Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

Us at sunset.


So that was a vacation. No wonder people seem to like them so much!

I'll be 32 years old in about 2 months, and until now I'd never taken a real vacation as an adult. We didn't take many when I was a kid, either, since my mom was spending all her disposable income to put me through private school from age 4 through 21 (that selfish bitch). The last trip I took with my mom, not counting some Thanksgivings with her Midwestern relatives, was Disneyworld when I was 12. But before that our family trips were mostly educational. It was all Boston (Freedom Trail), Washington DC (Smithsonian, monuments), and Mystic Seaport (um, fish, boats).

I got some fantastic opportunities in high school to take a few group trips (two through school, one through my YMCA camp – don't ask about the Jewish kid from Manhattan at the YMCA camp) to cool places I never would have been able to afford to go to on my own (or with my mom). Amazing, but not a vacation in the real sense. I've traveled for work, and to friends' weddings, but those don't count either, even when I hit a museum or two.

So when Boy and I decided it was high time we took what would be the first grown-up vacation for both of me, and our first as a couple (five-and-a-half years in!), we tossed out the long list of cities we'd like to see and friends we want to visit, and found ourselves a tropical paradise.

Actually, K and MAK found it for us. When MAK posted photos of their Mexican vacation on his blog in December, we decided to copy it wholesale. In the end, we wound up at a different resort in the same chain a few miles away, but it was the same basic idea.

There are certainly hipper, younger, and gayer resorts than Iberostar, but we weren't interested in partying or making friends. We were interested in thinking as little as possible, and the Paraiso Del Mar fit the bill beautifully. Food available basically 24 hours a day, alcohol available basically 24 hours a day (though a bit further from the beach after 5), no real need to schedule anything. We did a couple of trips outside of the resort (ack! schedules!), including swimming with dolphins, touring some Mayan ruins, and a tequila tasting, but mostly we lay around the beach, and when we got tired of that, we lay around the pool.

I checked my email once, at a cost of 30 pesos (about 3 dollars) for 15 minutes, and decided it wasn't worth doing again. I used my laptop only to journal and pull photos of my camera. Once off the plane, I didn't use my PSP. I used my iPod occasionally, but only for music; no video, no potentially stress-inducing political podcasts. I actually... read a book. We did turn on the TV in the room at bedtime most nights, since I like some background noise to drift off to. Just like at home, CSI and Law and Order are on pretty much all day long (in English, with subtitles).

My wonderful state of relaxation was pretty much shattered by our cab ride home from the airport, but I guess that's life in New York!

I took over 350 photos (things I don't miss: film cameras). Even whittled down, it's far too many to post, so if you're interested you can click here for the full photoset. Here are some of my most favorite favorites (click to see full size):

Walking through the resort:
walking through the resort

The pool:
...but it was pretty!

A rainbow around the sun. How cool is that?
So cool...

Dolphins!
Dolphins!

Ruins at Tulum:
Tulum


Although I never post photos of myself here, here are some self-portraits:
By the pool:
Self-portrait by the pool.

At the beach:
Self-portrait on the beach.

At the swim-up bar:
Self-portrait at the swim-up bar

On a raft:
Self-portrait on a raft.

With a monkey:
That's my head under that monkey!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wait, Simon, tell us again - Is it a singing competition?

I've only voted on American Idol one or two times since it's been on the air, but I'm voting tonight. Blake is cute and charming, has teeth whiter than Seacrest's, and that beat-boxing thing is cool in a guy-from-Police-Academy way, but he can't can't actually, you know, SING.

And I know Jordin's really young and she doesn't have the greatest stage presence, but her voice fucking ROCKS. That Cristina Aguilera song? Come ON, America!

I need a vacation from getting ready for my vacation.

I got up at 7 this morning, did 2 weeks' worth of laundry, got my hair cut, took out all the trash and the recycling, cleaned the apartment, did the dishes, and figured out what I need to pack.

Getting ready to go on vacation is exhausting. How do people with jobs do it?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Also...

