Saturday, April 27, 2013

On irony

Of all the men I've ever really liked, loved, or seriously dated, only one wasn't a source of intense heartache for me, and I broke up with him.

I wonder what that says about me...

Friday, March 01, 2013

On the happy compromise of change

It's 3:46 am on March 1st, 2013, and I've managed to go more than a year without blogging.  One.  Entire.  Year.  I always knew I was rather slipshod with things like this, but...wait, I'm pretty sure the last post I stuck in here claimed that I was going to be more up-to-date with my blogging / journal-writing / whatever psychological function this actually serves for me.  Or perhaps it was the post before this one.  I don't think I even know there an export function in this thing?  I would be mightily displeased if Blogger vanished and I lost almost 10 years worth of journal entries.  I'm fantastically sleep-deprived and that always helps me become a rambling mess with little in the way of sense or structure.  I like to imagine myself as a Shoggoth, in situations like this, except that I am wearing a monocle and fez for reasons that are not wholly comprehensible to me or...really anyone, I would posit.

I have a quiz tomorrow.  Two, in fact.  Medicinal chemistry and pharmacokinetics.  Oh, by the way - I'm back in school for pharmacy.  I actually knew that about a month before the last post I stuck on here, which was over a year ago.  My productivity knows no bounds.  Or maybe I have just been knee-deep in learning how to use pharmaceuticals to make people better!  (Faster.  Stronger.  I can rebuild them, if only I had an endless supply of oxycodone.)

God I'm tired.  And not.  I think my brain is constantly trying to punch itself in the balls, with the result basically being my personality at any given time.

In any case, let me sum up what you've missed from 2011 until now.  I got into pharmacy school.  I moved out of New York into Piscataway, then New Brunswick, New Jersey.  (I know.  Jerrrrrrrsey?!)  I learned much.  Slept little.  Worked hard.  Played hard.  Had a one-night stand that was actually fun, for once.  Fell in love (though that was a considerable amount of time after said one-night stand, and obviously with someone else.)  Lost love.  Realized that I do, in fact, have a strong sense of self-respect and self-worth and I'm no longer afraid to act upon it when I need to.  Moped and hurt and obsessed for a while, then got over it.  Went to a party, got drunk, and apparently got sandwiched on the dance floor by two straight boys.  Later actually kissed one of said straight boys at a different party.  Said straight boy is apparently extremely comfortable with his own sexuality, which I salute.  Studied much.  Slept littler still.  (Wait...that's actually a word?)

And I' new.  It always comes back to love, doesn't it, no matter what else is going on.  We've not quite established what, precisely, we are, since he lives in New York and I live in the boonies of Central Jersey, but I think I'm okay with that ambiguity at the moment.  I have a great deal going on.  Many things are lining up, many things are falling through, rain dances from the sky at odd intervals, and I contain sunshine in a handkerchief for those odd days.

Life proceeds at a steady gait, and I do my best to tag along.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On absolving myself

Did I really go almost all of 2010 without writing almost anything in yon blog? That's...actually pretty amazing to me. Things are changing. That's almost as broad and as general a statement as I can make. Things keep changing. Earth, life, and fate continue to move me in directions I find wondrous, strange, and incomprehensible. Oh, wait, I forgot that I don't believe in fate.

(Liar, I tell myself. Well, half a liar. It's a little like declaring an agnostic a liar when he proclaims that he doesn't believe in God.)

Finding my way around my words feels sluggish today. Not, mind you, that I haven't been writing. God - taking a whole year away from narration would be like, oh I don't know, slicing off my own thumbs. Cutting out a piece of my soul. I exist in narration. I exist to narrate. Not a day goes by when I don't contemplate some story in my head and wonder how I could translate that image into something as wonderful and fascinating to someone else as it is to me. I wish I were more industrious, however. I also wish I were taller, that my nose were straighter, that I were more muscular, more intelligent, more charming, more dashing, more apt to speak my mind and stick to what I say. If wishes were horses, I could pull an entire city. Which brings up a fascinating image - a city made of gold filigree, floating upon clouds, pulled by a sea of horses. Or maybe just four really big ones. Huge. Like...Colossus of Rhodes huge.

