricks when they’re in Daytona, just give me a call.

Anyway, back to the PIR. After waiting and waiting we finally were let into the studio around 3 or so. We all walked in and sat down and there right in front of us was the stage that hasn’t been changed in like 40 years! The producers came out and talked to us for a little bit and then eventually we started the show. They called four people down and then Bob Barker walked out and everyone went crazy! It was actually Bob Barker! The show started and when we went to commercial and while in a commercial, Bob talks to the audience and answers questions. Some questions were serious and others were like when he was going to have a rematch with Adam Sandler in Happy Gillemore 2. Bob answered all questions and was actually very funny. The whole audience laughed at pretty much everything that he said. All in all it was amazing. Unfortunately Bob is retiring later this year so not to many more people will be able to experience the PIR. But if you get the chance, it is one of the best things I have ever done!

After we saw the PIR we were tourists and did a whole bunch of touristy things like pull of the side of the road to take pictures of the Hollywood sign. We also went on the Warner Brothers Studio tour which was very entertaining. The whole trip was so much fun, even the traffic. I have never seen a traffic light telling you whether to get on the interstate or not before L.A. There were so many cars ever where and everyone was going slow, it was fun. The whole trip was a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Once I got back from California, I became a slacker for a couple days again . . . then the Florida Gators won the championship. My dad’s business is mostly collegiate items so when the Gators won, business was booming. I went in for a couple days and they were pretty much going 24/7 getting stuff done for the Gators. If there are any Gator fans out there and you want a license plate for your car or some decals, just let me know.

After I was done working, I went back to Skydive DeLand and did some more jumps. My friend Adam has wanted to get certified for a while now and he finally started the process because that was his Christmas present. We went and while he was in the ground school, I did some more jumps and I am definitely in love with skydiving! I did 5 more jumps over 2 days and I am pretty much a professional now. I just completed my lucky 13th jump and it was amazing just like the previous 12 jumps. I took some pictures and videos and hopefully I’ll have them online soon. I hope to make jumping a regular activity, something like a couple times a week. I enjoy it so much and I recommend trying it if you get a chance! Or if you are somewhat hesitant about jumping out of a plane at 13,500ft, you can go to SkyVenture in Orlando. SkyVenture is a wind tunnel where you jump in and two or three large fans blow 120mph wind and you can skydive safely just a couple feet off the ground. You can check it out here http://www.skyventureorlando.com/. I took some pictures and videos of that as well and I will hopefully have those online in the next week.

Now I am moved into Riddle and I have a new roommate and we revamped our room in a very good way. The new room design is much better than before and my old roommate moved back home and my friend Adam is my roommate now. Once again, I took some pictures of the new room setup and I’ll put them online soon. Also, I got a haircut, so I might put some pictures of that as well.

So now the break is done and school is about to start so the next journal will be all about my classes and my first reactions to them. If anyone has any questions about my break or anything else, just let me know! My break was good and I am looking forward to another semester and telling you guys all about it. This semester should be good and I’ll tell you all about my classes next journal so you will have to stay tuned! Hope everyone had a safe and happy new year and be sure to check for pictures in the next couple of days! See ya later!!!

-Blake
email: wasteofsoap@yahoo.com
aim: wasteofsoap

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Blake

About Blake

Hometown: DeBary, Florida
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: Ever since I was little I knew that I wanted to fly, and ever since I knew about Embry-Riddle I wanted to go here.

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