Planes, Trains And Automobiles: Part 2 (I Did It! I Wrote A Part 2!)

Maine Picture

It’s difficult to complain after you’ve spent a few days looking at this view, but I’ve never been one to let difficulty get in my way. Wait. I take that back. I do let it get it in my way. A lot, actually. I guess complaining is where I make an exception.

Anywho, I’ve just spent about 60 hours on planes, trains and automobiles. My neck is killing me. I feel like Spock has been trying to subdue me for 5 days.

The other day I had a moment where it didn’t hurt and thought it was getting better. I assumed I could resume my normal head-swiveling activities, but noooo. I made the mistake of looking to the left. I don’t know what I was thinking. At some point I’ll have to accept I’m not in my twenties anymore and can’t go turning my head without stretching first.

I do all the right things, too. I eat, drink liquid, use my arms/legs and breathe oxygen when I’m not smoking (still breathing oxygen between puffs). I even sleep. That’s very important. Ask any doctor. I don’t get it.

So let me tell you about Maine. It is very beautiful. There are many friendly people there. And there are many unfriendly people there. Let me give you an example:

I was backing out of a parking spot when I noticed a kindly elderly woman with a suitcase about to walk behind my car. Rather than run over her, I stopped and waved her by.

A few seconds later she was tapping on my window. I lowered it and rather than mace her, I said, “Hi.”

She said, “I thought you might be from Georgia when you let me pass. I saw your tag. I’m also from there. Anyway, just thought I’d say ‘thanks’!”

There you have it. An appreciative word from a visiting elderly woman for not running her over. It was the nicest thing anyone said to me the whole time I was there.

I also had to learn the various pronunciations of the towns so I wasn’t identified as someone not from Maine. And a lot of those pronunciations are seemingly different from the letters they’ve laid out before you. It’s a trap.

Again, I would like to say there are many friendly people there. I don’t want to give the impression that everyone who lives there is a jerk. Especially if you’re from there. You’re one of the good ones. I can feel it.

Fortunately for me, I have a beautiful place to go where the people are friendly. So friendly, in fact, they’ve now been awarded AANR’s Koch Award (for outstanding friendliness) 7 times, including 2016. I’ve not met one person there who would run someone over on purpose. I’m talking about, of course, Serendipity Park.

If you’re looking for something to do this Labor Day weekend, you just found it. The blowout of the summer is happening and you won’t want to miss it.

(Happy Birthday, Stuart!)

 

 

 

 

Planes, Trains And Automobiles Are Stupid And I’m Done With Them: Part 1 (Probably. Maybe Last Part. I Don’t Know.)

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted, but I’ve been on the road for what seems like 17 years. I’m not a big traveler. I would say I’m more a mid-sized traveler.

Actual conversation while waiting to get off plane:

Me: I hate people that don’t know how a line works.

Guy in front of me: Oh man I’m sorry! Go ahead!

Me: Oh no I wasn’t talking to you!

Which is true. I was talking about him. To everyone. He just heard me. Oops.

And then there was the ticket agent who was telling me I wouldn’t get the seat I requested because I didn’t check in online 24 hours before. You should have heard some of the things I said about her to other people while she was in earshot. I was telling everyone about all the jerks while the jerks were listening. This way when I’m confronted by one of them I can say, “I wasn’t talking to you.” And it’s true.

I developed this system as a kid while trying to avoid getting punched in the face again. They say it’s called passive-aggressive. I call it deeeelicious. I can have my cake and eat it too. Watch this. Shut up! (Not you.)

The other thing nobody realizes at that damn airport is that I’m not where I want to be. And you’d think everyone would be a little more sensitive to that fact, but noooooooooooo. They have places they’d rather be. Then it becomes this battle of wills, as many refuse to recognize my plans are more important than theirs. It’s very frustrating.

I have to go again in a few days, which means more lines, more removing shoes in less than ideal situations, more uncomfortable seating and more socially awkward moments I’ll undoubtedly manufacture. I also have this thing where I can’t hide my feelings. They’ll just pop out of my face in clouds of sarcasm.

It happened a lot more during my childhood. I learned early on that people will hit you, perhaps in a momentary lapse of confusion when suddenly enveloped by a mockery cloud. An instinctive reaction, like swatting at a bee or something. They can’t help it. They just start swinging wildly. This is why I always carry a tennis racket in my pocket. Remember that.

When I’m not in a plane or in a car, I’m working. Or playing a video game, but that’s late at night when time doesn’t matter. I might be a mid-size traveler, but I am definitely a large child. And the adult and child in me fight all the time.

For example, I go to bed early last night so I can get a good night’s sleep, wake up early and do the long list of things I haven’t done and need to do before I go. (Adult win!)