I digress. I write. I have an idea right now that could take a bit of execution. It's actually a melding of several ideas, none of which seemed to work particularly well on their own, but take on some magnificent properties when alloyed together. Watch for the Watchtower. Vigilance Always. Vigilance Unending.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

On coming home again

Is that what this is? Home? Or maybe I was, like, I usually am, trying to find a way to maintain parallelism while also appearing clever. Oh G, you're such a rogue. (Insert coy giggle).

Taking a page from Rob, I've decided to start blogging again. Just a little at first, in short easy spurts, and then slowly until I'm back up to my marathon legs. I do note that I a) never managed to finish that fucking travelogue, which was actually starting to feel a little like shoving railroad spikes into my eyes with the kind of days I was having on board that god-forsaken ship and b) didn't manage to maintain the running Wikipedia commentary for more than two weeks. Jesus, that's gotta be a record even for me.

Hmm. You know, I'm thinking that this is another item that Rob has influenced me into resuming. Exercising was the first, and I'm actually coming up on a year that I've been (more or less) steadily exercising. There were a couple of months in there that I skipped my regimen, but on the whole it's the longest that I've managed to maintain an exercise program. And it all started with Rob turning me onto P90X. Now I'm only got back to this blog because Rob said that he wanted to get back to being more serious about his writing, and that got me thinking about it as well. This was...healthy, I think...for a while. Maybe it can be so again. I think I may need it again.

I was reading over Rob's resolutions for the New Year, and discovering a good number of them I could apply to myself as well. Looking back over 2009, I can't say there are many things I feel particularly proud about. No notable accomplishments. My dad asked me, just a few weeks ago, what I had accomplished in the past couple of years, and I found myself really reaching to answer him. I don't...have much, really. Exercising more, which mind you I'm fairly proud about, but there's still not much more, at least in the way that I would have liked, and I can't say that I have anyone to blame but myself. Did I even have goals, back in 2009? Or did I just float like a piece of flotsam along the waves, thinking I'll adjust to wherever the currents happened to take me? Even my writing, which I'm willing to admit now is one of the most important things to me, fell by the wayside only to be inconsistently picked up again. Kind of like a middle-aged hooker.

I don't know. I'll say this, though - Rob tends to push me, for some reason. Push me to be better than I am, and I can't say I have many friends that instill that reaction in me. I think it's because he's one of the few friends I have who actively and obviously strives to be better than he is, and that's...inspirational, I guess, is the only word I can find for it.

Switching lanes for a bit, I'm also noting that I seem to be getting less funny as I get older. My humor always seemed to tend more toward the Eeyore than the Oscar Wilde, and it's not getting any sharper with the impending onset of senility. Ah well. Dementia's kind of funny, right?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Travelogue Two, Day Six: A Petite Pastry Puff Entry

Ugh. I hate being seasick. Actually, no, scratch that – I hate this feeling of being halfway between seasick and not quite seasick. I don’t really feel that nauseated, but the constant rocking back and forth is giving me one of those annoying headaches that feels like someone is trying to stuff a massive amount of goose down and cat dander into my skull. It’s also making me incredibly sleepy, so it’s hard to focus on anything that I’m trying to get done. It’s SO incredibly annoying. You know how you feel when you’re stuck in the car for a long, long road trip through New Mexico and the A/C is busted and you can’t open up the windows for whatever reason? Yeah, okay, well even if you don’t, it feels like that, minus the overwhelming heat. Count my blessings, I guess.

I’ve got very little to mention today, except that I spent another couple of hours rattling off e-mails in the morning, many of which Philip insisted on overseeing, which never fails to make me want to grind my teeth down to powder. Why is it the perennial prerogative of managers to hang over their workers’ shoulders and make sure every task they do is slowed down to a crawl? I could’ve rattled off three or four e-mails in the time it takes for Philip to dictate, review, and shuttle out one…and at least half the time the e-mails being sent out aren’t even strictly necessary. Do we REALLY need to know who’s signed up on the Baltic trip while we’re still on the Navigator? Are we going to be able to perform some mystic feat of advertising gymnastics to suddenly increase our return rate while we’re still trying to wrangle out the details of Funchal, Malaga, and Barcelona? I think it’s an ultimate point of irony that the part of me that makes me good at what I do also happens to be the part of me that wants to strangle myself with a giant stinky pile of pig intestines every time Philip and I have a meeting onboard this ship.

