Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Planning for The Greek Islands: Part Two

Here is Part One of this series

In our last post we mentioned that we wanted to go to the Greek Islands but had no idea what the region had to offer or where to target our short visit in such a vast area. We figured we'd start in the two most popular destinations: Santorini and Mykonos. We figured these islands are popular for a reason and they'd be a good a place as any to start.

We definately wanted to use our American Airlines / Oneworld Alliance miles to get to Greece. We've been hoarding them for quite a long time and have a nice amount banked. Better to use them now before they become even more devalued.

We figured out that we could get to Europe easily enough, but flying to Athens and the Greek Islands is a bit difficult with American and its partners. Many flights to Athens routed through Heathrow - which adds a lot of money to your "free" tickets in fees (England has high airport taxes and British Airway views frequent flier miles as a fee-worthy perk) so that really defeated the purpose of using miles. Air Berlin, a Oneworld partner, seemed to serve most of the Greek Islands, just not everyday, and mainly out of Vienna. On American we can't get to Vienna from Chicago directly. Additionally, not many award tickets were available on Air Berlin, or its partner, to the islands.

We tried working with two different weeks around Memorial Day: starting the trip Memorial Weekend or ending it Memorial Weekend. Dave ended up calling American directly since the website wasn't generating any results for Greece. For the itinerary starting the Memorial Weekend we found a route that took us overnight from Chicago (ORD) to Dusseldorf, Germany (DUS) (ironically the last time we were in ORD Dave made an observartion of the banners all around announcing this newer route), then a reasonable connection to Vienna (VIE), and finally a less-reasonable connection to Santorini (JTR).
Our goal was to get the return flight out of Mykonos (JMK).

That was not working in any way so we will have to make our way back to Santorini to get home. The first agent, whom really tried her best, got us the route of JTR -> VIE, then a 35 minute connection to Frankfort (FRA) where we'd stay over night. Then in the morning go to Dallas (DFW) onto ORD. This was not going to be pleasant.  Four agents later, we had no luck on getting any tickets to the islands on rewards. Dave then went back to the drawing board on the original itinerary and researched options home (since we secured the hard tickets to get we should be able to work the mainland Europe route easier). With a little more work on his own he found flights that almost reversed our original route with a sleepover in Vienna. Phew!

So the flights are secured with lots of miles and a $300 cash outlay.  Not too bad.   Next post, we'll cover the search for lodging.

Here is our next post: lodging

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Merry Christmas

Once again we'll close out Tizzel's Christmas Countdown with some military homecoming videos. Please keep our armed forces in mind this holiday season.

Christmas - The Best Christmas Surprise Homecomings and Military Christmas Surprise


Monday, December 23, 2013

2014 Tizzel's Holiday Countdown - Day 9

Almost every classic cartoon series has a Night Before Christmas episode. Here's one from Tom and Jerry (1941).

Day 9 - Tom and Jerry The Night Before Christmas

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2014 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 8

This may be a publicity stunt, or an attempt to go viral, but Canadian airline WestJet ended up making some folks very happy for the holidays so in the end it's worth it.

Day 8 - WestJet Christmas Miracle: Real-time Giving


Saturday, December 21, 2013

2014 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown -Day 7

Time for some more Christmas songs. We have two for you today: a classic and a soon-to-be classic?

First, David Bowie pays Bing Crosby a visit (this was a requested video) and end up singing The Little Drummer Boy. Next, Weird Paul Petroskey invites us to Try the Christmas Drink.

Day 7 - The Little Drummer Boy and Try the Christmas Drink


Friday, December 20, 2013

2014 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 6

It's kinda fun to see how society has changed over the years. Cigarette ads were banned way before Tizzel was born. Did you know they make the perfect gift? Here are two short ads from years gone by.

Day 6 - Give the Gift of Cigarettes this Christmas and Merry Christmas from Lucky Strikes


#Goofyinaday: Michael and Eddie's Epic Adventure, Finale

Team Tizzel is proud to continue our series of guest posts by our friend Michael Miller chronicling his adventure with Eddie McCoy to tackle 39.3 miles of racing in one day; and in two different states. Today's post will cover Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon and close out the series.

