Month: July 2012

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My Week Without Cable

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I did it. I unplugged and stepped away from the corporate machine that sucks my life into a vortex of faked reality shows that remind of my level of poverty. I am no longer chained to my television or wireless internet in my home. Yes, I forget to pay my cable bill. Evidently, I forget to pay it two months in a row, because the balance due was the equivalent of a car note.

I am now protesting the cable company and their unfair advantage of oligopoly in my neighborhood. I am protesting because I don’t get paid until Friday and I really need to see how severe my addiction to all things technology related really is.

Wednesday: Day One of my stand against the Oligarchy Gods; Hubby and I made homemade Chinese, talked about our feelings recounted fun moments from our vacation. We each made a mental note to spend more time talking to each other and less time in front of the television. We washed dishes together, shared a glass of wine and made moon eyes at each other.

Thursday: Day Two I cursed the cable company and went about my afternoon. I got some mopping done that had been grossly overlooked. I did laundry and actually folded and put the clothing away in the same day. I have cleaned the cat box and I think the cat meowed “Thank God!” I then moved on to clean and dust my bedroom furniture. I had forgotten how pretty my bedroom furniture is.

Friday: Day Three I am pacing back and forth and thinking something may actually be wrong with me emotionally. Hubby found the free convertor box thing that we ordered two years ago. Great we now have at least three basic channels. One problem, every third commercial is about the box that we have just installed. My beautifully polished furniture is now spouting “rabbit ears.” I haven’t seen those since my Aunt Lillie’s house. Curse you, you Cable Bastards.

Saturday: I am feening for some internet. My rapacious need for some HGTV is taking over my mind. The walls are closing in on me and I am scratching like fleas have burrowed into my hind quarters. I even attempted to log into the wireless systems in my neighbor that were not locked. It is sad, I know. I think I need some support. I am going to phone a friend. I am calling a friend that has wireless and HBO. I am protesting, not abstaining people.

Sunday: I have a very productive day, but at five pm and dark thoughts over takes my mind. I even read a quick book over my iPhone, which I do not recommend. I was at a loss. It is Sunday and it a True Blood night and time for Longmire at 10pm. I can’t wait. I have to be at the water cooler on Monday to discuss the idiocy of Sookie and find out whether the Authority was actually killed. I needed support. I phoned a different friend who also had wireless and HBO. I was smart, I took her dinner since she had worked all day.

Monday: To hell with cable. I watched two episodes of M*A*S*H and sweated along with Lucas, The Rifleman when Mark and Jonah tried to figure out how to get the rattle snake out of his bedroll. Then there were two back to back episodes of Law & Order SVU, when Olivia was young and not so jaded. I even tuned into American Ninja Warrior and felt bad when those guys were omitted from the competition. None of the training was enough to calm such fragile nerves. They will not be going to mount Midorijama in Japan.

Tuesday: One of my fellow instructors will not be returning this quarter and I have to take over her class. I will now be teaching on Tuesday and Thursdays from 6-8 pm, so up yours Cable Punks.

Wednesday: I give. I am going to head to the cable company and write a hot check tomorrow.

I have learned a great deal this week. I am a creature of comfort that spends too much time with television as my background noise. My dependency on the internet is way too high but it is who I am. I am Cheryl and I am an addict.

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I love this artitcle.

Popular Fiction and Film Reviews

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It has long been debated whether a film adaptation of a really popular novel can ever truly live up to the reader’s expectations and equal its paperback’s sucess. I started thinking about this whilst in Waterstones purchasing the Help when the store assistant enthusiastically announced that the film version was almost as good as the book, as though this was some sort of revelation. What really struck me was her emphasis on ‘almost’, as though it was never a point in question that the film could rival the book, but it was to be applauded that it had even come close.

As a self-confessed book-worm I’m concerned I might be approaching this debate with a slightly biased opinion (as you can probably tell from the title of the post) as, for me, there’s nothing better than those rare moments when you find yourself in possession of a book you just…

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He asked the question and I am curious for your answers as well. Read, hit his page and add your comments.

Love and Sex: The Burning Question

By C. Michael Forsyth

We all know that honesty is the best policy. But sometimes we feel, in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth.” Surely it’s just a white lie to trim down the number of past lovers you’ve had when your new sweetheart inquires. To subtract a few or perhaps divide by 10? Please comment below!

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Beinveniedo Cozumel, Mexico

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Our first stop on our 7-day cruise was Cozumel, Mexico. Normally, we plan for a couple of to-do’s on our bucket list. One of the items on my list was to do a little dune buggying. I don’t know why, it sounded like fun to me, so I convinced our friends to come along. This shore excursion is called beach Buggies and Snorkel at Punta Sur.

    Hubby loves to snorkel and this shore excursion included both. I would have an opportunity to spend some quality time in a hammock with a coconut drink and he would swim the waters and look at some pretty fishes.