Stewart ran tea time trivia today, which resulted in some absurdly difficult questions. Team Istanbul didn’t win, and we all puzzled over how obscure some of the answers were. The man sailed overboard and touched down a good mile away from the ship when he googled out that particular set of trivia.

About halfway through the afternoon, Donna gave me a call to let me know that there was no advertising for her book signing, and that she had absolutely no idea how to get her books moved through the ship’s system, which was great, because I’d had nothing to do with the advertising up to this point, and I also had absolutely no idea how to get the books moved through the ship’s system. Unfortunately, when one of the stars has no idea how something is meant to work onboard the ship, and I have no idea how that something works either…guess who gets to go and find out? So I spent a good two hours trying to hack out a time and method by which Donna (and by extension Pat and Lewis) could get their books signed, preferably after their respective shows. That ended up running right smack against Shirley’s show, which I arrived slightly late for.

I do have to digress here to mention that Shirley Jones is probably one of the most elegant ladies I have ever met. She is always impeccably dressed, her manners are always exquisite, and she has never had a negative word for me. In fact, not only has she been ever pleasant when I’ve talked to her, she has never demanded (or even asked, for that matter) anything of me. It probably seems a mite skewed that my opinion of someone is partially dependent upon how heavy a demand they make upon my time while I’m on this cruise, but considering just how LITTLE time I seem to have to do anything for myself, that seems considerably more reasonable that it initially sounds.

Anyway, Shirley gave an excellent and enlightening talk about her experiences as an actor, mother, and wife in film, television, and Broadway. The Show Lounge was as packed as I’ve ever seen it. It fascinates me when I consider how full the theatre is to be a measure for the relative star power of each of our performers. It always forces a certain existentialist contemplation from me, as I wonder what it is that everyone in the audience finds so specifically fascinating about a celebrity. Is it the perception of success? Wealth? A strange sort of mob mentality or popularity contest where the amount of adulation any given person might receive becomes a measure of how interesting that person is perceived to be? I think Shirley’s life was fascinating, but at the same time I think that Dotti’s experiences have been equally interesting. She’s traveled around the world, cruised on multiple ships, and seen things I couldn’t have dreamed of. What quantifiable factor makes Shirley a more interesting figure than Dotti, or hell, than David or Sumrall or Philip? She’s eloquent and charming and exudes this certain maternal sweetness, but what in the length and breadth of her life makes her necessarily a more interesting figure than, say, my grandmother, who lived through the Cultural Revolution? Most of these questions are ultimately rhetorical, and I don’t quite know why I contemplate them or what I think I might be able to learn if I can arrive at some arbitrary answer.

I went back to my room and felt like napping after Shirley’s show, but instead I forced myself to go through chest, shoulders and triceps. This is the third and last week of Phase Two P90X (well, technically the recovery week is the last week, but I don’t really count that.) I think I’ve made some very decent improvements in body shape and general physical fitness, and I think it’s encouraging that I can sort of view the fact that I haven’t always advanced in the numbers with a certain grain of salt. Before I got onto the ship, after all, I didn’t really eat enough to gain much in the way of muscles. Still, I’m already looking ahead and wondering whether I’ll continue with P90X or try to do something else to improve muscle mass after the twelve weeks are over.

Wow…I just read over the last paragraph and basically floored myself with how utterly inane I’ve become. Even more than usual, I’d say. I think that’s a fair sign that I should probably heading to bed. Another at-sea day tomorrow, with more shows and still more inanity to come, I imagine.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Travelogue Two, Day Five: Miles and Miles and Miles of Effectively Nothing

In that, I’m actually referring to my day, not the stretch of water that we’re on, ‘cause that’s effectively what happened today. Again, I woke up much earlier than I’d have preferred and promptly ran off to deliver messages, collect other messages, and gather materials I needed for the programs that the Navigator is going to print for our evening shows. I spent literally fours hours running from actor to actor, ship executive to ship executive, picking up bios and confirming schedules and making copies and basically trying to get this bloody program in a state where it can be printed. Most of the bios had to be pared down before they would fit properly, some of them were hand-written and had to be re-typed, and two of our actors still aren’t here, so I had to leave two programs unfinished – at least they’re two of our later shows and therefore something I can delay until later. It never seems like the programs should take very long, but they always do and I’m always at a loss as to exactly why.