Follow Michael and Eddie on Twitter

Earlier posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Part 4: Where We Take a Bus Ride and Eddie Shows Me His Tiny Buns

While I’ve been running in some capacity for over 30 years, it doesn’t necessarily define me as a person. It’s just a part of who I am, like my being left handed, or awesome, or being extremely humble. While Eddie has been running for under two years at this point, his running has redefined how others see him. Though I believe his weight loss and transition from a sedentary lifestyle reflect the strength of character he’s always had. With all of his hard work and effort, Eddie has had a lot of successes in his running and may one day win a competitive race outright, just like I have done, but my great humility prevents me from pointing this out. Yet despite our varied running backgrounds, I can safely say #GoofyInADay started out more as a sense of adventure than being about running. I can also say that our final run at Wine & Dine morphed into so much more than an adventure.

As I’ve written about for another post in the Team AllEars Blog, one of the oldest, most respected distance races in the world is the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. A 56-mile race, Comrades has a very strict 12 hours cut-off, which most people cannot even imagine making. That being said, one of the key things that have helped people complete this race was the creation of the concept of “The Bus.” To some, The Bus is a fancier term for a pace group, which has become more common in races of all distances; however The Bus is more than that. The Bus is a group of runners whom develop an identity over the life of the race, setting a pace and tone that gets the whole group across the finish line.

With our late arrival to the start at Disney’s Wide World of Sports we quickly dropped our gear off at bag check and found our teammates for what can only be called "A Second Obligatory Group Photo". I say second because the group already did one without the two of us since everyone wasn’t 100% sure we were going to make it on time. Due to my humility, I tried to squeeze in unnoticed at the front of the group, but I still think you can see me in the picture. I like to think of that first picture as the Directors Cut – the version everyone probably really wanted to have, but they had to accept Eddie and my presence and take the second one. After the photo, it was off to our corral, where 12 members of Team AllEars formed our Bus for the race. Our Bus Driver was Rich Gairing, a good friend and the man in the Viking hat in the photo at the beginning of these blogs. As the Bus Driver, Rich was responsible for getting the 12 of us to our final destination…..before the cut off, which means that besides having to run his own race he willingly becomes responsible for the races of others.

So from the sound of fireworks and the surge of runners until we crossed the finish line it was no longer about #GoofyInADay for Eddie and me. For 13.1 miles everything was about the group. How were people holding up? Were we still together? Who was going to take the next individual photo in front of a mile marker sign? Throughout it all, we stuck together, joked and swapped positions. For most of the race, Eddie and I bounced between people and ran with old friends and team members we had never run with before. The ease in which we ran belied the fact that we had already completed a full marathon a couple of hundred miles to the north, and my humility prevents me from even mentioning it. Not once during the entire run did the fact that with each step we were running further on that day than we had ever run in a 24 hour period ever register on Eddie's or my consciousness. And as we crossed the finish line in 3 waves of 4 people, our Bus made it’s destination having some of the most fun I’ve ever had in a race.

Since I recounted the actual run in our Team AllEars Blog, I am just going to hit some of the highlights of the race. For example, the floats from last year’s 20 Mile Spectacular actually look very cool at the half way point in a half marathon….though they still aren’t Spectacular. And the Osborne lights are amazing to run through, though Eddie did make us stop and sing a Christmas Carol to be used for a podcast….however due to an inability on our part to follow instructions, it is now relegated to the blooper reel.

One of the highlights for me was the Ugly Christmas Sweater wicking shirts that Eddie, Rich and I wore for the race. While it was a little warm running in long sleeve shirts in the Florida humidity, we got two of my favorite race photos. One of The Three Wise (Ass) Men sitting on a bench in the Osborne Lights section contemplating life and maybe why we were wearing long sleeve shirts. The other is a corresponding picture from Eddie’s Go Pro that shows the rest of the group standing there taking pictures of us. In my mind these two pictures taken together show the camaraderie we all felt that evening….while also filling Eddie's and my not so subtle need to be the center of attention.

