In no particular order, I give you the following vacation highlights:
This is my own stupid fault, as I did not use sunscreen of any sort. I didn’t think we’d be on the beach that long, and I paid the price. I was LizardMan on the trip home, horrifying children and pilots alike.
Florida stinks. Maybe not all the time, but when they’re having “Red Tide” it sure does. Red Tide is some sort of algae that basically kills fish (and stingrays, apparently). These dead fish then wash up on shore and smell like … well, dead fish. Ewww. The condo we stayed in was right on the beach, Gulf-side, so we got to experience the smell any time we walked outside.
I participated in karaoke for the first time, and I have one question: why have I not done this sooner? Thoroughly enjoyable! I learned two things while doing karaoke: 1) Maybe choose songs where you’re fairly certain the lyrics are, well, decent. 2) Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer is maybe the best karaoke song ever.
We went to the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL. The grounds also had a Circus museum (see, he’s one of the “Ringling Brothers” you’ve heard so much about – the youngest one, actually) and the mansion John & Mable summered in. Mansion: neat. Circus Museum: kind of lame. Art Museum: impressive, especially from a circus guy’s collection. They were hosting an exhibion called “Duane Hanson: Portraits from the Heartland” which featured life-sized body-casts of real people in ordinary situations. You can see some pictures on the site I linked. They were very interesting, but a little freaky. What made them freakier is the way they were displayed – just kind of out in the middle of various rooms. If there were other patrons in the room, it actually took a minute or two to determine which were the art pieces. Freaky.
I played Dance Dance Revolution for the first time. Maybe you’re not familiar with this videogame. Basically you stand on a dance pad that has four arrows (up, down, left, and right) on it. As a song plays, arrows float up the screen and you have to step on corresponding arrows at the right time, in time with the music. It’s fun and it’s a workout. The arcade version has side-by-side dance pads so you can compete with someone else. Matt thrashed me both times we played, but I did much better the second time. I plan to play more of this game, and soon.
While we’re on the subject of videogames, I should mention that I also played Donkey Kong and Pac-Man at the same arcade. To be honest, Donkey Kong actually played me. I am out of practice and didn’t even make it past the first screen. Sad. I more than made up for it on Pac-Man, however, getting one of my highest scores ever and certainly the high score on the machine for the day: 70,540. My next attempt a few days later only got me in the 37,000 range, but it was still good.
What Is the Matrix?
Turns out, it’s a fun little car to drive. I rented one for a trip I took on Saturday, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It’s the Toyota equivalent of a Pontiac Vibe, pretty much, and it made me realize even more that I am done driving minivans. Rather, I want to be done driving minivans. I’ll never buy a Toyota, as that would be the death of my worked-for-GM-almost-his-whole-life father, but it was certainly fun, and it cemented my idea to downsize. The only trouble now is coming up with the cash…
The trip I took on Saturday was to meet a couple of people I met on the Internet. I made sure my last will and testament was in order, as I was sure to awaken in a tub of ice with my kidneys missing. Turns out, there are some people on the Internet that are regular folks who are nice to be around. Who knew? I met up with Angie and Charley (and Charley’s wife) from the THorum in Ocala, FL. More specifically at the Olive Garden in Ocala, FL. Olive Garden, you might recall (you’ll have to, as I can’t find it to link to) is also where I met fellow THorumites Joe and Mark last year in Indianapolis. Anyway, Charley (and his wife) and Angie are some of the nicest people in the world, and I recommend you meet them as soon as you are able. Rumor has it there’ll be a video of the meeting available at some point…
On the last leg of our journey home, driving from Indianapolis to Lafayette, Kat and I stopped at a Wendy’s to get some food. After going through the drive-through, we parked in the Wendy’s lot to eat. The fellow in the car next to us got out of his car, went around to his trunk, took out a golf club, went to the grassy area in front of his car, and started taking practice swings. Two things about this behavior struck us as odd: A) After each swing, he’d look off in the distance as if he were tracking his shot. B) It was pushing midnight. We wondered what his deal was and after much discussion it was decided that Kat should ask him. She rolled down her window and did so, and his mundane reply had something to do with keeping awake because he’d been driving for a really long time. Dang. I was hoping for something along the lines of “mob hit man” or “around-the-state air golf tournament.”
So there you go. Sure, I did other things. I ate food, for instance. I watched more Wimbledon tennis than I ever expected to, as well. These are just some of the highlights. My plan was to intercut them with pictures, but I’ll have to save those for another post.
Peace out, yo.