Anyway, Philip gave his “History of the Theatre Guild” lecture today, which went about as well as expected, given that it’s Philip effectively giving an extemporaneous speech. The entire thing was punctuated with bawdy jokes and random tangents and unrelated asides, but people seemed to enjoy it and it proceeded without any particularly catastrophic Freudian slips. Philip did go on for longer than expected, which prevented Gene (our second guest speaker) from saying anything, but I don’t actually think he was particularly upset about that. I get the impression that he doesn’t actually relish the thought of giving a lecture about his career experiences.

So that was sandwiched between bouts of working and running and more running and did I mention sometimes that I feel like a lemming on speed? Why does the next item or person I have to find always end up being three decks down on the other end of the ship? I think that’s actually why I always seem to end up with no time to do anything, because I spend half of it in transit. I don’t even remember what I had for lunch or who I had it with – David and Sumrall, most likely. Then it was off to send more e-mails and more messages after lunch and before you know it it’s tea time trivia up in the Galileo Lounge.

I think I’ve mentioned tea time trivia before without really explaining what it is. Well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. Everyone has tea and someone – usually Chris, the assistant cruise director – heads up a trivia game. We’re allowed six people to a team, there are fifteen questions to answer, and if you win you get a useless plastic token that, if amassed in sufficient quantities, can purchase things like bags and rings and cabbages and a king-sized seat in the Seven Seas Battle Royale. (No, you can’t actually buy cabbages, and no, there is no Seven Seas Battle Royale. Although I’m thinking it might be fun if there was one in the Show Lounge. I’m seeing all these octogenarians flinging seats and glasses and tables at each other and doing flying karate kicks in this massive two-floor melee. Kinda like a catfight over Fanta.) My team, Istanbul, hasn’t won yet, but we’ve done extremely well and the desserts that they offer over the tea are simply wonderful. I’ve totally given up on trying to eat correctly while I’m on the ship and just picking what I want. My one concession to general physical fitness, at least as far as food is concerned, is to eat smaller portions of all these desserts than I normally would.
Dinnertime has finally smoothed out to the point where I feel like I can more or less ignore everything else that’s going on around the room and just settle down to some good conversation and good food. I wish it didn’t take two and a half bloody hours to finish, but the alternative is become a hermit and eat in my room. Which isn’t necessarily unappealing to me, but I hate forcing the room service people to keep bringing me food.

Not much else to say. More letters and memos and wrangling with Funchal after dinner, since I still don’t really have any information about it and people keep asking me what we’re doing there. I guess Bermuda must’ve been quite a success if people keep poking me about what we’re up to next. That’s encouraging, I suppose…I really wish we’d stop leaving this sort of thing until the last minute. The reception desk is threatening to start charging me for the copies I make, since I pop by at least two or three time a day requesting fifty pages a pop. If you’re reading this, Sherry, we REALLY need to settle excursions before we even set foot on the ship next time!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Travelogue Two, Day Four: Machete Gangs and Diplomatic Governors

So I got up this morning a lot earlier than I’d have preferred – first random tangent of day is that the Navigator’s curtains are exceptionally good at blocking out just about all traces of sunlight that hit the room. It literally looks like it’s still midnight out there when it’s nine in the morning. It’s a computer dork’s wet dream. Anyway, I dragged myself out of bed, took a quick breakfast in my room (the contents of which I don’t even remember, but some kind of exceptionally sweet fruit yogurt was definitely involved), and gave a quick call to Pamela at the charter company to make sure the buses were on their way – they were, and Pamela sounded less than happy to hear from me. I don’t particularly blame her. I think I’d have wanted to pummel myself into a bloody pulp by this point as well. Unfortunately, Tanya at the governor’s office wasn’t in yet, which made my stress level in that giant thermometer metaphysically hanging behind my head go up just a teeny bit, but I crossed my fingers and just hoped that everything would be fine. After making sure I looked at least reasonably presentable (down down, damn hair!) I ran out to the disembarkation point to observe how we were docked at the port. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that just as the brochures and the maps had indicated, we were, in fact, RIGHT in the middle of downtown Hamilton. There were literally cars about twenty or thirty-odd feet away, buzzing down the road, minding their own business while the sun beamed down in a way that was far too cheerful. It was kind of surreal, actually, being docked literally alongside a city rather than in some port or dock area that maintains a certain degree of industrial separation from where people actually shop and roam and live.

