O-Town on a BOAT

Last week we made the trek to NYC and Pier 83 to board a circle line cruise around the Hudson with a trip that included a concert from both Ryan Cabrera and O-Town.  At first O-Town was saying there would be no VIP for this show, but in May we were pleasantly surprised to see it offered as an option and although the VIP cost was increased to $250 we opted to splurge as it was our only O-Show of the tour.

We arrived early to make sure we wouldn’t miss the boat, only to not board until nearly an hour after we were supposed to board for VIP.  Once we got on board, we grabbed a chair for me (as the rocking boat and my lack of balance were not working well together at all) and waited… and waited… and waited… for the tech crew to get the sound system set up.  We all waited around wondering why we couldn’t kick off the photos with the band first since every minute more it took the crew to figure out the sound was one minute less we’d have to spend with the band.  For whatever reason this was not an option, and finally about 15 minutes before General Admission boarding was about to begin the guys took the stage – decked out in throwback outfits to recreate the We Fit Together music video. (Probably why they couldn’t do photos before sound check) We also go to hear them soundcheck Giants before they decided we would do photos on the level of the boat we were already on (since GA was no doubt waiting downstairs to come up for spots for the show) with the backdrop the NYC sky line.  We were told no group photos but we could still get 2 photos with the band – a normal pose and a fun pose. I had no idea what to do so I told the guys to do whatever while I just stuck out my tongue lol (And I did have to tell Erik that he had to take his Yankees hat off for my photo, which he agreed to). If you want to have an unforgettable boat ride – check out Intrepid Powerboats.

We were told if we wanted more time with the guys – we had the option to buy a t-shirt to get in the selfie line and VIP would get to cut everyone else waiting. Then we found out the t-shirts were $60 which is INSANE.  We decided that we weren’t going to do this and were really disappointed that a discount was not offered to those of us who paid so much for VIP and ended up getting so little.

Shortly after GA joined us, MMMBop started playing and then was cut off so we could “listen” to a message from the captain – that we could barely hear at all and it was time to set sail!   Despite being up near the front, I couldn’t really see Ryan due to his placement on stage and spent most of his set taking in my surroundings as we went under 3 bridges and went by the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade, etc.  I was glad that I ended up doing this because once O-Town took the stage I kind of forgot where we were due to paying too much attention to the guys being on stage. (Plus we were going backwards which meant they knew what was coming up but we had no clue unless we turned around)  Due to shifting in the crowd I couldn’t see for most of O-Town’s set either – and just a PSA if someone is sitting by you it’s probably a good idea to a) Not sneak into VIP you didn’t pay for and block them B) hold your phone up eye level so they can’t see a damn thing beyond your screen.  Holding the phone chest level would have gotten the same videos AND I would have been able to see.  I did manage to lift my phone over my head every now and then to snap photos of the guys though.

Even after all the time wasted getting the sound to work – it was not that great during the show but the guys powered through and did a great performance in spite of it all.  They also did a covers medley that was simply amazing and had such a variety of songs included, it blew my mind.

After the show Christine and I looked at each other as if to say “Are we really spending $60 on a shirt and selfies?” and well… we did.

While we were with the guys, someone ended up jumping overboard off the ship and things went a little crazy – luckily the guys grabbed me to make sure I didn’t get knocked over as crew members ran around like maniacs not caring who they pushed out of their way.  Turns out a guy that walked into us as we were trying to make our departure from the deck of the ship we were on was the one to jump overboard – which is illegal so security had to keep him contained until we docked so he could be arrested.  This led to us being delayed getting off the boat. Way to go, doofus.

I wish I could have seen the guys more on this tour – so many shows were nearby but with stupid work deadlines looming, it was the time to attempt to be an adult and not run off to fangirl every evening.  And yes, I probably would have bought VIP to another show, despite the fail that this one turned out to be.

