Tagged: vacation

The Sunset Beach Diaries, 2013, Pt 2

Well, we made it back. Sigh. I have to take a few deep breaths. Seriously. A week on the beach is hard work. Another deep breath. I’m going to convince you that it’s hard work, and then you’ll see why I’m taking so many deep breaths. Breathe. And then maybe you’ll also see why I am so happy to be home, while at the same time looking forward to going again next year. Deep breath. It’s very hard work. And I didn’t even take my laptop this year!

Historically, I have traveled with only the bare necessities when it comes to technology and electronics. For instance, my laptop backpack would have in it only the things I needed for the week: computer, netbook, tablet, SD card case with several spare SD cards, an SD card reader (or two), two of every kind of cable I might possibly need, spare styli, a couple of blank CDs, a USB light, screen wipes, my 3G hotspot and every possible dongle, cable and connection I might ever need or want to plug into my computer while I’m there. Seriously, what happens if I take a bunch of pictures on my D-SLR and didn’t bring a card reader to transfer them to the computer, and I lose the camera? Well, simply put, I lose the pictures.

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The Sunset Beach Diaries, 2013 Edition

We got up at 3:45 yesterday morning. That’s not the impressive part though. We had gone to bed at close to midnight the night before, and then lay mostly awake through those very few hours trying to sleep through the sound of the dog clock in the neighbor’s yard. This dog literally barked once per second for over an hour. A true canus tempus. I wanted to kill him in the face. But we were energized by vacationalistic excitement, and thus were able to get up with no problems. Then I set about to making Bloody Marys for all of the day’s travelers. Well, except for the kids, of course. Duh. They drink whiskey sours.

By 5:15 we were on the shuttle (all seven of us) heading for the airport. At the end of the three-hour flight, the stewardess announced congratulations for Bret and Danae who are getting married on the beach. I know. Copycats, right? They’re even getting married on the same slice of beach as we did nearly four years ago. Major rolleyes. But then the flight attendant had us do the wave. Very nice.

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The Year of Travel

When I was a child, my greatest fear was falling. I would dream about falling from a building, or a tight-wire stretched between buildings. I don’t know why I should have these dreams. I would never consider actually walking a tight-wire, but there you are. Now that I’ve grown up, my greatest fear has evolved. It’s no longer a selfish fear – a fear for myself. It’s now a fear for the safety of my children. I guess that’s every good parent’s greatest fear though. It makes me shaky and sick to think of something happening to them. I am, therefore, necessarily opposed to taking my children to New York.

It’s not that I think it’s that much more dangerous than anywhere else. Right now I live in one of the top five safest cities in the United States. So yeah, I feel pretty comfortable where I am. But it’s just that I don’t feel like I have control of anything when I’m in New York. Number one, I don’t drive a car, and probably never would in Manhattan. It seems to me to be a place where you live close to work and either walk or take public transit to get there. There aren’t a lot of parks and playgrounds for the kids. At least not where I was. It just doesn’t seem like a very kid-friendly environment. I guess maybe Queens or The Bronx would be better than Manhattan.

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The Panama Chronicles: Part 5

Part Five: Dancing in the Streets

When you think of vacation spots, you probably don’t very frequently list Panama City as one of your choices. It seems – to me, at least – to be one of those spots like the Roman Coliseum. It’s beautiful, and you’d love to see it, but you’re not going to lie out and catch some rays on the theater floor. These seem more like educational spots. Culturally rich locations where you go with a history team, or a college class for a field trip. And certainly if you’re staying at Playa Bonita on Diesel Beach, it’s not a great place to catch some sun. The pools are fine for it. Amy (“I’m not getting any sun! I need to wash this crap off my back!”) burned like an unconscious lobster left on a grill. While the fire was lit. On high. And people threw cigarette butts at it. While laughing. Even my red-haired wife caught a little too much sun, and when her skin started peeling it really made a picture of her new Embera Ink tattoos.

But a large part of me is glad we didn’t get to choose the vacation spot for our getaway. Panama is literally the last place on the planet I would have chosen. Ireland? Turkey? Germany? Canada? Kansas? These are all places that sound reasonably like good tourist spots for a nice week away from work. But the company chose for us. As they do every year on their Presidents’ Club vacation. And this unlikely spot made for a fantastic, and life-changing experience I won’t soon forget. Yes, even I – with my terrible memory – am not likely to forget this one.

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The Panama Chronicles: Part 4

Part Four: The Tribal Village of the Embera

We’ve come a long way with technology. This to me is science. I like to stay at the forefront – the leading edge, and all the other buzzwords you can think of that have to do with technology. I sometimes buy devices and gadgets with the full intention of returning them within the fourteen-day window just so I can become familiar with them, learn all about them, and be able to speak intelligibly of them. I would never personally own a Windows phone, but I was quick to hop on my mother’s for an hour or two when she got it, just to check out what they’re all about. I have more gadgets and technology in my house than a Best Buy distribution warehouse. Well, one that’s very small and only has like five laptops and three tablets in it.