Anyway, after double checking on how to get onto the street, I zipped back to the Navigator Lounge where, just as expected, a small gaggle of people had already gathered, waiting for me to make my grand entrance. I’ve discovered that my grand entrances tend to be rather hurried and disheveled – this is probably why I never did very well as an actor. It’s hard to be charismatic when it looks like a hurricane just swept you in from the ocean. Anyway, naturally, I got swarmed almost immediately as I walked from person to person and checked off the people on my list, but there were relatively few questions considering how close we were to our stated departure time. I guess my incredibly harried and hurried air manages to remain efficient-looking regardless of the circumstances, and is exceptional at calming people’s worries without my even needing to say a word. Fortunately, the buses actually managed to turn up early – I have to stop here to question the judgment of Bermuda officials, because their buses are this nauseating shade of Pepto-Bismol pink. This might be just this side of tolerable for a tour bus, but they also happen to serve as Bermuda’s public transportation and school buses as well. I think I’d rather walk to school than ride in something that looks like it’s meant to relieve elephantine levels of gastric distress.

Getting people onto the buses was actually fine, since, once again, this had to be one of the most convenient docksides that I’ve ever seen. We had two buses for our fifty-odd passengers and thus, two drivers. I shuttled Philip onto one and took the other for myself – I wasn’t particularly sure what, exactly, Philip would have been able to organize or accomplish if the other bus broke down (particularly since I had all the relevant contact information), but his presence would have been entertaining to the other passengers in such a scenario, at any rate.

The tour actually started rather well, if somewhat banally. Our tour guide, a robust black woman whose name even now escapes me, but had a character like Norma Jane or Louisa Mae, pointed out such remarkable features as the local bank, notable trees, the Flagpole (which is significant because it apparently marks the center of every island in Bermuda), and so forth. David kept making off-color comments about this information, and I tried to snap a few pictures of notable buildings. Bermuda buildings are actually very interesting – they’re all painted in shades of pastel, and they all have these stepped, sloping roofs painted a startling shade of white. Our tour guide explained to us why they white-washed their roofs, which is apparently an extremely expensive process, but I failed my “pay attention” roll and that tidbit slipped right by me. Despite the banal nature of the tour, it was actually quite nice taking in the sights and making observations about Hamilton buildings. The other tour bus tried to go into the driveway of the Princess Hotel (which, like the buses, was very, very, very pink), but got stuck behind a long train of cars, so our bus just breezed on by them and effectively left them to the wolves, which I found mildly worrisome. About twenty minutes into the tour, however, we pulled into this little cul-de-sac that sat next to an admittedly beautiful little inlet. We could see another pair of cruise ships in the distance, a large stretch of cyan water between us, and the remnants of a shipwreck at the entrance to the inlet. A series of small, private boats had been moored in the waters of the inlet, and it looked like the tide had receded while were still moored there, and as such all of the boats were clearly marooned. The effect was actually rather creepy, despite the bright Bermudan sun pouring down on everything in a golden haze.

So Norma Jane, or whatever her name is, puts the bus on idle and tells us that we’re close to the Governor’s mansion, but she’s got some time to kill before we go there. I kind of went, “Ummm…what?” just before she launched into a lecture about the crime rates in Hamilton, the prevalence of muggings even in broad daylight, and the presence of teenagers wielding baseball bats and machetes roaming the streets just last night. Apparently, they enjoy targeting tourists. Seriously: what…the hell? The way she was going on, it sounded like Hamilton was some kind of chaotic, anarchic hole in the ground where press-gangs wander the streets with nail-studded boards and swinging chains, just looking to bash little old ladies to the ground and steal her dentures. This was decidedly not the tour that I was expecting.

