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??

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just Because I'm Tall

By any way you measure it, I’m above your average standard in height. In my own calculations I check in at 6’8” or 2.032 meters for you European folk. That’s one inch shorter than what I’m listed in the media guide and a whopping 11 inches taller than the 5’9” average of Caucasian-American men. (Source)

You could say a lot of people look up to me, I was 5’9” before I began middle school.

Growing up, I always towered over my classmates making it nearly impossible not to “stick out” among my peers. I was a head taller than everyone else, most times even my teacher. In elementary school, I always had to bring up the rear when walking in single file lines because if someone walked behind me, they might inadvertently catch an elbow if they weren’t careful.

I stuck out in athletics too.

When you’re taller than everyone, it’s presumed that you’re older as well. It didn’t matter whether it was soccer, baseball, or basketball, my father always had a copy of my birth certificate on hand if anyone wanted to dispute my real age. We might even have made copies to keep one in each car.

I obviously chose to pursue one sport more than any other, but it might not be for the reasons you think. I have heard people say that it’d be a waste of height if tall men didn’t at least give basketball a try and I don’t agree with that. Being pressured to participate in any activity because of a physical attribute is wrong. Honestly, I chose to stick with basketball because it took the least amount of time to get ready for. Soccer had long socks and sweaty shin guards. Baseball had a hat and pants in the summertime. Neither of these worked for me. All you need for basketball is some high-top sneakers.

Because of my height, my whole life I’ve been peppered with questions from strangers that want to know if I play basketball. Who do I play for, they want to know. I hope I don’t disappoint them when my answers tend to be a sport that doesn’t require height, like hockey or table tennis. I think I sell it on my demonstration of my ferocious slap shot or wicked backhand.

The worst is when these same strangers then proceed to tell me the entire life story of someone else they know that is also tall. As if I would care that your 14 year-old nephew is 6’2”, wears a size 12 shoe and plays basketball for the freshmen B team at his high school I've never heard of. What am I to do with this information, other than smile politely and nod right back at you?

Do I wish I was shorter? No. Do I wish I was taller? Nope. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was just surprised so many of you average dudes got the “short” end of the stick.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Soda vs. Pop (Just Pick One)

Let’s pretend its summer, and you’re on a peaceful stroll in the park. You can pick the park, any park will do. It’s blistering hot outside, and while walking past a street vendor, you notice your mouth is a tad bit parched. Captain obvious says thirst is the diagnosis, and a carbonated beverage does sound delicious right about now. You go to order your soft drink, but when you order it, what do you say? Soda or pop???

Well, according to this neat color-coded piece of cartography, it all depends on where you’re from.

(Click to make bigger)

My fellow residents of “The Most Dangerous City in the Nation” say soda.

Chicagoians call it pop.

What do you call it?

As for me? Well I don’t really care; they’re all mixers to me…

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dirty Laundry 14

Sorry it's been awhile, but I've been busy so get off my case.

There’s nothing I haven’t thought of during the National Anthem. And that includes this...

Dear fellow citizens of America,
Please stop treating the National Anthem like an American Idol audition. We love our country just as much as you do, but don't want to sacrifice our hearing.



During the school year, I really believe the number of vehicles on this campus vastly outnumbers the number of parking spaces. Looking at a map and locating your classrooms is one thing, but having to strategically plan the future position of your parked car to accommodate both the maximum chance of parking spaces available and the minimum walking distance is another thing. And why is parking so expensive? I have a small fortune of silver American coins in my car whose specific purpose is only for the parking meters. I guess what they say is right, time is money and money is time, I just didn’t know it was so damn expensive.


Wait, is it Pet Smart or Pets Mart?

What's the point of having a Katt Williams Comedy Central Special when you have to BEEP out every other word?

Does a stoner prefer Baked Lays?

Do you think Jesus automatically knew he was Jesus from the start, or did his mom or somebody tell him and he grew into it?

You know when little kids say, "I love you this much!" and spread their arms out as wide as they can? Well, amputees love no one. And going along with this, not too many people are capable of loving as much as me. You'd have to have a wingspan greater than 7,1".


Meyers Leonard told me he could throw a baseball 90 MPH and I don’t believe him. So naturally, we made a bet to settle this dispute, but because the NCAA frowns upon gambling, we decided to make the bet in Monopoly money. Anyone got a radar gun?


I’m still shocked that I have a blog that is read by people other than those I pay to read it, but hey I appreciate it!