I get up at 6:30. My plan is working perfectly. (Adult still in charge.)

By 6:40, I’ve got my coffee. I sit down, start flipping to find something on tv other than the vacuum cleaner infomercial I’d been listening to and dreaming about for the previous 2 hours, then what do I find? Rocky marathon.

Can you believe the luck? What am I going to do now? I can’t get a break. They’re showing at least 1-5. I don’t know if they’ll play 6, but I really have to get moving at some point and it depresses me, anyway. Spoiler alert: Rocky owns a restaurant and gets beat up again, loses, but not as bad as you’d expect. Seriously? That’s what I waited 30 years for? I’m just going to pretend we stopped at 5 when he beat up Tommy Gunn in a Philly street before punching a shady promoter. (Can’t wait! Woo hoo!) (Damn. Here we go again.)

You see my dilemma, though this internal struggle is mine alone. The adult in me is larger, yet the child is super scrappy and in better shape. It’s going to be a long day. You can’t help me with this. Just wish me luck.

As far as you, the clock is ticking to go have one of the most enjoyable times you’ll ever have. Labor Day is now only a couple weeks away and there’s still time for a visit or two before the huge blowout at The Dip. It’s not too late, and more than likely, you don’t have to get on a plane to do it. Which is awesome, because I really don’t need more people at the airport right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Futbol. Sorry.

So I’m staying at some friends’ house and we’ve been watching the voting results of the referendum for the UK to leave the European Union. Now to be clear, this is not what I would normally be doing. What I watch looks nothing like this.

I’m seeing a lot of talking, words scrolling across the screen like, “Clackmananshire votes to leave,” bar graphs with colorful… bars, people with weird hair… I don’t know what the hell is going on.

What I do know is the votes are in and the UK is out. I also understand there are a lot of worldwide implications to this. I could explain them to you, but I couldn’t explain them to you. And people have already tried to explain it to me, however, I do this thing where I tune out everything but pure entertainment. I’ll give you an example:

Friend:  I wonder how France is going to respond to this.

Me: Are they in the Europe?

Friend: Uhhh… yeah.

Me:  Oui, oui. Go France. How do you think they’ll respond?

Friend: Well I’m saying a bunch of things right now you’re obviously not interested in and won’t remember, so when you recall this conversation, you’ll forget what I said and have to make something up.

Me:  Hmmmm… that is an interesting take. Doesn’t the EU have a soccer tournament coming up?

Friend: Seriously?

Me: Sorry. Futbol. I can’t stop calling it soccer. My bad.

Friend: No. It has nothing to do with that. It’s basically snoooooooze, bla bla bla, words coming out of my mouth you’re not listening to, etc. What’s of most concern is that the British pound has dropped sharply.

Me: Wait… was the vote to change gravity there?

Friend: No, their pound is like our dollar. It’s currency.

Me: Oh. Glad I don’t live there. I don’t think I could carry more than twenty of those. Shopping must be a bitch in the UK. Are you sure this has nothing to do with soccer? I feel like it does. Europists love soccer. Crap. Futbol. Sorry. Want to play a video game? Loser has to carry all our pounds if we ever go to England.

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I find instilling hopelessness in my presumptive teachers helps me keep information I don’t want out of my head. I knew France was in Europe (pretty sure, anyway). I knew pounds were British money. Still think they’re too heavy but whatever. That’s probably why they’re worth more than a dollar.

One of the reasons I don’t pay any attention to world news or national news or local news or anything with “news” attached is because it’s nothing like playing a game or watching Seinfeld. In no way is news like Frisbee. I’ve compared them and Frisbee is way better. The news would never say, “Frisbee is better than we are.” Even though it’s true and they know it. I no longer trust them.

Naked water volleyball? Better than news. Relaxing in a hot tub vs. news? Hot tub, thank you. Reading a book in the sun, then hopping in the pool for a skinny dip? Kicks. News. Ass. Hiking down a scenic path to a beautiful creek and having a picnic? I think you get the point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feels Like

The other day, the “feels like” was 111. The temperature was only a brisk 97, but when I heard the feels like was 111, I took my sweater off before I left the house.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m still in Florida. It’s like being wrapped in a wet towel and thrown in a pizza oven. My face got sunburned walking 100 feet from my car to the door. And I’m no dainty-skinned pasty. (I’m sorry if that offended the fairer-skinned. I have a lot of Native American blood, which technically means I was here first. You are a visitor in my land and this is how we do things here. Suck it up.)

