27 September 2009

Highlander Invite, Day 2

Back at the pool after a night of rain and a slight breeze promises to make today a little less oppressive than yesterday. We reconstruct our tent that was deformed by last night's heavy rains. As we gather on the deck for the beginning relays, threatening clouds gather from the west.

Q: How do you spend a Sunday afternoon session at the pool watching your kids swim when you are a passionate fan of the NFL?

A: NFL SuperFan DirecTV SuperCast on my iPhone.

This may be one of the greatest inventions in my lifetime. I have enjoyed the cd, and the personal computer, the mobile phone and the satellite dish. For the love of Pete, I have all of them in my hand now wherever I go. What the what?!?

Shannon started the day participating in the 400 Medley Relay as the breast stroker.
Mickey 100 Free
Shannon 100 Free 1:01.52

Thorguard lightning "prediction" came into play as we suffered through two different delays. The first was just 30 minutes, but after one event and only minutes in the pool, the alarm went off and the second delay was nearly an hour and cost the event a majority of the diehards that sat through the first delay. We stayed to get our events done. With everyone that left. The remainder of the meet went fast out of the water if not in.

Mickey 50 Fly just over 41s.
Shannon 100 Back 1:15.62
Mickey 100 Back 1:25.01
Shannon 200 Breast
Mickey 50 Breast 49.29s.
Shannon 200 IM

We are done and heading to Sweet Tomatoes with some of the other stalwart families that stayed to the end for a quick dinner. Nobody wants to cook after the long swim weekend. I am looking forward to getting home to see how my fantasy football weekend continues into Football Night in America on NBC as Indianapolis travels to Arizona.

EPCOT Food and Wine Festival

The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival got kicked off Friday, September 25, and we had planned to meet my brother, Jon, his wife, Tara, and our niece, Grace, for an evening of food and wine Saturday night after swimming. My nephew Jack got left with his grandparents to give Grace a chance to stay for Illuminations (fireworks).

We parked at Disney's Boardwalk and met up with everybody for the boat ride over to EPCOT. Entering near the Great Britain pavilion, a Bass Ale fueled my walk to Future World as I had promised Grace that the first thing we would do is ride the "dragon ride", which is what she calls Imagination, and Spaceship Earth. On our way forward to the rides, we saw Cork, Ireland; Wellington, New Zealand and Montreal Canada. After riding both rides which have been updated since I last rode them years ago, we headed straight back to the Canada Pavilion.

As we passed the Festival Gift Shop on our way back to Canada, I noticed that someone was signing Festival Posters and assumed that it was the artist. Knowing that I would by a poster before the festival ended, I though might as well meet the artist and get it signed. While everyone went on to get in line for food, I bought a poster. I met Tim Rogerson and talked to him about what I liked about his poster and his other art displayed there. My favorite piece was one that he called "The Bartender" which it turns out was inspired at Blue Martini in the Mall at Millenia. I got my poster signed after a short wait and learned that he will be the artist for next year's Festival poster, too.

At Montreal, Canada, we enjoyed the number one selling item at the festival, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. We also tried some Maple Glazed Salmon with Lentil Salad, Spicy Chicken Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and Maple Sugar Candy. We then began our clockwise "crawl" around the World Showcase. We passed many countries and marketplaces looking at menus and offerings. We enjoyed Beef Empanadas with Tomato Salsa from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mickey really wanted the Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese plate in Barcelona, Spain, but I said the line was to long and he had some in Barcelona. He did not like that answer but we will surely get some next visit.

Grace spent time walking and holding everyone's hand. We looked in some stores and watched as the sky and clouds darkened. By the time we got to Germany, we had felt a sprinkle or two of rain. Munich, Germany rewarded us with a Paulaner Oktoberfest and Nuernberger Sausage on a Pretzel Roll. While enjoying my Oktoberfest, I promised myself that on the next visit I would start in New Orleans, USA for the food offerings and the Abita beer pairing. I also gave a knowing glance to the Sam Adams Beer School off in the distance.

Tokyo, Japan was when the trouble started. When we arrived at Japan, they had one Spicy Tuna Roll left, which Ana claimed. I tried to switch to a Tuna Sensation but those too were all out. I tried to negotiate a deal but was rebuffed. Mickey and Shannon each had a California Sushi Roll. I was annoyed not only that they would run out of food on a Saturday night, but that the manager would explain it away so carelessly. I watched my family enjoy their sushi while I finished my Oktoberfest.

We got to the Great Britain pavilion to grab a couple rugby balls we wanted known as the Adidas Torpedo and mini torpedo. While we walked to setup for a place to watch Illuminations, the rain picked up a bit. As the ten minute countdown to the fireworks began the rain picked up a lot and we were looking for cover. Under a tree quickly became not enough cover so back into the sports store. The deluge began in earnest and Grace became inconsolable because she would not see Illuminations and blow out the torches to start the show. We ran for the boat in a "Forrest Gump with Bubba in Vietnam" downpour of rain. Luckily my kids are swimmers so when we got to the truck, we had towels.

26 September 2009

Highlander Invite, Day 1

We are at Lake Highland Preparatory School for the Elizabeth Kazeck Invitational Swim Meet. This pool supposedly hosted water polo in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Parking is near impossible and the pool deck is so small that we pitch our tent and chairs in a field adjacent to the pool. The younger kids had the early session so we are arriving about 11 am and the heat is building fast. Before the kids are done with warmups, every parent is sweating through their clothes.

Shannon starts the day in the anchor leg of a 400y Free Relay going 28.5s in the first 50 and 1:01.3 for the 100. Then Mickey gets going with a 50 Free in just over 30s. Shannon fires back with a 28.1s in her 50 Free. In his 50 Back, Mickey was cruising and got a best time with 38.38s. Shannon makes a huge move by dropping 4s in her 100 Fly. Mickey lowered his best time by over a second to 1:43.29 in the 100 Breast. Shannon dropped the ball in her best event going 5s slower than her best in her 100 Breast. Mickey finished with an awesome 200 Free dropping 7s to 2:26.1. Shannon finished strong although not a best time in the 200 Free with a 2:15.76.

I haven't seen any college football yet today, but watching my kids give it all they have was fun. I probably lost about 6 pounds sweating as an added bonus. We will see what tomorrow brings. Tonight we are going to EPCOT for the Food and Wine Festival. I have a good shot at gaining that weight back. I'll let you know.

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21 September 2009


Welcome to Virtual Mike Kennedy.

I am a thirty-something, husband, father, son, brother and friend. I have spent the largest part of my working life in sales positions. I have extremely diverse interests. I love to travel and watch sports. I love food and music. I love to read and sit on the beach.

Why am I writing a "blog"? I will let you know as I figure it out. The immediate reasons are few. I want to write. I want to share what I am up to with family and friends. And, I want to learn a little more about blogs and the web.

I have always wanted to write. I like keeping journals and exchanging letters. I am not a skilled writer, but I am enthusiastic.

Our extended family has continued to spread around the country and friends around the world. A blog seems like an efficient way to talk about what we are doing and post some pictures.

People are writing blogs about their interests or just about their observations and they eventually get enough readers (and advertisers) that they do it as a job. What? I need to learn more about this.