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Archive for May 2015

#HowOldRobot

Posted on May 31, 2015 by under Things to Do, Web.    

Ever wondered how old you look? Wonder no more. Microsoft came up with a web site to help with just that. I played with it a few weeks ago. Here are the lovely results.

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The first photo I tried had me older than mom.

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I just couldn’t have that so I had to try another. Much better. LOL.

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I tried one where I’m by myself so my age isn’t influenced by others in the photo.

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It got better still.

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Here’s one where it said I looked younger than Jenni.

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These two photos are the best results I got.

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What I learned from this is that I look older next to mom and younger next to Brian. I’m just going to stand next to Brian from now on and stay are far away from mom as possible in photos. LOL.

Anyway, it’s kind of interesting. You should check out the site and try your own photos.

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Red Ginger

Posted on May 31, 2015 by under Travel.    

Red Ginger on Urbanspoon

I missed posting photos of our lunch at Red Ginger. It was our final meal in Charlotte before heading home. Alex and Sunni were on different flights than me and David but our flights all left around the same time so the four of us were able to have one final lunch together and we were able to travel to the airport together.

I’m just glad that I ended up on the same flight as David even though I booked my flight much later and just picked the cheapest roundtrip fare I could find. LOL. It’s so much nicer to travel with someone. Layovers are so boring when you’re alone.

But I digress, here are the food pictures…

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The food was good but all of these benihana type places tend to be very similar. I liked Red Ginger but it’s not really that cool since we have places just like these in Wichita. Several in fact. Would have liked to have tried another restaurant that’s different that what we have in Wichita but we just got tired of walking around and looking for a place to eat. Red Ginger seemed like a safe bet.

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NASCAR Hall of Fame

Posted on May 25, 2015 by under Things to Do, Travel.    

No trip to North Carolina is complete without checking out the NASCAR Hall of Fame. As luck would have it, the NASCAR Hall of Fame just happened to be right next to the my hotel and the convention center. It was super convenient. And, the conference organizers rented out the whole facility for the evening for our “special event” during CS Week.

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The highlight of the event for me was definitely getting this photo with NASCAR legend Junior Johnson, who was there promoting Midnight Moon and signing autographs.

They were doing free tastings of Midnight Moon, handmade moonshine based on Junior Johnson’s family recipe. Despite all of the delicious varieties, I skipped the moonshine tasting in favor of getting a picture with Junior. I’m sure it’s delicious but Brian told me that it’s really strong and warned me to stay the away from it.

Here are a few more pictures from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

I’m really glad I had the opportunity to attend this conference because I don’t know if I would have ever seen the NASCAR Hall of Fame otherwise (it wasn’t on the bucket list) and also it was a super duper fantastic conference. (I’m sure I’ve mentioned it several times already but one of my favorite TED speakers, Shawn Achor, was our keynote speaker on the second day.)

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CS Week rented the whole facility for our “special event” so we were free to explore every inch of the museum. It was awesome! I think the look on my face in this photo pretty much sums it up.

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This is a racing simulator like none other. You get into real cars and race other people. Alex and I didn’t want to stand in the long line so we skipped it.

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I heard it was really fun, though.

There was also a pit crew simulation. They had two stations set up so that you could compete with another group to see who could do it faster.

Back on the main level, there was a bluegrass band.

There was also lots and lots of food. There were food stations and bars at every level of the museum so you didn’t have to hungry.

I was in sensory overload so I missed taking pictures of the rest of the food but I had to take a picture of this one. As if bread pudding weren’t decadent enough. They made theirs with Krispy Kreme donuts!

Alex and I got some souvenir photos.

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I’m not a huge NASCAR fan but the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a really cool museum. There were so many interactive things on every level. I couldn’t take a picture of everything.

Brian was jealous about this part of the trip. I think he would have really enjoyed the NASCAR Hall of Fame. We may have to go back to he can experience it.

See you again soon, Charlotte!

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2015 NPC Midway USA Championships

Posted on May 23, 2015 by under Events.    

I can’t speak for Brian but I’ve been stuck in a rut lately and decided I needed some inspiration. As luck would have it, some of our friends were competing in a fitness competition so I ended up buying us a couple of front row tickets for that. Brian didn’t mind going because he knew he’d be looking at half-naked women all evening.

Here are some pictures from the show for you guys to enjoy…

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Some of the classes were stacked while others only had one, two, or a handful of entrants. Lots of competitors in this class.

