Friday, May 28, 2010

Revisit our trip to Mt. Rushmore...

It's fixed.  I reloaded it through Facebook.  Even if you don't have a Facebook account you should be able to watch it directly through the bottom of the page.  If you can't view it, let me know and I'll go back through YouTube.

I was finally able to edit the video for my and Jeannie's road trip to Mt. Rushmore.

What can you expect from the video?

  1. Jeannie getting scared by a bridge.  
  2. Jeannie getting scared by a very cute dog.  
  3. Jeff giving a tour in the rain.  
  4. Jeannie cheering...a lot.
  5. Lots of sunsets and scenery.
  6. Jeannie complaining about Ronald Reagan's home.
  7. Jeff slipping in a jab at Charna.
  8. Prairie.
  9. Snow and American monuments.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lavender, Wine, Lahaina and Lost...

Yesterday, the cast all went to the Lavender Farm in Maui.  Jen and Larrance, the lovely owners of ImprovAcadia, told us about it and we were very curious about it.

Our trip actually began though, at Krispy Kreme.

It's not very often that we have a rental car, so we decided to take advantage of that and go to the only Krispy Kreme on the islands.  (By the way, we were tipped off to a special discount car rental place that cut the cost of our car rental by 60%.  If you're coming to Hawaii, e-mail me and I'll e-mail it to you!)

The Lavender Farm was really very nice and charming.

And, yes, it did smell like lavender everywhere.  So, in essence, the whole place smelled like the air freshener from my grandma's bathroom.

It was all very nice and tranquil.  Lots of other plants and flowers there mixed in with the Lavender.

It also had an amazing view of the coast of Maui.
They have a nice little shop there as well where we enjoyed Lavender flavored lemonade, scones, coffee, tea and gelato.

From there, we drove down to the Maui Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch.  Now, Jeannie and I are not drinkers, but we've liked visiting Wineries ever since we saw the movie Sideways.  I know that sounds silly, but it's all kind of interesting to us.  Wineries are usually very scenic and the people who work at them are so passionate it's fun to listen to them.

We took the tour and it was fascinating.

Megan commented that the woman giving the tour was hypnotic.  I agreed, but I countered that she was also very "hippienotic".  She was casting a "peace, love and wine for all" spell on all of us.

We learned that aside from regular grape style wines, they specialize in pineapple wine.  We also learned that the Maui Winery is the busiest tasting room in the world and they are the most fiscally successful Tasting Room in the world because they sell most of their wines directly from the Tasting Room.  You can also order the wine from the internet as well.

After the winery, we headed to Lahaina for dinner.  Lahaina's on the other side of the island.  Since John and Megan hadn't been there and since we had the car, we figured we should take advantage of it and go over there.

After dinner we played a video game in the restaurant.  It happened to be the video game that stars several improvisors.  People like our dear friend Nikki Lindgren and Carrie Barrett.  I couldn't get a picture of Nikki, but here's one of Carrie.

Too funny.  By the way, Brett shot and killed Nikki five or six times in the game.

After that, I stayed in the lobby of the restaurant and downloaded Lost while the everyone walked around the cool Lahaina strip and shopped.

While I sat working on the computer, I looked up and saw a giant light burning on the mountain.  Several people gathered on the balcony to stare at the light.  I asked what was happening and they told me that it was graduation day in Lahaina and it was a tradition that all the graduating seniors climb up the mountain and burn a gigantic "L" to celebrate their graduation.  Here's a picture of it, but it's difficult to see the shape of the "L".  Look above the balcony and you can see a tiny light.  That's it.  It was much bigger in person.

After that we drove back to the ship and watched Lost.

It was a long full day.  Very fun and eventful.

Continue on if you want to read my thoughts on Lost.

Okay, so here's my 2 Cents.

I was fine with the ending.  It was done well and had some great moments.  It was much better than I thought it was going to be.

However, it is frustrating that they left so many unanswered questions.  I mean, what do you mean there's a gigantic wheel that you can turn and it moves the island?....and, AND, once you turn the wheel it drops you into the desert in Egypt!?!  Would you care to answer that for us, producers of Lost.

There were a lot of things like that that were left unanswered.  But, that's not my complaint about the show.

My real gripe is that this is not the show that I signed up to watch!  The spirituality that encompassed the show in the final season (I know it was there all along, but it really became the premiere focus of the final season.) over took the show.

When I started watching the show, it was about a group of people that were shipwrecked on an island.  They were all involved in a war of survival with a scary group of people from the other side of the island.  There also happened to be a crazy group of scientist who at one time inhabited the island.  It appeared they created some inventions that were keeping the people from leaving the island and was also making it impossible for people to have babies.  It appeared that they also left behind some inventions that were dangerous and harmful for people, i.e. smoke monsters, buttons, nuclear warheads, etc.

