Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Head Trip: Two Tickets to Paradise

Again...more distraction. This weekend I am writing some blogs for the week to cue for upload that have nothing to do with Bennett. Well, I wouldn't say 'nothing', I'm just staying away from the update-style Bennett blogs, though I reference him a lot in this one, so sue me. But I need a break from it, and what better way to take a break than to go on a Head Trip?

There are a lot of reasons that vacations aren't going to be happening for us any time soon. Certainly cash is a primary factor, and certainly we don't want to run Bennett around all kinds of places until we have a better read on treating his condition. Probably the biggest reason is PTO, which stands for Paid Time Off. Any that we would normally use for funsies, is gonna get eaten up taking care of Bennett and spending time in various doctors office and hospitals with him.

Not like we were crazy travelers to begin with mind you. Though it was our initial hope, after Bennett was born, that we could start doing some more 'family-style' vacations when Bennett was a little older. Yeah, best laid plans. And we had also talked about maybe the two of us going somewhere, trying to get someone to watch the kids while we go off and frolic someplace more adult. Not Hedonism-style adult...I just mean not some place that has kid-friendly activities like a theme park or zoos and junk.

Not gonna happen either, not for a while...and it isn't like people would not line up to watch our kids for us, they would, but again...we would feel weird not being around him right now...it would be FAR too soon to mentally be able to do that. That and the fact that the two of us? Not getting along so good. A lot of rough patches...it's to be expected when there is this much pressure, but it's been especially difficult lately as I've mentioned before.

So until we get to point where we can do something 'vacationy' again and maybe inject some 'joy' into our lives, I'm going to continue taking my strolls down memory lane and take these 'head trips'...vacations of the mind, so to speak. Whether it is remembering past vacations or thinking about possible new ones. Why stress about not being able to travel when I can go ANYWHERE...inside my brain?

Obviously since our relationship has been under tremendous strain, I've been thinking a lot lately about one of my all-time favorite vacations, our honeymoon, which we took in January of 2003.

We opted to go someplace warm, and we also opted for a cruise, which would allow us to see a lot of different places as well as have a lot of time to just chill on the boat or in our room.



It was a ten day voyage, with a very nice upgrade in accommodations courtesy of a good friend's honeymoon gift of covering the cost of nearly the entire honeymoon. Unreal gift that I have never forgotten. NEVER. We had an AWESOME cabin, with an amazing deck...in fact, we spent the majority of our time in this room and on this deck, just relaxing.

Here's the room itself. Or I guess I should say 'cabin'.


And the view from the deck looking towards the cabin's glass doors.


Looking out from the room at what would be our view most of the time. SO freakin' peaceful.


And this? This was how we enjoyed our breakfast every single morning, delivered to our room. Though I think sometimes we ate on the deck too, but this was early in the trip and I think it was still very cool out.


Though it did in a day or so get moved outdoors (grainy film camera...)


The ship itself had quite a few things to do on board, one of which involved lots of booze. Lot of bars on the ship, and this one I went to the most only because it was the closest to the cabin.


And of course there was the pre-requisite pools and hot tubs.



OK, so the boat does actually STOP places, but I have to be honest with you...we didn't stop anywhere that I would consider beautiful, so I didn't take a lot of photos and those I did are of things rather boring. But we didn't really know what to expect, and in the end, it didn't much matter to us anyway. Next time we'll go looking for awe-inspiring beauty, this time we just wanted to hop around and do activities.

First to Nassau...




...which I gotta be honest, was rather dull. Those fish I photographed in an aquarium in the Atlantis Casino. Lost some money there, but that's about it.

Then we went to Belize, which also turned out to be fairly basic fare, but we wanted to do some snorkling, not sight see. So that's what we did. Got on a rickety boat, did some snorkling and then went to some beach to have a snack and walk around.









Looks rather dull, but it was PEACEFUL and that was what we were seeking. And besides, Vacation Fozzie had a swell time. (Yes I travel with stupid trinkets that tie together with people or things I leave behind...I'm nuts). We hooked up with some stray dog, poor thing, I have never seen a dog that looked so unhappy. Hey, you live on the fucking BEACH fer cryin' out loud! We fed him and he was our pal.



Then off to Cozumel...and again...if I can be blunt? Not impressed. Just a dumpy little town on an island with some teeny shops filled with cheaply produced overpriced shit.




But keep in mind this did not really bother me. AT ALL. Because I wasn't on this cruise to take in the sights...I was there to spend time with my wife, drinking coffee in the afternoons on a deck with a cool breeze blowing...


...but mostly drinking in this...


...this awesome view. Just sitting and watching the sunsets from our awesome private deck. Super peaceful. Super quiet. Super quality time to just...BE...that's what I miss so much.