After the Lights
Right Kind Of Wrong
We Fit Together
Lines and Circles
Empty Spaces
Chasing After You
Shady Business
Liquid Dreams
Sky Dive
Playing with Fire
Cut the Cord

All or Nothing

Book Review: The Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters

As an engineer, I always like reading about disasters. I guess it helps to know you’re not alone when you mess up and also as a way to realize what has happened in the past and try not to repeat those mistakes.

Each chapter in this book has one or two experiments to help drive home the scientific principles that had the starring role in the disaster which I think is really awesome and a great way to teach future engineers!

Each chapter talks a bit about the disaster, then tries to get to the root of what it was that went wrong in the disaster. There’s also a Turn Back The Clock section as well.  Illustrations throughout the book and experiments help add an extra element of fun as well.

Some of the disasters mentioned in the book are the leaning tower of pisa and the “unsinkable” titanic. There are many, many others featured as well.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to watch this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

DANGER: This Book Contains Detailed Information About the Most Legendary Engineering Disasters of All Time!

Sean Connolly, author of the bestselling The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science, The Book of Potentially CatastrophicScience, The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math, and The Book of Wildly Spectacular Sports Science, rolls up his sleeves for another exciting collection of experiments, this time exploring the science behind historical feats of engineering failure.

Ever wonder why Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa has been slowly toppling over for centuries? Stack books on a foundation of paper balls to learn about rickety building foundations and center of mass. How about the 15-foot-high tidal wave of molasses that tore through the streets of Boston in the Great Molasses Flood of 1919? Karate chop a full tube of toothpaste (outside!) to demonstrate the messy behavior of non-Newtonian fluids.

With The Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters, kids get active with a fun, illustrated tour through the physics and technology of crumbling buildings, sinking ships, wobbly bridges, mud-stuck tanks, and much more. Covering a wide range of snafus, mishaps, and outright disasters throughout history—some infamous, like the Titanic sinking and Chilean miners trapped underground, and others lesser known, like the Fidnae Stadium collapse in ancient Rome—these 33 hands-on experiments put readers’ newfound knowledge into action. Each demonstration uses familiar household ingredients and helps break down the barrier between learning and doing—or even better, between learning and having fun.

#PinMaze Grinning Face Emoji Pin

PinMaze has a collection of emoji enamel pins that are great for yourself or for a friend who is always looking for new ways to express themselves. I got to try out the “Grinning Face” pin and it will be a welcome addition to my jean jacket this autumn! [Alongside such favorites as Dustin and Eleven from Stranger Things, Loralei and Rory from Gilmore Girls and of course, a couple of Hanson pins] The pin is high quality with a smooth finish with a clutch back. Get your own Grinning Face emoji or perhaps one of the other emojis that they have available at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01JY9XSIS  I like that the back of the pin is not metal – since it will be on a jacket and touching up against my chest at times – you don’t want to be accidentally poked with a metal backing on these pins. This backing will be much more comfortable for every day use and is still easy to remove, but won’t accidentally be removed exposing the pin to stab you either.

Looking for a new way to express yourself? PinMaze in addition to the Grinning face has all sorts of other pins available – no matter what your mood or interest, I am sure that you will find one that you like. Monkeys, Explosions, Lightning Bolts, everyone’s favorite, poo…

I received the item in this post at a discount in order to write this review.


Hanson in Australia & New Zealand

I was born to DO. I was born to GO. I was born to BE.
That is the chorus of Hanson’s newest single, “I Was Born”.  I had already decided before I knew the lyrics to the song that I was going to try to go to Australia on Hanson’s next tour to see them play.  When I heard the song it all seemed a bit serendipitous.

For months I planned – I may have actually bought tickets to all the concerts before I even had approval from work to take the time off. (Spoiler – I did) I booked flights, I researched things that I wanted to do while I was there and narrowed it down to 3 “must do” activities – Sydney Opera House, hold a koala and see Hobbiton.  Combine I Was Born with The Hobbit – and I was born to be going on an adventure!