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Top five below.

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With their medals.

Next class.

Top five with medals.

Another class.

Top five with medals.

Then the winners of each class take the stage to be judged together. They’re competing for the overall title.

Every inch of their body is scrutinized by the discerning judges.

They’re even made to switch places. It’s quite intense. Who do you think won this one?

Then we go through the whole thing all over again for the open classes. I don’t really know much about fitness competitions but I gathered, from watching all of the contestants, the open classes are tougher. At least in novice, previous winners can’t compete. In the open classes you’re competing with pros.

Top five with medals.

Next class.

One of the winners from novice made the top five.

Another class.

Top five.

Again the winners are judged together for the honor of overall winner.

Check him out.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer watching the women.

Our friend Jeanne is rightmost in the above photo and leftmost below.

Here’s a video of Jeanne.

These women had the most amazing booties. Actually, I take that back. They had amazing everything.

Here’s our friend Amanda. There were lots of competitors in her class.

Here’s a video of the introductions.

She got third in the novice class.

Here she is again in open.

Video from the open class.

There was some stiff competition but she managed to take home fifth.

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Morgan was the open bikini overall champion.

Here are some videos of posing routines.

Winners get to do a pose down.

I’m so glad we were able to watch our friend Jeanne compete.

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I don’t know about Brian I’m totally inspired. I’m up 20 pounds from my pre-thyroidectomy weight and I’m so ready to start shedding my excess baggage.

Congrats to all of the winners and all of the competitors last weekend. You guys are an inspiration to us all!

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Blackfinn Ameripub

Posted on May 17, 2015 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

On one of the nights our group walked to the EpiCentre in downtown Charlotte to find somewhere relatively inexpensive to eat. We were originally going to go to Fleming’s but it had four dollar signs next to its name on the restaurant list. We had to keep it three or under because some people ate at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and already blew the dinner budget. Yup. That happened the night before I arrived. I totally missed out!

To David’s credit, he did get one of our vendors to take us out to dinner one night. They must really like David because they took us to a fancy restaurant called the Capital Grille. The food and service was fantastic. It was a wonderful dinner.

Anyway, he tried to find a different vendor to take us out the next evening. No luck. That happens when you’re just window shopping I guess. Vendors only like to wine and dine you if you’re actually in the market for their product. Our other existing vendors were busy courting new customers. We were on our own.

We ended up at Blackfinn, a two dollar sign restaurant that’s conveniently located right as you arrive at the EpiCentre. Several people in our group wanted to check out Howl at the Moon, a piano bar in the same area so it was perfect.

Here are some pictures of our food…

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I think these are the crab cakes.

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Steak!

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Meatloaf.

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Blackfinn Ameripub on Urbanspoon

I had the grilled mahi, except I subbed spinach for broccoli because I love spinach.

I didn’t get a picture of the other plates because they were either duplicates or too far for me to reach. To check out the other foods, I guess you’ll just have to go to the restaurant. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.

Overall, I really liked Blackfinn. The food was good and the prices were reasonable. The menu is extensive so there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a steak or seafood person or you just want plain ol’ chicken, you’ll find something on the menu that appeals to you. It’s great for large groups with different tastes. No one will end up starving.

They also have a great selection of starters, some of which are quite filling. Blackfinn is a great choice for if you just want to have appetizers and drinks. We got to try the crab cakes and ying-yang shrimp starters. Both were very good.

They have flatbread pizzas; all sorts of salads; pork, chicken, steak, and seafood entrĂ©es; sandwiches and burgers; pasta and noodle dishes; and they even allow you to order extra sides for sharing. The dessert options looked really good too, but we didn’t have any. No one was interested after all of the cheesecake and other desserts they were feeding us at the conference. LOL.

After dinner Sunni and I walked back to our respective hotels. I registered late and ended up the Hilton Charlotte Center City, while everyone else in our group got rooms at the Westin. I found out the next day that, since Howl at the Moon wasn’t open yet, the group ended up at the Tendril after party at Whisky River, where they had an open bar all night long. They said it was a great time; even better than the piano bar.

I was bummed about missing out at first but, after finding out that some of them stayed out until 2 AM, I didn’t feel as bad. I really wanted to be at breakfast early the next day to get a good seat for Shawn Achor’s keynote so there was no way I could hang. Walking back to the hotel right after dinner was a good call.

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