With all of this, the best part of this race is the After Party. The unique aspect of Wine & Dine is it allows runners to hit EPCOT's World Showcase after hours to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival. After a long race, any picture you would see shows a group of tired runners torn between wanting to “after-party” and wanting to go to bed. It was here, in our Savannah Finisher Shirts and Medals, that Eddie and I concluded our #GoofyInADay.

Having never attended Food & Wine, Eddie made a point of directing me to one of his favorite after race snacks at the Germany Pavilion. Two Sausage Sandwiches, consisting of 8 inch long and narrow sausages on two short 4 inch rolls. And though they were tasty, I will leave you with the same uncomfortable feeling that Eddie gave me to wrap up our day’s events when he held them out to me and said with a smile on his face “Michael, take a look at my tiny buns".


Here's Eddie's video from the Wine and Dine:


Team Tizzel would like to thank Michael for taking the time to chronicle their adventure and allow us to share this great content with everyone. You are welcome to write more posts for Team Tizzel anytime. Thanks also to Eddie for all the great photos and videos that showed us all how excellent and epic your weekend was.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

2014 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 5

Today's video is from a very recent Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It's a song performed by DJ Lance and the other characters of the kid's show Yo Gabba Gabba! They are accompanied by The Roots and Biz Markie. Yeah there's a lot going on with these personalities colliding.

Day 5 - Christmas is Upon Us


2014 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 4

Not sure how to classify this one. I think someone went through old family photos and put them together with music that 's not even Christmasy. And that family member must have been in law enforcement. Some of the old toys are neat.

Day 4 - Christmas and Polic Pictures from 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2014 Tizzel Christmas Countdown - Day 3

If you liked the last two posts we have to warn you it only goes downhill from there. Today we bring you a favorite - Band Aid's 80's classic Do They Know it's Christmas? Here's more information about the song and what the supergroup was trying to accomplish.

Of course we can't just show you the original video. You've probably seen it a billion times. So our post today is the actual song but the video is a compilation of cartoon clips. Enjoy!

Day 3 - CMV - Do They Know it's Christmas Time at all?


2014 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 2

Today we have some fun provided by the residents and staff of the Strathmere Lodge. They give a "Puttin' on the Ritz" style performance of I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.

Day 2 - I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas: Strathmere Lodge


Sunday, December 15, 2013

2014 Tizzel's Christmas Countdown - Day 1

We are doing it again! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. We may also have some regular posts too, so don't forget to keep checking back.

Day 1 - 1947 Newsreel: Christmas Season Opens


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Philadelphia Marathon Race Report and Video

I was really looking forward to this marathon. It would be my last marathon of the busy fall racing season and one that I wanted to do for quite a while. This year they moved the date up a week (so it didn't conflict with our Thanksgiving travel) so I was able to finally do it. We got into Philly Friday night and met up with our good friend Joe and then my marathon buddy Eddie flew in and we had a fun night.

Saturday we played tourist in the morning, hitting Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. We then headed to the Expo and did some serious shopping and met up with the rest of our crew: Rich, Helen, Matt, and Susan. We had a fun lunching at Triumph Brewing and hitting Yards brewery and then had a great pasta dinner (Pietro's) and cheered Auburn on to a nail biter of a victory (check this post for more details).

Sunday morning was an early wake up as we weren’t sure what the crowds would be like with the new security. We had no problems getting into the secure area, but the lines for the Port-O-Potties were enormous. We made it through finding our friends Barb, Bob, Sue, and Matt whom were running the half, and just as the anthem was being played and got right in our corral.