Anywho, 111. That’s two degrees more than 109 (for our math friends). I want to go outside and do things like breathe and walk to my car. I want to be able to have the strength to open doors from the outside, take the trash out, look at things outside. I just want to know I can swing open my front door and say, “I’m probably not going to die in my front yard today.”

I’ve even installed another a/c. You know why? I just told you. The first rule of blog club is there is no blog club. And in this case, it happens to be true. Plus it’s rude not to pay attention to your host. You’re my guest in this country. Remember that.

The other half of my lineage is not from here, which technically means I am my own host and my own guest. This is why I always treat myself with respect and shower myself in cookies and gifts.

By the way, weather people, stop telling me the temperature. Give me the relevant one. I don’t need you to boggle my mind with two numbers, 14 degrees apart or something. 3 numbers! Just tell me the “feels like” and I’ll figure out what to wear. Deal? Don’t make me deport you. Oh and dew point! 4 numbers! That’s it. You’re gone.

I could also wear nothing, but I’m pretty sure I’d get sunburn on my bones or attract alligators when I’m cooking myself. I bet baking people smells good to things that eat people.

That’s another thing. I just saw a news story about an alligator that had a man in its mouth. Then they couldn’t find it. I don’t know if you know this, but being in an alligator’s mouth is one of the worst places you can be.

Sadly, I can throw a rock and hit ten of them from my porch. I see them all the time. And now they’re breaking the deal. I am out of here, suckers. I warn you, I know some mixed martial arts and I doubt you train in that stuff at all. If done correctly, it’s indefensible. (I don’t know it, but shhhhhhh, alligators can’t see between parentheses. I read it in a book I wrote about alligators.)

You know where there are no alligators? Serendipity Park. It also doesn’t feel like a tanning bed in a convection oven built from an armpit. The nice thing about the mountains in Georgia is they’re not anywhere near Florida. While the “temperature” is sometimes the same, the “feels like” is not “cooking lasagna.” As soon as I can carry stuff to my car without collapsing I’m on my way.

From what I understand, the Memorial Day weekend at The Dip was a good time had by all, and that’s just the beginning. I urge you not to wait. One of the biggest regrets I’ve seen from new people coming to the park is always when they come late in the season, wishing they had visited at its beginning. The next year, you’ll start seeing those people in April. Every time.

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day!!

By now the fun is already beginning. The eve of Memorial Day weekend just happens to coordinate with the huge summer kick-off at the park.

I would have written about it earlier (even be there now), but the last couple of weeks have been like someone crapped on a pile of crap, crapped on it some more, then crapped on it, then gathered it up with salad tongs and chased me around with it while singing songs I hate.

But enough about me.

I say this a lot, but it’s only because I mean it a lot. This weekend will be awesome. And there’s no better way to begin the summer than by running around naked. Some people run around naked and drink beer, which is probably even more fun.

For me, I’m not really a beer drinker. I like my alcohol to be disguised with obscene amounts of sugar. I’ll even drink wine coolers, and those are for ladies. But that’s ok. I’ve often stated the security I have in masculinity, yet I also have equal security in my femininity. It takes some serious security in your masculinity to be secure in your femininity.

Here’s a great example: At some point I switched to body wash for the important task of washing my body. This used to be a job any soap would be qualified for. The only expectation I had for cleaning my skin is that I was doing it with something that foamed when combined with water. Alka Seltzer would have been fine.

When I did finally make the switch, any body wash fit the bill. It just had to say “body wash.” It could be handwritten on a bottle I found in the street. That’ll do, pig.

Now I find myself with some kind of exfoliating, herbal, flowery body wash that even says “beautiful” right on the bottle. And now I smell like an old lady when I get out of the shower. And I love it.

So there you have it. I smell beautiful now, and I’m okay with it. In my book, a man is more of a man if he can walk around smelling like a flower and still feel like a man, which I’ll admit is hard, but beauty takes work. Don’t forget that. Did I mention I’m watching fighting on TV right now? Just so you know.

You’re probably saying to yourself right now, “Man a shower sounds good.” That’s what I’m thinking. I just assumed we were thinking the same thing because we’re so much alike. Which means you almost must be thinking, “I wish I was at the Dip having the best time ever but I can’t get away from that guy with crap-filled salad tongs and now ‘Tip-toe through the tulips’ is stuck  in my head and it’s going to drive me insane.” I know. It will go away in a day or two. Just hang in there.

The other way to deal with it is a wonderful distraction. Playing games in or out of the sun, lounging by the pool with a good book or a book that’s really not good but you heard good things about it and now you’re disappointed but you can alleviate your disappointment because there are a bunch of other things to do, like water volleyball, kan-jam, hiking, great conversation with like-minded people… A virtual plethora of fun or relaxing options to fill a long weekend, all guaranteed to remove annoying songs from your head and replace them with memories of one awesome time. Not to mention get some much-needed relaxation for the exhaustion you now must be feeling reading the longest, most poorly constructed sentences ever.