Part of me was entertained, part of me couldn’t believe what I was hearing, part of me kept flashing back to Rome, where the tour guide explained to us how to avoid getting pick-pocketed, part of me REALLY wished she would just shut up and drive us somewhere picturesque, and part of me was just repeatedly banging my head against the window. Apparently I’m capable of experiencing more emotions at once than I’d realized. After about ten minutes, even the rather lovely view outside was getting tiresome (oh, how short our attention spans are!), and I could tell the natives on the bus were getting a bit restless despite a continual string of questions about corrupt police forces and farmer’s markets. My attempt to politely get her to just drive us somewhere, however, was firmly rebuffed as an absurdity, as apparently the place I wanted to go was entirely too far away. I got this flash of all of us sitting trapped on this bus forever as this madwoman cackled and went on and on about how we would get raped and pillaged and murdered by vicious Bermudan natives if we took one step off the beaten path.

So finally, 10:45 rolls around and she decides that we’ve apparently been suitably warned about the dangers of wandering around Bermuda alone. Then she casually drops the bombshell that she’s never actually been to the Government House, and hopes that we’re going the right way. I was of a mind to leap out of my seat, drop kick her in the head, and seize control of the bus. Fortunately, she seemed to be in contact with her home office as to where we were supposed to go, and the mere fact that we were in motion, with a specific destination in mind even if we didn’t quite know how we were to get there, put me somewhat at ease.

A few winding roads later, we’d arrived at a neat set of wrought iron gates set into a stone wall that read, “Government House.” There was a bit of confusion with where, exactly, a security guard on a moped wanted us to go, but somehow we managed to get up in an incredibly scenic driveway with the truly enormous Government House to our left and an absolutely gorgeous view of Bermuda to our right. I’m not very good at recognizing architecture, but my impression of the mansion was that it was built in a Colonial sort of style, maybe a hundred feet or so on the long side and half that much on the short, with walls a faded sort of neutral beige color. The lawns were perfectly trimmed – eerily so, actually – and lined with patches of absolutely beautiful pink and purple flowers. Just over a low wall of cobbled stones we could see the rest of the island and that gorgeous blue sea. It was very picturesque – the only thing spoiling the scene was the fact that the entire place looked totally abandoned.

We were actually about ten minutes early at this point, so I hopped off the bus to inspect the front door (which was locked) and to try to ring the doorbell (which was nonexistent.) Just as I was about to head back and report on the apparent lack of human life, much less receptive human life, in the area, the other tour bus miraculously materialized out of nowhere, accompanied by our errant security guard. At exactly the same time, the front door opened, revealing that the building was, in fact, well-occupied by numerous well-dressed people, who cheerfully welcomed us to Government House. Looks like the carefully enacted panic scenarios that I’d arranged in my head were for nothing after all. Our passengers started filing off the tour buses and into the Government House, with a few sticking around outside to take a few pictures of the view. I managed a few snapshots before finally deciding to join the rest of the group inside.

The Government House is probably one of the nicest structures I’ve seen in a while. The entire place is immaculate, with paintings hanging in each of the beautifully appointed rooms. The main foyer or living room or reception area, whatever you want to call it, was covered in a luxurious carpet the color of vanilla ice cream, with elegant furnishing carefully placed tastefully around the room. There was a long table on one end covered with lines of coffee cups, and another table on the other end with rows and rows of banana bread. Sir Richard Gozeny, the Governor of Bermuda, was in the center of the room, surrounded by Theatre at Sea passengers, talking to us about the nature of the Bermuda government and giving us an overview of its history. There was such a polished, welcoming air about the whole thing that I was instantly reassured that this entire excursion couldn’t be anything less than a total success.

Sir Richard led us around the Government House grounds, showing us the beautifully manicured lawn, including the enclosed area that we had been unable to enter from the front entrance, answering questions the entire time. (Did you know, by the way, that Bermuda’s top two exports are insurance and tourism? The second was obvious, but apparently the largest insurance companies in the US reinsure the items that they have insured through companies in Bermuda. I had no idea…) The man is a consummate diplomat – he was exceptionally charming, eloquent, and informative the whole time, despite the fact that the arrival of sixty-odd tourists was probably as disruptive to his daily business as a stampeding herd of rabid elephants. He led us down into the back yard, where there were numerous palm trees that had been planted there by notable personalities, including Bob Marley, Margaret Thatcher, and George Bush Sr. and Jr, and took a few pictures with Carol Lawrence and Shirley Jones. Then we all went back inside to mingle and chat and have a sip of coffee. Of course everyone wanted to have a picture with the Governor, together with a few of the actors, if possible, but the whole time he remained pleasant and charming. I hope to be so elegant when I’m his age.