We were all super excited, as this would be the first marathon ever for Joe. Dave was in charge of taking Joe’s wife Maria and daughter Olivia around the course. Joe’s story is quite remarkable. In the last year he has lost over 120 lbs. thanks to diet and exercise. He is very inspiring to me and I was honored to share this moment with him.
It took us a while to get across the start line, but once we did we started our tour of Philadelphia. We were having fun stopping and taking pictures at all the famous sights. One lady runner snottily asked me if we were sightseeing or running a marathon. BOTH!!!!
I was excited for this course as I heard it took you by all the sights and that it was mostly flat. Sights, yes. Flat not so much. The hills started when we left the city proper and never let up. I loved running through Frat House Row. They were all out cheering and I think most of them hadn’t been to bed yet. You have to love the smell of stale beer. Running along the Schuylkill River was gorgeous. I ran in to an old friend of mine who had the best sign ever! It was so great to see you Craig!
Dave was doing a great job following us around and it was fun to see Joe’s family’s excitement. We finally made it into famous Manayunk. Home of the famous hills! Not exactly what you want at Mile 21 or so. My Mom was there with Dave and it was great to see her.
After Manayunk is when the real whining started. We were all tired. I just didn’t feel good. I was really excited going into this race as I felt I was in good shape and was expecting a much quicker time, but today was just not my day and it seems a lot of us felt that way. It was warmer than we thought it would be which could have played into this. However, none of that mattered, as we got back closer to the city.

We could see the Art Museum and knew we were close. We all got very emotional as Joe approached his family and gave them all a big hug and kiss. Not a dry eye around. We then got to high five the Mayor of Philadelphia! He stays out there all day and high fives every runner! We crossed the finish line with arms held high and Joe was now a marathon finisher. We all hugged each other, got our medals and Joe got his first Cape of Awesomeness!

Despite how I felt physically, this is one of my most favorite marathons. This is due to running with my great friends, Rich, Eddie and Joe! Thanks to you all for putting up with my whining and sharing this marathon with me.

Dave's Comments: I grew up less than 3 hours from Philly and have never visited this great city. I had a lot of fun seeing it from many different locations.

Our friend Helen is a veteran of this race and warned me I would not be able to get around much. With that in-mind I worked with Joe to formulate a plan and presented it to a volunteer at the expo. "Good luck" was what he told me. Ha! We made it to 8 spots (one of them in a nick-of-time).

It was such an honor to be trusted with guiding Joe's family along the course. I mean, he really just met me a month before the race and had probably never heard about taking the rental car airborne Starsky-and-Hutch-style in Little Rock. I had a lot of fun with them. I have to say this is probably the most I had to walk along a marathon course and I was pretty wiped by the end of the day. Viewing locations were Mile 1, 5, 9, 11.5, 14, 19, 20, and the finish.

for snacks, I bought these great chocolate chip/walnut cookies at the Reading Terminal Market. I thought Joe's daughter would love them. Yeah, she has a tree nut allergy. "A" for effort, "F" for execution......I think Eddie enjoyed the one he had at Mile 5.

I need to send a shout-out to our friend Craig for coming out there to cheer on the team, and for getting us into the zoo for that all important bathroom break.

Two videos from the race our below. The first one is our race video and the second one is the video Eddie put together that really does a nice job of chronicling Joe's journey and his first marathon. Eddie and Dave shared some video files so don't be confused if you see a scene or photo twice. We share photos all the time so why nor video!  We hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

#Goofyinaday: Michael and Eddie's Epic Adventure, Part 3

Team Tizzel is proud to continue our series of guest posts by our friend Michael Miller chronicling his adventure with Eddie McCoy to tackle 39.3 miles of racing in one day; and in two different states. Today's post will cover the Road trip from Savannah to Orlando.

