Archive for the “Family” Category

“You want to go on a cruise?” Joy asks me months ago.

“Is this like the other times you asked me if I wanted to go on a cruise and it falls through?” I replied. The last two occasions she asked me, it didn’t happen (for me) due to situations beyond Joy’s control.

“No, not this time. This time you really get to go.”

“Hmmm. Let me think about it… No.”

“Why not?!?”

“Because I have zero interest in being on a boat for a week,” I said.

“C’mon, go. It will only be for a weekend and the whole family is going. Plus it will be cheaper if you go,” she said. Now we get to the nut of it.

“Okay, just tell me how much it is and when I need to have the money by.”

And that’s how I signed up for a cruise to the Bahamas on the Norwegian Cruise Line.  Boy, what a shitfest NCL turned out to be.

Some port in the Bahamas. Glad to get off the boat.

We arrived in Florida on Friday, June 11th and boarded the big ass ship — I think it was the Spirit, but I can’t be assed to check. After checking in, as we’re about to head to our rooms, we are stopped by someone asking us if we want the unlimited soda package. Now this was a little bit surprising since this was suppose to be an all inclusive deal (sans alcohol). Apparently, though, NCL doesn’t put sodas in their all inclusive package. Awesome.

I passed on it, at first, as my sister said in her previous cruises, juices, tea and water were included. Since I like fruit punch and lemonade, I figured I could go without Mountain Dew for a weekend. I figured wrong once I found out juices were only served at breakfast, the tea sucked and all that left me was water. So I dropped the $21 or so additional for the soda card. Yay, NCL.

Goofing around off the boat.

A major problem with the NCL cruise is there was nothing to do. On all the other cruises Joy has been on (this was her first NCL cruise), she said there was always tons of stuff to do. Shows, games, food, etc. Not here. NCL had one show a day (usually after dinner), the food was lame (nothing exotic to go with the Caribbean motif), the two nicer restaurants that were only open for dinner had the same menu as each other and the “adults only” pool somehow had kids in it more often than not (although one day I will give credit to the lifeguard dude running them out when he could). To add, NCL nickled and dimed you every chance they got. For example, when we were getting on the boat on day one, they took a picture of all of us (which I need to scan once my scanner works). I figured it was a little freebie token to take home. No sir, they wanted $20 for a copy. Really, NCL? Your charge $20 for a picture with your shitty logo all over it, and it really costs you maybe a nickle to print out? Good job. Thumbs up to you, because I bought one.

Me, pops and Coco having a cold one.

Saturday, though, Saturday was pretty bad ass. That’s when we docked at Nassua for the day and got off boat to walk around. We went to this big straw market and did some wheeling and dealing. I picked up a pretty cool Tiki mask for $15. Damn good deal because the vendor started at $40, and we ended up settling on $15. Take note, if you ever go to the straw market, never, ever take the first price. Or second or third. They are willing to deal.

Joy and I up front, Coco and Pops in the back. Classic.

Since it was hot as balls, we hit Senor Frogs for some drinks. I have to say, Senor Frogs was, hands down, the highlight of the trip, mainly because I didn’t feel like I was getting raped every time I pulled out my wallet. I paid $6 for a mixed drink at Frogs that had more liquor in it than what NCL was charging $11 on the boat. $11 at Frogs would have gotten me a yardstick sized drink. I checked NCL’s prices on the same sized drink, but they wouldn’t sell me one because theirs cost two good eyes, and I only have one. 🙁

Me, Joy and Pops outside of Senor Frogs.

Sadly, though, we couldn’t stay at Nassau and had to get back on the boat (although I was extremely tempted to just grab a hotel room and fly back from there). We got back on the boat where I went to the casino to lose more money since there was nothing else to do.

The whole gang outside of Senor Frogs.

On Sunday, we went to NCL’s private island. If you wanted a raft or inflatable device, NCL was kind enough to rent them out to you for an extra charge. I had no need for either, since we went on a boat trip around the island checking out sharks and starfish and mantarays. That was pretty badass and worth the money.

I got to hold a Starfish. Don’t be jealous.

I know it probably looks like I had a bad time and, to some degree, I did. And I blame that 100% on NCL and their shitty cruise line. The only thing that saved it being absolutely suicide inducing was my family and my sister’s friends, Shelly and Earnie. They made it bearable (and they thought it was as much suck as I did).

I have little interest in going on another cruise (although Joy said don’t judge all cruises on NCL, since there are ones out there that are actually, you know, fun). I heard Alaskan cruises are the shit, so I’m open to one of those, and I may go on one in the future since I have both friends and family that want to do it.

Me and my nephew, Coco. Really dig this one.