    There were several things we learned on this excursion. You can save money and can buy the same excursion once you hit the ground. We had planned this excursion in our budget and preferred to pay the extra to travel with licensed and insured tour guides. There are several benefits to this approach. The tour guides are reliable. It is a hassle free expereince. Your credit and information is safe. Most importantly, these tour guides understand when the ship leaves and will keep you on track.

    I loved this shore excursion because lunch was provided. It was the perfect step off the ship to remin us that we were on vacation.

    There are so many shore excursions available but time is always a factor. I remember when the ships would hit port and the cruisers had a day or two in port. Not anymore. Cruises now are deisnged to get as much of your money as they can, so please be aware of your spending. Many of the ports are designed with the cruise ships inmind and much of the shopping you see in one carribean port, you will see in another, and there are only so many rum cakes you can buy.


Now back to Cozumel and Punta Sur.

This lovely item on the left is a weather indicator created by the Mayans. It was created out of soft limestone and sealed with honey as a binding agent. Initially, it made little sense to me until I was informed by our very knowledgeable tour guide, that when hurricanes would come ashore, this was a warning device. The wind would get caught in the middle of the object and create a tornado like visual that could be seen several miles inland. I know right, how cool is that. It is even cooler that centuries later that Tumba del Caracol
it is still there.

Here is the lighthouse at Punta Sur.


I love vacation time and we spend a year just planning out the details and putting away the required funds to really enjoy ourselves. The goal of a vacation is to get out there, relax and to find your smile.

Here is my friend Roz. Roz has made a new friend in the form of CocoLoco. I think she may have had a bit too much because she named the coconut Wilson and refused to sit it down. By the time she reached the bottom of the contents in the coconut, she felt pretty darned happy as evident here with her happy song.

Tune in next time when we head ashore once more in Belize.

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Bon Voyage

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    There are so many people who travel from all parts of the world to take a cruise, and you are about to climb aboard a vessel that is designed to allow you to have fun. There is of course a casino. Please note, the best time to gamble on the ships is the first night. The slots and machines have been loosened to allow you to win; after that, your odds have dipped significantly, time to head to over to the night club.

    On top of the night club, there are live shows, a comedy club, open buffets, and waited dining. There are pools, spas, saunas, hot tubs and areas where kids are not allowed. Let’s face it, this is an adult play date on steroids.  There are somethings that you need to know.  You can bring one bottle of wine aboard with you and a case of sodas per each person.  This can save you a great deal of moolah.

 Dining

I do not recommend the buffet dining unless you are traveling with your family. Kids do not like to wait to be served so the buffet areas offer a vast array of menus from tacos, burgers, and salad bars. The drawback to eating at the buffets is if you are not traveling with kids, this will not be a pleasant experience for you. The dining rooms are designed for those of us who want to get away from the all you can eat troughs. There are areas of the ship where you can buy specialty foods like Sushi or a five course steak diner including an amuse bouche. I will come back and cover the food in more detail.

Entertainment

When the ship docks, many times new artists come aboard. The nightly shows and comedy acts do vary, so please take a moment to watch the shows. The comedy acts are family friendly (early show) and truly adult (later shows). The live shows are colorful and include song and dance. The production is pretty good considering the stage is rocking.

The acts are actually pretty good.

Staff

Please get to know the staff that has been assigned to take care of you. These guys work extremely hard and are often at sea six months out of the year. If your kids are destroying your room, and someone has to clean it, please keep in mind that many of the staff has not had a day off in a while. Yes it is their job to clean, but seriously; don’t be an ignorant, lazy ass American. When the ship arrives back at your US port, as we are exiting the bottom of the ship, a new group of people are boarding at the top.

Gift Shops

Once you hit open sea, or international waters, the gift shops open and everything is duty free. Please price compare and consider the items you are buying. There are great buys on alcohol and if you are driving, you can really rack up, but make wise choices. A great number of people take this opportunity to purchase diamonds, gemstones and exclusive items you can only get in the Caribbean. These Parazul bags are a prime example. They are made in the USA but you can only buy them in the Caribbean. Most ships come with a professional shopper that will help you find the perfect gift. Again spend your money wisely.

Rooms

The most important thing about your cruise vacation is your room. We took our first cruise almost ten years ago. We were excited to just be on board. Our room was in the butt crack of the ship, our son was 10, and we didn’t really plan to hang out on the ship. My second cruise, I went with some girlfriends. We had a port window, but we were not planning to be on the ship or in the rooms. This past cruise, I said “screw that!” and paid the extra for a room with a balcony. We sat out at night, we sunned in the day time, we had drinks and often in the privacy of our room.

    More importantly, my husband and I had time to just be alone and enjoy each other.

No lines, no crowds, no rush.

We are on vacation.

I will delve into these topics in more detail, but stay tuned up next, shore excursions.