Follow Michael and Eddie on Twitter
Earlier posts: Part 1, Part 2

Part 3: Where We Drive to Orlando, Eddie Learns That It's Better to Write the Blog and We Discover the True Meaning of War Eagle

With a 5 to 6 hour drive and another race ahead of us, obviously our number one priority after crossing the finish line was to immediately head to the Race Merchandise tent. Without this stop we wouldn't have RnR Savannah Finisher Shirts to wear to the Wine and Dine after party. Because let's face it, the only reason to run a marathon and half marathon in the same day is so you can "not so subtly" let everyone know that you did it. The hardest part is the nonchalant strut and conveying a false air of indifference of doing #goofyinaday as we walk around Epcot in our finisher shirts and marathon medals, but we had a long car ride to practice.

Now Eddie is a quasi-pseudo-celebrity in the marathoning community, which I am constantly reminded of whenever we run races together. Usually it entails someone coming up to us after a race as we are eating in a McDonalds or walking back to the hotel. Complete strangers come up to him in groupie mode and introduce themselves and talk of hearing him on The Marathon Show, seeing him on Facebook or some other forum. As the person with him, you either become invisible or get the luxury of taking pictures of the two of them. In this case I got to take Eddie's pick with Marathon Man, another quasi-pseudo-celebrity in the marathon world. While I've come to accept the role of invisible sidekick photographer when we run together, my heart goes out to Eddie's wife, who in my opinion should get to punch Eddie in the arm every time it happens....which I like to think would leave him with a constantly bruised shoulder.

Back at the hotel, Eddie quickly cleaned up so he could watch the Auburn game while I got ready. Now this wouldn't have bothered me except for the fact that just as I was about to relieve myself before getting in the shower Eddie started screaming "GO GO GO GO, YOU CAN DO IT YEAH WAR EAGLE." After ascertaining that I didn't leave the door open and his screams had nothing to do with me but something happening in the game, I was finally able to mentally relax enough to finally be able to go to the bathroom. Interesting fact, people screaming "GO" when you are about to pee makes it harder to do so.....go figure.

We got on the road relatively quickly after cleaning up. I drove so that Eddie could download his video and pictures from the race to make "A Fast Eddie Video" of our adventures. Eddie makes videos of all of his races and by doing this now, he could post it before we ran Wine and Dine. This would meet the dual purpose of reminding people who didn't realize from our constant tweets and Facebook posts that we were doing #goodyinaday, but also to help solidify his quasi-pseudo-celebrity status. In this case though, since I would be prominently displayed in the video, who knows, maybe someone would recognize me for a change.

One thing I learned during our drive is that Eddie shrieks like a girl. A pre-pubescent one at that. And unlike other character flaws, this could obviously not be overlooked. And when he's shrieking "oh my god we are out of gas," it really cannot be overlooked. To say that we were driving with the needle below E is not an understatement. In my defense, I couldn't see the lower half of the fuel gauge (or the brightly glowing empty light) due to the angle the steering wheel was set, but that didn't seem to mollify Sir-Shrieks-A-Lot in the passenger seat. Since we were about to pass an exit, and the sign indicated the next one being a dozen miles down the road, my priority was to cross two lanes quickly and safely. Eddie's priority was to try and take a picture of the fuel gauge to post to Facebook ASAP. We made the exit and took a right to find a gas station. We went right because it was down hill and we weren't 100% certain we would make it if we went up hill to the left. We did, but you wouldn't know it from the way Eddie kept verbally reliving the horrors of how bad it would have been if we ran out of gas. I am not saying it was non-stop, however I started to look for cars with Auburn decals in the hopes if getting him to yell WAR EAGLE out the window.

With the exception of Eddie's near death out of gas experience, overall the trip was uneventful. Lunch at Five Guys, a pic at the "Welcome to Florida" sign and heavy traffic as we closed in on Walt Disney World. After a quick check-in at Pop Century (a Disney hotel), we headed over to Boardwalk (another Disney hotel) to meet up with Eddie's wife Anna to get our gear before hopping on the bus to the race start. At this point two things occurred that was extremely annoying. First, we waited for over an hour to get on a bus due to what appeared to be poorly organized planning on Disney's part. For the first time we thought our #goofyinaday was at risk as we might not make the start due to the extremely long gaps in between buses. Second, while we were waiting, it happened. Someone yelled from the back of the line "hey Eddie, love what YOU are doing today, YOU are so inspirational." Forget Anna punching Eddie. Right then I wanted to....I mean seriously, there were two of us on this adventure and while I may not be a quasi-pseudo-celebrity this was getting a bit much.