Little did I know just how much of an adventure it would end up being. Immediately upon checking in at the airport I was told that my flight was delayed and there was no other flights that could get me to Dallas any sooner. Instead of an hour layover I was down to 30 minutes and while I might make the flight – my bags most likely wouldn’t. I grabbed some winter clothes out of my luggage, threw it in my carry on and hoped for the best.

The best turned out to be my flight to Dallas ending up so delayed I wouldn’t make it until an hour after my flight to Sydney took off and I’d be in Dallas for the night, off to Los Angeles the next day (worried I’d end up in LA with only winter clothes!) and then straight from LA to Melbourne that night, losing a day of sightseeing in Melbourne. (I am so, so glad I planned in that extra day so I only missed sight seeing and didn’t miss any of my must dos or any Hanson shows!)

Before I had left my coworkers were teasing me for never having had an “In N Out” burger and said I needed to hit up a Hanson show in California next. Well, there wasn’t a Hanson show but I made sure to leave LAX and head to a super packed In N Out just up the street from the airport. It was worth the effort.  I wish I could have hung out in LA a bit more, but my “Premium Economy” ticket was downgraded to regular old “Economy” when I missed my flight so I had to head back to the airport to get that straightened out. (I never did.)

By the time the flight from LA took off I felt like it was 1am so I slept the majority of the flight and I also fell asleep during every movie I tried to watch – Beauty and the Beast, Fantastic Beasts and Trolls. The only thing I managed to stay awake to watch was Netflix’s The Ranch.  Landed in Melbourne at 7am and hit the ground running.  That evening I thought that I might fall asleep for the first time during a Hanson concert, but I pushed through.  After that I adjusted pretty well to the time change despite everyone asking if I was feeling alright and wondering about any jet lag.

Everyone I met that didn’t already know me or wasn’t a Hanson fan thought I was nuts when my friends would say, “And this is Katie. She is from the States! She came here to see Hanson!”   Most were wondering if Hanson never played shows in the states and then my friends would say “Oh we were just there in May to see them!” Wait but… if you’re from the States and they play the States… why are you in Australia?  Um, why not?  It was somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and it was a good excuse to go AND see my favorite band… And KOALAS!

Day 2 added to the adventure when I slipped in the shower, punched a potted plant on the way down and it smashed and sliced open 4 of my fingers.  We got me all bandaged up and then I ended up covered in super glue which led to the joke of the trip that they broke me and then tried to glue me back together again.  Slowly each finger healed and by the time I got to New Zealand I was in pretty good shape, although one finger is still sore even now.

After Melbourne we were off to Canberra and then to Sydney.  Since we had seats for the show we headed to cross off the first item on my must-do list which was to see the Sydney Opera House. We opted to not take any tours since they didn’t seem really handicapped friendly and we had already missed the tour that removed all the stairs from it.  So while we couldn’t actually go inside it was cool to walk around and see the bridge and the docked cruise ships.

After 2 nights in Sydney and a Members Only Event where we got to meet the guys and get tourist suggestions from Zac (Only 1 of which we did – since it was already on my list) we were off to Queensland via a flight from Sydney.  You don’t need to show your ID or ticket to get through security and I was thoroughly confused the whole time we were at the airport since it was so, so different from in the US!

Since we had another seated show in the Gold Coast we headed up to the Australia Zoo before hand so that we could cuddle a koala! We also fed kangaroos and saw some dingos. And to add to the adventure, the koala, named ‘Tato, pooped on me.  We also saw a baby koala that we probably otherwise wouldn’t have noticed thanks to some kids screaming “THERE’S A BABY KOALA!” when we were watching them sleep in their trees!

Gold Coast and Brisbane is when the tour started catching up to us, and my friend Nat ended up so sick she couldn’t even go to the Brisbane show. 🙁 I was hoping that whatever it was would hold off for a few more days so I could finish off my trip and then get sick when I got home (be careful what you wish for)

At the airport on the way to New Zealand I saw Hanson at baggage check and said hello – Taylor commented that I was going on quite an adventure – and he didn’t even know the half of it! Turns out, Hanson was on my flight to New Zealand.  They went straight to do press upon landing and I went straight to take a nap.  The 2 hour time difference from Australia to NZ is when things really started going downhill for me.