After Cozumel we stopped in the Grand Cayman Islands, skipped the town part and went for the Swimming with Stingrays bit. Had we to do this over again, we would not have gone. Not just because of the Steve Irwin thing, though that definitely would have had an impact, but the main thing was there were just too many freakin' people and boats.





After a VERY short time touching a Stingray Jen and I swam away from the boats and just snorkeled for a while by ourselves. I was, however, NEVER at ease when I was in the water. The whole Jaws thing. Still not over it. After a while we headed back to shore and stopped off in some bar for a beverage and some beach time.



Then it was one more night at sea until we'd be back in the U.S., and another of the 'formal dinners'. If you've never been on a cruise, and I don't know that they do this on all of them, but they have a formal dinner night where you where a jacket and tie and dress up and junk. We played along. Hell it was kind of fun to get dressed up.





Besides, if not for those dinners we LIKELY would never have taken off our swimwear and shorts and stuff. At least the 'dress-up' time made us actually clean ourselves up a bit. :) It also forced us to go socialize with other people, since a lot of the time we would skip the dining room and have room service on our private deck.

Our last stop before coming back to the port we actually left from was a quick afternoon stop in Key West. I liked Key West, it was very quaint. It's exactly what I expected, these parts that we saw anyway, and I was fine with it.







Like I said...not much to see on the whole trip, but what a great trip it was anyway. We had so much fun, we laughed, we smiled, we enjoyed the tranquility of it all. Looking back, as I view these photos, I just remember how at ease we were, how unburdened we felt. And I'm sure that the burdens we carry today influence this memory a lot, or certainly help to shape it, since one of the things we crave more than any other is the simplicity of those ten days.


Don't get me wrong...we love, LOVE our two kids. More than anything. More than life itself. I actually WOULDN'T choose to go back in time and change anything at all other than this disorder in Bennett. In fact, if you had the technology and came to me and asked me if I would choose to go back in time to before my kids were born and choose not to have them to avoid this experience today? Not a chance in Hell.

But when you love your child so completely and you watch them suffer every day it wears on you, it eats at you, it wears you down. That weariness, that feeling of always being tired, of always being fearful and sad, that endless worry...it makes you yearn for a time when life just wasn't so damn hard. That honeymoon was one of those times. Hopefully, those times will come again.

Hopefully...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Steampunk

The blogs for most of this week will be nothing more than glorified Super-Tangents. I need a break from the everyday. If something MAJOR significant happens with Bennett this week, believe me I will step in with an update. But meantime? I just need some distraction. So this weekend I am gonna put together some stuff and set it to go and just get my mind off all this other shit.

I gotta admit, I love Steampunk. LOVE IT. I think, though I can't be too totally sure about this, but I think I love it more than Retro-Futurism. I dunno...if you told me I could be wealthy beyond my wildest dreams and part of that wealth was a gigantic custom-designed and built home created entirely in a Retro-Futuristic or Steampunk style? I'd probably pick the Steampunk.

And what is Steampunk? Glad you asked.

Oh Wikiiiiiiiiii???????????

Steampunk is a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigibles, analog computers, or digital mechanical computers (such as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine); these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or with a presumption of functionality.

Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk and shares a similar fanbase and theme of rebellion, but developed as a separate movement (though both have considerable influence on each other). Apart from time period and level of technological development, the main difference between cyberpunk and steampunk is that steampunk settings usually tend to be less obviously dystopian than cyberpunk, or lack dystopian elements entirely.

Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.


HogSandwich, a fellow blogger whose blog I follow, showed me a link to a Steampunk laptop a few weeks back, been meaning to share it and just hadn't gotten round to it. Check it out...AWESOME. Me wantee BAD.


It's from some site called Datamancer, and there are tons of photos there as well as some other cool stuff that this man (or woman, I do not know) has comverted into Steampunk-style equipoment. And it's FUNCTIONAL.

Like this desktop version of a Steampunk computer, found at The Steampunk Workshop.


It's freakin' AWESOME.

Check this out. It's someone's Steampunk version of an N-1 Starfighter, the prefered craft of the Naboo in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Now THAT is a freakin' cool design.


Probably would have been a better film if the whole thing was radically Steampunked. And speaking of Star Wars Steampunk, there are two places you need to be directed to. The first is Sillof's Workshop. His STeam Wars custom action figures are OUT OF THIS WORLD cool.


And if you fancy something with only 2 dimensions instead of 3, you need go no farther than Eric's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea, the blog of an artist by the name of Eric Poulton. He has some GREAT Star Wars Steampunk work.


That's it, tangent over...I just felt like looking at some Steampunk stuff.