...my cat likes to sleep in ridiculous positions.

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Signs of the Times

As long as I'm blogging photos, here are some more low-res phone pics I've had lying around for a while:

Ice melting in February:
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A dry cleaner that apparently uses toxic chemicals:
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Also, they slay vampires.


I love the mix of spanish and english, and the neon behind it:
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Paint with all the colors of the wind

You guys! I got my first ever comment spam! It's like my blog has finally arrived! I'm not even going to erase it. I will cherish "Manifest Destiny dictates a white-man's prophecy" forever.

So how will I celebrate this milestone, as well as my general lack of exciting or fun blogging recently? With a post about my apartment, of course! Okay, I know that's not so fun or exciting. But I've certainly made you all skim domestic tales before, and I'm proud of this particular project. I've been meaning to blog more lately, really I have. I keep thinking of things to write, or even starting to write them, and then I lose my momentum. Which I guess means the blog is fizzling again, and that's okay. I like knowing it's here for when I decipher Morrissey.

We're going to Mexico for a week on Wednesday, and then a few days after we get back I'm off to Undisclosed Location Summer Theater again, so I don't know how much I'll be posting. Maybe I'll get some writing done on vacation, though I probably won't be able to post it until I get back.

Meanwhile, look at what I did...!

So when we moved into our apartment, everything was freshly painted a lovely bright white, which made painting colors very easy and meant we didn't have to do any maintenance on the walls we didn't want to paint over. Unfortunately, it turned out the bathroom hadn't been painted properly at all, and the walls have been peeling and cracking pretty steadily since we moved in. With a bunch of time off between gigs, I decided to finally do something about it.

Between the two of us, I'm definitely the more handy around the house. This is not saying much. But as Boy puts it, I get the idea to do a project, and then do some research to figure out how to do it. I have no innate home improvement skills, but I know my way around Google.

I figured I'd have to strip the whole room so I'd have a clean slate to paint over. But hey, it's a tiny bathroom, and half of it is tiled, so how hard could it be? I asked someone at Home Depot what I should use to strip the room, and he said that was a needless amount of work and I should just peel off the bad areas, spackle them, and then prime everything. Great! Even easier!

So I prepped the room, got my putty knife into position... and half the wall above the shower came crumbling down. It was sort of amazing, really. And gross. Apparently a lot of water had found its way behind the paint, and, well, let's just say things were growing and living back there. Nasty, but also it told me that the whole project was totally worth any amount of work. I'm one of those people who peels labels off of bottles, so I had fun dealing with the peeling paint.

Then I spackled, and waited for it to dry. Then I primed, and waited for it to dry. Then I painted, and waited for it to dry. Then I went to Home Depot to get more paint, 'cause duh dark colors need two coats. Then I painted, and waited for it to dry. Not a very good story, is it?

Pros of painting a bathroom: Small room, lots of tile and porcelain; Lots of things to stand on (bathtub, toilet) so you're not just trapped on the ladder; All the tile and porcelain is very forgiving if you drip. Cons of painting a bathroom (at least my bathroom): Not much ventilation; only one light source, so you're always casting a shadow on your work; always has to remain at least somewhat functional while you work; when you're done, you'll spend a lot of time in there without much to look at besides the walls, so you'd better do it right!

It was sort of an exhausting project. Because the room is so small, I thought it would be quick and easy, but there are a lot of corners and things to work around and I'd never painted a ceiling before. And lots of time literally waiting for paint to dry. I panicked a little about how dark it is, so I decided to replace the light too, which we'd talked about doing ever since moving in. I always thought it would be a big project involving wiring and stuff, but I realized (duh) I could make a big difference by just changing the cover on the bulb and leaving the fixture intact. 10 seconds, 7 dollars. And once everything was back in the room, it broke up the color and made it all work. We chose the same color we did two walls of the bedroom in, because there's already so much color in the apartment, and those two rooms seem to go together (and are next to each other). I'm still obsessing over spots I missed or didn't do perfectly, but I'm about to bring the last of the paint down to the storage room, so that should put an end to that.

