Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Tours

Okay, so let's pick up right where we left off; at the airport. Straight from the there, we jammed packed into our tour bus without delay, and immediately took off down the highway. We hadn't driven for five minutes before eyes started to droop and heads started to sway, but for as tired and dirty as we were from traveling, it wasn't hard to notice the sudden level of stirring as soon as we pulled up next to the majestic Rome Colosseum.
To actually be inside the 2,000 year-old monumental building was an incredible experience none of us will soon forget. My mind has yet to comprehend that this structure was built close to 1,700 years before the United States officially became a country. Once inside, images of bloody gladiatorial contests and intense chariot races flickered through my mind and stories of public executions, gruesome beheadings, and exotic animal fights by our tour guide only fueled my crazy imagination more. I have always been intrigued by the Roman empire, so much that I solely passed my AP European History class based on my such high grades on that unit.
On the following day, we took a walking tour of the Vatican City where we went through St. Peter's Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, and the Sistine Chapel along with the various museums throughout each. The coolest part to me was seeing the masterpiece work of art Michelangelo painted onto the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Our tour guide was explicit in telling us no pictures were to be taken inside the chapel, but temptation soon got the best of us and before you knew it everyone was covertly snapping away. Coach Jay Price was the only one who abided by these rules, because I think I even saw coach Weber sneak a picture or two.
With three days and three nights in Rome behind us, we all packed into the same bus from the airport on Sunday morning and managed a 3 hour bus ride to Florence (which I have been told I've been spelling wrong in all of my tweets). In the city of Florence, we were able to take in another masterpiece by Michelangelo, the famous Statue of David. Only one word came to mind when I surveyed this work of art, and that word was "BIG". Our tour guide mentioned the sculpture had three flaws that did not fit into the proportional scale of a real human body which were the right hand, the head, and the left shoulder. They all were either slightly bigger or smaller than what a real human's would look like. It was noticed, however, that she made no mention of another part of the male anatomy that looked a bit unproportional as well.
Our latest tour that we took was a 1 hour bus ride to the city of Pisa, where as you might have heard, lies a famous slightly slanted bell tower. The whole team ascended all 294 stairs to the top, leading to spectacular views of the surrounding town and countryside. While we were there, I vowed not to let any member of our party take the cliché photograph of posing and pretending to "hold up" the leaning tower and prevent it from falling. As soon as I told this to Meyers Leonard and Crandall Head, they ignored my advice and immediately struck up the pose.
As of right now, we are getting ready to leave for the city of Venice, where as Mitch Hedberg said, they don't have street smarts, they have canal smarts. Remember to follow me on twitter at @tylergriffey and check out www.fightingillini.com for more updates!

Meyers and I on top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Notice the camera was tilted when this picture was taken.

Meyers and I on top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa again

Meyers with the token pose

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"How To Make It In America"

With my experience of overseas traveling, (This is my 6th trip to Europe) I pretty much know what to expect, what to pack, etc. But no matter how long my trip is or where it is I'm going, packing for an overseas trip is a little more difficult when you're 6'8" and wear a size 16 shoe. There's not much room left in my duffel bag after I pack two pairs of basketball shoes, two pairs of tennis shoes, and one pair of dress shoes, but somehow I made it all fit.

We arrived in Rome at 2:00pm (Rome time, 7am CST) after two plane rides (totaling about 9 hours) and a 4 hour layover in Dusseldorf, Germany. That's a long day spent traveling, especially if it's next to impossible to sleep in anywhere but a bed like it is for me. I don't even sleep that well in general and almost consider myself a borderline insomniac (My diagnosis, not a professional's), so I had to pack a lot of entertainment options as well to keep from getting bored. Instead of watching movies that would be relative to our trip like "Gladiators", "Angels and Demons", and everybody's favorite Rom Com "When In Rome", I chose to watch things that have absolutely nothing to do with our trip, such as "African Cats", "Fast Five", and my most ironic choice, HBOs "How To Make It In America". In addition to these movies, I was able to cram my laptop bag with these other entertainment options:

My Dell laptop, my passport, Iphone/iPod, "Outliers" by Malcom Gladwell, 1TB portable hard drive, Amazon Kindle, and an European electrical converter. Whenever the picture of that guy comes up on my Kindle, it scares the beejeezes out of me.

As you can see in my picture above, what made these movies so enjoyable were my travel essential, Bose noise cancelling headphones. Given to me at Christmas last year, I never travel without them. If I were to ever forget them though, the overwhelming amount of Beats by Dre my team owns has me covered. I don't even need a pair of headphones at all, I can just enjoy whatever music DJ is listening too, if I'm within a 10 foot radius.

So we arrived in Rome safely, and are here until Sunday morning at which we then travel to Florence. We have a lot of stuff planned while were here including tours of the Coliseum and Vatican city, as well as a game or two. I will keep you updated as much as I can throughout our travels, but for more updates, follow me on twitter at @tylergriffey or go to www.fightingillini.com

Ibby and I in St. Peters Basicalla

Nnanna and I in the Rome Colosseum

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Google Fail

UPDATED - I have since fixed the problem. Ended up restoring my computer to factory settings. It was a pain in the ass but at least it's working now.

All it takes to be somewhat proficient at computer troubleshooting is a basic knowledge of how to use Google. That's it. 99% of computer issues can be solved with the help of Google. (That's my own rough estimation.) I have no patience for people who don't know how to use the search function on their web browser. If you're experiencing a problem, chances are you're not the first person who has come across this particular problem and if at least one of those people wrote about it, Google will find it.

Google has yet to fail me, except now. I've poured over countless discussion threads, forums, articles, and even an instructional manual to no avail. I even asked my dedicated Twitter following to help me with my predicament, and they gave some great, helpful responses (mixed in with some stupid, worthless ones) to which I tried to only find nothing to be effective again. So this is my last resort, last ditch effort in hopes to solving this. I'm sorry it took something like this to take me out of a mini-retirement from blogging, but I have to try, right?

The problem: No sound from any video on any internet site (YouTube, GoogleVid, Cnet, etc.) I have installed latest versions of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Active X, so video quality is fine (I can watch the video) but there is absolutely no sound.

My System - 64-bit Windows 7 Dell desktop.

Anti-Virus Software - Microsoft Security Essentials

Speakers - They do work! I can hear MP3's from iTunes or VLC Media Player, Windows start up sounds, and mouse clicks!

Web Browser - I'm currently on latest version of Firefox and this is my default browser, but have Google Chrome and IE9.

Things I have tried
-Checking volume on speakers, on the embedded video, and within computer setting. (I'm all Turnt Up!)
-Restarted my computer
-Tried in all three web browsers
-Deleted cookies, temp internet folder, history
-Uninstalled and reinstalled all web browsers and tried them separately. (Tried Firefox without Google Chrome installed on my machine, tried Google Chrome without Firefox on my machine.)
-Uninstalled and reinstalled Adobe Flash player.
-Installed prototype Adobe Flash player for 64-bit systems. (Adobe website site said both should work).
-Uninstalled Microsoft Security Essentials and tried.
-Went in and updated registry files (With help from discussion thread on Google)

Updated - Downloaded latest sound drivers from Dell website. Still didn't work.

None of these worked. Google has failed me. Can anyone help??? Somebody??? Please??