Flo Rida Oranges

I’ve officially decided that if you take photos with an iPad, people will look at you long enough to get the perfect photo because (a) they are wondering what the big covered rectangle object is that you are holding in front of your face and (b) once they figure out what it is you are holding, they cannot for the life of them find the camera hole.

Now, the unfortunate part of taking photos with the iPad is that they are good for one thing only: Twitter. Perhaps Apple significantly improved the photo quality in the third generation, but for the cave people like myself still using iPad2 there is no reason to post those photos on my pristine blog.

(Thus ends my engaging story for a lead. Cue photos.)

Obie the Orange Bowl Mascot. All photos by Clara Ritger.
Obie the Orange Bowl Mascot. All photos by Clara Ritger.

This guy (maybe girl) made my day. While I was running around back in the wings of the stadium, I happened across Obie and his escorts. Whipping out my camera, Obie stopped and posed for me. It turned into a great photo too.

Discover sponsored a free Flo Rida concert on South Beach the night before the game too. I headed down to catch it and discovered I could get clutch seats by waving my press badge around. Though we could only stay inside for the first three songs, it was worth the photo op and bragging rights. Plus, now I can smugly tell people that the girl on stage next to him lip-synched the whole time, and his live vocals were often overpowered by his own recorded voice. Not that I’m complaining about either, because when they did go completely bare, no background music, I was begging for auto tune.

Press cage, Discover concert series. Sunday, January 6.
Press cage, Discover concert series. Sunday, January 6.
Flo Rida, live in concert.
Flo Rida, live in concert.

Also in attendance at the concert were some of the big college football award winners. To the dismay of some of the Notre Dame fans around me, Johnny Manziel appeared on stage at the call of the announcer. I heard many students start a “Manti” chant, embittered by his loss to Mr. Football in the Heisman race. The deafening, supportive chants from Irish fans continued throughout the weekend. It took little prompting to get them started, but once they did, it became hard to get them to stop. I’d hear “Manti” a few more times that weekend.

Flo Rida in between songs. Or forgetting to lipsynch, take your pick.
Flo Rida in between songs. Or forgetting to lip-synch, take your pick.

I think I’m going to grant beach photos their own post, just because it’s winter and I’m feeling indulgent. Signing off with a shot of one South Beach club, which was hopping like the rest of them that weekend.

Ocean's Ten on South Beach. Almost as popular as The Clevelander for Notre Dame fans.
Ocean’s Ten on South Beach. Almost as popular as The Clevelander for Notre Dame fans.

Waiting two hours for your food became a fact of life. Though I could write that off, I was not so pleasant about the traffic. I went so far as to Google it, to be sure that I could blame it on Miami and not just the Notre Dame fan invasion. Though I will grant Miami reprieve for the numerous accidents I saw on my way to events – clearly that was a result of out of town drivers – overall I’d like to say “you have a serious problem” in regard to their traffic. I was a 25 minute drive from South Beach, and it took 2 hours. So, be warned if vacationing, probably best to stay near where you’re going to spend your time.

Come Sail Away

Carnival Cruise Ship, South Beach, Miami. Photo by Nicole Sganga.
Carnival Cruise Ship, South Beach, Miami. Photo by Nicole Sganga.

Driving from the hotel in Doral, Florida, to South Beach – where most of the Notre Dame activity was concentrated – we saw cruise ships in the water off the bridge. It occurred to me that though I knew cruise lines left from the Ft. Lauderdale area for many excursions, I had no clue where they originated.

“I have a terrible understanding of measurement,” I told Nicole. “But you’d think the number would have a ‘billion’ after it, right?”

Of course neither of us knew, but I still wondered: Where are they built? How big are they? How much do they cost? So I looked into it.

Cruise ships are built indoors on a dry dock, which then are flooded so that the ship can float out to sea. Here’s a great YouTube clip, time lapsing the building process. (You really need to only watch the first half of it to get the idea.)

Weighing upwards of 70,000 tons, it’s a wonder cruise ships can float. According to HowStuffWorks, engineers displace the weight of the ship across the body, making it very wide so that it is distributed in small amounts. Then by magic (read:science) the force of the water is equal to the weight of the water the object displaces, allowing it to float.

Now for the real question: how much do these beasts cost to make?

Carnival maintains a forum for cruise-goers, where one posted a $750 million build price. Wiki Answers lists prices ranging from $350 – $828 million. I was wrong. No billions being dropped here, unless you’re The Oasis of the Seas, in which case you cost $1.24 billion.

Geekologie, courtesy Royal Caribbean International, posted this snapshot of The Oasis of the Seas when it was being built.in 2008.

But don’t hate too much on the cost of the ship. After all, they built the Titanic for seven and a half million dollars, so what else would you expect from such a cheap buy?