I never dreamed I could part with my tech so easily. And maybe I can’t. I brought my tablet and my D/SLR camera with me on this trip to Panama. And my cell phone. And my wife’s laptop, her cell phone, a pocket camera, a 3G wireless hotspot, a GRUB analyzer, a Trip Socket spectrometer, and a bag full of cords, cables, chargers and SD cards. I came fully prepared. Our phones, however, remained off the entire trip. It was nice to be disconnected. Sort of. Not sort of nice. Sort of disconnected. Of course we still fired up Lync and Google Talk to video chat with the kids in the evenings, and I checked my email on my tablet and sent my drawings to my game mates on Draw Something. But we were more off-the-grid than usual. Especially when we went to see the Indians.

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The Panama Chronicles: Part 2

Part Two: Back in the Jungle

This was my second trip to Panama but it was so markedly different from the first in every aspect that I’m beginning to replace negative feelings and emotions about it with positive ones. Where my first trip was dark and unkind, frightening and unforgiving, this one was healing and rewarding. This was my opportunity to change some of my thoughts and feelings on a second-world country and turn an exotic vacation into a therapeutic session and personal growth. Being granted the opportunity to see the jungle again from a cable car, and the safety of a boat, I’ve been able to calm the sense of dread and anxiety that seems to boil up in my gut when I think of the darkness that dwells in that little strip between the Americas.

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The Panama Chronicles: Part 1

Part One: Man Versus Murphy

As our tour guide for the Panama Canal said, “Murphy isn’t just a part of our daily lives here in Panama, but he was also born here.” He spoke of Edward Murphy, the Panamanian native who coined the phrase we all know today as Murphy’s Law. Well, we met Mr. Murphy before we even got to the airport.

State Highway 121, which is perpetually in a state of construction, almost caused us to miss our flight. They had blocked the exit to the airport. I don’t know who ‘they’ is, but I’d sure like to have a little chat with them. Yes, they blocked the exit. How can they do that when there are literally thousands of people every day who depend on that exit to get to the airport? Well, you’ll have to ask ‘them’.

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Four Wake-ups ‘Til Florida

It’s finally here, friends: that time of year when we leave for the Big Penis. That’s right, the continental fallus we like to call “Florida”. My red-haired wife and I have gone every year for the last three years. This will make our fourth trip together. And the only difference between this trip and the previous three years is that we aren’t taking the kids. I figure they’re old enough to stay at home and take care of themselves.

My buddy Christian is in town from Omaha, and has been staying with us since Saturday. So he’s gonna hang in the house until we get back. Works out perfectly. You see, I like having someone stay in my house so I won’t feel bad about leaving the fridge plugged in and the air conditioner running.

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Bacon Talk: Tree Houses

Good morning, friends, family and – well, good morning to you too, enemies. Welcome to a special edition of Bacon Talk. That’s right, folks, tomorrow is International Bacon Day! But aside from being knee-deep in all that hoopla, I really just have one word to say right now. TREE HOUSES. HELL YES, TREE HOUSES! Sorry. I got a little carried away there. Almost choked on my bacon. See, you know that nostalgic feeling you get in your tummy sometimes when you think of something cool, like opening a pack of Topps baseball cards back in 1984 and pulling out the stick of gum, popping it in your mouth, and then sorting through them to see who you got? Hoping it was a Jim Sundberg or a Bobby Valentine? Yeah. I get that same feeling every time I think of tree houses. Because son of a bitch!
I get so excited thinking about tree houses that it makes me just want to quit my job, go plant some bad ass oaks in my yard, and start construction on one tomorrow. I’m talking like a three-level freakin’ mansion in the trees here, friends. Every time I Google Image search for tree houses, I start squirming in my seat getting excited. I love me some tree houses!
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Bacon Talk: Toilets

A great thing about having a huge group of writers on staff is that Space always has hundreds of articles to choose from daily. I’m just so darn talented, so that’s why he picks at least one of my pieces every week. Okay, seriously though, I almost didn’t get that all typed before I started laughing. Space and I are the two main writers and sometimes we get “blocked” or just plain busy and need to come up with anything at all to fill a day. We don’t want our faithful readers sitting in a corner, rocking back and forth, saying, “I need my SpaceBrew, I need my SpaceBrew, I need my SpaceBrew…” So today Space and I have collaborated to write this amazing article- one worthy of a Pulitzer! It’s about toilets. Why not? We can only post so many stories about bacon, any more and Space said he is going to rename the site SpaceBacon. So here we go…
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The Sunset Beach Diaries, 2010

We made it back. It took twenty-four straight hours on the road, but we did indeed make it back. Man, that’s a lot of driving. We never stop into hotels or anything, what with having several drivers to switch out, we can just catch up on sleep a couple at a time while the others are pulling shifts. We even let the kids drive for a while when we all got too tired to carry on. The closest we came to actual stopping down was this morning around 04:30, we pulled into a rest stop and just leaned the seats back for a few hours. Tampa Bay to North Dallas is just under 1200 miles though. And like I say every year, next year we’re flying.

