Friday, March 25, 2011
They had these neat birds at the resort who really liked scrambled eggs so they would clear out the last remnants and feed them all in the back so they wouldn't bother the patrons in the dining area. My wife managed to get a shot of a Heron-like bird in the bay as well. There were quite a few cats running around. These were wild cats, strays, who managed to survivine on whatevber the vacationers at the hotel fed them and my kids were all over that (they are cat crazy). I'm surprised we didn't have one living in our room. Something struck me as strange with some of the cats before I realized that I'm not used to seeing them with their junk intact.
Every day there would be different vendors in the Hotel set up so you could buy stuff. They were pretty nice and no one hounded you at all. At another hotel there was a guy who sold stuff offshore. He was not allowed to come on the beach so he had a kayak full of stuff and he would paddle in about 20 feet from shore (outside hotel property) and get to to come over and see what he had. An interesting way to circumvent the system! Apparently whatever they offer you you're supposed to go down 50% but we didn't haggle too hard. We figured they needed the money more than we needed to save any.
The gift shop on the resort was full of great stuff! You could get various Jamaican phallic symbols as well as a Beatles Yellow Submarine Jesus! I really wish I would have picked up one of those Jamaican hats with the Dreads on them. very cool. In the end I settled for a couple of t-shirts. Remember the Jamaican bobsled team? They had posters of those guys as well!
That afternoon I went out into the water again snorkling with Dan's camera this time set to widescreen 30 frames a second video. I headed over to the drop off and tried to measure how deep it was. I hung there in the water and figured that about 5 of me would fit one on top of the other so about 30 feet. That's my limit as far as going down deep, actually probably about 25 feet but that took me to the mouth of these Coral caves and wouldn't you know it, there was ZIP in there, nada. I was expecting some huge sea beast to be hunkered down in there just waiting to be videoed. That's when I noticed something was wrong with the underwater camera. I've used cameras underwater before and Ive experienced the situation with throwaway underwater cheapie cams where the pressure is wacked and you can't even press the button because the air is so compressed. I headed back up to breathe and see what was up and the camera was not doing so good. Hmm, it should be good to a certain number of meters. Oops. later i found out it was only good to 15 feet. It sprung a seal and salt water killed it good. I did the bag of rice trick but to no avail. I just killed my friend's camera. Oh well. (I bought him a better one, a Hi Def model three up from his and newer the next day I got back. OUCH!). This sucked because i was on the fence thinking about buying a Go Pro HD underwater Cam and now here I was replacing a cam I broke. I should have just bit the bullet and bought the Go PRO before my trip. Let this be a lesson to you gadget freaks. If you are thinking you should but something, GO WITH YOUR GUT AND BUY THAT THING! (hehehehehehe).
When I got back to the pool Dan informed me that he entered me and this guy Luigi from our group in a talent show at the resort that night. That's nice of you Dan! What am I supposed to do? "Do some of that guitar stuff!" I asked if they had an acoustic, because I do a version of "No Woman No cry" slap funk fingerstyle that might go over well, but no.. They just had the house band and he had a Fender copy electric guitar. I met with him an hour before I was supposed to go on and I tried to get a high gain sound with a touch of delay like I like it but no deal man. That guitar was a reggae guitar, clean as a whistle and it did not dirty up very well through his setup. I fitzed around and went with the dirtiest sound I could get but it had absolutely NO sustain. ACK! And launched into RUSH's Limelight for the Canadian Contingent. After a few bars the drummer and bass player kicked in and I thought great! Rush, everyone knows Rush, Awesome! Until it hit that time signature switch from 4/4 to 4/ 3/4 and then it was like that scene in "Back to the Future" where they got lost, looked at each other and stopped playing... hehehehehehehe.
Luigi, the guy that sang the national anthem at our Jamaican hockey game turned out to be a wedding singer and he closed the show with a great rendition of "It's a wonderful world". It was definitely Canadian Entertainment night in Jamaica.
That night the "Girls Gone Wild" as we were calling the Spring Break students from Ithaca, spend part of the evening throwing up in back of our hotel room. By this point, it didn't phase us. That was one of the few weird things about the resort, the fact that they had mixed families with kids with "Girls Gone Wild" in the same area of the hotel. For the most part though, the hotel managed to keep them all on one side where the hot tub and swim up bar was.
Our kids liked to go to the hot tub, but the first few times I accompanied them there, it was to watch them sitting amongst a sea of 19 to 22 somethings. In a couple of instances, I moved the kids along because of what was going on. Now I'm not a prude, and I can take a 3 woman(girl) "Love train" chugging along poolside with the middle one grabbing the first one's boobs and the last one slapping the middle one's butt cheeks, I just don't want to explain it to my kids.When I arrived back at the waterslides some other ladies were getting ready to take their kids to the hot tub and I kind of said "Uhh, maybe not..". One of the Dad's asked "What's going on at the hot tub?" and I said: "uhh, maybe you shuld go check it out first" (grin). ZOOM! Now my kids know that it is possible for multiple people to drink booze underwater using a funnel and bong device (thank you Georgia University!).