Finally the bus came and we were away from Eddie's latest groupie and off to the second race of the day.

The True Meaning of War Eagle

Whenever I talk with Eddie and Anna about why they yell War Eagle, they always stumble through statements like "there are three versions," and "after the civil war there was a game," etc. etc. Like most legends, I figure there is a kernel of truth in what they've told me, however I tried to weed through the legend to come up with what I suspect is close to the truth.

Shortly after the Civil war, two good ole southern boys, Aubrey Burns and Clem "Sonny" Kladdilehopper were doing what good southern boys are known for...drinking shine. And as happens when men drink shine, they started to talk trash with each other. Who was smarter, who could create a University in their own name because they were so so smart...and eventually, who would have a better college football team. Because let's face it, drunk men talk sports. After much trash talk they both focused on how cool their mascot would be. Both chose a tiger, but could not agree as to whose tiger would be better. So they came up with a stupid dare to settle things. Because let's face it, drunk men talking sports come up with stupid dares.

Down the road was an ornery old Colonel from the War. The reason why he was so ornery was because he apparently had to ride a horse up and down the historic cobblestone streets of Savannah, but that's not important for this story. What was important was the fact that he had a collection of prized animals...mostly chickens, but also a Tiger Striped Tabby named Biscuit. Our two southern boys decided whoever could capture Biscuit would claim the title of best college mascot....or some such thing as they were too drunk by this time to remember why they were after that darn cat, but after it they were.

So as the two of them raced, or more accurately, stumbled through the Colonels farm for most of the night they both managed to grab ahold of the cat at the same time. A wrestling match ensued. And as Aubrey was about to wrest the cat free from Clem, Clem yelled at the top of his lungs the Colonel was coming, startling Aubrey who stumbled backwards and fell over in a puff of feathers. And in this chaos Clem dropped Biscuit and ran off.

Now here's where it gets interesting. The Colonel, Sanders was his name, arrived shotgun in hand and pointed at Aubrey who had by this point staggered back to his feet. Through the yells of the Colonel, and through his own shine induced haze, Aubrey realized two things. One, the cloud of feathers was caused by his crushing of the Colonels prized rooster. And two, unless he came up with a compelling story as to what happened to said rooster, he was going to end up meeting a similar fate, albeit at the end of Col. Sanders shotgun. It was at this point he yelled out WAR EAGLE...which caused the Colonel to yell out the same in shock.

So in this field, covered in feathers, Aubrey Burns concocted a wild tale of "a War Eagle attacking the Colonels chickens, which he interrupted before it killed them all....so you see, um, he sorta saved all of the other chickens, and really, um should be thanked, by maybe getting something to eat.....or even better, to drink." Because let's face it, drunk southern boys tired from doing stupid dares get hungry. Though this fanciful tale had more holes in it than a sieve, the Colonel chose to believe him. Maybe it was because he himself had partaken of the shine, or maybe it was because he admired Aubrey Burns moxie. Either way, he took that chicken, fried it up and they had a celebration of the heroic gallantry showed that day. And through drinks of shine and ever increasing shouts of War Eagle, two legends were born. One, was of a heroic deed marked by the clarion call of War Eagle. Something which Aubrey Burns eventually passed down to the vocational school that still carries his name. The second was when Colonel Sanders started to exaggerate his prolific use of seasoning. And when he eventually moved to Kentucky, he would tell people that the salt and pepper he used that day was really 57 herbs and spices in his "secret recipe."

So whenever you buy a bucket of chicken, drink some spirits, or see a fellow Auburn alum....feel free to add your own voice to the call of War Eagle.

Next Up Part 4: Where We Take a Bus Ride and Eddie Shows Me His Tiny Buns.