Sep 25 2009

leaving las vegas

So I’ve got to go to this bullshit bachelor party this weekend.  I’m not thrilled about it.  It’s enough of an imposition on my valuable free time just to go to the wedding, now I’ve got to give up an entire weekend for the goddamn bachelor party?  (Yeah, it’s in Las Vegas.  Like that’s not a huge cliché….)  And what’s more, the bulk of the festivities are planned for Sunday, which means I have to use a vacation day to take time off work.  Swell.  Strip clubs kind of skeeve me out.  Firearms – machine guns, especially – really skeeve me out.  I don’t gamble.  This should be a fun time.  But at least it’s going really expensive, so I’ve got that going for me.  I pretty much only agreed to go because I thought it would be fun to hang out with Ydnar, who I almost never get to see any more, for the weekend.  Well, he bailed at the last minute.  He’s no fool; that’s what I should have done.  Ugh.  What a drag.  At least there will be booze.  I think I’m going to have to turn this trip into a proper bender just to make it tolerable.  I’m a prickly pear!  Anyway, see yinz all again on Tuesday.  Try to have a better weekend than me.  Shouldn’t be tough….

Sep 19 2009

buon giorno

Mi viene in mente non ho mai avuto il tempo di inviare i risultati del “Invia Hotrod in vacanza Sweepstake.” La destinazione vincente è l’Italia.  Stavo per dividere il mio tempo tra Roma e Firenze, ma un paio di colleghi di lavoro mi ha detto di trovare il tempo per andare a Venezia pure.  Non ho prenotato il mio viaggio ancora, ma farò che presto.  Sono pronto per una vera vacanza, e se devo aspettare altri quattro mesi dovrei almeno iniziare a pianificare esso.

Aug 11 2009

where in the world is hotrod sandiego?

I got an email today notifying me that I’ve accumulated enough frequent flyer miles for another free ticket.  That’s something I certainly I wasn’t expecting.  I just used miles a couple of years ago to go to Belize, and I haven’t flown that often since.  But hey, they’d know better than me.  Who am I to argue?  My first thought was to book another trip over Thanksgiving, but then I realized I’m ready for another real vacation – not a half-assed long weekend.  I’ve got enough miles for an off-peak trip within the United States, Central and South America, and Europe.  That means I’d be looking to travel in probably late February.  The only question is where to go.

That’s where you come in.  I did some research earlier this evening into possible destinations, and I just don’t know what to choose.  They all have their merits, and I’ve been especially indecisive lately.  So I figured, why not let the internets decide?  I mean, what could possibly go wrong with leaving it up to others to determine where I go on my next vacation.  Vote in the comments, and I’ll go to the place that wins.  Seriously.  Here’s the short list of possible destinations:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Honolulu, USA
  • London, UK
  • Paris, France
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Rome, Italy
  • Zürich, Switzerland

I should mention, I guess, that this list represents merely an airport to which I would fly; the itinerary thereafter is entirely up to me.  And I do have opinions about each of these cities.  I’ll withhold them here, but they may show up in the comments,  Needless to say, these are all places I wouldn’t mind spending a week to ten days.  Voting will remain open through August.  As an added bonus, anyone who bothers to vote will receive a postcard hand-written by me.  Yeah, you’re all rushing to the polls now….

Mar 9 2008

lousy smarch weather

I just returned home to the habitable (read: coastal) part of the country after four days on the frontier, and not a moment too soon.  Fifty degrees has never felt so balmy.  The moon may differ because of a technicality, but the calendar and – as of tonight – the clocks say it's spring.  And spring, generally, means the end of winter.  Generally.  In civilized locales.  Thankfully, I spent last night and today in the Detroit area and thus managed to avoid the blizzard (BLIZZARD!  In the SPRING!!!) that pounded Ohio.  And thankfully I was able to get home on standby on an earlier flight than I had planned, because even though Michigan got only a dusting, it was still bitterly cold and my flight was to be delayed because the crew hadn't shown up yet.  I feel lucky just to have gotten out alive.

On the bright side, I learned this week that I don't need to go to Siberia to train for KttD in extreme hardship.  I just have to go to the Midwest.  I think – on some level – I knew that all along.

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Mar 6 2008

i'm a freaking genius

It's true, you know.  Well, maybe not the "genius" part – that's certainly debatable.  But the modifier is completely accurate.  And never more so than when I leave home for a few days.

I'm a basket-case most of the time already, but going away never fails to amplify my numerous anxieties and neuroses.  I'm not afraid to fly or anything.  That would be just silly; everyone knows air travel is perfectly safe.  No, my fears are more grounded – so to speak – in reality.  Namely, the reality that my apartment is likely to become engulfed in my absence in a blue inferno because I left the stove on.

When I went on vacation last fall, I hoofed it with my luggage the twelve blocks or so down to the Metro, but I arrived just as a train was leaving.  I waited on the platform for about ten minutes before becoming impatient and leaving the station to catch a cab instead.  But here's the thing – I also told the driver that I forgot something and had him swing by my apartment just so I could look around the place one last time.  I'm not especially proud of that little anecdote, and I had intended to compose a self-depricating post to that effect before the trip took a drastic turn for the worse.  On my way to Shanghai a few years, I made pointless phone calls from the airport after checking my bag until there was not enough time to get home and back without running the risk of missing my flight.  I am, in short, a mess.