Anyway, it's a boring story, but look at the photos!

Before:

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During:
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After:
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One without flash:
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One showing the bedroom (also without flash):
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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Leader of the Plaque

I've been going to the same dentist for as long as I've had teeth. I took a brief break from him when I had a dentist in my building who took my insurance, but then I moved and my union took away our dental coverage, and I never liked the new guy anyway so back I went.

My dentists' office is a time capsule of New York in the mid-70s. Right down to the 300-year-old hygienist and, unfortunately, the equipment. I mean, it's not really that unfortunate - it all works, and obviously the parts that go into my mouth are new and sterile, but I think if I were a new client I'd run away and never come back at my first visit. They don't take credit cards. There's no computer. Until recently, the answering machine used tapes. Two big ones. It's funny actually, when things break and need to be replaced, they look completely incongruous, like the new cordless phone and digital answering machine on the receptionist's desk.

Anyway, I feel fine about all this, seeing as how I've only ever had one cavity (and that happened during the period with the other dentist!) and my teeth are in generally good shape, clearly the old doctor (how old? I have no idea) has been doing something right with me for the last 30-ish years.

When I visited last week I felt strangely compelled to take some pictures with my phone.

View from the chair:
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The thing hanging down is the tooth-polisher-thing, and I'm pretty sure that with another attachment it's also the drill. Is it always two-in-one like that? I think if it were being used to drill holes in my teeth I'd find it much less benign!


X-Ray:
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X-Rays:
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Tray:
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Does anyone know what the thing with the cotton is? It's always been there, but I don't remember anyone ever using it for anything.


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Friday, May 18, 2007

How can you say I go about things the wrong way?

The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now" is one of my favorite songs ever, and I've heard it dozens of times, but I never actually thought it made any sense. This didn't bother me at all. I mean, it's arty 80s pop, it doesn't need to be coherent.

But today I was painting my bathroom (long story) and it came on the radio, and in a sudden flash I realized I'd had it wrong for all these years. It was like I was hearing it for the first time.

Of course "I am the sun and the air of nothing in particular" doesn't make any sense. Because it's "I am the SON and the HEIR."

It's very odd feeling this stupid and this pleased with myself simultaneously.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lost in Transition

So y'know how tonight's Lost was a drawn-out, tedious waste of time that served only to set up the season finale? That's what two of the next three years are going to be like, people!

Also, is it me or is Jack getting kinda pudgy? I mean, he's still in way better shape than I am, but it's not my job to take my shirt off on national television.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I don't want to be right

Email received this morning from twoenns:

From: twoenns
Subject: is it wrong...
Date: May 9, 2007 11:21:11 PM EDT
To: Adam875

…that at work today we laughed at the fact that the “Spirit of Helen Keller” Gala is featuring a silent auction?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Seriously?

This post did NOT make me happy. I'm invested enough in Lost that I want to see how it all ends, and I've thought the last few episodes have been great, but three more YEARS of this shit? When I heard the producers wanted it to have a clear and definite end point, I figured one more season, two tops. How are they going to drag this out for another 48 episodes? That's over 35 hours of Jack being a douchebag. 35 hours of reading subtitles. 35 hours in which the plot won't move forward AT ALL. So. Tedious. I have better things to do with my time. Like, um, watch Battlestar Galactica.

I do like how my take on this news is the complete opposite of the EW writer's.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Morning Musings

I'm awake earlier than intended, thanks to my carbon monoxide alarm telling me its battery is dying (I guess I should be glad to know it's able to wake me up), so I'm flipping through the tv guide on the DVR, and I noticed this description for an episode of Teletubbies: "Spilled custard; cows and calves; toast; walking dance." Sort of poetic, no?

Then I flipped over to NY1 and caught this brilliant story. The Daily News is a rag, but I'm so happy someone thought this was newsworthy. This is the second day in a row I've found someone on the internet who thinks just like me.