Only In Jamaica Mon!
All in all it was a wonderful vacation and we would go back to the same resort given an opportunity. We actually had 8 days there due to our early flight and late departure. It's a great setup for kids and they had a great time. I think next time we go though we'll try and avoid the three overlapping weeks of US spring Break! Maybe the Pirate ship will be open!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Luckily Empire strikes back was on! It was like being back at home in our own house!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Leitrim Hockey shirts (there was probably about 65 of us) to catch our 6:00am flight. The kids were very excited, ours especially since they had never been on a plane before. Check in was interesting. Many thanks to the kind family who lent us some weight to get our hockey stuff through. We all had an extra 5 kilos and had to distribute it evenly among us to get the sticks and nets on the plane. In Canada they seem content to check for traces of bomb-making type stuff by dusting your gear with some secret powder which must show a reaction when it comes into contact with anything shady. Pretty high-tech! I didn't get the pat down but I took the longest in the x-ray line because I was packing so much tech (Iphones, netbooks, vid and still cams, media players, GPS etc.. ).
this screen shows 41,000 feet).
On the plane ride we were asked to complete a Jamaican customs paper for each family member. There was a shortage of pens but no worries, I had one in my favorite color, purple, and it took me about 30 minutes to fill them all in (what's this stuff! I'm on vacation mon!). As it turns out, this was bad as I had not noticed the note at the top indicating the use of blue or black pens only. So when we put down in Jamaica and went to customs, they told me my forms were NO GOOD, Purple ink and all that and that I had to go re-do them.
dragged a dirty cloth across the windshield. He was a Squeegee guy without the squeegee!
Do you know that it costs between $500 and $600 or $700 US to get stitches in Jamaica? $150 for the doctor to come look, $150 for the stitches, $150 for the meds and $150 for anything else. When you pay the $150 he takes a look and totals up everything else and lets you know, it's a case by case thing (we are not in Canada anymore mon!). Even though we had vacation medical coverage this didn't seem right to me. The nurse asked my kid some questions and I went and answered for her and the nurse got angry with me and gave me the "talk to the hand" thing.
"Let her answer!" she barked.
Hmm. I was starting to get pissed here. Hey nurse Ratchet, I'm the parent and this is MY kid you are talking to. This isn't a child abuse disclosure interview, how about we knock off the tude a bit eh? The whole money thing pissed me off and I'm already starting to suspect your medical opinion is driven by greenbacks. So I did the typical Canadian thing and smiled and told my kid to answer her (she didn't at first, which was funny. She must have thought if she opened her mouth the stitches were gonna be going in right then and there. In the end nurse Ratchet wrote down what I told her in the first place). Before she cleaned and wrapped it I got a good look at it and it was not as bad as I thought. I told her we had a doctor in our travel group and I was going to get a second opinion. We had packed a ton of first aid stuff and could probably get through the week keeping her beach shoes on, her toe bandaged up and the salt and chlorine would probably keep it pretty clean.
The nurse was a bit angry at that point and asked me if I was not respecting her medical opinion and I lied politely and told her that I did respect her opinion and I was simply seeking a second one. What I really wanted to say was that I don't like getting reamed out by hotel medical practitioners in a foreign country because I'm a tourist and you have me over a barrel, but I kept that particular medical opinion to myself. I may need this nurse again soon and it pays to be nice! Then she made me fill out an incident report and she got very picky over my wording and handwriting and it took about 15 minutes to fill that out. All the while there were 3 other couples out front waiting to see the nurse. Thank god we were first. For the second or third time I was starting to get a bit flustered at her demeanour. As I was trying to fill the thing out she asked me a few times if I understood what she was asking me to do. I think what she REALLY wanted to ask me was if I actually understood English and if I was quite possibly illiterate. Yup. That's the impression I got. When she huffed at my wording I crossed out a word to chose another word and she just about had a cow. "NO!!! DON"T CROSS IT OUT!" Then she reached for a new form and I told her there was no way I was filling a new one out. I've been in your damned country 2 hours and I'm spending half of that time filling out damned forms. I thanked her for wrapping my kids foot and I asked her if I could wheel my kid out and bring back the wheelchair.
Nope.. Wheelchair stays. Your kid can walk if she doesn't need stitches. YEEHA! I'm having fun now! As I left I glanced at the peopel waiting in the outer office and said:
"Good luck folks!, you're not in Kansas anymore!".
The doctor in our group from Canada said that stitches would probably not do well in that area and just to bandage it and keep it clean. I told my kid we'll pass on the stitches and buy an IPAD 2 when we get home with the money instead, because the cost is about the same, and plus we can take pictures of her toe with the ipad!
We got our room a few hours after and we unpacked our stuff and headed out to explore the grounds. As we left our room I went to lock the back sliding door and noticed that there WAS no lock on it. Doh! No problem man, I had to go to the front desk to get a safe key anyhow, I'll ask them to fix the room door.