It turned out that with the addition of 2 members only events for this tour, my Hanson show count was going to hit #150 with the Auckland show.  Everything just kind of worked out perfectly that way (and MMMBop the first night in Melbourne ended up being my 100th time hearing it live)  Since they had a members only event before the show I was able to tell them I’d be hitting #150 which ended up with my getting a shout out before Penny and Me and Taylor calling me one of their most devout and dedicated fans. What!?

The grand finale of my trip was waking up at 5:30AM to take a tour of Hobbiton through Bush and Beach, who picked me up right at the hotel and took me to Hobbiton for a private tour. This company is amazing and we only had *5* people in our tour group as opposed to the other tours that were like 40!  This led to our amazing guide, Sonny, personally chatting with us all and taking basically as many photos as we would like at each of the various stops along the tour.  The tour was a bit difficult for me in places due to steps, but Sonny helped me out and we made it through with no injuries to report.

I arrived back home only to head to the doctors and find out that I had bronchitis and be put on antibiotics. For the next week or so no matter what time I went to bed, I woke up at 5am but I have since seemed to switch back to the correct time zone. Phew!

I know most people think I am crazy for going to see Hanson so many times and just don’t get it. And that’s ok. I can’t really explain why I do it other than it just makes me happy and I have made so many friends because of this band (world wide!) that even though I flew to the other side of the planet alone – I was never really alone.  That is my happy place and when those opening chords of the opening song start – I know that I am Already Home.  I can’t wait to do it all over again for 6 shows in the fall when their tour finally kicks off in the States.




Ed Sheeran at Mohegan Sun Arena

Friday Night July 14th Ed Sheeran took his divide tour to the arena at Mohegan Sun for the first of a two night stay.  Our tickets were marked as “possible obstruction” but aside from the fact we were side stage and couldn’t see the full effect of the screens behind Ed, we were in a great spot!

James Blunt opened and while I only knew his song “You’re Beautiful” (which is just a great creepy stalker anthem but most people don’t seem to realize that) he had a good set and was pretty funny with his banter between songs.  He even jumped on top of his piano at one point.  Before he left the stage he mentioned how he and his piano were going to leave the stage, as was his whole band and their instruments and it was just going to be Ed and his pedal up on stage for the rest of the show and while Ed was performing we should think of him because he would be backstage saying “Damn, a pedal is a lot cheaper than hiring a band”

Ed opened his set up with Castle on the Hill and it just amazing to watch him – just a guitar and a pedal – fill an arena as if he had a full band with him. I had to laugh when he was singing I See Fire and Smaug came up on the screens and everyone was like “AH! A Dragon!” haha.  Ed said that he was going to have no voice by the end of the show and hoped we wouldn’t either (since I’m recovering from bronchitis I tried to be careful to NOT lose my voice as I’m trying to get better!) and said that Argentina had the loudest crowds and he knew that we could scream loud but he was hoping we could sing louder because he thought the US could be louder.

Downer of the night was the dude next to me who was clearly dragged to the show by his girlfriend and he sat next to me miserable for most of the show. Before “Perfect” she said “This is the song I wanted you to listen to!” and when it ended he said “Why would you want me to listen to THAT?” Oof.  I now get what the artists say when they talk about feeling the audiences energy and feeding off of it, because he was totally bringing me down.  Then the woman in front of us flipped out and was screaming about Wexford and decided to turn around and apologize to us. Why? I don’t know. I don’t care where you are from and no need to apologize for having fun at a concert!

Ed left the stage to us singing along on “Sing” but came back out shortly after for a quick encore of Shape of You (and I had far too much fun with the hot dog on Snapchat… Teletubbies, Hot Dogs, close enough) and then finished out with one of my favorite songs to see him do live – You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.

Ed did a 2nd show Saturday night at Mohegan but since tickets weren’t all that easy to obtain and I had pulled up obstructed and threw them away never to get another pair to pop, I opted out.

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