I forgot my camera

I was planning on bringing my DSLR to Disney World this year, but it was the one thing I forgot to pack because I didn’t add it to my list. I enjoy taking pictures with my DSLR because I have a lot of options available to me, but I was stuck with the camera on my phone. Luckily, in 2016, the camera on a cell phone is pretty amazing.

I have an iPhone 6S and Apple actually has an entire ad campaign dedicated to the pictures people take on with their iPhone. I definitely took pictures (and shot video) – over 450 of them. Of course, not all of them were great, but a lot of them were. It also gave me the chance to really experiment with my shot framing, since I don’t have a telephoto lens to rely on with my phone. Although I was disappointed that I forgot my camera, once I was there, it was nice not having to carry it around. As great as it is, it does get in the way.

Here are a some nice shots i managed to get of the iconic monuments at a few of the parks:

I enjoyed this year’s family vacation and I’m glad that I was able to take some great pictures even though I didn’t bring my “good” camera. If you have a modern smart phone, you can be pretty sure you’ll be able to shoot some good photos and videos. Well, as long as you don’t shoot your videos in portrait mode… please don’t do that.

I forgot my camera

Travelling

Early tomorrow moring we’ll be heading to the airport for this year’s family vacation. I always get a little nervous when travelling because when there are small children involved, things can get hectic.

The flight is scheduled for 7am, and we are required to be at the airport 3 hours before. This means that I’ll be up around 2:15 am getting ready so that we can be out of the house by 3 am or so for the drive to the airport. The luggage will be ready to put in the car, and once it’s packed, we’ll wake up the kids and head off.

Staying organized is key, and it’s easier than ever to be organized if you have a smartphone. I like to use the Notes app on my iPhone so that I can make my lists and make sure that I have everything I need – especially the most important things. If I forget my toothbrush, it’s not a big deal – I’ll just buy an expensive Mickey branded toothbrush at the gift shop. If I forget my passport… that’s a problem. The list will be reviewed right before we leave, and I’ll make sure everything is checked off.

This morning, I took care of checking in online, which was painless this year my son is no longer considered an infant. In previous years, online check in has been an issue because he was sharing a seat with his mom. This year he has his own seat, which opens up a whole new set of issues, but we’re hoping that we’ll be able to prevent any unpleasantness (I bought a few episodes of Paw Patrol from the iTunes store).

The only major task we have left is to get the luggage packed and make sure everything is within the weight limits. If all goes as scheduled, we will be on Disney’s Magical Express tomorrow morning at this time, on the way to a week of fun. I’ll be taking plenty of photos and videos with the intention of creating some nice stuff for myYouTube channel. That will be my little project for when I get back.

Travelling

Disney Vacation

For the third year in a row, our family vacation will be a trip to Disney World. This time, we’ll be staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort. It’s a step up from the value resorts that we’ve stayed at in the past, although despite the “value” moniker, those places (Art of Animation and Pop Century) were fantastic. It costs a little more to stay at a Disney resort, but I feel that the extra price is worth it for a few reasons.

The magic starts before you even get there, with Disney’s Magical Express. A few weeks before our trip, a set of luggage tags arrives in the mail. With these tags, our checked luggage will be sent directly to our room – no need to worry about it when we get to the Orlando airport. The first time we did this I was a little worried, but I haven’t found any major complaints apart from the fact that the luggage usually gets there a few hours after you arrive at the resort.

Another advantage of staying on the property is the transportation to and from the parks. No need to worry about parking – busses arrive every few minutes to take you where you need to go. They can get crowded from time to time, but the rides aren’t too long and having one less thing to think about is great.

The meal plan is also an optional part of staying at the resort. It grants access to most of the food options at the parks, allowing you 2 meals and a snack per day. If you know where to go, some fantastic meals can be had at every Disney park that are included as part of the meal plan. I planned to write about the best single food item at Disney World: the pork shank at Gaston’s Pub. However, I have discovered that it’s off the menu, and I’m not too happy about that. There’s lots of other great options, but I was really looking forward to that pork shank this week.

Finally, there’s the customer service you get by staying at a Disney resort. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more welcome at any hotel or resort as when I’ve stayed there. Both resorts I’ve been to have had impressive staff (AKA Cast Members), and any time I’ve needed anything, they have been more than accommodating. When I’m on vacation and away from my home, I like to know that help is always available, and I never feel that I’m far from getting anything I need at a Disney resort.

Disney Vacation

Summer Reading

There’s nothing like reading in the summer. Whether it’s sitting in the shade on a sunny day in my back yard, or curling up on the couch when it rains, there’s something that I particularly enjoy about reading this time of year.

I’ve got several books lined up, and I’m currently going through The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. I haven’t read a fantasy novel since the last Song of Ice and Fire novel, and this book is a great change of pace from those books. Once I started reading it, I decided to order the sequel as well, and I’m hoping he completes the trilogy soon.

I received five other paperbacks from Amazon today, and reading those will probably take up most of my summer (a couple of them are 1000 page fantasy novels). As much as I love my iPad, there’s nothing like reading a physical book. I don’t mind reading with the Kindle app, but I like reading before bed, and I feel as though the glow from the screen messes up my sleep. It’s also a lot easier to see regular paper when I’m reading outside in the summer.

Summer Reading

Return

Sometimes, no matter how much I promise myself to do something regularly, time slips away and other priorities emerge, regardless of my best intentions. This is what happened with my goal of writing at least one blogpost per week, no matter how short or mundane. I don’t really care if anyone reads this; it really doesn’t matter. I’m hoping that I can get this going for my own enjoyment. If others actually take the time to read what I write, that’s great!

I’m going to try again, and see how it turns out.

Return

From Computer Handy to Regular Handy

I like to think that if something goes wrong with one of the computers in my house, I’ll be able to resolve it, if it’s a software problem. I specify software since as a Mac user, there’s pretty much nothing to for me to do if my hardware goes bad, other than to take it to an Apple Store. Most Macs are sealed off to the user. Luckily, when there is some sort of problem, it’s pretty rare that it’s hardware related.

The other night, my iMac did something weird and my Finder kept crashing, completely locking it up, forcing me to do a hard shut down of the whole thing. After that, it seemed to work fine. I’m pretty sure Dropbox was crashing the Finder, and it if the Finder is messed up, then your Mac will struggle. That was a simple enough issue for me to fix.

Now I’m faced with a decidedly less high tech issue – the dryer. Yesterday it started making a sort of jet engine sound after a few minutes of use, so I’m planning on opening it up and seeing what’s wrong. It’s a ten year old dryer that has never had any issues, and I really don’t think that a new one would be money well spent. I’m looking forward to dissembling it and seeing what’s wrong.

The best case scenario is that it just needs to be cleaned up a little and with that, the noise will stop. However, if I see that something needs to be replaced, I’m glad that there are so many sites available that ship the exact parts that are needed within a few days. Last summer the bottom heating element in the stove died; I went to Parts Select and easily ordered exactly what I needed. Once I had the element, their videos guided me though the task and I was done. No need to call someone.

This isn’t always the case though – the dryer is relatively simple and not much effort is required. When our hot water tank needed to be changed, I gladly called in a professional to get the job done. He was in and out within an hour and a half and I know the job was done right. I’m not comfortable with plumbing an I don’t need a flood in my basement. Let’s hope I don’t cause a dryer fire when I try to fix it!

From Computer Handy to Regular Handy