The show started looking like it was turning to the Sci-Fi side, which was disappointing to me.  They did it though, and the show started slanting away from the show that we had watched in the first 2 or 3 seasons.  The battle against The Others disappeared and the Dharma Initiation became an afterthought.  We were now in time warps and temples and "seeing the future" and holy ghost smoke monsters and Jesus figures and devil figures and Christian Shepherds and chosen ones and white lights/red lights and a bunch of other stuff.

Disappointing.  Frustrating.


Because, when you go the spiritual or sci-fi route, then nothing has to be explained.  You can just chuck it off as being a miracle or a vortex or some other unexplainable act of god or science.

They tricked us.  They built this world, then spent the last season saying, all that stuff that happened before isn't important.  This now, is what is important.  Forget about hatches and polar bears and numbers and fake beards and Mr. Echo and planes in trees and hot air balloons and Walt and everything else, because that's no longer what the show is about.  It's about the afterlife.  It's all been about coming to terms with death and being okay with it.

Well guess what?  The show died after season 5 and I'm not okay with it.  Not at all!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


It's $1 flip flop day at Old Navy in Hawaii. In Hawaii though, they call flip flops "slippers".

They are kind of obsessed with "slippers" here.

The Old Navy at Ala Moana mall opened at 7am in anticipation of the crush of people. $1 Slipper Day is like the day after Thanksgiving. It's crazy.

One woman stood in line at the checkout counter holding 40 pairs of flip flops. She wasn't the only one.

THRONGS of people were carrying as many thongs as they could.

The lines were so long that Checking out was taking people was taking upwards of 20 to 30 minutes.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, May 21, 2010


Yesterday John and Megan took their first surf lesson in Kauai.

Jeannie, Brett and I did it last year so we sat on the shore and watched. I'm sure we'll do it at least once or twice before this contract is over.

Both Megan and John did well. They each hit 5 or 6 waves and stayed up on their boards the whole time.

They were too far out in the water to get any decent photos, but Imagine that the grass that their on is actually water and this is what they looked like.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, May 14, 2010


We finally went ziplining!

We wanted to do it last contract, but wanted to make sure we had the right place and the right people to do it with.

We went to the "Just Live" Ziplining tours. Weird name, but great place.

This place is tucked into the middle of a tropical forest/jungle in Kauai.

We practiced on ground before we climbed up.

It's the first time most of us have ever been ziplining. We were up 80 feet in the air, high above the trees.

Charlie and Megan rested in between the zips.

In a couple places there were swings for people to swing on. Brett, Charlie and Megan swung, high above the trees.

Here's video of Jeannie leaving and Megan arriving.

Most of our ziplining was of pretty substantional lengths. The last two were 30 to 40 seconds long, while 80 feet in the air. This one however, was very short. But, you get a chance to see how high we were and you can see John Zipline and tap the tree..

The last one, we traveled from 80 feet to the ground.

John was triumphant in his landing.

Jeannie was happy to be on the ground.

She was also very proud of herself. She was very brave all day long.

Ziplining was a blast.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, May 10, 2010

The beach...

Every Saturday when we walk through Honoulu we walk by this chicken stand.

You can smell it from blocks away. It smells so good, but usually when we walk past it's way too early to eat chicken.

When we walk back in the afternoon it's all gone. They sell out fast.

One of these days I'm getting that chicken.

There's no stopping me.

We took John and Megan to Waikiki beach on Saturday.

We didn't go too far in because it was pretty late in the day.

We stayed at the easternmost cusp, next to the rainbow building.

We swam in the lagoon.

Jeannie likes the lagoon because there's no, what she calls, "critters" in the lagoon. She can swim in there all day without any fear of any fish swimming next to her.

Next time we'll take them deeper into Waikiki.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, May 7, 2010


We are finishing our third week on the ship in Hawaii.

It's been nice and the weather's been great.

Last week Jeannie flew back to San Antonio to watch her brother Bud graduate from college.

It was the first time I've spent any time on a cruise ship without her.

I played a lot of video games. In fact, in 3 days I completely finished BioShock 2!

While I was doing that, Jeannie bought a hat.

Jeannie got back on Monday and we all fell back into our normal routine. This is a very fun and sweet cast (excluding Brett. He's fun, but he's not sweet.) so we spend a lot of time together.

On Wednesday, we played our first tennis game of the year in Kona.

Megan is now Brett's new partner. We miss Chris, but Megan will fill in nicely for him. Rumor has it that John might even come and play too. That will be fun.

Things are going great.

Jeannie and I had our next ship assignment confirmed for September and we booked a vacation for when we get off the ship.

More on both of those things down the road.

-- Post From My iPhone