Anyway, we stuck around for about an hour, during which I learned that the tour operator on the other bus was hilarious as opposed to unnecessarily alarming. He was apparently a female impersonator in the evenings, and…yeah, it sort of showed. He also apparently had relatives all over the island (which is not really unexpected when you grow up on an island), and had great fun pointing out all of his relations to his passengers as they drove past. I have to say, that sounds considerably more entertaining than being warned about machete gangs.

Even though I kind of wanted to see what the other bus driver was like, I dutifully returned to the other bus as we continued our afternoon tour. Somewhat surprisingly, it went off smoothly, entertainingly, and generally without a hitch. We drove to the other side of the island to be tantalized by Hamilton’s beaches, which, even as the movies suggest, consist of aquamarine waters lapping at gloriously white sands. I wished we had at least a little time to spend exploring one of them, but alas, the most that we could manage were a few snapshots from an overlooking cliff. Actually, I didn’t even quite manage that, because my camera chose that precise time to conveniently run out of battery power. We then made our way to the botanical gardens, which seemed too narrow for a tour bus to drive through, and which apparently contain a special type of tree that bears fruit which turn into vegetables. I think high school science established that as a biological impossibility? I…don’t know. Have we not already established that our tour operator was just a little eccentric? She actually pulled the bus over next to a hilltop cemetery just to explain everything we could want to know about how Bermuda buries its people. I mean really – morbid much? Apparently, the graves are all twenty to thirty feet deep, and unless people pay for a family plot they just stick the coffins in one on top of another. I’m imagining all sorts of unpleasant things happening to the coffins on the bottom, when that stack gets to be ten coffins deep.

So after all that we finally make our way back to the ship, and I decide to hop off and go shopping, as I’d neglected to bring a supply of protein powder. I know, I know – I’m turning in such a meathead. I know there is an ample supply of food on the ship, but the problem is actually that so much of that food is meant to be…you know…ENJOYED. It’s all gourmet food and therefore loaded with saturated fats and processed sugars and all the other tasty things that can really wreak havoc on your body. I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to order scrambled eggs made with six egg whites. So I’m trying to supplement with some clean proteins, at least, if I’m going to be eating all this otherwise artery-clogging stuff. If I’m putting a halt to my fat-cutting scheme for the duration of this cruise, I may as well attempt to gain some muscle out of the deal. Anyway, I did manage to find a small health food store yesterday (did I mention this already?) that stocked some extremely unpleasant-tasting protein powder for a relatively inexpensive price.

Oh! That was the other thing. Bermuda is RIDICULOUSLY expensive. I was seeing things like $35 for a crappy pair of flip-flops that would cost all of two dollars in the US, and $120 for a box of gel pens. PENS! One hundred and twenty fucking dollars for a pack of ten pens! Jesus Christ, do these things spell and grammar check your essays for you? What the hell, hero?

Anyway, I made it back onto the ship after buying my protein powder, did my standard tea time trivia upstairs, and then retreated down to the computer lab to type up messages and memos and other nifty things. There was some kind of juggling thing going on in the main theatre, which might have been fun if I didn’t have to sequester myself in my room and fold papers the entire time. I ended up taking dinner in my room again, because I just didn’t have time and couldn’t be bothered to eat in the dining room with everything else that I had to do.

Okay, I think I have to mention here that the Navigator is a much smaller ship than the Crystal Serenity, and since we left Bermuda this evening it’s been pitching and rocking all over the place. Kind of like pirate ships did in bad action movies of the 50’s, except replace the pirate ship with a massive luxury cruise liner. It’s giving me a mild case of sea sickness and a serious headache, and consequently I just want to fall asleep all the time. In fact, I think it’s time to turn in. I know that’s kind of abrupt, but my head is killing me.