We had a great time. We got rained out the first few days, so a lot of our time was spent up on the deck at mom and dad’s, or at Ka’Tiki Bar, where you’re basically outside, just covered with palm fronds. It’s nice, the Ones are Cold and there’s always live music. Not all of it is great, but it’s all at least tolerable. Not like the guy who plays the keytar at Caddy’s.

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Another Week at Sunset Beach

Welcome back, everyone, from what was hopefully a glorious and wonderful Independence Day weekend. I, for one, can tell you that I was on the road for most of the weekend. That’s right, folks, I am NOT writing this live as of Monday morning. I’m writing it on Tuesday morning of last week, the day you all knew as June 29. I know, it seems crazy, but all writing is sort of like time traveling for the reader anyway. You read something that happened in your past, but was the writer’s present tense. It is a very powerful tool.

But yes, I am now (I hope, and by all means should be) in sunny Treasure Island, Florida for our Third Annual Watch Fireworks and Drink Beer On the Beach All Day While Women Bounce Around In Skimpy Bikinis Festival. The festival lasts about a week, and typically happens right around Independence Day weekend. Last year I attended and ended up married to a redhead. So some crazy stuff is known to happen during these soirees.

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Ending the Week Right

Weeks to me are like grass. I insult (or cut down) my grass once a week. But it keeps springing right back up. So too are my weeks. I keep ending them and nailing down the lid with drinking massive amounts of alcohol, but new ones just keep popping back up and sending me back to work. And this was a short week, since I took off Monday. And last Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Well, in fact, that long vacation made this short week feel like an eternity. How am I supposed to be expected to want to be at work?

Anyway, I thought I’d write a quick note about the kick ass phone call I got as soon as I arrived in Florida last week. A publisher called me and said they were publishing a short story of mine, and said furthermore that they were very, very, very, very interested in my second novel. Yes, he did say the word ‘very’ four distinct times. Which excited me quite a bit. So you are looking at the next published author! Well, maybe not the next one. Someone might get published in the next couple of days. But definitely one of the next ones. Pretty cool, huh? I know, it took long enough.

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The Sunset Beach Diaries, 2008

Lonely UmbrellaRemember how I told you I was going to The Boot? Well actually it’s more like A Used Condom, but whatever. The point is, I went. I snorkled on the beach (actually in the water near the beach), I sat under umbrellas and watched the ocean, I drank cold beers and I looked at women. Did you know you can get Corona in a can? I thought that was pretty awesome. I got some pretty good shots while I was out there. Click on that picture and you can see the set. I put nine photos up in the set.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about my return flight. Because no one cares about what happened on my vacation. Nothing exciting. I got in several fights on the beach, beat up an entire team of muscle-bound volleyballers because they pissed me off, got bit by a shark and ended up dislocating his jaw for him, got so tan that I got discriminated against at Ricky’s All-White Bar and Lounge… Like I said, nothing interesting.

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Heading for The Boot

Tomorrow I’m flying out for the sunny Sunshine State. I’ll be leaving at around nine in the morning, which, of course, means I need to arrive at the airport tonight around six o’clock. The Boot!Florida is the Sunshine State, right? It could be Montana – I can’t remember. I also can’t remember if anyone actually calls it ‘the boot’… I guess these details aren’t really important. Irregardless, I’m heading for sunny Tampa Bay tomorrow morning, and let me tell you how excited I am!

I am excited.

So I’m leaving tomorrow morning and getting back some time on the 7th. Trust me when I say that when I get back I’ll be darker than a Mexican hiding in a closet. Not like gay like someone would come out of a closet, but just rather to illustrate that it’s dark in there. You know what I mean. Anyway, yeah I plan to lie on the beaches sipping my ties and watching hula girls um… You know, I really don’t know what happens on the beach, but I will be there. Maybe not with my ties and stuff, but maybe a Corona? There’s another Mexican reference for you. But actually, you know what? I won’t really even be on the beach. Because I’ll be SCUBA diving. To you lay folk out there, that means I will be self-contained underwater breathing apparatus diving. I will be under water.

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