Joy is in the process of planning the next family vacation, this time to a resort (ALL inclusive, including liquor) in the Dominican Republic. I’m really, really down for that since if worse comes to worse I can just be steady drunk. Plus, a few of my friends show a little interest in going, too, and it will be good to have some of my friends to hang out with, too, in addition to my crazy family.

Oh, and most ironic part of this vacation? NCL sent me an email to fill out a survey on how I liked my cruise. When I clicked on the link to gleefully share my opinion, it lead to a broken page.  I hope NCL’s entire fleet sinks. Assholes.

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Long overdue, but this is the last day of my Southwest vacation that I started posting about way back in October.

Technically, this wasn’t the last day, as we actually flew out the next, but it was the final day of sightseeing and we spent it in Santa Fe.

If you like Southwestern art (which I don’t for my house, but don’t mind to look at), Santa Fe is the place to be. We took one of those bus tours around the city and, apparently, Santa Fe is only second behind New York in United States art sales. This is pretty shocking considering the size of the city, but not so much if you take a tour of it and see all of the art within it.

One of the places we stopped on the tour (where you could get off and look around) was an area where they had an artist that worked with bronze. He (or she) had the creepiest display up with nothing but children.

I didn’t spend much time in that area, as I was convinced those creepy bastards would all come alive at once and eat my innards. There was an Indian statue close by that was pretty damn impressive.

The amount of detail that went into Chief Watching Kids was impressive as hell. And easily one of the cooler things I saw on the tour.

After the tour we went to the Loretto Chapel, home of “the mysterious staircase”. Apparently, back in the day nuns wanted to get to the second level of the church, but had no staircase and, more importantly, no money. So they prayed for some help or whatever and some dude shows up on a burro and tells them he’ll set them up, no charge. He builds this bad ass winding staircase and there’s all kinds of drama as it has no means of support or some such craziness. The staircase was nice, I guess, but it wasn’t as impressive as people made it out to be. Snopes doesn’t think so, either. Needless to say, I took pictures, because that’s what you do on vacation.

After the Chapel, we spent the rest of the day roaming around Santa Fe, shopping, eating and just more-or-less doing what tourists do: Aimlessly wander.

Oh, one last thing I saw I’ve actually seen in B’more, but I never had my camera with me. I’m by no means a big Star Wars fan, but the few times I’ve seen this, I’ve laughed and thought it was great advertising.

Overall, I had a pretty damn amazing week out West, and I’d be up for it again for sure. My dad, aunt and uncle were talking about doing a Northwest vacation in either 2010 or 2011, and I very well may join them. Although I desperately need to get to the UK to meet some friends and California to see some friends sometime here soon.

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My sister, Joy, called me this morning, but I was on my way to a dental appointment so I didn’t answer. Instead I gave her a call back about an hour and a half later.

“HEY!” She answered. “I was just thinking about you. A woman just came in to make arrangements for her brother. ”

If you don’t know by now, Joy is a mortician.

“If you died, I would cry,” she continued.

“WHAT’S SO FUNNY!?!?!”

It took a minute for me to stop giggling. Joy says the oddest things sometimes.

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Joy calls me at work the other day

“Hey! Can your phone get pictures? ”

“Yeah,” I replied. “My new phone can do anything.”

“Okay, loser. I’m going to send you the picture that shows on my phone every time you call.”

Then she hung up. Moments later my phone announced I had a new message. I opened it to see what picture Joy had assigned to me on her phone.

NMAZD0605

I have to admit that it beats the one I use for her.

NMAZD0605

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Yeah, I still have one more day of a vacation I took back in September, but I figured I’d take a quick break (as if posting one entry a month is too tedious).

I’m going on a cruise in a few months, and my sister put it all together. I’m surprised I was even invited, considering what went down a few months ago (another blog, I promise), but needless to say, I was remembered this time.

Anywho, since Joy put everything together, I needed to give her a $100 deposit. I asked if she took paypal, and she said no, which of course sucks because that meant I had to dig out my checkbook and actually write a check. I was surprised that I remembered how to write one, and pleased that I had not forgotten the “For” column on the bottom left.

Now, in case you can’t see that, it says “For being gay.” There are tons of things I would have rather written there, like “For her whorish ways” or “For that night in trailer bathroom”, but since she’ s my sister, that would have been just gross.

After I mailed it, it wasn’t long before I got a text message from Joy letting me know she received the check:

Very funny. I’ll cash that motherfucker. I don’t care.

To which I replied:

You’re lucky it wasn’t for “last night.”

And she was all:

No, you’re lucky it wasn’t for last night, or it would have been more.

I called her up and told her she won that one. I had nothing I could say to that.

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