The hotel was neatly laid out and you could see how they attempted to separate the kids and families from the US spring break crowd that had also begun to arrive. All the kiddy stuff, water slides, lazy river etc was on one side, and the hot tubs, big pools and swim up bars were on the other. We caught the sun set right at 5:50/6:00 and explored the rocky outcropping that protected some of the swimming areas before hitting the evening dinner buffet. The food was very good. I will eat well over the next 8 days! We caught a bit of the night time show and turned in early to get rested up from the early start. On the way to our room we passed the water park in the night and took a picture. We'll be trying that bad boy first thing tomorrow morning! Whatever happens after today, it's all uphill!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Plus, with no sugar in your bod, your system manufactures it somehow to keep your brain going and doesn't do a bang up job of it. You get kinda loopy!
So. Radical departure! This time I tried something different. My six year old was watching "Hanna Montanna" over the holidays and there was Billy Ray Cyrus, the Achy Breaky Heart guy doing pushups in his living room. The full extension part of the exercise brought his eyes in line with the top of his coffee table on which sat a chocolate cake which he talked to as he exercised. He woudl do a push up and say:
"Ah' ma coming for ya!"
And another push up.
"You'll be mine soon!"
You get the idea. He's burning cals in order to make room for that 350 cal piece of choco cake! So this time, I tried just counting calories. Imagine that! You keep track of what's going in, create a 500 calorie deficit, and low and behold, stuff starts to happen! Burning 3500 calories will equal one pound of fat. Seven days of a 500 calories a day deficit gets you 7x500 = 3500 = a pound a week in weight loss. You calculate what you burn in a day just being alive and going to work (in my case it's like 2700 or so, -500 = 2200 a day) and I'll be darned. This approach actually works! One key is using an iPhone app called lose-it to keep track of what you're stuffing down your pie-hole. Carry it with you, plop in everything you eat that day and you're off to the races. I use it so much my wife calls my iphone my "Fat Pod" now.
I went from like 215 Jan 01 and I'm 198.5 now mid-March. It's like a pound or two a week. When I get to where I think I should be (195, 190), I'll stop and add 500 cals to my day and I'll stay the same. Now my 2700 daily allotment is tied to my weight and that has gone down as well, (more you lose the less you burn just walking around because you're not as heavy) but not by much.
This is by far the easiest because it's slow and controlled and you get used to this way of eating and doing without food you don't need. AND YOU CAN SNACK! Just leave room or do a pile of pushups like Billy Ray Cyrus!
Friday, March 04, 2011
I'm still slaving away at my Guitar Riff a Day project although I'm slow in getting them off my composing rig, onto the PC, into Soundcloud and up on the blog. So far it's still fun and the next time I need some music, I cam comb through 365 of these. There's bound to be a few keepers. It's the monkeys writing Shakespeare technique!
GROTDFAY 169 2011-02-02 by zartimus
GROTDFAY 170 2011-02-03 by zartimus
GROTDFAY 171 2011-02-04 by zartimus
GROTDFAY 169 2011-02-02 by zartimus
GROTDFAY 170 2011-02-03 by zartimus
GROTDFAY 171 2011-02-04 by zartimus
Funny because in a small number of cases, it's TRUE! When I was a youngster, a friend of mine was interested in learning the guitar and I had a longstanding offer to show anyone and everyone I knew how to play the wonderful things, so I started him out with the basics. Well, he met this girl shortly afterward who noticed the guitar standing in the corner at his place and she indicated strongly that she really liked the sound of an acoustic guitar. I was over a few days later and asked him how the guitar was going and he asked me if I knew how to play "More than words" by Extreme. As it turned out, GPFTPM had ran a transcription of it a few month back (this was in 1990) and I had learned it. I still remember taking the performance notes to heart. the first sentence was "Throw your pick down.. NOW! You have 10 seconds to comply!". Hehehehehe. (I still feel that way about most acoustic pieces).
So I ran through the intro and he goes "Hold that thought!" and phones up his girlfriend. She answers the phone at her place and my friend goes "Hey, check out this song I just learned.."and points the phone at me while I still have the guitar. So I get what he's trying to do and I flubbed the first few notes as a joke and he pulls the phone away and says to her "Just a sec, I'm not comfortable, let me sit down to play this." and he gives me a look and points the phone at me again.
This is going to be really funny, I thought, so I launch into Nuno Bettencourt's acoustic pop masterpiece full force embellishing all the arpeggios and full face guitar-slaps, bla bla and after about 15 seconds I can hear this girl screaming on the phone and my friend has this huge smile on his face. He starts talking to her so I stop because it's not easy to hold a conversation and play right? And she is telling him that she is coming over NOW! I wave at my friend and point at the guitar and make strumming motions and he gets the hint and says "Wait, wait, I got another one!" at which point I played the intro/chorus and verse to "Hole Hearted" (that month's GPFTPM had it). This time the scream on the phone was louder. I like girls that have an appreciation for the instrument!
I left at that point, and I don't know how long he was able to keep his non guitar prowess a secret, but that was the last time I did that.Definitely using the guitar for evil there!