 

 

 

Mercury Is Broken

So I was talking to my sister yesterday and she was telling me Mercury is in retrograde. I think that’s bs. Mercury should be getting an upgrade by now. That thing is at least a thousand years old. Whatever. I’ll fix it when I run space.

Apparently, the significance of this (other than incompetent space maintenance),  is that everyone gets agitated more easily or annoyed at others for something that normally wouldn’t be annoying.

Then I said to myself, “Hey, you have been getting annoyed a lot more lately.”

Then I said to myself, “Shut up! Why don’t you make yourself useful and go get me some cookies?”

It degraded from there.

After another hour of it, I went to get cookies and thought about it. I mean, after all that arguing, I still just did what I was going to do anyway. It was like even though I wanted to do it and was going to, I didn’t because I told myself to do it. Just to be defiant. Am I the problem? I don’t know. My point is this retrograde thing is kicking my butt.

Maybe Mercury was fine. Probably went in for its first scheduled thousand year maintenance, got the upgrade, made everyone a jerk and now they’re fixing it.

Perhaps I’ve jumped to conclusions on the state of our SMD (Space Maintenance Department). We’ll see. I’ll wait until they finish the retrograde before I make my final judgment, which will be swift and just.

If you’ve been feeling a little more agitated, less like your patient, loving, perfect self that is right all the time while all others around you are wrong and make you mad because of the wrongness of everything they say or do, it’s not your fault. Some tech guy screwed up. It will be fine.

My sister says it’s supposed to last through May, which means we’ll all just have to hang on and not kick each other. That could require some effort. Consider it practice for when Jupiter starts acting up.

I think the best prescription is go to a place where relaxation is effortless. A place where you can’t help but relax. A place where the night sky is so clear you can watch our boys work on Mercury, if nothing for your own peace of mind that it will soon be better.

I happen to know of such a place…

 

It’s Just Science

Studies show that 100% of people are naked when not wearing any type of clothing. It’s true.

My studies reveal all sorts of interesting information, such as 100% of people run on oxygen.

Other interesting revelations are I like blacksmithing shows, gray beard hair grows twice as fast as my normal, flowing, brown beard hair, and I don’t like beans. Of any kind. Maybe refried beans sometimes, but you have to fry beans more than once to get them past these lips.

“Have those beans only been fried once? Ok, listen. I’m going to need you to put some more bacon fat in those before I eat them.”

I’ll admit my studies are lazy and aren’t widely recognized, but unlike many studies, mine reveal facts. And aren’t really debatable. Take that, other studies. My studies are bitchin’ and I get them done with one person. In minutes. I just did those. Just now.

I mean, the gray hair thing took a little time and yeah I had to try all the beans and yeah other people cooked them for me because I would never do it myself or ask for them but I still didn’t need to talk to 1,000 people about it or poke one person with a needle. I don’t have that kind of time. It’s called “efficiency.” Whatever.

Now that I’ve proven, without a doubt, that I am the best scientist in the world, another of my studies reveals that the Dip is one of the most relaxing places in the world. And though I haven’t been all over the world, I’ve met a lot of people who have. And more than once I’ve heard it’s their favorite place in the world. That’s something that’s not said about a kajillion other places. A trajillion.

I hear the weather is getting absolutely perfect right now. I wouldn’t know, I’m in FL cooking all my stuff. And I’m soooo jealous, but not for long.

I read the newsletter (which I always do and you should get if you don’t because it’s always informative and entertaining because I don’t do it, so subscribe) and there’s a ton of great events scheduled.

As much as I’d like to talk to you all day, unfortunately, I have some science to get to. Today we find out which type of screws I don’t have that I need for a project I won’t do, go buy them, throw the bag into a blackhole somewhere and when I finally do decide to tackle said project, not find them,  go buy more screws, toss them in the hole, postpone project, lose screws, buy more, etc.

I find the only way to get a real grasp on the scientific process is through diligently repeating the same test to ensure you’re getting the same result. Anything else would be sloppy. I take behavioral science seriously. Watch. I bet I’ll forget the whole screw thing altogether and watch television because it’s too hot.

I was right. Again. My methods are unconventional, but you can’t deny the accuracy of my hypotheses. More like hypothefact.

So when I say you’ll have an excellent time when you visit the Dip, that’s a hypothefact. And what you’ve just witnessed doesn’t convince you I’m channeling Einstein, then how do you explain his hair trying to take over my face? Ehhh?  Classic channeling. Textbook.