Thankfully, my anxiety is usually short-lived.  I know, academically, that I locked the door and didn't leave the water running, and usually I have forgotten to be nervous by the time the flight attendants roll the drink cart down the aisle.  Just getting out the door is the hard part.  Except for today.  Because today I had a brilliant idea.  As I tossed my camera into my carry-on bag just in case I wanted it here in the fly-over states (I know, I know.  Why would I?  What could possibly be worth documenting in this God-forsaken wasteland?), it occurred to me I could take pictures of all those things I normally worry about.  If I began quietly to freak out, all I needed to do was review those snapshots.  And of course, the mere knowledge that such evidence existed was sufficient to prevent my OCD from flaring up in the first place.  Here, then, is a brief glimpse into my tortured psyche.  And, to a lesser extent, my apartment.

The stove is the big one.  In my defense, regarding that trip to China – I actually did discover the morning that I left that I had inadvertantly left the oven on while I took a brief nap.  Theoretically, that should have eased my mind some since I explicitly remembered turning it off.  No dice.

My neighbors below won't be experiencing flooding from the kitchen upstairs.

Or the bathroom.

There's normally another bike hanging from the upper rack, but if I'm not there, there is no doubt in my mind that the steel brackets would finally shear off and my heavy mountain bike would crash through the floor into the unsuspecting apartment below.  No doubt.

When I don't have anything else to wonder about, I wonder if I left the refrigerator (and freezer, natch) hanging open.  In my better moments, I wonder why this would even concern me.

And I am finally out the door.  I know there's no way to tell from the picture if the door is locked, but at least I can see that it is closed.  Besides, my neighbor poked his head into the hallway as I was jiggling the doorknob.  He knows it's locked, even if I have my doubts.

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Nov 27 2007

flight plan

Inconvenience is relative.  My flight out of Miami this evening was delayed.  We were late to board and then sat on the tarmac for a brief eternity waiting for a push-off crew to, uh, push us off the gate.  Even the pilot seemed a little testy as he announced that he could see from the cockpit a card game in progress while we waited.  I sat there uncharacteristically impatient, as calm and collected as could be.

I wasn’t even supposed to be on that plane.  Because of the idiosyncrasies of redeeming frequent flier miles, I was supposed to fly to Nashville this evening and proceed on to DC in the morning.  It occurred to me, though, somewhere over Cuba, that there was probably a flight to National that evening, and with a three-hour layover, depending on the departure time, I could try to get on stand-by and still have my scheduled itinerary as a back-up plan.  And for what is assumed to be the first time in history, stand-by actually worked.  Not only did I get on the flight, but I still got my aisle seat AND had an empty seat next to me.  AND when I called to cancel my hotel room in Nashville, they said they weren’t even going to charge me despite the very late cancellation.  If only getting a cab once I was back on the ground had been so easy.  Stupid lousy DC cabs….

Nov 25 2007


Well, we barely saw any manatees, and we wouldn’t have been able to swim with them in any case.  In hindsight, I’m not sure why I thought we would.  I’m such a tard sometimes.  Most of the time, really.  We didn’t see any sharks either, but the rays delivered as promised.  I’ve gotta say it was a little unnerving, and I don’t think I ever quite got used to it.  That lurking barracuda I saw when I first jumped in probably didn’t help any.

Nov 24 2007

changes in latitudes, and so forth

In the continued and somewhat out-of-character spirit of giving thanks on this long weekend, I’d be remiss if I failed to recognize the following people….

I’m thankful that Ma Rod suggested going somewhere warm.  I’m sure the Swiss Alps are lovely, but they’ll still be there in next August when it’s a steam bath in our nation’s capital.  I’m thankful that Emma and Yo Han enthusiastically endorsed my first choice of destinations and current base of operations within Belize: Caye Caulker.  (I’m also thankful that they clued me in on the Marie Sharp’s; that shit is every bit as good as advertised.  I’d be bringing back a whole case if I had a bag to check.)  And I am thankful that Sarah and Dan recommended the day trip to Lamanai.  I wouldn’t have thought of it otherwise.

Yesterday, I was occupied with a whole lot of lounging and reading and enjoying the warm breezes from the comfort of my own personal hammock, which culminated with one of the most spectacular rainstorms I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing.  Today I did the whole Mayan ruin thing.  And tomorrow, I’ll be swimming with the Family Guy writers at Swallow Caye followed by a dip in Shark-Ray Alley.  Because, why not?  It’s not like anything unfortunate has ever happened to anyone who decided to swim with stingrays, right?

Nov 22 2007

giving thanks

I’m thankful for frequent flier miles and an extra day off after the holiday which turns this into a long weekend.  I’m also thankful that my family is understanding – or at least pretends to be – that the right combination of those first two things makes this weekend an opportune time for a mini-vacation.  And I’m thankful for english-speaking Central American countries in general and their beaches in particular.  But then, who isn’t?

Okay, gotta go pack.  I overslept by a little and I’ve got to get out of here in an hour and a half.  Have a great holiday, everybody.

Sep 30 2007

oh yeah….

What with all the other distractions this week, I completely forgot – and I know yinz are all on the edge of your seats – to mention:  I decided that the “at least one beach trip per year” policy was one worth adopting, so, to that end, earlier this week I booked my ticket for my Thanksgiving trip to…. wait for it…. Belize.